Office of International Initiatives Advisory Committee

Employment Experience: President/CEO - Chamber of Commerce of the Two Virginias; Adjunct Professor - School of Criminal Justice - Bluefield College - Dates Employed Jan 2012 – Present; Trust Administrative Officer - First Community Bank; Commercial Relationship Manager - Bluefield, WV - First Community Bank, N.A.; Financial Services Advisor - First Century Bank, N.A.; Judicial Law Clerk - West Virginia Supreme Court.

Education

  • Graduate of Bluefield College with a B.S. degree in Psychology and Radford University with a B.S. in Criminal Justice/Pre-Law
  • Juris Doctorate (J.D.) Degree from Regent University, the Robertson School of Law
  • Certified Trust and Financial Advisor (CTFA)
  • Graduate of American Bankers Association Graduate Trust School at Emory University and Cannon Financial Institute’s Trust School
  • Certified NFL Player Contract Advisor - National Football League Players Association



Service and Club Positions and Awards: District Grants Chair for Rotary District #7550; District Foundation Chair for Rotary District #7550; District Major Gifts Chair for Rotary District #7550; District Assistant District Governor for Rotary District #7550; District Major Gifts Chair for Rotary District #7550; Rotary District #7550 - Rotarian of the Year; Rotary Club of Princeton - Rotarian of the Year; Rotary Club of Princeton - Volunteer of the Year; Rotary Club of Princeton – President; Rotary Club of Princeton – Treasurer; Participated in multiple Zone Training events

Jim Ferguson has an extensive background in the restaurant industry. He has served as City Manager of Bluefield, West Virginia, and as a Law Enforcement Officer too. He has been past President of Bluefield’s Rotary International and a Paul Harris Fellow. He is a Rotary Leadership Institute faculty member and has served as a District Rotary Leadership Institute Chair. He has participated in Polio Immunization Day in India and participated in clean water and sanitation missions to Ghana.

A native of Bluefield, WV, educated at Bluefield High School, Davidson College, Université de Montpellier (France), University of Virginia (Law). Practicing lawyer in West Virginia and Virginia, former Bluefield City Solicitor and City Judge. Member, Summit Players, CASE WV Board of Directors, Center for International Understanding Board of Directors, former president, Windy Mountain Learning Center. Elder, First Presbyterian Church (Bluefield). Exchange and international students host 1998 to date.

Although a native of New York City, I found my passion for the international arena at Bluefield State College. It was at BSC that the world would open for me as I was allowed, in 1964, to design my own study abroad program at the University for Foreigners at Perugia, Italy. Shortly after graduating from BSC, I was employed by Alitalia Airlines which eventually led to a posting in Rome for eight years as Director for United Airlines. It was my magical moment. After having spent 35 years in aviation, I am honored to be able to advise and give back to BSC and its student body.
Godspeed to all......

Colonel Harry C. Marson V, a native of Elkins, West Virginia, graduated from WVU in August 1995 with a Liberal Arts Degree in Interdepartmental Studies and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Medical Service Corps. Following his commissioning, he graduated from the AMEDD Officer Basic course and was assigned to the 46th Forward Support Battalion and 1st battalion 17th Infantry Regiment at Fort Wainwright, Alaska. While serving in Alaska, he held the positions of treatment platoon leader, medical platoon leader, C company officer and HHC executive officer.

Upon graduation with a master’s degree in military arts and science from the School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS), he returned to the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and served as a company commander and battalion executive officer. From June 2013 to June 2015, Colonel Marson served as the Commander of the International Special Training Center, Pfullendorf, Germany. Following his command in 2015, he assumed Command of Special Operations Command Forward Central Africa, in Entebbe, Uganda until July 2016. In 2016 Colonel Marson was assigned as the Special Operations Branch Manager in the Senior Leader Development, Colonels Management Division in Crystal City, Virginia until July 2017. Colonel Marson than attended the Marine Corps War College in Quantico, Virginia, and graduated with a master’s degree in military art and strategic studies in June 2018. Cecil is the City Manager of Bluefield, West Virginia.

Kitt McCarthy is the owner of the Bluefield Inn in Bluefield WV. She was born in Mexico and raised in Japan. Kitt has a diverse background as an attorney, educator, financial analyst and marketing professional. She has served on numerous National Boards and has been active with assisting and housing foreign students.

Joe Manzo is originally from Northeast Pennsylvania but lived through middle school and high school in New Jersey following the closure of the anthracite mines. He earned his undergraduate degree from Missouri State University. After completing his military service, Joe earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Kansas. He was employed as a Professor of Geography at Concord University, where he also recruited international students throughout East Asia. For twenty years he served as the Co-coordinator of the WV Geographic Alliance. He was responsible for bringing over one million dollars in grant money to improve geographic education in West Virginia. In 2005, Joe was voted the West Virginia Faculty Member of the year. Joe has published in American and international educational journals. He has children and grandchildren in Charlotte and Seattle. He resides with his wife Sharon in Athens, WV.

Sharon Rowe earned her BS degree from Louisiana State University and has completed ESL graduate coursework at Hamlin University (St. Paul, MN). A member of several higher education discipline honorary societies, she has served higher education as an instructor of English as a foreign language for over 20 years prior to her retirement as Instructor of ESL at Concord University (Athens, WV). She is the past president of the Wheeling, WV League of Women Voters and past president of the West Virginia League of Women voters. She has presented at ESL professional conferences and presently resides in Princeton, WV.

Stephen Rowe is retired following 50 years' service to higher education. With an AB in English, MA in English, MS in Information Science, and Ph.D. in Medieval/Renaissance Studies, his career in higher education includes classroom instruction and academic administration to the vice presidential level. Professional publication has included both creative writing and discipline scholarly articles. As a grant writer, his funded grants total over $30M. He has advised domestic and international institutions as a consultant and presently serves as a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission and part-time vice president of the Concord University (Athens, WV) Research & Development corporation.

Jim Spencer is Director of Bluefield, West Virginia’s Community & Economic Development and since 2019, he is Executive Director for the Bluefield WV Economic Development Authority (BEDA). Jim has set up Bluefield’s Commercialization Station, a mixed-use incubator focusing on manufacturing; he has developed “shovel-ready” pads on City-owned property at Exit 1 off Interstate 77, acquired two Opportunity Zone designations for Bluefield and the City of Princeton, WV. His other entrepreneurial programs and endeavors include “E2E” program and attracting Intuit’s “Prosperity Hub” which will bring 200 – 500 jobs to the City’s Historic Downtown. BEDA is working with Intuit to develop the MyBluefield Small Business Success Center which will provide training, resources and support for entrepreneurs, startups and existing businesses. Jim won the Small Communities, Business Solutions 2021 Advocate at the Third Annual Small Communities, BIG Solutions Conference, which showcased West Virginia successes and highlighted what is working across the state’s 21 most southern counties. He has taught for VA Tech in various programs for over 10 years and participated in the InBIA’s Rural Entrepreneurship Webinar Series in November 2020. Formerly, as Tazewell County’s Public Service Authority Administrator and County Administrator, Jim raised substantial revenues for water, sewer, broadband, landfill expansion, economic development, and building projects, which earned him praise and recognition by former Governors of Virginia.

Pete Sternloff is an owner and partner in the Ye Olde Ugly Duckling Antiques and Rare Books in downtown Bluefield. Prior to that he had a successful career as an innovative marketer in the auto and trucks parts supply businesses. He has been a performer and promoter of blues, jazz and blue grass music for decades in Mercer County. He is a native of Mill Valley, California, and a graduate of the University of California Santa Barbara.

Pete served as an officer the United States Air Force from 1963 through 1967 and was discharged with the rank of Captain. A Vietnam Veteran, Mr. Sternloff received the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service in a combat zone while serving in Vietnam. Pete served as a member of the Bluefield, WV Board of Directors for four years. A member of the American Legion, a life member of the Vietnam Veterans of America, a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and a life member of Disabled American Veterans, Pete is a former president of the Bluefield, WV Lions Club and an active member of the Downtown Merchants Association as well as the Downtown Neighborhood Association. Pete regularly hosts Fulbright Scholars and professionals from emerging democracies who study tours are coordinate by the Center for International Understanding, Inc. for the Congressional Office for International Leadership.

Marvin Woodie, Jr. is President of Conn-Weld Industries, LLC. Marvin leads Conn-Weld armed with 35 years of experience and a clear vision focused on growth. Before becoming president in December 2020, Marvin served as vice president of field operations for Conn-Weld. As head of sales and marketing since 2003, his team has delivered industry-leading customer service. Marvin is the driving force behind Conn-Weld’s diversified market portfolio. Under Marvin’s direction, Conn-Weld has extended their reach globally in 35 countries. During his tenure, Conn-Weld’s manufacturing footprint has grown to include new product lines such as the multi-slope vibrating screen. In addition, Marvin further developed the corn-wet-milling industry for various applications, thus empowering his team to achieve great success for Conn-Weld.

Marvin began his career with Conn-Weld in 1986 as a project engineer. His design-thinking was soon put to use in product development. In 1985, he graduated from West Virginia University with the Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering.

OII Advisory Committee’s Meeting Minutes