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January 8, 2017
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Kentucky Business Likes What It Sees for 2017

Manufacturing and construction upswing, automotive sector’s second record year, and a new, positive political environment are raising expectations

By LaneReport.com Staff

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Kentucky business leaders have their highest expectations in nearly a decade as 2017 opens. They liked a lot of what they saw in 2016, especially in manufacturing growth, construction and continued strong performance in the U.S. automotive sector, where Kentucky is the No. 3 producer. Logistics remains a cornerstone. The commonwealth’s airports are seeing more action, especially in Northern Kentucky where Southwest Airlines is about to join a growing lineup of carriers. Agribusiness and healthcare do face challenges from cyclical and ongoing structural change, but change in the political landscape in Frankfort and in Washington, D.C., is viewed as a significant boost to business prospects. And should plans to reform federal and state tax structures be successful, the outlook would have to be considered absolutely bright.

Gov. Matt Bevin

“My vision for Kentucky has always been that we become the engineering and manufacturing hub of excellence in North America. The seeds of economic progress are being planted and in 2017 will take root and begin to flourish like never before seen in the history of our commonwealth. Kentucky already has the geography, temperate seasons, cost of living advantages, quality of life, logistical experience, natural resources, highways, railroads and river ways to make this vision a reality. In addition, Kentucky is making major advances in workforce development. Through private/public partnerships, some already underway and others now being developed, we are ensuring that Kentuckians will be trained in the skills manufacturers need. After the historic election in 2016, Kentucky has the first Republican legislature in place since 1920. Its focus on significant pro-business legislation together with meaningful tax reform, pension reform, labor reform, education and tort reform heralds a new, brighter day for Kentucky. Buckle up!”

Candace S. McGraw, CEO, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport

“CVG experienced a record year in 2016, and we expect the trends in increased passenger and cargo growth to continue into 2017. Since 2013, local passenger volume has grown more than 38 percent, making CVG the third-fastest growing airport in the United States – and our 2017 projections see even greater improvement. In 2016, cargo volume hit an all-time high, making CVG the eighth-largest cargo airport in North America – and this was prior to the completion of DHL’s recent $108 million ramp expansion. CVG’s economic impact increased more than 22 percent over the past 36 months, accounting for more than 8,500 direct jobs and supporting more than 31,000 jobs. Land development at CVG is very strong, with four deals completed in 2016 and several currently in negotiation for finalization in 2017. We feel very positive about the outlook for 2017.”

Victor Staffieri, Chairman/CEO/President, LG&E–KU

“At Louisville Gas and Electric Co. and Kentucky Utilities Co., we’re committed to advancing technologies and meeting customers’ needs. Our dedicated team works with state and local economic development personnel, attracting new and expanding businesses to Kentucky. Our economic development rate, coupled with our sustainable offerings, incentivize business growth and development. This includes helping businesses install solar at their facilities, offering a subscription-based Solar Share Program, and energizing state roadways with new publicly accessible and customer-hosted electric-vehicle charging stations. LG&E and KU have been named seven times as one of the top 10 utilities in the country for economic development by international economic development magazine Site Selection. We anticipate these programs, along with our continued low rates, will help advance Kentucky’s economy.”

Wil James President, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky

“The auto industry experienced another record year in 2016 while consumers established the Toyota Camry as the No. 1 selling sedan for the 15th consecutive year. Coming off our 30th anniversary in Kentucky, we are now investing in new technology at our Georgetown plant, which has us poised to bring even better cars to the market and optimistic for a healthy 2017.”

Dave Tatman Executive Director, Kentucky Automotive Industry Association

“Kentucky is setting a blistering pace in automotive production and support, charging ahead as the third-highest producer of cars and light trucks in the country. Given continued low gas prices and fairly stable economic growth, we anticipate another very strong year for our automotive industry, particularly in trucks, SUVs and crossover vehicles. But to keep our pedal to the floor, our industry needs more skilled workers. In 2017, KAIA will support efforts across the state to enhance workforce development, particularly for advanced manufacturing. Our industry employs about 90,000 in Kentucky, and we have plenty of room to grow. We’re mindful of proposed fuel efficiency standards that could strangle the industry’s growth – we will continue to advocate for fair and thoughtful approaches to federal regulations.”

Ruth W. Brinkley, President/CEO, KentuckyOne Health

“Healthcare has experienced tremendous change the past decade and is poised for even more transformation. With the new administration in Washington, D.C., we can expect further evolution of the structure of payments, reimbursement and insurance, which will impact patients, providers and payers across the country. Here in Kentucky, the ongoing evolution of Medicaid programs will play a role in the economics of our industry. As the largest health system in the commonwealth, KentuckyOne Health remains committed to helping patients and physicians navigate
the changes and ensure access to care for all.”

Bill Butler, President/CEO, Corporex

“I expect 2017 to be a year of improved activity for the commercial real estate businesses, with the profits to be manifested beginning in 2018. Both the USA and the Commonwealth of Kentucky have a huge opportunity to take a giant step toward sustainable growth as a result of their new leadership at the CEO level as well as the legislative segments. One need only review the first six years of the Reagan administration to glimpse the economic future.”

Dr. Eli Capilouto, President, University of Kentucky 

“The University of Kentucky continues to make progress on its priorities as the commonwealth’s indispensable institution, providing a more than 12-fold economic return on the taxpayers’ investment in their flagship university. We continue to confer a record number of degrees annually to students who leave our campus ready to contribute to Kentucky’s economy. Our success is undergirded by the state’s investment in us, which is critically important to our teaching, research and healthcare missions. After receiving our second $19.8 million Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health, the recent passage of the 21st Century Cures Act and the construction of a $265 million research building, UK is positioned to compete for top external grants and contracts as a leading national research university.”

Charles “Skip” Miller, Executive Director, Louisville Regional Airport Authority

“2017 will be a year of opportunity for Louisville’s airports. The aviation industry has stabilized from years of turmoil, and airlines are looking to invest in products and services. They will remain very conservative when considering service to new markets, particularly between those previously unserved. However, they express interest in seizing opportunities when presented if they know they have the support of the business community. Airlines expect communities pursuing new flights to clearly demonstrate regional demand for service. With the completion of major airfield projects like Taxiway Alpha and our significant Terminal Enhancement Project, Louisville International is positioned to aggressively compete for new and improved air service. As the world’s seventh-busiest cargo airport, SDF will continue to play a significant role in national and global economic activity. The future for air cargo and logistics in the region is bright, and we expect continued success in this segment of our business.”

Dan Tobergte, President/CEO, Northern Kentucky Tri-Ed 

“It’s ‘full speed ahead’ for Northern Kentucky in 2017. Southwest Airlines will begin flying from CVG in mid-2017, adding to an already-thriving business climate in Northern Kentucky. We have dedicated significant resources to business retention, workforce development, entrepreneurship, attraction and land development. We will build upon our successes in 2016, led by Safran Landing Systems, Nexigen, and CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting Services. We are expecting a legislative session that accomplishes important, positive changes for Kentucky – such as right-to-work – that will give our state and region an even greater edge as a global business location of choice.” 

Kent Oyler, President/CEO, Louisville Greater Inc.

“2017 is going to be growth-focused for not just our organization but our region as well. Dozens of projects are underway with completion dates in the next couple of years, and we expect more now that the new Ohio River bridges are complete. It is a time to focus on the future and drive the workforce and economic growth we want. There are opportunities to pass business-friendly legislation in Frankfort that have not existed for a generation; opportunities to increase the net migration of skilled workers into our region; opportunities to start, expand and attract business and jobs. Growth and prosperity in Louisville benefits the entire state. GLI remains focused on making Greater Louisville the best place to work, live and do business in the country. 2017 will be a good year for growing Greater Louisville and Kentucky.” 

Greg Fischer Mayor, Louisville Metro

“Louisville’s economy is booming with $9 billion in capital investments and 23 hotels either announced, completed or under construction. Unemployment remains low, at 3.9 percent, and we’re seeing record numbers of tourists, drawn by Bourbonism – the marriage of bourbon tourism and our world-renowned local restaurant scene. Our 2017 focus is to build on our prosperity and ensure everyone is along for the ride – a mission greatly enhanced by a $29.5 million federal grant to redevelop a public housing complex and historic neighborhood adjacent to downtown. We continue to attract global companies, including a $32 million investment from Australia’s Computershare to create 1,100 new jobs, and 250 new jobs at Hogan Lovells’ (Great Britain) $8.9 million global support center. We’re investing in our foreign-born population with the Global Louisville Action Plan, which identifies strategies to jumpstart immigrant entrepreneurship, assist job-seekers and celebrate cultures.”

Eric Summe, President/CEO, meetNKY

“For 2017, hospitality industry forecasts continue to be moderate for our region as additional supply is added in Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky. With the opening of three new properties, Northern Kentucky will offer 6,700 hotel rooms daily. With this added supply, we project a 2.2 percent increase in Northern Kentucky occupancy to 69.17 percent. Planning efforts continue for a Northern Kentucky Convention Center expansion, and the announcement that the IRS facility in Covington will close in 2019 presents additional avenues to explore. Several development initiatives will begin along the riverfront this year, including the Covington Riverfront revitalization and continued expansion of Newport on the Levee. The opening of the Ark Encounter in neighboring Grant County along with the planned expansion of the Creation Museum in Petersburg will continue to increase our market for faith-based groups.”

Ryan Quarles, Commissioner of Agriculture, Commonwealth of Kentucky

“Kentucky farmers reached a record $6.5 billion in cash receipts in 2014. Since then, receipts have declined 17 percent, leading to challenges in 2017 as farmers look for commodity prices to rebound. But, in most cases, with new challenges come new opportunities. We have a great deal of growth potential in international markets, and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture is ramping up efforts to boost trade for Kentucky farm products. Kentucky has a strong local food movement, and Kentucky Proud helps provide fresh local foods while supporting farm families. In an effort to reduce Kentucky’s chronic hunger problem, the KDA launched the Kentucky Hunger Initiative in June 2016, and it will continue its work in 2017.”

Carl Howard CEO, Fazoli’s

“Fazoli’s continues to be extremely, if not ‘over-the-top’ optimistic about the economy of Lexington and the overall business environment in the state. In my brief 10 years in the Bluegrass state, I have never seen economic development so robust. I believe that with continued low unemployment and a significant change in our presidential leadership, we will only see Kentucky’s economic environment continue to thrive in 2017. Fazoli’s has enjoyed record success with over 14 quarters of consecutive same-store sales growth, and we are again growing locations nationally and hiring more team members to join our growing brand. It is with honor that we are headquartered in Lexington, and we appreciate all of the support of our local communities in Kentucky. Without this support we would be just another brand.”

Mark Gillming Senior Vice President, Messer Construction Co.

“With major construction projects throughout the state in healthcare, distilling, industrial and hospitality sectors – a shortlist of the businesses booming in Kentucky – Messer predicts another robust year in 2017. Significant construction is underway in every corner of the state. Financing is readily available and markets appear stable, so clients are moving forward with ambitious and exciting projects. Because of plentiful private-sector financing and a drop in government funding for infrastructure, we expect more public entities to explore public-private partnerships for needed public projects. The counterweight to the good news is that skilled labor is at a premium, so the construction business will have to be nimble and innovative to maintain quality – we predict off-site prefabrication will become more common to improve efficiency.” 

Mary Quinn Ramer President, VisitLEX

“2017 promises to be a year of exciting tourism projects and growth. We eagerly anticipate the opening of the James E. Pepper Distillery in the historic Lexington Distillery District; in addition, Castle & Key (formerly Old Taylor) will open in early summer in neighboring Woodford County. The Summit at Fritz Farm debuts in the spring with new shopping and dining opportunities as well as a boutique hotel. The anticipated expansion of the Lexington Convention Center, with work commencing in earnest in late 2017, will allow future growth in the convention market. The average daily rate at area hotels held steady throughout 2016 at $101, and we expect a similar trend for 2017. We expect a solid occupancy rate of 65 percent.”

Dave Adkisson President/CEO, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

 “Businesses are hopeful that with a new environment in Washington and in Frankfort, our elected leaders will be especially determined to create a strong pro-growth agenda in 2017. We are very optimistic that key economic development legislation will be enacted by the 2017 Kentucky General Assembly and that it will fuel additional growth in the commonwealth. Kentucky has the opportunity to hang an “Open for Business” sign on its front door during the opening months of the new year.”

David Beck Executive Director, Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation

“Investments made in the state’s agriculture industry over the past several years by the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund have diversified and strengthened the ag sector, enabling it to weather a couple of years of market volatility. While net farm income has declined, Kentucky farm cash receipts remain over the $5 billion mark, solidifying agribusiness as a major economic engine in the commonwealth. One thing that could help stabilize net farm income in 2017 is a vibrant export market. Kentucky is one of the most ag trade-dependent states, and exports have more than doubled since 2000. Continued progress on trade agreements is a key component in keeping Kentucky’s agriculture industry moving forward and growing.”

Bob Quick President/CEO, Commerce Lexington Inc.

“While the national economy could experience uncertainty with a change in presidential administration, central Kentucky and specifically Fayette County have seen positive economic trends throughout 2016. Because of its diverse economy, educated workforce, expanding labor force, strong job market, entrepreneurial culture and exceptional quality of life, the Bluegrass is an attractive place to live, work and play. Fayette County’s unemployment rate was the third-lowest in Kentucky, while its population grew a steady 1.2 percent in 2016. These positive trends will continue throughout 2017, with national sources recognizing Lexington as a great place for business. Commerce Lexington’s economic development partnership with the City of Lexington and University of Kentucky is a national model that will keep paying dividends for central Kentucky.” 

Bob Davies President, Murray State University

“The 2017 economic outlook is positive, particularly for western Kentucky. Murray State University is an economic catalyst for our region, providing career opportunities, economic development and professional development opportunities. Part of our strategic plan is to continue focusing on experiential opportunities that provide students real-world learning that both contributes to their personal educational experience and assists our regional industry partners with solving problems. We’re proud to be one of the state’s educational leaders, committed to increasing the college-going rate and educational attainment of our communities. As Murray State continues to advance, so does our region and the commonwealth. It is a symbiotic relationship.”

Jim Gray, Mayor, Lexington

“Lexington continues to enjoy a strong economy, fueled by public and private investment, and job growth. Our quality of life and highly educated workforce are attracting top employers and good jobs.”

Nick Rowe, President, Kentucky American Water

“Kentucky American Water is the largest investor-owned water utility in the commonwealth, providing quality water and/or wastewater services to customers in portions of 12 counties, and investing in water system infrastructure remains a priority. It’s estimated over the coming decades that more than $1 trillion in capital will be needed to upgrade U.S. water infrastructure. We invested nearly $400 million in Kentucky in the past decade, and plan to invest more than $25 million in 2017 to continue providing quality service to our customers. We will also remain focused on controlling operational expenses and providing a fair return to investors.”

Steve Sigg, President/CEO, SIS

“The pace in which technology is being consumed in the business world will have a pronounced impact on executive teams. I don’t believe there has been a time in the past when the C-level executives of a company needed to be more engaged in the adoption of technology and its impact on their company’s future. The enablement of information technology, from the data captured through sensors on the edge to the analytics that are understood at a deeper level to improve business outcomes, has never been more relevant than it is today. The impact of this phenomenon on product management to provide differentiated solutions to the market is creating a very exciting opportunity in 2017 to set our companies apart in the markets we serve.” 

Karen Williams, President/CEO, Greater Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau

“I expect our leisure business continue to increase in 2017. Visits to Louisville rose 4 percent to 24.2 million person trips, according to our latest research. These are among the findings of a newly released impact study by Longwoods International of Louisville’s domestic tourism business in 2015. 2016’s impact will be released in 2017. The report provides an overview of what Louisville travelers look like and how they differ from the average U.S. traveler. This report validates that Louisville is increasingly becoming the hot spot for travel. With its unique mix of attractions, events, bourbon and food, and its accessibility and affordability, the city is the perfect meetings and getaway destination.”

Hal B. Goode, President/CEO, Kentucky Association for Economic Development

“Economic developers are bullish on Kentucky in 2017. Long pent-up policy reforms that site selectors have been clamoring for, like right-to-work and repeal of prevailing wage, look to happen soon with the change of control in Frankfort. These reforms will sharpen our competitive edge against surrounding states and could immediately bring new jobs to the commonwealth. The governor and General Assembly have a real opportunity to tackle tax reform in a special session. A shift toward taxing consumption instead of productivity would be a plus for everyone from the “solopreneur” to the Fortune 500. With so many different types of communities in Kentucky, offering more local autonomy also makes sense.”

Ron Bunch, President/CEO, Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce

“After a record-breaking 2015, Bowling Green again announced the largest capital investment project in the state in 2016 and was recognized No. 1 in the commonwealth for inward investment. We have the 10th largest job-creation project in the state. With repeatedly strong economic development results in southcentral Kentucky, we continue to generate best practice initiatives to ensure our companies have the talent they need. We look forward to the passage of landmark legislation including right-to-work and the repeal of prevailing wage during the 2017 legislative session. We are fortunate to have outstanding collaboration and support from state and local officials and look forward to another prosperous year in 2017.”

Dr. Michael Benson, President, Eastern Kentucky University

“In an era of reduced state appropriations and soon-to-come performance-based funding for higher education, Eastern Kentucky University will continue to prosper because of how it anticipated and responded to the challenges of this new financial reality. Ever mindful that “business as usual” is no longer an option and of the need to be responsible stewards of both the public trust and our own high standards of performance, Eastern has positioned itself well for continued growth and success because it has tightened its budget without sacrificing academic quality. We also have kept our focus on a bold, long-range vision that includes an aggressive campus revitalization totaling over $220 million in capital projects.”

Garren Colvin, CEO, St. Elizabeth Healthcare

“Like many healthcare systems, St. Elizabeth Healthcare faces challenges in 2017 related to payment reform, implementing new technologies and data analytics, and finding innovative ways to meet the needs of our patients and community. We need to make investments in these areas while in an environment where reimbursement is decreasing and we need to reduce costs while continuing to provide the highest quality of care for our patients. As a system, we are also taking steps to be prepared for any changes to the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion. The objectives of our strategic plan address these issues while maintaining the financial discipline to continue to reinvest in the healthcare needs of our community and our patients.”

Matt Sawyers, Executive Director, Kentucky Oil & Gas Association

“Domestic natural gas consumption is expected to increase slightly in 2017, particularly for electricity production. With increased liquefied natural gas exports, higher exports to Mexico and only a modest increase in production, most forecasters project a small increase in price in 2017. Oil prices have been on an uptick with decreased domestic production and a strengthening global economy. Unless the paradigm shifts for an unforeseen reason, that trend is likely to remain stable. With overall prices still relatively low, we are unlikely to see a substantial increase in new wells drilled in Kentucky. We will focus on advocating for rollback of increasingly onerous and overreaching federal regulation, educating government officials, business leaders and the public on the industry’s importance, and strengthening partnerships for future opportunities.”

Jack Moreland, President, Southbank Partners

“2017 presents a brand new approach to the economy at the state and federal government levels with specific emphasis on job creation. Fewer and more relaxed regulations should help the coal industry. Right-to-work and prevailing wage laws will emerge from the new Kentucky General Assembly and quickly be signed by Gov. Bevin. Since those rules are prevalent in surrounding states, it will help level the playing field for courting new business to Kentucky. If tax reform is accomplished in a special legislature session later this year, without question Kentucky will become a much more business-friendly state. At the national level, laws like Dodd-Frank for the banking industry will become more friendly with the understanding that more regulation makes reporting difficult for large banks and nearly impossible for small ones. The stalemate in Congress will be less apparent, but don’t expect quick complete agreement on many issues. The deteriorating infrastructure of our highways, bridges and ports will hopefully be addressed and improved. Trade deals with other world economies will be scrutinized with an attempt to leverage in our favor. With these  big, ambitious agendas, I am optimistic and hopeful that those changes will stabilize and grow the economy.”

Greg Higdon, President/CEO, Kentucky Association of Manufacturers

“Kentucky continued growing the manufacturing sector in 2016 and we expect more in 2017. The automotive industry has been a huge catalyst, dating back to when Toyota opened its Georgetown facility. With expansion of the Kentucky Truck Plant and continued growth of the Louisville Assembly Plant, Ford Motor Co. should inch above 12,000 employees in Jefferson County alone in 2017. Kentucky is No. 3 in the nation in automotive production, with 500 companies employing over 95,000 workers in automotive-related jobs. Our geographic location has always been an economic development tool and with the opening of the Louisville bridges, we look for Kentucky to be a stronger magnet for manufacturers and distributors. Our state administration is bullish on manufacturing jobs and focused on improving workforce development and training and investing in needed infrastructure.”

Gary A. Ransdell, President, Western Kentucky University

“2017 promises significant positive change to the Kentucky economy with the executive and legislative arms of both state and federal government working together. Revenue-generating tax reform in Kentucky has great potential if the incremental revenue is used to address pension pressures and pressing needs in public and higher education. For the first time ever, higher education and the governor are in sync in performance funding model for the distribution of higher-ed appropriations. That model needs authorization from the 2017 General Assembly, and a path to enhanced funding in the next biennium. If that happens, then higher ed in Kentucky can provide solutions to many of the economic, health and social challenges our commonwealth faces.” 

Anthony “Tony” Campbell, President/CEO, East Kentucky Power Cooperative

“Some regions of Kentucky, particularly the Golden Triangle, are seeing healthy economic growth. Others, notably Eastern Kentucky and some more rural areas, continue to struggle. Led by our 16 owner-member cooperatives, EKPC is focused on keeping energy affordable and reliable to help the economy. Our co-ops serve 87 Kentucky counties and we are working hard to assist the Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet in marketing those communities to site selectors to draw new jobs and investment, strengthening our commonwealth’s economic engine.”

Spencer Bruce, President/CEO, Louisville Water Co.

“Louisville Water Co. will expand its regional footprint in 2017 with new wholesale customers in Hardin County and progress towards a water line extension to Shelbyville. With national attention on infrastructure needs, Louisville Water will spend over $40 million in 2017 to maintain a 4,200-mile water-main network. Louisville’s economy is strong, and we see an increase in the number of service applications. A high-quality and affordable supply of water is critical to economic growth. Louisville Water rates are among the lowest in the region with drinking water costing less than a penny a gallon.”

Jared Arnett, Executive Director, Shaping Our Appalachian Region Inc.

“In 2017, Appalachia Kentucky will continue its historic economic turnaround through strategic and proactive collaboration with hundreds of organizations that care about the future of the region. With adoption of SOAR’s regional blueprint, we will see the most widespread, connected and cohesive action to address this economic crisis in the history of the coalfields. Increasing broadband connectivity throughout the region will capitalize on the economic opportunities this connectivity brings – including further development of training in skill sets for the digital economy, specific sectors for industrial development, small business expansion through e-commerce and export, telemedicine and more. The 2017 SOAR summit will showcase the innovative approaches our partners and communities are taking to help accomplish our regional goals and build on our momentum to create Appalachian Kentucky’s vibrant future.”

Steve Eggers, Managing Principal, K. Norman Berry Associates Architects

“2016 was a great year for the construction industry and architectural firms. Our firm grew to its largest size in our history, opening a Lexington office to support growth in the area. One leading economic indicator of construction activity is the American Institute of Architects’ monthly Architects Billing Index survey. The ABI reflects the approximate nine- to 12-month lead-time between architecture billings and construction spending. The most recent results show our area of the country flashing a positive outlook for 2017. Architects are among the first to encounter new construction projects, so with the positive trend our firm is hopeful growth will continue this year.”

Geoffrey Mearns, President, Northern Kentucky University

“The future is bright for Kentucky’s public postsecondary institutions. We expect Gov. Bevin and the General Assembly to adopt an outcomes-based funding model for appropriating nearly $1 billion our commonwealth invests in higher education each year, joining nearly 40 other states who have recognized the need for a rational, strategic funding method. For Kentucky’s economy this means state dollars will be tied to universities’ and colleges’ abilities to meet the demands of the workforce. Institutions will be rewarded for their ability to produce in key areas such as healthcare, technology, advanced manufacturing and other metrics. This funding model will position our commonwealth to be a national leader in attracting, creating and retaining jobs.” 

Edwin Webb, CEO, World Trade Center Kentucky

“World Trade Center Kentucky forecasts continued positive growth in Kentucky exports in 2017. Data provided by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development reports that as of December 2016 export activity was $29.1 billion, up over the previous year. Total U.S exports fell 5 percent during the same period. WTCKY has noted from its clients a shift toward growing business investment. The latter – along with the recent facilities expansion and investment in the commonwealth by UPS, FedEx and DHL, three of world’s largest package delivery companies and leading global providers of specialized transportation and logistics services – indicate support of the Center’s forecast.” 

Trey Grayson, President/CEO, Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

“2017 should be a great year for Northern Kentucky and our friends across the river in Cincinnati. Our airport is on a roll with more carriers to more destinations with more affordable fares; Southwest’s plans to begin service will accelerate that trend. Our advanced manufacturers are taking the lead in addressing our talent pipeline shortage, which should help them find the employees to meet their growth plans. Our urban core should see continued growth as CTI moves its 500 employees into RiverCenter, Innovation Alley becomes a destination for the region’s start-up community, Hotel Covington completes its first year of operation, and more residential units are brought online in Covington and Newport. Tourism continues to be a strong regional draw, bolstered by last year’s addition of the Ark Encounter in Williamstown and the FC Cincinnati soccer team.”

Jennifer Willis, Kentucky Market Vice President, Humana Inc.

“Humana is committed to help improve the health of the communities we serve 20 percent by 2020 because we believe good health is good for everyone. Our nation is in a health crisis, which is why we are working with local government, business and community leaders to find solutions to chronic conditions and improve individual mental and physical healthy days. In Louisville, we are focused on increasing people’s awareness of the health resources available to them and decreasing the number of deaths caused by suicide. We hope by removing these barriers to health, we’ll
see the rates of diabetes decline and improvements in both mental and lung health. In 2017, we’ll continue to rely on the 40-plus partnerships we’ve forged because only through cooperation and collaboration will we succeed.”

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