Judy has been the director of the WV Hive since November 2017. As the Hive director, Judy focuses on establishing partnerships and alliances that provide increased access to resources for businesses and entrepreneurs. She works with her team of business advisors, support network, and funders to bring about more effective and efficient means through which regional entrepreneurs can operate successful establishments.
Prior to her present position, Judy served as a WV Hive Regional Business Advisor. Before joining the WV Hive she was employed as an Assistant Director at West Virginia University’s National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium. There, Judy’s main roles and responsibilities included providing leadership in areas of creative direction, media relations, and management of the communications, marketing, and education and outreach efforts of the organization. Judy has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from American Intercontinental University and a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications from West Virginia University.
Judy has also served as the Principal Investigator/Project Coordinator of numerous projects and grants and assisted in the development of numerous training and workshop materials, authored and co-authored many articles for industry newsletters and publications, and spoken at numerous conferences and workshops.
As a lifelong resident of West Virginia, Peni Adams brings a vast array of business and life experiences to the West Virginia Hive Network as a Business Advisor. After receiving her Bachelor of Science degree, with a concentration in Accounting from Concord College, Peni worked as a Certified Public Accountant for over a decade. But the desire to stay home with her two children was strong, so she was able to be a full-time stay-at-home mom for six years.
Upon returning to the workforce, Peni chose to diversify her experiences. Some include two positions in McDowell County as Executive Director of the Wastewater Treatment Coalition of McDowell County and the McDowell County Economic Development Authority. The love of Economic Development was nurtured while serving in those positions. She worked as a field representative for the State of West Virginia Secretary of State and Attorney General offices for several years. As Peni traveled all over southern WV to help County and City government officials and WV consumers solve problems, many great relationships were developed and are still in place.
With strong people skills and the diversified career, Peni brings a skill set that is a perfect fit for the WV Hive Network.
Peyton is a southern West Virginia native with a desire to see the economy diversify and create new opportunities for West Virginians. He obtained both of his higher education degrees from Marshall University including a BSc in Health Sciences and a MSc in Human Resources Management. After completing his education, Peyton spent time working at State Electric Supply Company in the Human Resources department where he was responsible for day to day HR operations for nearly 800 employees across 6 states. This experience gave him practical experience in business operations and what it takes for both the employer and employee to be successful.
Peyton joins us as a Business Advisor with the intention to bring his education and experience back home to the area he loves. Peyton dually serves as Associate Director for our Country Roads Angel Network program designed to close the capital gap for entrepreneurs in West Virginia.
As a passionate West Virginia native, Mary brings a strong mix of caring and small business experience to the WV Hive Network. A recent Board Member and volunteer for the New River Humane Society, Mary has worked hard to develop standard operating procedures and innovative fundraising and outreach efforts, contributing to the rescue of over 1,800 disadvantaged animals per year. A tireless community advocate, Mary also used her role as Receiving Manager at Tractor Supply in Oak Hill to support local farmers and youth programs such as 4H and FFA.
With a background as a Rural Business Services Coordinator with the WVSU Extension Service and a Marketing Facilitator for the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, Mary is an enthusiastic problem solver, dedicated to promoting local small business development and improving the professional skills of local entrepreneurs. Her outgoing and energetic nature and deep ties to local employees, entrepreneurs, and volunteer networks in the areas of artisans, agriculture, specialty foods, tourism, and renewable energy make her an ideal advocate for the West Virginia Hive Network.
The newest member of our team, Stephanie, serves as a regional business advisor, assisting entrepreneurs and business leaders in our 12-county region.
A Beckley native, Stephanie has worked in business and workforce development, higher education, and at a southern West Virginia hospice. Her background and experience will translate into providing in‐depth business consultations to entrepreneurs, recently formed companies, and established small businesses seeking to expand, diversify, or attract new capital investment.
Sanders completed her Associate degree in Business Administration in 2003 at Valley College in Martinsburg. After many years in the workforce, she knew that she needed more education to take her career to the next level. That led her to an online program that would give her the flexibility that she needed while working. In 2020, she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Valley College.
Before coming to the Hive, Stephanie worked in a similar role at the Region One Workforce Investment Board as the Small Business Development Center Coordinator. Prior to holding that position, she was the Business Services Coordinator for Region One. Her most recent role was Career Services Advisor for Valley College Online Division, where she provided student guidance on career choices, determining skills, strengthening recruitment potential, and furthering educational opportunities.
Joining the WV Hive team in early 2019, Sandy seeks and works to secure funding for the WV Hive from various funding streams including grants and foundations. As part of the Hive, Sandy works closely with the team to understand internal needs for the Hive and external client needs and works to address these needs by securing the adequate funding. In addition to writing proposals, Sandy is also responsible for developing and managing budgets, budget adjustments and modifications, reimbursement requests, reporting for multiple funding streams, works with and produces reports from the data management systems that tracks client data, accounting, and grant and project management.
A California native, Sandy relocated to West Virginia in late 2018. Prior to moving to WV, she worked for the Emergency Management Department for her residential county. As an Analyst for the Emergency Management Department, Sandy was responsible for tracking all budgets and projects and developing procedures for internal procurement processes and tracking multiple grant budgets for the Preparedness Division exceeding over $8.5 million. Sandy has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of California, Riverside and a Master of Business Administration from University of Phoenix.
Our current AmeriCorps VISTA resident, Elise Comeaux, joins us at the WV Hive for her year of service. Her passion for sustainability and her love for Southern Appalachia made the decision of joining the HIVE an easy one. Elise grew up in South West Mississippi in a town called Natchez. But, with her parents being from New Orleans and Lafayette Louisiana, she mostly has Cajun blood in her veins. After graduating High School, Elise visited Boone North Carolina and fell in love with the rich beauty and culture of the area. She decided to move there and pursue a degree in Sustainable Development with a focus in Agroecology and Agricultural Studies. Once Elise graduated with her Bachelor of Science, she moved to Asheville North Carolina, where she worked in the service industry for several years. In 2018, Elise relocated to Memphis Tennessee, where her brother and mother now live. After two and a half years in the Memphis heat, Elise is returning to Southern Appalachia to work alongside us at the WV Hive to help promote economic sustainability here in West Virginia.