Coalfield Development Board Member

Meet Ric MacDowell

Coalfield Board member since 2016. 

304.824.5546 | ricmacdowell(at)

For 45 years Ric worked and lived in rural Lincoln County where he first went in 1968 as a VISTA Volunteer. He had just graduated from Grinnell College in Iowa. After getting a Masters in Education he began teaching various elementary grades.  From 1990 to 2005 he worked as a WVU faculty member in Lincoln County as its Extension Agent.  He transitioned from that to grant writer, project director, and researcher for federal and state green wastewater projects installing individual, home wastewater systems in a very low-income, rural area of Lincoln County.  In these activities and others he secured over $5,500,00 for the Lincoln County. He moved to Charleston in 2017. He continues his work a photographer and volunteers as an elementary school tutor. 

Ric spent years working on projects to support low income youth and families.  These included advocacy in agencies and courts, directing low-income summer residence camps, free summer day camps, organizing and running high school teen parenting classes for pregnant and parenting teens and their partners. He participated in and led delegations to Nicaragua, Mexico and Colombia which focused on social justice and transforming US foreign policy, and exchanges for high school students.

He has served on Boards including Prestera Center for Mental Health Services, Lincoln County Primary Care Center, Catholic Community Services of WV, and Lincoln County Development Authority.

Among his major awards are the Jenco Foundation Visionary Leadership in Appalachia Award, National Extension 4-H Agents Distinguished Service Award, WVU Neil Bucklew Social Justice Award, Grinnell College’s Wall Social Service Award for Alumni.