Senator Rockefeller Receives High Honor for Decades of Work Promoting Close Ties Between Japan and U.S.


February 12, 2014


Senator Rockefeller was awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun from the Government of Japan during a formal ceremony hosted by the Japanese ambassador to the U.S., Kenichiro Sasae, in Washington, D.C., for his decades of work to strengthen and promote the economic and cultural relationship between the two countries.  The Order of the Rising Sun is the highest honor a foreigner can receive from the Japanese government. 


Senator Rockefeller believes that the close relationship he helped West Virginia develop with Japan can be traced back to the three years he lived in a "wood and paper house in the middle of a rice field with four Japanese students."  Rockefeller attended the International Christian University in Tokyo, upon taking a break following his junior year at Harvard University.  The love he developed for Japan was later combined with his commitment to public service as he built a relationship between the country and the state of West Virginia.


As governor and U.S. senator, Rockefeller participated dozens of Foundation sponsored trade missions to Japan and reverse missions bringing Japanese executives into the state, playing a pivotal role in attracting more than 20 Japanese companies to invest billions of dollars and create thousands of jobs in West Virginia.  Companies which include Toyota Motor Manufacturing, NGK Spark Plugs, Diamond Electric, Nippon Thermostat, Kureha PGA, Hino Motors, KS of West Virginia, Okuno International, to name a few.  "I wanted to open up West Virginia to the world, and I knew a relationship with the Japanese would launch West Virginia on a global scale like no other country could," Rockefeller said.


"The strong cultural similarities between the Japanese and the people of West Virginia had become so apparent to me," Rockefeller said. "They're rooted in their land. They're hard-working. Their histories are filled with stories about overcoming adversity."  "In friendships and business relationships, trust and respect are of the utmost importance to the Japanese," he said. "So too, for the people of West Virginia. The Japanese are honorable and that makes them strong partners. You can depend on them even in the most difficult times - just as you can always count on West Virginians."


"I am so humbled by this award and filled with gratitude to the emperor for selecting me to receive the Order of the Rising Sun," Rockefeller said. "The people of Japan have not only shaped my life in profound ways, but they have also shaped the lives of thousands of West Virginians and forever become part of the fabric of our state. I am incredibly
proud to have helped bring our two nations closer together, and I look forward to continuing and strengthening this tremendous partnership for
years to come."


West Virginia's political leaders, past and present, credit Rockefeller with creating the profitable relationship the state enjoys today with Japan.  "Many people worked on these projects, but he was certainly captain of the team," former governor Gaston Caperton said.  We would not have the Toyota plant, and a lot of the other plants, without the leadership of Jay Rockefeller," Caperton said.


The Foundation and the West Virginia Development Office co-sponsored a luncheon earlier in the day bringing together executives and friends from around the state and Japan. For a complete look at Senator Rockefeller's remarks made during the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun's formal ceremony, please click here. 


Ident-Intell Logo

Sixth Annual Event Highlighting Identification Intelligence Sector 

Draws Big Crowd

January 29, 2014


U.S. Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin, and Don Salo, Director of the Defense Forensics and Biometrics Agency, were the featured keynote speakers at the Foundation's sixth annual  Identification Intelligence Seminar & Expo in Washington, D.C., designed to highlight and expand West Virginia's growing identity management industry.  Ellen Cappellanti, deputy managing member of Jackson Kelly PLLC and board member of DRWV, served as the event's official host and emcee. 


The EXPO is designed for out-of-state executives to explore investment opportunities, business partnerships and research synergies with West Virginia companies and universities.  Prior to the Expo, an investment briefing featuring Keith Burdette, Cabinet Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Commerce; Deana Keener, President of the I-79 Development Council; and Dr. John Maher and Brian Martin, representing Marshall and West Virginia Universities, was held to provide detailed information on the state's investment opportunities and university research and business collaborations.


This year's Seminar and Expo was the largest one yet, boasting approximately 150 executives and government officials representing some of the nation's largest security and identity management companies and agencies. Representing the I-79 Corridor this year with exhibits were long established companies in this sector including Azimuth, Inc., but also more newly-established companies that are growing and gaining importance including Tygart Technology and corpus.ioIn addition, Marshall University and West Virginia University once again played a significant role in this year's event.


"This event showcases many of the I-79 Corridor's top companies through exhibits, promotes our research universities and their primary commercialization opportunities, and allows relationships to be developed with agency representatives, said Deana Keener, President of the I-79 Development Council. "Adding an employment opportunity for professionals who are alumni of WVU and Marshall interested in employment with our companies also added another dimension to this fantastic networking event in the nation's capitol! We are very excited that it continues to grow and bring benefit to our companies, region, and industries."


The event was hosted by the DRWV Foundation, the 

I-79 Development Council and the West Virginia Development Office.  The following companies and institutions sponsored the event:  IBM, Leidos, Marshall University Research Corporation, the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Manufacturing Technologies and West Virginia University.

Honorary Chair


John D. Rockefeller IV

United States Senator



Board of Directors


Ken Arndt

Frontier Communications


Phyllis Huff Arnold

BB&T, Retired


Michael J. Basile, Esq.

Spilman Thomas & Battle PLLC


Ellen S. Cappellanti, Esq.

Jackson Kelly PLLC


Mark Dempsey

Appalachian Power


Carl E. Erhart



Julie Gurtis

United Bank, Inc.


Craig Hartzell

Azimuth, Inc.


Thomas A. Heywood, Esq.

Bowles Rice LLP


Lloyd Jackson

Jackson Gas Company


J. Thomas Jones

West Virginia United 

Health System


Kenneth M. Perdue

West Virginia AFL-CIO


Patrick Robertson

FTI Consulting


William D. Wilmoth, Esq.

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC



Executive Director


Sara B. Dearing

DRWV Foundation, Inc.

Discover the Real WV Foundation, Inc.
405 Capitol Street, Suite 512
Charleston, West Virginia  25301
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