Brian Alley is the President of Carbon
Fiber Composites of Ona, it’s a business that creates prototype parts for
private aircrafts. He is one of five recipients that received financial help
from Innovate West Virginia
in the spring.
The money he received was just part of the two different grants
that were being celebrated at the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advance Flexible
manufacturing. Alley used the $10,000 he won to use the advanced flexible
manufacturing machines at RCBI.
“My use of the facilities here at RCBI
were absolutely invaluable, there are two major contracts that we are currently on in our facilities, without RCBI we would not have
awarded either one of those contracts,” Alley said.
The groups that made the grants possible
gathered to examine the work that was being done and to see what could be done
in the future. Matt Erskine is the Acting Assistant Secretary for Economic
Development for the U.S. Department of Commerce.
“Rural communities and communities
across the country are looking for those new ideas and those new engines of job
creation because the economic crisis from which we are recovering and emerging
from has changed our communities forever, the crisis in of itself has changed
our economic reality, but it also uncovered an accelerated trends that have
been pressuring our communities for decades,” Erskine said.
The two West Virginia programs that
received grants were the Southern West Virginia Rural Jobs Accelerator, which
received a combined $717,985 and the West Virginia Value Chain Cluster
Initiative which was awarded a combined $815,000 in federal funds.
winners in the Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge. The Rural Jobs
Accelerator Challenge is an effort combining the resources of the Economic
Development Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the
Appalachian Regional Commission.
“It is a multi-agency collaboration of
13 federal agencies. The three principal funding agencies - the EDA, ARC and USDA
Rural Development - working together to help accelerate the economic and job
growth across rural regions,” Erskine said.
Bobby Lewis is the State Director for
Rural Development with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and he’s originally
from McDowell County. He said it’s these new programs that counties like
“McDowell County will never be what it
was, but it can be something and I hope with your application that you can help
them find out what that something is,” Lewis said.
Brian Alley of Carbon Fiber Composites says it’s these new programs that have
allowed him and his family to achieve dreams in the business and manufacturing
world that they didn’t think was possible.
“The things that occur in aerospace
development and defense development, all of it trickles down and it’s changed
our lives. I mean we were children who grew up watching the cartoon the
Jetsons and now we live in that world and those are the things that we’re
beginning to do,” Alley said.
The roundtable discussion was organized
by Congressman Nick Rahall.