Suzanne Higgins

Executive Producer

Suzanne Higgins is Executive Producer for West Virginia Public Broadcasting, headquartered at WSWP-TV in Beckley, and is currently the producer, host, and managing editor of The Legislature Today, the network’s nightly news program covering the West Virginia Legislature. When lawmakers are not in session, Suzanne works on multiple video projects, including her role as lead video producer for the network's Recovery project – a focus on the state's Opioid crisis with an emphasis on the many issues surrounding life in recovery.

Suzanne and editor Aaron Shackelford are winners of a 2018 regional Edward R. Murrow Award for their one-hour television and radio documentary Vietnam: West Virginians Remember, featuring the experiences of five West Virginia Vietnam combat veterans. In addition to producing, writing and narrating the film, she coordinated multiple community film screenings and led panel discussions throughout the state for the Vietnam project. Vietnam: West Virginians Remember also won the top award from the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) for outstanding achievement in the Best Documentary category, a competition among PBS member stations throughout the country.

Prior to the Vietnam project, Suzanne completed her 7th season as Senior Producer of Inspiring West Virginians, a radio, television and WV Learning Media documentary series project, and produced the network’s 2016 Gubernatorial Candidates forum and Supreme Court candidates forum.

Following the devastating floods in southern West Virginia in June 2016, Suzanne led a team of reporters in delivering the Emmy-nominated one-hour television special Inside Appalachia: West Virginia’s 1000 Year Flood.

In the fall of 2016, Suzanne and fellow producer Russ Barbour won the National Educational Telecommunications Association’s (NETA) Best Documentary Award for Jay: A Rockefeller's Journey. The 2-hour film focuses on the life and half-century career of John D. Rockefeller, IV, and was distributed by NETA nationally to PBS stations.   

With the launch of the WVPB’s West Virginia Channel in January 2016, Suzanne worked with independent producers and filmmakers throughout the state, building production partnerships and broadening WVPB's program offerings for the channel.

Her past projects have included producing and hosting live television studio programs, documentaries, multiple radio series including the 5-year, award-winning Aging with Grace & Dignity series, community events and film screenings, and contributing reports to the network's ongoing news and public affairs programs. 

Suzanne is also a 2016 graduate of the Leadership West Virginia program, the recipient of the national Pew Charitable Trust’s Batten Award for Excellence in Civic Journalism, the Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting, two Emmy awards, a PRNDI award, several West Virginia Associated Press Broadcasters Association awards, and the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Virginias’ Associated Press Broadcasters Association.

Ways to Connect

Inspiring West Virginian, bio-engineer Linda Powers
Jean Snedegar

Bio-safety-level-2 laboratories in the Bio5 Building at the University of Arizona Medical School is where Linda Powers has designed and built several impressive and important scientific instruments.

“Here we handle microbes that can make you sick, but generally not kill you,” said Powers on a recent tour.

But the 64-year-old Beckley native, now the Thomas R. Brown Distinguished Professor of Bio-Engineering at the University of Arizona, does handle microbes that can kill you.

Rodney Bartgis 2013 Inspiring West Virginain
Jean Snedegar

Fifty-four-year-old Rodney Bartgis, state director of the West Virginia Nature Conservancy, stood atop Cave Mountain in Pendleton County, an elevation of 2,777 feet.

“It almost looks like the Rocky Mountains,” said Bartgis. “This is the biggest uplift of limestone in the eastern mountains of the United States, and a lot of the rare plants and animals in this canyon are associated with this limestone,” he said. 

Beth Vorhees / WV Public Radio

June 20, 2013 · West Virginia is the only state in the Union that was created as a direct result of the Civil War. When war broke out in 1861 and Virginia seceded from the Union, some living in that state’s western regions saw it as an opportunity to break away and create a new state.

 

Diane Lewis, Morgantown AFM
Jean Snedegar

Action Facilities Management – or AFM – overlooks I-79 near Morgantown and employs more than 300 people in nine states. 

“In Fairmont we work for the West Virginia High Technology Consortium Foundation and we do the security, maintenance and janitorial for all these facilities here,” said founder, president and CEO Diane Lewis. “It’s one of our commercial clients.”   

John Nash
Jean Snedegar

Editor's note: Nobel-prize winning mathematician John Nash and his wife were killed in a traffic accident May 23, 2015. This profile from 2013 is part of our series, "Inspiring West Virginians."

Suzanne Higgins

Between the 1880’s and 1920’s there was an intersection of two historical phenomena in Appalachia. The railroads opened the region for the large scale extraction of coal and Jews from Eastern Europe came to the United States seeking opportunity.

In her book “Coalfield Jews: An Appalachian History,” Deborah Weiner writes “…their story is treated here as Jewish History and as Appalachian history, in equal measure.  The linkages that emerge between these two seemingly unrelated fields help to illuminate both.”

Pages