Hope and Good News
When I started my business, Three Point Strategies, LLC, my main mission was to help job creators through policy advocacy in order to promote a more job-friendly environment in West Virginia. It is wonderfully satisfying to see parts of my dream come to life.
The WV Regional Technology Park, a client of mine, is a beacon of hope for our state and region. Located in South Charleston, W.Va. and only five years young, it has attracted several innovative companies that employ over 650 people – 70% of which are private sector jobs with an average salary of $80,000 per year. When we speak of diversifying our economy one doesn’t have to look much further than the Tech Park.
Our policy-makers are beginning to see the value in places like the Tech Park. Success stories like these are not just feel-good coffee-shop talk, it is a source of hope and promise for the future.
Below is an excerpt from an opinion peace that ran in Thursday’s Gazette-Mail with a link to the full article. Authored by Rusty Kruzelock, CEO of the WV Regional Technology Park, it highlights an example of how the Tech Park is driving market-based solutions for West Virginia. Enjoy!
Rusty Kruzelock: WV’s challenges identified; it’s time to fix things
West Virginia’s challenges are well documented and widely discussed. Now it’s time for solutions.
The West Virginia Regional Technology Park is poised, through its partners and tenants, to encourage market-based solutions for West Virginia.
Conceived five years ago from the former Union Carbide facilities in South Charleston, the Tech Park is now home to several high-tech businesses with more than 650 jobs. As we recruit and grow investment in our region from innovative industries so does our ability to offer solutions.
One such market-based solution coming from the Tech Park is particularly exciting and answers the often-asked question: “How can we better reclaim our coal-mining sites?”
The Tech Park is on the threshold of an initiative that could result in thousands of acres of post-mining land in West Virginia being transformed into some of the highest yielding agroscience cropland in the state.
It’s based on an agroforestry management plan that combines the cultivation of low-maintenance, high-yield plants, which produce natural chemical feedstocks, alongside native plant species that help nurture wildlife restoration. In other words, use post-mined land to produce plants that can generate a profit while enhancing the natural habitat around it.
Initial research suggests that the propagation of lavender and pyrethrum as initial reclamation crops might hold the most promise, based on their ability to grow in rugged, Mediterranean-type soils and their high-dollar return when distilled or otherwise processed.
By utilizing chemistry expertise and existing lab equipment at the Tech Park, proof-of-concept efforts are under way to determine the degree of quality and level of production of their active ingredients that, in the case of lavender oil, can garner more than $800 a gallon in a ready $4-billion global marketplace. For example, lavender oils can be used in the production of soaps, perfumes and lotions.