Rockefeller Says Three WV Business Leaders Invited to White House for Jobs Bill Event

Jobs Bill Would Help More than 25,000 Out of Work West Virginians Find Jobs and Provide Tax Cut of About $1,240 to West Virginians


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Jay Rockefeller today praised three CEOs of West Virginia businesses who were invited to the White House today to participate in President Obama’s press conference on the newly released jobs bill, which would provide significant rewards for West Virginia’s residents and businesses.

Chris Yura, CEO of SustainU based in Morgantown; Craig Hartzell, CEO of Azimuth based in Morgantown, which also has offices in Fairmont and Whitehall; and Judy K. Sheppard, the President/CEO of Professional Services of America (PSA) Inc. based in Parkersburg, participated in the President’s press conference.

“It’s a testament to the relentless work ethic of West Virginians that three of our business owners were invited to the White House today.  I couldn’t be more proud of them.  Not only have they built successful companies, but they also chose to keep those businesses in West Virginia,” said Rockefeller.  “For too long, many West Virginians have been out of work and struggling to pay their bills.  This jobs plan could provide needed relief for thousands of families while helping boost our economy and local businesses.”


According to the White House, the jobs bill would impact West Virginia by:

  • Reforming unemployment insurance which could help put 25,000 long-term jobless workers in West Virginia back to work and extend the program to prevent 7,500 West Virginians from losing their benefits in the first six weeks;
  • Cutting the payroll tax for 30,000 West Virginia businesses and for families so that a typical household in the state with an income of around $40,000 would received a tax cut of about $1,240;
  • Creating at least 3,100 local jobs because of investments in highways, transit, rail, and aviation modernization projects;
  • Supporting up to 2,600 educator and first responder jobs to help states and municipalities avoid and reverse layoffs;
  • Generating as many as 2,100 jobs because of investments in school construction to modernize at least 35,000 West Virginia schools;
  • Creating jobs for 800 adults and 1,200 youths in West Virginia through the Pathways Back to Work Fund;
  • Investing in modernizing community colleges so that they can meet the workforce demands in highly technical and growing fields; and
  • Enabling construction workers to rehabilitate and refurbish hundreds of thousands of vacant and foreclosed homes and businesses.



About SustainU:

SustainU is a leading producer of high quality apparel using fabrics made from 100% recycled materials that are manufactured in the USA to provide extraordinary comfort and wear, while reducing environmental waste, carbon emissions and water use.  Its mission is to change the way clothes are made to improve the environment, reinvigorate America’s manufacturing sector, and educate the world about how clothing can positively impact people’s lives.

Mr. Yura participated in the launch of Our Time’s Buy Young campaign in Washington in July which gathered America’s top young entrepreneurs for a discussion on entrepreneurship and job creation with Congressional leadership, White House officials, and distinguished business leaders.


About Azimuth:

Azimuth is a leading electronic and software engineering firm that does the bulk of its projects for the U.S. Department of Defense, as well as other federal agencies and federally-funded projects.  It is a founding member of the West Virginia High Technology Consortium.

Mr. Hartzell received Ernst & Young’s 2003 West Virginia Entrepreneur of the Year award in the Defense and Security category and the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Small Business Person of the Year in West Virginia in 2010, among many other awards.  He also served on the Board of Directors of the National Veterans Business Development Corporation.


About PSA:

Established 1989, PSA is focused primarily on staffing and human resources.  In the last five years, PSA doubled its size and today is an $11 million corporation.  PSA has contracts or subcontracts with 29 different federal agencies to fulfill a wide diversity of needs and services for the agencies.  It has contract employees in over 40 states and has offices in Washington, D.C.; Gulfport, Mississippi; Chicago; and Fort Bliss, Texas.

Ms. Sheppard was named West Virginia’s 2011 Small Business Person of the Year by the SBA.  She was also was honored as the Ernest & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003, Minority Entrepreneur of the Year in 2004, and Small Business of the Year in 2005, among many other awards.