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W.Va. Defense Industry Alliance launches website

September 5, 2017

The Herald-Dispatch    Sep 3, 2017

CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Defense Industry Alliance, developed with the goal of facilitating job and economic growth for state vendors involved in the defense industry, has launched its online platform at www.wvdia.org

The website showcases information about the historical and current roles that West Virginians have played in supporting our nation’s warfighters and will work to bring together state vendors and contractors to build defense industry growth opportunities, according to a news release.

The WV Defense Industry Alliance, an initiative led by West Virginia University and supported by TechConnect West Virginia, was formed as part of a comprehensive project studying the defense industry supply chain in the state.

 “The WV Defense Industry Alliance is comprised of leading defense contractors in the state, who are working with us to grow the sector,” said David Satterfield, director of asset development for WVU and principal investigator for the project. “There is a very diverse mix of defense contractors and activity in West Virginia, and we’re working to identify as much of that supply chain as possible.”

He said that while defense spending in West Virginia is not as obvious as in other places, it is significant. Defense spending in West Virginia in FY2015, the last year for which full numbers are available, was $527 million, according to the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment.

“Ultimately, we want to help the defense sector develop resiliency and grow so that it contributes even more to the state’s overall economic vitality,” Satterfield said.

Anne Barth, executive director of TechConnect West Virginia, said West Virginia workers historically have played an important role in arming U.S. military. The cited the Harpers Ferry rifle factory that was the target of John Brown’s 1859 raid, the birth of the petrochemical industry in the Kanawha Valley during World War I and manufacturers supplying weaponry and technology in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment funded the work to study the impact on the state of reduced defense spending nationally, with a goal of mitigating effects that any downturn in spending will have on the state’s economy.

To learn more, visit www.wvdia.org. or contact Anne Barth at 304-444-2918