Park Leaving Marshall County for Post in Petersburg
The opportunity to work just 20 hours a month isn’t very attractive!
However, Suzanne Park agreed to such an offer 21 years ago, which brought her to Moundsville in 1998 to work for the Moundsville Economic Development Council, which was in its infancy.
Her duties then were that of marketing coordinator, and in 2001 she would become the executive director of the MEDC, a position she will be stepping down from at the end of this month.
She said, “I had degrees from Fairmont State College in business administration, (marketing and personnel) and a associate degree in retail management and real estate, along with 14 years in supervising more than 70 Stone & Thomas Store employees in stores in Fairmont, Elkins, Morgantown and Bridgeport, and that is when I ‘retired’ to raise my two daughters.”
“It was after a few years that a friend asked me if I was interested in going back to work, and I indicated that I was interested,”Park said.
“It turned out that the MEDC in Moundsville was looking for someone to do marketing for them, and I went there for the first time to be interviewed,” Park said.
“Although my only experience was in retail marketing, they offered me the position,” she added. It was to help market the former West Virginia Penitentiary, Park stated. “You call sell, instead of retail. You will be selling the opportunity to visit a piece of history.”
“On my way back to Petersburg, West Virginia, my hometown, I kept wondering, ‘how do you market a building?'”she said.
Park stated this past week, “Little did I know that two decades later that 20 hours was to become a 24/7 job/life that I have absolutely loved.”
Park said, “I learned on the job with the help of a great board of directors and a great staff, all of us were in the same boat, no experience in this field.”
The Moundsville City Council, along with the MEDC, were seeking to obtain a lease on not only the prison building but a building within the walls where inmates had made license plates and other items which they made and sold. That was a means for them to have money when they were paroled.
In addition to getting the old penitentiary on its feet, Park did work for the city of Moundsville., and it just so happened that the Fostoria Glass Co., building was sitting vacant and had become an eyesore, and the city was looking for ways that it might be useful in the future.
She added yet another position, in which she was involved in managing the promotional efforts of the National Corrections and Law Enforcement Training and Technology Center (NCLETC), and anchored public outreach program for corrections, law enforcement and public safety communities for 10 years. She directed all aspects for one of West Virginia’s largest disaster training exercises and also co-created and conducted school safety programs for the NCLETTC.
As to her 21 years with the MEDC, Park said, “This has been a great experience, and the people in the Ohio Valley have been just super. It’s been a pleasure to be able to open the doors of the Training Center for weddings, movies, blood drives, Chamber of Commerce dinners, the Elizabethtown Festival, (this year will be its 21st), and providing a place for community functions, which in turned help raise funds which they could not have done because of space. There are just too many events which this building has accommodated to name them all,” said Park.
“Of course, I cannot forget the people who came to Moundsville and to tour the prison, and those who came to the haunted house, those who toured the North Hall, and the other attractions which people were interested in. Our visitor count for the past few years has been in the 30,000 range,” Park noted.
In addition to her positions in Marshall County, Park has directed communications efforts of the 18 Public Transit Authorities that make up the West Virginia Public Transit Association (WVPTA). Her responsibilities include educating the public elected officials about the benefits and importance of public transit and working with state and national transit professionals to ensure a better information exchange on issues facing transit as indicated by the board of directors.
“I am looking forward to moving back to Petersburg where my parents, brother and many family members live,” Park said. “I have been invited to work for the Potomac Valley Transit Authority in a brand-new position. As director of communications, I will be in marketing, advertising, training, meeting with local, state and national officials, and reaching out to promote all the great programs which are offered o the five counties the PVTA serves.
In the next week Park will be stepping down not only as president of the Greater Moundsville Convention and Visitors Bureau, but as president of the Moundsville Lions Club this past year.
The Marshall County Chamber of Commerce honored her in 2017 with the Dr. David L. Ealy Community Service Award. In 2015 she was honored as a West Virginia Wonder Woman, and in 2003 Park was the recipient of the Distinguished West Virginian Award from Governor Bob Wise.
Classic rock/country music will be provided by the group Markus & James on Friday at Riverfront Park in Moundsville. The music will begin at 7 p.m., and conclude at 9 p.m.
This will be the second of six concerts arranged by the Marshall County Chamber of Commerce and sponsors Moundsville Pharmacy, the Marshall County Commission and The Green Tab.
The initial concert series featured the Ron Retzer Trio who in December performed at the White House in Washington, D.C.
Like all of the concerts, it was free, in fact, since it was Flag Day, each person in attendance received an American flag. Also offered during the final 30 minutes was free coffee by the Friends of Moundsville’s Parks and Recreation, the vendor for that particular night.
Unless you live in the western end of Moundsville you don’t see a train very often. However, on this particular night a freight train was heading south during the concert.
In fact, it stopped for a few minutes, and Ron Retzer Trio placed a train song (The Black Train) to the delight of the concert goers, and hopefully the train crew.
Also this Friday at 7 p.m., there will be an Outdoor Concert at Grand Vue Park with music by MSM.
The GVP stage is located near the Vue Bar & Grill.
Food Handler Training classes will take place at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Marshall County Health Department on Sixth Street and Court Avenue.
For more information call the health department at 304-845-7840.
Free ice cream and cake will be served beginning at 6:30 p.m. Monday on the Courthouse lawn in Moundsville.
The Marshall County Farm Bureau will prove the ice cream and cake in conjunction with its 100th anniversary.
There will also be entertainment. The public is invited to participate in the event.
Four Moundsville Middle School eighth grade students received straight A’s every 9-week periods in their three years at MMS. Those achieving this honor wer Cruz Logsdon, Tyke Muldrew, Luren Riggenbach and Sybill Willis.
These four students along with 26 others had straight A’s on every 9-week period during the past school year.
Eighth Grade — Cloey Broski, Cody O’Donnell, Kadence Pettit, Quentin Richmond, Gracie Woods and Aubrey Wyckoff.
Seventh Grade — Annadra Dudley, Tessa Hewitt, Brooke Reynolds, Aubree Robinson, Bailey Seboski, Raymond Steed, Jude Thomas, Patrica Ward, Megan Williams and Zane Wright.
Sixth Grade — Jacob Boyette, Kaden Bungard, Kaitlin Crumm, Keagan Derocchis-Wade, Maverick Lemasters, Maitlyn Miller, Wrya Pratt, Ryland Robinson, Megan Schwing, Maci Wells.
Five students this past school year had perfect attendances. They were:
Alexander Thomas and Mathieu Wright, both eighth graders; Jason Minor and Kyle Yates, both seventh graders; and Raelyn Yates, sixth grade.