Congressman David McKinley came to Alderson Broaddus University to discuss how to improve the state's economy on Monday.
McKinley led a panel discussion on how to help develop the economy in rural areas of the state.
Leaders from area businesses and industry groups were there to participate in the panel.
Both McKinley and his panelists said they see a lot of potential here in North Central West Virginia.
"We can't all be coal miners and drillers. We've got to find other ways of being able to have our young people have job opportunities. So we think that this is, if we can foster that, the research, use our colleges and universities, to collaboratively work together. What else can we do?" asked McKinley.
Area businesspeople like Travis Ernst, COO for Blackheart International in Philippi, said events like these are great ways to build the connections that help them thrive.
"Especially as a small business, we continue to hire local people for the work that we do, and some of the things that we're looking for we can't always find around here, based on our industry, so this gives me a chance to network a little bit as well," Ernst said.
The panel included representatives from groups like CONSOL Energy, Mylan, and WorkForce West Virginia.
McKinley said he'll take the ideas he hears back to Washington with him as he continues to support and promote the state's development.