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JULY 2018


Health Benefits

Providing Innovative Solutions and Healthier Outcomes for Kentucky Businesses Dan Cahill, Ph.D.

Vice President Market Leader Kentucky

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NKY Chamber and NKITA members Matt Robinson and Larry Robinson take in the view of the Kentucky Speedway prior to the NKITA/Japan America Society event May 22.

4 Chair’s Letter 6 President’s Letter 8 Education and Business: Partnering for a Better Future 12 NKY Values Early Childhood Education

18 Resources Plentiful for Mature Job Seekers 20 Tuition Benefits for Employees 22 The Circuit Works to Expand IT Talent

31 Around the Chamber Photos 36 Emerging 30 38 Ribbon Cuttings 40 Member Milestones

24 Vaidya Begins Tenure at NKU

44 Certificates of Origin

14 Covington Partners Mentoring Program

27 NKU Celebrates a Half Century of Regional Impact

46 Events

16 Chick-fil-A Challenges You to Stuff the Bus

30 Alexandria Opens Micro Library

COVER PHOTO: Griffin Hall at NKU




By Rhonda Whitaker Director of Community and Government Relations, Duke Energy Chair, NKY Chamber of Commerce

It is clear that, even with various successes our region has enjoyed, the relationship between business and education needs to continuously improve if we are to achieve our workforce goals.


I’VE SPENT THE PAST NINE MONTHS as your NKY Chamber Board Chair focused on improving our workforce. We’ve been convening partners, at all levels of the workforce development spectrum to discuss ways to improve the talent pipeline, including the formation of GROW NKY (Growing Regional Outcomes through Workforce) being launched this year. It is clear that, even with various successes our region has enjoyed, the relationship between business and education needs to continuously improve if we are to achieve our workforce goals. The articles in this edition offer ways in which the business community can get involved, in both the short- and longterm. In the short-term, we need to increase the amount of businesses that have internships, co-ops and apprenticeships. This goal is shared by a majority of workforce partners I’ve met with, as well as leadership throughout Governor Bevin’s administration. And in the long-term we must find ways to increase quality childcare offerings and increase the number of students ready for kindergarten. Chambers of commerce all around the state and the country agree that early childhood matters, and you will see us leading and advocating on early childhood issues. Improving early childhood education is good for business. Everyone agrees that experiential learning offerings need to increase at both the high school and post-secondary levels. The Northern Kentucky Education Council believes it is the right course. School superintendents and university presidents understand the value. We need more businesses to step up to provide exposure to students on various career paths. We need a “business

— Everyone agrees that experiential learning offerings need to increase at both the high school and post-secondary levels. culture shift” to occur. Engagement with schools, and a regular stream of students coming into your place of business, needs to become the norm. We know from studying other countries with a strong manufacturing base, like Germany, that this model works. I’m grateful that I work for an energy company that embraces all of these concepts. Through our Duke Energy Foundation, we recently awarded around $600,000 for “K to Career” grants for education and workforce initiatives in our region. Like other area companies, we invest in NaviGo Scholars, as this successful student coaching program provides a great template for our employees to share career pathways with students and will help create a talent pipeline into our company. If you haven’t explored NaviGo, I encourage you to do so. Like our company, our Chamber is committed to helping ensure our community will be able to meet the workforce needs in the future. It’s critical for our region’s future economic vibrancy. I am proud of the work our Chamber is doing and the direction in which we are headed. I invite you to join with us as we work together to make this community the best in the country to live, work, play and raise a family. NK Y



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By Brent Cooper President and CEO, NKY Chamber of Commerce ALL GREAT ECONOMIES HAVE ONE thing in common: A strong educational system. Since an “improved economy” is at the heart of the NKY Chamber’s mission, it is appropriate that we continue to make supporting educational opportunities that lead to real-world success for all students a part of our overall strategy. Over the coming months you are going to hear us talk a lot about the importance of quality childcare and early childhood education, the need for apprenticeships, internships and experiential learning, increased funding for education at all levels and how businesses can better engage with schools to grow the talent necessary to fuel a robust regional economy.

— The formula is simple: world-class educational opportunities lead to world-class talent. We simply cannot have a thriving regional economy without these critical components.


The formula is simple: world-class educational opportunities lead to worldclass talent. We simply cannot have a thriving regional economy without these critical components. That is why I agreed to participate in the NKU presidential search committee last year. Along with business and civic leaders throughout the region, I spent eight months helping to select President Ashish Vaidya. I think you’ll agree he’s exactly what we were looking for. He understands, as I do, that it’s important for the business community to be engaged in our region’s largest postsecondary institution. It has always been that way. Chamber of Commerce leaders were there to help lead the creation of NKU 50 years ago, and over the years we have been there to advise, support and advocate for a variety of programs and community efforts along the way. The College of Informatics and the Health Innovation Center (set to open this fall), both came from a need to grow I.T. and health care talent in our region, and both were championed by our NKY Chamber of Commerce. As President Vaidya begins his journey, we are challenging today’s business leaders to think about what NKU and our entire region will look like in the next 50 years. To get where we want to go, we must continue to strive for alignment between the business and education community to produce world-class talent. Ask yourself, what would our region look like if every business, large and small, had an apprentice or intern? Studies have shown that students who are exposed to experiential opportunities like these are more likely to have higher test scores, graduate, and have realworld success as adults. In other highly successful industrialized countries, this is a common model. If that were the culture here, imagine how much stronger our talent pool would be.

What if every business in our region allowed employees to spend an hour a week at a local school as a tutor, mentor, one-to-one reader, junior achievement leader, adopt-a-class volunteer or a customized math or science volunteer? What if every business partnered with a post-secondary institution in some way? I speak from experience that this is absolutely possible. As a small business owner myself, I have found that encouraging employees to volunteer led to not only benefits for the schools, but for our business as well. Employees that volunteer often have improved communication skills, improved attendance and higher morale.

— Ask yourself, what would our region look like if every business, large and small, had an apprentice or intern? There is little doubt that education is the key to producing a vibrant regional economy. As such, it is essential that business and education work together to ensure that Northern Kentucky has the talent necessary to be globally competitive. Here at your NKY Chamber of Commerce, we’re going to lead the way in making that happen. Together, we can continue to grow our regional outcomes, and improve the state we are in. NKY





















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Education and Business Partnering for a Better Future By Kristin Baldwin NKY Chamber

In order to compete in today’s global knowledge-based economy, it is critical that Northern Kentucky has a talented workforce, rich in 21st century skills. Indeed, the degree to which our economy will grow and prosper is directly tied to our ability to produce talent. Given this fact, it has never been more important that the education and business communities work together to ensure the continued success of our region. We asked education leaders across Northern Kentucky to share their thoughts on producing a globally competitive workforce, and the supporting role that the business community can play in delivering world-class results.



How can K-12 education better align with the needs of the business community in the 21st century economy? JAY BREWER


Superintendent, Dayton Independent Schools

President, Notre Dame Academy

We need to continue to impress upon everyone that the critical stages for developing capacity for learning are the early years of life. Having a system that starts educating children at kindergarten is no longer scientifically appropriate. Research continues to clearly demonstrate that the early years matter more than the later years. The business community needs to continue to support and advocate to expand the focus and resources for high-quality education for children 3 years and up. Preschool is not babysitting; it is brain building!

Embracing the technological advances of our world is crucial to maintaining strong and successful educational programs for K-12 students. At Notre Dame Academy (NDA), we continuously improve our curriculum, employing best practices to engage students in the responsible and meaningful use of technology. At NDA we believe that fundamental skills such as collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking are required for success in today’s global community and we have integrated core competencies that enable our students to thrive in the 21st century.

KAREN CHESER Superintendent, Fort Thomas Independent Schools

Over the last year, the Ft. Thomas Independent School district has gathered an incredible amount of valuable input to determine how we better prepare students for a 21st century workplace. From Industry Leader Think-Tanks, Film Festival Panels, and Community Conversations, to Faculty Visits and Student Lunch Talks, thousands of stakeholders have helped frame the district’s Portrait of a Graduate-what we want all students to know, do, and be like when they leave our schools. These competencies are Global Communicator, Empathetic Collaborator, Courageous Leader, Curious and Critical Thinker, and Creative Problem-Solver

What should the business community be doing to support educational attainment in Northern Kentucky? RANDY POE



Superintendent, Boone County Schools

Superintendent, Department of Catholic Schools Diocese of Covington

Executive Director, Northern Kentucky Education Council

I would like see the business community invest in creating a part-time position within the school district to coordinate and facilitate programs between schools and businesses such as co-op opportunities, volunteerism, employment opportunities, and internships. Having a district-wide “business community” position would create one point-ofcontact for businesses and schools to streamline all the education and work-force opportunities between local businesses and schools.

When students graduate from high school prepared for college and career; benefits for earning and tax revenue increase. Business can support education attainment by expanding workplace experiences for students and teachers; providing employees time to volunteer to tutor and mentor; and investing in promising and innovative practices that build capacity.

Collaboration is key. Employers can collaborate with educators by providing programs to support the educational attainment of their employees. Workforce training programs are essential. Programs such as tuition reimbursement and customized training are valuable. To be successful at sustaining a vibrant community this effort must include all stakeholders in the Northern Kentucky community: education, business, and community leaders.


The NKY Education Council has opportunities for engagement from Pre-School through Post-Secondary. No business is too small or too big to impact the Talent Pipeline for our region. PAGE 9

What do post-secondary institutions need to do to ensure we are truly preparing graduates for success in a global economy? VICKI BERLING Director, Sullivan University Center for LearningNorthern Kentucky

It feels like a new day between postsecondary institutions and businesses. Collaboration and communication are at all-time highs. This is beginning to show in how our academic programs are developed and delivered. Instead of guessing or interpreting what companies want and need, we are seeing it from companies first-hand. An example of increased interaction is the articulations that enable students to easily transfer between colleges and universities without losing credits. The “3+1” agreement in Supply Chain just signed between Gateway Community College and Sullivan University offers an incredibly flexible alternative for the working adult student. We are starting to see the fruits of these types of initiatives as more people are seeking career paths in the supply chain industry.

“Building character and integrity, experiencing other cultures with an open heart and mind, and committing to respect all persons, will further fortify the potential of our young people to navigate successfully the global economy.” -

Kathleen Jagger


FERNANDO FIGUEROA President, Gateway Community & Technical College

Gateway is focused on preparing our students for success upon graduation. With that in mind, we have created a task force dedicated to ensuring each student graduates work-ready. Aligning our efforts with the NKY Chamber’s new regional workforce initiative, we are focused on reinforcing our curriculum and providing students with skills needed to be successful, including professional standards, general technology, adjustability, initiative, and collaboration. Through this, we hope to provide our graduates with a seamless transition into the workforce.

TIM HANNER Founder/Senior Director, NaviGo - College and Career Prep Services, a Division of Children, Inc.

Students and teachers need the real world opportunities and experiences that exist beyond the walls of the schools; and businesses need to invest time and resources into education to ensure schools have the ability to offer relevant, meaningful experiences for students, laying a strong foundation to best equip these future employees.

CYNTHIA REED Dean and Professor, College of Education and Human Services Northern Kentucky University

Post-secondary institutions are important partners in a community or region and meaningfully contribute to economic growth, especially when there are collaborative efforts among community and business leaders, P-12 education, and higher education so that are goals and policies are aligned and mutually beneficial. Collectively, we should set goals that both increase the numbers of people who pursue higher education while simultaneously reducing the barriers such as lack of access or funding that prohibit too many from successfully completing their degrees.

KATHLEEN JAGGER VP, Academic Affairs and Dean, Thomas More College

In his book Robot Proof Joseph Aoun argues that today’s successful college students need to develop the human abilities that are not characteristic of computers, such as creativity, to avoid being replaced by artificial intelligence. Building character and integrity, experiencing other cultures with an open heart and mind, and committing to respect all persons, will further fortify the potential of our young people to navigate successfully the global economy. NKY


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NKY Values Early Childhood Education By Katie Louis Senior Account Executive, Scooter Media

Research has shown that 90 percent of the brain’s architecture is in place by age five, setting the foundation for life-long behaviors both academically and socially. That’s why Northern Kentucky is dedicated to offering access to quality earlychildhood education programs — this access is critical for the short and long-term health of NKY’s workforce.



Laying a good academic foundation early is crucial as students who attended preschool are less likely to drop out, be placed in special education programs, or be held back, and score better on math and reading achievement tests. Quality early childhood education has a financial impact on the region as well. It has been shown that spending on early childhood education saves government spending on K-12 education, public assistance, and the criminal justice system. In fact, high-quality early childhood education offers a return of more than $7 for every dollar spent, one of the highest of any public investment. In addition to the long-term impact, quality early-childhood education offers immediate benefits to our community. Our current workforce wants to enroll their children in high-quality, full-day programs to ease the burden of childcare and ensure their children are receiving the education they need to prepare for the future. By providing these programs, parents have peace of mind as they go to work. Also additional jobs are created in the childcare industry, which has an immediate impact on the local economy.

The NKY region is making strides in early childhood education. We have a wealth of organizations partnering to ensure our students are ready for kindergarten and beyond, but there is still work to be done. In the 2017-18 school year, 54.7% of students in the Boone, Campbell, and Kenton County School Districts were deemed ready for kindergarten, which is above the state average of 51.4%. We want to see the number of students ready for kindergarten continue to increase, and we can only do that through collaborative partnerships. The NKY Chamber is dedicated to making access to early childhood education for all a priority. Their mission is to promote and support the development of strong businesses and a vibrant economy in the NKY region, through leadership and advocacy, resulting in a better quality of life for all. They see early childhood education as a crucial building block to support current businesses, offer the current workforce a better quality of life, and to promote the future development of businesses by today’s students. NKY




Covington Partners Mentoring Program Creates Lifelong Relationships By Kelly Rose Welcome House of Northern Kentucky

IMAGINE GROWING UP IN HOME THAT WAS NOT stable. Maybe you didn’t know where your next meal was coming from or you worried if mom and dad were able to pay the bills this month. For school-age students, this could cause grades to go down, a general disinterest in future endeavors, and high occurrences of missing school. Covington Partners, a local non-profit whose mission is to work every day to keep our community moving forward by eliminating boundaries to learning and success to students, provides a mentoring program to the Covington Independent School District. Covington Partners offers two programs that can fit into anyone’s busy schedule — Lunch Buddies is an opportunity to eat lunch with an elementary student once a week in the school cafeteria and Bulldog Connection matches 6th – 12th grade students with a positive adult 21 years or older in a school-based or community-based setting.



“Mentor one person, change two lives... If you want to make a difference with a human being, spend time with them. It’s really that simple.” -

Stacie Strotman Executive Director, Covington Partners

“The last two years have had 90 percent of students who had a mentor go to post-secondary education or into the workforce. Their mentors are helping them plan what life will look like after high school, which is real concern for this area,” says Stacie Strotman, Executive Director of Covington Partners. “A lot of our mentors get matched with their students starting in 3rd grade and work with them through the 12th grade, this is really helpful during those big transition years and it provides stability to the student.” Strotman explained that mentors shouldn’t worry about navigating the program alone because there are full-time mentoring coordinators for elementary, middle school and high school. The coordinators do the recruitment, screening, matching, and then ongoing match support, once you are connected through the program. Mentors are supported throughout the entire program and are there to allow mentors to talk about their successes and achievement as well as potential issues with their mentee. Total there are approximately 3,800 students enrolled


in Covington Schools and over 240 students are matched with a mentor. This creates a long waiting list for students who still need a mentor. For everyone at Covington Partners and the Covington School System, the mentoring program’s impact can be seen far beyond the statistical analysis. “We had a mentoring match where the student got to go abroad for his senior year and the mentor continued the relationship and helped him apply to colleges. These are the things you can’t capture in numbers and are what is the most amazing to all of us working in the program,” said Strotman. For Jordan Huizenga, who is the Senior Director of Development at Children, Inc. and a mentor to Fredy, his life has been changed forever. “The Covington Partner’s Mentoring Program has been such a wonderful opportunity to connect with a student here in Covington and support our schools. I look forward to my meeting with Fredy every week as we work together to make sure he’s prepared for whatever the future might bring,” said Huizenga.

For a lot of people, mentoring might not be an option due to time constraints and busy schedules. However, if you are looking for a way to support the agency consider a monetary donation. It takes $1,000 to support one mentor/mentee relationship. You could be the key to helping students receive the help they need to succeed in school and life. “We have the tagline of ‘mentor one person change two lives’ and I think it’s so true and it resonates with people who are a little on the fence. The mentor’s life changes just as much as the student’s life is changed. Mentors sometimes think that their lives change more. It impacts both people,” said Strotman. “If you want to make a difference with a human being, spend time with them, it’s really that simple. As a region, when people are concerned about future leaders, our workforce, and our decision makers you should take an active role into molding these kids into what we need — it’s the right thing to do.” For more information please visit mycovingtonpartners.org. NKY


Chick-fil-A Challenges You to Stuff the Bus Staff Contribution

Chick-fil-A has been serving Northern Kentucky more than just a great chicken sandwich for nearly 10 years. As they sought ways to further enrich the lives of their guests, they launched the Stuff the Bus promotion several years ago.

“The goal is to partner with our local schools to ensure that children have the supplies they need to reach their God-given potential,” said Operator Dustin DiChiara of the Mall Road location, “We simply leverage the generosity of our great community and connect them with a need. And, we kick-in a little reward for doing it!”


This year’s Stuff the Bus promotion will be held Tuesday, July 31st, from 11 am to 7 pm. Each NKY Chick-fil-A location will have a school bus onsite to collect packaged school supplies (see restaurant for specific list). When a guest brings three or more packaged items, they will receive a card for a free Chickfil-A chicken sandwich.

Additionally, there is a friendly competition between school districts. The district that collects the most packaged items will receive a $1,000 grant for their Family Resource Center. So, whether you support Boone County, Kenton County, or an Independent School District, join in on this win-win-win promotion that puts the children of NKY first! NKY


stuff the bus challenge

Boone County vs Kenton County vs River Cities Tuesday, July 31, 2018 • 11am-7pm Bring 3 or more school supply items and receive a free Chick-fil-A® Chicken Sandwich promotional card while supplies last. Whichever bus receives the most supplies will also receive a $1000 grant for that school area. List of Donation Items Needed: Socks for kids Packs of pencils Pack of markers Glue Sticks

Northern Kentucky


Offer valid only at Chick-fil-A’s in Northern Kentucky on Monday, July 31, 2017 from 11:00 am – 7:00 pm. One offer per customer, 10 per family. Not valid with any other offer. Offer valid while supplies last. Closed Sundays. Ask Restaurant for details. Chick-fil-A® and Chick-fil-A Stylized® are registered trademarks of CFA Properties, Inc.

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Resources Plentiful for Mature Job Seekers By Bill Powell FranNet MidAmerica

FOR THOSE IN MID-CAREER OR THE “RETIREMENT red zone,” reentering the job market after losing a job or being out of the workforce for a period of time can be daunting. Fortunately, many organizations government, nonprofit and for-profit are focused on helping such people navigate through that process and connecting them with realworld opportunities that fit today’s changing economic and demographic environment. In Northern Kentucky, filling the employment pipeline in growing industries — or industries/sectors that are losing experienced workers through retirement and attrition—is done by tapping into a strong base of both young graduates and mature workers. “The National Council on Aging says that older Americans are working longer,” said Barbara Stewart, Director of the Northern Kentucky Workforce Investment Board (NKWIB). “By 2019, over 40 percent of the 55+ workforce will be working; that’s 25 percent of the total workforce. There’s a mind shift out there that includes employers becoming increasingly open to using nontraditional channels to fill their workforce needs.” This mind shift is taking place among job seekers, too. “I advise those in transition to use that period to take stock of themselves,” urged Carissa Schutzman, Associate Vice President of Adult and Graduate Education at Thomas More College. “You now have a new opportunity to do more of what you did previously or to change direction and use your transferrable skills to do something different. Many older workers undersell themselves, not realizing that they offer employers valuable, essential skills such as problem solving, communicating, mentoring and people skills.” PAGE 18

PLACES TO GO, PEOPLE TO SEE “Anyone can get a job today,” stated Natalie Ruppert, Manager of Workforce Development for Kenton County Public Library. “The key is finding the opportunity that’s the right fit for your skills, salary requirements and lifestyle, while meeting the needs of an employer. At the same time, looking for a new job at the professional level is harder than it’s ever been. Employers are inundated with resumes and applications. Networking and paying attention to Applicant Tracking Software are both critical to the job search process.” One of the places mature job seekers should go first is the Northern Kentucky Career Center (Center) to register in Kentucky Focus Career (the state’s job hunting database) and to access its resources, including information about companies hiring now. The Center has facilities in Covington, Florence, Carrollton and Grant County. “The Center is built on collaborative relationships across and among eight counties, 64 municipalities and 22 school districts,” Stewart said. “If you want to get something this complex done and keep it relevant, you have to work this way. “The Center is business-focused and employer-friendly, and is constantly bringing new employers,” Stewart continued. “It employs 12 job coaches and eight business service

There’s a mind shift out there that includes employers becoming increasingly open to using nontraditional channels to fill their workforce needs. Barb Stewart Director NKY Workforce Investment Board

Many older workers undersell themselves, not realizing that they offer employers valuable, essential skills such as problem solving, communicating, mentoring and people skills. Carissa Schutzman Associate VP, Adult and Graduate Education Thomas More College


representatives who help candidates assess themselves, develop and refine their tools (e.g., resume), identify their transferrable skills if they’re changing fields and determine if they qualify for training dollars of up to $3,500/year for two years.” Another of NKY’s vital career-related resources for mature workers is the Kenton Co. Public Library in Erlanger, which is a partner with the Center. The Library offers its Job Search Central website, as well as opportunities to engage with networking organizations, community partners, free classes, job fairs, job hunting tools (e.g., resumes, databases and lists), respected career coaches and adult education programs. The Library’s NKY Accountability Group, which meets there on Wednesday mornings from 9:15 to 11:30 and is moderated by Ruppert, enables professionals to connect with area resources, learn about a unique aspect of the job search journey and share stories in a roundtable setting. “You must work the process,” Ruppert emphasized. “Analyze the job description, target your resume to the specific position, research the company, write a targeted cover letter, check to see if you know—or can connect with—someone who could personally introduce you to a hiring or HR manager, follow up and send both electronic and handwritten thank you notes post-interview.”

Telling a new networking connection, ‘I don’t know what I want to do’ is the kiss of death. You can’t expect other people to figure out your life for you; you need to take control and do your homework first. Natalie Ruppert Manager, Workforce Development Kenton County Public Library

SPECIFIC POINTERS AND ENCOURAGEMENT Our experts offered other bits of advice and encouragement for mature workers seeking their next opportunity. “Don’t be reclusive; put your ‘uniform’ on and go to work every day to land your next position,” urged Schutzman. “Explore the resources out there and build relationships. Hold your bitterness in check and don’t burn bridges. Keep an open mind and be open to education to supplement your skills, or to enter a new field. Consider tapping into the career coaches and advice available through educational providers.” “Networking remains the number one way to find a new job,” Ruppert advised. “An employer is much more willing to consider a professional referred by a respected source than someone who simply submits an online application. Professionals must be able to state clearly and concisely what they want to do. Telling a new networking connection, ‘I don’t know what I want to do’ is the kiss of death. You can’t expect other people to figure out your life for you; you need to take control and do your homework first.” Most importantly, suggested Angie Taylor, a career coach with Taylor Career Strategies, use your support system and available resources. “Be kind to yourself and know that this is a tough journey, but one that allows you the opportunity to pursue and perform the work you may have wanted to do for some time. There’s a golden lining in that you may evolve your career into one that you’ve wanted, but never had the opportunity to pursue. Take this time to build your career pathway into the future you desire. Your time is now.”

RESOURCES ABOUND IN NORTHERN KENTUCKY As mature workers in transition seek their next opportunity, whether that’s employment or business ownership, there are numerous other resources available through other educational institutions, e.g., Gateway Community and Technical College and Sullivan University, as well as through the private sector, e.g., career coaches and recruiters. The next step is up to you.

DEMAND ACROSS NORTHERN KENTUCKY There’s a golden lining in that you may evolve your career into one that you’ve wanted, but never had the opportunity to pursue. Angie Taylor Career Coach Taylor Career Strategies


Among the top 25 specialized skills in greatest demand in FY17 included: Microsoft software, customer service, scheduling, repair, inspection, sales, budgeting, supervisory skills, project management, patient care, accounting and staff management. Among the top 25 certifications in greatest demand in FY17 are: CDL Class A, Registered Nurse and Certified Nursing Assistant (about 50% of the top certifications are in healthcare), Commercial Driver’s license, Certified Public Accountant, Project Management Certification and Automotive Service Excellence. NKY


Tuition Benefits For Employees By Vicki Berling, Ph.D., Sullivan University & Dave Schroeder, Kenton County Public Library Co-Chairs, Action Team 4-Lifelong Learning, NKY Education Council

EMPLOYEES ARE LEAVING MONEY on the table at work — in the form of unused tuition benefits. A recent survey sponsored by the NKY Education Council in collaboration with the NKY Chamber revealed that few employees take advantage of tuition benefits to continue their education. Of the 91 employers completing the survey who offer tuition benefits, 67 percent said fewer than 10 percent of their employees participate. Most existing policies are based on tuition reimbursement, meaning employees must pay the costs of tuition, fees and books for their classes upfront. Upon completion, they are repaid, usually with a sliding scale based on grade performance. Some employers believe the reimbursement nature of the benefit is a barrier.

“I felt my employer really cared about my development... Every class I took applied to what I was doing. I learned so much. It motivated me to keep going.” -

Mark Bohman, Post Glover Resistors Tuition Reimbursement Recipient 2018 Graduate, BS in Mechanical Engineering Technologies


“At Verst Group, we recently increased our tuition benefits to $3,000 per year, and we still only have two employees using the plan. When I asked our front-line employees why, many indicated they don’t have the resources to pre-pay the expenses,” said Jeff Greelish, Verst Group, Vice President of Human Resources. Schwan’s Company’s Larry Earle, Jr. said their policy varies. “We assess on need. For example, if it’s someone in leadership, we normally reimburse. If a maintenance technician is looking for further certification or education, we would pay upfront and design an employment duration guarantee.” Those who do take advantage of tuition benefits appreciate their employers for the opportunities. Mark Bohman graduated from University of Cincinnati this spring with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology and has been using his tuition benefits from Post Glover Resistors since 2014. “It’s one of the reasons I have stayed with the company. I felt my employer really cared about my development,” he said. “I am very grateful for this program.” Bohman said he believes he has contributed more at work due to his degree program. “Every class I took applied to what I was doing. I learned so much. It motivated me to keep going.”

Steve Bodde from the City of Erlanger expressed the same sentiment. While he was a staff accountant, the city’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) announced his intention to retire in four years. Steve knew he needed a master’s degree to qualify for the position, so he pursued the Master of Science in Accountancy degree at NKU. He is now the CFO and grateful for the investment the city made in him. “I definitely encourage people to use their tuition benefits,” stated Bodde. The survey also found that most companies require manager approval and a certain amount of service time before usage. Some employers (26 percent of respondents) only cover courses directly related to their job. “This can be a drawback for some employees who are attempting to move laterally within the organization,” NKY Chamber Vice President of Workforce Leisa Mulcahy said. Of 222 companies participating in the survey, 59 percent do not offer tuition benefits. The vast majority of those who do not said their organization or their budget was too small to fund the benefit. For detailed results of the survey, contact the NKY Education Council at nkyec.org or 859.282.9214. NKY


Educational Benefits for Employees in NKY by the Numbers In Spring 2018, 222 organizations responded to a survey about their tuition and continuing education benefits for employees. Key findings are summarized here.



offer tuition benefits to their employees

employees have access to tuition benefits

Why companies offer tuition benefits?

Requirements to use benefit None 6% Other 2%

Great Motivational Tool 15%

Part of Succession Planning 17%

To Be Competitive in Hiring Process 19%

Impacts Retention 19%

Consistent with our values 28%

Employee use of benefit

67% have less

Time w/company 26%

Only courses related to job are covered 26%

Other 6% Only offered to certain positions 7%

Manager approval 29%

than 10% usage

Why companies don’t offer benefits


Say “Our Budget/Organization is too small”

Do you offer additional $$ for continuing education?


• Most companies fund continuing education on a case-by-case basis • Typically, industry-specific classes needed for job duties are funded • Some companies let their managers fund CEU training

Respondents represented all key industry sectors, as defined by the Workforce Investment Board: Advanced Manufacturing, Banking/Financial Services, Information Technology, Health Services, Advanced Logistics Sponsored by the NKY Education Council’s Action Team 4, Lifelong Learning, chaired by Vicki Berling and Dave Schroeder, in collaboration with the NKY Chamber of Commerce. For more information, please contact the NKY Education Council, nkyec.org or 859.282.9214.

The Circuit Works to Expand IT Talent By Tracy Ruberg, Executive Director, The Circuit

The Information Technology (IT) field has been, is and will continue to be a great career opportunity. It is a high growth field and has excellent pay. Rapid change in the industry means IT professionals are continually challenged and many jobs offer flexible schedules and work from home. With so many great attributes, why do we have a shortage of people entering the IT field? Many believe there is a lack of understanding on what the jobs are really like and the vast array of jobs available. It is not just putting together hardware or sitting in a cubicle by yourself all day writing code. In demand positions include business analysts, sales, user experience and of course, development (writing code). Developers get involved with the business units to understand the end goal of the project. They work in groups to divide and conquer. They continually learn new tools and methods. They get to see their work perform the requested tasks. And, they are in high demand. So how do we get the word out about how wonderful the IT field is? We need to expand programs in schools to educate young students about the many opportunities available to them. Additionally, businesses need to consider different requirements for IT professionals. The field is changing so quickly that a standard job description doesn’t work. We’ve seen job postings asking for ten years of experience for a technology that has only been out for six years! Businesses need to accept and recruit IT professionals from bootcamps, unique fields (like art and music) and be willing to train them. Universities need to adapt programs quickly. We have to think differently. The opportunity to gain specific technological skills is available in many places. High school students have opportunities to get exposure through clubs and programs like Interalliance. Boot camps are a great way for people to learn specific skills such as security, business analysis or specific coding languages. In fact, there are over 100


IT groups in Greater Cincinnati. Groups include The Circuit, Project Management Institute and specific Meet-ups. Industry conferences are another way to gain knowledge. The Circuit, a non-profit Information Technology Association for the Greater Cincinnati region, held the Momentum Developers Conference to enable developers to learn from each other. Speakers included representatives from Kroger, GE and other industry leaders. The conference pulled people into Cincinnati from all over Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and other areas. These guests had a chance to see the great things taking place in the region and consider coming to work here. The conference also provided the opportunity for 100 high school young women to attend the conference at no charge. The Circuit and Elastic believe that helping young women understand the benefits of the IT industry is a key step to helping close the gap of IT professionals. NKY

DID YOU KNOW THAT THE NKY CHAMBER & THE CIRCUIT HAVE A PARTNERSHIP ? Chamber Members enjoy a $200 discount for Chief Information Officer Circle membership. Sign Up at NKYChamber.com/TheCircuit


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Vaidya Begins Tenure at NKU By Michael Monks Editor & Publisher, River City News

Dr. Ashish Vaidya will take over as president at Northern Kentucky University in July, coming to Highland Heights from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota where he served as interim president.

“It has been a long transition but I am really getting excited about NKU.” PAGE 24


While he lived and worked several states away, Vaidya was already keenly aware of NKU before even becoming a candidate for the top post on campus. “The work over the past several decades has positioned NKU for public stewardship at its best,” Vaidya said. He noted that much of that work began under the leadership of former president Dr. James Votruba and continued under Geoffrey Mearns, who precedes him. “Under Votruba, NKU established itself as the perfect way to engage all the external constituents to better serve its students and region.” When Mearns left for the presidency at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, Vaidya said that he knew he had to become a candidate at Northern Kentucky. “It is a young university and very entrepreneurial. It has a can-do attitude and the region seems very dynamic,” he said. “How much the region really has embraced and supported NKU and vice versa, to me, says that it is a very special type of relationship that I hope to build on.” Vaidya cited Northern Kentucky’s start-up community as one key element of the region that excites him. “That kind of spirit is exciting to me personally because what public institutions do best is provide tremendous access and opportunities for anyone who may be the first in their college, which I know NKU is proud to serve,” he said.

STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS But while there is much to be excited about, Vaidya said, there are some uphill battles on the horizon, too. Notably, Kentucky’s state budget and shrinking resources for education are concerning, he said. “I actually had a very candid conversation with the (Board of Regents) in the fall prior to accepting

and they asked me, Why aren’t you just saying yes to us right away?” Vaidya said. “I’m an economist by training and I’m looking at this from a variety of perspectives. “In order to have a prosperous region, you need both alliances and partnerships across the spectrum — business and industry, government, nonprofits, K-12 — it’s the collective alliance that will make the region. No one can do it alone.” Vaidya said that what gives him pause is the opioid crisis, Kentucky’s financial standing, and state support for higher education. “I want to make sure we have the ability to make a difference and NKU simply can’t do it by trying to raise money on its own. It has to be a compact with the Commonwealth,” Vaidya said. The new president said that partnerships and relationships like the one that exists between the university and the NKY Chamber will be helpful in addressing those concerns. “Let’s roll up our sleeves, let’s combine the assets and resources of the region to tackle these issues,” he said. NKU, he said, has already shown the way to do that — by partnering strategically to expand and create informatics programming and curriculum.

EMPOWERING GRADUATES Students, too, will play a role in improving Northern Kentucky — both the region, and the university. Vaidya said that NKU’s mission of empowering graduates to have fulfilling careers and meaningful lives struck a chord with him. “We are preparing our students for the 21st century and for careers that are not really in place yet, and to lead meaningful lives which also means making a difference in their community,” Vaidya said. “Not only through work but through service.” Internships play a significant role for students to gain the necessary experience to be impactful.

“In order to have a prosperous region, you need both alliances and partnerships across the spectrum — business and industry, government, nonprofits, K-12 — it’s the collective alliance that will make the region. No one can do it alone.” Ashish Vaidya



“This being a real dynamic, vibrant ecosystem where entrepreneurship and innovation are going to fuel the continued growth going forward — I think NKU’s commitment to being a partner and a regional steward will position itself really well.”

“Unless students get those experiences outside the classroom, they are not going to be prepared. NKU understands the full spectrum of its impact, and I think having experience outside the classroom is such a growth experience. Every academic department, it seems, encourages students to take opportunities outside the classroom.”

ENGAGING WITH BUSINESS Vaidya is also eager to work with the business community. He cited NKU’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the informatics programs — and referred to NKU as ‘a start-up college.’ “There was a need in this region,” he said. “This being a real dynamic, vibrant ecosystem where entrepreneurship and innovation are going to fuel the continued growth going forward — I think NKU’s commitment to being a partner and a regional steward will position itself really well,” he said. “In this knowledge-based economy, we are going to need a lot more of how we can prepare our students and region to tackle not only competition within the region and Commonwealth or the nation, but even globally,” he said. “What I am seeing at CVG Airport is connecting us


to the country and to the entire world. We are living in a global, interconnected world and I think our students need to have that mindset to take advantage of that opportunity.” Vaidya will also engage with the region’s business community. “It is important,” he said. “You really cannot have this standalone institution that doesn’t respond, that doesn’t hear and think about what is regional. It is to be part of that ecosystem.”

REGIONAL ADVOCACY And while Frankfort politics can occasionally take the wind out of the university’s sails, Vaidya is optimistic that strong advocacy at the state level can be work. “What impressed me was how much the community has come forward and stepped forward in support of NKU,” he said. He noted the “Invest in Success” campaign that helped NKU achieve from the state its long-sought performancebased funding model after years of being comparatively underfunded among Kentucky’s public colleges. Vaidya noted the NKY Chamber’s participation and support of that, too.

“I couldn’t ask for a better situation where it’s not just the university and its faculty and staff and leadership asking for resources and support, but when the business community comes up and lends its voice in advocacy, and the fact that they are supporters in Frankfort and other places — it’s just great,” he said. “I’ve been really impressed with that.”

FAN PARTICIPATION Another area in which NKU has increased its performance is athletics — and Vaidya said that you can count on seeing him among the fans. “It has been one of the joys of my time here at St. Cloud State, being with students in both athletic events, concert events and performances, informal gatherings, walking through the library and chatting with them,” he said. “It’s a powerful reminder of why we do the work we do. “I made it a priority and I will continue that priority at NKU, engaging with students at every opportunity I get. It is something that must be carved out of my time. It’s the best part of my job.” NKY


NKU Celebrates a Half Century of Regional Impact By Rodney Wilson Communication Manager Northern Kentucky University

FOR TODAY’S NORTHERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY students, news of the school’s 50th anniversary—which it celebrates this year—may not seem like the big deal it is. The university has, after all, stood as a reliable choice for quality education for the entire lives of many, providing chances at career success as solid as the concrete walls of its original buildings. For older alumni, the half-century mile marker provides a chance to compare their college experiences to today’s campus life. But for those who remember when Northern Kentucky State College (NKSC),as NKU was originally known, was first signed into existence in 1968, the 50th anniversary is a chance to celebrate a school that, in its earliest days, sprung to reality from a groundswell of community support and determination to build an educated workforce.


The inception of NKU began as a way to address regional needs and is still the driving force of the university today. Though mid-century Northern Kentucky had a community college in the form of the University of Kentucky’s Northern Community College (UKNCC), which opened in 1948 and operated out of various public schools across Covington, in the 1960s there was a growing call for a four-year public college in the area. The few private colleges that operated out of Northern Kentucky were priced beyond reach of much of the region’s quarter-million population, creating something of a catch-22: residents couldn’t afford the education necessary to pursue careers that would elevate their socio-economic position. Without an affordable, in-state public option for higher education, Northern Kentuckians would struggle to compete with University of Cincinnati-educated neighbors across the river.


POLITICAL SUPPORT CREATED NKU The drum march for a new four-year state college continued as a community movement until 1967, when state elections brought the movement to the campaign trail. State politicians took up the issue of a new state college, with races ranging from county commissionerships to the state governor’s office addressing what had come to be viewed as necessary for the region’s economic advancement — in fact, when Louie B. Nunn won the race for Kentucky’s governor, one of his first official actions was a push to create the school he’d championed. What followed was a whirlwind of activity, with various councils and boards recommending action on the issue, that culminated in the introduction of bills to the state legislature, which passed both the House of Representatives and Senate in February 1968. Then, on March 14, Gov. Nunn signed NKSC into existence, making the college a legislative reality. Of course, while these bills created the legal entity known as NKSC, the college still needed to be built — and Governor Nunn wasted no time in getting the ball rolling, appointing a site selection committee the following June and, in 1970, signing UKNCC out of existence, a move that delivered the


campus and a handful of faculty members to the new school. Meanwhile, NKSC had been busy building an administrative core, with the first-ever Board of Regents choosing a president — dean of Virginia’s Clinch Valley College, Dr. Frank Steely — to lead the school. Campbell County’s Highland Heights was chosen as NKSC’s eventual home, classes started at the old UKNCC building in fall 1970 and ground was broken on the new campus in 1971. The college campus opened in 1972 with just two buildings: Nunn Hall, named after a reluctant Gov. Nunn (he worried the honor would be seen as partisan), and Regents Hall. And since students first stepped onto the Highland Heights campus, there’s scarcely been a day when the college wasn’t actively growing in size — up to and including 2018, when the Health Innovation Center is set to open.

GRADUATING TALENT FOR REGION The university’s impact began when its first graduating class entered the job market in 1973, but NKU’s 1984 creation of the College of Business signaled a massive step forward in the mission to strengthen Northern Kentucky’s economic success. Rechristened the Haile/US Bank College of Business in 2008, the college is housed in NKU’s Business Academic


Center and makes outreach to the business community a core component. “Obviously, we’re putting highly qualified graduates — undergraduate and graduate program students — into the talent pool every year,” says Dr. Greg Martin, interim dean of NKU’s Haile/US Bank College of Business. “That just goes without saying.” While the university remains committed to building an educated workforce in the region, Martin notes that the college’s impact on the business community can be observed in other areas as well. “In many of our higher-level classes in all of our majors, we engage with the community in a variety of ways,” he says. “One of those ways is we do external projects with business clients.” Class instructors identify small businesses, not-forprofit organizations and entrepreneurs with specific needs, and students work with the operators to generate results. “Our students present their solutions and, more often than you would think, they include materials and ideas that businesses can use. And often our students just hit the nail square on the head and we make a real difference for our clients.”


LAUNCHING SMALL BUSINESSES Martin points to the award-winning Northern Kentucky Small Business Development Center, an extension of the Federal Small Business Administration that provides no-cost advice to small businesses, as another way in which NKU contributes to the regional business community. “We also operate the Center for Economic Analysis and Development,” he adds. “It is one of the premier organizations in the region that furnishes different forms of data-driven analyses that businesses use to improve all sorts of different decisions.” And NKU’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship offers programs that help students, regardless of their major, turn good ideas into sustainable ventures, from conception (INKUREKA) to development (INKUBATOR) to launch (INKUBIZ). When the ideas enter the market, as in the case of NKU alumnus Josh Young’s Vegy Vida, the additions bolster the region’s economic health. NKU’s rapid growth was as unlikely as it was remarkable, and, a half-century later, the university’s local legacy is cemented in Highland Heights. With a proven champion of region stewardship on its side, Northern Kentucky’s next 50 years is a success story in the making. NKY



Alexandria Opens Micro Library By Rachel Folz Director of Digital Marketing, Cerkl RETIRED TEACHER, CURRENT NANNY and lifelong reading evangelist Michelle Beagle is loving her newest neighbor, the Campbell County Public Library’s Alexandria Branch. “As soon as I heard the news that a satellite branch was going to open in Alexandria, two minutes from my house, I was so excited!” said Beagle. A patron since 1976, Beagle has long utilized the library’s hold system to request items but picking those items up would take her ten minutes out of her way. With the Alexandria Branch open for business, Beagle and thousands of other southern Campbell County residents can enjoy easier access to the library’s educational and recreation offerings. Located at 8333 Alexandria Pike, south of Main Street, this micro branch is serving the southern half of the county with books, audiobooks, magazines, music, and DVDs for patrons of all ages. With a library closer to home, residents of the growing communities of Alexandria, Claryville, and Carthage are frequenting the library to pick up materials or hop on Wi-Fi. Beagle says she is borrowing more books than ever. “This has been a tremendous time saver and also a means of having access to literally thousands of quality children’s books.” Since opening in January, this branch has circulated nearly 11,000 items and signed up 244 new library cardholders. Providing service to Campbell County’s growing southern population PAGE 30

has been an important goal for Library Director JC Morgan and his staff. With their eye on the bottom line and mission to make the branch fit within their budget, the library set out to find a small, flexible space that could be renovated into a library. They found a building on Alexandria Pike owned and operated by prominent Campbell County businessman Barry Jolly. After the lease was signed in August of 2017, Jolly went to work updating the building, and making the whole space ADA compliant. “Barry was a terrific partner,” Branch Manager Dave Anderson said. “He did great work at a wonderful price and really helped us stay under budget while giving us a beautiful space.” To keep costs low, the library reused and repurposed materials from other branches. Thanks to Jolly and good stewardship on the part of the library, the cost of the branch was able to be absorbed into the current budget without increasing taxes. Beyond books, the branch offers two meeting rooms and laptops you can borrow while you visit. Beagle says the finished product is a bright and pleasant community space, “The Alexandria Branch is always very clean and inviting. The shelves and neat and organized and often there is a buzz of happy children visiting the library.” The new library is open 11 AM-7 PM Tuesday-Friday; 11 AM-5 PM Saturday; and closed Sunday and Monday. NKY

JOLLY THURSDAYS 10 AM every Thursday in July at A.J. Jolly Park’s Stapleton Pavilion* Fun, free events for all ages thanks to a great community partnership. For the third summer, the Library, Parks and Recreation and Cooperative Extension Service in Campbell County have joined together to offer exciting, fun and educational events at the outdoor venue. Don’t miss out!

SCHEDULE FOR 2018: JULY 5 Critters in the Classroom JULY 12 MadCap Puppets: Jules and Verne’s Excellent Adventure JULY 19 Cincinnati Museum Center: Phenomenal Physics JULY 26 Growing Sound with David Kisor and Demi Mays *In case of rain, the event will be at the Campbell County Environmental Education Center, 1261 Race Track Road in Alexandria, just up the road from A.J. Jolly Park.


























Emerging 30 Emerging 30 is composed of local businesses making a significant economic impact on the community based on annual revenue growth. Winners receive public acknowledgment of their achievements and are encouraged to offer their guidance to help other small businesses grow during events tailored specifically to Emerging 30 designees.

JOLLY ENTERPRISES, is comprised of Jolly Plumbing, Jolly Commercial Investments (commercial property ownership), Jolly Property Rescue (a property rescue and water mitigation contractor) and Jolly Property Maintenance. CEO Brady Jolly is also proud of the Jolly family’s Out Of Our Hands, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Out of Our Hands has raised over $150,000 for its community outreach mission. Easter baskets for underprivileged kids, purchasing a car for a struggling single parent, and providing clothing for inner-city school children are just a few of the good works by Out of Our Hands. Jolly Enterprises is a four time recipient of the Emerging 30 award. Founded in 1979 by Brady’s dad Barry, the company ostensibly has achieved a great deal since 1979. When asked who in business Brady most admired he said, without hesitation, his dad Barry. Barry not only worked hard to build the plumbing business, but did so with excellent communications skills and high ethical standards. Those skills and ethics have transcended into the cultural make-up of all the Jolly Enterprise companies. Jolly Enterprises truly cares about its customers and its staff. Brady explained that Jolly Enterprises has taken a “controlled-growth” approach to serving customers and expanding services. For example, Jolly Plumbing has 25,000 customer relationships. To keep those relationships, Jolly is careful to recruit, hire and retain staff that buy into the family atmosphere that is the culture of Jolly Enterprise’s group of companies.

FURLONG BUILDING was founded on one simple principle: to be fair and open with its clients. The company’s open book philosophy of design/build construction is the reason for the company’s rapid success. Furlong’s focus on the customer & looking out for their best interests have resulted in repeat business, strong referrals and ultimately growth. Furlong’s project experience continues to grow in the size of buildings and magnitude of projects. Their key projects include repurposing historic buildings for breweries and other entertainment venues. The company continues to build big box warehouse and industrial spaces as well as ground-up manufacturing and distribution centers. Another niche industry for Furlong is in food processing, distribution and warehouse facilities. Plant expansions, equipment installations and construction of food preparation areas are among the company’s capabilities. In 2017 Furlong underwent a reorganization which better positioned the company for growth, providing opportunities for management level growth among the staff. Furlong’s teamdriven approach to building the company, where employees contribute to decisions, is the secret to the growth and future of the company.





ADVANTAGE GROUP ENGINEERS (AGE) is an Emerging 30 winner 20 years in the making, as they celebrate their 20th anniversary this summer. The three founding members of AGE are still with the company today and have expanded the ownership of the business beyond the founding engineers. AGE is a structural engineering firm that enjoys working on tough projects and is accustomed to providing detailed work to clients. AGE takes pride in having the ability to work through engineering challenges, rather than dictating unrealistic expectations. “Art without engineering is dreaming. Engineering without art is calculating.” Founding Principal Ray Brake stated that most of their business comes from repeat customers and through referrals from satisfied customers. AGE’s office is in Cincinnati for business purposes but the AGE founders are long time Northern Kentucky residents who are always interested in being a part of projects in Northern Kentucky. While proud of their local roots, AGE has provided engineering services for the construction of buildings throughout the country. AGE works with owners, developers, architects, contractors, subcontractors and other design professionals to design and detail the structural system and foundations that efficiently utilizes materials as well as constructability that works with the architecture of the project. For an impressive list of projects and services provided, please visit agengineers.com.



SITETOLOGY LLC is an example of the technology revolution happening in small business, especially in website online payments. The company has continued to evolve with technology and market demands over the past nine years. The rapid growth of the company in the past few years led to being named an Emerging 30 designee. Sitetology began by providing low cost website development for small businesses. Over a three year period the company continued to evaluate the marketplace and look at scalability of their business. This led the company to becoming partners with advertising agencies. Sitetology worked with ad agencies as their white label provider developing websites for ad agency clients. As this work grew, the evolution of online payment became more and more a part the business. The company partnered with Heartland Payment Systems, the fourth largest online payment provider in the US. Sitetology/ Scale Squad is now the exclusive developer for online payment gateways and invoicing systems for Heartland’s customers. They help small businesses develop their website to be more profitable with online payments through an easy to use website link. Company co-founder Mike Stallings stated that a big part of their success and growth is providing “offshore prices with US accountability.” If your small business wants to work with a US company to develop their website and online payment features, visit scalesquad.com.

WIEDA’S MARINE is based in Alexandria but is a nationally recognized bass boat dealer and the largest single location bass boat dealer in the United States. Customers of Wieda’s come from all across the United States, from California to Maine. Wieda’s Marine has been designated an Emerging 30 winner the past four years. Wieda’s Marine is owned and operated by Sean Wieda, a lifelong resident of the Tri-State area. Sean’s been involved in the local bass fishing community since the early 90’s, and brings his passion for the outdoors to Wieda’s Marine. Sean has over 15 years in the fishing boat business and many of the staff at Wieda’s Marine have 10-40 years of experience. Sean and the team understand what boat will fit you best. When asked what has brought this success to Wieda’s, owner Sean Wieda stated a big part is “the employees are passionate outdoors people who live the fishing and boating lifestyle. At Wieda’s customers get large dealer resources with small town customer service.” Wieda’s is a dealer for Triton Aluminum & Fiberglass Bass Boats, G3 Fishing & Pontoon Boats, Skeeter Bass Boats, Phoenix Bass Boats and Lund Boats. Wieda’s also specializes in used boats. With their connections in the industry they can find WHATEVER boat you’re looking for. More info can be found at wiedasmarine.com. NKY




RIBBON CUTTINGS COLONEL’S KITCHEN 18 North Fort Thomas Avenue | Fort Thomas, KY 41075 | (513) 421-4800 | colonelde.com

PICTURED: Ken Bowman, Fort Thomas City Council; Debbie Buckley, City of Fort Thomas; Ron Dill; Brent Cooper, NKY Chamber President; Tom Lampe, Campbell County Commissioner; Colonel De, Colonel’s Kitchen owner; Susan Stewart, Colonel’s Kitchen owner; Eric Haas, Fort Thomas Mayor; David Cameron; Jeff Bezold, Fort Thomas City Council; Brian Painter, Fort Thomas Commissioner

DEVOUCYCLE AT DEVOU PARK 1201 Park Drive | Covington, KY 41011 | (859) 431-8030 | devoucycle.com

PICTURED: Dave Peru, General Manager, Devou Golf and Event Center; Jimmy Beatrice, Business Benefits/NKY Chamber Ambassador; Matt Butler, Chair of Special Projects, the Devou Good Project; Brent Cooper, NKY Chamber President; Jordan Huizenga, Commissioner, City of Covington; Mayor Joe Meyer, City of Covington; Mayor Matt Mattone, City of Park Hills; Pete Nerone, Chair of the Devou Park Advisory Committee; Rebekah Gensler, Founder and President, Devou Good Project; Jason Reser, Owner, Reser Bicycle Outfitters. Front Row: Joel, Cora, Sam & Evan Butler



REPUBLIC BANK 25 Town Center Blvd, Suite 101 | Crestview Hills, KY 41017 | (859) 547-5024 | republicbank.com

PICTURED: James Weaver, Assistant VP, Sr. Business Banking Officer, Crestview Hills; Melissa Domaschko, Sales and Service Rep, Crestview Hills, Republic Bank; Amy Quinn, Assistant VP. Sr. Private Banking Officer, Crestview Hills, Republic Bank; Andy Powell, Executive VP, Chief Lending Officer, Republic Bank; Steve Trager, Chairman & CEO, Republic Bank; Jason Payne, Sr. VP, & Managing Director of the Northern KY Region, Republic Bank; Tom Saelinger, Market President, NKY/Cincinnati Market, Republic Bank; Mayor Paul Meier, Mayor of Crestview Hills; Ernest Marshall, Director, Republic Bank; Danny McNeill, VP, Business Development Officer, Crestview Hills

UBREAKIFIX 6805 Houston Rd, Suite 300 | Florence, KY 41042 | (859) 869-0559 | ubreakifix.com/locations/florence

PICTURED: Andy Johnston, BB&T/NKY Chamber Ambassador; Amy Beck, Citizens Deposit Bank/NKY Chamber Ambassador; Ashlee Kennedy, State Farm Insurance/NKY Chamber Ambassador; Brent Cooper, NKY Chamber President; Chris Conlin, UBreakIFix, owner; Victoria Conlin, UBreakIFix, owner; Diane Whalen, City of FlorenceMayor; Gary Moore, Judge/Executive Boone County; Scott Stewart, Dwyer Insurance/NKY Chamber Ambassador; Ellen Barnet, L&N Federal Credit Union/Sponsor; City of Florence Police Department; City of Florence Fire Department


We want to help you promote and celebrate your ribbon cutting ceremony for your new facility, expansion, anniversary celebration or open house! We’ll bring our trademark giant blue scissors, a group of Chamber ambassadors, and a camera to capture the excitement of your special day. Call Lynn Abeln at (859) 578-6390 to schedule your FREE ribbon cutting today!


Ribbon Cuttings Sponsored by:



Celebrating a Lifetime of Service As a young college student, Florence Tandy didn’t set out looking for a life of community service and nonprofit leadership, but when the path found her she assumed it with vigor — and never looked back. Now, after 13 years at the helm of Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission (NKCAC), Tandy’s plans for retirement are highlighted by the characteristics that have long defined her professional life: service and hard work. “I enjoy helping nonprofits grow and get better,” says Tandy, who has served on more than a dozen nonprofit boards, developing processes, implementing best practices and providing leadership support. “I want to continue that service in a different, non-executive role.” With that in mind, Tandy last year participated in Harvard University’s Women on Boards executive education program, an experience she says helped her forge strong connections and a deeper understanding of board service in a corporate setting. Coming from a long line of teachers and other collegeeducated women, Tandy was naturally academically focused, studying first in her hometown of Campbellsville and later earning a bachelor’s degree in political science from University of Kentucky as well as a master’s in organizational leadership from Gonzaga. What she would do with that education, however, was initially less clear. “In those days, women didn’t go to college to have careers,” she says. “After college I applied for jobs of all types and ended up going to work for the state. I learned right away it wasn’t for me so I started looking for other opportunities. That’s when I discovered the nonprofit world, and the rest is history.”

AN AGENCY OF ACCOMPLISHMENT Celebrating more than 50 years in existence, NKCAC continues gaining momentum as a force for good in Northern Kentucky, thanks in large part to Florence Tandy’s oversight as Executive Director since 2005. Under her leadership, NKCAC zeroed in on a mission to help low-income individuals and families escape the cycle of poverty by providing a wide range of unique programs and services for individuals, children, families, young adults and seniors.


“One of the things that gives me the most satisfaction is when the work we do helps an individual recognize their own gifts and set a plan in action to work toward self-reliance,” Tandy says. “If we can help more individuals do that, it serves our families, our communities — and it gives me great satisfaction, too.” Among NKCAC’s most visible achievements to date is the 2016 renovation of a historic former school located on Covington’s Greenup Street. The site is now home to Lincoln Grant Scholar House (LGSH), a fully-staffed residential center that provides safe housing, onsite case management and academic services for single parents pursuing a college education. LGSH has successfully housed 45 families and 86 children; assisted 300 more families with educational services; enrolled all residents in childcare and health insurance programs; and raised community donations to sponsor holiday gifts and celebrations. These efforts earned LGSH the Kentucky Nonprofit Network’s Innovative Non-Profit Award, a $101,000 Impact 100 grant, and Cincinnati Preservation Association’s Exemplary Historic Renovation Award, The Northern Kentucky

PICTURED Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission Team: Dawn Fogarty, VP for Family Services; Laurie Wolsing, VP of Children’s Services; Florence Tandy, Executive Director; Rhonda Chisenhall, VP of Community Development; Bob Williams, VP of Finance and Administration

Chamber’s Emerging 30 Award, among other accolades. “Florence has been the powerhouse behind all (NKCAC) momentum,” says board chair JC Morgan. “It’s been a pleasure working with her. I know that the entire board will agree that we watch her go with mixed feelings, but know that she’s done so much to put this organization in the right place to transition to new leadership.” Tandy’s retirement will kick off in June. The longtime nature enthusiast says she’s looking forward to doing a bit of traveling, hiking and exploring Greater Cincinnati’s many parks. She’s quick to point out that none of her retirement plans are set in stone, but one thing is for certain: “I’m going to have the best garden in Northern Kentucky, I promise you that.” NORTHERN KENTUCKY BUSINESS JOURNAL

Bob Hoffer, a partner with DBL Law, was recognized by the Kenton County Fiscal Court as one of its 2018 Pioneer Award honorees. The Kenton County Pioneer Award was established in 2017 to honor living residents of Kenton Co. who have a record of outstanding service to the community and who exemplify the highest standards of personal integrity. The Pioneer Award honors those who demonstrate servant leadership combined with awareness of the needs of fellow residents. Bob heads the firm’s employment law division, representing employers of all sizes, including some of the largest throughout KY and Greater Cincinnati. He has represented hospitals and physicians for over 30 years on employment and medical negligence issues. DBL Law Managing Partner Jim Dressman remarked, “We ask all of our attorneys to get involved and lead organizations and to be passionate about service to others. Bob is one to admire and emulate. He helps people when they need it the most.” Bob has been recognized as KY Super Lawyer and was named the 2012 Distinguished Lawyer of the Year by the NKY Bar Association. He is chair of the St. Elizabeth Foundation and a Member of the St. Elizabeth Healthcare Board of Trustees. “As a community, we are blessed with Bob’s thoughtful engagement, wise counsel and leadership in many organizations,” said Carri Chandler, Vice President, St. Elizabeth Foundation.


Ann Shackelford, D.D.S., has joined Shearer Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in Florence. Dr. Shackelford earned her Doctorate of Dental Surgery from Indiana University in 1998 after receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology/ sociology from Butler University, and a Master of Science degree in biology from Purdue University. She has served as a missionary dentist in Haiti and Mexico and as a mobile dentist for Indiana school children. Dr. Shackelford has practiced general and cosmetic dentistry for 20 years and recently relocated to Kentucky. “I value providing comfortable, gentle dental care and encourage patients to participate in their care through education and prevention in order to keep visits to a minimum,” she says. “My goal is to not only address patients’ immediate concerns, but to provide quality comprehensive planning that will provide viable options to meet long term dental needs.” Dr. Shackelford joins Shelley Shearer, D.M.D., Lupe Rojas, D.D.S. and Pam Walden, D.M.D. as well as a support staff of almost 20. It is the largest all-female dental practice in Northern Kentucky. When Dr. Shackelford is not practicing dentistry, she enjoys fitness and travel, and is an avid racing fan and animal lover.

June 14 marked the 60th year of practicing law for Wilbert L. Ziegler, founding and senior partner of Ziegler & Schneider, P.S.C. (Z&S) in Crescent Springs. Well known as general counsel for the Kenton County Airport Board, he began serving in this position on November 20, 1967 when TWA flight 128 crashed at what was then, the Greater Cincinnati Airport, killing, among others, Will’s partner, Andrew Clark, who was then the Airport’s general counsel. For the next 50 years, Will would serve at the helm of the legal matters at the Airport and has served longer than any other attorney in the country. “Fifty years serving one account is virtually unheard of in the legal community and is unlikely to be repeated in today’s world,” said Robert Ziegler, son of Wilbert and a partner at Z&S. Also notable in his career is the 25 years Will served as general counsel of the Bank of Kentucky, Inc. Will currently serves as a member of the NKY Independent District Board of Health as a designee for the Kenton Co. Judge Executive, trustee of Thomas More College, trustee of the University of Cincinnati Foundation, Inc. and a member of the Board of Advisors of U.C. College of Law. He is a Life Fellow of the KY Bar Foundation and in 2009 received the NKY Bar Association Distinguished Lawyer Award. Since 2007, he has served as President of the R. C. Durr Foundation, Inc.



Following a nation-wide search, the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission Board of Directors (NKCAC) selected Catrena Bowman-Thomas as the Agency’s next executive director. Bowman-Thomas has a proven track record in nonprofit leadership and will take over the reins of NKCAC on July 1. She is currently the Director of Community Services at Community Action Council in Lexington, Kentucky. In her current role, she oversees operations at the Council’s Community Centers and manages innovative youth and workforce development programming designed to assist families and individuals reach their goals of self-sufficiency. She has been with the Community Action Council in direct service or administration roles for over 18 years. “I find it rewarding to help people reach their personal and professional goals. I have accepted this opportunity because NKCAC does that every day with every program and initiative the Agency provides.” Bowman-Thomas said. “I am so excited to call NKCAC home and to work with such a strong staff and great group of community volunteers to provide a clearer pathway for moving people out of poverty.” Bowman-Thomas’ list of community involvement is extensive and includes serving as a Board Member on the Lexington Leadership Foundation and Partners for Youth. Bowman-Thomas holds a B.A. in Family Studies and a Master’s degree in Public Administration with an emphasis on nonprofit management from the University of Kentucky. She is a certified community action professional (CCAP) and a national ROMA certified trainer. A mother of three, she loves gospel music and is a self-professed fashionista.

OMEGA Processing Solutions is proud to announce the promotion of Daena Sprafka, CPP, to the newly created position of Chief Operating Officer. In this role, Sprafka will have responsibility for OMEGA Processing’s merchant operations and relationship teams, as well the company’s customer and technical service departments. “As OMEGA’s first employee, Daena has always had OMEGA’s best interest in the forefront of all she does,” says OMEGA Processing Solutions President and CEO, Todd McHugh. “She will be laser-focused on streamlining OMEGA’s operational processes for maximum efficiency, while maintaining the best possible customer experience from the first moment a merchant is with OMEGA.” The creation of the Chief Operating Officer role centralizes the entire life cycle of the merchant portfolio under common direction and allows OMEGA to better serve its customers. Previously Sprafka served as the company’s Vice President, Operations, as well as Director of Merchant Operations. She holds a Certified Payments Professional (CPP) designation from the Electronic Transactions Association. “As an OMEGA Processing employee for 15 years, I am proud and excited to embark upon the challenge of Chief Operating Officer,” says Sprakfa. “This company is a very large part of my life, and I look forward to bringing a renewed sense of customer focus and streamlined execution to our organization.” NKY


All NKY Chamber members are invited to share announcements & personal achievements in the Milestones column. Send Milestones to bgastright@nkychamber.com PAGE 42


Annual Leadership Breakfast Join Leadership NKY alumni as we welcome this year’s speaker, Shane Meeker, Procter & Gamble Company Historian & Corporate Storyteller and founder of Story Mythos – A Movie Guide to Better Business Stories. Proceeds from this event support Regional Youth Leadership. This event is open to the public!

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Certificates of Origin By Angie Wormald NKY Chamber

In doing business internationally, one of the required export documents needed to complete a sale is a Certificate of Origin. These documents are needed by the importing country officials to prove an export’s “country of origin” in order to determine whether a product can be legally imported, and if so, what tariffs will be assessed on the shipment. While the Greater Cincinnati/NKY region is home to a number of large exporters, most of them are small and medium-sized businesses, like our NKY Chamber members, that sell products and services to nations around the globe. Exporting to international markets helps grow and strengthen our state’s economy and selling to foreign customers helps alleviate seasonal and regional fluctuations in sales, can give older products a new life, and provides for collaboration with new clients to develop and adapt new products. According to recent studies, exports are on the rise in the Northern Kentucky region. The Kentucky Export Initiative information shows that 2017 Kentucky exports were 5.8 percent higher than in 2016 and the Commonwealth set a new record for annual exports with $30.9 billion in exports reported. In addition, an Ohio Development Service Agency reports Ohio merchandise exports were valued at $50.1 billion in 2017, an increase of 1.6 percent from 2016. By comparison, the United States experienced an increase of 6.6 percent in exports since 2016.


OBTAINING A CERTIFICATE OF ORIGIN The NKY Chamber is one entity that can issue, sign and stamp Certificates of Origin. Prompted by post-WWI trade agreements, the 1923 Geneva Convention named Chambers of Commerce the official agency to issue, sign and stamp Certificates of Origin because they were generally independent of the government and could be found worldwide. Local logistics companies and manufacturers contact the NKY Chamber regularly for attestation of their Certificates of Origin. On average, the NKY Chamber completes 20 to 25 of these required documents daily. The NKY Chamber signs documentation for soybeans to Indonesia, oilfield parts to Saudi Arabia and clothing to Qatar, just to name a few. Whatever your product, and whether you are proficient or a novice at preparing your Certificates of Origin, your NKY Chamber Seal Team can connect the pieces of getting these documents embossed and signed.

Nearly all Certificate of Origin requests made through the NKY Chamber are processed on the same day and NKY Chamber membership is not required to take advantage of this service. For questions about Certificates of Origin, call 859-426-3825, email chamberseal@nkychamber.com or stop in to speak with one of our NKY Chamber Seal staff.

NETWORK WITH NKITA Need more exporting assistance? Consider attending Northern Kentucky International Trade Association (NKITA) meetings through the NKY Chamber where you can network with our Chamber Seal Team, our local US Commercial Services representative, and other local businesses who market, sell and ship products overseas. Other valuable assistance can be found at kyexports.com or export.gov. NKY


2018 Annual Dinner Presented By

September 20, 2018 5:00 PM-8:30 PM NKY Convention Center The Annual Dinner is Northern Kentucky’s largest premier business event celebrating our business community. The evening’s program highlights the success of the past fiscal year, special volunteers in community and chamber service are honored and the gavel is passed to our new Chair of the Board. Attracting over 1,000 in attendance, this event creates a powerful networking and advertising opportunity.


Presenting Sponsor:

Pieschel Award Sponsor:

Wine Sponsors:

Devou Cup Presented By:



Robinson Award Sponsor:

BB&T Bank DHL Express Stock Yards Bank & Trust Taft Stettinius & Hollister Community Partner:

Cincinnati Business Courier

EVENTS JULY 7/17 7/18 7/19 7/25 7/25 7/26 7/26 7/30 7/31

Eggs ‘N Issues | Receptions | 7:30 – 9:00 AM STEM Day Out | Various companies across the region | 9:00 – 1:00 PM LEGACY Next Generation Leader Awards | Madison Event Center | 6:00 – 9:00 PM Safety Forum: Promoting Safety in the Workplace | NKY Chamber | 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM Pints & Perspectives | Braxton Brewing Co. | 4:30 – 6:00 PM NKITA Presents: Doing Business with India | NKY Chamber | 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM LEGACY Coffee and Conversation | NKY Chamber | 7:30 – 8:30 AM Women’s Initiative CONNECT Hour | Mellow Mushroom, Wilder | 4:30 – 6:30 PM Sales Essentials Workshop: Create Engaging Social Media Content | NKY Chamber | 9:30 – 10:30 AM

NKY Chamber at FC Cincinnati – FCC vs Nashville | Nippert Stadium | 7:30 PM Employer Roundtable: The #MeToo Movement | NKY Chamber | 12:00 – 1:30 PM A Culture of Wellness Lunch N’ Learn: Quitters Wanted! | NKY Chamber | 11:30 – 1:00 PM Getting the Most from Your Chamber Membership | NKY Chamber | 3:00 – 4:00 PM NKY Chamber Annual Golf Outing | Summit Hills Country Club | 7:30 AM – 7:30 PM Eggs ‘N Issues | Receptions | 7:30 – 9:00 AM LEGACY Bourbon and Boards | Metropolitan Club | 5:30 – 7:30 PM NKITA Meeting | NKY Chamber | 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM Annual Leadership Breakfast | SETEC | 7:30 – 9:30 AM Workforce: HR 100 – Compliance | SETEC | 7:30 – 9:30 AM Women’s Initiative CONNECT Hour | Chart House, Newport | 4:30 – 6:30 PM Sales Essentials Workshop: How Do You Measure Success? | NKY Chamber | 9:30 – 10:30 AM

NKY Chamber Annual Dinner | NKY Convention Center | 5:00 – 8:30 PM Women’s Initiative CONNECT Hour | Full Throttle Go Karting, Florence | 4:30 – 6:30 PM Sales Essential Workshop | TBD | 9:30 – 10:30 AM


The Business Journal is a benefit of membership and included in membership fees. Annual subscription rate for nonmembers is $24. Periodicals Postage Paid USPS-548630 at Covington, KY.

Subscribers: Please send address changes by e-mail to info@nkychamber.com. © 2018, The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Inc. and by the individual authors. All rights reserved. CEO/Publisher Brent Cooper VP, Public Affairs & Communications Kristin Baldwin | kbaldwin@nkychamber.com Marketing / Communications Director Jeremy Schrand | jschrand@nkychamber.com Design & Photography Ben Gastright | bgastright@nkychamber.com Vice President Membership – Sponsorship Sales Lynn Abeln | labeln@nkychamber.com Director, Sponsor Investments Diana McGlade | dmcglade@nkychamber.com

SEPTEMBER 9/20 9/24 9/25

Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Inc. 300 Buttermilk Pike Suite 330 P.O. Box 17416 Ft. Mitchell, KY 41017 859-578-8800 NKYChamber.com

Postmaster: Please send address changes to the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, 300 Buttermilk Pike, Suite 330, P.O. Box 17416 , Ft. Mitchell, KY 41017-0416.

AUGUST 8/4 8/7 8/8 8/9 8/14 8/21 8/21 8/23 8/24 8/27 8/27 8/28

Northern Kentucky Business Journal is published bi-monthly by:

Chamber Communications Committee Rachel Folz (Chair), Jamie Holtzapfel, Mindy Kershner, William Powell, Kelly Rose, Katie Scoville Louis, Emily Gresham Wherle


The 2018-2019 NKY Chamber Board of Directors and NKY Chamber Staff overlook the NKY skyline from the rooftop of Keating Muething & Klekamp PLL after a board retreat. PAGE 46


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Profile for Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

NKY Business Journal July/August 2018  

Education Issue Volume 37 Number 4

NKY Business Journal July/August 2018  

Education Issue Volume 37 Number 4