AAA  Jul. 10, 2014 9:05 PM ET
Tomblin names new development group director
Jared Hunt, Charleston Daily Mail, W.Va. (MCT)
McClatchy/Tribune - MCT Information Services
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Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has tapped a Chesapeake native and Harvard University grad to lead the state Development Office’s Business and Industrial Development group following the departure of its longtime director.

Kris Hopkins will take over the division effective immediately, replacing Mark Julian. Julian has accepted a position as director of workforce and economic development for the Community and Technical College System of West Virginia.

“We are thrilled that Kris has accepted this position,” Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette said in a press release. “Kris has a great vision for expanding our marketing efforts. He is a smart, forward-thinking leader and has been an indispensable part of our recruitment efforts.”

Hopkins, who grew up in Chesapeake, earned an economics degree at Harvard and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Charleston.

After working at a Fortune 1000 company, Hopkins returned to West Virginia in 2005 to work on business development efforts in the state Development Office as manager of national accounts. He was promoted in 2008 to senior manager of national accounts.

For the past three years, Hopkins headed up the state’s efforts to attract manufacturing projects building off of the state’s Marcellus shale gas boom, including the state’s bid to attract a an ethane cracker complex. Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht last fall announced intent to build one such cracker complex south of Parkersburg.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work with Kris on several major natural gas projects, including the recruitment of the Wood County ethane cracker,” Tomblin said. “He is an extremely talented young man, and I’m confident he will be a tremendous asset as we continue our efforts to recruit world-class companies to the Mountain State.”

Hopkins lives in Cabell County with his wife Jill and their daughter Harper.

Julian has had a long history working in state government. He had been the Development Office’s workforce and labor management council director from 1981 to 1994. Before returning as director of business and industrial development in 2007, he was deputy director and chief operations officer at the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing at Marshall University.

“Throughout his time at the Department of Commerce, Mark has been a vital part of our successful efforts to attract investment to the state,” Tomblin said. “He will be missed in the Development Office, but I look forward to working with him on workforce development at our community and technical colleges — another area that’s critical to our state’s economic future.”

Contact writer Jared Hunt at or 304-348-4836.


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