By Jessica Borders
Times West Virginian
The I-79 Development Council’s Identification Intelligence initiative is helping promote North Central West Virginia and show the region at its best.
This multicounty marketing and economic development organization, established in 2002, is anchored in the north central part of the state. It advocates for economic diversity, concentrates on growing the economy of the I-79 Corridor, and works collaboratively to develop solutions for problems affecting the region.
“The primary mission is to market the corridor, but it’s also to expand the economy in whatever way that makes sense and can be effective,” said Deana Keener, president of the council. “That’s really the goal at its heart.”
In 2005, Dr. Richard Lester from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology conducted a study for the I-79 Development Council. Keener said the report cited that the biometrics sector would be an evolving, important industry and West Virginia would have the unique capability of being a leader in this field.
The study determined that biometrics would be a good industry to try to develop in North Central West Virginia based on many factors, she said. For instance, the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division is located in Clarksburg, and West Virginia University in Morgantown operates the Center for Identification Technology Research (CITeR), which is a National Science Foundation research center, and offers the Bachelor of Science in biometric systems degree program.