CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Commissioner Leonhardt released the following statement after the announcement of the retirement of current Cedar Lakes Conference Center Director and former State Senator Karen Facemyer. Facemyer had served as the head of Cedar Lakes since May of 2017. Her last day will be Friday, December 31, 2021.
“Karen has done a wonderful job leading the Cedar Lakes facility through a pandemic, as well as bringing the facility into the modern era. Through her effort, we have made vast improvements while also increasing revenue. Cedar Lakes is in a better situation thanks to Karen.”
Cedar Lakes Conference Center was transferred to the WVDA in 2016 from the West Virginia Department of Education. It is the home of the WVFFA and serves the local communities by providing recreational and training opportunities. The facility originally opened in 1955.
“The State of West Virginia owes a debt of gratitude to Karen. She has served her state and the Ripley area for many years now. We at the WVDA congratulate her on her retirement and wish her the best in her future endeavors,” Leonhardt said.
Under Facemyer’s leadership, Cedar Lakes has made numerous renovations to multiple buildings including completing a multi-million-dollar Assembly Hall expansion. Upgrades to the sewer system, as well as the Dining Hall have also been completed. In addition, Facemyer has worked to manage the two main lakes at Cedar Lakes through aeration systems. Lastly, Cedar Lakes has worked to improve internet connectivity, handicap accessibility, as well as marketing efforts over the five years.
Karen Facemyer Full Biography:
Karen Facemyer has served as the Director of the Cedar Lakes Conference Center since May of 2017. Cedar Lakes is the largest recreational facility in Jackson County and is owned and operated by the WVDA. The facility has a maximum capacity of 600 guests and hosts a variety of retreats, conferences, band and 4-H camps, banquets and specialty classes. It is home to the Mountain State Art & Craft Fair, which started in 1963.
Facemyer previously served as the President of the Polymer Alliance Zone of West Virginia. The Polymer Alliance Zone, focusing on Wood, Mason and Jackson Counties in West Virginia, has one of the largest concentrations of high technology, specialty and engineering polymers production and manufacturing companies in the world. In her role as president, Facemyer worked to retain and expand the region’s industrial base and market West Virginia as an ideal location to grow the polymer industry. During her tenure she significantly increased the organization’s membership, successfully recruited new companies and managed the growth of a 165-acre Polymer Technology Park.
Facemyer obtained a master’s degree in education from Marshall University and her undergraduate degree from Glenville State College. She also served four terms in the West Virginia House of Delegates and was elected in 2000 as a member of the West Virginia State Senate where she served three four-year terms. During her West Virginia legislative service, Facemyer served on the Finance, Transportation, Agriculture, Banking & Insurance, Economic Development, Energy, Industry & Mining committees.
In 2002, Facemyer was chosen as one of 40 emerging state leaders from across the nation to participate in the Henry Toll Fellowship Leadership Program sponsored by the Council of State Governments. The National Association of Professional and Executive Women (NAPEW) selected Facemyer into the registry for “Women in Excellence” in 2008 and in 2009 the NAPEW honored her as “Woman of the Year” in Economic Development. Facemyer is married and lives with her husband in Ripley, West Virginia.
The West Virginia Department of Agriculture protects plant, animal and human health through a variety of scientific, regulatory and consumer protection programs. The Commissioner of Agriculture is one of six statewide elected officials who sits on the Board of Public Works.