Pauley grew up in Whitesville and has always called it home. He has lived in Whitesville for his whole life, with the exception of the four years he spent at Concord University in Athens, W. Va. During his time at college, he received a scholarship and had the opportunity to study a semester abroad at the University of Salzburg in Austria. Upon returning, he finished his last year at Concord and then received a graduate assistantship with the College of Business & Economics at West Virginia University through which he was able to earn his Master’s degree. After finishing his schooling, he accepted a job offer in the Charleston, W. Va. area that prompted him to move back to Whitesville area and commute to work. This gave him the chance to once again live in the place he considers home.
Even working full-time in Charleston, his commitment to his community has never wavered. During our conversation, Pauley often compares his time spent in Europe in the small villages along the Bavarian countryside to the town of Whitesville. He noted how each village offered something unique that tourists were attracted too, similar to some of the towns in West Virginia. “Fayetteville has the New River Gorge Bridge, White Sulphur Springs has the Greenbrier Resort, Lewisburg has Carnegie Hall,” explained Pauley.
All of these towns have been able to anchor themselves on these attractions. Pauley believes Whitesville is capable of similar success. Some current possibilities to Whitesville’s main attraction are Kevin's LazyRiver Adventure, which is a community float trip on the Big Coal River in Boone County or other annual community events such as the Christmas Parade or Fall Festival.
Pauley has an optimistic vision for the future of Whitesville. However, he recognizes that the vision he has for Whitesville cannot be accomplished alone. “[A] cleaner and more prosperous downtown area little shops, little cafes, things like that,” Pauley explained. “So when people come here to visit us in Whitesville, they have a reason to stay more than just a couple minutes.”
It’s difficult to shine a light on all of Pauley’s achievements, but he has been involved with the revitalization of this town since the start. In 2015, Whitesville was selected as a Turn This Town Around town. TTTA in partnership with the WV Community Development Hub, works with towns to identify projects within the community then provides them with the resources to complete them. These towns are selected through a voting process, so each town must campaign and make their case. However, before Turn This Town Around came to Whitesville, Adam and a friend started a community group whose goal was to improve the town. As more residents began supporting their efforts, more town meetings started to be held that focused on the town’s issues. During these meetings, a coalition was formed to start a campaign for Whitesville and Turn This Town Around. Whitesville was eventually able to secure the nomination, thanks to the efforts of Pauley and the town’s ability to come together and support one another.
Since Turn This Town Around began, Pauley and other community members have been working diligently on bettering the town. They’ve been working on projects on and off, so whenever somebody has an idea for something they work on it together. Pauley has a specific philosophy for Whitesville; he knows that everything they need to succeed is right there in the town. Whitesville just needs to come together and take advantage of it. As Pauley explained, “The answers come from within.”