Thursday, June 19, 2008

Building the New WV Stereotype: Technology

Jeff James says to overcome old stereotypes we must build new stereotypes.

When most people think of West Virginia they might think of our white water rafting, skiing, fishing, biking, or sightseeing. The truth is West Virginia is full of some very smart people working on some very cool technology.

Many know the FBI has a facility near Clarksburg where they process all the bureau's fingerprints, but did you know the Department of Housing and Urban Development processes all of its data at the former Union Carbide data center in South Charleston. When you go to, make payments to HUD, receive payments from HUD, or do any other sort of transaction with HUD, it is all processed in South Charleston.

Wheeling is the home of the National Technology Transfer Center. The National Technology Transfer Center works with universities and government to move technology from the lab to the commercial world. Their clients include NASA and MSHA.

West Virginia schools score high in their use of technology in the classroom. In March, the state received an overall score of 95.3 in a national report.

But technology in West Virginia isn't just about government agencies or quasi-governmental agencies. It's about people like Kevin Smith. Kevin is a 20-year-old student at Marshall University who built is a service, much like Post Secret, that lets people post anonymous secrets to Twitter.

Paul Helmick is the entrepreneur behind State Newsline. State Newsline is a nationwide news aggregation site that puts news sources for each state on one page, so you can conveniently scan news headlines. Paul calls himself a serial entrepreneur. In the past 15 years he has help found eight companies. He was a co-founder of CityNet. CityNet is West Virginia's first and largest internet service provider. CityNet has grown to service 17 states and Washington, DC.

Then there is Dr. Lee Kraus. As Jeff James points out in another post, Lee is a nationally-known expert in e-learning and a progressive "Web 2.0" guru.

These are just a few examples of technology in West Virginia. Add yours in the comments.

Happy West Virginia Day everyone!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow! thanks for sharing now i have the idea how beautiful west virginia is. By merely looking at the picture it really fascinates me. hope you can visit my country too in the philippines!

11:04 PM  
Blogger SagaciousHillbilly said...

yaaaaawwnn. Sparse at best. Even when UCC was in it's R&D finest, WV really couldn't claim to be a significant center of technology.
Yea, I know, canned technology is probably your life here in WV so it seems to you that WV might be some techno center. . . sorry Charlie. Aint happenin.
WV's stereotypes will change when WVians take control of their own destiny instead of letting their politicians sell it off.

11:39 PM  
Blogger wv.agent said...

You shared a lot of stuff I didn't know about West Virginia. Thank you!

5:27 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Wonderful job, Oncee!

@sagacioushillbilly The attitudes expressed in your comment are of the sort that continue negative ideas about WV. These bloggers are making their voices heard, that they are tired of the negative press we receive. They are doing something about it. They are taking control of their own destiny.

8:13 AM  
Blogger jtpr said...

Right on. Great article shows what West Virginians can do!

9:04 AM  
Blogger MsJamie said...

Great post, Bill! And the more remote parts of the state are starting to get broadband access. My friend in Big Pigeon has it, and Pendleton County is about to get fiber optic cable that will give a lot of people fast access to the internet in places I never thought they would have it.

9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing this information with the world.

There is a 17 year old high school senior here in Beckley a highly successful internet based business. He just received a $5,000 scholarship from The National Federation of Independent Business Young Entrepreneur Foundation and Visa.

The full story can be found here:

His website is

10:10 AM  
Blogger jenniferwood said...

Oncee, Thanks for sharing! I learned some things too! Thanks for giving us more positive things about WV to know and share!

@SagaciousHillbilly - From reading your blog, you're an excellent whistle-blower and I look forward to reading more of your posts. I appreciate your honesty. However, would it hurt for you to say something positive? According to your blogger profile, you live in WV. If we don't say something good about our own state and find the silver lining, how do we ever expect anyone else to?

10:25 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Hi Oncee,

Sharon from asked me to let you know that she can't post for the blog carnival today because her son is in the hospital.


12:24 PM  
Blogger oncee said...


That's terrible. Thanks for letting us know.


3:00 PM  
Blogger Rebecca Burch said...

Great post, Bill. I had heard that we have some awesome technological infrastructure here, as far as business and research are concerned. It's nice to know it's not urban legend. :)

This is why I think it's so important for us to latch onto new fields and grow those fields in our state.

10:29 PM  
Blogger Bob Coffield said...

Great post Bill. Thanks for all your effort on the blogging project.

A couple other technology highlights I would add:

Wheeling is home to global operations center for one of the world's largest law firms - Orrick.

Can't forget the Byrd Green Bank Telescope - the world's largets steerable radio telescope.

9:14 AM  
Blogger andrew said...

Yeah, well too bad most of those "technology centers" are just Byrd's pork barrel projects that will leave the state about about 2 seconds after he kicks the can. The FBI finger print center was relocated to WV by Sen. Byrd, it didn't start there. And do you seriously think your list would even start to compare to the list of technology accomplishments for...say....any other state? I'm not usually one to bash WV, but I'm also tired of people here not seeing the reality of the situation this state is in.

12:40 PM  

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