Northern Panhandle business leader nominated for Brownfield award

A member of the West Virginia development community has been nominated for the Brownfield Renewal's 2014 Person of the Year.Pat Ford, executive director of the Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle, was nominated for the national honor because of his extensive work on brownfield redevelopment in Brooke and Hancock counties.In the past five years Ford has been involved in redeveloping nearly 900 acres of brownfields, attracting more than $70 million in investment and creating roughly 1,200 jobs. The BDC also received $1.5 million in grants to assist with brownfield projects.During that same five-year period, the region's unemployment rate dropped almost 4 percent, much of it due to opportunities created by industry taking advantage of the availability of reclaimed land.Ford was recognized by the Wall Street Journal in 2012 for closing the “Deal of the Week” through an innovated and creative public-private partnership wherein the BDC acquired the former Wheeling Corrugating plant in Beech Bottom, which included more than 600 acres as well as the half million square feet building. Brownfield Renewal magazine featured the new partnership paradigm that paved the way for the acquisition of the former steel mill and two other abandoned factories in the northern panhandle of West Virginia.Voting, which ends Nov. 7, is open to anyone who subscribes to the Brownfield Renewal newsletter at