The workforce is the essential component of a thriving economy and economic experience—but finding the right candidates for your business and retaining them can be a challenge. 

Hosts, Jim Matuga and Laura Seybold, sat down with Patty Showers Ryan, President of Your Community Foundation of North Central West Virginia; Chuck Olsson, Chief HR Officer of First United Bank & Trust; Kow Okyere Eshun, Vice President of Civil & Environmental Consultants; and Frank Ford, Co-Owner of Mountain Steer Meat Company.

The panelists are among a number of highly-trained specialists in their respective fields and are hoping to cultivate a stronger small business economy in the future of West Virginia.

Patty Showers Ryan, a previous guest on the Positively West Virginia Podcast, had this to say about her involvement in the North Central economy, “Our work involves endowment funds, long term funds that benefit the community, and funds that are invested to provide grants and scholarships in North Central West Virginia.”

The Your Community Foundation grants and scholarships provide a wealth of opportunities to the next generation of movers and shakers in the state of West Virginia, impacting our growing economy from the top-down.

“The mission of the HR department is to enrich the lives of our employees through development administration resources,” said Chuck Olsson. “[This] develops and retains people who live by our values, create our culture, and drive the bank’s mission.”

Olsson cites a drying application process and the Great Resignation as two major impediments to recruitment and retention. In other words, where have all the workers gone?

“The flow of applications has almost dried up,” said Olsson. “A lot of our recruiting discussions and strategy to combat this has been about the culture of our organization, emphasizing [it], and putting a strong effort into impressing them [with it].”

COVID-19 was a primary stimulus to the increase in workplace resignations, which has affected the consumer experience and the working environment. While hundreds of thousands of small businesses went out of business due to state-enforced mandates, hundreds of thousands more could as a result of an empty workforce.

“We’re trying to show value,” said Eshun. “We’re trying to retain the [employees] we have. People are leaving because they don’t feel valued.”

To follow the panelists’ stories and learn more about each company, visit,,,, and