For almost 19 years, I had the honor of serving as the Executive Director of the West Virginia State Bar, the mandatory bar organization for West Virginia lawyers. Then, I was offered the opportunity to become the first full time staff person for the West Virginia Bar Foundation and assumed the responsibilities as its Executive Director on January 1, 2008.

The first several weeks consisted of setting up a formal office (a “palatial” former apartment over a garage behind the State Bar Center and the Lawyer Disciplinary Board offices on Kanawha Blvd., East in Charleston) including getting phone and fax lines, requesting a specific address (2008A Kanawha Blvd., East), purchasing office supplies and the biggest activity—buying and getting used to a new laptop computer, a copy/fax/scan machine and various programs that were new or more advanced to me (Vista, Quickbooks, Excel, etc.)!

I spent a lot of time on the phone with “Help Desk” people (mostly located in India) before I found the best help desk assistance and information right in my own home—my wife, Rebecca! She had the patience and expertise to walk me through any situation when I became quite frustrated that “pushing a button” did not immediately get the necessary results!

Let me say this very clearly——I wish to express my deep sincere appreciation and gratitude to the excellent staff persons at the WV State Bar—Connie, Hope, Cheryl and Kathy—who, for the fifteen years ending on December 31, 2007 when I left and continuing today, provided outstanding service to our WV lawyers. I now have a greater comprehension of how much they have accomplished as qualified and competent individuals.

The other major technology that had to be put into effect was a Bar Foundation website. After an initial start and stop, we are very pleased with this website that contains a multitude of information and material regarding the Bar Foundation and the important work in which it is involved. Nevertheless, in today’s world, a website must always be current, interesting and informative. So, please give us your comments, suggestions and criticisms about the website. We want it to be a website that you will use often.

Finally, it seems that there are more and more blogs on the Internet. We don’t want to be left out, so The Tinderbox rides again! While I was with the State Bar, I did a column in every issue of the WV Lawyer magazine with that title. Now, The Tinderbox blog will be a shorter, more frequent discourse on one or more topics. You have just read the first official one! Check it out in the future whenever you have a few moments to spare.

Take care.

Tom

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