Program Prepares Future Leaders

WHEELING — For the past 20 years, residents of the Ohio Valley have had a unique opportunity to learn about the Wheeling community — and how to better serve it.

The Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce sponsors Leadership Wheeling to “expand the leadership potential of individuals chosen from all sectors of the Wheeling Metropolitan Area,” according to chamber President Terry Sterling.

The program commences in January and concludes in May. Through 18 sessions, participants will be exposed to various lectures and tours, including trips through the McElroy Mine and DeNoon Lumber Co.

Topics of discussion at the meetings may include government affairs, Wheeling’s history, education, culture and arts, media and health care.

Sterling said meetings are held all over Wheeling, including the chamber office, the Wheeling Catholic Heritage Center, West Virginia Northern Community College, Wheeling Jesuit University and other locations.

WesBanco Commercial Lender Tanner Russell completed the Leadership Wheeling program in 2006 and is now the program’s chairman. He said he is “honored to be a part of it” and believes that this program can help turn out future leaders for the Friendly City.

“This is a way to find individuals who are showing leadership qualities already. These individuals can help improve the overall state of Wheeling,” Russell said.

Each year the group travels to Charleston during the legislative session. They see how the House and Senate operate and have lunch with the governor. They also have the opportunity to meet the Speaker of the House.

According to Sterling, about 500 people have completed this program and well over half are still residents of the Ohio Valley.

“If you look at nonprofit boards, local elected officials, large and small business people in a variety of capacities, most are graduates of this program,” he said.

Those interested in participating in Leadership Wheeling can call the chamber at 304-233-2575. Applications are due Friday, and classes are limited to 25 people. Selected people will be notified shortly thereafter.