POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Development Authority feels the odds are in its favor with its choice of a new director.
John Musgrave, a resident of Point Pleasant, and former director of the West Virginia Lottery, has been appointed to the position.
Musgrave, who only retired from the West Virginia Lottery as its director in October, didn’t stay retired for long. He said members of the development authority approached him about the position and he decided to step into the role, reconnecting with the organization he was an integral part of in the early 1990s.
Musgrave has continued to be a voice for Mason County since then and has been involved in many economic development projects throughout the area for years. He is a former mayor of Point Pleasant, and from 1981 to 1995, he held several high-level administrative positions with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including associate administrator of the Rural Development Administration, and special assistant to the undersecretary of agriculture.
His resume also includes serving as regional director of the Rural Development Administration for the seven-state Mideast Region. He was a state director of the West Virginia Farmers Home Administration from 1981 to 1992. He was named director of the West Virginia Lottery in April 1997 by Gov. Cecil Underwood.
Musgrave has also served as acting cabinet secretary of revenue in 2003-06, 2010-11, and was again appointed as deputy secretary of revenue in 2013 and continued to serve in this position with oversight for the Alcohol Beverage Control Administration, Athletic Commission, Racing Commission and the Lottery.
Musgrave also led the lottery through a paradigm shift in 1994 with the addition of video lottery, limited video lottery in 2001, and table games in 2003. The successful implementation of these programs collectively set the largest milestone in West Virginia Lottery history when the it reached its first year of record sales totaling more than $1 billion in 2003. Under Musgrave’s leadership, the lottery continued to generate revenue above the $1 billion milestone.
Musgrave brings decades of experience in all levels of government, from local to state to federal — this is something he definitely feels is a unique advantage he brings to the director’s position.
Musgrave said his immediate goal is to “re-establish the structure” of the position with the purpose of building upon the “good work” that’s already been done prior to his arrival. On Friday, he met with Mason County Development Authority board members, as well as business leaders and local elected officials, to discuss what he hopes to bring to the table. The discussion included talks on infrastructure, the role of natural gas in the energy market and more.
Something Musgrave said had been hindering Mason County was a lack of a four-lane highway, which is now under construction with the completion of U.S. 35.
“Route 35 has been the key,” Musgrave said, adding that completion is critical to manufacturing and without it, the area was dealing with a real hindrance to economic growth.
“We are very pleased to have John Musgrave back and working for the people of Mason County,” Mason County Commission President Tracy Doolittle, who was at Friday’s meeting, said. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this job. We will all be supporting him in his efforts to bring jobs and economic growth to Mason County.”
Through all the moves in government, Musgrave has remained a resident of Point Pleasant and stressed his commitment to, and understanding of, the area. Musgrave said in the coming weeks he’ll be developing and discussing specific goals he has in mind as director. More on these goals in upcoming editions of the Point Pleasant Register.
Musgrave can be reached at 304-675-1497. Assisting him at his office in the 300 block of Main Street, is his executive assistant Lana Kersey.
The Mason County Development Authority attempts to stimulate and promote the expansion of all kinds of business and industrial activity to provide maximum opportunity for employment for residents and economic stability for the county.
Editor’s note: Some biographical information for this article provided by the West Virginia Lottery. Reach Beth Sergent at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.