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Thrasher chosen by Justice to be commerce secretary

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A successful Harrison County businessman will be Governor-elect Jim Justice’s secretary of commerce.

Woody Thrasher will be state commerce secretary in the Justice Administration.

Justice announced Tuesday that he has chosen Woody Thrasher, president of The Thrasher Group.

“For months and months, I always felt that if I were humbled by the people of West Virginia and elected governor, without any question, the number one guy I wanted to recruit was Woody Thrasher,” Justice said in a news release. “He’s been on my mind for commerce secretary for a while because he understands what it takes to diversify West Virginia’s economy. Woody totally shares my vision that what we need is a better marketing and economic opportunity surrounded by jobs, jobs, jobs for the people of West Virginia.”

The Thrasher Group is an engineering and architectural firm that Thrasher began with his father in 1983. It has nearly 400 employees, according to Tuesday’s announcement. Thrasher is also the managing partner of the White Oaks Business Park in Bridgeport. He’s also chair of the WVU Alumni Association.

According to Justice, Thrasher has agreed to turn over the operations of his multitude businesses to “trusted colleagues” so he can give back to West Virginia as part of the Justice administration.

Thrasher said Justice is the reason he decided to make the move.

“I wouldn’t have done this for anyone other than Governor-elect Jim Justice,” Thrasher said. “Mr. Justice’s passion for our people inspired me to step away from my businesses and serve the people of West Virginia the best way possible. I look forward to working with the Justice Administration to create new jobs and opportunities. Just like the Governor-elect, my top priority is to turn around West Virginia. We need to think big, and I am excited to work with Governor-elect Justice make his big economic development ideas a reality.”

With Tuesday’s announcement, Thrasher joins Jeff Sandy, secretary of military affairs and public safety, Butch Antolini, director of communications and Grant Herring, press secretary, as the those who have been announced as members of the Justice team.

Justice will be sworn-in Jan. 16.

Keith Burdette has been the secretary of commerce in the Tomblin administration.

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