WV Affiliated Construction Trades hosts conference in Morgantown

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Early this week, the West Virginia Affiliated Construction Trades hosted the “WV Building and Construction Conference” at the Morgantown Marriott at Waterfront Place. Tuesday’s day-long conference was attended by over 150 Trades workers, union reps, contractors, and project developers. The conference featured three panel discussions regarding building West Virginia’s energy portfolio, infrastructure, and healthcare facilities.

“As West Virginia continues to grow, the need for a highly skilled workforce is needed now more than ever,” said Justin Williams, Director of the West Virginia Affiliated Construction Trades. “This conference highlights the importance of bringing together key players in the construction industry in one place and helps ensure good communication to strengthen the industry as a whole for the future success of our projects to one place.”

Following opening remarks by Williams and WV Building and Construction Trades Council Secretary Treasurer John Epperly, the first panel lineup was introduced. The first panel discussion, “An All-of-the-Above Approach: Building West Virginia’s Energy Portfolio” was moderated by Brown Communication, LLC President Bryan Brown. Panelists with regulatory, legislative, and construction expertise joined the discussion to discuss the economic development opportunities presented by West Virginia’s expanding energy portfolio.

Hope Gas CEO Morgan O’Brien addressed the crowd during the lunch hour, discussing the opportunities for skilled labor in West Virginia. “West Virginia is poised to continue massive economic development growth,” said O’Brien. “The West Virginia Building & Construction Trades are an underrated resource for economic development in our state. From laborers and carpenters to engineers, they put the right folks in the right place to get the job done.”

Following remarks from O’Brien, attendees were divided into two breakout panel discussions. 

George Capel, Government Relations Director for the WV State Building & Construction Trades moderated “The Road Ahead: Building West Virginia’s Infrastructure.” Panelists with extensive backgrounds in economic development and labor representation discussed how West Virginia can utilize the construction trades to build a stronger infrastructure system.

Affiliated Construction Trades Director Justin Williams.

Chuck Parker, President of the WV State Building and Construction Trades joined the panel to talk about infrastructure growth needs in the Mountain State. “Bringing together the key players in infrastructure is a great way to highlight the successes happening in our state. West Virginia is open for business and together, we can help build a brighter future for West Virginia by improving our roads, bridges, transportation methods, and energy infrastructure.”

West Virginia First Foundation’s Chairman, Matt Harvey, served as the moderator for the coinciding breakout session, “One Piece at a Time: Building West Virginia’s Healthcare Facilities.” During the panel, representatives from major healthcare providers discussed the need for new and upgraded facilities as West Virginia’s need to healthcare increases.

“We are thrilled to host important conversations that will help build West Virginia and make it a better place for 1.8 million Mountaineers,” said Epperly. “From expanding access to healthcare, expanding our diverse energy portfolio, and strengthening our infrastructure, we believe the WV Building & Construction Trades are prepared to put people to work and help sustain our state’s economy.”

As the panel discussions and Q&A sessions concluded, the moderators led a group activity in which the audience identified key takeaways and action items that will steer their organization in the coming months. Williams wrapped up the conference with closing remarks, thanking event sponsors, public officials, and attendees for their involvement.

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