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Diversity in manufacturing touted in day 2 of leadership summit

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Though the Mountain State has some budgetary tough times on the horizon, the message was positive as business leaders looked forward at the 2014 West Virginia Manufacturing Leadership Summit at The Resort at Glade Springs in Daniels, June 9-10.

"We have seen some decline in industry, but West Virginia is poised for great growth," said Rebecca Randolph, president of the West Virginia Manufacturing Association. "That's our focus. We want to send that message to our students, so that they can find that pathway to manufacturing."

Randolph began her presidency of the association last November, hitting the ground running.

"We went right into a very busy state legislative session," she said. "There was a lot happening that was very impactful for our members. There is a lot of complexity and different issues that our members deal with every day."

The diversity of manufacturing in West Virginia is a point that Randolph says should be made.
"We have a lot of quality products and a lot of diversity," she said. "We manufacture everything from marbles, chemicals, furniture to safety equipment."

As for hosting the summit for the first time, Randolph said it went "very well. We had many productive conversations, and that was our intent.
"We want to make sure our members come together to learn and to network with one another."

The keynote speaker was Jim Justice, president and CEO of The Greenbrier.

He spoke of his fondness of West Virginia and encouraged attendees by saluting their work. He also challenged them to help West Virginia climb from the poor rankings that plague the state.
"The first step to getting better is admitting that you're doing something wrong," Justice said. "That's the foundation."

Other speakers included Frank Macchiarola, executive Vice President, government affairs, of American's Natural Gas Alliance, Haiyang Chen, dean of Business at Marshall University and James Skidmore, Chancellor of the West Virginia Council for Community and Technology College Education.
A crisis management session also provided attendees with media training.