B&E inducts three into West Virginia Business Hall of Fame

November 22, 2013
HoF Inductees
2013 Hall of Fame inductees include Wes Bush, John Mork and Mike Ross, pictured with B&E Dean Jose Sartarelli.

Three outstanding business leaders were inducted into the West Virginia Business Hall of Fame at a ceremony held at the Waterfront Place Hotel in Morgantown on Nov. 14.

The newest members of the West Virginia Business Hall of Fame are Wes Bush, chairman, CEO and president of global security leader Northrop Grumman Corporation; John Mork, president and CEO of Energy Corporation of America (ECA); and Mike Ross, energy company owner and former West Virginia legislator. 

Since 2001, the Hall of Fame has served to recognize individuals with strong West Virginia ties who have made a significant impact on the landscape of business. They must have established a record of distinction in their fiend and industry in the categories of national or international business, state-based enterprises, or entrepreneurial and family businesses. They must also have connections to the Mountain State, whether by birth, residence, education or business presence. This year's inductees continue the high standards of those inducted before them.

Before becoming the CEO and president of Northrop Grumman in January 2010, Bush served as the corporate vice president and chief financial officer of the company, and, earlier, as the president of the company's Space Technology sector. Prior to the acquisition of TRW by Northrop Grumman, he had served since 2001 as president and CEO for TRW's UK-based global Aeronautical Systems. Northrop Grumman's primary West Virginia operations are located in the I-79 Technology Park in Fairmont.

WVU's Gene Cilento, Glen H. Hiner Dean, Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, nominated Bush. "Wes has been instrumental in bringing high paying jobs to West Virginia," Cilento said of the Morgantown native, "and his efforts have brought significant recognition to the state of West Virginia."

Bush earned bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He serves on the board of directors of Norfolk Southern Corporation, as well as the boards of several nonprofit organizations, including Conservation International and the US Naval Academy Foundation. He is chairman of the Aerospace Industries Association board of governors and chair of the Business-Higher Education Forum.

Bush emphasized focus on the importance of education, values and our young people. "I have a lot of folks who pushed me very hard," said Bush, "and it really made a big difference for me."

Under Mork's leadership and headquartered in Denver, Colo., ECA is a privately held company that actively pursues the exploration, extraction, production and transportation of natural gas and oil, domestically and internationally. The company owns and operates approximately 4,600 wells, 5,000 miles of pipeline and one million acres in North America alone. Its Eastern Division, based in Charleston, W.Va., is active throughout Appalachia.

Mork served in many roles at Union Oil Company until 1972 when he joined Pacific States Gas and Oil, Inc. and subsequently founded Eastern American Energy Corporation (EAEC). Mork was president of EAEC from 1973 until 1993 with the incorporation of ECA. He holds a BS in petroleum engineering from the University of Southern California and is a graduate of the Stanford Business School Program for Chief Executive Officers.

Mork was nominated by former West Virginia Governor Gaston Caperton. Mork urged that West Virginians need to be trained to get energy jobs created by the shale gas industry, noting that state residents need to be benefactors of the natural resource located in West Virginia.

"West Virginia has a wonderful resource," said Mork, who previously lived in Glenville and Charleston, "and it's going to do wonderful things here. I am honored to receive this recognition in the state we love so much."

Mike Ross, originally from Coalton, W.Va., was the son of an immigrant coal miner and a homemaker. In 1971, Mike and his business partner, Robert Wharton, started Ross & Wharton Gas Company, which today provides livelihoods for several full-time employees and many other independent contractors throughout the Mountain State. He serves as Chairman of the Board of Mike Ross, Inc., and President of Braxton Oil & Gas Company. In 1992, he was elected to represent the 15th District in the West Virginia Senate. He served on many committees including the Rule-Making and Transportation and Infrastructure committees, of which he was chairman. He was also appointed by then-Governor Joe Manchin to fill the West Virginia House of Delegates 37th District seat left vacant in 2009 after the sudden passing of Delegate Bill Proudfoot. He is well known throughout the community for his volunteerism and philanthropy.

Ross was nominated by Stephen L. Douglas, President & CEO of the WVU Alumni Association, who called his nominee an economic leader, philanthropist, businessman and legislator. Ross said it was unlikely, but 12 of his 14 family members attended college.

"We now give money so that others can attend college," he said. "I am a firm believer that the only thing you leave this earth with is what you gave away."

"The Business Hall of Fame is a great way for the state to recognize individuals, through B&E, who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and commitment to West Virginia," said Jose "Zito" Sartarelli, Milan Puskar Dean.  "These three individuals have made significant contributions to our state, and we are honored to recognize them for their success."