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M.B.A. program is hosting an issue forum on energy March 25 in Martinsburg

ISSUED: 11 March 2015
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — The Shepherd University M.B.A. program will offer the public a chance to learn more about energy as it relates to West Virginia’s economy during a forum planned for Wednesday, March 25, at 7 p.m. at the McFarland House, 409 South Queen St., Martinsburg.

The forum, titled “Flipping the Switch: The Business of Energy and West Virginia,” is coordinated by the Student M.B.A. Advisory Council and will include a panel discussion featuring Mike McKenchnie, president of Mountain View Solar in Berkeley Springs; Corky DeMarco, executive director of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association; and Chris Hamilton, senior vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association. Hoppy Kercheval, vice president of operations and host of Talkline at West Virginia MetroNews, will moderate the discussion.

This will be the first of what the M.B.A. program hopes will be an annual event encouraging community dialogue on current issues, policies, and events that impact business in West Virginia. While there is no gas drilling or coal mining in the immediate Eastern Panhandle area, Julia Krall, chair of the student advisory council, expects interest in the forum to be high.

“There are definitely issues in this part of the state related to natural gas drilling that members of the community will be interested in finding out more about, including the potential for waste disposal from other parts of the state,” Krall said. “What forms of energy we’re using and what natural resources are being used to produce those forms of energy definitely impacts all of us.”

Dr. Chip Zimmer, assistant professor of business administration and M.B.A. graduate program coordinator, said planning an event like this gives students real hands-on experience and networking opportunities that will translate to future careers.

“Any type of organizational planning and event development is critical to managers’ careers because that’s what managers do all the time. Whether it’s a big event, a little event or just a meeting, managers have to have that ability to do that,” Zimmer said. “They’ll also have the opportunity to meet politicians, entrepreneurs, and successful businesses leaders that they wouldn’t ordinarily meet.”

The forum is free and open to the public, but registration is required. To register go to For more information, contact Krall at There are also plans to live tweet the event. Those who can’t attend can follow on Twitter @ShepherdMBA.

Listen to the interview with Dr. Chip Zimmer MBAPanelForum2015.

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