Steering Committee

Meet our Steering Committee.

The Community Collaborative Network Steering Committee is comprised of 15 community volunteers, community and economic development professionals, municipal leaders, decision-makers, community-focused funders, and philanthropists. Committee members are dedicated to building an inclusive community development system that is reflective of the diverse people who make up this field.

Peter Butler, West Virginia University

Peter joined the WVU faculty in 2008. His research interests include cultural landscape research and planning; community design process; industrial landscape reclamation and interpretation; and design studio pedagogy. His research projects include cultural landscape inventory, analysis and treatment; design visualization; brownfields redevelopment; land use planning; historic transportation corridor planning; participatory design methods; and methods of community engagement. Peter leads the Community Engagement Lab through the Family and Community Development program at WVU Extension Service by integrating experiential service-learning courses in the curriculum to build and strengthen partnerships with communities and stakeholder groups across West Virginia.

John Deskins, West Virginia University

John Deskins serves as Director of the Bureau of Business & Economic Research and as Associate Professor of Economics at West Virginia University. He leads the Bureau’s efforts to serve the state by providing rigorous economic analysis and macroeconomic forecasting to business leaders and policymakers across the state. Deskins’ academic research has focused on economic development, small business economics, and public policy and has appeared in numerous professional economics outlets. Deskins has testified before the U.S. Congress and the West Virginia Legislature, has delivered more than 200 speeches, and his quotes have appeared in numerous media outlets such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Shane Farthing, City of Martinsburg

Shane Farthing serves as the Director of Economic & Community Development for the City of Martinsburg, where he focuses on revitalizing historic and legacy industrial properties to modern uses, attracting capital for community improvement, and supporting organizations working to meet civic and social needs. Mr. Farthing has held leadership roles in economic development, transportation, and nonprofit management and has consulted with cities across the United States on placemaking strategy and community activation. He holds degrees in law, public policy and religious studies and enjoys cooking, hiking, camping, and exploring with his wife and dog.

James Birt, Housed Up, Inc.

James Birt was born and raised in Fayette County, West Virginia. He was in the Navy a few year during Operation Iraqi Freedom and also lived homeless on the streets for a few years. Determined to use his life experiences to make a positive impact in his community, James founded Housed-Up Inc. in his home town to end homelessness through housing and services. James also founded Appalachia Impact Gaming LLC in 2021 as a social enterprise designed to host Esports competitions to raise awareness and donations for nonprofits that help people in recovery. He joined the Summer Policy Institute hosted by the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy in 2022 and won a mini-grant, with his team, to lobby legislators for their policy. He is eager to share his perspective, successes, and learned lessons to help create opportunities for others to succeed.

Crystal Good, Black By God THE WEST VIRGINIAN

Crystal Good is an Affrilachian artist, digital media entrepreneur, and social advocate. She is an Irene McKinney Scholar, WVU Newstart Fellow, and the author of Valley Girl. @cgoodwoman

Sandy Hunt, City of New Martinsville & New Martinsville Blueprint Community

Sandy is currently the Mayor of the City of New Martinsville and the facilitator for the New Martinsville Blueprint Community team. She has been working in community development for the past 17 years and is passionate about the possibilities that exist within each community for growth and development. She founded the Wetzel County Convention and Visitors Bureau in 2009, and an associated non-profit fiduciary agent, Friends of Wetzel County, in 2012. In addition, she pastors a house church along with her husband, Steve, to whom she has been married for 44 years.

Kayleigh Kyle, Fairmont Community Development Partnership, Inc.

Kayleigh Kyle is West Virginia’s Community Development Specialist at USDA Rural Development where she leads the Rural Partners Network initiative, coordinates telecommunications projects and provides technical assistance to West Virginia’s most rural communities. Prior to her work at USDA, she led the Fairmont Community Development Partnership through the COVID-19 pandemic where she and her team secured $1.5 million in funding for Marion County, completed construction of four affordable housing single-family homes and assisted six new and emerging businesses open their doors in a two-year timeframe. When she’s not in the office, you can find Kayleigh at home, in the woods, with her husband, Corey, and their two kids, Kopper and Caleb.

Monica Miller, M. Miller Development Services

Monica Miller is the Owner of M. Miller Development Services LLC, specializing in community economic development services to communities and organizations throughout WV and multiple states.

Her work includes entrepreneurship development, community and organizational planning and assessments, project management, facilitation, speaking engagements, and coaching services. Clients include WVU Bureau for Business and Economic Research, National Main Street Center where some of her current work is with the Ohio Entrepreneurs program funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Philanthropy WV, WV Community Development Hub, funded by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, along with various businesses, communities and development organizations. For over 20 years she managed multiple Community Development programs for the West Virginia Development Office most notably Main Street West Virginia, the Neighborhood Investment Tax Credit Program, and Appalachian Regional Commission for WV. She is chair emerita of the Board of Advisors and former Trustee for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, founding chair of the National Main Street Coordinating Programs Executive Committee, and currently serves on the board of the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia. Monica is a frequent speaker at state and national conferences.

Michele O’Connor, West Virginia Jobs Investment Trust

Michele O’Connor is the Senior Investment Manager for West Virginia Jobs Investment Trust (WVJIT). They are the State’s venture fund and manager of the WV Capital Access Program. Additionally, she currently serves as Chair of TechConnect WV. She is passionate about entrepreneurship and being an active member of the economic development ecosystem of West Virginia.

Traci Phillips, Fun Fitness Kids Club LLC

Traci Phillips holds a B.S. in Communications from Bowie State University and has worked for companies such as C-SPAN, CBS Newspath, BET Nightly News, Radio-One Inc., XM Satellite Radio and WCHS-TV. She is an on-air personality for WSVQ 92.1’s Charleston’s Voice for Equity and Empowerment, an initiative of the Partnership of African American Churches and also does Communications work with Our Future West Virginia.

Traci is the owner of Fun Fitness Kids Club LLC., West Virginia’s only mobile soft play company. Her business was named the 2020 WV Minority Business of the Year by the US Small Business Administration. She was also named the 2021 Groundbreaker Award by the WV Governor’s Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs during the annual trailblazer awards. Traci is the Executive Director of the Fun Fitness Foundation, a nonprofit organization formed in Charleston, WV with the mission to help curb the obesity rate in West Virginia through fun & fitness. She is also a member of the Charleston area NAACP and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Traci is married to Justin Phillips, they have 3 children and live in Charleston, WV.

Sara Payne Scarbro, Marshall University Research Corporation & Alliance for the Economic Development of Southern WV

Sara Payne Scarbro is a proud West Virginian and daughter of Marshall University. As Associate VP for External Engagement for the Marshall University Research Corporation, Sara builds partnerships and connections with community, business, educational, and governmental leaders. Sara also serves as the Operations Council Chair for the Alliance for the Economic Development of Southern WV, an education collaborative of 10 public higher education institutions in southern WV, with a footprint of 21-counties and more than 30,000 students. Prior to joining Marshall and the Alliance, Sara served in both the state and federal government, working for two governors and one U.S. Senator.

Sara’s public service and dedication in public relations have been acknowledged by others. She received PRSA West Virginia’s 2010 Public Relations Practitioner of the Year award and in 2013, Sara was named one of 40 under 40 statewide leaders by the State Journal.

Ray Moeller, Southern WV Brownfields Assistance Center

Ray Moeller has a Bachelor of Science from Western Michigan University and worked for 28 years in the pharmaceutical industry before escaping to West Virginia over a decade ago. Starting as an AmeriCorps VISTA in the New River Gorge Region, Ray facilitated community improvement in preparation for the opening of the National Boy Scout Jamboree site. He then transitioned to a WV State University Community & Economic Development Extension position, working in communities within the same region. Then five years ago, Ray took the leap north, landing in Morgantown to work in the Brownfield Assistance Center at WVU, and primarily providing on-the-ground support for the statewide Downtown Appalachia Redevelopment Initiative. Ray is always looking forward to what comes next!

Emily Wall, Live Nation Entertainment

Emily Wall grew up in Gauley Bridge, WV (her mom’s hometown – her dad is from Juarez, Mexico) and went to WVUIT for Civil and Mechanical Engineering. She has worked for Live Nation Entertainment (Ticketmaster) for over 21 years in various roles traveling both domestically and internationally and currently leads their Global Ethics & Compliance Department.

Emily loves to give back to the community and volunteers as a Board member for FestivALL Charleston, the Alban Arts Center, and previously the Project Management Institute and the Training Advisory Board for the International Association of Privacy Professionals. She is a founding member of Arti Gras – and Arts & Music Festival and serves on various committees in Charleston and St. Albans. She has always loved to paint, draw, and sculpt and routinely donates work for fundraisers to local charities.

Emily Wilson-Hauger, Woodlands Development Group & Community Lenders

Emily Wilson-Hauger is the Director of Programs & Partnerships at Woodlands Development Group and Woodlands Community Lenders – a Community Development Corporation and a Community Development Financial Institution respectively – based in Elkins. In her capacity, she works alongside colleagues, communities, and partners to develop affordable housing, redevelop/revitalize downtown areas, develop community facilities, facilitate community planning efforts, and support Woodlands’ small business development and lending staff. Emily, on behalf of Woodlands, also partners with regional and statewide organizations to build relationships, coalitions, and initiatives to foster broader community development successes throughout West Virginia, including serving as Secretary for the Abandoned Properties Coalition.

Emily holds an M.A. in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management. She is also active in her community, serving as Vice President of the Tucker County Planning Commission, a board member of both the Tucker County Cultural District Authority and Mountain Laurel Learning Cooperative, and a volunteer for ArtSpring, a local county-wide annual arts festival. Emily lives in Davis, WV with her husband and daughter, Kat.

Past Steering Committee Members.

We express our gratitude to the following people who served on the network’s Steering Committee in the past.

Jay Ford, Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC

Jay was born and raised in Lewisburg, West Virginia. After attending West Virginia University and obtaining his law degree, he moved to Charleston, West Virginia with his lovely wife, Elizabeth, and their dog, Piper. Jay now practices law with Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, where he focuses on litigation. Jay also serves on the West Virginia State Bar’s Young Lawyer Board as a representative for Kanawha County and on the West Virginia Bar Association’s Executive Council as the Chairperson for the Young Lawyers Division.

Carrie Staton, Northern WV Brownfields Assistance Center

Carrie M. Staton is the Interim Director of the Northern WV Brownfields Assistance Center at West Virginia University and Director of WVU BAD Buildings. These programs provide technical assistance to communities on issues related to blighted and environmentally contaminated properties. Carrie’s passion and expertise are in community engagement and collaborative community development, topics which she has presented and published on in industry and academic settings throughout the state and region. Carrie is a proud alum of Bethany College, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Nonprofit Administration, and of West Virginia University, where she received a Master of Public Administration.

Dana Hantel, Mountain People’s Co-op

A Doddridge County native, Dana holds a B.S.W. and a J.D. from WVU, along with an M.F.A. from the University of Wyoming. She has experience in appellate advocacy; teaching, tutoring, and coaching; and small business management. After 12 years in the American West, she came home to the Mountain State in 2017 and began working in the nonprofit sector, focusing on social enterprise development and creative placemaking support. In addition to managing Mountain People’s Co-op, Dana serves as a member of the ArtPlace Central Appalachia Assembly and is a Facilitator with the AIR Institute.

Kris Warner, WV Economic Development Authority

Kris Warner is the Executive Director of the WV Economic Development Authority. In early 2021, Kris completed his service as the State Director of USDA Rural Development in West Virginia, with which he was appointed by the White House in Nov, 2017. Kris has 30 years of experience in residential, commercial, and energy development. He brings to this position his experience as an entrepreneur, small business owner, and community leader. Mr Warner has a wealth of experience in working successfully with a variety of public- and private-sector leaders to improve our communities and build stronger, more diverse economies. He and his wife Joyce, a public school teacher, are the proud parents of 5 children, four of which are serving on active duty in the United States Air Force and three grand children. As State Director, Warner used his leadership experience to oversee Rural Development programs in a customer-focused manner to promote prosperity in rural West Virginia.

Jason A. Young, WV Community Development Hub & The Vintage Theatre Company, LLC

Jason A. Young is the Founding Producer & Artistic Director of The Vintage Theatre Company, LLC. Opened in 2012, The Vintage Theatre Company is dedicated to providing high-quality theatrical education and professionally produced entertainment in West Virginia, while primarily featuring and uniting the many talented teaching and performing artists that call the Mountain State their home. Jason is the former president and newly appointed executive director of the West Virginia Theatre Association, a subsidiary of the Southeastern Theatre Conference, and also serves as the group’s State Audition Coordinator, and High School Festival Director. He is a member of the International Thespian Society and the Educational Theatre Association, and in 2014 Jason was named to the West Virginia State Journal’s Generation Next 40 Under 40. In addition to his work as a theatre artist, Jason also serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for The West Virginia Community Development HUB. He resides in Bridgeport, West Virginia with his wife Sarah Young.

Keep updated on what's happening with the network...

Partner Feature:

Our work is made possible thanks to incredible partnerships with other community development organizations across the state. From local economic development authorities (EDAs) to state level nonprofits working to uplift communities, all of our partners are crucial in making West Virginia the best it can possibly be by working together.One partner that made our work truly profound this year is Coalfield Development. For years, Coalfield Development has worked to rebuild Appalachian communities by inspiring the courage to grow, activating the creativity to innovate, and cultivating communities of opportunity in central Appalachia.We are proud to be part of Coalfield Development’s ACT Now Coalition, a broad network of organizations working hand-in-hand to uplift communities throughout Southern West Virginia. The ACT Now Coalition is infusing more than $63 million into programs to help communities using business development, building revitalization, and so much more.The Hub is leading the Community and Business Resilience Initiative as part of the larger ACT Now Coalition to bring other partners with us to build up community and business resilience in the Coalition’s footprint.“For decades, we’ve known the economy of southern West Virginia needs diversification. Some progress has been made on this goal, but not nearly enough,” Brandon Dennison, CEO of Coalfield Development, said about the ACT Now Coalition. “ACT Now constitutes a tangible opportunity to take a major leap forward in this generational challenge to become a vibrant, growing, diversified economy. In the wake of continued coal-job losses, nothing could be more important for our region.”Our partnership with Coalfield Development is giving us a chance to take our work to new communities and to build upon our years of experience. Working alongside Coalfield Development in this large undertaking to bring $63.8 million to communities in Southern West Virginia is validation that the work happening to uplift West Virginia communities continues to grow.

Community Feature:

The Hub works alongside communities across West Virginia coaching community teams as they come together to make transformative changes in their towns. In 2022, one town stands out for its continued work and unwavering commitment to making its community a place where people want to live, work, play, and visit.Petersburg, located in Grant County at the northernmost point of the Mon Forest, is filled with community members who want to make their town a destination. Not only have businesses opened, and stayed open, the town has transformed the way they present to the world through rebranding and outdoor recreational development.As part of the HubCAP IV program, Petersburg utilized its technical assistance to push forward with projects to bring transformative change to its community. Part of the work Petersburg worked towards was creating plans to pave a hike and bike trail that runs along the Petersburg dike. The proposed trail will run approximately three miles along the Petersburg dike and will include multiple entrances for walkers and bikers. The group secured a $25,000 grant from Senator Hamilton, which was matched locally by the City of Petersburg, the County Commission, and the Board of Education, each adding an equal share to bring the total to $50,000.This year, Petersburg witnessed a major upgrade to one of the town’s most iconic and historic structures: The Hermitage Inn. The hotel, which dates back to 1841, has been renovated and once again welcomes guests to stay the night and have a nice dinner in the restaurant.The Hermitage Inn is the first project initiated and completed as part of the Downtown Appalachia: Revitalizing Recreational Economies (DARRE) program. Seeing the old hotel returned to its majesty has been an incredible development for Petersburg adding another jewel to the downtown area.Seeing Hub communities come together to create transformative change thrills us. Community members are the subject matter experts on what their towns need. Our commitment to accompaniment and walking alongside communities as they do the hard work guides us in our work. Celebrating their victories with them gives us a moment to uplift those making the work happen.

DEI Journey:

Since 2018, The Hub has been working diligently to bring Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion into our work. For years, the organization has been working internally to expand on one of our core values: “We believe diversity creates strength.”We believe that now is a time when we must work from the ground up to commit to long-term efforts to build power through leadership development, programmatic strategies, and partnerships that commit to building power and advancing racial equity.Looking back at our organizational history, we acknowledge that our work in rural communities with populations of less than 15,000 has not reached a diverse cross-section of people in West Virginia. Because of this, we began to ask, “Who isn’t here?” when examining our involvement in communities. The social unrest in 2020 led us to examine our role in white supremacy, ableism, classism, and gender discrimination, and the ways we have perpetuated unjust systems in our communities and across West Virginia.Since 2020, our equity journey has included a staff racial equity learning series, making internal commitments to increasing our hiring and retainment of diverse staff including creating full-time Racial Equity Fellowship and VISTA positions, committing to increased coaching for rural communities of color across the state, and tackling the inherent challenges of advancing equity across the community development field within a highly rural, majority white state where Black and brown leadership has been historically marginalized and under-invested.Our belief in the power of local people to see the value and the potential of their place, and of each other, is at the core of our belief in the potential we have to build power in West Virginia to advance racial equity, inclusion, and accessibility while disrupting systems that have historically excluded some communities.We are committed to engaging in conversations to uplift communities and leaders of color to move from talk to action on why race matters in West Virginia as we work to disrupt these systems. We will support investment in Black-led organizations and rural Black leadership. And we are committed to driving public and private investments into these spaces, both organizational and geographic.


A core team led by Unleash Tygart, Inc participated in Opportunity Appalachia, receiving technical assistance to support a community development project located in an Opportunity Zone.


Core teams led by Thundercloud, Inc. and the City of Huntington participated in Opportunity Appalachia, receiving technical assistance to support community development projects located in Opportunity Zones.


A core team led by Crawford Holdings, LLC participated in Opportunity Appalachia, receiving technical assistance to support a community development project located in an Opportunity Zone.

White Sulphur Springs

Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies.


Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies.


Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies.


Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies.


Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies. 

A core team led by Woodlands Development Group also participated in Opportunity Appalachia, receiving technical assistance to support a community development project located in an Opportunity Zone.


Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies. Read their community case study.


Residents participated in the Blueprint Communities* program to engage their neighbors and co-create strategic plans for their future.

New Martinsville

Residents participated in the Blueprint Communities* program to engage their neighbors and co-create strategic plans for their future. Read their community case study.

Monticello Neighborhood of Clarksburg

Residents participated in the Blueprint Communities* program to engage their neighbors and co-create strategic plans for their future. Watch their community documentary.

Meadow River Valley Region

Residents participated in the Blueprint Communities* program to engage their neighbors and co-create strategic plans for their future. Read their community case study.

Lewis County

Residents participated in the Blueprint Communities* program to engage their neighbors and co-create strategic plans for their future.


Residents participated in the Blueprint Communities* program to engage their neighbors and co-create strategic plans for their future.


Residents participated in the Cultivate WV program to kickstart community and economy building. Read their community case study.


Residents participated in the Cultivate WV program to kickstart community and economy building. Read their community case study.

Message from our Executive Leadership Team

It has been a year of abundant opportunities and partnerships across the state, and a year that has pushed all of us to work harder, faster, and smarter – together.At The Hub, we say that “the work works when you put in the work.” This means that our approach to community-based development, and individual leadership development, really does transform local communities, especially when we all work together for the same goal, and stay committed to working together for the long haul.A growing number of towns across the state are putting themselves on the “growth map.” Princeton, Richwood, Elkins, New Martinsville, Parsons, Petersburg, White Sulphur Springs, and so many more communities we have worked with are all putting in thousands of hours of volunteer work. This commitment has helped local leaders improve their communities. These improvements can be seen increasingly through the growth of local economic and business development in each of these towns.We extend our deepest gratitude to everyone for being part of the larger Hub community as we reflect on this year’s deep impact in West Virginia communities through our work. We are thrilled to have champions who believe in our mission that every community in West Virginia can achieve economic growth when they are supported with the tools and training they need to lead and spark positive change.We believe strongly in the fact that putting in the work yourself to improve your neighborhood, your town, and our state is where true transformational change happens. With strategic partners and thought leaders like you in the work with us, we continue to be able to walk alongside community teams as they do the work to uplift their communities.Thank you to all of the community teams and leaders who are brave enough to keep showing up every day. Your determination in the face of difficult work and far-off successes is something to applaud yourself for, and celebrate together.Whether you’re volunteering on the ground in your community, sharing our stories of hope with your friends and neighbors, or attending a virtual event with The Hub, your participation in our work is what keeps it going. Thank you for all your work and support this past year, and we are excited to continue in the work with you in 2023!In Continued Accompaniment,

– WV Community Development Hub
Executive Leadership Team

Stephanie Tyree

Executive Director

Amanda Workman Scott

Director of Community Engagement

Katie Loudin

Director of Strategic Development