8th Grade Business Luncheon – Making a Career Out of What You Love to Do
On Thursday, March 9th. The Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB,) along with the Pocahontas County Schools held the 29th 8th Grade Business Luncheon at Snowshoe Mountain Resort.
The luncheon is designed to give students from Marlinton Middle School and Green Bank Elementary- Middle School who are about to enter high school a chance to dress up a bit and receive career information from local business leaders.
The students arrived at the Allegheny Lodge Conference Center at 9:45 am and were welcomed by Cara Rose of the CVB and Patti Duncan, the Chief Operating Officer of Snowshoe Mountain Resort. Luci Mosesso, the WVU 4H Extension Agent conducted an icebreaker exercise for them.
The students were then divided into smaller groups which rotated between three breakout sessions. Those featured:
- Mickey Valach of the resort, who talked about opportunities available to live and work in Pocahontas County, Natures Mountain Playground.
- Amy Lovell of the Monongahela National Forest who discussed careers and opportunities with the Forest Service.
- And Rachel Taylor of Frostmore Farm, who told them about career opportunities in Agrotourism.
Following these sessions, the students went to the Al Dente Restaurant in the Mountain Lodge where they were served a great lunch.
Some of the local business and political leaders who attended, and sat intermingled with the students were Marshall Markley, Superintendent of Cass Scenic Railroad State Park; Debbie Workman of City National Bank; Tim McClung and Debra Parker of First Citizens Bank; Kendall Beverage of Pendleton Community Bank; Erica Enquist of Snowshoe; Ruth Taylor, who first started the tradition of the 8th Grade business Luncheons thirty years ago; Lauren Bennett of the Pocahontas County Parks and Recreation; and County Commissioners Walt Helmick and John Rebinski.
Following the meal, Dave Simmons of First Tracks Reality delivered the keynote address to the students.
Simmons said that he still remembers when as an 8th grader he attended the first 8th grade luncheon, He asked the gathered students to raise their hands if they love to ski, which a number did. He then went on to say:
“I love to ski too,” said Simmons. “I am credibly passionate about it, and I have been for a really, really long time. That’s kinda what I want to talk to you about today is how I harnessed my passion for something, and have now been able to create a livelihood here in Pocahontas County specifically around that thing. That thing is skiing.”
Simmons described how he started skiing when he was six years old and joined the Snowshoe Ski Team when he was fifteen years old. When he was 16 years old, he overheard some older kids at a PCHS football game say that Snowshoe was hiring ski instructors, so he applied, and was hired. He remembers that he couldn’t believe he was to be paid to do something he loved to do, and he still today teaches skiing part-time. He said he taught skiing part time even when he spent 4 years at WVU. He said he graduated with an accounting degree, but since the busiest time of the year for accountants is January, February and March, which is also the best skiing times, he decided to not be an Accountant. After failing to get accepted into law school, he returned home and resumed teaching skiing at Snowshoe while he figured out what to do next. While there someone told him Snowshoe was hiring Construction Sales Associates, so he applied and was hired. As a result of this job, he obtained a Real Estate License, which eventually led to his very successful career with First Tracks Reality, allowing him to work and live at the place that has always meant so much to him, Snowshoe. Using his life, as an example, Simmons challenged the students:
“I want you to think about this question -no now -you can think about it now, but think about it in general,” Simmons said. “What’s your skiing? What’s your passion? What makes you tick? What do you do when you have free time and ‘lets go do this?’ What is THIS? It doesn’t have to be skiing; That’s what it was for me – is for me! But, in this county, if you are willing to be creative, there’s a lot of opportunities. I am not saying you have to be a passionate ski-loving freak like me. But, what’s your Ski? Is it horseback riding? Is it carpentry? Is it running a chainsaw? Is it building stuff? Is it mountain biking? You can make a career out of anything!”