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Leadership Logan, a networking program through the Logan County Chamber of Commerce, graduated its fifth class on Nov. 19.

LOGAN — Leadership Logan, a program through the Logan County Chamber of Commerce, graduated its fifth class Nov. 19.

Started in 2015, Leadership Logan is a networking program that showcases various parts of the local community, from government to tourist attractions, through a span of eight sessions that are held each month. This year’s sessions included county government, healthcare, education, tourism, energy, business/public relations and economic development/small business.

On June 19, during the tourism session, the participants even got the chance to buckle up in side-by-side UTVs for a two-hour ride on the Hatfield-McCoy Bear Wallow Trail System.

“I think a lot of folks are somewhat surprised by the time they finished the class that they have learned new things that they really didn’t know about their own community,” said Logan County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Debrina Williams.

The program attracts many from not only the Logan area, but from other counties such as Mingo and Boone as well. One graduate of the 2019 class even came from Iaeger, a town in McDowell County.

Shelby Porter, a 2019 graduate of Leadership Logan from Williamson, said she learned much more about the Logan area from being in the program.

“It’s been a really good place to network and meet new people,” Porter said. “I’m not from the Logan area. I live in Williamson, so this is kind of a way to branch out and get to learn the businesses and the Logan life. I like to volunteer, and I feel like this is a way to learn more ways to do that. I just like to help people and get involved in the community, and I’m really involved in Williamson, so I was looking for ways to get involved in Logan, and I thought this would be a good place to start.

Elias “J.B.” Damron, another Mingo County resident who manages the Logan and Gilbert branches of BB&T, described himself as a “newbie” to Logan County.

“I really enjoyed all of the sessions,” Damron said. “It seemed like each time I’d go, I’d think, ‘That’s my favorite,’ and then we’d go to a new one and that would be my new favorite, so I’ve enjoyed all the sessions. I really enjoyed the networking and getting to meet everyone. I had actually met with Debrina once and talked to her, and she told me that the program exists, and I was just really interested in getting into the community and getting to know people and stuff.

Caine Dials, shelter supervisor and site manager of the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia, is originally from the Chapmanville area. He said Leadership Logan has helped him connect with even more people in the local community he’s from.

“It has granted me the opportunity to connect with a lot of people in this town, in this community, and it’s been a pleasure,” Dials said. “I’ve met a lot of interesting people.”

The 16 graduates of the 2019 Leadership Logan class, along with their affiliations, are as follows:

  • Jill Collins — ResCare
  • Greg Copley — Coca-Cola
  • Elias Damron Jr. (J.B.) — BB&T
  • Madison Dempsey — self-employed
  • Caine Dials — Children’s Home Society of West Virginia
  • Stephen Green — Sure Group Inc.
  • Megan Kueck — American Institute of CPAs
  • Anthony Manns — AEP
  • Mickey Mendez — Lowe’s Companies
  • Sonya M. Dingess Porter — Logan County Sheriff
  • Shelby Porter — Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College
  • Jenny Saunders — Logan Regional Medical Center
  • Russell Saunders — Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College
  • Dylan Vidovich — Logan Banner/HD Media

Valerie Williams — WVDNR

  • Cortney Willis — Charleston Area Medical Center

Leadership Logan is funded by a tuition fee and support from local businesses and organizations. Scholarships are available. Anyone interested in participating in the 2020 Leadership Logan class will soon be able to pick up applications at the Chamber office at 325 Stratton St., in downtown Logan. For information, call 304-752-1324.