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Mister Bee CEO among magazine’s ‘Wonder Women’ in West Virginia

Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 5:23 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - The chief executive officer of one of the Mid-Ohio Valley’s most iconic companies is among 50 women featured in a magazines that focuses on life in West Virginia.

Parkersburg native Mary Anne Ketelsen, who owns and runs the day-to-day operations of the Mister Bee Potato Chip Company, is featured in the fall edition of WV Living magazine.

It’s the seventh year the magazine has recognized women in the state for their “can-do attitudes and Mountain State spirit."

“I am very honored to be recognized, as well as congratulations to all the other recipients," Ketelsen said. "It means a lot to Mister Bee to get this kind of recognition. And it makes me believe that the hard work has paid off.”

Mister Bee has been a staple in the Mid-Ohio Valley since it was found in 1951 by Leo and Sara Klein. Leo Klein ran the business until his death in 1979 at age 73, and the company stayed in the Klein family until 2010.

The company, which has its offices and production facilities on West Virginia Avenue, saw its share of rough times, including a fire and bankruptcy, before Ketelsen joined a group to buy the company in 2015.

As a lifelong resident of the region, Ketelsen said Mister Bee’s roots in the Mid-Ohio Valley attracted her to the company, which has run since 2018.

“I decided that Parkersburg needed another business," she said. “And I decided that I would run this place like it was my own, which it is. But also bring a lot of people in.”

Ketelsen, a Parkersburg High School graduated who earned degrees from what was at the time Parkersburg Community College, said she has been able to apply many of the skills she learned while working for 30 years at several plants to help turn Mister Bee into a thriving company. One indicator of success: the company has gone from 15 employees two years ago to 48

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