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Warner taps Chris Alder to become new Director of the Business & Licensing Division

Business and Intellectual Property Lawyer Joins Secretary of State;

Charleston, WV –  Following the retirement of long-time Division Director Penney Barker, West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner has named Chris Alder as the new Division Director of the West Virginia Business & Licensing Division.  Mr. Alder received his bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Marshall University and a law degree from Washington University in St. Louis. He joined the Secretary of State’s office two years ago after spending more than 20 years in a corporate law practice focused on intellectual property and licensing. 

Secretary Warner found Mr. Alder’s broad experience with emerging businesses a natural fit to lead the Division in its support of West Virginia business growth.   Enhancing Secretary Warner’s modernization efforts, the Business & Licensing Division will continue to prioritize innovation and technology in ways that make it efficient for West Virginia businesses to succeed and to remain in compliance with registration requirements. 

Over 99% of all Annual Reports filed with the WVSOS Business & Licensing Division are now filed online. Today, all functional departments now accept online filings.  Alder will manage the professional staff located at the WV One Stop Business Center in Charleston as well as those in the WVSOS regional offices located in Clarksburg and Martinsburg. Asked about the modernization efforts, Mr. Alder stated that “Secretary Warner has challenged us to accelerate performance and improve efficiencies, and our team continually strives to achieve these goals by coupling innovative approaches with hard work.”  

Looking forward, the Division is on track to introduce a Knowledge Center in 2022 that relies on artificial intelligence to get West Virginians accurate answers even more quickly and to further integrate a multi-agency approach to assist our state’s customers. Additionally, the Division’s partnership efforts with the WV Business Ecosystem and WV BusinessLink intend to improve opportunities for entrepreneurs to access the financial and educational resources necessary to make new West Virginia businesses successful.   “We are pleased to have Chris on board to lead a dedicated team of professionals in our Business & Licensing Division. We strive to be role models for WV businesses by providing the best possible customer service,” Secretary Warner said. 


“We’re doing our part to encourage business growth and entrepreneurship throughout West Virginia. Our first-in-the-country 5-agency One Stop Business Center has received national acclaim, and we are continuously refining our operations to further improve the West Virginia business environment.”   Secretary Warner’s vision for the Business & Licensing Division goes far beyond the registration of new businesses by empowering West Virginians to grow their new businesses into successful commercial enterprises.


For more information on the WV Business & Licensing Division, visit our Business Division home page.