The son of a steelworker and a secretary, Ralph is a 4th Generation West Virginian. Ralph grew up in Wetzel and Brooke counties in West Virginia’s northern panhandle, where his family has lived since the early 1800s.
Ralph is a Proven Leader. Ralph’s strong West Virginia work ethic led him to a successful career as a teacher, an attorney, and a businessman. Most recently, Ralph was the CEO of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe for nearly a quarter century, transforming it from a regional firm to one of the largest and most prominent in the world. Under his leadership, Orrick expanded around the globe, diversified it specialties, and modernized the way legal service is delivered.
Ralph is a West Virginia Job Creator. Ralph knows what our workforce can do and he knows that, when given the opportunity, Mountaineers can out-compete anyone in the world for high paying Jobs. When Ralph decided to relocate Orrick jobs from New York, Tokyo and San Francisco to one centralized location, he brought those jobs home. Orrick’s Global Operations Center opened in 2002, initially creating 73 jobs, and expanding to its current 350 person workforce.
Throughout his career, Ralph has dedicated himself to public service. Specifically, Ralph served on Governor Joe Manchin’s 21st Century Jobs Cabinet and as a member of the board of directors of the West Virginia Education Alliance. In 2009 Ralph was inducted into the June Harless Education Hall of Fame at Marshall University.
Ralph and his wife Cheryl live in Wheeling with their dog Syd and are the proud parents of four adult children.
In his 23 years as CEO of Orrick, Ralph led the dramatic growth of the firm, transforming it from a regional law firm into one of largest in the world, creating hundreds of jobs across the United States and around the world.
This transformation included the creation of its Global Operations Center (GOC) in downtown Wheeling. The GOC opened in 2002 with 73 employees. Today it is the home of 15% of the firm’s worldwide workforce, with 350 employees. It has also attracted positive attention to Wheeling and West Virginia as the site of pioneering work to modernize legal service.
Under Ralph’s leadership, the firm also brought Williams Lea Tag to Wheeling, to partner with Orrick in its work at the GOC and to build its own independent business. That business has flourished in Wheeling, presently employing more than 500 people in a separate building several blocks north of Orrick, and further enhancing Wheeling’s business reputation.
The decision of Orrick, under Ralph’s leadership, to relocate to Wheeling has been a catalyst for other economic revitalization, as well. It has helped a proud West Virginia town to reimagine itself, and encouraged the people of that town to work together to build a brighter future for their families.
It is the dedication and talent of West Virginia workers that has made this progress possible. What has happened in Wheeling can be replicated throughout the First District of West Virginia.