C. Edward Gaunch is a native of Boone County. After graduating from West Virginia State University in 1970 with a double major in Economics and Political Science, he spent more than three decades in the insurance industry including 34 years at the Carson Agency in Charleston where he served as President and Chief Executive Officer for a number of years. In 2014, he was elected to the State Senate representing the 8th Senatorial District.
He has served on numerous professional, business and community boards and foundations including the BB&T/Charleston Board of Directors, the West Virginia State University Foundation, the Believe in West Virginia Leadership Foundation, CAMC Foundation, Buckskin Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Charleston Area Chamber of Commerce, University of Charleston, Alderson Broaddus College, King College, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Kanawha Pastoral Counseling Center.
Gaunch is also active in his church, Emmanuel Baptist, where he has been a deacon and Sunday School teacher.
In December 2018, Mr. Gaunch was appointed by Governor Jim Justice to serve as Cabinet Secretary for the West Virginia Department of Commerce beginning in January 2019. The mission of Commerce is to promote and preserve the well-being of the citizens of West Virginia by providing a cooperative, interagency system that stimulates diverse economic growth, encourages the appropriate use of our state’s abundant natural resources, improves the safety and productivity of our workforce, and promotes the beauty and desirability of our state as a world-class tourism destination.
Mr. Gaunch, and Marilyn, his wife of 55 years, currently reside in Charleston, West Virginia, and are the parents of two children, the late Louis Gaunch and Angela Beaver, five grandchildren and five great granddaughters.