Home » Kentucky Expecting Ongoing Growth in 2019

Kentucky Expecting Ongoing Growth in 2019

Strong bourbon, vehicle production, logistics sectors should offset agribusiness weakness, keep most state businesses expanding

By Mark Green

Kentucky business leaders see a year of continued economic expansion. The urban centers are where the most activity is, with big construction and development projects driving dollars into the financial arteries. Logistics and related operations are surging at and near the Northern Kentucky and Louisville international airports. Kentucky’s significant vehicle manufacturing sector expects stable business despite slight overall sales decreases as the sector eases back after several successive record years. Bourbon making and bourbon tourism continue their upswing and continue to attract hotel projects. Agribusiness had a bumpy 2018 with trade trouble on top of still weak commodity prices, but is encouraged by the new federal farm bill; if trade policy becomes predictable again, Kentucky communities that rely on agribusiness will be even more encouraged. The urban areas and the state in general are working to retool education and training to be more in sync with the skills needed by advanced manufacturing in particular, whose jobs pay well and can achieve momentum if Kentucky can grow and attract enough skilled workers.

“In just three years, Kentucky has moved to the forefront of national influence, steadily gaining recognition as America’s center for engineering and manufacturing excellence. The commonwealth’s transformational pro-business policies, legislation and programs are yielding truly historic results – more than $17.3 billion in private investment, nearly 48,000 new jobs created and the highest workforce participation in state history. There is still much work to be accomplished, however, as we enter 2019. We must continue our progress on meaningful tax, tort and pension reform, and address vital infrastructure needs. Kentucky is on an exciting upward trajectory toward becoming the greatest possible version of itself, as we build a strong foundation for future economic growth and prosperity. As we seize the opportunities that good government fosters, I’m confident our unprecedented momentum will continue. Kentucky is becoming a marquee national and global destination, proud to show the world what it means to say … We are Kentucky!” — Matthew Bevin, Governor, Commonwealth of Kentucky

“Despite economic challenges from tariffs and trade, higher interest rates and cyclical downturns, our economic optimism continues to be fueled by consumer confidence, low unemployment rates and fuel prices. Over the next three years, Toyota will introduce 31 new, redesigned or refreshed models in the Toyota and Lexus lineup. We anticipate total North America industry sales to be relatively stable over the next three years with cyclical, yet modest decreases. Toyota typically picks up market share during these cycles. Despite a consumer shift to more trucks and SUVs, Toyota remains committed to the sedan market led by our ever-popular Toyota Camry. It’s exciting to be part of the mobility industry and part of the amazing Toyota team in Kentucky.” — Susan Elkington, President, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky Inc.

“We hope 2019 will be a year of continuing economic expansion and the year our nation’s trade relationships settle into a more predictable and sustainable pattern. On the home front, we want to make additional gains in the 2019 General Assembly toward improving the business climate of Kentucky and investing in our state’s infrastructure. Workforce issues will continue to top the business community’s list of serious concerns, and we’ll be making major efforts to engage employers in creating ‘talent pipelines’ as a solution.” — Dave Adkisson, President/CEO, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

“A strong U.S. economy in 2018 was beneficial for air travel throughout the country. Blue Grass Airport continues to experience passenger growth, with the addition of nonstop service to Destin, Fla., last year and Washington Dulles service that begins in February 2019. The new Dulles service and the growth of United in the Lexington market will provide expanded hub options to the Northeast and international destinations for the local traveler. In 2019, work also begins on enhanced food and beverage offerings that will provide passengers with new choices as well as great grab-and-go options.” — Eric Frankl, Executive Director, Blue Grass Airport

“Kentucky’s real estate market has typically followed the national trend in recent years, posting year-over-year record-setting sales volume and units sold. National home sales in 2018 slowed and are predicted to decrease approximately 3 percent in 2019. Kentucky, however, has shown stronger numbers and is on track to match or exceed its record in 2018. Inventory shortages continue to drive up home values at a pace that exceeds the rest of the country, which may eventually create affordability problems for first-time buyers. With the economy still strong, we hope the Fed will be less aggressive in raising rates, which can drive a vibrant construction market that will begin to match our strong demand. Kentucky should see continued commercial and residential real estate growth in 2019.” — Steve Stevens, Chief Executive Officer, Kentucky Realtors®

“We enter 2019 off a year that, make no mistake, was difficult for Kentucky and American agriculture in every way. A federal farm bill was passed in December and the new year shows promise that our trade relationships overseas will stabilize, giving Kentucky farmers and agribusinesses the certainty they need to plan for success. As second vice president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, I am represent our Kentucky farm families in Frankfort and Washington. The Department of Agriculture’s Hunger Initiative has helped Kentucky’s food banks secure and store more foods for the food-insecure population, and we look forward to more success stories in 2019.” — Ryan Quarles, Commissioner of Agriculture, Commonwealth of Kentucky

“In 2019, focus on the consumer experience, already prevalent in sales and services, will increase in every industry. Economic conditions and an accelerated change of market will favor companies equipped to operate quickly, adjusting resources and strategy in real-time. This level of engagement requires digital transformation leveraging cloud-based platform solutions. These platforms are now easier to adopt and are replacing the need for multiple systems for marketing, sales, accounting, billing, operations and service. ” — Erik Dunnigan, Managing Director, Coastal Cloud

“2018 was a banner year for Murphy Construction Group. Revenues increased more than 30 percent, with 2019 looking like an even better year – backlogs are up 40 percent from last year. Our success remains in the manufacturing and the medical sectors of new and expanding business, but commercial construction is also strong in the 80-mile radius of our workforce’s residences. We see a promising immediate future in our highway-structures division with the beginning of the Kentucky Bridge Replacement Program, which intends to rebuild over 400 bridges. Slight interest-rate increases and the related or nonrelated increase in material cost from tariffs have not caused clients to refrain from growing but rather encourages them to proceed with projects before further price increases. That may change, but for now it’s full steam ahead.” — G. Michael Murphy, CEO, Murphy Construction Group 

“I’m optimistic about 2019’s economic outlook. SIS continues to see digital transformation gain momentum with our clients, regionally, nationally and internationally. Cloud adoption and emerging technologies are enabling organizations to reinvent themselves and provide exceptional value to customers. These investments in technologies, processes and people allow startups and traditional businesses to compete on a more even playing field and adapt quickly to changes in the market. 2019 will see a continued focus on the customer providing opportunities for growth and expansion at SIS and the Lexington business community as a whole.” — Steve Sigg, CEO, SIS

“Economies are tough to predict. While there appears to be some slowing of the national economy, those of us in Northern Kentucky’s Southbank cities along the Ohio River are optimistic about 2019. Corporex Cos. is pumping $70 million into the mixed-use Ovation site at the confluence of the Ohio and Licking rivers in Newport, jump-starting a project that could ultimately reach $1 billion in investment. The newly opened KY 9 corridor connects I-275 and Northern Kentucky’s suburbs with downtown Newport, opening new opportunities for industrial, residential and commercial development. Across the Licking River in Covington, the city has hired Cooper Carry, an Atlanta-based global architecture and design firm, to create a development strategy for the 23-acre IRS site in the city’s urban core; the IRS is closing the processing facility in the fall.” — Jack Moreland, President, Southbank Partners

“Moving back to Kentucky from China this year, I was struck by opportunities the Bluegrass has if we can overcome a few challenges. We have a young, educated and enthusiastic workforce. We are listed often as a great place to live, but we have to get people in the door. To achieve that, we need to collaborate more to showcase what is special and tackle the issues we face. One challenge that surprised me upon returning was the significance of the opioid crisis, and it will take all our combined efforts to rid our communities of this problem. Together we can ensure Kentucky achieves its full potential, and I am delighted and humbled to be in a position to play a role in that effort.”  — Mark Lyons, President/CEO, Alltech

“Jeffersontown expects its base of office users to increase in 2019, following a trend that began in 2018. Appriss Inc., a longtime Jeffersontown-based business, marked its steady growth by relocating to five floors of an 11-story Plainview office tower. Other significant office projects include expansions to new office space by Sazerac Co. and Statewide Mortgage. All three of these businesses took advantage of our innovative JOBS Program. Business decision makers tell us they see the value of locating in Jeffersontown, where our business parks are close to restaurants, shops and quality housing across the price spectrum.” — Mike Kmetz, Director, Jeffersontown Economic Development Authority

“Louisville Water expects to see continued, steady growth in 2019. We’ll expand our service area with the completion of a pipeline along Interstate 64 that will deliver water to Shelbyville, and with a large increase in requests for water-main installation, we’ll add new commercial and residential customers. Louisville Water is focused on highlighting the value of water and our business advantage with unique branding at popular tourism and business destinations. From bourbon distilleries to the renovated convention center and Louisville’s airport, we’re connecting our “liquid assets” as a driver for economic development.” — Spencer Bruce, President/CEO, Louisville Water Co.

“I believe 2019 will be a year full of promise for guarded optimism. First, we are sure to observe slower growth, but not come to a screeching halt. Second, organizations and institutions that do better will be those that work harder, smarter and more creatively. This requires staying focused on what it is they do best, while being open to new and fresh ideas that inspire confidence, build their brand, and strengthen their high quality. Third, if you find yourself discouraged at a high level – regardless of your political persuasion – take heart, go back and read some history, and don’t get overly confident or disheartened. Balance in all things will win the day.” — John Roush, President, Centre College

“Northern Kentucky is entering 2019 with an eye toward innovation and transformation. As we consider the next 30 years for our community, a focus on regionalism combined with elevated growth through economic development is key. Our economy is strong and diverse, backed by an expanding business base searching for continued efficiencies and prosperity. Like so many regions throughout the country, NKY’s ability to provide an ongoing talent pipeline; an educational system that provides a skillset matched to workforce and career needs; and a healthy community are key to success in 2019. We anticipate the arrival, growth and impact of Amazon Prime over the next several years and view this as an opportunity for our existing business base. We welcome all that 2019 brings, in concert with infrastructure improvements and regional unity.” — Karen Finan, President/CEO, Northern Kentucky Regional Alliance; Interim President/CEO, Northern Kentucky Tri-ED

“Investing in water system infrastructure remains a Kentucky American Water priority, with plans to invest approximately $25 million in our regional systems and facilities in 2019. Among these investments are projects to further upgrade our treatment facilities and replace aging water mains to maintain quality water and/or wastewater services to rural and urban customers in portions of 14 counties. Ongoing system renewal is critical for providing customers reliable, quality service, and we’ve invested more than $400 million in the last decade. We also will remain focused on controlling operational expenses, providing a fair return to investors, and growing our footprint in the commonwealth to bring services to additional communities.” — Nick Rowe, President, Kentucky American Water

“Louisville’s tourism economy saw significant advancement in 2018 and is poised for growth in 2019. U.S. Travel (Association) is predicting increases of over 2 percent nationally in domestic travel and over 3 percent in business travel. With an expanded downtown convention center, 2,000 hotel rooms recently opened and 1,500 more in the pipeline, Louisville is continually improving our product. More strategic partnerships in the public and private sector from the airport to headquarters businesses will help meetings achieve their attendance goals. Leisure growth is being fueled by our ever-expanding bourbon tourism offerings and culinary-fueled growth is anticipated with the “Top Chef” effect as Kentucky is showcased on national television.” —  Karen Williams, President/CEO, Louisville Tourism

“Affordable, reliable energy is as important as ever to the 1.1 million Kentucky residents served by our co-ops, and especially businesses competing in the global marketplace. Kentucky’s central location for accessing coal and natural gas keeps costs low. While the new administration has set a refreshing tone for regulations, compliance with federal rules continues to be costly. Over the next five years, EKPC will spend over $250 million on compliance at just one power plant. EKPC works with our 16 owner-member cooperatives to draw jobs and investment to the communities we serve, a job that is made considerably easier by state legislative adjustments such as right-to-work. Through November, our co-ops have assisted with new or expanding business projects totaling $2.59 billion in investment and 2,698 direct jobs.” — Anthony “Tony” Campbell, President/CEO, East Kentucky Power Cooperative

“Pension reform will determine the economic outlook for Kentucky’s higher education institutions in 2019. Without it, regional comprehensive univer-sities face catastrophic consequences. Last year, NKU was fortunate to get a reprieve from an anticipated $13 million increase in our pension contribution, but it is only for one year. In a proactive manner, the impacted universities came together to create a pension-reform proposal for legislators to consider during the 2019 General Assembly. We created a consensus proposal built on shared responsibility that allows each employee to make a decision based on what’s best for them. There are no mandates and no fluctuating contributions for universities. With true pension reform like this, Kentucky higher education has a bright outlook with the ability to invest in and grow the student population for economic development and social mobility.” — Ashish Vaidya, President, Northern Kentucky University

“Aviation is big business for Kentucky, and business is booming! A report published by Airports Council International-North America, utilizing 2017 statistics, notes commercial-service airports in Kentucky have a total economic impact of $13.3 billion and 104,000 direct employees for our state. Passenger growth is estimated to continue at a rate consistent with the national average in 2019. In addition to passenger service, Kentucky is the premier cargo venue for North America – serving as home to DHL’s second largest operation in the world, the soon-to-be-constructed Amazon Prime Air hub, and UPS Worldport. Kentucky plays a key role in e-commerce, both domestically and internationally, with growth anticipated to increase in 2019. We look forward to blue skies ahead.” — Candace S. McGraw, CEO, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport

“As opposed to last year’s optimistic outlook for 2018, we see a very different picture for Kentucky’s automotive industry in 2019. Our industry, like many others, is facing some significant headwinds in the domestic and global economy that create significant uncertainty. Chief among these challenges are the steel and aluminum tariffs announced in 2018, as well as the Commerce Department investigation of possible automotive tariffs. Nevertheless, sales of cars and light trucks, particularly SUVs and crossovers, remain strong, albeit slightly softer than levels a year ago. Lower fuel prices and the new tax laws have sustained our positive numbers, but it is possible global economic uncertainties could soon affect consumer purchase decisions.” — Dave Tatman, Executive Director, Kentucky Automotive Industry Association

“We have never experienced a year like 2018 in terms of tariffs, re-negotiation and trade policy upheaval. Our global economy remains on course to grow at 3.7 percent in 2018, the same as in 2017. Kentucky historically trends lower than the national economy, but it shines on the international front, ranking fifth in exports per capita. While a truce between the U.S. and China during the G20 Conference in December alleviated fears of additional tariffs, it does not remove tariffs already applied. Tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods targeted by the U.S. since July are still in place, as are duties China imposed on $110 billion of U.S. goods. We are concerned about the amount of affected intermediate goods that modern supply chains depend upon for competitiveness. The first half of 2019 looks promising, but we see a slight downturn in the second half of 2019. We urge Kentucky manufacturers to dig into their supply chains and look for cost-savings opportunities to weather this storm.” — Darren Srebnick, Chief Trade Officer, World Trade Center Kentucky

“We anticipate slower economic growth in outlays at the federal and state level, which will continue to put pressure on higher-education budgets. Interest rates and our broader economy do have an impact and influence on the decision students – our consumers – make in pursuing higher education. The focus coming out of Frankfort leans toward work-ready careers versus preparing our citizenry to compete and invent the economy after 2019. We believe in a both/and strategy for Kentucky versus an either/or strategy, and we look forward to working with our General Assembly and the governor on strengthening our economy for all Kentuckians.” — Mike Benson, President, Eastern Kentucky University

“The University of Kentucky is the essential engine of a robust and modern Kentucky economy. Our teaching enterprise provides the in-demand skilled workforce for the commonwealth’s economy and culture. Through our high-tech research enterprise and commercialization efforts, we are at the forefront of innovation in health care, drug development, energy, agriculture and confronting an insidious opioid crisis. Understanding the important role private philanthropy will play in our success, UK recently launched a $2.1 billion comprehensive capital campaign to embolden our efforts in teaching, research, service and health care. If Kentucky wants a dynamic economy, partnering with the public and private sectors will be critical for our success. Together, we will show the world what Kentucky can do.” — Dr. Eli Capilouto, President, University of Kentucky

“The economic currency in employee benefit consulting is the demand for employees. Across all the broad industry market segments Bim Group serves, the demand for great employees is palpable. Employers who are successfully meeting this demand are strategically rethinking and positioning their total compensation package to attract and retain great employees. We anticipate the demand for qualified employees in 2018 to intensify in 2019, indicating a strong vibrant economy in the commonwealth.” — L. Briggs Cochran, President/CEO, Bim Group

“We expect the economic success we saw this year to continue in 2019. Fueled by the tremendous growth in both domestic and cargo traffic at our international airport (CVG), manufacturing and logistics are leading the way and continue to expand, followed closely by growth in the health care, IT, finance and construction sectors. Given the projections for expansion, we believe growing, attracting and retaining talent is the top priority. That is why you’ll hear us talking about what a great place Northern Kentucky is to live, work and play as part of our regional marketing strategy.” — Brent Cooper, President/CEO, Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

“When collaboration and innovation collide: The result is true and lasting transformation. Appalachia Kentucky stands on the right side of the digital divide, and we are leveraging technology like never before to disrupt poverty and bring new opportunities across our region. From industrial recruitment, advanced manufacturing, technology, remote work, small businesses and beyond, the people of Appalachia Kentucky stand ready, able and willing to put their ingenuity to use to make Kentucky a global leader in innovation and to create the 21st-century Appalachia we envision.” — Jared Arnett, Executive Director, Shaping Our Appalachian Region

“The construction industry was very busy in 2018, with signature projects that will carry forward into 2019 and beyond. Higher education, industrial and hotel/convention-space work continues to be strong, with a special interest on the booming spirits industry. In Lexington, we anticipate fewer large projects coming to market in 2019. Many local subcontractors are already extremely busy performing work for projects that kicked off in the last year, and resource availability will continue to be a challenge. Messer is recruiting and retaining project management and skilled trades talent; we work with Kentucky colleges and universities with full-time and co-op/intern needs, as well as workforce development agencies.” — Mark Hill, Vice President/Lexington Region Leader, Messer Construction Co.

“NAWBO Kentucky is advancing women in business throughout the Bluegrass. We have a lot of  momentum that will continue to propel women into leadership positions. Women-owned firms are the fastest-growing economic segment in the U.S., while a mere 30 years ago a woman needed a male co-signer to obtain a business loan. In 2018, NAWBO celebrated the 30th anniversary of the passing of HR: 5050, a legislative piece that NAWBO National led. We will continue to advocate for small-business owners as well as women in business everywhere.”  — Jesika Young, President, National Association of Women Business Owners Kentucky

“2018 has proven strong for the industrial sector. Tax and regulatory reform helped pave the way for growth and investment in U.S. manufacturing. From Gray Construction’s world of engineering, architecture and construction, these positive moves from 2018 have set the stage for an equally strong 2019. We expect particular growth in the food and beverage sector with automation solutions serving as a differentiator for food safety and efficiency. The anticipation of infrastructure action could have a positive impact on local, national and global economies. The biggest challenge we’re expecting is the availability of labor for the construction industry as well as the manufacturing/industrial sector. While many economists are predicting a softening in 2019, our outlook is positive through 2020.” — Stephen Gray, President/CEO, Gray Construction

“Central Kentucky’s economy remained strong in 2018, and with low unemployment, an educated workforce and a diverse economy, this should continue into 2019. However, local business leaders are concerned about several issues, including Kentucky’s pension crisis and opioid epidemic, global trade talks, a lack of land for development in Fayette County, and a few significant downsizings and closures – all with long-term implications for Lexington. Despite our low unemployment rate, many employers still need workers to fill open positions, but the region is fortunate to have nearly 17,000 college graduates annually entering the workforce. With several key ongoing development projects in the heart of downtown, strong capital investment by new and existing companies, and a booming entrepreneurial ecosystem, Lexington continues to attract national attention as a top city in economic and quality of life categories.” — Bob Quick, President/CEO, Commerce Lexington Inc.

“We see a slowdown in the commercial office sector that we believe could continue through much of next year. This has to do with uncertainty in the market and an increase in rates that is affecting the start of new businesses. The hospitality sector, however, remains strong, driven by the trend of millennials valuing experiences over “stuff” and baby boomers enjoying retirement. Expect to see even more diversification of hospitality offerings through newly developed brands. Beyond industry trends, recent natural disasters and tariffs are both affecting pricing and the ability of new projects to be profitable. We expect new construction to slow until prices stabilize.” — Madison Silvert, President, Malcolm Bryant Corp.

“Louisville’s economic renaissance is in full swing. The past eight years added 80,000 jobs and 2,700 businesses. We’ve announced $13 billion in capital investment the last four years – nearly $1 billion in historically under-resourced neighborhoods west of Ninth Street. Our built environment continues to experience tremendous momentum, with plans for a $200 million Louisville City FC soccer stadium district and Louisville Urban League’s $35 million learning and sports facility. The skyline is changing with hotel projects, including the $300 million Omni Hotel, two urban bourbon experiences, and the completed $207 million Kentucky International Convention Center renovation. Training programs like Code Louisville and The Software Guild will rapidly scale our tech-based economy. Our leadership in the aging and health tech sector is writing the next chapter on caring for the nation’s aging population. Our 2019 focus is to even more rapidly scale our tech workforce, build on our prosperity and ensure our momentum is shared by every citizen in every neighborhood.” — Greg Fischer, Mayor, Louisville Metro

“Lexington’s healthy economy is expected to grow in 2019, offering unparalleled opportunity for our citizens. Our city is poised to become one of the largest gigabit cities in the country this year, bringing in more good, high-tech jobs. As we prepare for this leap into tomorrow’s economy, we must put people first, with targeted job training and education opportunities that meet local business needs and ensure everyone is prepared to benefit. In addition, properties now dedicated to economic development, including 50 acres that are shovel-ready in Coldstream Research Campus and 200 acres fronting on I-75, are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for job growth, especially in advanced manufacturing.” — Linda Gorton, Mayor, Lexington

“2019 will be a year of growth and expansion for Lexington Clinic. In 2018, we added several providers and physicians and look forward to adding more team members in 2019 to meet the demand of our growing patient base. Lexington Clinic will continue offering customized, premier network options for progressive employers through population health and premier provider agreements. Lexington Clinic will begin construction in 2019 on a new building for our South Broadway campus to allow us to expand our offerings to the people of Central Kentucky. The building will be up and functional by our 100th birthday in 2020.” — Dr. Andrew Henderson, CEO, Lexington Clinic

“In 2018, Louisville International Airport increased capacity, its number of enplanements and added 10 new service markets. We witnessed a dramatic increase in ultralow-cost leisure service by Allegiant and Frontier. Los Angeles (LAX) service begins in April, adding to the current record 33 nonstop destinations from Louisville. The 2019 schedule is showing strength and trending up with a 10 percent capacity increase over last year. Area travelers can expect more options to more cities with great airfares. 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.” — Dan Mann, Executive Director, Louisville Regional Airport Authority

“This is an exciting time for our organization, as we recently launched a three-year strategic plan, titled RENEW. The Saint Joseph and Flaget facilities in Central and Eastern Kentucky are focused on improving convenience for our patients, physicians and customers, through expansion of locations/services, and a high-performing access center. A recent example is the opening of our Express Care location in the Palomar Centre in Lexington. The initiatives from RENEW have already resulted in improved performance across our system, with a commitment to the community and the legacy of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. We will continue this commitment and our expansion into 2019 and beyond.” — Bruce Tassin, Market CEO, President, Saint Joseph Hospital

“Kentucky job growth will continue in its top five sectors of advanced manufacturing; health care; transportation/logistics; business services/IT; and construction/trades. This will continue to push secondary and postsecondary education to align programing in these areas to better prepare skilled workers to meet the needs of business and industry. Last year 75 percent of the credentials we awarded were in these five sectors. Additionally, we will see more experiential learning that provides students with hands-on experience, such as apprenticeships. Higher education will embrace innovative ways to deliver its programs to get students trained and into the workplace as quick as possible.” — Dr. Jay Box, President, Kentucky Community and Technical College System

“Louisville Gas & Electric Co. and Kentucky Utilities Co. are committed to advancing technologies and meeting customers’ needs. We work with state and local economic development personnel to attracting new and expanding businesses to Kentucky. Our economic development rate, coupled with our sustainable offerings, incentivize business growth and development. We help businesses install solar at their facilities, offer a subscription-based Solar Share Program, and provide new publicly accessible and customer-hosted electric vehicle charging stations on Kentucky roadways. LG&E and KU have been named nine times as one of the top 10 utilities in the country for economic development by Site Selection magazine. These types of programs, along with our continued low rates, will keep advancing Kentucky’s economy.” — Paul W. Thompson, Chairman/CEO/President, LG&E and KU

“We are at a pivot point of greatly improving health care. More people are being treated under reimbursement models – like Medicare Advantage – that incent complete health, not just the delivery of care. Digital technologies such as home-based monitoring devices and personalized science are increasing the opportunity to leverage the growing sophistication of analytics, artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and machine learning. Electronic medical records are increasing the velocity and volume of information and allowing for more complete and timely decisions. More companies will access data to create consumer-engaged business models that encourage competition, foster innovation and force our industry to evolve. But technology will only take this so far. It’s up to physician and clinician offices, health plans and government to help consumers have a real-time, detailed understanding of their health.” — Bruce Broussard, President/CEO, Humana

“In the health-care industry, change is constant. After a federal judge ruled the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, we expect additional activity around Medicaid expansion as appeals are made. This leaves health care providers working within very tight budgets. Hospitals and health care organizations will continue looking at ways to provide access to care as patients demand options in a consumer-based model – something that is already a focus for Norton Healthcare. With initiatives such as video visits, same-day appointments, and expanded hours and call-ahead waiting for our immediate care centers, we are responding to the increased demand for services and access.” — Adam D. Kempf, SVP/CFO, Norton Healthcare

“Lexington’s hospitality industry continues to grow! In 2018, new hotels opened, two historic bourbon distilleries started welcoming visitors and travelers flocked to area restaurants and bars. Lexington’s 2018 October hotel occupancy reached an all-time high 75.5 percent, up 2.8 percentage points over October 2017, and several points above national levels. VisitLEX opened new headquarters in the restored Old Fayette Courthouse. In 2019, City Center in downtown will open in addition to a boutique property at The Summit. Bourbon and culinary tourism are booming, and we anticipate continued demand for our culinary offerings as “Top Chef” Season 16 airs on Bravo TV. Construction of the Lexington Center expansion project is underway, as well as planning for Breeders’ Cup 2020.” Mary Quinn Ramer, President, VisitLEX