Create West Virginia Announces 2015 Creative Economy Construction Awards
Charleston, W.Va. September 28, 2015 - Create West Virginia named five 2015 champions of Innovation Economy pillars at the Create West Virginia Conference, held September 24-26 in Fayetteville.
Sarah Halstead, president of the Create West Virginia board of directors, conferred the "creative cone" awards-orange road construction cones-at various times throughout the event. The cones symbolize the ongoing construction of West Virginia's creative economy.
The Champion of Education is theTry This West Virginia
movement, with its four-pronged approach to engaging the state's people in addressing their own health issues and devising their own solutions. Their website is full of ideas and how-to resources, their annual conference engages and educates local communities, and their mini-grants help community teams carry out healthy lifestyle projects. They have distributed $82,000 to 42 community teams around the state, and they support year-round workshops and events.
The Champion of Diversity is Fairness West Virginia, the nonprofit civil rights advocacy organization that promotes open, honest and safe dialogue about gender equality and sexual orientation issues, wage discrimination, and social justice. "They are courageous on so many fronts here in West Virginia," says Halstead. "They are actively breaking down barriers, enabling conversations, and giving voice and support to previously marginalized communities."
The Champion of Entrepreneurship is Waterstone Outdoors, created, owned and operated by Gene and Maura Kistler, who were among the first to establish a retail business to serve a growing outdoor-oriented clientele in the Fayette County region. "Several whitewater outfitters have retail operations that specifically serve their customers, but Gene and Maura opened a business in Fayetteville that serves a broad variety of customers, and helped establish the new vibe in 'the 'Ville,' says Halstead. They were attracted to the region and all that it had to offer to outdoor adventurers, and they had the guts and imagination to figure out how to stay. Visit their physical or online storefront to see how tech savvy, multi-generational and just plain cool Waterstone Outdoors is. Their gear, excellent customer service, and enthusiasm for the outdoors will bring out nearly anyone's inner adventurer."
The Champion of Quality of Place is Rebecca Kimmons. "She's a lifelong advocate of West Virginia's potential, especially when it comes to repackaging places in West Virginia. She repeatedly demonstrates her ability to see assets where others see only problems. She steered the state to the City of Richwood in 2013 for the Create West Virginia Conference, and in doing that, changed the course of planning efforts and inspired new ways of thinking not only in Richwood, but in other community and economic development organizations and businesses."
The Technology Champion is Thom Worlledge, an architect and structural engineer by training, and an inventor and technology innovator by disposition. "Thom's dedication to open source technology and renewable energy are core to seminal projects in West Virginia. He voluntarily works on a variety of sensor-driven, Internet-of-Things (IoT), robotic tele-presence and efficiency oriented initiatives that in ten years people will understand. He is a "maker" who shares his time and talent generously with many others including students and communities." Projects include Helios Park, Richwood, WV, the Pi Wall, WVSU EDC, the Sniffy App, agileAG, and Smalmart.
Create West Virginia, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, supports the development of creative communities, companies, and centers of learning that thrive in the global innovation economy through training, project development and management, and recruitment of creatives to build opportunity across the Mountain State.
Brittany Means, Conference Director 304 205 9755 email@example.com
Sarah Halstead, Board President 619 865 5132 firstname.lastname@example.org