September 28, 2011
Kim Craig likes to set the record straight about his home state. The 1977 finance/accounting graduate believes that many people in the nation's other 49 states have mistaken notions about West Virginia.
Born and raised in Clarksburg, W.Va., Craig graduated from Washington Irving High School, and during his formative years, saw a strong work ethic, determined people and positive aspirations. However, he also moved several times during his childhood, and he learned that not everyone knew what he knew firsthand.
"When you get outside of West Virginia, you hear about how 'disadvantaged' we are," he said. "For some reason, the world sees us as an underdog. To some extent, it's true, but much of this is just misconception. Regardless, I've always used this positively, to heighten my own determination and resilience. It's something you have to have and show to people outside the state. If you don't give people the facts, they make them up."
Craig has been a member of the College's advisory board for more than 10 years during two separate terms. He was chairman of the group for three years and believes that determination and resilience is paying off for the College, too.
"I believe the renewed vision the new dean has brought is the best thing that has happened to the College in some time," he commented. "Jose Sartarelli is extremely focused and targeted, and during his first year or so, his planning and execution has been flawless."
Craig, who is president and CEO of F.N.B. Wealth Management, was on the search committee that select Sartarelli in 2010. He said in addition to the dean's positive direction for the College, its faculty and staff have been a solid foundation.
"In view of all the changes that have been necessary, our faculty has been very engaged and embraces the new vision," he said. "Change isn't easy. We go through this in corporate America all the time, and it's not easy. But the B&E faculty and staff have rallied around the new direction the dean is taking the College, and it's working."
Craig decided to major in business because of his family's company, Craig Motor Co., in Clarksburg. However, his first job after graduation was in Moorestown, N.J., for the Burlington County Trust Company, now part of PNC. He returned to West Virginia for a job at the Blueville Bank of Grafton, then to the First National Bank of Morgantown. Later he served as executive vice president of Promistar Financial Corp., before appointment as president and CEO of Promistar Trust Co. in May of 1990.
Looking at the current financial uncertainties of not only the United States but also the world, he believes a solution will require some new thinking that will bring about a new comfort level for businesses, investors and citizens in general.
"There are some unique issues and challenges that beg for significant changes in a lot of our monetary policies. We can't do it the way we've always done it," he said. "I'm not blaming anyone, but there's a lack of confidence now—we're not sure, there's a lot of discomfort and way too much uncertainty."
The problems are multiple and complex, he commented, and will require "creative solutions globally."
"This is not about what we are going to do but what all of us are going to do," he said. "When will it change? I don't know."
His advice to students is to be positive and follow the West Virginia work ethic model.
"Absorb every morsel of knowledge, surround yourself with others from whom you can learn and grow," he said. "And remain focused on your desired path of accomplishment and be confident in your abilities to achieve whatever your dream. WVU will well prepare you with the academic grounding to be competitive and make a difference."