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New River Gorge Regional Development Authority Board Chairman, Matthew Wender, announced the hiring of Stephen L. Christian as the Executive Director of the organization this Monday. Following the three year leadership of Chadwick Wykle, Stephen begins his new role with the organization on September 21st, 2016.

“Stephen’s expertise will be critical in guiding our region through some of the current economic challenges we’re facing, and I am delighted to have him leading our team of economic and community developers.” Said the Chairman.

Stephen joins the organization after having been the Executive Director of The Berkeley County Development Authority since January of 2008. As a native West Virginian, born and raised in Huntington, Stephen enjoys travel, golfing, boating, the NFL, and spending time with his two children when they’re home from college.

He began his development career after earning his Bachelor of Science in Marketing Management, & Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater from Syracuse University.  He then graduated from a three year course at The Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma, and completed the Certified Economic Developer program of the International Economic Development Council. More recently, he graduated from the Leadership Berkeley and Leadership West Virginia programs as well as being named one of the “Top Ten Who’s Who in West Virginia Business” by the State Journal in May, 2015.

Since 1997 his efforts have been instrumental in recruiting over 17,000 new jobs and over a billion dollars of capital investment to West Virginia from various industrial classifications.  He spent four years as Senior Economic Development Manager for Governor Cecil Underwood in The West Virginia Development Office.  His successful projects include customer service operations centers for Amazon.Com, United Airlines, and Ticket-Master, also distribution and manufacturing facilities for General Motors, Orgill Hardware, Ralph Lauren and Macy’s 1.3 million square feet E-Commerce fulfillment center.

In February 2015, after 2 years of recruiting processes, Steve announced that Berkeley County would be the home of Procter & Gamble’s newest state of the art multi-product manufacturing plant.

Having joined the NRGRDA team, Stephen plans to lead the development team by cultivating camaraderie and teamwork within and around the organization.  His mission to advance the organization will be made possible by his decades of experience as well as his state and national network. “I have been fortunate in my career to do the work I enjoy within the State that I love.  And I’m looking forward to helping grow the economy and strengthen our community here with New River Regional Development Authority” Christian said.

After having lived in and done business in so many parts of the world, Stephen has found his passion in advancing the development of his home state. “Stephen’s background brings a great deal of credit to the organization, and we feel fortunate to be bringing on such a qualified professional.” Says Recruitment Committee Chair, and Board Member, Mayor Robert Shafer.

As of the 21st of September, Stephen can be reached at (304) 254-8115, or by email at SChristian@NRGRDA.org. Receptions will be held in Raleigh, Fayette, Nicholas, and Summers Counties so community members and partners can meet Mr. Christian, and receive an update on organizational projects.

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