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WVU’s Brad and Alys Smith Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative appoints King as Ascend Lewisburg experience coordinator

Ryan King

West Virginia University’s Brad and Alys Smith Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative has appointed Ryan King as the experience coordinator for Ascend Lewisburg.

A Lewisburg native with family roots in Greenbrier County for more than 200 years, King is eager to begin a new chapter introducing the Ascend WV cohort to town. The experience coordinator plays a role in fostering a community of remote workers that are selected for Ascend WV, from helping them get settled in the mountain state to leading them on outdoor adventures and team building activities. King is already working with Lewisburg community leaders and business owners to create the local experience that applicants are eager to find when they arrive. Currently, applications for the first Lewisburg cohort are under review.

“I can’t wait to welcome the first cohort to Lewisburg and help them build a community here,” King said. “There’s something powerful about Appalachia that I hope they’ll fall in love with – and Ascend WV has given people a sense of calling to this place. Give me a big vista, a campfire and let’s watch West Virginia come to life at sunrise.”

The Ascend WV program, developed in partnership with the State, targets fully-employed individuals currently living outside the state who can work remotely from anywhere and want to be part of a contemporary, experience-driven lifestyle. Outdoor enthusiasts or young families who are inspired to help create a more diverse, inclusive and purposeful community will be given preference in a competitive application process. Between the first two Ascend communities Morgantown and Lewisburg, more than 10,000 applications have poured in to be part of the program. Even more is expected when the third community, Shepherdstown, opens applications next year.

King attended Hampden-Sydney College before entering the Marine Corps and serving our country through multiple deployments. In 2014, King came back to his roots and began work as a Program Manager and Senior Business Development Officer at the Summit Bechtel Reserve, an outdoor adventure facility. This work allowed him to grow his understanding of community building through adventure recreation and offered the chance to spend time with the Collaborative’s Science Adventure School for 6th grade students each fall.

“We are thrilled to have Ryan bring his talents and passion to WVU through the Ascend program where he will soon welcome the first cohort into the Lewisburg community,” said Danny Twilley, assistant dean of the Brad and Alys Smith Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative. “I believe Ryan’s deep roots in the area will help others find their home in the Lewisburg area, support local business and create a positive impact in this already vibrant place through developing community, purpose and a connection to the outdoors.”