WVU Extension Agent –
Community & Economic Development, Summers County
In 1999, Rick Moorefield helped build Shenandoah Industrial Park in Shenandoah County, Virginia’s first industrial park.
More than a decade later, Moorefield is helping to build a different kind of park: the John Henry Historical Park in Talcott, West Virginia.
Moorefield is West Virginia University Extension Service’s community and economic development agent in Summers County. His job, however, goes beyond planning parks.
Moorefield, a Mullens native, received a master’s degree in parks, recreation, and tourism management from Clemson University in 1991. His work has taken him to South Carolina and Virginia, where he had many roles while employing his marketing and management skills to nurture economic growth in communities.
In 2004, he returned to West Virginia to serve as a WVU Extension agent in Summers County.
Moorefield’s background has prepared him to guide diverse projects, including:
- Leading efforts to build the John Henry Historical Park.
- Rehabilitating the Hinton Passenger and Freight Depots, which are being designed to provide spaces for artisans, museums, and professional offices.
- Promoting recycling.
- Developing a skateboard park in the city.
- Supporting the Safety on the Blue Festival, which provides education about safe boating practices.
Moorefield also serves as the economic development staff person in Summers County for the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority.
In that role, he is helping prepare the county for visitors who will be drawn to the region by the Boy Scouts of America’s multi-million-dollar investment named the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve.
The Summit, located in Raleigh County, will bring more than 40,000 Boy Scouts to the New River Gorge for the National Scout Jamboree in 2013 and will host the World Scout Jamboree in 2019.
Other visitors will travel to the region year-round to enjoy the Summit’s 10,600 acres of small lakes, ropes courses, zip lining, and other outdoor adventure features.
Moorefield plans for Summers County to be among the stops on visitors’ must-do lists.
So far, the Extension agent has generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to fund multifaceted projects that both improve the county for the residents and bring visitors to the area.
“‘Making Summers County a better place to live, work and visit than it already is.’ That’s my motto,” he said.