The State Journal’s most prestigious tradition is the annual Who’s Who in West Virginia Business award, honoring those who have made an impact on the business climate in the state.
Dr. Jose V. “Zito” Sartarelli, former Milan Puskar Dean of West Virginia University's College of Business and Economics, was among 15 high-achieving business executives throughout the state with a 2015 award, as well as B&E alumni Chris Hamilton and Tom Jones. Jones was handed the Lorenelle White Lifetime Achievement Award.
Sartarelli was recognized not only for his business leadership,
but also for what he has done for West Virginia in terms of academics at B&E.
“It's a recognition that I have been engaged with business people in the community and throughout the state, and engaged in the major issues that affect business, industry, manufacturing and science in the state — the economic side of it,” Sartarelli told The State Journal. “To be awarded, it's a great honor because there are so many other people highly qualified to bestow this upon. I'm very thankful.”
Sartarelli was named WVU’s first chief global officer in 2013, and his accomplishments during his five years at WVU include leading more than 2,200 undergraduate students to a national ranking by Bloomberg Businessweek Magazine as one of the top 100 undergraduate business schools in the U.S.
“When one gets recognized for a job they have done, one always feels good about it,” Sartarelli said. “This recognition reflects the work of all those at B&E who have worked hard to advance business in the state. I just happened to be leading the effort.”
Also under Sartarelli’s watch, U.S. News & World Report ranked the online executive MBA program #25 in its national rankings of online MBA programs.
“It's a vibrant college, and a ranked college today,” Sartarelli told The State Journal. “Our students are starting to win competitions. That makes me so proud. When our students are winning competitions and becoming good citizens at the same time, it's a good sign.”
He said how rewarding it is to mentor the next generation of business leaders.
“There’s nothing more gratifying than to see young men and women develop themselves and graduate into great jobs or go on to get their Ph.D. It’s fun to watch them grow and become successful.”
B&E alumnus Tom Jones of United Health System earned the Lorenelle White Lifetime Achievement Award from The State Journal. As a businessman who works for West Virginia’s total wellness, his work to promote development in the Mountain State has directly impacted its residents’ physical health and economic vitality.
Jones set his sights on running a hospital when he was still studying for his bachelor’s degree in business administration at WVU, he told The State Journal. And for 12 years, he was CEO of West Virginia United Health System.
“My dream job was always to be CEO of WVU Hospitals, and by becoming CEO of the system it is part of, I was able to achieve that goal,” he said. “I was there from 2002-2014 and I had opportunities to leave, but when you get your dream job you should keep it.”
From WVU, Jones went on to receive his master’s degree in hospital administration from the University of Minnesota and began his health care career in 1973 as an assistant administrator at Wheeling Hospital; he soon rose to the post of chief operating officer. In 1990 he became CEO of St. Mary’s Medical Center in Huntington, and 10 years later he was selected to lead Genesis Hospital System.
Two years after that, he returned to Morgantown to head what would become the largest health care system in the state. Under Jones's leadership, the system, which was WVU Hospitals in Morgantown and United Hospital Center in Clarksburg, added hospitals in Martinsburg, Ranson and Parkersburg.
“The thing I'm most proud of is growing the system into the largest health care provider in the state with an annual revenue of $1.5 billion and assets of $2 billion,” Jones told The State Journal. “It employs over 11,000 people as the second largest employer in the state of West Virginia. Only Walmart is larger.”
Fellow alumnus Chris Hamilton, another recipient of Who’s Who in West Virginia Business, stepped into the coal mining industry at 18 years old to make money after high school graduation. For the years he worked underground, he simultaneously started and finished his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business at WVU, in addition to taking graduate courses at Marshall University.
Hamilton has held positions with several companies, including North American Coal Corp. and CONSOL Energy, in addition to the State of West Virginia. Hamilton now holds the position of senior vice president with the West Virginia Coal Association, where he has been for 30 years. He also has served as the chairman of the West Virginia Business and Industry Council for two years.
Hamilton told The State Journal that he didn't expect to spend his entire career in the mining industry, but is thankful for the experiences he's had over the years.
“I'm just very, very thankful, thinking back on it, that I had that opportunity in another part of my life, another lifetime ago,” he said. “The financial aspect probably drew me (to coal mining) initially, but the camaraderie and the work itself was very rewarding.”