Professional Spotlight Series

Interview with Scott Sinclair

Headshot of Makayla Schindler

Scott Sinclair, Fairmont State University, Class of 2006
Majored in Business Management
Current Profession: Senior Manager/Support Contractor for the Office of Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition and Deputy Assistant Secretary (Acquisition Integration) 
Spotlight Segment:  September 13, 2022

Scott Sinclair is a native of Clarksburg, West Virginia.  He graduated from Fairmont State University in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management.  He currently serves as a Senior Manager and Support Contractor for the Office of Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition and Deputy Assistant Secretary. Scott will soon transition into a new role as Program Manager and Agile Coach for Tygart Technology.

He has volunteered his time and expertise to students by serving as one of our team panelists for mock interviews that we coordinate to help better prepare our students for the real interview and maximize the experience.

He currently resides in the “Friendly” city of Fairmont, West Virginia with his family.  Scott encourages others to have a “life verse.”  His inspirational quote, “In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy path.” Proverbs 3:6 

Interview with Makayla Schindler

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Makayla Schindler, Fairmont State University, Class of 2022
Majored in Multimedia Communications
Current Profession:  Multimedia Journalist/Reporter
Spotlight Segment:  August 30, 2022

Makayla Schindler is a West Virginia native from the small town of Lost Creek.  She graduated from Fairmont State University in 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Multimedia Communications.

While attending Fairmont State, Makayla was a reporter for Fairmont State's student newspaper, The Columns. She also helped create videos for a K-12 lesson plan on the "Trunk of Traditional Tunes," along with multiple exhibit videos for the Frank and Jane Gabor Folklife Center.

In her free time, you can find Makayla hiking with her dog Jolie, reading a book at a nearby park, or writing poetry to contribute to her future projects.  Makayla’s inspirational quote to remember, “The biggest competition you have is yourself.”

Interview with Craig Jennings

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Craig Jennings, Fairmont State University, Class of 2003
Majored in Civil Engineering
Current Profession:  Producer, Bond Insurance Agency
Spotlight Segment:  April 19, 2022

Craig Jennings is a West Virginia native, raised in Preston County Fellowsville, West Virginia.  He is a 2003 Fairmont State University graduate and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering.  Mr. Jennings is also a former member of the Fairmont State Men’s Football team.  He currently serves in the role of Producer with Bond Insurance Agency, a United Insurance Agency Company. He currently resides in Kingwood, West Virginia.  Craig shares as his words of wisdom, “Always have a ‘Guy’ or someone you can refer people to when they have a need.  They will always remember you.”​

Interview with Robert “Robi” Taylor

Headshot of Robert “Robi” Taylor

Robert “Robi” Taylor, Fairmont State University, Class of 2010
Majored in Exercise Science and Business Administration
Current Profession:  Canine Training and Behavior Specialist
Spotlight Segment:  April 5, 2022

Robert “Robi” Taylor is a Fairmont State University alum class of 2010.  He completed his bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and Business Administration.  He was born in Winter Park, Florida and graduated from Parkersburg South High School in 2005.  He currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Robi is a certified Canine Training and Behavior Specialist.  His love for dogs is what inspired him to become a small business owner of BarNone, K9, LLC., a boarding and training program.   Robi’s passion as a dog enthusiast affords him the opportunity to spend time as a trainer and handler with his Dutch Shepherd, Naz, who he trained to compete on the A&E, America’s Top Dog show which led to Naz being selected as America’s Top Dog. Robi shared as words of wisdom, “Surround yourselves with people who are likeminded.”

Interview with C. J. Goodwin

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C. J. Goodwin, Fairmont State University, Class of 2012
Majored in Business Administration
Current Profession: Professional NFL Football, Dallas Cowboys
Spotlight Segment:  March 29, 2022

C. J. is a West Virginian native, born and raised in Wheeling, WV.  He is a 2012 Fairmont State graduate who received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration. C. J. transferred into Fairmont State University in 2010 after spending two years at Bethany College, a small liberal arts school in Northern WV.  He walked on to the Fairmont State football team entering his senior year of college.  C. J. Led the team in yards per catch, averaging with just over 18 yards per carry.

After a single season at Fairmont State, C. J. transferred as a graduate student to California University of Pennsylvania.  He spent a single season at California University PA before being invited to a tryout with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he was signed to the Steelers practice squad for that year.  

After a single season with Pittsburgh, C. J. spent 3 seasons with the Atlanta Falcons in which his second season with the Falcons made an appearance in Super Bowl 51.  Ultimately C. J. ended up with the Dallas Cowboys and is spending his last 4 seasons with the team under contract through 2022.  He is entering his 9th season in the NFL. C. J.’s words of wisdom, “Take advantage of opportunities presented to you…be a good person…when you communicate with people, they want to help you.” 

Interview with Stanley Brown

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Stanley D. Brown, Fairmont State University, Class of 1973
Majored in Sociology
Current Profession: Manager/Broker with Mathers Realty
Spotlight Segment: March 22, 2022

Stanley D. Brown also known as Stan Brown was born in the “Friendly City” of Fairmont, West Virginia.  He attended Fairmont Senior High School.  He is a 1973 graduate of Fairmont State College, now Fairmont State University and received his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology.  He also holds a Master of Science from West Virginia University, School of Business and Economics.

Mr. Brown is currently employed with Mathers Realty and has been since 2001.  In 2003, he was appointed to Real Estate Manager/Broker, where he is licensed in both North and South Carolina.  He is responsible for hiring and training.  Mathers Realty is one of Charlotte’s largest Real Estate firms with over 135 members.  In 2004, the organization was awarded most diverse firms in the Carolinas, for speaking over 17 different languages.  Mr. Brown presently serves as diversity board member.

During his time as a student at Fairmont State, he was very involved.  He served in Student Council and was one of the founding members of the Black Culture Society which is now the Black Student Union. He was a board member of the Wesley Foundation and is currently a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

He is married to his sweetheart, Mrs. Carolyn Lee Hines-Brown of 48 years.  Together they have two sons, David Hodges, III and Christopher Micol, two grandchildren, Abby Olivia, and Brooklyn Chanel.  Mr. Brown and his wife Carolyn reside in Matthews, North Carolina and have lived in the Carolinas since 1987.  He shares as words of wisdom, “Believe in yourself; invest in yourself…you don’t have to be amazing, but when you start, you are amazing.  Do your best, make this place better…love and pass it forward.”

Interview with Chris Morris

Headshot of Chris Morris

Chris Morris, Fairmont State University, Class of 2000
Majored in Business Administration
Current Profession: Director of Commercial Lending, First United Bank & Trust
Spotlight Segment: March 15, 2022

Chris Morris is a Spring 2000 graduate of Fairmont State University.  During his time there, he spent his freshman year in Pence Hall where he met many of his closest friends.  Chris graduated with his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in Finance. 

His education has allowed him to enjoy a career in finance and banking.  Chris is the Director of Commercial Lending for First United Bank & Trust in Morgantown, WV.  As Director of Commercial Lending, Chris leads a team of commercial bankers in north-central West Virginia with a goal of increasing market share within the region.  Throughout his banking career, he has most enjoyed working with his clients, spurring economic development through financial services, and watching his teammates grow in their professional careers. 

Chris has been a lifelong resident of West Virginia.  He was raised in Bridgeport but spent many of his years after college living in Fairmont.  He currently resides in Morgantown with his wife Addy, and their two children, Porter and Elsa.  Personal activities are mostly focused on children's sports; however, Chris remains active as a Board Member of the United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties and the North Central West Virginia Community Action.  His words of wisdom for our students, “keep your eyes open…find people you can listen to…ask questions…explore opportunities and listen to experience.”

Interview with Kayla Daff Lantz

Headshot of Kayla Daff Lantz

Kayla Daff Lantz, Fairmont State University, Class of 2016
Majored in Business
Current Profession: Talent Acquisition Manager, Thrasher Group, Inc.
Spotlight Segment: March 8, 2022

Kayla Daff Lantz is a 2016 Fairmont State University, College of Business graduate. Upon graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business, Kayla traveled around the country, working in the Brand Marketing industry, she returned to her hometown of Clarksburg, West Virginia, and is currently working for The Thrasher Group, Inc. in Bridgeport. At Thrasher, Mrs. Lantz serves as the Talent Acquisition Manager and represents Thrasher as she seeks to employ a wide array of AEC Industry professionals.

Kayla is now the mother of two boys, Reese (3yrs) and Mac (1yr) and together with her husband, Zack, live in a home they built together in Philippi, WV. Together, they enjoy the outdoors, seeing new places, and ending the day with a good movie.  Kayla’s advice to students is to remember, “the resume is important and tells a story, but make sure you are telling the story along with it.”

Interview with Diana Lewis Jackson

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Diana Lewis Jackson, Fairmont State University, Class of 1986
Majored in Accounting
Current Profession: President/CEO of Action Facilities Management
Spotlight Segment: February 22, 2022

Diana Lewis Jackson is a native of Clarksburg, WV, and a Fairmont State University Alumna, Class of 1986.  She received her Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Associate of Science degree in Banking.  Currently, she is President/CEO and founder of Action Facilities Management, Inc.  (AFM) and was named the 2020 National Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year by the US Small Business Administration. AFM is based in Morgantown, WV, and specializes in self-performing integrated facilities solutions, including operations & maintenance, janitorial and sanitization, administrative, and security services.

By focusing on her clients’ missions, her employees’ well-being, and investing in both corporate and community support, she has grown AFM to include several hundred employees in ten states including Washington, DC, and has earned numerous national, regional, and local awards.

Diana put herself through Fairmont State as a single mom of two and has continued to prioritize continuing education. For the past several decades, she has poured her time, leadership, and generosity into myriad organizations that focus on education, health, and diversity of opportunity. She was appointed by former Governor Manchin to serve first on the West Virginia University Board of Governors and then the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, where she currently serves. Diana is also a current WVU Cancer Institute Council Member and a member of the United Bank Advisory Board, West Virginia Regional Technology Park Board of Directors, and Discover the Real West Virginia Foundation Board. As words of wisdom, Diana encourages students to, “Never stop learning…don’t be afraid of change…have passion and love what you do.”

Interview with Steve Rodriguez

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Steve Rodriguez, Fairmont State University, Class of 1984
Majored in Elementary Education
Current Profession: Principal, Fairview Middle School
Spotlight Segment: Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Steve Rodriguez has taught in the Marion County school system for 20 years and has spent 19 of those years at Fairview Middle School, where he currently serves as principal.  He is a 1984 graduate of Fairmont State University where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education.  He went on to further his education, where he earned a Master’s in Elementary Education and a second Master’s in Administration from WVU.  While attending Fairmont State, he was a student-athlete, and played football from 1980 to 1983.  He was a 3-year starter, 2nd team all-conference and Captain his senior year.  Steve returned to Fairmont State where he coached collegiately for 7 years.  Steve is a native of Chicago, Illinois and currently resides in Fairmont, West Virginia.  He is married to Susan Rodriguez, and they together have two children, Tyler and Cassidy Rodriguez.  His son and daughter-in-law have two beautiful girls, Isabella and Amelia.  His words of wisdom, “always continue to learn…never stop learning the information…keep trying and keep fighting for better positions.”

Interview with Fields Jackson, Jr.

Headshot of Jon BalkFields Jackson, Jr., Allegheny College, Class of 1980
Majored in Economics and Philosophy
Current Profession: Professor-in-Residence, College of Business, South Carolina State University/President, College of Diversity Network/CEO for Racing Toward Diversity Magazine
Spotlight Segment: Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Fields Jackson, Jr. is currently the CEO and Chief Cheerleader of Racing Toward Diversity Magazine, adjunct professor at Shaw University teaching Principles of Business, distinguished Professor -in – Residence in the College of Business at South Carolina State University and former Executive Director of the HBCU Business Dean Round Table.   
Fields was recognized by Diversity Best Practices as one of the Top Diversity Thought Leaders on Twitter.  In 2019, He was acknowledged as one of the Most Influential Diversity & Inclusion Leaders by Hive Learning, a corporation that helps organizations create and foster a culture of innovation and inclusion. Fields also serves as President of the College of Diversity Network in which Fairmont State University are proud partners. 
Fields received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics and Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Allegheny College, Meadville, PA.  He received his MBA Degree from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois.  Fields is a native of East Orange, New Jersey and resides in Cary, North Carolina.  Jackson’s words of wisdom, “career planning begins the day you start Fairmont State University as a freshman.”

Interview with Tina Shaw

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Tina Shaw, Fairmont State University, Class of 1982
Majored in Business Administration and Speech Communications
Current Profession: President, Marion County Chamber of Commerce
Spotlight Segment: Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Tina Shaw has been the President of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce since 2003.  She is a 1982 graduate of Fairmont State University with degrees in business administration and speech communications. In October of 2013, she was chosen as the FSU Outstanding Alumna.

She is a member and past president of the WV Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, Past President and Campaign Chair of the United Way of Marion County, Board member of Leadership Marion, Marion Regional Development Council, and serves on the Marion County Development Authority. In addition, she is a member of the Affiliate Leadership Council of the High Technology Foundation and was named the 2016 WV Director’s Choice Award Winner by the U.S. Small Business Administration. She is currently a member of the Fairmont Rotary Club and previously served as the President of the Marion County Boys & Girls Club.  She is married to Dave Shaw, a Marion County native, and together they have four sons.   Tina’s professional tip for students is, “Be true to yourself, humble and respectful.  Don’t take things for granted.  Work for what you want and be appreciative.”

Interview with Jon Balko

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Jon Balko, Fairmont State University, Class of 1999
Majored in Civil Engineering Technology
Current Profession: Traffic Engineering Department Manager, The Markosky Engineering Group, Inc.
Spotlight Segment: Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Jonathon graduated from Fairmont State in December 1999.  While attending Fairmont, he was a member of the Men’s Swimming team and served as a Captain during his senior year.  Jon has over 21 years of diverse civil engineering experience including analysis and plans preparation for various types of bridge and roadway projects. Jonathon has gained experience in all aspects of highway design, traffic signal design, maintenance and protection of traffic, signing and pavement markings, traffic safety and capacity analysis, erosion and sediment pollution control, and utility coordination. He has also gained general civil experience on projects including general site design, parking lots, sanitary sewer design, and airport design.  Jon is currently a registered Professional Engineer in PA, WV, and OH.  Jon’s professional tip is to, “Be observant and a good listener…Don’t’ take everything at face value.

Interview with Casey Conaway

Casey Conaway, Fairmont State University, Class of 2020
Majored in Nursing
Current Profession: Director of Development, On Eagles’ Wings Therapeutic Horsemanship
Spotlight Segment: Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Casey Jo Conaway completed a B.S. in Biology from Waynesburg University in 2001, an M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling from West Virginia University in 2003, an A.D.N. from Westmoreland County Community College in 2011, and a B.S.N. from Fairmont State University in 2020. Casey interrupted a ten-year career in higher education to serve as a tropical medicine nursing missionary in East Africa from 2012 to 2017. Upon return to the United States, Casey accepted a position in Nursing Education and as a result, gained exposure to therapeutic horsemanship. Casey holds professional licensure as a Registered Nurse with a certificate in Clinical Tropical Medicine, national certification as a Rehabilitation Counselor, and PATH Int. certification as an Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning.  In 2020, Casey transitioned out of a traditional healthcare role and joined the On Eagles’ Wings herd as Director of Development.  In addition to her responsibilities in fundraising and programming, Casey serves as the lead Equine Specialist for On Eagles’ Wings’ Equine-Assisted Wellness workshops. On Eagles’ Wings, Therapeutic Horsemanship Center is in Fairmont, WV.  Casey was born in Fairmont and resides in Fairview, WV.  Casey’s professional tip for students is, “Don’t be afraid to change or take a class you might be interested in…the worst-case scenario…it can count as an elective credit.

Interview with Ashley Stevens

Ashley Stevens, Fairmont State University Class of 2007
Majored in Speech Communications, Minor: Journalism
Current Profession:  Radio Personality, Chief Operator & Professional Podcaster, AJG Corporation (WCLG-FM, WFGM-FM, WPDX-FM) & J Flow Entertainment (Final Fourcast Podcast)
Spotlight Segment:  Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Ashley Stevens began her academic journey at Fairmont State in 2002 and in 2007 earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communications with a minor in Journalism.  During her time at Fairmont State, she competed on debate and speech teams where she placed 2nd in the M.M. Neely Persuasive Speaking contest her senior year.  Also, in her senior year, Ashley interned at Bower’s Broadcasting and after graduating from Fairmont State she immediately entered into radio.  Ashley relocated to San Antonio where she worked in government contracts with Booz Allen Hamilton.  She later returned to West Virginia to take on a full-time radio slot with WCLG and became the 4th member of the Final Fourcast Podcast along with former WVU Men’s Basketball stars Da’Sean Butler, Kevin Jones, and John Flowers.  Ashley currently resides in her hometown of Grafton, West Virginia.  Ashley’s professional tip for students is, “Mentors…anybody in your field who has experienced it, listen to them.  If they are allowing you to ask questions, ask as many questions as you possibly can.  Also, opportunities come around when you least expect it.  It’s the opportunity that opens a window…jump through that window!”

Interview with Noel Harvard

Noel Harvard, Fairmont State University, Class of 1981
Majored in Business Administration and Psychology Minor
Current Profession:  Claims Service Leader, Allstate/Encompass
Spotlight Segment:  Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Noel is a Fairmont State University Alum who graduated in 1981 with his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a minor in Psychology.  His hometown where he grew up is Weirton, West Virginia.  Noel is a Claims Service Leader at Allstate/Encompass and has been with his present employer for 34 years.  He currently resides in Bensalem, Pennsylvania.  Noel shares success by expressing, “If you want to be successful, you definitely have to have piece of mind as a part of your makeup…You have to, find what makes you happy.”

Interview with Julie Sole

Julie Sole, Fairmont State University, Class of 2001
Majored in Sociology/Human Services
Current Profession:  Executive Director, Disability Action Center (DAC)
Spotlight Segment:  Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Julie is a native of Weirton, West Virginia.   She began her studies at Fairmont State University in 1993 and graduated in 2001 with her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology/Human Services.  Julie has called Fairmont her home since 1993 when she began her studies at Fairmont State University. Upon finishing her degree, Julie began her career in the social service field, first with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services.   She has spent the last 20 years working with children, youth, and adults who face barriers and challenges.  Following her time with the State of WV, she worked with the Department of Labor’s Job Corps program, focusing on low-income youth who were in need of housing, education, and training.  Since 2008 she has devoted her career to individuals with disabilities and their families. First with the Human Resource Development Foundation and now in her current position as the Executive Director of the Disability Action Center (DAC); a position she has held since 2010.

In her role, Julie has helped to secure over $400,000 in programmatic grants and over $300,000 in capital improvement grants in recent years to drastically expand the DAC’s service capacity.  In addition to the grant-funded programs, the DAC is a valued United Way of Marion and Taylor Counties agency and Community Rehabilitation Provider with the WV Division of Rehabilitation.  Under Julie’s direction, the DAC has also developed several internal small businesses to train and employ individuals with disabilities including their Feel Good Fitness Center, Feel Good Laundry Program, Feel Good Meals Box Lunches, Feel Good Cleaning Services, and Banquet Hall and Conference Center Rentals.

Julie is married to her husband Bobby and they have two children, Lucy, 10, and Mason, 8.  She and her family attend LIFE United Methodist Church and are active not only with the Disability Action Center but other United Way agencies and community organizations.  Julie shares success as “being able to make an impact” and she has helped to do that through her service and role at the DAC.  Another phase of her success is through volunteering and expresses, “I really cannot wait to retire…to be a volunteer somewhere!” 

Interview with Stephanie Smart

Stephanie Smart, Fairmont State University, Class of 2010
Majored in Nursing
Current Profession:  Vice President of Nursing, United Hospital Center
Spotlight Segment:  Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Stephanie is a native of Bridgeport, West Virginia and attended Bridgeport High School.  Stephanie completed her Associate Degree in Nursing and continued her education, where she graduated from Fairmont State University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.  She continued her education and obtained a Master’s in Science of Nursing with a concentration in Nursing Administration from Benedictine University.  Stephanie presently serves as Vice-President for Nursing at United Hospital Center in Bridgeport, West Virginia.  Stephanie currently resides in her hometown of Bridgeport, West Virginia with her family.  In describing success, Stephanie shares, “No plan is real if it’s not on paper. You really haven’t met success unless you write it down to know how you got there. If your plan is not successful you can always go backwards and take another pathway because you wrote it down.”

Interview with Suzanne Lewis

Suzanne Lewis, Fairmont State University, Class of 1992
Majored in Human Services and Minor, Psychology
Current Profession:  Youth Placement Specialist, Human Resource Development Foundation, Inc

Suzanne is a Fairmont State University Alum who majored in Human Services with a minor in Psychology and graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in 1992.   She grew up in the very small town of Cameron, West Virginia, and attended Cameron High School.   She currently resides in Fairmont, West Virginia with her family.  Throughout her career, Suzanne has had the opportunity to work in different occupations within West Virginia, travel, and obtain training that has helped her further her career options.  She currently serves as a Youth Placement Specialist for the Human Resource Development Foundation in Fairmont, West Virginia.  The overall goal of the agency is to provide the funding needed for youth and young adults so that they return to school to complete their education, secure employment, and experience a healthy life with the promise that will open up windows of opportunity.  Suzanne devotes her passion to serve as a mentor and cheerleader for individuals who need to be reminded that they matter and have a purpose to fulfill.  Suzanne believes success comes from within. “It’s not wrapped up in dollar signs. It’s wrapped up in how you make people feel and how you treat them.” 

Interview with Isaac Lambert

Isaac Lambert, Fairmont State University, Class of 2017
Majored in Computer Science, concentration in Cybersecurity and Sociology minor
Current Profession:  Systems Developer, Agile5 Technologies

Isaac is a Fairmont State University Alum.  He completed his Bachelor of Science degree in 2017 as a Computer Science major with a concentration in Cybersecurity and a minor in Sociology.  Isaac is a Systems Developer which is a part of a Cybersecurity Cloud Research and Engineering team with Agile5 Technologies.  He is also a Certified Advanced Scrum Master.  His past professional experience includes him serving as Principal Cyber Process Manager while at Capital One and during his time at NASA, he served as a Cybersecurity Assurance Specialist.  His present licenses and certifications include Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Graduate Level Cybersecurity Management & Policy and Scaled Agile.  Isaac is a West Virginia native who grew up in Mannington, West Virginia.  Isaac describes success as, “having a kind of a holistic job that is a part of your life, but not your life; finding the career that allows you to have balance.”

Interview with Ryan Weld

Ryan Weld, Fairmont State University, Class of 2003
Majored in Political Science
Current Profession:  West Virginia State Senator

State Senator Ryan Weld grew up in Wellsburg, West Virginia.  He obtained his bachelor’s degree in political science from Fairmont State University in 2003 and earned his law degree from Duquesne University in 2015.  Senator Weld serves as West Virginia’s State Senator and represents the 1st Senatorial District.  In the Senate, he serves in the leadership as the Majority Whip, as well as being the Chair of the Military Committee and the Vice-Chair of the Judiciary Committee.  Legislatively, Ryan has focused on combating substance abuse, increasing access to mental health care and veteran issues.  He currently practices law with the firm of Spilman Thomas & Battle in their Wheeling office.  Ryan and his wife, Alex, both grew up in Wellsburg where they continue to live today with their three dogs, Trudy, Murray, and Ava.  Senator Weld describes success as, “Finding something in the world that makes you happy and doing it.”

Interview with Nathan White

Nathan White, Fairmont State University, Class of 2001
Majored in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting, Marketing, and Management
Current Profession:  Certified Public Accountant & Partner, City of Fairmont

Nathan graduated from Fairmont State University in December 2001.  He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Accounting, and Marketing and Management.  Currently, he works as a Certified Public Accountant and is a Partner of the CPA Firm, Arnett Carbis Toothman.  He has been with the firm for almost 16 years.  Nathan is originally from Wellsburg, West Virginia in the Panhandle of Brooke County.  He graduated from Brooke High School and now resides in Morgantown, West Virginia with his wife and high school sweetheart, Erin, and their two sons, Toby (12) and Jesse (11).  Nathan describes success as, “The accomplishment.  The feeling that it is not just luck that gets you there, but it is the chipping away at the mountain.”

Interview with Alex Petry

Alex Petry, Fairmont State University, Class of 2016
Majored in Business Administration
Current Profession:  Program Manager of Economic Development, City of Fairmont

Alex Petty is a Fairmont, West Virginia native and 2016 graduate of Fairmont State University.  He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and Masters of Business Administration (2017), both of which he completed at Fairmont State.  During his time at Fairmont State, he was a student-athlete for the Men’s Swimming Team.  While in graduate school, he served as a Graduate Assistant for Student Activities and Greek Life and was Assistant Coach for the Men and Women’s Swim teams.  Alex currently serves as Program Manager of Economic Development with the City of Fairmont and has been with the City since April of 2018.  He is responsible for coordinating and implementing projects and programs that support commercial, office, and industrial development, business attraction, and retention.  Alex grew up in Fairmont and attended Fairmont Senior High School.  He currently resides in Barrackville, West Virginia.  Alex describes success as, “Waking up every morning and knowing that you can make a difference in your life or for someone else.”

Interview with Samuel Ballard

Samuel Ballard, Fairmont State University Class Of 1984
Majored in Business Administration
Current Profession:  Owner and CEO of Ballard Properties, LLC.

Sam Ballard is a Fairmont State University Alum who received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in Spring 1984.  He grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and currently resides with his family in Voorhees, New Jersey.  During his time at Fairmont State, he was a student-athlete and played for the Fairmont State Fighting Falcon’s Football team.  Sam is currently the sole owner and CEO of Ballard Properties, LLC. and has been self-employed since February of 2002.  Sam retired from Corp America Public Storage, Inc. after nearly 19 years of service.  He was a Senior Divisional Vice President of the North East Territory and managed approximately 400 facilities, 1500 personnel, 200,000 rental units, and $1.5 billion in real estate that produced approximately $500 million annually.  Sam attributes having mentors throughout his life as being a huge impact on his success.  The most significant mentors were those who were right there in his community where he grew up and those educators at Fairmont State who pushed and challenged him to become the person he is today.  His words of wisdom in pursuing the dream job, “Finding persons who are smarter, more experienced, and successful than you and learning from them so that they can help you shine.”

Interview with Robert Jones

Robert Jones, Fairmont State University Class Of 1983
Majored in Sociology
Retired Profession:  Human Resource Strategist for Global Engineering, General Electric

Robert Jones is a 1983 Alum who received his Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from Fairmont State University and a Master’s in Human Resources from West Virginia University.  He is a native West Virginian who grew up in Charleston, West Virginia.  He currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio.  On November 1, 2020, Robert retired from General Electric Company after 30 years of service.  Before his retirement, he was HR Strategist for Global Engineering at General Electric.  In his role, he focused on strategic workforce planning, organization design and effectiveness, talent development and recruitment, employee engagement, executive coaching, succession planning, and culture evolution.  During his years at Fairmont State, he was a student-athlete for the Fighting Falcons Men’s Basketball team under the legendary Coach Joe Retton.  As a former student-athlete and professional, Robert acknowledged that stress can bring out our best when used healthy.  Having a successful career cannot be achieved without some stress and pressure.  Once you develop coping mechanisms to help navigate the stress and pressure, then it all comes together.  His words of wisdom in pursuing the dream job is to, “Have big dreams, build your skills, capabilities, experiences and your self-confidence to know that you can live your dream and achieve anything you set your mind too.”

Interview with Jessica Hall

Jessica Hall, Fairmont State University Class Of 2007
Majored in Business Management with an emphasis in Human Resources
Current Profession:  Supervisor, Talent Acquisition at WVU Medicine

Jessica Hall grew up in Bridgeport, West Virginia, and is a Fairmont State University Alumni.  She earned her Bachelor's degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Human Resources.  Jessica has worked in the field of Human Resources with large Fortune 500 companies, including State Farm Insurance and CONSOL Energy.  Jessica has obtained several professional certifications within the field of HR, including the Associate for Advancing Physician and Provider Recruitment AASPR, the Strategic Talent Acquisition Certification (STA), and the SHRM-CP.  She is also a certified DDI Facilitator. Presently Jessica is the Supervisor of Talent Acquisition for WVU Medicine and has served in this capacity for four years.  Jessica currently resides in her hometown of Bridgeport, WV, with her family and pet dog.  She believes all experience is important because it develops characteristics you learn from and can use every day.  She sees success as doing something professionally in a chosen career that one is passionate about while personally maintaining a balanced work life.  Her words of wisdom in pursuing a dream job, "Take time to think about where you want to be and recognize opportunities that are around you right now."   

 

Interview with Nick Oliveto

Nick Oliveto, Fairmont State University Class Of 2012
Majored in National Security and Intelligence and Political Science
Current Profession:  Product Manager for Leidos

Nick Oliveto is a West Virginia native who graduated summa cum laude from Fairmont State University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in National Security and Intelligence and Political Science.  He also holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago Law School.  Nick is a product manager at Leidos, a FORTUNE® 500 science and technology company, where he leads teams that develop the next generation of counterterrorism technology.  Previously, he led strategy for the company's Federal Bureau of Investigation business and bided on contracts with the Intelligence Community.  When asked if Nick had the chance to do anything differently while a student at Fairmont State, he responded, "No, I would not change a thing, but continue to do what worked for me in taking every opportunity to allow doors to be opened." Nick sees success as being able to do what you want as long as it makes you happy.  His words of wisdom in pursuing the dream job, "Don't think of yourself as having a dream job but having a dream day in doing the things you enjoy each day."

Interview with Randall Stickley

Randall Stickley, Fairmont State University Class Of 2016
Majored in National Security and Intelligence and Political Science/Minored in History
Current Profession:  Intelligence Specialist at the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), Morgantown, WV

Randall “Randy” Stickley graduated magna cum laude from Fairmont State University in 2016 with a dual Bachelor of Arts in National Security and Intelligence and Political Science with a minor in History. During his time at Fairmont State, Randy received the College of Liberal Arts Achievement in National Security and Intelligence award; was inducted into the Pi Sigma Alpha, Pi Gamma Mu, and Phi Alpha Theta academic fraternities.  Randy is a Fairmont, West Virginia native and lives in Morgantown, West Virginia, with his wife Nakoma, a fellow Fairmont State alumna. Randy is currently the Intelligence Specialist at the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C).  He instructs the Foundations of Intelligence Analysis Training (FIAT), Introduction to Link Analysis (ILA), and Intelligence Writing and Briefing (IWAB) courses.

Moreover, Randy supports agencies through various forms of intelligence-related technical assistance, liaises between partners and members at all levels, and manages content updates for the Law Enforcement Cyber Center (LECC).  Randall’s words of wisdom remind us that, “A man’s reach should go beyond its horizon.  We should always be hungry, always reaching for more and yearning to maximize our professional and personal life.”

Interview with Donna Hopkins

Donna Hopkins, Fairmont State University Class Of 1983
Majored in Radio and TV Communications
Current Profession: Sports Personality/CEO for non-profit, Hopkins Breast Cancer, Inc. /Author and Motivational Speaker

Donna Hopkins is a Fairmont State University Alum who completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Radio and TV Communications.  During her time at Fairmont State, she was a student-athlete who played for the Women’s Basketball program and ran on the women’s track team.  Presently Donna serves as a sports personality on the Tony McGee Pro Football show that airs out of Washington DC.  She is also the Founder/CEO of the non-profit Hopkins Breast Cancer Inc., a public speaker for breast cancer awareness programs, author, and a two-time breast cancer survivor and amputee.  Donna had the opportunity to return to Fairmont State University as the 2015 commencement keynote speaker, and in 2018, she served as an inspirational speaker for our International Women’s Day Celebration.  Donna is a West Virginia native and currently resides in Maryland.  Donna describes success as doing what you love, being happy with who you are, kind, and impacting other’s lives who have experienced difficult challenges and situations.  Her words of wisdom in pursuing the dream job, “No matter how difficult life gets, everybody has a comeback in them.  Don’t give up so easily.  If you work hard and put in the time, success will come your way.”

Interview with Michael Cain

Michael Cain, Fairmont State University Class of 2007
Majored in Business Management
Current Profession:  Senior IT Project Manager

Michael Cain is a native of Fairmont, West Virginia, and a Fairmont State University Alum.   He completed his Bachelor’s degree in Business Management.  Michael currently serves as a Senior IT Project Manager at West Virginia University and assists with new software implementations, networking upgrades, and payroll systems.  He is also a certified project management professional.  As he reflects on what he would have done differently to pursue his dream job, it would have been to gain networking experience as a student early on.  He now realizes that having this knowledge would have opened doors for more career opportunities.  Michael sees himself as successful because he is fulfilled in knowing that the work he does is important.  His words of wisdom, “Don’t down yourself when challenges are thrown in front of you; just know what you have the ability to control.” 

Interview with Kyle Miller

Kyle Miller, Fairmont State University Class of 2008
Majored in Exercise Science and Health Science
Current Profession: Real Estate Investor

Kyle Miller is an alumnus of Fairmont State University.  He completed his Bachelor of Science degree as a double major in Exercise Science and Health Science.  While at Fairmont State, Kyle was a student-athlete who played football and baseball for the Fighting Falcons.  Presently he runs a real estate investment company out of Charlottesville, VA, where he buys, fixes and flips properties, specializing in single-family homes.  He currently resides in Louisa, Virginia, with his wife and two sons.  He and his family live on a small farm of 50 acres, and they have 6 Texas longhorns, 1 dog, and 2 cats.  Kyle describes success as one getting better and improving himself daily without having regrets.  Not putting money high on the list but using it as a resource to create the freedom to have more time to do the things you enjoy.  His words of wisdom in pursuing the dream job, “Create that life you want to have and follow it.”