CHARLESTON -- In recent weeks, I had the opportunity to meet with hard working West Virginians who are growing our state's private sector.

From a large employer with thousands of employees, to a small entrepreneur with less than twenty employees, their individual accomplishments are strengthening West Virginia's economic stability.

Whether through new commitments from established companies, or the birth of a new business venture, the jobs maintained and those created in West Virginia are keeping our citizens employed, putting food on the table for our families, and paying household bills.

There are often unique circumstances that lead to business development. As an example, there were many private and public entities that gathered recently for the West Virginia Summit and Expo on Homeland Security at Marshall University in Huntington.

U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller and the Discover Real West Virginia Foundation hosted the event as a means to share ideas regarding security in our ever changing world, and to discover new avenues for economic development within the security industry. I enjoyed my visit with this group as they demonstrated the skills they have acquired while also sharing their concerns for ever-evolving security threats.

It is my hope that this exchange of knowledge will further expand West Virginia's security industry and assist our state and country in becoming more vigilant and prepared for the dangers that threaten our way of life.

The road, from conception of a business idea to the opening that business' doors, is one that can be quite intimidating. Throughout the state there are business summits and conventions held to assist our private sector companies in their various fields. I encourage company leaders and founders to make use of such opportunities as one may discover a new avenue in which a business can explore and expand.

Local chamber of commerce offices are also good sources of information and assistance. At the same time, the West Virginia Development Office offers various means of business development. From the new business to the existing, the experts at the West Virginia Development Office are there to help companies seek and obtain their highest potential.

It is my goal to help West Virginia's economy expand. From our state's business tax structure to our second-to-none work force, West Virginia's business climate is improving, and the potential for economic growth will only increase as changes we have previously employed take root. While I and other state leaders will do more to lay the ground work for an improved business climate, it is the private sector leaders, innovators, and thinkers that will ultimately create and maintain employment opportunities for all West Virginians.

I am pleased to see so many businesses are taking advantage of our economic strengths and making it their own.

Tomblin is West Virginia's acting governor.

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