Mission and Service

The Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) is the applied business and economic research branch of Marshall University. CBER aims to advance economic development in the WV-KY-OH Tri-State Region and State of West Virginia by researching and analyzing economic and policy issues. CBER also serves the business community with a wide range of consulting services, including economic impact analyses, market assessments, feasibility studies, data analysis, forecasting, and strategic planning.


CBER was established in 1994 to enhance regional economic development endeavors. CBER began by providing services to the business community by leveraging expertise within the College of Business. In 1998, CBER merged with the Applied Research Division at Marshall University, adding additional researchers and expertise.

In 2004, CBER became a subsidiary of the Marshall University Research Corporation (MURC), a 501(C)(3) organization established by Marshall University to administer externally funded projects. Since 2011, the Appalachian Transportation Institute (ATI) has served as the umbrella organization for CBER due to their complementary missions of advancing regional economic development.

Our Team

Bob Plymale
Associate Vice President of Strategic Initiatives
Telephone: 304-696-5790
E-mail: plymale@econdevt.com
Carrie Stevens
Senior Office Administrator
Telephone: 304-696-5747
E-mail: carrie.stevens@marshall.edu
Kent Sowards
Associate Director / Director of Research
Telephone: 304-696-5747
E-mail: sowards10@marshall.edu
Brie Salmons
Associate Director
Telephone: 304-696-5790
E-mail: brianne.salmons@marshall.edu
Kim Bailey
Senior Program Coordinator
Telephone: 304-696-5744
E-mail: Baker61@marshall.edu
Justin Matthews
Senior Research Associate
Telephone: 304-696-5751
E-mail: matthews3@marshall.edu
Myia Hill
Research Associate
Telephone: 304-696-5747
E-mail: hill420@marshall.edu
Christy Risch
Senior Research Analyst
Telephone: 304-696-5754
E-mail: christine.risch@marshall.edu
Jim Atkinson
Data Network Specialist
Telephone: 304-696-5741
E-mail: jatkinso@marshall.edu