Brad D. Smith
President of Marshall University, Co-Founder of the Wing 2 Wing Foundation and former executive leader. Powering possibility and leveling the playing field through education, entrepreneurship and equal opportunity.
In 2021, Brad D. Smith and his wife Alys launched the Ascend West Virginia remote worker incentive program through their Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative (OEDC). As a West Virginia native with a lifelong passion for giving back to his home state, Brad was inspired to create an initiative that would share the wonder of West Virginia with those living beyond its borders and entice more individuals to call it home. Two years have passed since the launch of Ascend, and in that time, the program has experienced overwhelming success and momentum for the future.Read Article
On September 13, 2023, online retailer Amazon announced its appointment of Brad D. Smith to its board of directors. Brad joins the board as a member of the Audit Committee and his appointment marks him as the board’s twelfth member. In the announcements, Brad is noted for his diverse and extensive experiences as an executive leader.Read Article
The 2023 West Virginia Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting and Business Summit featured the announcement of First Ascent — a program developed through Ascend West Virginia — by Brad D. Smith and Gordon Gee. As the presidents of Marshall University and West Virginia University, respectively, Brad and Gordon understand the need to retain the talent coming out of local universities and, in turn, the positive impact these graduates can have on the state’s future.Read Article
Public lands are portions of land owned by the general population and managed by the federal government. According to the Congressional Research Service, approximately 640 million acres of U.S. land is federally owned across the country. In West Virginia — a place famously nicknamed “Almost Heaven” for its natural splendor — about one fifth of the state’s 15.5 million acres is publicly owned. These public lands are accessible to anyone, giving the general public space to connect with nature and learn about local wildlife. An advocate for West Virginia’s environmental and economic development, Brad D. Smith has taken steps to encourage his fellow mountaineers to embrace, appreciate and utilize the state’s natural resources and beauty.Read Article
The next generation of employees entering the workforce brings enthusiasm, drive and agility born out of global disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic and rapidly changing technological environment. Despite facing unprecedented challenges, young people today are continuously noted as maintaining a positive outlook on the world and striving to make a positive impact in hopes of creating a better future for all. Their life experiences and status as digital natives position these members of up-and-coming generations as great mentors. Who better to understand how to approach the future than those who will be living in it?Read Article
When it comes to leveling the playing field of opportunity among people, education is a critical component. Studies from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that people who receive higher education are more likely to earn a higher income than those who do not. Data from the Bureau also indicates that the unemployment rate is much higher for people who receive less education – specifically, those who do not have a high school diploma. With education having a significant impact on a person’s employment — and subsequent financial and economic stability — it is essential to increase access to educational opportunities for the greater health of historically underserved communities, including those in West Virginia.Read Article