SMPS Pittsburgh and Morgantown Area Partnership present ‘The AEC & Dr. Gee’


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) Pittsburgh Chapter, in conjunction with the Morgantown Area Partnership (MAP), presented “The AEC & Dr. Gee” event on Tuesday, Aug. 3, at West Virginia University.

Russell Rogerson, president and chief executive officer of MAP, sat down with Dr. Gordon Gee, president of WVU, to discuss the significant economic development that is happening in North Central West Virginia and how that impacts WVU, the community it serves, and the Pittsburgh region. Kimberly Ridenour, who is on the SMPS board, said the focus of the discussion was on the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry.

Today, SMPS, in conjunction with the Morgantown area partnerships has brought together Dr. Gee and people in the AEC industry to talk about development in North Central West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania and how those two can create synergies and moving forward with the development in the area.”

Kimberly Ridenour, Society for Marketing Professional Services

Rogerson, who runs MAP, said that he felt it was important to partner with SMPS because he sees North Central West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania as economically linked.

What’s good for one is good for the other, so they need to consolidate their efforts as it relates to the AEC industry, he said.

“Honestly, business knows no boundaries, and Pittsburgh is, you know, our closest large market,” Rogerson said. “And so, we interact with them very, very well as they do with us, so it’s really one region. And we talk regions you have the county, you have counties, you have states. But, really, Western Pennsylvania and North Central West Virginia are truly one larger region.”

Rogerson and Ridenour said that the idea to have a meeting of minds was first brought up two years ago. In fact, the first in-person meeting was slated for 2020. However, the COVID-19 pandemic prohibited them from meeting as intended.

AEC Industry insiders networking during the luncheon

Both said coming together to share ideas about the future and to assess the reality on the ground is important for the AEC industry. There are very few people more suited to talk about the economic outlook of the region than Gee, so they were glad to have him on board.

“Dr. Gee has been very pivotal in the development of the Morgantown region as well as the development of the Morgantown Area Partnership in bringing construction projects to the area with the development of WVU, WVU Medicine as well as other parts of the region,” Ridenour said.

Rogerson shared Ridenour’s sentiments and said Gee is an important voice in the region and was a crucial addition to the in-person gathering.

It’s excellent. Dr. Gee is, obviously, a world-renowned individual for many things. He’s a great visionary, and so we’re really excited to be able to sit down with him and have this conversation and to get his viewpoints and what his future forward-looking points of views are to help us all understand where we need to go to continue to make this area a better place to live, work and play.”

Russell Rogerson, Morgantown Area Partnership

Now that the in-person meeting has, finally, happened, SMPS and MAP said they hope to turn this into an annual event. The Annual Morgantown Luncheon Program, as it’s called, will be a chance for industry insiders from the region to gather, share ideas and, also, look to the future.

“It’s important,” Ridenour said. “Construction is a big part of the economy and moving forward with that economy post-COVID, it’s important to be in-person. Obviously, a lot of people are vaccinated and feel comfortable with coming out and having that in-person connection. And Dr. Gee brings a great element to the table and his forethought and what he’s been doing here. And it’s important to have that perspective moving forward.”

Ridenour said she is appreciative of WVU’s involvement in the luncheon and to partner with MAP.

“We’re really appreciative, Dr. Gee was very happy to work with SMPS and the Morgantown Area Partnership in putting this event on,” she said. “We’ve been planning this event for almost two years.”

Rogerson said he, too, was grateful for WVU’s assistance. He added that he was grateful for SMPS’s involvement and that he looks forward to working with the Pittsburgh chapter on more endeavors.

“I just want to thank SMPS because, you know, they’ve ventured into our market a couple of years ago and in terms of being able to put an event like this on,” Rogerson said. “And I just think it, really, shows how strong a regional effort we have and by working together we all benefit.” 

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