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Bates was the keynote speaker at the Bioscience Summit on Tuesday. He is the classic West Virginia success story - deep roots in state, went to high school, college and medical school in the state, and then left. When he finished his residency in Wisconsin, he came back to his home state, despite protests from his peers who associate a negative stigma with Appalachia.

He's a successful surgeon, innovator and job creator. He's obtained patents for 25 medical device inventions. He founded and based a medical device manufacturing company in downtown Charleston, but once again faced the stigma of Appalachia because he couldn't entice the experienced engineering talent his company needed to come to West Virginia.
With all of his medical and business experience, Bates has some advice for state policy makers:

  • Cultivate native talent
  • Provide legal and business support for startups
  • Fertilize an entrepreneurial/innovation mindset
  • Provide legislative support, tax incentives and tort reform for growing entrepreneurs.

The state still needs and benefits from the jobs, products and revenues that traditional industries provide. But West Virginians shouldn't feel beholden to those industries.
With the right mindset, a good education, and the proper legal and regulatory structure, no one in West Virginia should feel they need to find a job. They should feel just as comfortable creating their own.

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