Plans are underway for the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce's 77th annual dinner at WVU Jackson's Mill. The festivities will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Assembly Hall with the Jenny Wilson Trio providing the entertainment. The dinner will take place at Mount Vernon Dining Hall at 6:30 with Kent Spellman as the guest speaker.
Spellman brings a diverse background to his work as the executive director of the West Virginia Community Development Hub.
For 20 years, he owned and was president of Rooftree Inc., a design/build construction company based in Harrisville, specializing in high-end residential and light commercial projects. In 1996 he became editor, publisher and part owner of the Ritchie Gazette, a weekly county newspaper serving Ritchie County.
When at the Gazette Spellman won 31 West Virginia Press Association individual awards for reporting, editorials, photography and advertising design; and the Gazette was repeatedly named the best newspaper in the state in its division.
His interest in community development led to his involvement with the Ritchie County Economic Development Authority and in 2003 he was hired as Executive Director. While at the RCEDA he transformed an ineffective EDA into one of the most effective and innovative in the state.
Spellman was a founding member, vice-chair and chairman of the North Bend Rail Trail Foundation and helped negotiate the state's acquisition of what is now the North Bend Rail Trail. He also served as chairman of the West Virginia Statewide Trail Plan Committee, which created the state's first and only comprehensive plan for trail development and maintenance. He currently serves on the board of the North Bend State Park Foundation and the Vision Shared Entrepreneurship Team.
He has been recognized as a Distinguished West Virginian by Gov. Cecil Underwood and as an Honorary West Virginia State Trooper, at the time only the fourth person in State Police history to receive such recognition.
Tickets are $30 per person and are available by contacting the Chamber office at 304-269-2608, or 304-641-1099; The Property Shop at 304-269-3999; Riversong Spa at 304-997-5356; or Mountaineer Properties at 304-266-5793; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.