Missed a Spotlight? No Problem! Scroll through our interviews to listen to our Panelists' journeys!
Missed a Spotlight? No Problem! Scroll through our interviews to listen to our Panelists' journeys!
|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)
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.”
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
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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
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.”
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.”
Lisa Flittner, Fairmont State University, Class of 2015 Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering
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.”
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
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.”
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.”
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.”
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
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.”
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…”
Dr. Judith Black, Fairmont State University, Class of 1990 Majored in Criminal Justice
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.”
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!”
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
Makayla Schindler, Fairmont State University, Class of 2022 Majored in Multimedia
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.”
Craig Jennings, Fairmont State University, Class of 2003 Majored in Civil Engineering
Current Profession: Producer, Bond Insurance Agency
Spotlight Segment: 04/19/2022
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
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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
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.”
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
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
Ashley Stevens, Fairmont State University Class of 2007 Majored in Speech Communications,
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
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
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!”
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
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
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
Ryan Weld, Fairmont State University, Class of 2003 Majored in Political Science
Current Profession: West Virginia State Senator
Spotlight Segment: 02/23/2021
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
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
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
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
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
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.”
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
Michael Cain, Fairmont State University Class of 2007 Majored in Business Management
Current Profession: Senior IT Project Manager
Spotlight Segment: 09/22/2020
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
|Monday||8 a.m. – 4 p.m.|
|Tuesday||8 a.m. – 4 p.m.|
|Wednesday||8 a.m. – 4 p.m.|
|Thursday||9 a.m. – 4 p.m.|
|Friday||8 a.m. – 4 p.m.|
Fairmont State University
1201 Locust Avenue
Fairmont, WV 26554