BE NKY Team’s Top Takeaways

The Kentucky Association for Economic Development (KAED) held the 2019 Kentucky Economic Forum in Louisville in November. The Forum is KAED’s largest event and draws economic developers, elected officials, policy makers, business leaders, consultants, and thought leaders together to celebrate the Commonwealth’s economic momentum.

“The BE NKY team benefitted from the opportunity to network with our colleagues from around the state as well as representatives from several cities in Northern Kentucky,” shared Christine Russell, Vice President of Strategy at BE NKY. “Key highlights of the Forum for our team included the tour of Louisville neighborhood NuLu, site visit best practices and the importance of exports for Kentucky’s economy.”

Louisville Successes

The Forum kicked off with a community tour led by Louisville Forward. Devon Stansbury, Client Relations Manager, was impressed by the conscious development of NuLu (New Louisville), a revitalized neighborhood that incorporates new green building and historic restoration projects, that included housing, entertainment, business, sports, and healthcare, all of which are very affordable, with consideration for all community members. “Many of the original older buildings have been rehabbed which really has preserved the history and character of the city while the recent development has brought new life to the area,” she noted.

Devon shared that the economic development team in Louisville is capitalizing on the city’s cluster of aging care businesses, the largest in America, by recognizing it as a top priority and offering a variety of services that cater to this demographic.

Working Together for Kentucky

Former Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development Interim Secretary Vivek Sarin spoke to Forum attendees about working together to promote the Commonwealth.  He said, “The competition is not the county next door.  It’s Indiana, Tennessee, and Ohio and those states are better staffed and better funded than we are.”

Do’s and Don’ts for Site Visits

Devon and Jeremy Worley, Client Relations Manager, were impressed with Beth Land’s presentation, “Scripting a Site Visit.” Beth is Vice President at Site Selection Group in the Industrial and Economic Development Division. Key takeaways were to customize the visit to incorporate the company’s values. “If a company has a strong commitment to wellness, Beth suggested incorporating a healthy lunch or snacks on the tour,” shared Devon.

Jeremy noted that another way a visit and presentation can be customized is by using the EDO’s and staff’s personal photos, showing their team out in the community as a way to demonstrate the livability of a community.

Christine learned about the Kentucky History app, which provides background on every historical marker in the state and could provide a personal touch for a site visit. “The app could be a cool way of creating a story around a site or building if there’s an historical marker nearby,” added Christine.

Kentucky’s Exports Remain Strong

Northern Kentucky has a strong presence with many foreign-direct investment (FDI) advanced manufacturing facilities in the region. Kentucky has nearly 500 FDI locations with almost 110,000 employees in the state.

Craig McKinney, Director, International Affairs at the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development,  noted that, despite the overall decline in international trade due to tariffs, Kentucky’s exports increased four percent in 2018 compared to a decline of one percent nationally.

Additional Highlights

Jeremy was interested to learn that Kentucky is leading the nation in industrial hemp production and it is expected to increase. Hemp oil production is the fastest growing segment and new uses for hemp oil are being discovered across many industries. Through Blue North, BE NKY’s entrepreneurship program, hemp production and commercialization are focus areas for the region.

Eric Wooldridge, Professor within Workforce Solutions at Somerset Community College, joined Ed Tackett, Director of Additive Manufacturing Education, and Tim Gornet, Manager of the AMIST Core Facility, from the University of Louisville to present, “Manufacturing’s Next Evolution: Additive Manufacturing.” Christine found their message, that additive manufacturing (or 3D printing) is not just the future – it is here today, relevant because of Northern Kentucky’s large manufacturing sector. Higher education institutions in Kentucky are focused on meeting employers’ needs in this sector. University of Louisville has a one-of-a-kind training center and the Kentucky Community & Technical College System is looking to roll out an Additive Manufacturing Certification program to all Kentucky community colleges.


BE NKY 2019 KAED Economic Forum

BE NKY Client Relations Managers Jeremy Worley and Devon Stansbury.

Christine Russell enjoyed the opportunity learn more about Kentucky’s advantages and meet many economic development colleagues from throughout the state. Russell joined BE NKY as Vice President of Strategy in November 2019, after serving as Economic Development Director for the City of Springdale, Ohio. Devon Stansbury and Jeremy Worley began working at BE NKY in November 2019 as Client Relations Managers. Devon was previously Customer Service Sales Representative and Customer Experience Representative at Crown Lift Trucks Ltd. Jeremy was the Program Development Director for The Center for Local Government. Both learned a lot about economic development practices that they’re excited to implement in their work throughout Northern Kentucky. Learn more about the team at BE NKY by visiting our Team Page.