The 2022 class of the West Virginia Business Hall of Fame recognizes four visionary leaders who have transformed the business landscape of the Mountain State through their illustrious and groundbreaking careers in manufacturing, engineering, pharmaceuticals and an iconic West Virginia business.
Announcing the newest inductees:
- Joseph Eddy, retired President and CEO of Eagle Manufacturing Company and Executive Vice President of Justrite Safety Group;
- Albert Lewis, President of Glass Inc. International;
- Elizabeth McIlvain, President and CEO of the Fiesta Tableware Company; and
- David Simmons, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PPD, Inc.
“We are honored to tell the success stories of four established leaders as we welcome them into the Business Hall of Fame,” said W. Marston “Marty” Becker, chairman of the Hall of Fame Committee. “Throughout their careers, these individuals have revolutionized the work of their respective industries and truly exemplify our West Virginian spirit and values.”
The event is hosted by the West Virginia University John Chambers College of Business and Economics to honor pioneers with strong ties to West Virginia who have made significant and lasting contributions in entrepreneurship, leadership and innovation. The Business Hall of Fame is part of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting and Business Summit at The Greenbrier.
Over 21 years, the Hall of Fame has recognized 76 business leaders in myriad industries who live and work both in our state and across the world. This year’s inductees include:
Eddy grew up on a cattle farm in Friendly, West Virginia, before he made his way to the top of the engineering field. He recently retired as president and CEO of Eagle Manufacturing Company and executive vice president of Justrite Safety Group after integrating the operations of these two world-class manufacturers when Justrite acquired Eagle in 2018.
Over his 24 years at Eagle, Eddy’s work ethic and business acumen helped grow the 126-year-old Wellsburg company into one of the leading manufacturers in the world. Under his leadership, Eagle doubled its product offering, incorporated 3-D printing, grew its capacity and footprint and grew its employee team.
Eddy is active on several boards and frequently speaks at industry events and to the media about energy and economic development. He also gives back through youth mentorship and philanthropy in his hometown of Wheeling, Eagle’s hometown of Wellsburg and across the state and nation. Among his accolades are The State Journal’s “Who’s Who in West Virginia Business” in 2013 and West Virginia Executive’s 2017 Sharp Shooter Award.
Eddy earned a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from Marietta College and completed advanced studies at the University of Wyoming and University of Chicago.
Lewis was born into a coal mining family and grew up in Morgantown, West Virginia. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps in World War II and the Korean War. He earned a business degree from West Virginia University, where he completed WVU’s ROTC program and met his wife of 72 years.
His career began in Morgantown at Sterling Faucet and then Houze Glass, where he started his lifelong career in glass fiber technology and business development. In 1968 he founded Glass Incorporated and in 1973 Glass Inc. International, and he continues to serve as owner and CEO. The company licenses glass fiber and glass-making technology and provides research, engineering and consulting services to the glass industry. In addition, they have built 30 glass and glass fiber manufacturing facilities across the world.
Lewis holds 27 U.S. and international patents in glass technology and chemistry, including the development of high-temperature glass fiber using recycled glass for commercial and military aircraft. He counts his as his most exciting research for its life-saving potential. Lewis and his wife, Doris, believe strongly in giving back, which is why they established the Helen Lewis Medical Research Foundation to help the people of West Virginia and WVU.
McIlvain was born in Newell, West Virginia with slip (liquid clay) in her veins. A member of the fourth generation of the Wells family to own and operate The Homer Laughlin China Company, now known as The Fiesta Tableware Company, Liz joined the company shortly after graduating from Bethany College. She held various supervisory roles in the plant, culminating as superintendent of the hotel division plant before taking a break from her professional life to raise her three daughters, two of whom now work for the company.
McIlvain rejoined Fiesta in 2007 as a vice president and became the first female leader of the company in 2013, succeeding her brother. Under her leadership, The Fiesta Tableware Company and the iconic Fiesta® brand have flourished, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the company and 85th anniversary of Fiesta® in 2021.
Simmons, a native of Wheeling, West Virginia, served as chairman and chief executive officer of PPD from 2012 until 2021 when Thermo Fisher Scientific acquired the company. At PPD he led a global workforce in the design and execution of drug development programs on behalf of pharmaceutical industry customers. Under his leadership, PPD’s total enterprise value more than tripled and the number of employees more than doubled. Simmons was named the recipient of the Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., Excellence Award by The Carlyle Group in 2017 for exemplifying leadership excellence.
Simmons came to PPD following 15 years at Pfizer Inc. as president of the emerging markets and established products business units. Simmons began his career in the steel industry with Wheeling-Nisshin Steel based in Follansbee, West Virginia. Born and raised in Wheeling, he earned his bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics and industrial management from Carnegie Mellon University.
Simmons serves on the boards of directors of Cordis, an innovative cardiovascular medical technology company, and CURIA, a biopharmaceutical manufacturing company. He serves as an Operating Partner with Hellman & Friedman, a leading private equity firm, and as a senior advisor to Abingworth, a leading life sciences venture capital firm. He is an active philanthropist, serving as leader of the Simmons Family Foundation and a trustee of the Linsly School in Wheeling.
The honorees will be inducted formally into the 2022 class of the West Virginia Business Hall of Fame during a ceremony to be held Thursday, September 1 as part of the annual West Virginia Business Summit at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs. For registration and more information, please visit: https://business.wvu.edu/alumni/business-hall-of-fame.
CONTACT: Heather Richardson
Assistant Dean for Strategic Communications
WVU John Chambers College of Business and Economics