The committee heard a brief presentation regarding opportunities for West Virginia development and growth from Karen Schaufeld, CEO, SWaN Hill Top House Hotel. Lawmakers are currently in the middle of three days of traveling interim meetings at Cacapon State Park in Berkeley Springs, WV.
Schaufeld began by mentioning a favorable business tax climate, but also noted the many other factors that go into a decision to locate a business in a particular area.
She mentioned that an educated population, with an emphasis on career and technical education, is often key.
Schaufeld explained that most businesses have core principles and values that weigh heavily in decisions on where to locate. Many companies are committed to using all renewable energy to power operations by a certain date. Amazon was used as a common example of this principle.
She noted that many companies value a diverse workforce, with goals of 50 percent female employees and 30 percent people of color as an example. Companies also want employees to have access to quality healthcare, including family planning, according to Schaufeld.
Schaufeld used Pittsburgh as an example of a city that has revitalized itself from an industrial city to a diverse and vibrant city by focusing on intense collaboration with lawmakers, community organizations and leaders from a variety of industries.
She closed by emphasizing that West Virginia already has many advantages when it comes to attracting business, including location to the eastern seaboard, natural beauty and outdoor recreation.