Home » Luther Deaton, Ray Daniels recognized with awards at Commerce Lexington annual event

Luther Deaton, Ray Daniels recognized with awards at Commerce Lexington annual event

LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the 141st year in its history, Commerce Lexington convened the area’s business community for a night of celebration and recognition on January 26 at An Evening With Commerce Lexington presented by Fifth Third Bank.

Participants enjoyed great music and food, networking with colleagues and other business professionals, and a brief program, during which speakers included Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton, Commerce Lexington President and CEO Bob Quick, and 2023 Commerce Lexington Board Chair Cassidy Rosenthal from Stites & Harbison PLLC.

“Throughout the pandemic, this community has come together and stood strong,” Commerce Lexington President/CEO Bob Quick said. “Because of that collaborative spirit, we are now in a great position to reach new heights of economic success, regional planning, and equity and inclusion. I’m pleased to report that Commerce Lexington is strong and growing, thanks to the great work of our membership and engagement team, as well as our many volunteers.  Coming off a global pandemic, that says a lot about the effectiveness of this organization – its board and member investors.”

Two awards were presented during the evening, including the Volunteer of the Year Award and the Community Impact Award.  The recipients of these awards are highlighted below.

Community Impact Award

Luther Deaton, Central Bank & Trust Co.

The Community Impact Award honors individuals and organizations that have made a lasting impact on Commerce Lexington, our community, and our region.  This year’s recipient is Luther Deaton, president and CEO of Central Bank, and Chairman, President & CEO of Central Bancshares. He currently serves as Vice Chair of Economic Development for Commerce Lexington’s Executive Committee, but has held many leadership roles within our organization, including Board Chair in 2004 and 2005. His positive impact our community has spanned the areas of economic development, public policy, fundraising, leadership, education, healthcare and more. Over the past year, he has been instrumental in helping Central Kentucky develop a Regional Competitiveness Plan by hosting and attending meetings with key leaders, advocating for more collaboration, and challenging regional leaders to embrace the plan to create a better Bluegrass for everyone. Considered one of the most influential leaders in Kentucky, Luther supports many causes and organizations, serves on a multitude of boards, and encourages his employees to get involved in the community.

Volunteer of the Year Award

Ray Daniels, Equity Solutions Group Photo by Mark Mahan

The Volunteer of the Year Award is presented annually to the person or organization that best demonstrates the volunteer spirit, in both their participation and the effectiveness and outcome of their effort.  This year, Commerce Lexington is proud to recognize Ray Daniels as its Volunteer of the Year. Service to one’s community takes many forms, and Ray is a consummate supporter of his community and always focused on making a difference wherever possible. After 26 years in various leadership roles for Waffle House, Daniels went on to help start Equity Solutions Group (ESG) – a strategic sourcing company with an emphasis on reducing expenses while ensuring competitive participation from qualified diverse businesses.

He is one of only two individuals in Commerce Lexington’s modern era to serve two years as board chair, leading the organization through the challenges of the pandemic in 2020 and 2021. Last year, he led our volunteers to another successful membership and sponsorship fundraising campaign.  He graciously serves on multiple boards that include the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Community Ventures Corporation, Kentucky Tourism Board, Urban League of Lexington (Chair), Lexington For Everyone (Chair), and was recently elected to serve on the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees. He is also the former vice chair of the Fayette County School Board.

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