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Board of Directors and Staff

Chuck Sexton

Chuck Sexton

Chair

Chuck Sexton is CEO of One East Kentucky, a regional economic development organization covering nine counties.  He is responsible for carrying out a five year strategy to attract new jobs and investment to the area.Chuck has 15 years of overall experience in Marketing and Sales as well 5 years of successful experience in economic development recruitment, existing industry expansion and entrepreneurial development.  He is currently pursuing his CEcD through Oklahoma University’s Economic Development Institute.

Chuck is also Kentucky state director for the Southern Economic Development Council and serves on their executive board.

Madison Silvert

Madison Silvert

Chair

Madison is the President and CEO of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Centre College, and then earned his Juris Doctor and special certification in regulatory law and policy from the Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville in 2001. Madison then went into private practice for six years, first in Louisville, and then returning to Owensboro in 2003. In 2007, he joined the Economic Development Corporation as its first Vice President of Entrepreneurship and High Tech Development. In 2013, Madison was named President and CEO of GO-EDC. In 2015 Madison was named one of the 40 Under 40 economic development professionals of note in the world by Development Counselors International. Madison is also an Urban Planner, having passed the comprehensive planning exam, giving him the designation of a certified planner with the American Institute of Certified Planners. With his wife Amy, he has three children: Emma, Lilly and John Crawford.

Lynn Allen

Lynn Allen

Director

Lynn is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Bluegrass International Fund.  She has devoted her career to raising capital to create jobs and expand educational opportunities both in the US and overseas. She has led regional, national and multi-country marketing teams that produced millions of dollars in new revenues for economic development initiatives. In 2003 she formed Capital Innovations, a strategic advisory firm that works with public/private stakeholder groups to raise capital for placed-based seed and venture funds that invest in local high-growth-potential companies. Prior to forming Capital Innovations, Ms. Allen served as director of Institutional Marketing at AEGON USA where she uncovered 529 college savings plans as a major new market opportunity. Earlier, she served as CARE USA’s Director of International Corporate Initiatives and Director of its Midwest region, where she forged CARE’s first strategic partnerships with global corporations. A native of Vine Grove, Kentucky, Ms. Allen currently serves on the advisory board of Purdue University’s Emerging Innovations Fund and as a member of the Building Committee of the EB-5 industry’s national association, IIUSA.  She has served on the boards of the Kentucky Energy Sector Partnership, The Enterprise Corp, Associates in Pediatric Therapy, Auxiliary Board of the Art Institute of Chicago, Gilda’s Club Louisville and The David School.  She holds a Master in International Management from Denver University and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Kentucky.

Bob Helton

Bob Helton

Director

Bob is a native of Morgan County Kentucky and a graduate of Morgan County High School. After graduation, Bob attended Western Kentucky University and graduated from Morehead State University in 1975.

Bob currently serves as the Executive Director at the Morehead-Rowan County Economic Development Council and resides in Morehead, KY with wife, Vivian.

Bob has been involved with marketing, sales, and public relations within the construction industry for 30 plus years. A good deal of Bob’s time has also been with the mining industry, both aggregates and coal operations in Kentucky and North Carolina. He was with R J Corman Railroad Group for 5 years as their Construction Company’s Business Manager and 5 years as Economic Development Manager working within the Public Relations Department. Bob’s efforts included both rail industry development and governmental relations in this position.

Bob has been involved with several industry associations and business groups including, Kentuckians for Better Transportation – Rail Committee Chair, American Railroad Maintenance Engineers – Ballast Subcommittee Chair, State Economic Associations in the states of Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, and Mississippi; as well as a long standing member of the Southern Economic Development Council. He has also been also active with American Short Line Railroad Association – Public Policy committee, along with state level rail associations in the states of Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, and Mississippi with a focus on rail related industry development and public policy.

Tonita Goodwin

Tonita Goodwin

Director

Tonita Goodwin is the Director of the Hazard-Perry County Economic Development Alliance in Hazard, Kentucky. She is responsible for a full range of activities including coordinating the organizational needs of the newly formed position, developing and administering both a comprehensive economic development strategy and an outreach program to new and expanding businesses, and managing the marketing efforts of the organization. Tonita has experience in economic development, the development of start-up companies, and in assisting the growth of small businesses plus marketing from her 28 years of selling real estate in central Kentucky.

Tonita currently serves on the Board of Direuctors for the Kentucky Association for Economic Development and is the alternate state director for Kentucky for the Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC). She has served as Director for the Richmond Chamber of Commerce, President and Director for the Madison County Industrial Management Club and was a charter member of the Leadership Madison County.

Tonita is a 1980 graduate of EKU with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration. She currently resides in Hazard and is pursuing her (Certified Economic Developer) CEcD designation through the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

Brad Thomas

Brad Thomas

Director

Brad is the Associate Manager  of Economic Development for East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC).  His responsibilities with EKPC include promotion and development of economic development opportunities for the 16 owner/member electric co-operatives representing 87 counties and over one million Kentuckians.  He assists existing industries with growth and expansion issues including exporting as well as recruiting new business opportunities to the state.  In his tenure with EKPC, Brad has led efforts to roll out StateBook , an economic development  data platform that provides websites for the 87 EKPC serviced counties, as well as developing a new mobile app “PowerMap” and website (www.DataIsPower.org) to enhance economic development efforts for the 16 owner/member cooperatives. Brad also currently serves as Chairman of the Board for the Foundation for Kentucky Industry as well as a Board Member for the World Trade Center –Kentucky. Brad comes to East Kentucky Power Cooperative after a 25 year career with the Commonwealth of Kentucky. He spent time within the Department of Revenue, Finance and Administration Cabinet and most recently with the Cabinet for Economic Development (CED) while serving five governors.   During his tenure with State Government, Brad was the supervisor of  the Office of Entrepreneurship for CED and  organized and planned Governor Beshear’s Trade Missions to Canada and United Kingdom.  He was also a Kentucky Export Initiative Board Member and the supervisor of the State Trade and Export Promotion Program for Kentucky.  Brad is a self-professed “Numbers Geek” that studies Kentucky trade data extensively and has made numerous presentations related to exporting statistics and Kentucky industries. Brad is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University and is married to his wife Renee’ with whom he raises their daughter Logan and two sons Canyon and Carson in Frankfort.

Sierra J. Enlow

Sierra J. Enlow

Director

Sierra J. Enlow joined the economic development team at Louisville Forward in February of 2017 as an economic development manager focusing on Business Services.

Sierra grew up on a multiple-generation family farm in LaRue County and attended the University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture where she received undergraduate degrees in Community & Leadership Development and Agriculture Economics. Sierra completed her Master’s Degree in Agricultural Economics in 2012, also at the University of Kentucky.

Sierra is looking forward to continuing to strengthening Louisville Forward’s economic development success through KAED and Kentucky United.

Brett Traver

Brett Traver

Director

Brett is currently the Executive Director of the Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation (SKED). His responsibilities include marketing and industrial recruitment activities in SKED’s 45-county service area, managing a $19 million loan portfolio which includes $11 million of SBA funds, overseeing the training of entrepreneurs and small business owners, and providing economic and community development assistance to local communities in Southeast Kentucky. Before SKED Brett spent 10 years as a senior project manager with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development; as well as, nearly three years working for the Morehead-Rowan County Economic Development Council. Brett is a graduate of Morehead State University, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications and an MBA. He served six years in the U.S. Army.

Jody Lassiter, J.D.

Jody Lassiter, J.D.

Director

A native of Route 1, Dexter, near Almo in Calloway County, Kentucky, Jody Lassiter was born for a career in rural and small town economic development. He is an attorney serving as the President/CEO of the Develop Danville, Inc. He also acts as President of the Boyle County Industrial Foundation, Inc. An advocate of regional collaboration, he is a founding partner of the 11-county Kentucky Crossroads Regional Economic Development Coalition. He is a long-serving member of the KAED Board of Directors, having served as its Chairman in 2011. His past career includes service as Executive Director of the Logan Economic Alliance for Development (LEAD), 2005-07; Commissioner, Kentucky Department for Local Government (DLG), 2000-03; Western Kentucky Liaison and Director, Office of Constituent Services, Office of the Governor, 1996-2000. Lassiter is a graduate of the University of Mississippi (1991), the University of Louisville School of Law (1994), and the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute (2008).

Donna Crooks, CEcD

Donna Crooks, CEcD

Director

Donna has over 17 years’ experience in the economic development field working attraction, retention and expansion projects. She began her ED career in 1997 working for the Henderson Economic Development Council. Donna then had the opportunity to do economic development for the Greater Reno-Tahoe Region where she worked with many Fortune 500 companies as well as start-ups and existing industries. In Reno, Donna also ran a successful BRE program known as Business Builders which received national attention. Desiring to get back closer to her family, Donna worked for the Growth Alliance for Greater Evansville in Indiana where she was a part of the team that refocused its efforts towards a true economic development agency. In 2012, Donna was thrilled to get back to her beloved State of Kentucky when she was hired by Northwest Kentucky Forward now Kyndle, the regional economic development entity for Henderson, McLean, Union and Webster Counties.

Dave Adkisson

Dave Adkisson

Ex-Officio Director


Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

John Bevington

John Bevington

Ex-Officio Director

Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development

Lee Lingo

Lee Lingo

Ex-Officio Director

Kentucky Association for Manufacturers

Matthew Tackett

Matthew Tackett

President/CEO

Kentucky Association for Economic Development

Matthew Tackett, a native of Prestonsburg, Kentucky, serves as President and CEO of the Kentucky Association for Economic Development. Appointed in October 2017, Matt is leading KAED through an administrative and programmatic reimagination as the Association creates a collaborative and strategic platform designed to enhance professional capacity and accelerate economic development in the Commonwealth. Prior to KAED Matt served as Executive Director of the Kentucky Gas Association, where he created a holistic and imaginative membership service portfolio which included legislative affairs, workforce development initiatives, and legal services. Matt has served in federal grant programs, the Office of the Governor of Kentucky, and is the owner of a dynamic consulting firm which has focused on economic advocacy and governmental affairs. Matt holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. He, his wife Ashton, and son Brooks live in Lexington. Matt and family are excited to welcome a new baby, Olivia Kate, to the Commonwealth in 2018.

Jamie Nieves

Jamie Nieves

Director of Partnership Services

Kentucky Association for Economic Development

Jamie Nieves, a strategically connected economic development professional, joins KAED after an impactful tenure as Manager of Business Retention and Expansion at the Northern Kentucky Tri-County Economic Development Corporation. Nieves is tasked to lead the Association’s financial development and investor relations initiatives. She also serves as the liaison to KentuckyUnited, the Association’s national and international marketing initiative.