Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is highlighted in the Southern Business & Development magazine's article, "Ten People Who Made a Difference in the South." The feature cites Tomblin's economic know-how as well as his popularity.
"Call it coincidence if you want," the writeup begins, "but when Earl Ray Tomblin stepped into the West Virginia governor's office, the state's economy took off," writer Mike Randle states. "Tomblin is the only governor we know who has won two gubernatorial elections in 13 months. He became acting governor in 2010 … was elected as governor in a special election in 2011, then re-elected again in 2012. During those three years, West Virginia's economy took off like no three-year period we have covered since 1993.
"In 2011, West Virginia was home to the second-best job growth in the U.S. and No. 1 in the South and first in export growth nationwide."
Two other governors join Tomblin on the list — Texas's Rick Perry and Jay Nixon of Missouri — along with Dan DiMicco, executive chairman of Nucor Steel; John Correnti, an Arkansas entrepreneur; J. Wayne Leonard, a Louisiana energy innovator; Michael Hecht, the president and CEO of Greater New Orleans Inc.; Mike Eades, a Louisiana economic developer; Agnes Zaiontz of the Mississippi-based Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Authority; and Glen Fenter, president of Mid-South Community College.