Brandon Dennison

Brandon Dennison


Coalfield Development Corp

Huntington, WV USA

You have to set aside your ego. It’s not about getting the credit; it’s about how can we truly move the needle on these really big problems.


By Roadtrip Nation

Brandon Dennison


My road in life has been direct.
Born and raised in West Virginia.
I attended Shepherd University, where I earned bachelor’s degrees in history and political science.
While in college, I volunteered with my church on service missions, where we would go repair homes in West Virginia’s coal country—this sparked my interest in helping my community.
On these trips, I saw many people (some even my own age) desperate for work and realized that the root of the problem was the disappearing coal industry and its impact on the economy.
I decided to move to Indiana to attend Indiana University, where I earned my master’s degree in public affairs and learned more about social entrepreneurship and nonprofit management.
In 2010, I founded Coalfield Development, a community-based nonprofit dedicated to diversifying Appalachia’s coal-based economy and providing opportunities for its people.
I partnered with my best friend from high school, who brought an expertise in engineering—we started with a crew of three people and slowly began building up our support network.
We have now created more than 200 new jobs, over 50 new businesses, and more than 800 professional certification opportunities for unemployed people, many of whom were laid-off coal miners.
Keep following my journey



I am the founder of a nonprofit dedicated to revitalizing the Appalachian community and economy.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Non-Profit Organizations
Accomplishing Goals

Day to Day

I work as a social entrepreneur and am focused on establishing an enterprise that promotes quality housing, quality jobs, and quality life through collaboration and innovation in Wayne County, West Virginia. I have helped create 200 new jobs, over 50 new businesses, and more than 800 professional certification opportunities for unemployed people. It involves a lot of business planning, licensing our sustainability practices and teachings, branding work, marketing, and growth management.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for everyone

Volunteer and get involved in any way you can! Learn as much as you can about business planning and nonprofit management. Reach out to potential mentors that can help you.


The Noise I Shed

From Society in General:

"West Virginians are just a bunch of rednecks that can't do anything besides mine for coal."

Challenges I Overcame


Interviewed By



Changing careers and reinventing your path