By JULIA ROBERTS GOAD
WILLIAMSON - A Mingo County native who returned home to the Mountain State after an illustrious career in the military and in education has joined the Board of the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority.
Retired Four-Star General Robert “Doc” Fogelsong was sworn in by MCRA Board Member Paul Pinson at the Authority’s last meeting.
Fogelsong will contribute his experiences from a wide perspective to the MCRA.
The general earned the degrees BSc, MSc and PhD at West Virginia University in chemical engineering in 1968, 1969 and 1971 respectively. He holds an honorary Doctorate in Strategic Intelligence, and is a Distinguished Alumnus of West Virginia University He was selected by the West Virginia Education Alliance as a Graduate of Distinction and was selected by the West Virginia Executive Magazine as the Patriot of the Year for 2005.
Foglesong served as president of Mississippi State University from 2006 to March 31, 2008. In addition, he currently sits on the board of directors of several corporations and is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations.
Since 2006, Fogelsong has headed the Appalachian Leadership Academy and Educational Foundation, an organization annually responsible for the college education and mentoring of approximately 40 West Virginia students at Marshall University, Shepherd University and Concord University.
He and his wife Mary are the parents of two adult sons.
Foglesong as appointed by the Mingo County Commission to replace Steve Kominar, who was chosen to become Executive Director of MCRA upon the death of the Mike Whitt.
Often called a visionary for the county, Whitt had served as Executive Director of the Authority since shortly after it was created in 1989. Under his leadership, such projects as the King Coal Highway, Air Transportation Park, fish hatchery, Wood Products Industrial Park and the ongoing coal-to-gasoline plant were created.
During Whitt’s tenure, Mingo County was also recognized for its economic diversification, creative use of post mine land.
The project that has been the centerpoint of MCRA, the county’s Land Use Master Plan, was the brainchild of Whitt, and served as an example for other West Virginia counties to emulate.
Leasha Johnson, Deputy Executive Director of MCRA, worked closely with Whitt for eight years, said she thinks Gen. Foglesong is a good fit for the Redevelopment Authority.
“We’re very honored and fortunate that General Foglesong accepted the appointment to the MCRA’s board of directors,” Johnson said. “I’m certain that his passion for Mingo County and his visions for growth and opportunity will serve the Authority well as we strive to continue Mike’s objective of making this a better Mingo County, as he always said, ‘for our children and our grandchildren’.”