West Virginia is in my blood.

When coal was king, my ancestors were miners in the New River Gorge. Chances are you can imagine them right now, trapped in black and white photographs. Hard hats, dirty overalls, faces covered with coal dust and hopelessness. 

People who aren't from West Virginia - at least those from outside of Appalachia - have many negative preconceived notions about the state and its residents. It's unfortunate for the state. It's unfortunate for those people. 

The truth is, it was fatigue on my ancestor's faces, not hopelessness. My people loved coal mining. Loved the challenging conditions. Loved the hard work. Like 99% of West Virginians, they were some of the most colorful, charming people you'd ever have a chance to meet. Coen Brothers movie colorful. They lived in beautiful parts of the state on small homesteads that looked like Thomas Kinkade paintings.  But it's very hard to dispel the harsh, black and white, West Virginia images from the collective consciousness of Americans. That said, I have faith that BVK will find a way to celebrate the state's - and my family's - past, along with creating excitement in the present, resulting in a positive paradigm shift for West Virginia's future.

We know that coal isn't king anymore and tourism has the potential to take the throne. I really want to help you make that happen. No other director will care as much about creating a successful campaign for West Virginia. No other director will work harder for you. I can't help it. It's the West Virginia in my blood.

Thank you for considering me,                                                                                                                                                        Michael