Professional Spotlight Series

Interview with Tina Shaw

Headshot of Jon Balk

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:  Tuesday, October 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

Headshot of Jon Balk

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:  Tuesday, September 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

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

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:  Tuesday, August 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

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

Julie Sole, Fairmont State University, Class of 2001
Majored in Sociology/Human Services
Current Profession:  Executive Director, Disability Action Center (DAC)
Spotlight Segment:  Tuesday, April 6, 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

Stephanie Smart, Fairmont State University, Class of 2010
Majored in Nursing
Current Profession:  Vice President of Nursing, United Hospital Center
Spotlight Segment:  Tuesday, March 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

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

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

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

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

Ryan Weld, Fairmont State University, Class of 2003
Majored in Political Science
Current Profession:  West Virginia State Senator

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

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

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

Alex Petry, Fairmont State University, Class of 2016
Majored in Business Administration
Current Profession:  Program Manager of Economic Development, City of Fairmont

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

Samuel Ballard, Fairmont State University Class Of 1984
Majored in Business Administration
Current Profession:  Owner and CEO of Ballard Properties, LLC.

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

Robert Jones, Fairmont State University Class Of 1983
Majored in Sociology
Retired Profession:  Human Resource Strategist for Global Engineering, General Electric

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 Jessica Hall

Jessica Hall, Fairmont State University Class Of 2007
Majored in Business Management with an emphasis in Human Resources
Current Profession:  Supervisor, Talent Acquisition at WVU Medicine

Jessica Hall grew up in Bridgeport, West Virginia, and is a Fairmont State University Alumni.  She earned her Bachelor's degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Human Resources.  Jessica has worked in the field of Human Resources with large Fortune 500 companies, including State Farm Insurance and CONSOL Energy.  Jessica has obtained several professional certifications within the field of HR, including the Associate for Advancing Physician and Provider Recruitment AASPR, the Strategic Talent Acquisition Certification (STA), and the SHRM-CP.  She is also a certified DDI Facilitator. Presently Jessica is the Supervisor of Talent Acquisition for WVU Medicine and has served in this capacity for four years.  Jessica currently resides in her hometown of Bridgeport, WV, with her family and pet dog.  She believes all experience is important because it develops characteristics you learn from and can use every day.  She sees success as doing something professionally in a chosen career that one is passionate about while personally maintaining a balanced work life.  Her words of wisdom in pursuing a dream job, "Take time to think about where you want to be and recognize opportunities that are around you right now."   

Interview with David Goldberg

David Goldberg, West Virginia University, Class Of 1994
Majored in Political Science and Government
Current Profession:  President/CEO for Mon Health Systems and Chairman of the Fairmont State University Board of Governors

David Goldberg is a New Jersey native who presently serves as chairman of the Fairmont State University Board of Governors.  Prior to this position, in July of 2019, he was appointed to the Board of Governors by Governor Jim Justice, in which he served on the academic affairs and finance committees.  David is also President and Chief Executive Officer of Mon Health Systems.  He has more than 17 years of senior healthcare leadership experience.  He recently served as Senior Vice President with Highmark Health’s Allegheny Health Network (AHN) and former interim-President of Highmark Home Community Services (HMHCS) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  He earned his Master’s degree in Health Systems Management from George Mason University and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from West Virginia University.  David attributes his success to being accountable, honest, and never taking shortcuts.  His words of wisdom for pursuing the dream job is, “Network, pay your dues, take on the job no one else will take, give yourself the ability to be seen and noticed, and it is okay to ask how and why when you don’t understand.”

Interview with Nick Oliveto

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

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

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

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

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

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

Michael Cain, Fairmont State University Class of 2007
Majored in Business Management
Current Profession:  Senior IT Project Manager

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

Kyle Miller, Fairmont State University Class of 2008
Majored in Exercise Science and Health Science
Current Profession: Real Estate Investor

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.”