The 2020-‘21 class of the West Virginia Business Hall of Fame honors a group of pioneers and visionaries who have transformed the business landscape of our state and inspire us to move West Virginia Forward.
This class of inductees includes:
- Gregory A. Burton, Executive Chairman of Encova Mutual Insurance Group;
- Harry “Hap” Esbenshade III, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Mountain Company and Laurel Management Group;
- Arthur Gabriel, co-founder, secretary, treasurer and president of Gabriel Brothers;
- Diana Lewis Jackson, president and founder of Action Facilities Management.
“We are delighted to be welcoming these West Virginia success stories into the Business Hall of Fame,” said W. Marston “Marty” Becker, chairman of the Hall of Fame Committee. “These individuals have made substantial impacts in their respective industries and truly exemplify our West Virginian values.”
Sponsored annually by the West Virginia University John Chambers College of Business and Economics, the Business Hall of Fame is part of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting and Business Summit at The Greenbrier to honor and recognize those with strong West Virginia ties who have made a significant impact on the business landscape.
Over the last 20 years, the West Virginia Business Hall of Fame has honored 72 individuals from a variety of business sectors and from various parts of the country and world. This class of inductees includes:
Burton became chief executive officer of BrickStreet Mutual Insurance when the company launched in 2006, and he has served as the executive chair of the Encova Mutual Insurance Group, formerly Motorists Insurance Group since April 2017. He was also the company’s president from 2006 through May 2015.
Burton previously led the West Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission (WVWCC), which was losing approximately $1 million per business day before he became executive director in 2003. During Greg’s time at the WVWCC, he and his team played a central role in the successful reform of West Virginia’s workers’ compensation system.
He has more than 30 years of management experience in the insurance and financial services industries and in both state and local government. His experience includes serving as cabinet secretary of the West Virginia Department of Administration (2001-2003); city manager of Charleston (1998-2000); chair and board member of the West Virginia Health Care Authority (1995-1998); assistant vice president, Investment Banking with Ferris, Baker Watts (1994-1998); vice president, head of corporate trust with Bank One (1985-1993); and assistant vice president of Bank of West Virginia (1983-1985).
Burton holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Kentucky and a Bachelor of Science in business, with a concentration in management and marketing, from the University of Charleston. He currently serves on the board of directors for West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, University of Charleston and the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. He is also a member of the Radford University board of visitors.
Burton lives in Charleston with his wife Kim. They have been married 39 years and have two sons, Nicholas and Nathan. They also have four grandchildren, Kieran, Elise, Bella and Sean.
Esbenshade is chairman and CEO of The Mountain Company, Laurel Management Group and Tri-State/Service specialty contracting companies covering the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Southeastern United States. The group will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2023. He leads real estate and investment businesses, as well.
He is a native of Vienna, West Virginia and a graduate of Duke University.
Esbenshade has been active in board, trustee, or leadership roles with a wide variety of non-profit organizations, including youth, educational, healthcare, arts, and business and industry associations. Esbenshade and related companies have a legacy of contributing to their communities, supporting a broad range of charities. He oversees the Esbenshade and Spartan Foundations.
Esbenshade and his wife, Meg, have four daughters, Abby, Kate, Rachel and Molly.
Gabriel is the secretary, treasurer and president of Gabriel Brothers, which he founded along with his brother James Gabriel. Gabriel Brothers opened its first store in 1961 in Morgantown, where the company remains headquartered as of 2015.
The Gabriel brothers decided to open their clothing store after being inspired by their father Z. G. Gabriel, who began working as a clothing retailer in the 1920s. Their father sold clothing throughout Fayette County by driving around coal towns in a truck that he had outfitted with shelves and drawers.
Only one year after opening its first store, Gabriel Brothers expanded by opening the company's second location in Fairmont. The company then expanded outside of West Virginia in 1984, with the opening of its store location in Washington, Pennsylvania. By the year 2000, the company operated 50 total Gabe's and Rugged Wearhouse locations, which then expanded to more than 100 stores by 2004. As of 2015, the company operates 55 Gabe's stores in 10 states, as well as an additional 53 Rugged Wearhouse locations in nine states.
Gabriel is a 1961 graduate of WVU’s Chambers College of Business and Economics, and he continues to serve on the College’s Board of Directors. He sits on the boards of Lebanese American University, One Valley Bank and Centra Bank. He also serves as president of Comprehensive Occupational Company and is active in many social and religious organizations.
Lewis Jackson is the president and founder of Action Facilities Management, a premier government and commercial contract firm specializing in building integrated facilities maintenance, janitorial/sanitation, administrative and security services. By prioritizing her clients’ missions, her employees’ well-being, and investing in both corporate and community support, she has grown AFM to include just under 400 employees in 10 states and Washington, D.C. AFM has championed diversity through its employment practices and retention programs, and is proud to be among the minority and women-owned small businesses that represent West Virginia.
Lewis Jackson is also focused on building her community. For the past several decades, she has poured her time, leadership and generosity into myriad organizations that prioritize education, health, support for the disadvantaged, and local entrepreneurship. She was previously appointed by Governor Manchin to the WVU Board of Governors and the WVU Hospital Board of Directors. She currently serves on the Discover the Real West Virginia Foundation, West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, West Virginia Regional Technology Park Board of Directors, WVU Medicine Cancer Institute Council, the United Bank Advisory Board, and numerous other committees and boards.
Lewis Jackson is a graduate of Fairmont State with Accounting and Banking degrees. She is a native of Clarksburg, and currently lives with her husband, Kenneth Jackson, in Morgantown.
The 2020-‘21 class of the West Virginia Business Hall of Fame will be inducted during a ceremony to be held Thursday, Sept. 2 as part of the annual West Virginia Business Summit at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs. For registration and more information, please visit: https://business.wvu.edu/alumni/business-hall-of-fame.
CONTACT: Heather Richardson
Assistant Dean for Communications, Engagement and Impact
John Chambers College of Business and Economics
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