There are literally hundreds (thousands?) of creative people in communities throughout our state taking a leadership role by sticking their neck out to instigate positive change. To honor their work and to honor the work of specific individuals who have earned our respect and admiration for their creative accomplishments, the Create WV team launched the first "Creative Cone" awards on the last day of the conference.
Why a "creative cone"? Because we're all working in creative communities "under construction." Some communities are a little further down their path, but we're all at various stages.
Please join us in celebrating the work of this year's honorees:
Jeanne Mozier, Berkeley Springs - We're not sure it's possible to think of Berkeley Springs without thinking of Jeanne. She's the entrepreneurial heart and soul behind the creative power of this little town in Morgan County who has earned multiple "top arts town" designations and is the first certified arts community in West Virginia.
Keith Pauley, Charleston - Keith is the CEO of MATRIC, the research non-profit launched in 2004 that has put the Kanawha Valley on the R&D map again by putting Ph.D.'s back to work in the Kanawha Valley. Under Keith's leadership, MATRIC has hired dozens of new highly-paid researchers and spawned new commercial companies from their work.
Marlon LeBlanc and Jason Staples, Morgantown - OneWVU arose, according to Sharon Mallow, program coordinator for the
President’s Office for Social Justice, after an incident occurred at the
University in which a student athlete was called a racial slur. WVU soccer coach Marlon LeBlanc has been a founding visionary leader for the initiative, and Jason Staples a key leader in delivering tangible efforts to build awareness and commitment to diversity at West Virginia's flagship university.
Reverend Matthew Watts and Reverend Ron English, Charleston - West Virginia has had its share of ugly incidents and bad PR in the past year that forced us to ask many difficult questions to confront both our public image and our personal commitments. Luckily, we have two long-time civil rights and community champions working in Charleston who have helped build connections, share balanced insights via the media, and championed the urgent need for the Kanawha Valley and all of West Virginia to value its citizens from all ethnic, racial, and age backgrounds. Their accomplishments are too numerous to name, but their impact is felt across many realms such as mentoring youth, creating job opportunities and building diversity leadership.
Dr. Stephen Kopp, Huntington - Dr. Kopp is a champion of building creative communities in West Virginia through 21st century education, technology and research. Under his leadership, Marshall University has aggressively launched their implementation of "Bucks for Brains" and personally participated in the Create Huntington initiative. Dr. Kopp is a passionate, shining example of how leaders in our state can lead us into the new economy and greater prosperity.
As we mentioned earlier, there are many, many folks doing fantastic creative work throughout the states. But we thank the honorees above for their examples of leadership and creative problem-solving in our great state. Thank you to all of them for their leadership!