Jeremy Jones and Shane Whitehair are the Barbour County Chamber of Commerce Members of the Month in August. Jones is the general manager of Northern West Virginia Gas Operation for CONSOL Energy in Jane Lew. Whitehair is the executive director of the Region VII Planning and Development Council based in Buckhannon.
Over the past decade, Jones held several positions with CONSOL, including serving as general manager of the Noble Joint Venture as well as the general manager and manager of processing compression for Southwest Pennsylvania Gas Operations.
He was a production coordinator, project engineer and assistant maintenance engineer for CONSOL's Virginia gas operations where he began as an engineer trainee at the Buchanan Mine in Oakwood, Va.
A native of Beckley, Jones holds a degree in mechanical engineering and an associate's degree in electrical engineering from Bluefield State University. He is a member of the board of the West Virginia Natural Gas Association and the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce.
CONSOL Energy is a Pittsburgh-based producer of coal and natural gas. The majority of its employees and operations are located in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
"In 2012, our overall economic impact in West Virginia alone was $ 3.9 billion," Jones said. "There are both coal and gas operations in north central West Virginia with offices in Jane Lew. Overall we have 9,000 employees, 4.2 billion tons of probable coal reserves, and 4.0 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves. Our core values are safety, compliance and continuous improvement, with safety our number one value. We aim to keep our employees and contractors safe, while maintaining safety and compliance for the citizens and communities where we operate."
A native of Buckhannon, Whitehair graduated from Buckhannon-Upshur High School and earned a bachelor's degree in business from Marshall University.
He joined the Region VII Planning & Development Council as a community development specialist in 1999, became regional development director in 2000 and was appointed executive director on Jan. 1, 2013.
Region VII is one of 11 planning and development councils established by 1972 enabling legislation, which comprise a statewide network of cooperating organizations to provide a strategic array of services in support of community and economic development, planning and inter-government cooperation. Region VII is one of our largest regions and one of the most rural, Whitehair says. It has a total of 31 jurisdictions covering the seven counties of Barbour, Braxton, Gilmer, Lewis, Randolph, Tucker and Upshur and the 24 municipalities therein.
Over the years, he said, Region VII has been involved with developing the several communities within Barbour County, including assistance for the Belington Industrial Park, Philippi-Barbour County Regional Airport, Philippi water treatment plant and several water and sewer extensions into the county's rural areas. In the last five years, Whitehair says, the Region VII Planning & Development Council has brought more than $25 million into Barbour County for community and economic development projects.