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Star innovators to be recognized

October 25, 2012
The Inter-Mountain

Create West Virginia, the independent grassroots organization dedicated to jumpstarting the state's innovation economy, has named five outstanding contributors to the state's creative community to be honored Friday at the Create WV Conference luncheon in Charleston.

They are Chef Dale Hawkins of Rock Cave, Upshur County, who has been instrumental in creating the concept of New Appalachian cuisine and is a pioneer in the farm to table movement; Dave Arnold, Jeff Proctor and Doug Proctor of Lansing, Fayette County, who founded a whitewater rafting company that has morphed into one of the nation's top five outdoor adventure destinations; Michael Lipton of Charleston, who founded the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame; Mark Swiger, a Marshall County high school teacher who promotes green and sustainable entrepreneurial endeavors through curriculum development on national and local levels; and Woody Woods, a Kanawha County radio personality and entrepreneur who encourages urban entrepreneurship and hip hop talent development.

Actor Lou Myers, best known for his portrayal of Vernon Gaines on NBC's sitcom, "A Different World," will distribute the Creative Cone awards at the 12:15 p.m. Charleston House luncheon, where Dr. Brian Hemphill, new president of West Virginia State University, will make the keynote address. Myers, a Kanawha Valley native and graduate of WVSU, is also an entrepreneur, and has developed entrepreneurship advocacy programs around the nation.

The Creative Cone awards tradition was established at the 2008 Create West Virginia conference. The cones, versions of official orange highway markers often used at construction sites, are given to distinguish highly creative contributors who are building West Virginia's entrepreneurial economy.

More information about the Create West Virginia Conference, including how to register for the Friday luncheon and Saturday evening grand finale dinner, is available by going to



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