In 2005, Triana sold CNR to Chesapeake Energy Corp. and made an estimated $1.87 billion profit.
Throughout the ups and downs of the natural gas business, Dissen stuck with Harmon.
Asked if he has had any mentors, Dissen named three:
- Harmon. "He is a finance guy but I watched how he was constantly visioning, thinking, What's the next step.' "
- His wife, Shirley. "We started a family right away," Dissen said. "I was on the road a lot. She paid the bills, kept the home fires burning, went to school at night, picked up undergraduate and graduate degrees. When the kids were in high school, she was human resources manager for Petroleum Products. She loved politics and volunteered" and eventually served several years as state director for U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.
- Monsignor P. Edward Sadie of Sacred Heart Basilica. In addition to having a head for business, "I've talked to people who he has really helped as a spiritual leader," Dissen said.
Dissen has taught part time at the University of Charleston for 24 years. "I tell students, 'Don't be afraid,' " he said. "You're educated and have already shown you have the intellectual capacity to do good work. Don't sit at your desk waiting on somebody to give you something. If you need to, go out and do your own research.
"Those who sit back and wait for something to happen are going to still be sitting there."
Dissen voluntarily retired from Triana Energy in May. He continued serving on the boards and committees of numerous community organizations. One was Highland Hospital, where he began serving on the Board of Trustees in 1992. He became chairman in 2005.
Earlier this year Highland Hospital needed someone to step in as president and chief executive officer. Although Dissen had never run a psychiatric hospital before, he agreed to take on the task.
Now he is formulating a vision for Highland's future.
The hospital has not only opened a new building in Kanawha City, it is in the process of opening the former United Hospital Center property in Clarksburg as a mental health facility for children, adolescents, adults and court-ordered patients.
"I saw where that facility is and how accommodating Clarksburg City Manager Martin Howe is," said Dissen. "I recognized that that community has lost some business over the years. I know we have West Virginia University in Morgantown, William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital in Weston and Highland in Charleston.
"Why can't we turn that Clarksburg campus into the go-to place for mental health, not only for the state but for the nation? I'm sure the Cleveland Clinic had to start small. This could be the 'Cleveland Clinic of mental health.' "
Dissen has had some promising preliminary talks with Dr. James Stevenson, chairman of West Virginia University's Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry. "I told him I would like to turn the Clarksburg campus into a teaching hospital, partner with WVU. He said he would be a resource to help us with our medical staff. He asked if I knew what it would cost to put together a residency program.
"I have a vision, not the budget," Dissen said. "It will probably take time beyond my tenure, but you have to start."
Asked if he has a motto, Dissen said: "Life is a river. Sometimes the river is nice and smooth. At other times there are rapids. But you've got to be moving forward."
Contact writer George Hohmann at busin...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.