Interview with Secretary of Commerce Woody Thrasher

Harrison County businessman Woody Thrasher was named Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Commerce by Gov. Jim Justice in December 2016. We spoke to him recently about the future of the West Virginia economy. Thrasher is the former president of The Thrasher Group, an engineering and architectural firm in Harrison County that he started with his father in 1983.

RCBI: What are your priorities as Secretary of Commerce?

Thrasher: To be very clear, it is to create jobs in West Virginia. It is a simple message, but how do you do it? When you look at West Virginia, certainly one size does not fit all. I have, for the sake of simplicity, put it into two categories, and they respond to different deficiencies that we have within the state:


SkillsUSA students competing at RCBI

BRIDGEPORT -- Students from across the state will demonstrate their advanced manufacturing know-how at the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI).


RCBI receives grant for coding camp

March 2, 2017

HUNTINGTON — The Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) has received support from a national foundation for its coding camp for young people.



RCBI starts after-school coding club

Feb. 22, 2017

HUNTINGTON -- The Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) is launching an after-school Coding Club on March 7 in Huntington.


Lewisburg innovator wins W.Va. Vanguard Ag competition

CHARLESTON -- Nima Shahab Shahmir of Lewisburg has won the 2017 West Virginia Vanguard Agriculture Design Competition for his environmentally sustainable packaging made from the roots of fungi. Shahab Shahmir’s Future Fungi uses mushroom mycelium to grow organic recycled products and materials in just two weeks.


W.Va. entrepreneurs selected for business accelerator at RCBI

HUNTINGTON Entrepreneurs selected for Ten50, West Virginia's Business Accelerator, are spending the next three months learning how to turn their startup concepts into solid business operations.



RCBI makerspace wins national prize


HUNTINGTON — The Robert C. Byrd Institute’s innovative makerspace won a national award from Bernzomatic, the leader in handheld torches.


RCBI receives Governor’s STEM grant

Jan. 19, 2017

HUNTINGTON — Financial support from the West Virginia Governor’s office will support the Robert C. Byrd Institute’s popular summer camps, which encourage young people to explore opportunities in advanced manufacturing fields.


Open houses will spotlight machinist skills program

Jan. 18, 2017

BRIDGEPORT — The Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) is hosting open houses to highlight its Machinist Technology/CNC Program.


RCBI to host VEX Robotics tournament

Jan. 13, 2017

HUNTINGTON -- Student-designed robots from across the region will do battle as the VEX Robotics Competition expands to Huntington during a January 21 tournament sponsored by the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI).