Matt Wender, president of the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority (NRGRDA), announced today that the organization will soon conduct a national search for an executive director to oversee operations.

The selected candidate will replace Chad Wykle, who has led the organization since 2013. Wykle oversaw an extensive reorganization of NRGRDA, implemented a community-based strategic plan for the agency and helped to establish a new business accelerator for the region – The WV HIVE Network. Wykle also supported the creation of a new non-profit, Active Southern WV, and strengthened the agency’s core mission objectives related to both business development and existing business support and retention.

Wender reflected on his close working relationship with Wykle over the past three years. “Chad has worked tirelessly to modernize the organization and increase its capacity to help the communities of the New River Gorge region adjust to the new economic landscape. He has accomplished this in what we all know has been a very challenging time for southern West Virginia. He has helped to rally an incredible team of regional partners and organizations, non-profit, private and public, to support both community and economic development efforts in Fayette, Nicholas, Raleigh and Summers counties.”

Wender has asked NRGRDA Vice-Chairman and Mayor of Summersville Robert Shafer to chair the search for a new executive director. During the coming months, Wykle will work alongside Mayor Shafer and other members of the Board to select a replacement. Wykle will also continue to serve as the executive director full-time, remaining on board to assist with the transition to new leadership.

NRGRDA helps to facilitate community and economic development initiatives for the New River Gorge region of West Virginia, encompassing the counties of Fayette, Nicholas, Raleigh and Summers. For more information on the NRGRDA, please visit, email or call 304.254.8115.

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