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DataRobot Shows Synergy in W.Va. Development Efforts

West Virginia is emerging from the economic slumber caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, our efforts to recruit new investment into our state undoubtedly must reflect how the world has changed, and we are seeing signs of progress. Our state is adding jobs and our unemployment rate is better than the nation as a whole.

When I think about successful, long-term economic development initiatives, two words come to mind: synergy and serendipity.

The former has a lot of intent behind it, while the latter is just plain good luck.

High-tech leader DataRobot’s decision to set up shop in West Virginia is the culmination of both, and the Mountain State stands to benefit greatly from this development.

When our enterprising State Auditor JB McCuskey came upon DataRobot while searching for additional ways to enhance his already wildly successful transparency initiatives for tracking government spending, he hit gold.

Add the influence of John Chambers and West Virginia University’s resources, combined with the synergies added by the Justice Administration and the DataRobot development could be a true game-changer for us on several fronts.

A company like DataRobot choosing us means our business development efforts are authentic and true to who and what we are as a state.

As McCuskey said when the company was announced, “They wanted to come here because of who we are, not because of some ranking or us trying to be something else. … We need to make sure we are selling what it means to be West Virginians … because who we are is what they want.”

And who WE want as West Virginians are companies like DataRobot — companies that are not just investing in our state’s economy but in our people as well.

DataRobot has declared its intention to develop a cutting-edge high-tech talent pipeline by partnering with West Virginia’s community colleges and universities to upskill the state’s workforce and make them immediately employable in the artificial intelligence (AI) industry.

DataRobot also intends to use its expertise and growing partnerships within West Virginia to improve both short- and long-term health outcomes for West Virginians.

In the near term, their focus is on pandemic preparedness and response so we can harness what we have learned from COVID-19 and maximize the opportunities for positive health outcomes.

This level of commitment to West Virginia and our recovery from the pandemic cannot be understated, and the Justice Administration should be applauded for its efforts in bringing DataRobot to West Virginia.

I hope Governor Justice doubles down on DataRobot and keeps them front and center in his efforts to manage West Virginia’s COVID-19 pandemic response and recovery.

We at the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce are eager to have a new player on the team and firmly believe DataRobot will be a catalyst for health care advancement, educational attainment and long-term prosperity.

By working together, we can forge a new future for the Mountain State and show the world what West Virginia has to offer.

Steve Roberts of Charleston is president of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce.

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