CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Almost six months have passed since West Virginia closed its office in Europe.
The late Gov. Cecil Underwood opened the outpost in the Amerika Haus in Munich in 1999. But, as reported last year, the state and other tenants had to move so the building could be renovated. Also, the office's two employees, Sven Gerzer and Holly McGinnis, took other jobs.
Although the office was in the capital of Bavaria, its purpose was to give the West Virginia Development Office a base from which it could deal with clients and prospects throughout Europe.
State Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette, who traveled to Munich in August to size up the situation, came back enthused that a "flexible workspace" arrangement might better serve the state.
Burdette has said most meetings with European clients and prospects occurred on the road, not in Munich. Also, a flexible workspace arrangement could cost less.
Regus is one company that specializes in flexible workspace. The company's customers can use a Regus office equipped with a desk, phone, and Internet connection at any location, anytime. More amenities, like a conference room, are available for additional fees.
According to the company's website, Regus has 1,500 centers in 600 cities and 100 countries.
Burdette was asked Thursday if the state has put a contract for Europe workspace out for bid. He said it may not be necessary. He said deciding what to do about a presence in Europe is a work in progress.
Meanwhile, Angela Mascia is heading up the state's efforts in Europe. Mascia had been the development office's project manager for Europe since 2001. She was named interim director of the Europe Office following Gerzer's departure.