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Good Things Beginning to Happen in 2011

By wmadministrator

James T. Wood, FCDME
President & CEO
Greater Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau

“We forecast a slight rebound in hotel occupancy and average room rate for 2011. We are seeing significant demand for short-term small meetings for 2011. We expect attendance at National Trade Shows hosted in Louisville to rebound to their pre-2007 numbers. Good news for the hospitality sector.”

Daniel Needham
Managing Director
Assurance Investment Partners, parent of Arison Insurance Services

“We are optimistic about Kentucky’s 2011 business climate and believe there will be continued consolidation within the insurance brokerage industry. Businesses will require more sophisticated advisors and expect brokers to help them control costs, maintain benefits and meet and understand federal mandates.”

Dave Maples
Executive VP
Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association

“Record or near-record cattle prices are forecast for 2011 and 2012. Higher fed-cattle prices will bring higher retail – and maybe menu – prices. Exports will be up 6 percent in 2011 and another 6 percent in 2012. Kentucky’s beef herd shrank 2 percent (630,000 head) in 2010, the 13th decline in 15 years. Expect a 250,000-head decline in 2011 to 30.5 million by next Jan. 1. Production will be down 2 percent in 2011, and further in 2012. Domestic beef demand is forecast steady to slightly better the next couple of years. Competition from pork and poultry will limit increases in beef demand.”

Bill Crouch
Georgetown College

“Higher education concerns include tuition increases, unfunded mandates, decreased philanthropy, continual technology investment needs, rising book costs, even increases in gas prices. Old business models no longer work. Georgetown College recently hired an executive director of new business strategies to help find ways to fund a new model. Cutting expenses meets immediate needs, but long-term sustainability requires new revenue. Speaking of sustainability, every institution is morally bound to address energy needs. Many campuses, like Georgetown’s, are covered with old, inefficient buildings. We have the resolve to make the changes necessary to thrive!”

Bill Bissett
Kentucky Coal Association

“Maintaining Kentucky’s low-cost electricity through coal production remains the primary focus of the Kentucky Coal Association. Along with Gov. Beshear and national and neighboring state mining associations, our litigation against the EPA will be an important indicator regarding Appalachian coal’s future. We will make certain that supporting Kentucky’s most important natural resource remains a topic this election cycle.”

Lori Meadows
Executive Director
Kentucky Arts Council

“The arts are essential in community and tourism development. Though facing challenges in the current economic climate, many arts groups are successfully developing new fundraising strategies and partnerships. The buy-local emphasis is creating high-quality products; the desire for a high return on spending has had a positive effect on Kentucky’s arts industry.”

Dave Adkisson
President & CEO
Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

“Recovery, recovery, recovery … and hopefully a dose of economic momentum. That’s how I hope we characterize 2011 a year from now. If Washington can make progress in getting its fiscal house in order (i.e., deficits, entitlement spending, debt) and Frankfort can manage its way through this recession without incurring major debt or new taxes, business confidence will increase, investments will flow and thousands of Kentuckians will go back to work.”

Dr. James Ramsey
University of Louisville

“The University of Louisville is becoming one of the nation’s premier metropolitan research institutions. Our focus is on research that drives the economy and improves quality of life. UofL research is making a difference by getting tobacco plants to produce cancer drugs and helping people with spinal-cord injuries walk again. And moving research to the marketplace is solidifying our economic role. UofL was tied to 9,600 new jobs and added $1.2 billion to Kentucky’s economy the past seven years, a study found. Together, top-flight academics and research are making sure the jobs of tomorrow are “happening here.”

Greg Higdon
President & CEO
Kentucky Association of Manufacturers

“2010 has been more prosperous than 2009 for many Kentucky manufacturers, bringing increased productivity, output and profitability. Many companies, especially manufacturers, will continue to struggle until policy makers at the federal level address the economic uncertainty created by their actions and inaction. In 2011 the economy will continue to improve slowly and will accelerate more quickly when companies experience enough economic certainty to take more dramatic business actions to move their companies forward.”

John Roush
Centre College

“There are reasons to be optimistic, but real economic challenges remain for the foreseeable future. Our best shot is high-quality education at all levels; creative, determined leadership in government and business; and partnerships between enterprises and in directions unimagined heretofore. Centre’s role is to offer a premiere undergraduate education – evidenced in part by the college’s top ranking in Forbes and other national publications – that prepares graduates for service and leadership at a global level.”

Dr. James C. Votruba
Northern Kentucky University

“The recession is challenging public higher education in Kentucky but far less than in many other states where budget reductions have been draconian. NKU will see strong enrollment demand in 2011, reduced administrative infrastructure, higher faculty productivity and investment in our people, academic programs and support for student success. As we turn the corner, investment in higher education will be critical to post-recession growth for our communities and the commonwealth.”

René F. True
Executive Director

“In 2010, over $300 million in federal grants was awarded for last-mile broadband infrastructure in Kentucky. Deployment moves into full swing in 2011. Many under- and unserved Kentuckians finally will receive high-speed Internet. The broadband provider industry will experience greater growth than the economy as a whole as mobile applications and consumer video uploads continue to propel the need for greater bandwidth.”

Mary Pat Regan
AT&T Kentucky

“AT&T invested more than $80 million in Kentucky the first half of 2010 in its wireless and wireline networks to continue improving service. Upgrades included new cell sites, expanded mobile broadband coverage, increased network capacity and extended broadband services reach. We are continuing efforts throughout Kentucky to bring advanced services and products to customers.”

Malcolm Bryant, CCIM
The Malcolm Bryant Corp.

“Real estate development and management success today is dependent upon unlimited information gathering. Without confidence we can do projects well, it is not worth wasting the resources. It is an exciting time in our business, limited only by the bureaucracy of a situation. We see super events ahead.”

Greg Heitzman
President & CEO
Louisville Water Company

“A slow economy and declining consumption is impacting the drinking water industry. North American water consumption has declined steadily for 15 years, and the recession has accelerated this trend. In the Louisville region, a shift from a manufacturing- to a service-based economy along with the prevalence of low-flow plumbing fixtures have reduced consumption and revenue. New drinking water regulations and aging infrastructure will require rate increases above the consumer price index to assure a safe, reliable supply of drinking water to customers.”

Wil James
Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America

“The economic recovery may be slower than initially thought, but we are optimistic about the economy, the auto industry and Toyota in particular. The automotive sector, like many industries, has seen challenges. This year marks our 25th anniversary in Kentucky; we are thankful for the friends and business relationships that have developed, and I am fortunate to have returned recently to Georgetown where I started my Toyota career in 1987.”

Vicki Fitch
Executive Director
Bowling Green Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

“Economic conditions are looking up in South Central Kentucky, specifically in tourism. Hotel occupancy is on an upward trend and prices are holding steady. Attraction attendance is on the plus side. With expansions in Bowling Green currently underway or nearly complete at Beech Bend Park & Splash Lagoon, Lost River Cave & Valley, Knicely Conference Center and Aviation Heritage Park, the area is positioned for positive business conditions.”

Nick Rowe
Senior Vice President
American Water, Eastern Division

“Completing our new water treatment plant and pipeline project in 2010 was a significant accomplishment for the Central Kentucky region because we can now confidently meet current and future water supply needs. That’s a must for a region’s economic viability. Keeping up with necessary utilities system investments is critical to provide ample, quality water service to their customers, and we are committed to that.”

Skip Miller
Executive Director
Louisville Regional Airport Authority

“The nation’s airlines project a modest increase in capacity in 2011, coming predominantly from better utilization of existing fleets and additional service on international routes. Consolidation will allow carriers to strengthen their financial positions but may reduce service to some airports and mean fewer providers. Fuel costs remain a concern. Louisville International Airport (SDF), the seventh-largest cargo airport in the world, continues to aggressively pursue opportunities. As global economies rebound, we expect long-term growth in our air cargo and logistics business.”

Dr. Lee Todd
University of Kentucky

“Even though the number of students enrolled and degrees earned continue to increase, the state must reinvigorate its financial support for postsecondary education if progress is to continue. State support is down 10 percent since December 2007. Poor economic conditions cannot be an excuse for retreating from our goal of substantially increasing Kentucky’s educational attainment because the present and future belongs to the well-educated.”

Roger Fries
President & CEO
Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance

“The workers’ compensation insurance market in Kentucky is expected to remain soft in 2011. Employers should be cautious in selecting insurers, making certain carriers and group funds are financially stable and provide professional, responsive service. Businesses should evaluate their insurance provider and consider what can be done to reduce workers’ compensation insurance costs.”

Crinda Francke
Vice President

“Indicators show companies we work with are planning to invest in employee training and development programs at a higher level than in 2010 as more businesses realize their greatest investment is their employees. We look forward to a steady 2011 after a year of uncertainty as companies start to reinvest in technology and readjust to the current business environment.”

Pearse Lyons

“At Alltech, we describe the pre-(World Equestrian) Games and the post-games Alltech. 2010 was our biggest ever in terms of revenue, and we reached a whole new norm. Alltech has set its sights on $1 billion in sales in 2011 as more avenues open: ventures into Alltech Life Sciences, geared to the human-health side of our products; and acquisition of the Martek facility in Winchester consolidated our expertise and expands possibilities for producing bio-diesel carbon sequestering in one of the world’s largest algae-production units.”

Stephen Klein
The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts

“Marquee performers can still command a premium ticket price, but most artists will find it hard to fill theaters. Arts lovers will be more price-conscious in 2011. Add the continuing struggle for corporate sponsors, without which not even the biggest shows can make a profit, and it looks to be a tough year. The strategy for most will be to rely on familiar names that fit into the public’s comfort zone.”

Greg Fischer

“I hope 2011 is the year Louisville, and Kentucky as a whole, begin to emerge from the recession. There are reasons to be positive. Louisville’s reputation as the global headquarters location for aging care/long-term healthcare companies is being established; new products are being in-sourced to General Electric’s Appliance Park, and the Ford Assembly Plant is being retooled to be the most advanced automotive facility in the world. I hope to make Louisville America’s great entrepreneurial capital, where the best ideas come alive in the easiest city in the country to start, grow or relocate a business.”

Dr. Doug Whitlock
Eastern Kentucky University

“I am guardedly optimistic about business conditions in Kentucky. Educational attainment is up, state revenues are improving and new businesses, such as the Japanese startup coming to Madison County, are coming online. Demand for programs and services at EKU continues to increase, while diminution of state support has caused us to become more efficient. I think we are on a slow, steady rebound that will require nurture.”

Eric J. Frankl, A.A.E
Executive Director
Blue Grass Airport

“Blue Grass Airport experienced a significant increase in passenger traffic in 2010 with the addition of AirTran Airways and new destinations by existing airlines. The airline industry will continue to stabilize in 2011 if it’s disciplined about growth. The United/Continental merger and Southwest’s acquisition of AirTran could result in a stronger industry, but perhaps at the cost of consumer choice. The fragile economy and volatile oil prices could impact airlines’ success and profitability. Blue Grass Airport will continue to find ways to partner with the airlines to improve service to customers.”

Andrew R. Clark, DVM, MBA
Chief Executive Officer
Hagyard Equine Medical Institute

“Thoroughbred equine veterinary medicine is struggling, but the sport horse sector is prospering. The Thoroughbred market is shrinking, plus Kentucky is losing market share – simultaneously enduring an economic downturn, an unprecedented market correction and an extremely challenging banking/credit environment while other states seriously outcompete us. Thoroughbreds are leaving to race and breed where incentive programs are stronger. Meanwhile, as a legacy of the World Equestrian Games, the Kentucky Horse Park is the undisputed finest show facility in North America. Horse show entries are up, which is not the case in most markets. Sport horse trainers are relocating to Central Kentucky, bringing jobs and customers for local businesses.”

Barry Bishop
Region VP

“Windstream will continue its focus on business customers in 2011. With the acquisition of Kentucky Data Link, Windstream expanded its fiber network, allowing faster Internet speeds and enhanced dependability. We are expanding our data center and cloud computing offerings to meet business demands as well as offering a robust suite of advanced communication solutions.”

Dan Tobergte
Northern Kentucky Tri-ED

“We’re priming the pump in Northern Kentucky for target industry employers with two new, stellar educational attributes: the Center for Advanced Manufacturing at the Gateway Community & Technical College, and the NKU College of Informatics Griffin Hall. We’re buoyed about an even stronger 2011 than the solid year we had in Northern Kentucky in 2010.”

Steve Stevens, CCE
Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

“Businesses are more optimistic going into 2011. In our region of Kentucky, more than 90 percent of businesses are budgeting revenue growth and more than 30 percent predict growth greater than 30 percent. This is much stronger than the rest of the country is feeling. We are encouraged by growth in the construction sector due to projects the past year and recent announcement of new projects.”

Bob Quick
President and CEO
Commerce Lexington Inc.

“Signs of growth in 2010 in manufacturing, high-tech, bio-life sciences and healthcare, combined with Central Kentucky’s quality education system and plethora of colleges and universities, lead us to expect 2011 will continue the momentum generated by the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and completion of numerous city projects. A diverse economy and strong workforce continue to bolster our community in tough economic times. Lexington was named among U.S. cities in 2010 for education, families, retirement, quality of life, manufacturing, banking, business and careers, and overall well-being; accolades will continue.”

Michael Tetterton
Creative Lodging Solutions

“Hit hard in 2009 and 2010, the hotel industry experienced a slight improvement the second half of 2010; all our businesses are experiencing a slight increase. Policy decisions in Washington, D.C., have slowed recovery and the economy.”

Vic Staffieri
LG&E and KU Services Co.

“Federal environmental legislation that focused on carbon cap-and-trade in recent years could require major upgrades to LG&E and KU’s coal-fired generating stations over a tight timeframe. We are evaluating cost-effective strategies, but the best options likely will cost our customers an estimated 20 percent increase in customer bills, by 2019. We hope final regulations allow more flexibility to meet environmental needs in a more cost-efficient manner for our consumers.”

Ted Prewitt
Hayden Company Inc.

“Through restructuring and a recommitment to sales, the first and second quarters of 2011 project to be very strong. Opportunities there now require us to work smarter and be more aggressive searching out new customers and finding new ways to service our existing customers.”

Joe Reagan
Greater Louisville Inc.

“2011 will be a pivotal year for Louisville’s economy and the state’s business climate. We’re emerging from recession with major investments by Ford and GE, continued growth in logistics and strengths in the fast-growing aging-care sector. Policies that increase educational attainment and create fiscal reforms to support investment and business growth will develop the skilled workforce and business climate for innovation and entrepreneurship that create sustainable job growth across Kentucky.”

Jim Gray

“A slow economy and stubborn unemployment translate into
significant city government budget shortfalls as my administration begins. Our team is focused on finding efficiencies. We have to leverage resources to drive economic growth and create jobs. Lexington has a wonderful brand as a great place to live, work and retire, and it has a great business climate. I will market our city to investors, get entrepreneurs connected with resources and help existing businesses expand. Our family business survived this downturn with good planning, innovation and doing more with less. The city will do the same and come out of this recession stronger.”

Dr. Gary Ransdell
Western Kentucky University

“Economic conditions in South Central Kentucky are relatively stable. Unemployment in Warren County is slightly below the state average; other counties in the region are at or just above the state average. Education and healthcare continue to be the bellwether sectors.”

Larry Hayes
Cabinet for Economic Development

“Gov. Beshear’s modernization of economic development capabilities through Incentives for a New Kentucky legislation in 2009 greatly enhanced our ability to encourage companies to invest in the  commonwealth. Nearly 70 percent of companies approved through INK
programs have announced plans to make capital investments totaling over $1.3 billion, and retain and create thousands of jobs for Kentuckians. Though our economy continues to struggle, activity levels are increasing, and Kentucky will successfully attract new companies and gain expansions of existing businesses in 2011.”