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.
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.
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 currently serves as the Executive Director of the Fairmont Community Development Partnership where she leads the organization in revitalizing Fairmont neighborhoods through the development of affordable housing and economic development. She is a native West Virginian, a graduate of WVU’s Landscape Architecture program, and is passionate about community development from the ground up. She has 10+ years of experience as a local entrepreneur and participated as a co-lead of two of the Community Collaborative Network’s 2020 Action Teams to address West Virginia’s urgent needs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She loves strategic planning, escape rooms, and really great pens.
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.
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.
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.
Alex Weld, Wheeling Heritage
As Wheeling Heritage’s Executive Director, Alex Weld oversees operations and programs to help the organization further its mission to be a catalyst for Wheeling’s revitalization. Since joining the organization in 2017, Weld has created a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem in Wheeling. Additionally, she has facilitated activities in public space development, building preservation, and small business promotion. Alex graduated from West Virginia University with a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism, and she earned her Master of Science in integrated marketing communications from WVU’s Reed College of Media. She is a member of the boards of YWCA Wheeling, Regional Economic Development Partnership (RED), Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce, and Generation Wheeling.
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.
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.