The Coalfield Development Corp.
He's a blessed man, says Brandon Dennison.
Having a rewarding career that motivates you — and a new bride — will do that for you.
Dennison and his wife, Ashley, were married in September 2013.
"Social entrepreneurship is something that really excites me," he said. "It's an idea of taking what's best about private business, efficiency, responsiveness to consumer demand and profitability and blending it with what's best about more charitable organizations like caring for others and improving people's lives, helping communities and being ‘others' minded.
"It blends those concepts into a social enterprise. The organization operates as a successful business — it earns a lot of its income but it does so for a social purpose and for a positive community outcome."
As executive director of The Coalfield Development Corp., Dennison began working on his business plan while in graduate school.
"Our mission is to create quality homes for people, quality jobs for people and ultimately, quality lives through the quality of life," he said. "In earning a lot of our own way, it means that we're not dependant on grant programs and federal dollars. That's really liberating because it's more competitive than ever to get funding. It helps us achieve our mission.
"We deconstruct abandoned buildings with our trainees," he explained. "It is done instead of demolition. So rather than throwing it all in a landfill, we take it apart, piece by piece. Then we resell, recycle or re-use 80 percent of the materials and then we make products from it, like coffee tables, book shelves, desks, all types of furniture items. We re-sell those, and all of the proceeds go back into the job training program."
Doing things a bit differently is something that gives Dennison great pride.
"What I've learned, it's not really about changing as much as getting back to the really good values that are special about West Virginia," he said. "Things like self-sufficiency, hard work, a close knit community, creativity and closeness to the land.
"I think the key to the future is getting back to our values."
Dennison completed his undergraduate at Shepherd University and his graduate work at Indiana University.
"After you're gone for a while, you get a hankering to come back," he said.