Giving Back: State’s expats can always return with jobs

Perhaps there will be some advantage after all to the number of sharp young minds that have left West Virginia in search of brighter futures. At least some of them never forgot their homes among the hills, or stopped thinking about how to help it reach its full potential, too.

In southern West Virginia, residents are looking forward to a move by Intuit Inc., maker of products such as TurboTax and QuickBooks. The company officially launched its “prosperity hub” in Bluefield this week. It says the project will bring hundreds of jobs to the region.

The Mountain State had an insider helping make this one happen.

Brad Smith was born in Huntington, grew up in Kenova and graduated from Marshall University. He then embarked on a career that has taken him all over the country. He was president and CEO of Mountain View, Calif.-based Intuit from 2008-2018 and now serves as executive chairman of its board of directors.

Among the features of the hub will be a “customer success center” for product support, and an innovation lab to help entrepreneurs and small businesses with financial literacy and other skills. That is precisely the kind of employer West Virginia should be working to attract.

Intuit is not stopping here, of course. The focus of this project is all of Appalachia, with similar hubs going up in Wise, Va., Johnstown, Pa., Morristown, Tenn. and Hazard, Ky.

Imagine if a few other West Virginia expats who have worked their way up to influential positions in successful corporations were also able to take advantage of the opportunity to do something important for our state’s economy. We know they are out there. Imagine if just a few more decided to do what they could to make West Virginia the kind of state they would never have wanted (or needed) to leave.