Executive Director Jake Dougherty Resigns From Wheeling Heritage

WHEELING — Wheeling Heritage Executive Director Jake Dougherty is leaving his job to pursue a law degree.

Dougherty announced his resignation this week, and Wheeling attorney Arch Riley will take over the position in mid-August.

“I’ve always been interested in law, and it has become clear to me just how important the understanding of law is,” Dougherty said. “I’m interested in going to learn some more.”

He will be attending law school at the University of Pittsburgh beginning in the fall.

Dougherty has served as executive director of Wheeling Heritage since 2016, when the organization merged with Re-Invent Wheeling. He previously had served as director of Re-Invent Wheeling with its formation in 2013.

Dougherty termed his experience overseeing the beginning of a renaissance in Wheeling “amazing.”

“Our organization and the community as a whole are poised for great things,” he said. “The experience has been rewarding. So much is happening here … and it is all so good. It’s been a great and incredibly rewarding experience, and a great time filled with great people.

“It has been a tough decision to leave, but I believe it’s the decision that’s right for me”

Dougherty described the philosophy of Wheeling Heritage as building platforms to allow Wheeling and its residence to showcase themselves and area assets.

This led to the establishment of “Show of Hands” events — quarterly programs allowing aspiring entrepreneurs to convince the public in a party setting why their ideas for their business deserve funding. Those attending then vote to determine which presentation was best, with the winning entrepreneur taking home a minimum of $4,000 for their project.

Wheeling Heritage also championed the passage by the West Virginia Legislature of state tax credits for those wanting to rehabilitate historic buildings downtown.

“The Show of Hands and the historic tax credits were so critically important to the organization,” Dougherty said. “They give us the ability to tell the story of Wheeling. We have a rich history, and it is so vital to who we are. That’s why telling them is so important. “

He hopes more projects will be coming to downtown Wheeling “that are quite exciting.” He said he will always be available to help out Wheeling Heritage when needed, “but not in any formal capacity.”

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