Owner/Operating Manager, Mountain Funeral Group LLC, Clarksburg, 36
On his first paying job:
"I folded pizza boxes at 5 years old. My mom worked at the pizza shop, and I got to play pool and the jukebox. I got a penny a box."
David Bolyard wants Mountain Funeral Group to be the one business families turn to in times of sadness and loss.
"It's a very rewarding profession, to help people at such a crucial time," said Bolyard, Mountain Funeral Group's operating manager. "We try to stay two steps ahead so when they think of something, we're already doing it."
Bolyard grew up in Newburg and attended Fairmont State University and the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science. He worked for Taylor Funeral Home for about four years through college and after graduation. Bolyard went to work for Davis Funeral Home in Clarksburg then Bartlett Funeral Home in Grafton before moving to Tennessee to take a job in banking, which was something completely different for him.
Bolyard moved up the banking ranks in Tennessee and joined Bank of America in management while earning several performance awards. Bolyard transferred to Virginia in 2005 when his grandmother became ill so he could spend weekends at home in West Virginia. When his grandmother died in 2006, Bolyard decided he needed to return home.
"It was a domino effect for me," Bolyard said. "I think coming back and following my dream is my greatest accomplishment."
He opened his first funeral home in Newburg in 2007 and expanded from there.
"We have assisted living facilities and rentals. … We're more than just a funeral home," he said.
Mountain State Funeral Group consists of six funeral homes in North Central West Virginia and two assisted living facilities.
Bolyard said he's learned from every experience he's had, and he returned to West Virginia with different eyes after living in Tennessee and Virginia.
"There is so much opportunity here," he said. "So many things are going to happen in the near future to put us at the level we should be."
Bolyard has help from several family members at his businesses, and said he's able to use a lot of technology the industry typically avoids, such as video and Internet.
"It's not work when you enjoy it and you like helping people," he said. "I've had a job where you're just an employee, but when you own your own company, you look forward to going to work every morning."