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In the News

The latest news from the Smith OEDC

Active outdoor activities can change your career and your life, says Danny Twilley

West Virginia University Assistant Dean Danny Twilley is passionate about encouraging people to spend time outdoors. In this episode, Danny says research shows that active outdoor leisure can support creativity and a sense of connection, as well as health and happiness. He says getting outside can help you recover from work stress, promote well-being and stimulate learning. Even taking a 20-minute walk in a city park can help you unwind.

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Huguenin named director of Ascend WV

West Virginia University’s Brad and Alys Smith Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative has appointed Emily Huguenin as the director of Ascend WV.
With a wealth of experience in team leadership and program development, Huguenin’s experience is an asset to Ascend WV as the program expands into new locations and additional initiatives take West Virginia’s talent attraction and retention programming to new heights.

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A year later: $25M gift to WVU fosters flywheel effect for West Virginia’s outdoor economy

The Brad and Alys Smith Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative continues to build momentum one year after the couple’s transformational $25 million gift to West Virginia University. The namesake office the Smiths created is starting to see momentum from a concept the Smiths have instilled in the team— the flywheel effect where constant effort compounds until movement forward is second nature.

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Coalfield Development’s ACT Now Coalition Chosen As Finalist In EDA’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge

Coalfield is leading a coalition called ACT (Appalachian Climate Technology) Now. It consists of more than 20 public and private partners working to expand emerging climate resilient sectors of the local economy. The Coalition includes the state’s two largest cities (City of Huntington and the City of Charleston) as well as its two largest universities (West Virginia University and Marshall University), and some of the most innovative community and economic development nonprofits in the state...

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WVU names Edwards to lead development of outdoor recreation infrastructure

“Edwards gained quite the reputation in the trail building community and is known for the care and effort he places into design, with special attention to sustainability and working with the topography of the land. He brings this knowledge, experience, and creativity with him as he seeks to reimagine trails in West Virginia that will shape the state’s communities for years to come. ”

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Leveraging WV’s Outdoor Assets

“Danny Twilley, Ph.D. and assistant dean of the WVU Brad and Alys Smith Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative, explains to host Sheila Hyland how this talent and retention program helps the state through supporting remote professionals and their families who relocate to the state in pursuit of a high quality, outdoor lifestyle.”

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Trails in the Making

“As far as trail-building, the primary effort this season has gone into the beginning stages of a several-mile shared-use trail system on WVU property at West Run—trails that will open officially in the spring. The Smith OEDC hired the International Mountain Biking Association’s Trail Solutions team and Appalachian Dirt out of Thomas to do the grading and initial cut-in, which prepared the surface for finishing work by volunteers.”

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