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Professional Spotlight Series Impact

Professional Spotlight Series

Missed a Spotlight? No Problem! Scroll through our interviews to listen to our Panelists' journeys!

Upcoming Professional Spotlights

Date Time Guest
Tuesday, November 7 12:30 - 1:15 p.m. Marvin Stewart
Lewis & Louis Professional Steam Cleaning Service (Alumni)
Tuesday, November 14 12:30 - 1:15 p.m. James Jesmer
AIA EED Green Associate, Architecture Designer II (Alumni)
Tuesday, November 28 12:30 - 1:15 p.m. Danijel Velicki
CEO, Sqwire, LLC (Alumni)

Interview with Rita Okonji

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Rita Okonji, Fairmont State Alum, Class of 2019
Current Profession: Corporate Senior HR Generalist, Myers Industries
Spotlight Segment: 10/17/2023

Rita Okonji is a Fairmont State University Alum.  She graduated in 2019 and earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management. She currently serves as a Senior HR Generalist at Myers Industries in Cleveland, Ohio. 

Rita was born and raised in Nigeria, West Africa and now resides in Ohio.  When Rita is not at the workplace, she is spending her evenings working out or catching up with family and friends.  As an inspirational quote, Rita reminds us that,“Rejection is redirection.”

Interview with Neisha Marshelle Bridges

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Neisha Marshelle Bridges, Fairmont State University, Class of 2014
Current Profession: Branch Manager, Chase Bank
Spotlight Segment: 09/26/2023

Neshia Marshelle Bridges was born and raised in West Virginia.  She grew up around relatives that shaped her life into what it is today.  Ms. Bridges life story is not your average, every day, typical fairytale story.  Her love of writing poetry and faith in GOD allowed her to endure the untimely passing of her father and the tragedy of her brother's death.  Overcoming adversities and finding a way to rise above her hardships and passion is what inspires others. 

Neshia Marshelle Bridges started her own business, Aspire Uniqueness Boutique, LLC; established the WCB Foundation, Inc. in honor of her late brother, William Charleton Bridges; authored and published a book titled, Misery Loves Company; and became a figure fitness model who was featured in various news articles, publications and in the national Oxygen Magazine (June 2007) as "Tomorrow's Cover Girl."  In 2010 she was selected as a recipient of The WV State Journals 40 under 40 for her leadership in her community. 

Ms. Bridges received her Associates in Fashion Design at Pierpont Community & Technical College and her Bachelors in Fashion Merchandising from Fairmont State University in May of 2014.  Ms. Bridges is currently employed with Chase Bank as a Branch Manager in the central Orlando, FL market.

When we asked Neisha to share an inspirational quote, she left us with the following: “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”- Maya Angelou

Interview with Steven Cutright

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Steven Cutright, Fairmont State University, Class of 1980
Current Profession: Entrepreneur
Spotlight Segment: 09/19/2023

Steven Cutright is a Clarksburg, WV native who received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Fairmont State University, a Master of Business Administration Degree from West Virginia University, and a graduate studies degree in Forensic Accounting/Fraud Examination from West Virginia University.

Steve spent (28) years in the Engineering/Construction industry specializing in the design and construction of Minerals Processing facilities, Material Handling systems and Power Generation facilities. Steve retired from private industry in 2002 at 44 years old after a highly successful career to embark on numerous entrepreneurial initiatives. Since 1995, Steve has owned and operated twelve (12) businesses, both wholly and jointly, as well as providing organizational, financial, and technical consulting services to the retail, manufacturing, insurance, construction, mining, finance, and real estate industries. The aggregated revenues of the businesses Steve has owned and/or operated exceeds $2.5 Billion dollars.

In the Fall 2010, Steve joined the faculty of West Virginia University’s College of Business and Economics as a Visiting Lecturing Professor in the Management and Entrepreneurship departments and in June of 2012, joined the college full time as the Founding Director of the BrickStreet Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the College of Business and Economics. Steve left employment at West Virginia University in May 2019 to focus on the businesses he continues to own and operate. Steve holds two (2) patents issued by the United States Patent Office and recently complete a two-year appointment by Governor Jim Justice to the board of the West Virginia Economic Development Authority.

Steve is Married to Trina Cutright, has three (3) children, and currently lives in Whitehall, West Virginia. As a professional tip, Steve shared, “Anything is possible if you truly know what you want to accomplish, and that you have it within you to navigate.”

Interview with Phillip Merritt

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Phillip Merritt, Fairmont State University, Class of 2002
Current Profession: Vice President of Lakota Solutions, Inc.
Spotlight Segment: 09/12/2023

Phillip was born in Cumberland, Maryland, but lived in Ridgeley, West Virginia. He currently resides in Fairmont, WV, where he has been since college in 1999.

Phillip attended Fairmont State from 1999-2002 and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Mathematics. He also earned his Master of Science in Software Engineering from WVU. Since graduating, he worked for NASA, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman prior to starting Lakota Software Solutions, Inc. in 2007.

Phillip currently serves as Vice President/COO of Lakota Software Solutions, Inc., a company which he founded in 2007 along with colleague, Aaron Wilson.  Lakota is located, in Fairmont, WV and supports several government contracts in the biometric industry and provides commercial software.

When asked to share an inspirational or professional tip students can apply to life, he responded, “The hard work will pay off” and reminded us to, “Find a career you enjoy.”

Interview with Mary Jo Thomas

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Mary Jo Thomas, Fairmont State University, Class of 1966
Current Profession: President of the Fairmont State Alumni Association
Spotlight Segment: 04/25/2023

Mary Jo Thomas is a 1966 graduate of Fairmont State and recipient of the FSU Outstanding Alumna Award. Currently, she serves as immediate past president of the Fairmont State Alumni Association after serving several terms as president. 

The retired public administrator from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the Virginia Department of Social Services served two terms as president of her national professional organization and two years as a loaned executive to the federal government. She served eight years on the Marion County Board of Education, two as Vice President and four as President. She was on the Executive Board of the West Virginia Association of School Boards.  Mary Jo has chaired several School Board and Levy committees in Marion County.

She is active on all levels of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs and is the Chair of the Supervisory Committee for Fairmont Federal Credit Union. She is a past board chairman of Health, Safety, and Wellness for the Marion County Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Women’s Forum.  She is on the EFHS Foundation Board and the Fairmont Council of Churches. Mary Jo also serves on the Rhododendron Girls State and Mon Health Foundation Boards and is President of Gamma Chi Chi Alumnae.

Mary Jo has been very involved with Rotary and United Way over the years.  Her service to the community has been recognized by various organizations.  She was recently named a pillar of the community by WV News NCWV Life Magazine.  Her late husband, Ad was also an FSU alum. Their daughter Rosemary is the Executive Vice President of Davis and Elkins College.  Mary Jo’s life lesson, “It doesn’t matter how many times you fall down as long as you get up” and “You can’t be a smart cookie if you have a crummy attitude.”

Interview with Colonel Robert Vincent

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Colonel Robert Vincent, Fairmont State University, Class of 1969 Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Psychology Minor
Current Profession: Retired Military, Air Force
Spotlight Segment: 04/11/2023

Robert W. Vincent, a native of Fairmont, graduated from Fairmont State in 1969 with a degree in mathematics and a minor in psychology. While at Fairmont State, he was a member of the Tau Beta Iota Fraternity, the junior class president, played in the Falcon Band, and worked as a student programmer in the new computer center.

After graduation, he entered the Air Force and went to Officer Training School and then pilot training. In 1972, he served in Vietnam as a Pilot Forward Air Controller completing 156 combat missions. Colonel Vincent retired from the Air Force in September 1994. 

Bob started a second career in retail management working for Toys R Us from 1995-2013. His district was selected twice as the top district in the company. In 2013, Bob took on a managerial role at Party City, where he completed the set up and grand opening for a new store location. He retired again in November 2016.  His inspirational tip is, “Go through life having fun.”

Interview with Jeffrey Tucker

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Jeffrey Tucker, Class of 1991 Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Managing and Marketing Master of Software Engineering, West Virginia University
Current Profession: Senior Principal Systems Engineer and Solutions Architect with Leidos
Spotlight Segment: 04/04/2023

Mr. Jeffrey Tucker is an IT/Cloud technology enthusiast with over 25 years of progressive software engineering expertise in areas like information technology assessment, software development, and technology integration across diverse industries including education, healthcare, telecommunications, retail, banking, and government. 

Mr. Tucker currently serves as Sr. Principal Systems Engineer and Solutions Architect with Leidos.  Leidos is a 40,000+ employee led IT Services firm and is the largest IT systems integrator within the Federal Government.

Mr. Tucker supports the Leidos Civil Enterprise IT and Mission Solutions CTO Office.  For the past 15 years, Mr. Tucker has served in a number of different CTO/CIO roles supporting global IT projects and is currently supporting Enterprise IT Modernization efforts including Commercial and Government Cloud Architectures in both the US and UK for Leidos. 

Mr. Tucker holds a master’s degree in Software Engineering and is a West Virginia Tech Connect Board Member and serves on the West Virginia Cyber Security Workforce Working Group.  Jeffrey’s inspirational quote, “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”  Babe Ruth

Interview with Lacey Peterson

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Lacey Peterson, Fairmont State University, Class of 2016 Bachelor of Science in Accounting, Information Systems Management Minor
Current Profession: Professional Role, Audit Manager and CPA at Ernst & Young (EY)
Spotlight Segment: 03/28/2023

Lacey Peterson is a Fairmont State graduate, Class of 2017.  She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting December of 2017 and took additional courses Spring 2017 to earn 150 credits to meet requirements for her CPA licensure.  Lacey currently serves as Audit Manager and CPA at Ernst & Young (EY).

Lacey is a West Virginia native born in Morgantown, WV and now resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Lacey’s professional tip, “You don’t have to have it all figured out right now.  Don’t be afraid to lose your comfort…take a leap of faith.”

Interview with Tina Mascaro

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Tina Mascaro, Fairmont State University (College) Alumni Bachelor of Science in Physical, Minor in Health Science/Bachelor of Arts in Health Education
Current Profession: Sports Management Director of The Marion County Parks and Recreation Commission
Spotlight Segment: 03/21/2023

Tina is a Fairmont native and graduate of East Fairmont High School.  She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Fairmont State College in Physical Education with a minor in Health Science, and then a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Physical Education and Health Education.  She went on to WVU to earn a Master of Science degree in Exercise Physiology. As of May 2022, she serves as Sports Management Director with Marion County Parks & Recreation.

Tina has spent 29 years as an adjunct professor at Fairmont State University in the department of Health and Human Performance and is the former Director of Intramurals and Club Sports, a position she held there for 20+ years. She was instrumental in the design process and opening of the Falcon Center, Fairmont State’s premier student rec center.  She has a true passion for both fitness and recreation.

Tina and her husband Pat have 3 adult children – James/Natalie, Alexandria/Tom, Gabi and 2 grandchildren- Samuel and Franki who they enjoy spending time with.  Her interests include CrossFit, Tough Mudder’s, camping/hiking, going to the beach and spending time with her family.  Tina’s inspirational quote, “Be better tomorrow than you were today and accept the choices you make.”

Interview with Lisa Flittner

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Lisa Flittner, Fairmont State University, Class of 2015 Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering and Technology
Current Profession: Project Engineer, Skanska Civil SE, Portsmouth, VA
Spotlight Segment: 03/14/2023

Lisa Flittner currently serves as a Project Engineer with Skanska Civil SE in Portsmouth, Virginia.She graduated from Fairmont State University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering Technology.

Lisa started her professional journey with Skanska in July of 2015 as a Field Engineer (FE) at the Midtown Tunnel Project in Norfolk, VA. In July of 2017, she was promoted to Project Engineer of the Precast Yard and then in June of 2022, she became Lead Project Engineer on the Portsmouth Marine Terminal, a $223 million dollar project.

Lisa is a native of Manassas, Virginia, and currently resides in Lewisetta, Virginia with her wonderful and supportive husband Daniel and her two spirited little girls, Adrian, and Alex.Lisa’s professional tip, “Be open to any possibilities, you never know what might happen.”

Interview with Kelli Jo Mcnemar

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Kelli Jo Mcnemar, Marietta College, Class of 1998, and West Virginia University, Class of 2002 Bachelor of Human Resource Management with Minor in Leadership Master of Public Administration
Current Profession: Senior Staffing Specialist, Berkshire Hathaway Energy (BHE GT&S)
Spotlight Segment: 12/21/2022

As a Senior Staffing Specialist with BHE GT&S, Kelli Jo McNemar taps into her strengths to develop relationships with individuals and organizations, have conversations with prospective candidates about the organization and hiring process, and support workforce development activities. Kelli Jo is passionate about being able to help people consider and secure worthwhile employment opportunities.

She earned a Master of Public Administration from West Virginia University in 2002. Her Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Resource Management, with a minor in Leadership, was attained at Marietta College in 1998.  Kelli Jo has also completed an AmeriCorps gap year focused on educational equity after a summer with Energy Express and served with City Year.

Before entering the energy industry, Kelli Jo worked in higher education for 11 years coordinating leadership development programs and civic engagement initiatives.  She is a Gallup Certified Coach.  Kelli Jo has designed and delivered engaging educational experiences at national, statewide, and local conferences.  She is especially proud to be from WV and even shares a birthday with the state of West Virginia.  Kelli Jo’s grandmother would always remind her, “You have to love yourself first” and her inspirational message “Even when some don’t remind us, we have to remind ourselves.”

Interview with Joshua Revels

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Joshua Revels, Fairmont State University, Class of 2013 Bachelor of Arts in Education
Current Profession: Education Outreach Specialist, Katherine Johnson NASA
Spotlight Segment: 02/21/2023

Josh Revels has been an Education Outreach Specialist since 2018 at the Katherine Johnson NASA IV&V Education Resource Center in Fairmont, WV. He graduated from Fairmont State University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Education and recently earned his Master of Education in 2020 from Fairmont State and has obtained teaching certifications in Chemistry, Earth/Space Science, Physics, and General Science.

His main role at the Katherine Johnson NASA IV&V ERC is to train educators to implement activities aligned with the WV College and Career Readiness Standards for Science relating to content involved with NASA missions. Occasionally, he instructs chemistry and geoscience as an adjunct professor at Fairmont State University. Joshua’s Inspirational Quote, “Don’t let the fear of failure be your biggest regret.” 

Interview with Deborah Phelps

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Deborah Phelps, Fairmont State University, Class of 1973 Majored in Education
Current Profession: Executive Director of The Educational Foundation of the Baltimore County Public Schools
Spotlight Segment: 02/14/2023

Deborah Phelps is widely recognized as an innovative, energetic, and talented leader and master teacher with nearly five decades of teaching and administrator experience. Ms. Phelps is the Executive Director of The Education Foundation of the Baltimore County Public Schools, Inc. A highly sought-after motivational speaker and author of A Mother for All Seasons. Ms. Phelps addresses a range of topics related to education, mentorship, leadership, child development, health, and life lessons.

A native of Allegany County (Western Maryland), Ms. Phelps received her master’s degree in Education Management & Supervision from Loyola College (MD) and B.A. in Education from Fairmont State College, where she has served as the commencement speaker and was named Outstanding Alumnae in 2010. Ms. Phelps also had the honor of being the convocation and commencement speaker at Stevenson University. 

Ms. Phelps is the proud mother of three children and grandmother of six.  She currently resides in Baltimore, Maryland where she enjoys spending her free time with her family, reading, traveling, and attending a variety of sporting events, especially those that include her grandchildren as well as international competition, such as the Olympics.  Her inspirational quote, “Seize the moment, live in the moment, stop, pause, and be reflective.” 

Interview with Col. William Black

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Col. William Black, Fairmont State University, Class of 1989 Majored in Criminal Justice
Current Profession: Vice President of Operations for Appalachian Counseling Center
Spotlight Segment: 02/07/2023

Colonel (Ret) Bill Black was born in Colver, PA and grew up in Moundsville WV.  He is a 1989 graduate of Fairmont State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and was a Distinguished Military Graduate from the Army ROTC program. Following graduation from Fairmont State Bill went on active duty in the Army as a Military Police Officer and served over 27 additional years culminating his career as a Colonel. During his Army career Bill served in a multitude of operational and leadership positions including 3 combat tours. Some of his key assignments were Battalion Commander, Chief of Operations for the Office of the Provost Marshal General, Senior Military Liaison for the Drug Enforcement Administration and Senior Advisor to the Minister of Interior of Afghanistan. Following retirement from the Army Bill returned to West Virginia and he entered the healthcare administration field ultimately serving as the Assistant Vice President for the WVU Critical Care and Trauma Institute at WVU Medicine in Morgantown. Currently, Bill is the Vice President of Operations for Appalachian Counseling Center in Fairmont, a thriving mental health practice owned and operated by his wife Dr. Jude Black.  In addition to his undergraduate work, Bill holds a master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.  Bill currently lives in Fairmont, WV and is married to Dr. Jude Black and they have 3 adult children. His professional tip, “Apply yourself and take advantage of opportunities.  Don’t be afraid to try new things.”      

Interview with Ilene Evans

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Ilene Evans, Professor of Communication Arts
Current Profession: Artistic Director, Voices of the Earth
Spotlight Segment: 11/01/2022

Ilene Evans serves as a Professor of Communications Arts at Fairmont State University.  She is also a director, writer, storyteller, actress, musician, historian, and lecturer who has performed nationally and internationally.  She attended Trinity College in Deerfield, Illinois where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree and studied theater and dance at the University of Wisconsin.  

Ms. Evans completed her master’s degree at East Tennessee State University in education with an emphasis in Storytelling.  Ms. Evans is the Artistic Director of Voices from the Earth, Inc., an educational touring theatre company which uses storytelling, theatre, and historical portrayal to promote social justice.  She has done extensive research as a Chautauqua scholar, developing presentations of historical women who have contributed significantly to African American culture. Through first-person historical narrative, Ms. Evans brings history alive to audiences of all ages. Although she was born in Detroit, Michigan, she has made West Virginia her home. She currently lives at the headwaters of the Potomac in the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia, outside Thomas.  Ms. Ilene leaves us with this inspirational quote, “It takes courage to step into your own imagination to trust yourself…to believe that you have enough.”

Interview with Nick Fantasia

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Nick Fantasia, Fairmont State University, Class of 1985 Majored in Social Studies and Business Administration
Current Profession: President of Marion Regional Development Corporation
Spotlight Segment: 10/18/2022

Nick Fantasia grew up in the Kingmont community of Fairmont, West Virginia.  He attended Fairmont State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Studies, and Business Administration 1985 and holds a Master of Business Administration degree.

He is currently President of Marion Regional Development Corporation, a community economic development agency.  He owns Fantasia Rentals, a commercial/residential leasing company and Fantasia Redevelopment Corporation, where they renovate and repurpose existing structures.  In his spare time, he enjoys restoring antiques and classic cars. 

Nick is a lifelong resident of Marion County and now resides on Columbia Street in Fairmont.  His professional tip, “If your circle around you isn’t challenging you to be better, they are dragging you down. So, you’ve got to surround yourself with people who have attributes that you aspire, to make yourself better…”

Interview with Dr. Judith Black

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Dr. Judith Black, Fairmont State University, Class of 1990 Majored in Criminal Justice and Psychology
Current Profession: Therapist and President/Founder of Appalachian Counseling Center
Spotlight Segment: 10/04/2022

Dr. Judith Black is a 1990 graduate of Fairmont State University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology.  She is the President and Founder of Appalachian Counseling Center, E-Therapy Café, and President and Site Director of Appalachian Trauma and Resiliency Center.

Dr. Black is a native of Akron, Ohio, and currently resides in Fairmont, West Virginia.  Her inspirational quote reminds us, “You are the best author of your life…you can edit your story.”

Interview with Dr. Angela Turner

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Dr. Angela Turner, Fairmont State University, Class of 2007 Majored in Regent’s Bachelor of Arts, with a concentration in Psychology
Current Profession: Psychotherapist for A Better Therapy
Spotlight Segment: 09/27/2022

Dr. Angela Turner was born in Southfield, Michigan, and resides as a dual resident of Fairmont, West Virginia, and Apopka (Orlando) Florida.  She graduated from Fairmont State University in 2007 and earned her Regent’s Bachelor of Arts degree with an emphasis in Psychology and her doctorate degree in Counseling from Capella University.  Angela is contracted with A Better Therapy and has her own private practice that was established in November 2019.  She is a psychotherapist and Associate Clinical Director with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Mental Health Treatment facility.  Angela is also the Director of the Orange County After-School Program in Florida.  In addition to her practice, she is the owner of several businesses, Delorazza Properties in Fairmont, and Turner’s Outreach Community Services (TOCS) LLC. in Florida along with her husband, Richard.

Angela and her husband currently reside as a dual resident of Fairmont, West Virginia, and Apopka (Orlando) Florida.  Her inspirational quote, “You’ve survived 100 % of your worst days…you’re still here!” 

Interview with Scott Sinclair

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Scott Sinclair, Fairmont State University, Class of 2006 Majored in Business Management
Current Profession: Senior Manager/Support Contractor for the Office of Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition and Deputy Assistant Secretary (Acquisition Integration)
Spotlight Segment: 09/13/2022

Scott Sinclair is a native of Clarksburg, West Virginia.  He graduated from Fairmont State University in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management.  He currently serves as a Senior Manager and Support Contractor for the Office of Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition and Deputy Assistant Secretary. Scott will soon transition into a new role as Program Manager and Agile Coach for Tygart Technology.

He has volunteered his time and expertise to students by serving as one of our team panelists for mock interviews that we coordinate to help better prepare our students for the real interview and maximize the experience.

He currently resides in the “Friendly” city of Fairmont, West Virginia with his family.  Scott encourages others to have a “life verse.”  His inspirational quote, “In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy path.” Proverbs 3:6 

Interview with Makayla Schindler

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Makayla Schindler, Fairmont State University, Class of 2022 Majored in Multimedia Communications
Current Profession: Multimedia Journalist/Reporter
Spotlight Segment: 08/30/2022

Makayla Schindler is a West Virginia native from the small town of Lost Creek.  She graduated from Fairmont State University in 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Multimedia Communications.

While attending Fairmont State, Makayla was a reporter for Fairmont State's student newspaper, The Columns. She also helped create videos for a K-12 lesson plan on the "Trunk of Traditional Tunes," along with multiple exhibit videos for the Frank and Jane Gabor Folklife Center.

In her free time, you can find Makayla hiking with her dog Jolie, reading a book at a nearby park, or writing poetry to contribute to her future projects.  Makayla’s inspirational quote to remember, “The biggest competition you have is yourself.”

Interview with Craig Jennings

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Craig Jennings, Fairmont State University, Class of 2003 Majored in Civil Engineering
Current Profession: Producer, Bond Insurance Agency
Spotlight Segment: 04/19/2022

Craig Jennings is a West Virginia native, raised in Preston County Fellowsville, West Virginia.  He is a 2003 Fairmont State University graduate and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering.  Mr. Jennings is also a former member of the Fairmont State Men’s Football team.  He currently serves in the role of Producer with Bond Insurance Agency, a United Insurance Agency Company. He currently resides in Kingwood, West Virginia.  Craig shares as his words of wisdom, “Always have a ‘Guy’ or someone you can refer people to when they have a need.  They will always remember you.”​

Interview with Robert "Robi" Taylor

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Robert "Robi" Taylor, Fairmont State University, Class of 2010 Majored in Exercise Science and Business Administration
Current Profession: Canine Training and Behavior Specialist
Spotlight Segment: 04/05/2022

Robert “Robi” Taylor is a Fairmont State University alum class of 2010.  He completed his bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and Business Administration.  He was born in Winter Park, Florida and graduated from Parkersburg South High School in 2005.  He currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Robi is a certified Canine Training and Behavior Specialist.  His love for dogs is what inspired him to become a small business owner of BarNone, K9, LLC., a boarding and training program.   Robi’s passion as a dog enthusiast affords him the opportunity to spend time as a trainer and handler with his Dutch Shepherd, Naz, who he trained to compete on the A&E, America’s Top Dog show which led to Naz being selected as America’s Top Dog. Robi shared as words of wisdom, “Surround yourselves with people who are likeminded.”

Interview with C.J. Goodwin

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C.J. Goodwin, Fairmont State University, Class of 2012 Majored in Business Administration
Current Profession: Professional NFL Football, Dallas Cowboys
Spotlight Segment: 03/29/2022

C. J. is a West Virginian native, born and raised in Wheeling, WV.  He is a 2012 Fairmont State graduate who received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration. C. J. transferred into Fairmont State University in 2010 after spending two years at Bethany College, a small liberal arts school in Northern WV.  He walked on to the Fairmont State football team entering his senior year of college.  C. J. Led the team in yards per catch, averaging with just over 18 yards per carry.

After a single season at Fairmont State, C. J. transferred as a graduate student to California University of Pennsylvania.  He spent a single season at California University PA before being invited to a tryout with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he was signed to the Steelers practice squad for that year.  

After a single season with Pittsburgh, C. J. spent 3 seasons with the Atlanta Falcons in which his second season with the Falcons made an appearance in Super Bowl 51.  Ultimately C. J. ended up with the Dallas Cowboys and is spending his last 4 seasons with the team under contract through 2022.  He is entering his 9th season in the NFL. C. J.’s words of wisdom, “Take advantage of opportunities presented to you…be a good person…when you communicate with people, they want to help you.” 

Interview with Stanley Brown

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Stanley Brown, Fairmont State University, Class of 1973 Majored in Sociology
Current Profession: Manager/Broker with Mathers Realty
Spotlight Segment: 03/22/2022

Stanley D. Brown also known as Stan Brown was born in the “Friendly City” of Fairmont, West Virginia.  He attended Fairmont Senior High School.  He is a 1973 graduate of Fairmont State College, now Fairmont State University and received his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology.  He also holds a Master of Science from West Virginia University, School of Business and Economics.

Mr. Brown is currently employed with Mathers Realty and has been since 2001.  In 2003, he was appointed to Real Estate Manager/Broker, where he is licensed in both North and South Carolina.  He is responsible for hiring and training.  Mathers Realty is one of Charlotte’s largest Real Estate firms with over 135 members.  In 2004, the organization was awarded most diverse firms in the Carolinas, for speaking over 17 different languages.  Mr. Brown presently serves as diversity board member.

During his time as a student at Fairmont State, he was very involved.  He served in Student Council and was one of the founding members of the Black Culture Society which is now the Black Student Union. He was a board member of the Wesley Foundation and is currently a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

He is married to his sweetheart, Mrs. Carolyn Lee Hines-Brown of 48 years.  Together they have two sons, David Hodges, III and Christopher Micol, two grandchildren, Abby Olivia, and Brooklyn Chanel.  Mr. Brown and his wife Carolyn reside in Matthews, North Carolina and have lived in the Carolinas since 1987.  He shares as words of wisdom, “Believe in yourself; invest in yourself…you don’t have to be amazing, but when you start, you are amazing.  Do your best, make this place better…love and pass it forward.”

Interview with Chris Morris

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Chris Morris, Fairmont State University, Class of 2000 Majored in Business Administration
Current Profession: Director of Commercial Lending, First United Bank & Trust
Spotlight Segment: 03/15/2022

Chris Morris is a Spring 2000 graduate of Fairmont State University.  During his time there, he spent his freshman year in Pence Hall where he met many of his closest friends.  Chris graduated with his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in Finance. 

His education has allowed him to enjoy a career in finance and banking.  Chris is the Director of Commercial Lending for First United Bank & Trust in Morgantown, WV.  As Director of Commercial Lending, Chris leads a team of commercial bankers in north-central West Virginia with a goal of increasing market share within the region.  Throughout his banking career, he has most enjoyed working with his clients, spurring economic development through financial services, and watching his teammates grow in their professional careers. 

Chris has been a lifelong resident of West Virginia.  He was raised in Bridgeport but spent many of his years after college living in Fairmont.  He currently resides in Morgantown with his wife Addy, and their two children, Porter and Elsa.  Personal activities are mostly focused on children's sports; however, Chris remains active as a Board Member of the United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties and the North Central West Virginia Community Action.  His words of wisdom for our students, “keep your eyes open…find people you can listen to…ask questions…explore opportunities and listen to experience.”

Interview with Kayla Daff Lantz

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Kayla Daff Lantz, Fairmont State University, Class of 2016 Majored in Business
Current Profession: Talent Acquisition Manager, Thrasher Group, Inc.
Spotlight Segment: 03/08/2022

Kayla Daff Lantz is a 2016 Fairmont State University, College of Business graduate. Upon graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business, Kayla traveled around the country, working in the Brand Marketing industry, she returned to her hometown of Clarksburg, West Virginia, and is currently working for The Thrasher Group, Inc. in Bridgeport. At Thrasher, Mrs. Lantz serves as the Talent Acquisition Manager and represents Thrasher as she seeks to employ a wide array of AEC Industry professionals.

Kayla is now the mother of two boys, Reese (3yrs) and Mac (1yr) and together with her husband, Zack, live in a home they built together in Philippi, WV. Together, they enjoy the outdoors, seeing new places, and ending the day with a good movie.  Kayla’s advice to students is to remember, “the resume is important and tells a story, but make sure you are telling the story along with it.”

Interview with Diana Lewis Jackson

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Diana Lewis Jackson, Fairmont State University, Class of 1986 Majored in Accounting
Current Profession: President/CEO of Action Facilities Management
Spotlight Segment: 02/22/2022

Diana Lewis Jackson is a native of Clarksburg, WV, and a Fairmont State University Alumna, Class of 1986.  She received her Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Associate of Science degree in Banking.  Currently, she is President/CEO and founder of Action Facilities Management, Inc.  (AFM) and was named the 2020 National Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year by the US Small Business Administration. AFM is based in Morgantown, WV, and specializes in self-performing integrated facilities solutions, including operations & maintenance, janitorial and sanitization, administrative, and security services.

By focusing on her clients’ missions, her employees’ well-being, and investing in both corporate and community support, she has grown AFM to include several hundred employees in ten states including Washington, DC, and has earned numerous national, regional, and local awards.

Diana put herself through Fairmont State as a single mom of two and has continued to prioritize continuing education. For the past several decades, she has poured her time, leadership, and generosity into myriad organizations that focus on education, health, and diversity of opportunity. She was appointed by former Governor Manchin to serve first on the West Virginia University Board of Governors and then the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, where she currently serves. Diana is also a current WVU Cancer Institute Council Member and a member of the United Bank Advisory Board, West Virginia Regional Technology Park Board of Directors, and Discover the Real West Virginia Foundation Board. As words of wisdom, Diana encourages students to, “Never stop learning…don’t be afraid of change…have passion and love what you do.”

Interview with Fields Jackson, Jr.

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Fields Jackson, Jr., Allegheny College, Class of 1980 Majored in Economics and Philosophy
Current Profession: Professor-in-Residence, College of Business, South Carolina State University/President, College of Diversity Network/CEO for Racing Toward Diversity Magazine
Spotlight Segment: 01/25/2022

Fields Jackson, Jr. is currently the CEO and Chief Cheerleader of Racing Toward Diversity Magazine, adjunct professor at Shaw University teaching Principles of Business, distinguished Professor -in – Residence in the College of Business at South Carolina State University and former Executive Director of the HBCU Business Dean Round Table.   
Fields was recognized by Diversity Best Practices as one of the Top Diversity Thought Leaders on Twitter.  In 2019, He was acknowledged as one of the Most Influential Diversity & Inclusion Leaders by Hive Learning, a corporation that helps organizations create and foster a culture of innovation and inclusion. Fields also serves as President of the College of Diversity Network in which Fairmont State University are proud partners. 
Fields received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics and Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Allegheny College, Meadville, PA.  He received his MBA Degree from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois.  Fields is a native of East Orange, New Jersey and resides in Cary, North Carolina.  Jackson’s words of wisdom, “career planning begins the day you start Fairmont State University as a freshman.”

Interview with Tina Shaw

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Tina Shaw, Fairmont State University, Class of 1982 Majored in Business Administration and Speech Communications
Current Profession: President, Marion County Chamber of Commerce
Spotlight Segment: 10/12/2021

Tina Shaw has been the President of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce since 2003.  She is a 1982 graduate of Fairmont State University with degrees in business administration and speech communications. In October of 2013, she was chosen as the FSU Outstanding Alumna.

She is a member and past president of the WV Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, Past President and Campaign Chair of the United Way of Marion County, Board member of Leadership Marion, Marion Regional Development Council, and serves on the Marion County Development Authority. In addition, she is a member of the Affiliate Leadership Council of the High Technology Foundation and was named the 2016 WV Director’s Choice Award Winner by the U.S. Small Business Administration. She is currently a member of the Fairmont Rotary Club and previously served as the President of the Marion County Boys & Girls Club.  She is married to Dave Shaw, a Marion County native, and together they have four sons.   Tina’s professional tip for students is, “Be true to yourself, humble and respectful.  Don’t take things for granted.  Work for what you want and be appreciative.”

Interview with Jon Balko

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Jon Balko, Fairmont State University, Class of 1999 Majored in Civil Engineering Technology
Current Profession: Traffic Engineering Department Manager, The Markosky Engineering Group, Inc.
Spotlight Segment: 09/28/2021

Jonathon graduated from Fairmont State in December 1999.  While attending Fairmont, he was a member of the Men’s Swimming team and served as a Captain during his senior year.  Jon has over 21 years of diverse civil engineering experience including analysis and plans preparation for various types of bridge and roadway projects. Jonathon has gained experience in all aspects of highway design, traffic signal design, maintenance and protection of traffic, signing and pavement markings, traffic safety and capacity analysis, erosion and sediment pollution control, and utility coordination. He has also gained general civil experience on projects including general site design, parking lots, sanitary sewer design, and airport design.  Jon is currently a registered Professional Engineer in PA, WV, and OH.  Jon’s professional tip is to, “Be observant and a good listener…Don’t’ take everything at face value.

Interview with Casey Conaway

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Casey Conaway, Fairmont State University, Class of 2020 Majored in Nursing
Current Profession: Director of Development, On Eagles’ Wings Therapeutic Horsemanship
Spotlight Segment: 09/14/2021

Casey Jo Conaway completed a B.S. in Biology from Waynesburg University in 2001, an M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling from West Virginia University in 2003, an A.D.N. from Westmoreland County Community College in 2011, and a B.S.N. from Fairmont State University in 2020. Casey interrupted a ten-year career in higher education to serve as a tropical medicine nursing missionary in East Africa from 2012 to 2017. Upon return to the United States, Casey accepted a position in Nursing Education and as a result, gained exposure to therapeutic horsemanship. Casey holds professional licensure as a Registered Nurse with a certificate in Clinical Tropical Medicine, national certification as a Rehabilitation Counselor, and PATH Int. certification as an Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning.  In 2020, Casey transitioned out of a traditional healthcare role and joined the On Eagles’ Wings herd as Director of Development.  In addition to her responsibilities in fundraising and programming, Casey serves as the lead Equine Specialist for On Eagles’ Wings’ Equine-Assisted Wellness workshops. On Eagles’ Wings, Therapeutic Horsemanship Center is in Fairmont, WV.  Casey was born in Fairmont and resides in Fairview, WV.  Casey’s professional tip for students is, “Don’t be afraid to change or take a class you might be interested in…the worst-case scenario…it can count as an elective credit.

Interview with Ashley Stevens

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Ashley Stevens, Fairmont State University Class of 2007 Majored in Speech Communications, Minor: Journalism
Current Profession: Radio Personality, Chief Operator & Professional Podcaster, AJG Corporation (WCLG-FM, WFGM-FM, WPDX-FM) & J Flow Entertainment (Final Fourcast Podcast)
Spotlight Segment: 08/31/2021

Ashley Stevens began her academic journey at Fairmont State in 2002 and in 2007 earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communications with a minor in Journalism.  During her time at Fairmont State, she competed on debate and speech teams where she placed 2nd in the M.M. Neely Persuasive Speaking contest her senior year.  Also, in her senior year, Ashley interned at Bower’s Broadcasting and after graduating from Fairmont State she immediately entered into radio.  Ashley relocated to San Antonio where she worked in government contracts with Booz Allen Hamilton.  She later returned to West Virginia to take on a full-time radio slot with WCLG and became the 4th member of the Final Fourcast Podcast along with former WVU Men’s Basketball stars Da’Sean Butler, Kevin Jones, and John Flowers.  Ashley currently resides in her hometown of Grafton, West Virginia.  Ashley’s professional tip for students is, “Mentors…anybody in your field who has experienced it, listen to them.  If they are allowing you to ask questions, ask as many questions as you possibly can.  Also, opportunities come around when you least expect it.  It’s the opportunity that opens a window…jump through that window!”

Interview with Noel Harvard

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Noel Harvard, Fairmont State University, Class of 1981 Majored in Business Administration and Psychology Minor
Current Profession: Claims Service Leader, Allstate/Encompass
Spotlight Segment: 04/13/2021

Noel is a Fairmont State University Alum who graduated in 1981 with his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a minor in Psychology.  His hometown where he grew up is Weirton, West Virginia.  Noel is a Claims Service Leader at Allstate/Encompass and has been with his present employer for 34 years.  He currently resides in Bensalem, Pennsylvania.  Noel shares success by expressing, “If you want to be successful, you definitely have to have piece of mind as a part of your makeup…You have to, find what makes you happy.”

Interview with Julie Sole

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Julie Sole, Fairmont State University, Class of 2001 Majored in Sociology/Human Services
Current Profession: Executive Director, Disability Action Center (DAC)
Spotlight Segment: 04/06/2021

Julie is a native of Weirton, West Virginia.   She began her studies at Fairmont State University in 1993 and graduated in 2001 with her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology/Human Services.  Julie has called Fairmont her home since 1993 when she began her studies at Fairmont State University. Upon finishing her degree, Julie began her career in the social service field, first with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services.   She has spent the last 20 years working with children, youth, and adults who face barriers and challenges.  Following her time with the State of WV, she worked with the Department of Labor’s Job Corps program, focusing on low-income youth who were in need of housing, education, and training.  Since 2008 she has devoted her career to individuals with disabilities and their families. First with the Human Resource Development Foundation and now in her current position as the Executive Director of the Disability Action Center (DAC); a position she has held since 2010.

In her role, Julie has helped to secure over $400,000 in programmatic grants and over $300,000 in capital improvement grants in recent years to drastically expand the DAC’s service capacity.  In addition to the grant-funded programs, the DAC is a valued United Way of Marion and Taylor Counties agency and Community Rehabilitation Provider with the WV Division of Rehabilitation.  Under Julie’s direction, the DAC has also developed several internal small businesses to train and employ individuals with disabilities including their Feel Good Fitness Center, Feel Good Laundry Program, Feel Good Meals Box Lunches, Feel Good Cleaning Services, and Banquet Hall and Conference Center Rentals.

Julie is married to her husband Bobby and they have two children, Lucy, 10, and Mason, 8.  She and her family attend LIFE United Methodist Church and are active not only with the Disability Action Center but other United Way agencies and community organizations.  Julie shares success as “being able to make an impact” and she has helped to do that through her service and role at the DAC.  Another phase of her success is through volunteering and expresses, “I really cannot wait to retire…to be a volunteer somewhere!” 

Interview with Stephanie Smart

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Stephanie Smart, Fairmont State University, Class of 2010 Majored in Nursing
Current Profession: Vice President of Nursing, United Hospital Center
Spotlight Segment: 03/30/2021

Stephanie is a native of Bridgeport, West Virginia and attended Bridgeport High School.  Stephanie completed her Associate Degree in Nursing and continued her education, where she graduated from Fairmont State University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.  She continued her education and obtained a Master’s in Science of Nursing with a concentration in Nursing Administration from Benedictine University.  Stephanie presently serves as Vice-President for Nursing at United Hospital Center in Bridgeport, West Virginia.  Stephanie currently resides in her hometown of Bridgeport, West Virginia with her family.  In describing success, Stephanie shares, “No plan is real if it’s not on paper. You really haven’t met success unless you write it down to know how you got there. If your plan is not successful you can always go backwards and take another pathway because you wrote it down.”

Interview with Suzanne Lewis

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Suzanne Lewis, Fairmont State University, Class of 1992 Majored in Human Services and Minor, Psychology
Current Profession: Youth Placement Specialist, Human Resource Development Foundation, Inc
Spotlight Segment: 03/23/2021

Suzanne is a Fairmont State University Alum who majored in Human Services with a minor in Psychology and graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in 1992.   She grew up in the very small town of Cameron, West Virginia, and attended Cameron High School.   She currently resides in Fairmont, West Virginia with her family.  Throughout her career, Suzanne has had the opportunity to work in different occupations within West Virginia, travel, and obtain training that has helped her further her career options.  She currently serves as a Youth Placement Specialist for the Human Resource Development Foundation in Fairmont, West Virginia.  The overall goal of the agency is to provide the funding needed for youth and young adults so that they return to school to complete their education, secure employment, and experience a healthy life with the promise that will open up windows of opportunity.  Suzanne devotes her passion to serve as a mentor and cheerleader for individuals who need to be reminded that they matter and have a purpose to fulfill.  Suzanne believes success comes from within. “It’s not wrapped up in dollar signs. It’s wrapped up in how you make people feel and how you treat them.” 

Interview with Isaac Lambert

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Isaac Lambert, Fairmont State University, Class of 2017 Majored in Computer Science, concentration in Cybersecurity and Sociology minor
Current Profession: Systems Developer, Agile5 Technologies
Spotlight Segment: 03/09/2021

Isaac is a Fairmont State University Alum.  He completed his Bachelor of Science degree in 2017 as a Computer Science major with a concentration in Cybersecurity and a minor in Sociology.  Isaac is a Systems Developer which is a part of a Cybersecurity Cloud Research and Engineering team with Agile5 Technologies.  He is also a Certified Advanced Scrum Master.  His past professional experience includes him serving as Principal Cyber Process Manager while at Capital One and during his time at NASA, he served as a Cybersecurity Assurance Specialist.  His present licenses and certifications include Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Graduate Level Cybersecurity Management & Policy and Scaled Agile.  Isaac is a West Virginia native who grew up in Mannington, West Virginia.  Isaac describes success as, “having a kind of a holistic job that is a part of your life, but not your life; finding the career that allows you to have balance.”

Interview with Ryan Weld

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Ryan Weld, Fairmont State University, Class of 2003 Majored in Political Science
Current Profession: West Virginia State Senator
Spotlight Segment: 02/23/2021

State Senator Ryan Weld grew up in Wellsburg, West Virginia.  He obtained his bachelor’s degree in political science from Fairmont State University in 2003 and earned his law degree from Duquesne University in 2015.  Senator Weld serves as West Virginia’s State Senator and represents the 1st Senatorial District.  In the Senate, he serves in the leadership as the Majority Whip, as well as being the Chair of the Military Committee and the Vice-Chair of the Judiciary Committee.  Legislatively, Ryan has focused on combating substance abuse, increasing access to mental health care and veteran issues.  He currently practices law with the firm of Spilman Thomas & Battle in their Wheeling office.  Ryan and his wife, Alex, both grew up in Wellsburg where they continue to live today with their three dogs, Trudy, Murray, and Ava.  Senator Weld describes success as, “Finding something in the world that makes you happy and doing it.”

Interview with Nathan White

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Nathan White, Fairmont State University, Class of 2001 Majored in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting, Marketing, and Management
Current Profession: Certified Public Accountant & Partner, City of Fairmont
Spotlight Segment: 02/09/2021

Nathan graduated from Fairmont State University in December 2001.  He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Accounting, and Marketing and Management.  Currently, he works as a Certified Public Accountant and is a Partner of the CPA Firm, Arnett Carbis Toothman.  He has been with the firm for almost 16 years.  Nathan is originally from Wellsburg, West Virginia in the Panhandle of Brooke County.  He graduated from Brooke High School and now resides in Morgantown, West Virginia with his wife and high school sweetheart, Erin, and their two sons, Toby (12) and Jesse (11).  Nathan describes success as, “The accomplishment.  The feeling that it is not just luck that gets you there, but it is the chipping away at the mountain.”

Interview with Alex Petry

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Alex Petry, Fairmont State University, Class of 2016 Majored in Business Administration
Current Profession: Program Manager of Economic Development, City of Fairmont
Spotlight Segment: 01/26/2021

Alex Petty is a Fairmont, West Virginia native and 2016 graduate of Fairmont State University.  He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and Masters of Business Administration (2017), both of which he completed at Fairmont State.  During his time at Fairmont State, he was a student-athlete for the Men’s Swimming Team.  While in graduate school, he served as a Graduate Assistant for Student Activities and Greek Life and was Assistant Coach for the Men and Women’s Swim teams.  Alex currently serves as Program Manager of Economic Development with the City of Fairmont and has been with the City since April of 2018.  He is responsible for coordinating and implementing projects and programs that support commercial, office, and industrial development, business attraction, and retention.  Alex grew up in Fairmont and attended Fairmont Senior High School.  He currently resides in Barrackville, West Virginia.  Alex describes success as, “Waking up every morning and knowing that you can make a difference in your life or for someone else.”

Interview with Samuel Ballard

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Samuel Ballard, Fairmont State University Class Of 1984 Majored in Business Administration
Current Profession: Owner and CEO of Ballard Properties, LLC.
Spotlight Segment: 11/17/2020

Sam Ballard is a Fairmont State University Alum who received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in Spring 1984.  He grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and currently resides with his family in Voorhees, New Jersey.  During his time at Fairmont State, he was a student-athlete and played for the Fairmont State Fighting Falcon’s Football team.  Sam is currently the sole owner and CEO of Ballard Properties, LLC. and has been self-employed since February of 2002.  Sam retired from Corp America Public Storage, Inc. after nearly 19 years of service.  He was a Senior Divisional Vice President of the North East Territory and managed approximately 400 facilities, 1500 personnel, 200,000 rental units, and $1.5 billion in real estate that produced approximately $500 million annually.  Sam attributes having mentors throughout his life as being a huge impact on his success.  The most significant mentors were those who were right there in his community where he grew up and those educators at Fairmont State who pushed and challenged him to become the person he is today.  His words of wisdom in pursuing the dream job, “Finding persons who are smarter, more experienced, and successful than you and learning from them so that they can help you shine.”

Interview with Robert Jones

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Robert Jones, Robert Jones, Fairmont State University Class Of 1983 Majored in Sociology
Current Profession: Human Resource Strategist for Global Engineering, General Electric, Retired
Spotlight Segment: 11/10/2020

Robert Jones is a 1983 Alum who received his Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from Fairmont State University and a Master’s in Human Resources from West Virginia University.  He is a native West Virginian who grew up in Charleston, West Virginia.  He currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio.  On November 1, 2020, Robert retired from General Electric Company after 30 years of service.  Before his retirement, he was HR Strategist for Global Engineering at General Electric.  In his role, he focused on strategic workforce planning, organization design and effectiveness, talent development and recruitment, employee engagement, executive coaching, succession planning, and culture evolution.  During his years at Fairmont State, he was a student-athlete for the Fighting Falcons Men’s Basketball team under the legendary Coach Joe Retton.  As a former student-athlete and professional, Robert acknowledged that stress can bring out our best when used healthy.  Having a successful career cannot be achieved without some stress and pressure.  Once you develop coping mechanisms to help navigate the stress and pressure, then it all comes together.  His words of wisdom in pursuing the dream job is to, “Have big dreams, build your skills, capabilities, experiences and your self-confidence to know that you can live your dream and achieve anything you set your mind too.”

Interview with Nick Oliveto

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Nick Oliveto, Fairmont State University Class Of 2012 Majored in National Security and Intelligence and Political Science
Current Profession: Product Manager for Leidos
Spotlight Segment: 10/20/2020

Nick Oliveto is a West Virginia native who graduated summa cum laude from Fairmont State University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in National Security and Intelligence and Political Science.  He also holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago Law School.  Nick is a product manager at Leidos, a FORTUNE® 500 science and technology company, where he leads teams that develop the next generation of counterterrorism technology.  Previously, he led strategy for the company's Federal Bureau of Investigation business and bided on contracts with the Intelligence Community.  When asked if Nick had the chance to do anything differently while a student at Fairmont State, he responded, "No, I would not change a thing, but continue to do what worked for me in taking every opportunity to allow doors to be opened." Nick sees success as being able to do what you want as long as it makes you happy.  His words of wisdom in pursuing the dream job, "Don't think of yourself as having a dream job but having a dream day in doing the things you enjoy each day."

Interview with Randall Stickley

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Randall Stickley, Fairmont State University Class Of 2016 Majored in National Security and Intelligence and Political Science/Minored in History
Current Profession: Intelligence Specialist at the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), Morgantown, WV
Spotlight Segment: 10/13/2020

Randall “Randy” Stickley graduated magna cum laude from Fairmont State University in 2016 with a dual Bachelor of Arts in National Security and Intelligence and Political Science with a minor in History. During his time at Fairmont State, Randy received the College of Liberal Arts Achievement in National Security and Intelligence award; was inducted into the Pi Sigma Alpha, Pi Gamma Mu, and Phi Alpha Theta academic fraternities.  Randy is a Fairmont, West Virginia native and lives in Morgantown, West Virginia, with his wife Nakoma, a fellow Fairmont State alumna. Randy is currently the Intelligence Specialist at the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C).  He instructs the Foundations of Intelligence Analysis Training (FIAT), Introduction to Link Analysis (ILA), and Intelligence Writing and Briefing (IWAB) courses.

Moreover, Randy supports agencies through various forms of intelligence-related technical assistance, liaises between partners and members at all levels, and manages content updates for the Law Enforcement Cyber Center (LECC).  Randall’s words of wisdom remind us that, “A man’s reach should go beyond its horizon.  We should always be hungry, always reaching for more and yearning to maximize our professional and personal life.”

Interview with Donna Hopkins

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Donna Hopkins, Fairmont State University Class Of 1983 Majored in Radio and TV Communications
Current Profession: Sports Personality/CEO for non-profit, Hopkins Breast Cancer, Inc. /Author and Motivational Speaker
Spotlight Segment: 10/06/2020

Donna Hopkins is a Fairmont State University Alum who completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Radio and TV Communications.  During her time at Fairmont State, she was a student-athlete who played for the Women’s Basketball program and ran on the women’s track team.  Presently Donna serves as a sports personality on the Tony McGee Pro Football show that airs out of Washington DC.  She is also the Founder/CEO of the non-profit Hopkins Breast Cancer Inc., a public speaker for breast cancer awareness programs, author, and a two-time breast cancer survivor and amputee.  Donna had the opportunity to return to Fairmont State University as the 2015 commencement keynote speaker, and in 2018, she served as an inspirational speaker for our International Women’s Day Celebration.  Donna is a West Virginia native and currently resides in Maryland.  Donna describes success as doing what you love, being happy with who you are, kind, and impacting other’s lives who have experienced difficult challenges and situations.  Her words of wisdom in pursuing the dream job, “No matter how difficult life gets, everybody has a comeback in them.  Don’t give up so easily.  If you work hard and put in the time, success will come your way.”

Interview with Michael Cain

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Michael Cain, Fairmont State University Class of 2007 Majored in Business Management
Current Profession: Senior IT Project Manager
Spotlight Segment: 09/22/2020

Michael Cain is a native of Fairmont, West Virginia, and a Fairmont State University Alum.   He completed his Bachelor’s degree in Business Management.  Michael currently serves as a Senior IT Project Manager at West Virginia University and assists with new software implementations, networking upgrades, and payroll systems.  He is also a certified project management professional.  As he reflects on what he would have done differently to pursue his dream job, it would have been to gain networking experience as a student early on.  He now realizes that having this knowledge would have opened doors for more career opportunities.  Michael sees himself as successful because he is fulfilled in knowing that the work he does is important.  His words of wisdom, “Don’t down yourself when challenges are thrown in front of you; just know what you have the ability to control.” 

Interview with Kyle Miller

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Kyle Miller, Fairmont State University Class of 2008, Majored in Exercise Science and Health Science
Current Profession: Real Estate Investor
Spotlight Segment: 09/29/2020

Kyle Miller is an alumnus of Fairmont State University.  He completed his Bachelor of Science degree as a double major in Exercise Science and Health Science.  While at Fairmont State, Kyle was a student-athlete who played football and baseball for the Fighting Falcons.  Presently he runs a real estate investment company out of Charlottesville, VA, where he buys, fixes and flips properties, specializing in single-family homes.  He currently resides in Louisa, Virginia, with his wife and two sons.  He and his family live on a small farm of 50 acres, and they have 6 Texas longhorns, 1 dog, and 2 cats.  Kyle describes success as one getting better and improving himself daily without having regrets.  Not putting money high on the list but using it as a resource to create the freedom to have more time to do the things you enjoy.  His words of wisdom in pursuing the dream job, “Create that life you want to have and follow it.”