Tuesday, February 4, 2014

New Look New Passion

It's hard to believe it's been 10 years since I registered wventrepreneur.com. At the time I didn't know what I wanted to do with the website hoping my path would find me. As many of my loyal followers know that my love and commitment to promote entrepreneurship in West Virginia as an economic development strategy is as strong as ever. Needless to say it was time for an update and refocus for the website.

Over the years I've had several different ideas of what I wanted to do with wventrepreneur.com but nothing really solidified in my heart that told me this is the direction to go in. To be honest, I haven't had much time to devote to the website because of other business interests. As with anything it takes time and commitment to make something a success and the passion has to be there for anything to see the light of day.

Today that passion has been ignited as a result of the latest chemical leak into the Elk River that has affected the water supply for over 300,000 people in a nine county area. This tragedy has not only touched 300,000 people but has disrupted businesses over the past three weeks with no end in site. The impact we have felt with our businesses totals in the thousands of dollars and lost productivity because we have been forced to protect our families.

I got to thinking where can businesses go to share their stories about the affects of the WV Water Crisis and how they are dealing with the situation. A place where they can go to get support and have one place where wventrepreneur can be a voice for all of West Virginia's entrepreneurs in facilitating change. Small businesses are the heartbeat of the West Virginia economy and we need a strong voice. There is no better time for us to come together and make a difference. More to come...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

State releases list of West Virginia's Top 100 private employers - Wal-Mart remains No. 1

CHARLESTON — WorkForce West Virginia’s list of the 100 largest private employers, compiled from data for the first quarter 2010, ranks retail giant Wal-Mart as the state’s largest employer. Wal-Mart has maintained this position since 1998.

The list, released today, contains businesses with both single and multiple locations and ranks companies according to the number of employees. The data are extracted from the Quarterly Contributions Report for the first quarter of each year and are available to the public by the third quarter of each year.

West Virginia’s top five largest private employers are Wal-Mart, West Virginia United Health System, Charleston Area Medical Center, Kroger, and American Electric Power, all unchanged from 2009.

Several employers in the top 10 have shifted positions, and two employers not found in the top 10 last year now make an appearance. These new additions are Res-Care, Inc. and Mylan Pharmaceuticals.

The top 10 employers in total had 143 fewer employees in the past year, faring well when compared to the total for all private sector employment in the state which declined nearly 17,000 from the first quarter 2009 to the first quarter 2010. The sum employment of the top 100 employers declined by just over 4,400 from March 2009. Analysis of all private employers by size indicated all size groups except the group employing 500 to 999 people lost both units and employment over the past year.

Just over one-half of employers on the top 100 list climbed in rank, while nearly a quarter of businesses descended in rank. Six employers not present on last year’s top 100 made their appearance on this year’s list.

This list was prepared from information provided by employers covered under the unemployment compensation insurance system, through the federal/state Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages Program conducted in West Virginia by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor and the Research, Information and Analysis Division of WorkForce West Virginia.

The lists for the state and counties for each year since 1999 and workforce investment areas since 2002 can be found on the website: www.workforcewv.org/lmi or by contacting the Research, Information and Analysis Division at 304.558.2660.

The 2010 Top 100 list

1. Wal-Mart Associates, Inc.

2. West Virginia United Health System

3. Charleston Area Medical Center, Inc.

4. Kroger

5. American Electric Power

6. Consolidation Coal Company

7. Lowe's Home Centers, Inc.

8. St. Mary's Hospital

9. Res-Care, Inc.

10. Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

11. Cabell Huntington Hospital, Inc.

12. Wheeling Hospital, Inc.

13. Pilgrim's Pride Corporation of West Virginia

14. Mentor Management, Inc. (Mentor Network, The)

15. Verizon

16. E I DuPont De Nemours & Company

17. Rite Aid of West Virginia, Inc.

18. Allegheny Energy Service Corporation

19. West Virginia University Medical Co. (University Health Associates)

20. Bob Evans Farms, Inc.

21. Mountaineer Park, Inc.

22. Alliant Techsystems, Inc.

23. Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital

24. Monongalia General Hospital

25. West Virginia's Choice, Inc.

26. K Mart Corporation

27. Aker Construction, Inc.

28. DOLGENCORP, Inc. (Dollar General Stores)

29. Herbert J Thomas Memorial Hospital Association

30. Greenbrier Hotel Corporation

31. BB&T Corporation

32. PNGI Charles Town Gaming, Ltd.

33. GMRI, Inc.

34. Go-Mart, Inc. 34 43 44

35. Teletech Customer Care Management (West Virginia), Inc.

36. Raleigh General Hospital, LLC

37. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store

38. Dominion Transmission, Inc. 3

39. Spartan Mining Company

40. Hobet Mining, LLC

41. Employee Resource Group, LLC

42. Cabela's, Inc.

43. Toyota Motor Manufacturing, West Virginia, Inc.

44. Elk Run Coal Company, Inc. (Black Castle Mining Company)

45. Alcan Rolled Products

46. Weirton Medical Center

47. Eastern Associated Coal Corporation

48. Heartland Employment Services, LLC

49. United Parcel Service Inc. (WV District)

50. Wheeling Island Gaming, Inc.

51. J C Penney Company, Inc.

52. Asplundh Tree Expert Company

53. Simonton Building Products, Inc.

54. Little General Store, Inc.

55. Highmark West Virginia, Inc. (Mountain State Blue Cross and Blue Shield)

56. Ohio Valley Medical Center, Inc.

57. Wesbanco Bank, Inc.

58. Gino's/Tudors Biscuit World

59. Homer Laughlin China Company

60. Huntington Alloys Corporation

61. ArcelorMittal Weirton, Inc.

62. Acordia/Wells Fargo Third Party Administrator, Inc.

63. Food Lion, LLC

64. Gabriel Brothers, Inc.

65. United National Bank

66. Bluefield Regional Medical Center, Inc.

67. Sears, Roebuck and Company

68. Prestera Center for Mental Health Services

69. McDonalds Restaurants of West Virginia, Inc.

70. Advance Stores Company, Inc.

71. Snowshoe Mountain, Inc.

72. Appalachian Regional Healthcare

73. Alex Energy, Inc. (Intrepid Mining Company)

74. GC Services Limited Partnership

75. TRG Customer Solutions

76. City National Bank of Charleston

77. Sunhealth Specialty Services, Inc.

78. St. Joseph's Healthcare System (St. Joseph's Hospital)

79. DirectTV Customer Service, Inc.

80. Charleston Hospital, Inc. (Saint Francis Hospital)

81. Pleasant Valley Hospital, Inc.

82. Universal Cable Holdings/Suddenlink

83. Quad/Graphics, Inc.

84. Alcon Research, Ltd

85. Mountain State University, Inc.

86. Logan General Hospital, LLC

87. Owner's Solution, Inc. (Personnel Management Company)

88. Echosphere, LLC

89. Davis Memorial Hospital

90. Capital Area Services Company, Inc. (CASCI)

91. Target Corporation

92. Armstrong Hardwood Flooring Company

93. Babcock & Wilcox Construction Company, Inc.

94. University Physicians & Surgeons

95. Wendy's International, Inc.

96. OS Restaurant Services, Inc. (Outback Steakhouse)

97. Speedway Superamerica, LLC

98. American Woodmark Corporation

99. Racing Corporation of West Virginia

100. Global Contact Services, LLC

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Eight West Virginia Companies among Inc.'s 5,000 fastest growing

NEW YORK — Inc. magazine this week announced its fourth annual Inc. 5000, an exclusive ranking of the nation's fastest-growing private companies. The list represents the most comprehensive look at the most important segment of the economy—America’s independent-minded entrepreneurs. Music website Pandora, convenience store chain 7-Eleven, Brooklyn Brewery, and Radio Flyer, maker of the iconic children’s red wagon, are among the prominent brands featured on this year’s list.

In addition, eight West Virginia based companies were named to the Inc. 5000 list. 

They are:

• No. 392  Cenergy with a 3-year growth rate of 750 percent and revenue of $12 million;

• No. 638  HMS Technologies with a 3-year growth rate of 477 percent and revenue of $31.2 million;

• No. 764 The McEvoy Administration with a 3-year growth rate of 400 percent and revenue of $2.1 million;

• No. 1508  McKinley Carter Wealth Services with a 3-year growth rate of 190 percent and revenue of $2.8 million;

• No. 2426  Reliable Environmental Transport  with a 3-year growth rate of 101 percent and revenue of $7.1 million;

• No. 2642  Performance Results with a 3-year growth rate of 88 percent and revenue of 13.8 million;

• No. 2715  KeyLogic Systems with a 3-year growth rate of 84 percent and revenue of 16.1 million;

• No. 3236  Advanced Technical Solutions  with a 3-year growth rate of 60 percent and revenue of $8 million.

Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/5000 .

The Hottest Regions for Fast-Growing Companies

Once again, California tops the Inc. 5000 with the most companies of any state with 684. The Golden State is followed by Texas (404), New York (353), Virginia (293), and Florida (262). All 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, are represented on this year's list. New York boasts 410 Inc. 5000 companies, making it the top metro area, followed by Washington, D.C. (363), Los Angeles (262), Chicago (203), and Boston (189).

The Inc. 5000 at a Glance

The Real Estate sector, although small, was the top-performing industry, with a total growth rate of 189 percent. Software was second with a growth rate of 126 percent, and Telecommunications was third with 119 percent. 

In total, the companies on the Inc. 5000 have created 1.4 million jobs. The Health sector is the top employer with 287,726 jobs, followed by Business Products & Services (230,066), Food & Beverage (108,344), Human Resources (107,924), and Retail (96,858). 

Business Products & Services had the most companies on this year’s list with 640, followed by IT Services (607), Advertising & Marketing (410), Health (396), and Government Services (336). 

This year’s fastest-growing company is Ambit Energy, a Dallas-based firm that buys electricity and natural gas at wholesale prices and resells the energy to customers acquired through a direct sales channel. The company saw $325 million in revenue in 2009 and a three-year growth rate of 20,369 percent. 

The top woman-run company is Lexicon Consulting (No. 4 overall), based in El Cajon, California. Lexicon creates mock Iraqi and Afghan villages used to train military personnel. The firm, founded by Jamie Arundell-Latshaw in 2005, recorded revenue of $17.9 million in 2009 and a three-year growth rate of 14,018 percent. The top minority-run company is WDFA Marketing (No. 5 overall), a San Francisco–based firm that specializes in guerrilla, grass-roots, and micromarketing. WDFA, founded by Raj Prasad, posted revenue of $38.4 million in 2008 and a three-year growth rate of 13,350 percent. 

The Inc. 5000 posted an aggregate revenue of $321.6 billion in 2009, up more than 50 percent from the previous year. The top five industries by total revenue are Business Products & Services ($84.7 billion), Health ($48.3 billion), Consumer Products & Services ($26.4 billion), Retail ($22.3 billion), and Government Services ($15.1 billion).


The 2010 Inc. 500|5000 is ranked according to percentage revenue growth when comparing 2006 to 2009. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by June 30, 2006. Additionally, they had to be based in the United States, privately held, for profit, and independent—not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies—as of December 31, 2009. (Since then, a number of companies on the list have gone public or been acquired.) The minimum revenue required for 2006 is $80,000; the minimum for 2009 is $2 million. As always, Inc. reserves the right to decline applicants for subjective reasons. The top 10 percent of companies on the list constitute the Inc. 500, now in its 29th year.


Posted via email from wventrepreneur.com

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour Coming to Marshall in September

HUNTINGTON – The power of the entrepreneurial spirit will take the Tri-State Area by storm this fall when The Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour visits Marshall University’s Huntington campus.

The tour, a high-energy, half-day event, will take place from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 23, at the Marshall University Foundation Hall, Home of the Erickson Alumni Center. Those in attendance will hear the stories of and learn the secrets behind the success of the world’s top entrepreneurs who are still in their 20s.

The event is sponsored by Marshall University’s Office of the President, MU Online College in the High School, the Center for Business and Economic Research and the Marshall University Research Corp.

The Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour is the first and only nationwide entrepreneurship tour. It is run by three award-winning young entrepreneurs – Sheena Lindahl (27), Michael Simmons (28) and Arel Moodie (26). Created in 2006 by Lindahl and Simmons, the tour features many of California’s top young entrepreneurs who have made, or sold companies for, millions of dollars and/or made a huge impact before the age of 30.

One speaker, Cameron Johnson (24) from Los Angeles, started a dozen profitable businesses and became a self-made millionaire while he was still a teenager. Another speaker, Rahim Fazal (27) from San Francisco, sold his first business for $1.5 million as he was graduating from high school. Fazal is the co-founder and CEO of the venture-backed company, Involver.

“More than half the companies on the 2009 Fortune 500 list were launched during a recession or bear market,” Simmons said. “Technology and globalization have made it very inexpensive to start a business. Now is the best time that there has ever been to become your own boss."

According to a 2007 Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation survey by Harris Interactive, four out of 10 young people would like to start their own businesses someday.

“However, when we talked with students, we realized that many of them needed inspiration and support to achieve this dream,” Lindahl said. “That’s why we started the tour.”

The goal of the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour is to have college students around the nation graduate with an entrepreneurial mindset.

The tour uses numerous themes and resources to reach and inspire those in attendance. Some are:

  • Focus – students are inspired and learn how to start and run their own businesses;
  • Keynote – this speaker is an extremely successful young entrepreneur who shares his or her story and business lessons:
  • Workshop – helps students come up with a viable business idea based on strengths and passions;
  • Speed networking – focuses on students connecting with each other based on their business ideas;
  • Panel – consists of the event speakers and local entrepreneurs with a focus on entrepreneurship. Local participants will include some who have created businesses and been successful in commercializing products, including representatives from Vandalia Research Inc., which is the first biotechnology research company based upon Marshall University research. Other panelists include local K-12 students, including award-winning students from Cabell Midland High School.

Registration to the event is limited to Marshall University students, faculty and staff, and to K-12 students. To register, they may go to www.extremetour.org/marshall.

Posted via email from wventrepreneur.com

Saturday, July 24, 2010

New Company Aims To Bring Music & Excitement Back To Charleston

"A new company is emerging in Charleston, bringing excitement and a new batch of music to the area. The company is called Cardinal Productions and aims to bring a series of nationally known acts to Charleston. The company’s founders are Nathaniel Smalley and Damon Cater. Smalley graduated this spring from WV Wesleyan College with a degree in business and Cater is CEO of a WV company called Home base Inc., which relocate children in bad situations to alternative homes absent of malignancies such as discrimination, humiliation, poverty, abuse, neglect indifference and selfishness.  Smalley, although new to the music business, has his fair share of experience.  Throughout his college career at WV Wesleyan, he handled the event and concert coordination for the college, while also interning for National Public Radio program, Mountain Stage.

Cardinal's first endeavor is a concert featuring country music and bluegrass superstar Ricky Skaggs. He and his band Kentucky Thunder are bringing their fast and furious blend of bluegrass, traditional and country music to the Clay Center Friday, July 30 at 8pm. The show will also feature special guests Sara and Sean Watkins of progressive bluegrass band Nickel Creek.

Skaggs' career spans decades. The mandolin player, singer, songwriter, and bandleader has won an astonishing 14 Grammy Awards and 8 Country Music Awards. Sara and Sean Watkins also have appeared regularly on NPR's Mountain Stage radio program and Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor.

For more information and tickets call (304) 561-3570 or visit www.theclaycenter.org. Also, for more information about Cardinal Productions contact Nathaniel Smalley at (304) 881-8859.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Let's Raise Kids To Be Entrepreneurs

Bored in school, failing classes, at odds with peers: This child might be an entrepreneur, says Cameron Herold. At TEDxEdmonton, he makes the case for parenting and education that helps would-be entrepreneurs flourish -- as kids and as adults. This is a great must see video. Do you agree or disagree? Your comments welcome.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Support Youth Entrepreneurship In West Virginia

In support of a Better West Virginia's invitation to blog about a specific need that could be solved through networking I couldn't think of a better subject than youth entrepreneurship in West Virginia. In 2003, the first statewide high school business plan competition called DreamQuest was created. The goal of Dreamquest is create a sustainable program that is recognized throughout West Virginia as an opportunity to actively involve students, teachers, and the private sector in an entrepreneurial learning experience. Dreamquest is a complementary program for other youth entrepreneurship initiatives associated with the high school curriculum. Dreamquest is West Virginia’s only statewide high school business plan competition. The program is available to all students – public or private, home-schooled, or vocational.

I personally have participated in judging and promoting DreamQuest through the years and it is great to see the creativity and enthusiasm our high school students display by going this process. Thanks to the dedication and leadership of Susan Rice, entrepreneurship coordinator for the WV Dept. of Education, that this program continues to produce young entrepreneurs throughout the state year after year. This program has a track record of impacting high school students by exposing them to entrepreneurship as a career path. In addition, students really do pursue their dreams! Last year’s winners are open for business in Beckley, West Virginia. The fourth place team is currently producing a marketing CD for Dreamquest to be used to promote the program across the state.

The reality is we need to ensure that this great program continues to reach high school students and expose them to entrepreneurship. It is vital to our state's future. If we don't actively train and produce entrepreneurial talent in our state then who are going to be the innovators and employers of tomorrow? I am asking the business and community leaders in West Virginia to contact me to learn how to help in making sure we not only help this program but take it to the next level. DreamQuest has been a model program across the nation for other states who have followed in our footsteps. It is time for us to go to the next level and reach more high school students by making sure DreamQuest continues to fulfill its mission for youth entrepreneurship.

If you are interested in learning how you can help please send me an email at mark@wventrepreneur.com with "I want to support DreamQuest" in the subject line. This is one way you can play apart in making a Better West Virginia.