NKY native returns to region from Harvard University
FORT MITCHELL, Ky. (May 22, 2014) – Trey Grayson, a Northern Kentucky native who served two terms as Kentucky Secretary of State before taking a leadership role at Harvard University, his alma mater, has been hired as president of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.
Grayson, 42, is scheduled to start July 1 as president of the region’s largest and most influential business group. Since 2011, he has served as director of the prestigious Harvard University Institute of Politics.
“The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce has been the most important organization in the region,” Grayson said. “It is an honor to lead an organization with a mission to strengthen business and improve our quality of life.”
“This is the perfect job to come home to,” he said.
Grayson succeeds Brent Cooper, president of C-Forward Information Technologies in Covington, who has served as Chamber President on an interim basis since February.
“It was an honor to serve as the Interim President, as well as a search committee member, but I’m looking forward to getting back to C-Forward,” Cooper said. “Trey will bring a fresh outlook and new perspective, growing the Chamber’s rich tradition of business support and advocacy while focusing a new energy on collaboration, entrepreneurship, and moving our region forward. He is everything we were looking for.”
U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, a Lewis County Republican who represents Northern Kentucky in Congress, said the chamber “could not have made a better choice” in Grayson.
“Trey is the perfect person to lead the Chamber of Commerce in advocating for Northern Kentucky businesses both in Frankfort and Washington,” Massie said. “He and I have a great working relationship that will allow us to hit the ground running.”
Grayson served two terms as Kentucky’s Secretary of State from 2004 to 2011, earning a reputation as a national leader in business services and government innovation while maintaining a bipartisan approach in office.
“I am confident that I have the track record of consensus building and organizational leadership necessary for the chamber,” Grayson said. “I have bipartisan respect in Frankfort, and I am known for consensus building and modernizing organizations.
“I look forward to working with businesses and leaders on both sides of the Ohio River,” he said.
The chamber conducted a national search for a new president. More than 100 people applied. Grayson was ultimately selected from a finalist pool of two men and one woman. All three lived outside of Northern Kentucky.
“Throughout this process, Trey Grayson was the name that kept rising to the top,” said incoming chamber chairman Steve Harper of Harper Oil Products.
Karen Finan and Barry Elkus of Gilman Partners conducted the national search for the chamber and assisted in negotiating Grayson’s employment contract.
Grayson brings a background of business involvement and connections to the chamber.
As a tax and business lawyer and as Secretary of State, he represented, and worked closely with, the many small businesses that make up the majority of the chamber’s membership.
Grayson said he is eager to begin the job and connect with the chamber’s business and legislative priorities. He is especially impressed with the region’s entrepreneurial startup1 culture through organizations such as UpTech, the region’s business accelerator, and the Northern Kentucky University College of Informatics.
The technology startup culture, while strong in Boston, is relatively new to Northern Kentucky.
“If I said to my mom and dad that after four years of college I was going to join a startup, they would have worried,” Grayson said. “Now, it’s great to do that. It’s where some of our brightest young minds are heading.
After graduating from Dixie Heights High School in Edgewood, Grayson attended Harvard University, graduating with honors in 1994. He holds a law degree and Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) from the University of Kentucky.
Prior to entering politics, he worked as an attorney with Greenbaum Doll & McDonald and Keating Muething & Klekamp.
Grayson and his wife, Nancy, have maintained their home in Boone County. The couple’s daughters – Alex and Kate – are looking forward to coming home and attending class at Ryle High School and Gray Middle School next year.