The Times West Virginian


September 9, 2012

State ‘on the move’

Chamber chairman: Look for ‘every way possible’ to boost economy

FAIRMONT — Tom Jones looks forward to working with the business community to achieve their goals as the new chairman of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce.

For 10 years, Jones has been the president and CEO of the West Virginia United Health System, which is headquartered in the Alan B. Mollohan Innovation Center in Fairmont’s I-79 Technology Park. He lives in Morgantown.

This West Virginia native primarily grew up in the Clarksburg/ Morgantown area and graduated from Morgantown High School. Jones went to West Virginia University, where he received his undergraduate degree in business administration with a major in accounting, and the University of Minnesota, where he earned his master’s degree in hospital administration.

He explained that the West Virginia United Health System, formed in 1996, has six hospitals that stretch from the Potomac River to the Ohio River, included two facilities in the Eastern Panhandle, two in North Central West Virginia and two in Parkersburg. It is the largest health-care system in West Virginia, with revenues of approximately $1.5 billion annually, and the second-largest employer in the state, with more than 11,000 employees.

Jones was previously the CEO of the Genesis Hospital System and St. Mary’s Hospital in Huntington and chief operating officer at Wheeling Hospital. He formerly served as chairman of the West Virginia Hospital Association, West Virginia Roundtable, Morgantown and Huntington chambers of commerce, and West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.

For a number of years, Jones has been on the board of directors for the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce. He has been part of the executive committee for the last five years.

Steve Roberts, president of the chamber, said the organization holds an election every year for chairman, and that individual typically serves one term.

He said Jones was elected chairman by the membership at its 76th annual meeting, which is the West Virginia Business Summit, held on Aug. 29. Richard Adams, who is the chairman and CEO of United Bankshares Inc., was elected vice chairman of the chamber.

“Tom is highly regarded throughout West Virginia by employers, health-care professionals, political and financial leaders,” Roberts said of Jones. “He has a broad level of experience in job creation and economic development. He fits the mold of many of his noteworthy predecessors as chairman of the chamber.”

Roberts said the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce is the largest association of businesses in the state, and its members employ more than half of West Virginia’s private-sector workforce. The membership is broad and diverse and extends into every one of West Virginia’s counties.

While there are other business organizations that are geographically focused or concentrate on a particular industry, the chamber members come from across the state, Jones added.

“It’s the only organization that truly speaks for all business throughout the state,” he said. “They range from very small businesses to very large businesses.”

Jones got started as chairman right away and has been on the job for a week and a half now.

In this role, Jones said he will lead the executive committee and work with the committee and Roberts to determine their priorities and make a strategic plan. He will also represent the members before the legislature and other bodies in order to make the chamber’s position known.

“I think it’s exciting,” Jones said of being elected as chairman. “I think West Virginia is on the move. A number of things have been done both legislatively and judicially to make West Virginia a more business-friendly state.”

He said West Virginia certainly has challenges, but also has many positive aspects, and there is more work to be done.

While the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia basically believes that the state’s judicial system doesn’t need a business court, the chamber intends to evaluate the idea this year. The organization also plans to look at tax codes for businesses and monitor legislation involving workers’ compensation and working conditions so businesses can grow and prosper in West Virginia, Jones said.

“We’ll be focusing on economic development and job creation,” Roberts added. “We’ll be looking for every way possible to improve the economy of West Virginia.”

He said he is ready to work with the governor and state leaders to try to restore the economy. The chamber is also very concerned about the health of the coal industry and will focus on energy issues as well.

Anything that hurts coal will hurt West Virginia, and the chamber will stand up for coal. The organization will also support energy production throughout the state, because natural gas is also very important here, Roberts said.

The chamber also wants to make sure that the state can regain a reputation as a place where everyone gains a fair trial, he said.

Jones said the chamber also provides a number of educational programs to its members on topics including workers compensation, unemployment, safety, the new healthcare reform legislation, and many other subjects.

“If you’re not a member of the chamber, we would welcome your consideration,” he said.

Email Jessica Borders at or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.

Text Only
  • Your chocolate addiction is only going to get more expensive

    For nearly two years, cocoa prices have been on the rise. Finally, that's affecting the price you pay for a bar of chocolate - and there's reason to believe it's only the beginning.

    July 22, 2014

  • Wal-Mart to cut prices more aggressively in back-to-school push

    Wal-Mart Stores plans to cut prices more aggressively during this year's back-to-school season and will add inventory to its online store as the chain battles retailers for student spending.

    July 22, 2014

  • Morgantown’s housing expenses exceed national average

    The housing prices in Morgantown are driving the city’s cost of living above the national average, a new survey reports.
    John Deskins, director of the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics’ Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER), explained that the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) orchestrates data collection in 288 cities across the country.

    July 20, 2014

  • JA Used Furniture-JB.jpg J.A. Used Furniture has valuable variety

    J.A. Used Furniture in Fairmont carries items that people need — all at low prices.
    Owner Ron Dray officially opened the doors of his new business, located at 10 Locust Ave., toward the end of December. He explained that the “J.A.” initials in the store’s name stand for the names of his two granddaughters, Jordan and Adriauna.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Backbone Security, T&T Pump Co. among 37 state companies recognized

    Two Marion County companies were recently celebrated for their continued successes in exporting.
    Backbone Security and T&T Pump Co., both in Fairmont, were among the 37 West Virginia companies that Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, Cabinet Secretary Keith Burdette, the West Virginia Development Office and the West Virginia Export Council recently acknowledged for expanding their business to new parts of the world. An awards presentation was held in Charleston on June 24.

    July 13, 2014

  • All Things Herbal-JB.jpg All Things Herbal health and wellness shop

    All Things Herbal Local Market is a one-stop, health and wellness shop.
    Owner Christa Blais officially opened her new business in downtown Fairmont at 327 Adams St., across from Veterans’ Square, on June 6 during Main Street Fairmont’s First Friday event.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • 3-D printing continuing to revolutionize manufacturing

    As 3-D printing is revolutionizing manufacturing, the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing continues to stay at the forefront of this technology.
    RCBI has three Advanced Manufacturing Technology Centers, located in Bridgeport, Charleston and Huntington.

    July 6, 2014

  • Blackheart International -JB.jpg Blackheart International bringing high-quality services

    Blackheart International, a firearms manufacturer and provider of logistics and training solutions, is bringing high-quality services to the local community.
    At the beginning of April, the company moved from Philippi, where it had been located since 2005, to its new home in Fairmont.

    July 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Americans falling out of love with shopping malls

    Abandoned malls are hot: The Dead Malls Enthusiasts Facebook group boasts almost 14,000 members; a Google search of "dead malls" produces 5.7 million results; and the desolate interiors of these unused retailing meccas keep making cameos in thrillers and horror films.

    July 3, 2014

  • State unemployment rises, but more actively seeking work

    Although the latest monthly statistics show a higher unemployment rate for the state, the good news is that more people are actively looking for work.
    The Labor Market Information unit of WorkForce West Virginia’s Research, Information and Analysis Division recently published the May 2014 labor force estimates for the state.

    June 29, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Business
House Ads