CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice announced today that West Virginia Department of Commerce Cabinet Secretary C. Edward “Ed” Gaunch will retire from state government in July 2022 after more than three years of leading the Department.
“Ed has been an absolute superstar for our state. He’s been a public servant for a long, long time and he represents the goodness of West Virginia. We want to congratulate him in every way on an incredible career,” Gov. Justice said. “Ed has done phenomenal work as our Commerce Secretary, and West Virginia could not have been more blessed than to have Ed in that job. The successes we’ve seen under his leadership are unbelievable.
“I am so happy for you, Ed. I wish you the happiest retirement, but I don't want you to just go away. I want you to know you’re welcome to stroll in and give us great advice and great wisdom, as you’ve already done so many times. You are a true West Virginia hero.”
A native of Boone County, Gaunch graduated from West Virginia State University in 1970 with a double major in economics and political science. He spent more than three decades in the insurance industry, including 34 years at the Carson Agency in Charleston, where he served as President and Chief Executive Officer for a number of years. In 2014 he was elected to the State Senate, representing the 8th Senatorial District.
Gov. Justice appointed Gaunch as Secretary of Commerce in December 2018.
“It has been my pleasure and privilege to serve the State of West Virginia,” Gaunch said. “Over the past several years, we have been continuously striving to ensure West Virginia is an amazing place to live, play, and do business. I am proud of what the Justice Administration and the Department of Commerce have accomplished and look forward to the state’s continued successes.”
Sec. Gaunch’s departure is effective at midnight on Friday, July 15, 2022. The next Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Commerce will be appointed by Gov. Justice at a later date.