NKY Business Journal | July/August 2022

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4 Chair's Letter 8 Building Tomorrow's Workforce Today 12 GROW NKY 14 Talented NKY Teens Thrive on World Stage 16 Attainable Sustainability 20 Raising The Bar 24 Innovation Integration 28 Q&A with the Board 30 Outstanding Women of NKY 34 Business Impact Award Winners 36 Around the Chamber 40 Member Milestones 42 Ribbon Cuttings 46 Events ON THE COVER: Gaby Batshoun, President and Founder of Global Business Solutions. Graphic by Kevin Brummer




GARREN COLVIN Chair, NKY Chamber President & CEO, St. Elizabeth Healthcare

OUR BOARD, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH countless businesses and community organizations, has been focused on driving the NKY Chamber’s three strategic imperatives so that our region is positioned as a place where all people can come with new ideas to grow, thrive, and call Northern Kentucky home. Over the past nine months, we have helped lay the groundwork for the future of our business community by focusing on three strategic imperatives that will enhance the vitality of our region: (1) growing, attracting, and retaining world class talent; (2) uniting the Northern Kentucky region to advocate for an improved economy; and (3) building an inclusive business community. To achieve these imperatives, innovation is a critical factor and the cornerstone of sustained economic growth and prosperity regardless of the industry. We must incorporate both sustainable and disruptive innovation into our businesses and regional strategies to maintain an existing position, while we also pursue growth and new ways to address the current and future landscape. Unforeseen challenges are inevitable in business, a fact we all experienced over the past two years when the pandemic disrupted life on a monumental scale. Routine operations were rendered obsolete over the course of a few months, and many businesses still sustain negative results from this unprecedented world shift. We believe proactive innovation is necessary for companies to adapt and overcome life’s challenges. While some challenges (like a global pandemic) cannot be foreseen, other challenges can be predicted through industry forecasting and trends to help businesses be more prepared for future needs.

An innovative approach in healthcare that recently occurred through Northern Kentucky University’s Institute for Health Innovation (IHI) was the Idea Challenge: Growing the Health Care Workforce. Founded in 2018, the Institute for Health Innovation at NKU seeks solutions to health challenges that are facing Northern Kentucky. The IHI directly addresses urgent unmet health needs by working with communities, forging partnerships, and envisioning the future of healthcare through innovation. The Idea Challenge was specifically designed to identify innovative solutions to address the current and looming shortage of healthcare workers nationwide by either sustaining them in their occupation or boosting entry into the field. Finalists for the Challenge detailed their proposed solutions in five-minute pitch videos. Solutions included changing governmental regulations, decreasing on-the-job psychosocial hazards, and increasing youth interest in healthcare careers. A panel of judges from various areas in the healthcare industry judged the submissions, focusing on the significance of the specific problem the team was trying to address, product or program viability, and the potential impact of the proposed solution. Innovative opportunities come in many shapes and forms. The more diverse minds that are brought together to address opportunities, the broader the collective knowledge and the better the results. Like this group of students at NKU, I urge all of you to consider where you can drive innovation within your business or industry. As always, thank you for everything you do to help make Northern Kentucky an even better and healthier place to live and work. Thank you,



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KLH Engineers Spins Off Configure, Inc., an Online Construction Marketplace Kohrs Lonnemann Heil Engineers, Inc. (KLH Engineers), a nationally recognized engineering firm, has spun out a new company, Configure, Inc. As a separate entity from KLH Engineers, Configure is developing a construction marketplace that digitizes supply and empowers designers and contractors to easily specify, compare and purchase engineered to order products with connected suppliers. The Configure platform is accessible via the web application or through an Autodesk® Revit® plugin, the leading building information modeling software for architects, engineers, designers and contractors. Configure co-founders Michael Albanese and Jeff Leuderalbert conceived the idea and developed the platform while principals of KLH Engineers. “As engineers, we had to specify equipment without pricing information and wasted valuable time searching catalogs and emailing or calling manufacturers’ reps,” said Albanese. “Configure was born out of this frustration. Instead of waiting for the industry to change, we decided to build a more collaborative solution that not only addresses inefficiencies we experienced as engineers, but also those across the entire construction management process.” “During the design phase, suppliers are able to communicate with potential customers within their Revit models, and designers can link products, product data and pricing directly into their models,” said Leuderalbert. “During pre-construction, Configure matches contractors with local suppliers so they can solicit and compare bids in one platform, and select the package that best fits their project and budget.” KLH CEO Bob Heil and KLH President Jim Tavernelli provided Albanese and Leuderalbert the resources they needed to bring Configure to life, allowing them to leverage the in-house software team to build the platform. “At KLH we sponsor ideation, nurture entrepreneurism and give employees the resources to commercialize their innovations,” said Heil. “And because KLH is stronger than ever, we are in a position to allow members of the team to focus on the new companies we are spinning off. We are very excited for Michael and Jeff.” Configure isn’t the first company that was incubated within the walls of KLH Engineers. In March 2021, the firm launched Levcon Analytics, LLC, an architecture, engineering and construction data consultancy.

From left: Configure co-founders Michael Albanese and Jeff Leuderalbert with KLH Engineers President Jim Tavernelli and CEO Bob Heil.

“The introduction of Configure demonstrates that KLH is innovating beyond traditional consulting engineering,” said Tavernelli. “We learned so much throughout this journey and KLH will leverage that experience to continue seeking ways to create new value in the industry.” Since launching, Configure raised $2 million in a seed round led by TitletownTech, a Wisconsin-based venture capital fund formed out of a partnership between the Green Bay Packers and Microsoft. Configure will deploy its new capital to expand its software technology and make additional programming hires. “We’ve built a strong platform and ecosystem of partner and customer relationships, and we’re excited to drive this mission forward at scale,” said Albanese. Some of Configure’s current customers include Tweet/Garot Mechanical, Green Bay, Wisconsin; Silicon Valley Mechanical, San Jose, California; and Peck Hannaford + Briggs, Cincinnati, Ohio. For more information about Configure, visit configurenow.com. *Article provided by KLH Engineers

Building Tomorrow's Workforce Today

By Tabari McCoy, Scooter Media

Boone County Schools, Gateway College combine efforts to help employers overcome talent attraction/retention issues GIVEN THE 21,000 STUDENTS CURRENTLY ENROLLED IN BOONE COUNTY SCHOOLS, DISTRICT Superintendent Matthew Turner knows he and his fellow educators are tasked with a great responsibility. He, however, is not looking for fictional superheroes to prepare them to become members, and possible leaders, of Northern Kentucky’s workforce upon graduation. He believes those people are already in place. Now, it’s time to unite and do the work. “It’s part of our responsibility to connect with employers and work together with everyone in the community to make sure our kids are prepared and (that) there're jobs for them to go to (for which they are) prepared,” Turner says. “In that process, I met with Boone County Judge/Executive Gary Moore and we pulled together a group of about 25 to 30 business leaders to discuss how the world is changing and the skill sets they need. Now, we’re using the data we received as part of our strategic plan within Boone County Schools as part of our bigger picture strategy.” IGNITING CAREER INNOVATION Identified as one of three current strategic imperatives for the Northern Kentucky Chamber, talent attraction and retention has also been identified as a key issue for educators like Turner. While the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly contributed to current talent shortages plaguing employers nationwide, local business leaders have realized that piquing students’ interest in understaffed industries is key to growing Northern Kentucky’s future workforce. Enter the Career and College Pathways program and the Ignite Institute. Ignite Institute, located in the former Toyota manufacturing site, focuses on project-based learning in high-demand career fields. Ignite is part of Boone County Schools’ Career and College Pathways program, which explores careers in fields such as pre-nursing (in partnership with St. Elizabeth), advertising, PICTURED: Gateway's Line Technician Certification Program PAGE 8


agriculture, computer science and construction among others. The intent is to spark student interest in a variety of fields while providing invaluable, hands-on experience that may help them – and in turn, local employers – determine their future career paths. Several programs also enable students to earn credits at certain area colleges while meeting their requirements for high school graduation. This, in turn, helps many earn a head start on degrees. According to Turner, this year’s Boone County public high school graduating classes boasted “Anywhere from three to five students in each” that already earned an associate degree in addition to their high school diploma. Turner says these efforts help to alleviate the pressure that parents and students feel when trying to determine a future path. “The biggest shift I’ve seen over the last 10 to 15 years is in the incredible amount of pressure we place on kids that everyone must go to college or you can’t be successful,” he says. “We want to provide opportunities for kids but must understand not all of them may be able to make that decision. They may get into this program and really understand 'College is really not what I want to do – I may have to change course.'” A GATEWAY TO IMPROVING WORKFORCE Adrijana Kowatsch, Vice President of Advancement and External Affairs for Gateway Community and Technical College, understands the dilemma of which Turner speaks. Gateway, which in June received $25,000 from the Duke Energy Foundation to help train students as line technicians to help address a worker shortage, is one of Boone County Schools’ career readiness partners. (The Duke Energy Foundation also granted Boone County Schools $10,000 to support STEM programming throughout this past March). Citing a job projection by the University of Cincinnati as a source, she says jobs with sustainable wages that do not require a four-year degree are on the rise but will require candidates to have some training or an industry certificate. That’s where Kowatsch says Gateway can enjoy their “sweet spot,” offering fast tracks to two-year degrees and utilizing partnerships and training programs to bolster job opportunities for high school graduates and in continuing education careers. She cites the line technician initiative as an example of the program’s success. “Over the course of 16 weeks, you can come out of high school with training, get a job paying $45–50,000 with almost guaranteed placement with a good company and the potential to earn up to six figures,” she says. Advocacy to dismiss the stigma associated with such programs and community college degrees, Kowatsch says, is just as important as getting people to take advantage of them. “As a society we tend to value white-collar jobs. The discourse is changing and there're more people open to the notion that trade work is good, quality, sophisticated work,” she says. “It’s for everybody who likes to work with their hands (and) wants lots of earning potential in a good, growing field. It is very sophisticated work that's needed for us to succeed as a community.” IT TAKES A VILLAGE Turner, who says “Educators are blessed to have a profession with a very distinct purpose – to help kids,” agrees. “We got into this profession because we wanted to help kids and we wanted to feel like we're doing something of value to the community and society,” he says. “We want to engage our business community and our community as a whole – that's where we all must work together to be sure that we're collaborating at a high level, truly getting parent and community engagement. The more we work together on these things, the better it'll be for our students.” NK Y



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GROW NKY partners across the region are collaborating on a variety of projects to enhance talent development, talent attraction and employer policy and practice with the goal of greater economic vitality for Northern Kentucky. From blurring the lines between high school and college to redefining what it means to have a “good job,” GROW NKY leaders are serving as a model for the Commonwealth and the nation when it comes to workforce development. Below are just two ways our partners are leading the way. Learn more at nkychamber.com/grow.

Dual Credit Hours: The Next Generation’s Stepping Stone to Success By Dr. Randy Poe, Executive Director, Northern Kentucky Education Council & Dr. Fernando Figueroa, President, Gateway Community and Technical College

NORTHERN KENTUCKY EDUCATION, BUSINESS, AND COMMUNITY LEADERS HAVE a long history of partnering to advance student success, increase college and career readiness, and support regional workforce needs. These partnerships, forged through collaborative efforts led by the Northern Kentucky Education Council and GROW NKY, have led to a dramatic increase in dual credit programs, career pathway opportunities, and early college access for high schoolers. Thanks to these strong partnerships, NKY students have access to several college-level experiences including Early College, Ignite Institute, The River Cities School Districts Network, and NKU’s Young Scholars Academy. The dual credit courses offered through these programs are provided at reduced rates, saving students thousands of dollars in future college expenses. •

• •

Averi Yelton, Conner High School

Approximately 1,200 dual credit students were enrolled during the 2022 spring semester at Gateway Community and Technical College, nearly 30% of the student population. This year’s graduating class included 50 dual-credit high schoolers, a record-breaking total for the institution. Ten of those 50 students earned both an Associate in Arts and an Associate in Science degree while also completing high school. Nearly 500 students were enrolled in dual credit programs completing over 2,600 credit hours at Thomas More University during the 2021-22 school year. Over 1,500 dual credit students earned approximately 7,000 credits each semester at Northern Kentucky University this year.

Through the collaborative efforts of GROW NKY Pillar 2, we will work to foster and develop stronger education and business partnerships to ensure these programs continue to grow and drive successful outcomes for all students and enhance the health and vitality of our region. To learn more or to get involved in this work, please contact Dr. Randy Poe, NKYEC Executive Director or Chad Molley, Superintendent of Erlanger-Elsmere Schools and NKY Grow Pillar 2 Chairperson. NK Y PAGE 12

Ian Warford, Conner High School Students in Northern Kentucky are benefitting from partnerships between local high schools and post-secondary partners


Innovation from the Inside Out: Elevating Job Quality for Talent Retention “COMPANIES WHO ARE NOT THINKING ABOUT JOB quality are on borrowed time,” said Dr. Thomas Kochan, CoDirector of MIT Sloan Institute for Work and Employment Research at MIT Sloan School of Management during the keynote presentation at the 2021 Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Employer Best Practices Symposium. GROW NKY Pillar 5: Employer Policy & Practice’s goal as a committee is to provide tools and resources to employers that elevate job quality and their ability to attract, retain, develop, and advance their employees. Across the country, and right here in our region, a variety of organizations – including businesses, economic development agencies, workforce development organizations, investors and lenders, advocacy organizations, labor unions, and philanthropy – are innovating to improve job quality in their businesses, organizations, and communities. We have incredible employers in our region and a talented workforce. How can we ensure that as a region our economy is growing and equitable economic opportunity is available for our workforce? And ultimately that we make this region the best place to live and work. Pillar 5 created, curated, and executed the Job Quality Challenge (JQC) series to help elevate the conversation around job quality in our community. JQC was designed to inform and expand employer and community thinking and to inspire participants to improve job quality in their respective companies.

By Talia Frye, Vice President, Brighton Center & Jules Breslin, Leadership Engagement Director, Talent Magnet Institute

In 2021 the JQC was a 15-day experience and in 2022, based on participant feedback, the JQC was a 5-day experience. Each day participants were presented with challenges, via email, such as reading an article, watching a video, listening to a podcast, having conversations with colleagues and co-workers, reflecting on personal experiences, and more. We brought Challenge participants together to learn as well as to share ideas, experiences, and best practices that are crucial in becoming an employer of choice through virtual Coffee & Conversations. In total, 179 participants representing 89 employers have taken part so far. The JQC was built on the National Fund for Workforce Solutions Job Design Framework. Topics included elements of a good job, helping employees develop their skills and advance in their careers, economic mobility and racial equity, and employee engagement. Our Job Quality Challenge received national attention and was replicated by JVS in Boston. “Hosting a Job Quality Forum at JVS Boston provided our agency with the perfect opportunity to elevate the job quality discussion in the city at a critical time during the COVID pandemic,” explained Susan Buckey, Director of Employer Engagement, JVS Boston. You can follow #GROWNKY for future job quality events, or reach out to ceimer@ brightoncenter.org to schedule a Strategic Workforce Action Team (SWAT) meeting to get feedback from local workforce partners on job quality in your organization. NK Y

The Employer Best Practices Symposium



Talented NKY Teens Thrive on World Stage

The IGNITE Institute Team competing in the VEX Robotics World Championship

By Tabari McCoy, Scooter Media

Ignite Institute, Covington Catholic Robotics Teams Take Home Top Prizes at VEX Robotics World Championship TWO LOCAL HIGH SCHOOL PROGRAMS ARE SHINING after showcasing their talents on a worldwide stage following award-winning efforts at the world’s largest robotics competition for high school students. Robotics teams at the Ignite Institute in Boone County and Covington Catholic High School closed out their 2021-22 school years finishing in first and second place overall, respectively, at the VEX Robotics World Tournament. Taking place in Dallas this past May, the event featured 818 teams, selected from a registry of 20,000 teams representing 15,000 high schools in 40 countries. The VEX competition was a reversal of the two teams’ previous battle at the Kentucky State Robotics championship this past March, which saw Covington Catholic upend Ignite for the top prize. Team 38141B VEX “PiBiotics” from the Ignite Institute went undefeated in round robin-style competition, compiling a 10-0 record en route to winning the VEX Robotics High School World Championship. Earning a spot in the Grand Elimination Bracket of all 10 division winners, the team won its final battle by a score of 224-95 to take home the world championship title in a 10,000-seat arena. Team 9257C, Covington Catholic’s “House Cats,” also performed well, taking home the title of VEX High School World Finalists. They were one of five teams from the school, competing alongside “RoboColonels,” “Colonelbotics,” “Flintstones” and “X-Factor.” Each team competed in different divisions of the VEX event, led by Tom Rowe and Bob Lind, the 2021-22 Kentucky Robotics Coach of the Year and Create Foundation Teacher of the Year winners, respectively. To learn more about Ignite Institute’s PiBiotics team, visit pibotics.info. For more on Covington Catholic’s robotics teams, follow their Twitter account at covcath.org/STEM. NK Y

The IGNITE Institute Team after winning the world championship

The Covington Catholic "House Cats"

Covington Catholic at the World Championships



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e l b a n i a t t A ability n i a t s Su Discover how three Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky organizations are working to create a sustainable future across industries By Tabari McCoy, Scooter Media

A CYNIC MIGHT ATTEMPT TO DISMISS IT AS simply the latest buzzword du jour, but for many companies and organizations, sustainability – doing business without negatively impacting the environment, community or society – is much more. In fact, it is a top priority for several businesses on both sides of the Ohio River throughout the NKY Metro region. By committing to promoting and maintaining sustainable operations, each organization is putting its values front and center, not only as part of its business model, but in hopes of inspiring others to follow suit. These three local organizations/businesses are working to sustain their industries today to ensure they – and our world as a whole – can enjoy their hard work tomorrow and beyond.

Bowyer Farm

CINCINNATI ZOO & BOTANICAL GARDEN 3400 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45220 cincinnatizoo.org

What T hey Do The conservation of both flora and fauna is the top mission of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and has been since its founding in 1875. From its Lindner Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) and Academy to partnerships with AmeriCorps, Rockdale Academy and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and more, the zoo’s sustainability efforts are ongoing and multi-faceted.

The Urban Learning Garden at Rockdale Academy



T he Details Mark Fisher, Senior Director of Facilities, Planning and Sustainability, says the zoo defines the latter term as “doing everything we can within our control and our power to lighten (our) footprint on the earth.” That explains why Fisher, alongside Executive Director Thane Maynard and Chief Operating Officer David Jenike, proudly accepted the Super Nova Award at the 2010 Evening with the Stars of Energy Efficiency Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C. on the zoo’s behalf. The award recognized individuals and organizations that demonstrate “an exemplary and creative commitment to advancing energy efficiency.” The Cincinnati Zoo was also named as the “Greenest Zoo in America” in 2010, a fitting title considering it’s on track to become the first to achieve net zero energy, waste and water status by 2025. Fisher likewise points to the zoo’s efforts to help its Avondale neighbors as an example of how it’s passing those ideas along to the next generation. “We developed a space at Rockdale Academy, which is the elementary school right next to (us) in Avondale. We’ve turned it into an incredible urban learning garden center (with) a commercial working greenhouse,” says Fisher. “They are weaving the work in the garden into the school’s curriculum, teaching these kids about science, agriculture, nutrition and entrepreneurship.” Bowyer Farm, the 529-acre property willed to the zoo in 1995 with the condition it could never be developed except to further its mission, has become a major beacon of sustainability, as well. Fisher says 100 acres have been ecologically restored, including a wetland complete with hiking trails. Bowyer Farm is also where the zoo has focused on growing honeybees and pollinators, which have faced significant decline in recent years. The tiny creatures are responsible for pollinating a third of the world’s crops. “If we don't have bees, a lot of the food that's on your plate every day disappears,” Fisher says. All of these efforts and initiatives add up to the reason Fisher says the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical garden is “so much more than (just) a zoo.” “There’s a lot of cool stuff going on in this town and people need to be aware of it,” he says. “The more our community hears about these things, the more it becomes normalized. Props to Greater Cincinnati for being on the cutting edge – that’s something our region should be proud of.”

Did you know the zoo had solar panels in the parking lot?

The zoo's biodigester system utilizes organic waste to produce fertilizer and biogas.

Elephants, along with the other water-inclined animals in the zoo, swim in recycled rain water. INNOVATION | VOLUME 41 NUMBER 6


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What T hey Do

What T hey Do JAMES SHEEHAN North American CEO, Mubea

Who did Volkswagen look to for production support after making history as the first foreign manufacturer to open a production site in America? Mubea, leading to the foundation of the company’s Florence, Kentucky, facility in the early 1980s. Today, more than 1,000 employees work locally for Mubea, manufacturing a variety of automobile parts including coil spring wire, transmission and conventional disc springs among others. The company is committed to sustainability by producing lightweight products that are as efficient as they are innovative.

T he Details According to James Sheehan, Mubea’s North American CEO, the Mubea Way – the guiding principle followed by company employees worldwide – sets the standard for everything “that we as employees experience every day and associate with Mubea.” “It is our philosophy to develop new production technologies in-house. We are therefore able to react flexibly to our customers’ requests – engineering our own tools and facilities is at the heart of this strategy,” Sheehan says. “As a sustainable automotive supplier, Mubea is aware of its responsibility towards our commonly shared environment. Therefore, we are committed to reducing our emissions by at least 25% by 2025.” Sheehan says Mubea’s commitment to achieving that goal consists of avoiding, reducing and eliminating carbon dioxide emissions wherever possible. That in turn will help the company achieve its goal of becoming climate positive – participating in activities that achieve net zero carbon emissions – by 2035. Additionally, the company monitors its facilities for leakages of compressed air to avoid using more energy than necessary. Mubea also recently launched projects to recover heat energy as well as implementing cooling water recirculation systems in its specific production lines. The company has no plans of stopping there, either. “Sustainability is not only a matter of how we manage the available energy but also where the energy comes from. Since 2022, we purchased green electricity at many Mubea locations,” Sheehan says. “On top of lightweight products, which contribute to saving resources, we already evaluate today the possibilities of circular supply chains and green steel purchasing for an even more reduced carbon backpack. If we can realize buying green steel, we will be able to save a huge bunch of emissions as the purchased goods and services cause the greatest portion of Mubea’s CO2 emissions.” Sheehan says Northern Kentucky is as good a place as any for the company to start realizing those goals. “Northern Kentucky boasts many advantages. It has a good education system with major universities nearby and world-class healthcare options,” Sheehan says. “It also has a thriving art community, entertainment, sports and is a logistical hub with the airport, freight, rail and of course, the Ohio River. And one of the biggest advantages is that it has one of the most competitive cost structures in the country.” PAGE 18

Real Estate and Energy Partners (REAE) seeks to use the combined 50+ years of experience of its co-founders, Ken Holliday and Chad E. Dickerson, to provide commercial real estate advisory and transactional services. In partnering with solar engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) companies, developers and other energy leaders, the company hopes to help businesses identify and understand renewable energy opportunities that can enrich their locations (and the environment).

T he Details Growing up in Eastern Kentucky as the child of a coal mining family, Dickerson has long been familiar with the impact industry can have on the environment. Originally working alongside Holliday under the banner of Huff Realty, the duo combined with their junior partner Amie Stevie, branched out in 2019 to launch REAE, acting as brokers on behalf of developers. Additionally, REAE helps to retrofit established manufacturing facilities, examining things like energy usage and their utility bills as part of a plan to engineer more economic (and environmentally-friendly) facilities. While a significant portion of REAE’s interests are concentrated on the Tri-State region, Dickerson says the company has looked at projects throughout the Midwest and South, including Oklahoma and Texas. He sees Northern Kentucky, however, as the perfect place for his company to call home and make its mark.


Aerial view of factory roof with solar panels

“This is a great market for e-commerce, and it's only going to grow faster. I would say ‘Why not Northern Kentucky?’” he says. “The people here are fabulous. The three counties are aligned with business goals, maybe better than anywhere in the country – we couldn't think of a better place to be.” His motivation to make other companies feel the same is why he hopes more companies see sustainable energy as an investment worth making. “From a business perspective, when you look at these projects, if you're a savvy businessman like a lot of the people that read (this) magazine, you think, ‘Why wouldn't you do this?’ It makes financial sense (and) your real estate more valuable,” he says. “We're happy to be a small part of a large solution at hand (and) help folks make smart real estate decisions aligned with sustainable energy decisions – we're here to serve. We're a small team, but we're efficient and we're nimble. We look forward to being around for a long time.” NK Y



Raising The Bar

HERE IS A STATEMENT THAT WON’T SURPRISE ANYONE, since it has, is and most likely forever shall remain true: Bourbon is as synonymous with Kentucky as horse racing and bluegrass. The prominence of the B-Line, Northern Kentucky’s self-guided bourbon trail, brings thousands if not millions of thirsty tourists into the region annually, each ready to have their own experience with one of the Commonwealth’s most prominent products. Now, the efforts of three local breweries and distilleries – Boone County Distilling Co., Braxton Brewing Company and Rhinegeist – are expanding beyond beer and bourbon and raising the bar with their innovative approaches to brewing.

BOONE COUNTY DISTILLING COMPANY 10601 Toebben Dr., Independence, KY 41051 boonedistilling.com

How three local breweries/distilleries are blazing new, innovative trails By Tabari McCoy, Scooter Media


Don’t let Boone County Distilling Company’s marketing tagline fool you. Despite its claims that its products are “Made by Ghosts,” if there’s one thing the company has made clear since its 2015 debut, it’s very much alive and thriving. Now, an innovation combining a flair for the artistic alongside cucumbers, jalapenos, raspberries, lemons, vodka and plenty of bourbon has the company positioned to compete in a new playing field among its peers. Launched in May, Canvus (www.drinkcanvus.com) is a new brand of canned mixed, flavorful cocktails under the Boone County Distilling banner. Each can is intended to represent two things: A combination of the word “canvas” in line with each can’s artistic flair and “us,” representing the bond between the community of “builders, creators, trend-setters and explorers” they seek to unite. Boone County Distilling Head Distiller Mike Wells says these ideas are also reflected in the Canvus lines' initial four flavors, two of which are born out of Boone County Distilling’s (and Kentucky’s) bourbon heritage: Bourbon Mule, a concoction of smoky bourbon mixed with fizzy ginger beer and a hint of lime; and Bourbon Lemon Spice, which combines lemon zest with warming spices and woodsy notes to create an experience representative of “when a speakeasy makes love with a holiday party.” “Raspberry Lemonade” is billed as “tart and sweet, but not enough to make your face pucker;” the most adventurous offering, however, is “Cucumber Jalapeño,” its “most polarizing flavor for the most polarizing people.” Says Wells, “Cucumber has been a pretty trendy thing … It’s still very refreshing.” He believes the innovation in flavors coupled with the artistic expression of the Canvus line, however, has the ability to bring people together. “We have the ability to be flexible and to pivot and try new things – we like to flex that muscle a little bit,” says Wells. “It's not just about the beverages or the liquid that's in the can; it's about what it and the brand represent … We're going to start working with local creators and getting their art on the cans. We want to give them a platform and a community to do that.”


Also excited to be part of “bringing the Kentucky Craft Bourbon Trail to Northern Kentucky,” Wells says the region’s brewing future is as bright as it is flavorful. “What the Kentucky Distillers Association has done with the craft trail and adding the northern region as what they call an entryway to Bourbon Country, that's been great for Northern Kentucky,” he says. “They've really done a good job in terms of pushing the boundary north to Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati to let people know that this is a growing space for the brewing and distilling industries.”

BRAXTON BREWING COMPANY 27 W. 7th St., Covington, KY 41011 braxtonbrewing.com If a little birdie had told Braxton Brewing Co-Founder/CEO Jake Rouse he’d celebrate seven years in business this spring, he likely wouldn’t have believed it. Now that the company has launched Birdie, it’s a new hard seltzer cocktail, he’s focused on ensuring his belief that Braxton’s innovations are far from over. Located in the heart of downtown Covington, Braxton Brewing Co.’s latest innovation is set to tee the company into a new market, golf pun intended. Debuting in a Citrus Grape Fusion flavor that utilizes a hard seltzer base, concord grape juice and citrus notes, Birdie is the result of timing plus opportunity coming together in a new, creative space.

“We started looking for inspiration across the country at cocktails and trends and we found a really unique insight: There was a line of cocktails in the south, known as transfusions and they're wildly popular flavored cocktails that golfers tend to drink,” Rouse recalls. “We thought, ‘What if we were to reinvent or reimagine this type of cocktail?’ What could it look like as a malt beverage? Our innovation team went to work and created Birdie.” While Birdie’s drink category may not be unique to Northern Kentucky, Rouse believes the spirit that led to its creation is. “Northern Kentucky is one of those places that really creates a special environment. You’ve got a lot of entrepreneurs and founders coming together to improve the area and create something great,” he says. “That general mentality is what allows innovation to run free and be very special – we have a great community around the brewery. We love the area and we wanted to make sure we were able to create that space where people could come and enjoy trying new things.” It should come as no surprise, then, that he can’t wait to see what the future brings for Braxton. “The ability to create unique beverages is in our DNA,” he says. “That's something we're very passionate about coming out of the pandemic, our ability to continue to innovate on the beer drinking experience.”

PICTURED: Braxton's rooftop bar in Covington & their new Birdie seltzer INNOVATION | VOLUME 41 NUMBER 6


RHINEGEIST 1910 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202 rhinegeist.com

Rhinegeist has become a staple in the refrigerators of beer enthusiasts throughout the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region thanks largely to their diverse collection of beers, IPAs, lagers, ciders, teas and stouts. Available in colorful cans and bottles – many on a seasonal and/or limited basis – Rhinegeist has grown significantly since its founders Bryant Goulding and Bob Bonder converted a 100+ year-old building into a thriving brewery and taproom. Kentucky is one of several states where Rhinegeist distributes its products, and Kentucky Senior Sales manager Nicole Kendle notes the company has about 13,000 buying accounts (give or take a couple) in the state at any given time. Established as a regional leader in all things beer and cider, the company’s latest innovation looks to establish itself in a new space: Hard craft beverages. Neither beer nor seltzer, RGBEVS – which pay homage to the familiar elementary school acronym for a rainbow’s color wheel – feature a clear malt base with real fruit flavors showcasing a range of “bright, fruity, juicy profiles.” Sporting 5% alcohol by volume (ABV), RGBEVS debuted earlier this year with “Bubbles,” a blend of peach, apple and cranberry and “Lemmy Nade,” a tart blend of lemon and lime. Joining them are two seasonal flavors, “Wowie Colada,” which sports a blend of pineapple and passionfruit and “Zango Crush,” a blend of mango and blood orange. Kendle, who says the “beyond beer space is one of the fastest growing areas of the craft industry right now,” says the need for Rhinegeist to stay innovative stems from a mix of internal and external competition.

“The region that we live in is uniquely collaborative in comparison to many others I have been exposed to.” Nicole Kendle “It’s important for every business that wants to stay in the game to continue to innovate. We want to make sure that we get our new innovations up before that curve flattens out of any product lifecycle,” she says. “Selfishly, it keeps us as salesmen and as employee owners, extraordinarily involved in the game that keeps our brewers engaged. They get to experiment with new recipes and discover where we want to go together.” Rhinegeist’s innovation extends far beyond its beverages, however. “Another thing that makes us special is our employer ownership program. Any full- or part-time employee working more than 20 hours a week has been collecting (Rhine)Geist shares for years and will have their own stock in the company,” she says. “I really feel like that's going to contribute not just to our innovation, but to our overall success and growth over the next five years.” Kendle is certain that innovative spirit will continue to spread throughout the region. “What makes the Greater Cincinnati regions so special for innovative organizations and individuals is the collaboration that you would see here … Cincinnati has such a ripe startup community that has really allowed us to grow for the past nine years,” she says. “The region that we live in is uniquely collaborative in comparison to many others I have been exposed to.” NK Y PICTURED: (top) Rhinegeist's rooftop bar in Cincinnati & (left) their new RGBEVS lineup.




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Pleased to serve the community we share. Together, we can accomplish more. Spectrum is proud to support the Northern Kentucky Business Journal.




By Tabari McCoy, Scooter Media

Photos by Ben Gastright

Ask anyone who remembers floppy disks and Zip drives as staples of the workplace but now thinks of them as outdated relics and they’ll tell you the only constant about technology is that it’s continuously evolving, sometimes with eye-opening speed. That’s why Gaby Batshoun never envisioned Global Business Solutions (GBS) existing solely in the information technology (IT) space but instead encompassing a broader mission to embrace innovation to help clients of all sizes solve problems. “We're in the business to determine how we can we solve clients’ problems through technology. It doesn't matter what the technology is – our focus is how to solve the problems, how to make their business more profitable and efficient by using the technology we have to satisfy their needs and goals,” Batshoun says. Given his company’s status as a leader in its field throughout the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region, it’s easy to see how that commitment continues to pay dividends and drive innovation today.

This, of course, has come through years of innovation, which can arise through simply thinking of how technology can provide answers to previously unanswered questions. Batshoun notes a project with the Ark Encounter as an example. “As a technology partner of the Ark Encounter, we implemented the Wi-Fi system, which gave guests internet access throughout the indoor attraction and across the campus. We designed a guest portal which gave the team at the Ark Encounter additional guest information which helped enable and establish on-going communications with close to 1 million guests per year,” Batshoun adds. “Taking technology and the available tools to deliver valuable data and analytics, that’s where we excel. Working with all the technologies under one roof enables us to optimize them in addition to providing security and safety.”

BUILDING A SYSTEM OF SUPPORT THROUGH SOFTWARE AND TECHNOLOGY Founded in 1994 by Batshoun, a native of Jordan who moved stateside in the 1980s, GBS provides solutions across the technologies that form the foundation of all business operations today. These specializations include IT/cybersecurity as their base, but go deeper to include audio/ video, voice, physical security, and infrastructure cabling. Having worked with hundreds of companies over the years, GBS has built its reputation on a simple-yet-effective strategy of integrating different aspects of technology into one cohesive system addressing a client’s every need. PICTURED: (left) Cover graphic by Kevin Brummer. (right) Adam Davey, president of VonLehman CPA & Advisory Firm, and Gaby Batshoun, president and founder of GBS.



"Taking technology and the available tools to provide analytics and data that provides valuable insights, that’s where we excel. Working with all the technologies under one roof enables us to optimize them in addition to providing security and safety.”

This is only one of many examples Batshoun can share that show his commitment to staying ahead of the proverbial curve and setting the standard for it. That’s accomplished, he says, by taking time not only to answer questions about the technology being implemented but also educating clients on the latest security threats and how his company fights them. One reason GBS can do this, Batshoun notes, stems from the company’s diversity of talent, as its employees possess a wide range of skills across industries and experience. In Batshoun’s view, hiring innovative people that can make the most of the technology available makes all the difference.

“When we look at prospective employees, we consider their education, and certifications, but at the same time, we look at attitude and dedication – everyone that works here loves what they do and needs to be well-rounded,” he says. “Yes, they have a specialization, but we prioritize continued training and education, so we understand the bigger picture – networking, the AV side, the physical security side, etc.” SATISFACTION-DRIVEN SOLUTIONS Branden Feldkamp has long known GBS and their ability to handle highly complex and nuanced jobs. As IT Director of VonLehman CPA & Advisory Firm, he says GBS continues to provide his company with quality service since installing various AV performance and security technology at their Fort Wright and Indianapolis locations. VonLehman might not be where they are technology-wise without GBS’ expertise. “They had a vision for us, and they were really able to bring a high-end, high-tech solution to the table,” Feldkamp says. “What I could have done myself with internal resources is nowhere near the level of what they did.” VonLehman President Adam Davey, who has spent his entire career with the firm, says GBS has been a great partner. “GBS has grown as we have grown. They helped us with some things that probably would not have been on our radar because it's not something we do every day, whereas this is what they do,” says Davey. They've continued to meet our needs, be proactive and serve us as our needs have evolved over time.”

PICTURED: VonLehman IT Director Brendan Feldkamp, and GBS AVIT Manager Jay Gordon review integrated IT and AV system benefits.



"I get a measure of joy helping someone fix a problem ... They've been doing something this way for 10, 15 or even 20 years and then sitting down with them, you can open their eyes to something new that's what keeps me going.”

AWAITING THE NEXT CHALLENGE A similar level of customer TOMORROW - TODAY satisfaction can be What keeps Batshoun motivated as he looks to the found in Covington at future? The simple love of challenges and the answers his DBL Law. company identifies to solve them. DBL turned to GBS to “Whether it's a business challenge internally to GBS help with the build-out of its new or customers that we support, I get a measure of joy Covington office. DBL IT Director/Chief helping someone fix a problem or finding a solution to Information Officer Eric Hunter says GBS was able to something that may have been lingering for a long time,” “bring a level of technology that I’d not seen before” to the he says. “They've been doing something this way for 10,15, project, also noting that “they really put me at ease (with) or even 20 years and then sitting down with them, you their level of communication.” can open their eyes to something new – that's what keeps “The responsiveness that they had with this project me going.” was some of the best that I've worked with, and I've been doing this for a long time,” says Hunter. “Their awareness of what technology is out there and how it's changing really brought a level of expertise into our conversations.” The result? A very satisfied client, according to DBL CEO and Managing Partner Robert “Bob” Hoffer, whose team required flexibility with things such as video conferencing technology to meet their client’s needs. “We wanted state-of-the-art visual and audio technology and that was accomplished. It was important that discussions with our clients be able to take place seamlessly without interruption even if we’re not all in the same room,” Hoffer says. “Gaby and his team were very easy to work with, and they provided reliable products. I would recommend Gaby and his team to anyone.” NK Y

PICTURED: (above) Davey and Batshoun plan future upgrades. (right) Bob Hoffer, CEO & Managing Director of DBL Law discusses newly installed conference room technologies with Batshoun.







Board of Advisors & Board of Directors

with the

WHAT FUTURE INNOVATIONS DO YOU SEE AS THE MOST IMPORTANT FOR YOUR INDUSTRY OR FOR THE SUCCESS OF THE NKY METRO REGION? Bob Hoffer CEO/Managing Partner DBL Law Creating work space to make all employees feel valued is vital. Also offering innovative wellness activities and food sends the right message that we want you to succeed. Finally, scheduling stay interviews with all employees to learn more about their passions and ideas to succeed is necessary to retain key talent.

Paco Tello Jorge Perez President & CEO YMCA of Greater Cincinnati Transformational Change as a consumer strategy (Achievement, Relationships, and Belonging).

VP NA Operations Perfetti van Melle Automation and Industry 4.0. I think we need to prepare a highly qualified workforce to attract talent and skillsets to the region.

Patrick Warnement Ray Takigiku Founder Bexion Pharmaceuticals Innovation in health, food, water and environment.


Market Sales Leader The Kleingers Group Brent Spence Bridge - I think this will dramatically improve the flow of goods and people through the region and make Cincinnati/NKY more competitive to attract jobs and people.


The Biggest Risk Growing Businesses Can Take

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In the modern business ecosystem, there is very little room for error when it comes to managing your organization’s risks and vulnerabilities. Growing cyber threats, increasing competition in the business environment, cloud-based operations, and employees working remotely are just a small number of complexities every organization must consider when it comes to their operations.

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ON TUESDAY, MAY 17, THE NORTHERN Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Women’s Initiative invited members from around the region to come together for the 38th Annual Outstanding Women of Northern Kentucky (OWNK) awards celebration, sponsored by St. Elizabeth Healthcare. NKY Chamber President and CEO, Brent Cooper opened the program and called out the significance of celebrating the best of the best in the region while being back together in person. He reminded attendees that the OWNK awards were the first and last Chamber event to be held virtually in the wake of the pandemic. “The women who we are honoring today have made a significant impact on the community, our region’s policies, various initiatives and many of the efforts that make Northern Kentucky a great place to live, work and play,” Cooper said. “I’m extremely honored to be here in-person today to help celebrate these outstanding women.” Then, the event emcee, Kathrine Nero, Director of Media for Game Day Communications, took a moment to recognize the 2020 and 2021 OWNK honorees, who were unable to be celebrated in-person due to the pandemic. Afterwards, Nero gave a brief overview of the history of the OWNK awards. The awards, which were established in 1984 by the late Nancy Janes Boothe, honor women who exemplify notable achievement, outstanding service in their professions or to the Northern Kentucky community and the qualities of personal integrity, perseverance and leadership. Over the past three decades, more than 200 women have been awarded for their outstanding service. The OWNK awards also included the presentation of the 2022 Nancy Janes Boothe Scholarship recipients. Named after Boothe, a visionary leader with a strong commitment to education, these scholarships are presented each year to three deserving female students in the Northern Kentucky Metro region for their outstanding leadership and achievements. This year’s recipients were Allison Reynolds of Gateway Community & Technical College, Rachel Gately of Northern Kentucky University and Shannon Swikert of Thomas More University. PICTURED (top to bottom): 1. The awards; 2. The crowd; 3. Katie Webb, Kim M. Webb, Gina Bath and Linda Schilling; 4. The 2022 Nancy Janes Boothe Scholarship Recipients: Rachel Gately, Allison Reynolds and Shannon Swikert.



Amanda Dempsey

Afterwards, Amanda Dempsey, Ed.D., Early College Supervisor of the NKU Young Scholars Academy for Kenton County Schools, was named the 2022 Emerging Leader Honoree. This award recognizes a woman who has made an impact on the Northern Kentucky community and is under the age of 40. “Each of my mentors made me recognize that I wanted to show up for those that are most important in my life,” said Dempsey. “Often, showing up to mentor the young women in our community means believing in them when they aren’t quite at a point where they believe in themselves and that can mean the most.” Then it was time to present the 2022 Outstanding Women of Northern Kentucky awards. The honorees included: Sylvia Buxton, President/ CEO North America of Perfetti Van Melle USA; Julia Keister, Founder & Owner of Lil’s Bagels; Amy Quinn Dye, VP Private Banking at Republic Bank; and Jennifer Steele, CEO of Meals on Wheels Southwest OH & NKY. The award celebrates women who live, work or volunteer in Northern Kentucky

Stacie Strotman PAGE 32

Sylvia Buxton

and represent the great diversity and extraordinary accomplishments of today’s women. Nominees are ideal role models for young women who will follow in their footsteps. “I accept this recognition on behalf of the entire Perfetti Van Melle North America team,” said Buxton. “This group of committed and passionate employees welcomed me into the company more than six years ago and has not only delivered amazing business results, but they’ve also demonstrated their support for the local community. The team has given back to the community through various acts of service such as building playgrounds for children, and volunteering their time with various organizations and charities that support underserved families and children. I’m lucky to be a part of this team.” “I’d like to thank all of the women who have been recognized here today for their fierceness and dedication to the Northern Kentucky community, and I’d like to thank the Northern Kentucky Chamber for shining a spotlight on us and realizing the importance of hosting

Amy Beck

Julia Keister

this event year after year,” said Keister. “I would not be standing here today without the influence, support, tenacity, courage and heart of others. This award is for anyone who has acted in the name of freedom and equality.” “Thank you so much to the Northern Kentucky Chamber for recognizing me. This has been a very humbling experience,” said Dye. “My life certainly has been enriched tenfold by giving back and the abundance of what I have received is immeasurable. I look forward to continuing to serve our community for many more years to come.” “My hope is that my sweet daughter, Vivian, will one day know that the time she had to share me with our community was in service to so many others,” said Steele. “I’m so thankful for the Women’s Initiative committee for giving me this honor and that St. Elizabeth has supported bringing so many outstanding women in our community together.” Stacie Strotman, Executive Director of Covington Partners, was named the 2022 Helen Carroll Champion of Education Honoree.


Amy Quinn Dye

This award honors a woman who is a recognized leader for her impact and dedication to education in the NKY community. “A working mother cannot be successful without surrounding herself with an army. My family is my army,” said Strotman. “The work I do is hard, but fortunately I have the support of people who just keep saying yes to me. To all who have said yes to me, I am forever grateful.” Up next, Amy Beck, VP of Private Banking at Republic Bank and Martha Barnes, retired from PNC and a St. Elizabeth volunteer, jointly received the 2022 Henrietta Cleveland Award. Twin sisters Beck and Barnes were selected for their tireless and heroic efforts in raising funds for breast cancer patients in the Tri-State area, most notably, through their Rally for the Cure golf outing. “Our talented committee, dedicated supporters and our breast cancer survivors drive us to host this important fundraiser year after year,” said Beck. “All proceeds benefit cancer patients right here in our community. We are humbled to receive this


recognition and are honored to be among the prestigious women receiving awards today.” “I knew once I retired that I would spend my time volunteering. Six years ago, I began volunteering with St. Elizabeth and I found it very rewarding,” said Barnes. “Since my cancer diagnosis in 2005, I’ve tried to help others with cancer in any way that I could. Retirement has given me the chance to dedicate more time and interact directly with patients through the cancer center at St. Elizabeth. The patients think I’m helping them, but I believe that I’m the one receiving the benefits.” Finally, Kathy Jennings, Senior VP of Oncology & Patient Services at St. Elizabeth Healthcare, was named the 2022 Judith Clabes Lifetime Achievement Honoree. Jennings was honored with this award for leading the vision of the St. Elizabeth oncology program to become the beacon of hope that it is today. “It’s hard for me to comprehend that I’ve received the Judith Clabes Lifetime Achievement award. The cancer program at St. Elizabeth has been part of my life for so long that it doesn’t seem like work to me, it’s just a part of who I am,” said Jennings. “Thank you to all of the patients that have entrusted us to care and fight for you on your cancer journey.” Nero then took the stage one final time to conclude the event. “Thank you to all of you for choosing to spend your time here today, honoring and celebrating these outstanding women,” said Nero. “Congratulations to this year’s honorees and scholarship recipients. You all truly make Northern Kentucky a better place to live, and it’s a pleasure to celebrate you in this way.” NK Y

Judith Clabes

HISTORY & MORE At the first award celebration, five women were honored. Since then, more than 200 women have been recognized for blazing trails, opening doors, or demonstrating leadership in their homes, their professions, their communities, or their state. To learn more about the history of the Outstanding Women of NKY awards program or to nominate an outstanding woman for the 2023 awards, please visit NKYChamber.com/OWNK. Read all about the 2022 Honorees in the digital program at NKYChamber.com/OWNK2022 or simply scan the code below.

Gina Bath

Allison Reynolds

Holly Nibert

Mary Lynn Brunemann PAGE 33


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Adams Law, PLLC is pleased to announce that Olivia F. Amlung has re-joined the firm as an associate attorney. Admitted to the Kentucky Bar in 2017, Olivia began her practice with the firm focusing on claims involving general litigation, insurance defense, government practice, and school law. After four years with the firm, Olivia served the Commonwealth for a year as an Assistant Attorney General in the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office of Civil and Environmental Law. Olivia now returns to Adams Law to resume her local government practice. In her current role with Adams, Olivia is a member of the firm’s Litigation Practice Group, primarily focusing on claims involving local government defense, municipal liability, school and special education law, and a variety of other civil litigation matters. She also provides contract review and general advising services for local businesses, cities, school districts, and governmental entities. She received her B.A. degree in Psychology from the University of Louisville (cum laude), and she graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Law with a J.D. in 2016. She is admitted to practice in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the State of Ohio, along with their respective federal courts, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

In back-to-back years and for the third time overall, Highway Transport has earned the Responsible Care® Partner of the Year Award, which the American Chemistry Council (ACC) presented during its Responsible Care® and Sustainability Conference in March. Responsible Care® is the chemical manufacturing industry’s environmental, health, safety and security performance initiative. The 2022 Partner of the Year Award recognizes ACC partners with superb performance and safety records in the distribution, transportation, storage, use, treatment, disposal and sales and marketing of chemicals. “To be recognized as Responsible Care® Partner of the Year three times in four years is an honor and reflects the level of commitment displayed by our family of employees and drivers,” said Rick Lusby, Highway Transport’s vice president of safety. “Being a leading example of safety in an industry where responsibility matters is an emphasis for Highway Transport. As we continue to grow and expand our services and solutions, safety always will be our foundation.” Knoxville-based Highway Transport, which provides bulk transportation of specialty chemicals, became a Responsible Care® Partner in 2005 and was recognized as Partner of the Year in 2019. The company was named Partner of the Year again in 2021 and once again in 2022, the first time Highway Transport has been named in consecutive years.


SHARE YOUR GOOD NEWS! All NKY Chamber members are invited to share announcements & personal achievements in the Milestones column. Send Milestones to bgastright@nkychamber.com




Management Performance International dba MPI Consulting (MPI) is pleased to announce that the company’s President and CEO, John Hawkins, has been selected as an honoree for Consulting Magazine’s Top Consultants 2022 award in the category of Excellence in Client Services. Consulting magazine is the consulting industry’s leading publication and has been honoring top consultants since 2000. Top Consultants honorees “exhibit those extraordinary traits that define the essence of what it means to be a ‘trusted advisor’ and are

worthy of being classified as the best in the industry.” Hawkins has served as the President and CEO of MPI, a Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky-based strategic consulting company, since 2011. Established in 1974, MPI has 47 years of experience helping organizations with their Diversity Equity Inclusion, Organizational Development, Employee Engagement, Labor Relations, Executive Coaching and Leadership Development Training. An internationally-experienced executive, keynote speaker and corporate trainer, Hawkins has worked with hundreds of companies helping them to accelerate their business performances by improving their strategies, developing their people and developing pragmatic implementation solutions. He has a proven track record of success having worked for and with some of the world’s leading bluechip companies such as Procter & Gamble (P&G), Kellogg’s, Novartis, Glendinning Management Consulting, a WPP company, Carter’s, Roche, Macy's, Mattel, SVZ and many others.

Hawkins started his professional career with P&G where he spent 17 years working in Sales, Marketing, Human Resources, Operations and International where he was head of Customer Marketing and Sales for P&G in Brazil. Hawkins acquired MPI Consulting in 2011. Hawkins is especially deserving of the Top Consultants honor due to his dedication to helping clients address their most pressing human capital challenges. In a rarity for a consultant, Hawkins works with clients with the intent for them to outgrow the need for his consulting services by helping them build sustainable capability with front-line leaders and executives. This year’s Consultants Magazine Top Consultants honorees will be celebrated at a gala dinner and awards presentation in New York, NY on June 9. To learn more about Consultants Magazine and view a complete list of Top Consultants honorees, visit consultingmag.com.

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RIBBON CUTTINGS ASPIRE & GLO 2446 Anderson Road | Crescent Springs, KY 41017 | 859-291-4555 | aspireandglo.com PICTURED: Jordan Browning, Odyssey Financial Advisors-NKY Chamber Ambassador; Diane Nicely, Jason, Phyllis and Stephen, Friends of Aspire & Glo; Aadil Tony Tayabee, Aspire & Glo, Owner; Jabeen, Shari, Nasir, Aspire & Glo; Gene Kirchner, NKY Chamber, Chris Moorman, PNC; Jane Young, RE/MAX Victory + Affiliates-NKY Chamber Ambassador

THE BARK PARK & PATIO 7544 Burlington Pike | Florence, KY 41042 |859-803-6285 | barkparkpatio.com PICTURED: Christine Ray, Your 2 Fav Realtors - brokered by eXp RealtyNKY Chamber Ambassador; Charlene Cahill; Amanda Konrad, The BARk Park & Patio; Lee Cahill, The BARk Park & Patio; Matthew Dusing; Abby Schaller; Brent Cooper, NKY Chamber, President

DUNHAM LAW 300 Buttermilk Pike, Suite 100 | Ft. Mitchell, KY 41017 | 859-479-3960 | dunhampllc.com PICTURED: Jeanne Dittrich, WesBanco-NKY Chamber Ambassador; Andrew Schierberg, City of Ft. Mitchell, Police Chief; Jodi Henry, Dunham Law; Julie Dunham, Dunham Law; Shelly Fuller, Dunham Law; Brian Dunham, Dunham Law; Gene Kirchner, NKY Chamber; Thomas Simendinger, Dunham Law; Jonathan Gray, Dunham Law; Derek Schmidt, UBS

MK SALON 200 Commercial Circle | Alexandria, KY 41001 | 859-635-9719 | mysalonmk.com PICTURED: Jon Engelhard, Huntington Bank-NKY Chamber Ambassador; Morgan Feldman, Salon MK, Owner; Andy Schabell, City of Alexandria, Mayor; Corey Walkup, WesBanco-Ribbon-Cutting Sponsor



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!

ASIANA THAI & SUSHI 2886 Town Center Blvd | Crestview Hills, KY 41017 | 859-578-9999 | asianathaisushi.com PICTURED: Paul Meier, City of Crestview Hills, Mayor; Jay Holmes, Asiana Thai & Sushi, Owner, Family, Friends, and Employees of Asiana Thai & Sushi; Lynn Abeln, NKY Chamber

BOAR'S ROOM Covington, KY 41011 | 859-446-3477 | boarsroom.com PICTURED: Jon Engelhard, Huntington Bank-NKY Chamber Ambassador; Josefina Álvarez; Dr. Amalia Álvarez; Dr. Marcus Lehman, Boars Room, Owner; Brittany Avonts; Cait Williams, Boars Room; Corey Walkup, WesBanco-Ribbon-Cutting Sponsor; Jane Young, RE/MAX Victory + Affiliates-NKY Chamber Ambassador; Colin Stayton, City Wide Maintenance-NKY Chamber Ambassador. Not pictured is Kyle Frye, Boars Room, Owner

MEDICAL RESPITE CENTER – WELCOME HOUSE 401 E. 20th Street | Covington, KY 41011 | 859-431-8717 | welcomehouseky.org PICTURED: Kelly Rose, Welcome House, Jon Engelhard, Huntington Bank-NKY Chamber Ambassador; Samantha Stewart MSN, FNP-C, Medical Respite Center; Becky Adams, Medical Respite Center; Danielle Amrine, Welcome House, CEO; Brent Cooper, NKY Chamber, President; Corey Walkup, WesBanco-RibbonCutting Sponsor; Jane Young, RE/MAX Victory + Affiliates-NKY Chamber Ambassador

CTI CLINICAL TRIAL AND CONSULTING 2090 Florence Avenue | Cincinnati, OH 45206 | 513-598-9290 | ctifacts.com PICTURED: Kevin Schwarz, CTI; Brian Lawrence, CTI; Eddie Pauline, BioOhio; Lynn Fallon, CTI; Kimm Lauterbach, REDI Ohio; Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted; Thomas O’Donnell, CTI; Tim Schroeder, CTI; Tyler Allchin, Jobs Ohio Pat Earley, CTI; Joan Gates, CTI; JP Nauseef, JobsOhio



Ribbon Cuttings Sponsored by:

RIBBON CUTTINGS WORLD OF GOLF 7400 Woodspoint Drive | Florence, KY 41042 | 859-371-8255 | landrumgolf.com PICTURED: Lynn Abeln, NKY Chamber; Corey Walkup, WesBanco-RibbonCutting Sponsor; Jon Engelhard, Huntington Bank-NKY Chamber Ambassador; John Padgett, Adsposure-NKY Chamber Ambassador; Madelyn Neidhardt, World of Golf; Amanda Meagher, World of Golf; Ralph Landrum PGA, World of Golf; Chris Baulo; World of Golf; Angie Wormald, NKY Chamber; Manny Hernandez, First Financial Bank- NKY Chamber Ambassador

ERLANGER STRIKE & SPARE 510 Commonwealth Avenue | Erlanger, KY 41018 | 859-727-2000 | strikeandspare.com/erlanger PICTURED: Steve Tracy, AtWork Personnel-NKY Chamber Ambassador; Jane Young, RE/MAX Victory + Affiliates-NKY Chamber Ambassador; Bryan Loudermilk, Erlanger Strike & Spare; Lisa Maines, Luxury Travel by Lisa-NKY Chamber Ambassador; Scott Stewart, Dwyer Insurance-NKY Chamber Ambassador, Erlanger Strike & Spare employees

BOONE COUNTY OHIO RIVER INITIATIVE – THE BOONE COUNTY CONSERVANCY 14036 Boat Dock Rd | Union, KY | 859-743-8173 | thebooneconservancy.org PICTURED: Alex Perkins, 7 Hills Church-NKY Chamber Ambassador; Russ Clark, National Park Service; Colin Stayton, City Wide Maintenance-NKY Chamber Ambassador; Lynn Abeln, NKY Chamber; Megan Clere, Booone County Solid Waste; Mark Jacobs, Boone County Conservation District; Christy Noll, The Boone Conservancy; Dave Geohegan, The Boone Conservancy; Greg Lariso, Boone Conservancy Board Member; Judge Gary Moore, Boone County Judge Executive; David Wicks, Ohio River Way; Cathy Stavros, Boone Conservancy Board Member; Senator John Schickel; David Whitehouse, Boone County Parks; Kevin Johnson, APG Office Furnishings-NKY Chamber Ambassador; Brewster Rhoades

MCGOHAN BRABENDER 2400 Chamber Center Dr., Suite 212 | Ft. Mitchell, KY 41017 | 859-308-6000 | mcgohanbrabender.com PICTURED: Jane Young, RE/MAX Victory + Affiliates, Inc.-NKY Chamber Ambassador; Andrew Schierberg, City of Ft. Mitchell, Police Chief; Alex Welch, McGohan Brabender; Michael Ditmer, McGohan Brabender; Rich Johnson, McGohan Brabender; Erick Schmidt, McGohan Brabender; Carolyn Dean, McGohan Brabender; Lou Gellenbeck, McGohan Brabender; Laura Radvan, McGohan Brabender; Tony Malagari, McGohan Brabender; Connor Hopkins, McGohan Brabender; Kristi Winters, McGohan Brabender; Jeff Duvic, McGohan Brabender; Kevin Johnson, APG Office Furnishing –NKY Chamber Ambassador; Amy Zimmerman – Amy Z Home Team– NKY Chamber



THINK LOCAL. GROW LOCAL. BANK LOCAL. Choosing a banking partner for your business has never been more important. At Central Bank, we’re right here – with local, personalized service and solutions like remote deposit capture and online banking to help move your business forward. We’ve been helping businesses since 1946. Let us know how we can help yours now.

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Our high-touch service ensures a successful move! Services include: • Area overview • Mortgage pre-approval • Home-finding tours • Home sale assistance • Community information Get your Free Relocation Toolbox:

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EVENT CALENDAR JULY 7/12 7/13 7/13 7/14 7/20 7/22 7/25 7/27 7/28

Eggs ‘N Issues: Cincinnati Bengals | Receptions, Erlanger | 7:30 – 9:00 AM Talent Strategies: HR 100 - Workforce Well-Being | NKY Chamber, Ft. Mitchell | 8:00 – 9:30 AM NKYP Meet & Greet for Lunch | Skyline Chili, Ft. Wright | Noon – 1:00 PM NKYP Coffee & Conversation | Ovation Music Pavilion, Newport | 8:00 – 9:00 AM NKYP Next Generation Leader Awards (NGLA) | Newport Aquarium | 5:30 – 7:30 PM Workforce Safety: Active Shooter Training | Thomas More University (Steigerwald Hall) | 8:00 AM – 12:30 PM Women’s Initiative CONNECT Hour | Cork N Crust, Bellevue | 4:30 – 6:30 PM NKYP Meet & Greet for Happy Hour | Braxton Brewing Co. Taproom, Covington | 5:00 – 6:00 PM Business After Hours | World of Golf, Florence | 4:30 – 6:30 PM

AUGUST 8/3 8/10 8/10 8/11 8/16 8/19 8/24 8/25 8/29

Getting the Most from Your Chamber Membership | NKY Chamber, Ft. Mitchell | 9:00 – 10:00 AM Annual Chamber Golf Outing & Clinic | Golf Courses of Kenton County | 7:30 AM – 7:00 PM NKYP Meet & Greet for Lunch | Skyline Chili, Ft. Wright | Noon – 1:00 PM NKYP: Cocktails & Conversation | Dave & Buster’s, Florence | 4:30 – 6:00 PM Eggs ‘N Issues: BLINK Cincinnati | Receptions, Erlanger | 7:30 – 9:00 AM IDEA Summit Series Session 1 with Tracy Stokes | TBD | 8:30 – 10:00 AM. NKYP Meet & Greet for Happy Hour | Braxton Brewing Co. Taproom, Covington | 5:00 – 6:00 PM Leadership NKY Leaders of Distinction Celebration | 4:00 – 7:00 PM Women’s Initiative CONNECT Hour | Kenton County Public Library, Erlanger | 4:30 – 6:30 PM

SEPTEMBER 9/8 Encounter NKY Orientation (Class Members Only) 9/9 Leadership NKY Poverty Simulation (Class Members Only) 9/10 DEI Global Experience with FC Cincinnati | Washington Park & TQL Stadium | 4:30 – 9:30 PM 9/14 Talent Strategies: HR 100 - Legal Update/Mock Trial | TBD | 8:00 – 11:00 AM 9/15 Annual Dinner presented by Fifth Third Bank | NKY Convention Center | 5:00 – 8:30 PM 9/20 Eggs ‘N Issues: State of Northern Kentucky | Receptions, Erlanger | 7:30 – 9:00 AM 9/20 Encounter NKY (Class Members Only) 9/26 Women’s Initiative CONNECT Hour | TBD | 4:30 – 6:30 PM 9/29 Business After Hours | TBD | 4:30 – 6:30 PM 9/29-30 Leadership NKY Overnight Retreat at Camp Joy (Class Members Only)


Northern Kentucky Business Journal is published bi-monthly by:

Periodicals Postage Paid USPS-548630 at Covington, KY.

CEO/Publisher Brent Cooper | bcooper@nkychamber.com

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.

Marketing & Communications Shannan Boyer | shannan@scootermediaco.com

The Business Journal is a benefit of membership and included in membership fees. Annual subscription rate for nonmembers is $30.


Subscribers: Please send address changes by e-mail to info@nkychamber.com. © 2022, The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Inc. and by the individual authors. All rights reserved.

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 Staff Writer Tabari McCoy | tabari@scootermediaco.com


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