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The Bottom Line: Ex-Ky. Chamber president recognized for lifetime success by national association

By Jacqueline Pitts, The Bottom Line

Dave Adkisson

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Following a successful career running chambers of commerce at both the local and state level, former Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson has been recognized by the national Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) with the “Life Member Award.”

Historically called “Honorary Member,” this pinnacle award is bestowed by ACCE on those who retire after stellar careers in chamber leadership. The present “Life Member” name recognizes both the lifetime of success in the chamber profession as well as the member-for-life status granted to each honoree.

Adkisson, who retired from the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce in October 2019 after 15 years as president and CEO, also headed up the Owensboro Chamber of Commerce and the Birmingham Regional Chamber in Alabama during his career. During his tenure at Kentucky’s largest business advocacy organization, the chamber was named the 2017 State Chamber of the Year by the Council of State Chambers, tripled its chamber and foundation budgets to more than $10 million, and doubled its staff to 43. In addition to several landmark legislative victories for the business community, he championed the creation of the award-winning Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center and the Institute for School Principals, a program that has invested more than $3 million in executive leadership training for school principals.

In a letter recommending Adkisson for the award, Kentucky Chamber President Ashli Watts said “I could list all of the qualities I admire in Dave and strive to attain. But I think the characteristic that truly defines him and set his career apart from others is his vision. He is a true visionary and in many ways this vision has redefined the purpose of a chamber of commerce. At the Kentucky Chamber, he started our Foundation, which has now grown into an extension of the chamber which provides leadership opportunity to Kentucky principals, helps employers deal with Kentucky’s opioid crisis and set in motion a plan to help a struggling eastern Kentucky with much-needed hope in form of a tourism project. I have no doubt the work under his leadership at the Kentucky Chamber will have a lasting impact on not only the business community but the entire commonwealth.”