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New Year, New NRGRDA Board Leadership Set to Guide Four-County Economic Development and Job Creation

The New River Gorge Regional Development Authority (NRGRDA) met Feb. 22, with three new members joining incumbent members in guiding the economic development progress of Fayette, Nicholas, Raleigh, and Summers Counties.

“Ambitious projects like the expansion of the Raleigh County Memorial Airport, re-designation of the New River Gorge National Park, and entrepreneurial and business support through programs at the West Virginia Hive Network and Country Roads Angel Network do not happen without a great deal of planning, coordination and collaborative decision-making,” said Jina Belcher, NRGRDA executive director. “We are privileged to have such a strong and committed board to provide the leadership to fully support our mission and range of projects.”

The NRGRDA board is chaired by the Hon. Robert Rappold, mayor of Beckley. Other incumbent members include:
  • Raleigh: Tom Cochran, Raleigh County Memorial Airport; Bill Baker, Forward Southern WV
  • Fayette: Commissioner John Brenemen; Dave Arnold, Adventures on the Gorge
  • Nicholas: Commissioner Garrett Cole; Elizabeth Dix, Kirkwood Winery; W.D. Smith, Nicholas County Building Commission
  • Summers: Larry Meador, Mountaineer Gas Company; Greg Rogers, R.T. Rogers Oil Company

New NRGRDA board members include:
  • Raleigh: Commissioner Greg Duckworth
  • Fayette: Heather Johnson, River Expeditions
  • Summers: Commissioner Ted Kula

Non-voting members of the organization’s leadership who contribute include:
  • Jason Roberts, Region 1 Planning and Development Council
  • Robin Morgan, Region 1 Workforce Development Board
  • John Tuggle, Region 4 Planning and Development Council

Belcher said members of the NRGRDA board of directors work together to provide strategic vision, set organizational policy, ensure compliance, determine programs and budgets, set fundraising strategies, enhance the organization’s brand, measure program effectiveness, as well as serve on various committees.

During the first meeting of the New Year, the board members discussed new funding priorities, projects intended to grow the already thriving outdoor economy across the region, and reviewed impacts from 2020.

NRGRDA board meetings occur the third Monday of every other month.

About New River Gorge Regional Development Authority: The New River Gorge Regional Development Authority’s mission is to initiate, facilitate and support the economic and community development efforts within the counties of Fayette, Nicholas, Raleigh, and Summers located in this region of southern West Virginia. NRGRDA stimulates the regional economy through business expansion and retention efforts, including an extensive portfolio of financial services; the management of sites for new companies locating to our region; and serving as a point of access for local service providers which offer a variety of technical assistance for business owners. Website: