Brent Cooper to serve as interim president and CEO
FORT MITCHELL, Ky. — Trey Grayson, who as president and CEO of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce led the organization through a period of unprecedented business advocacy and legislative success, major strides in workforce and economic development, and enhanced membership benefits, announced today that he is leaving the Chamber.
“Over the past few months, I have been talking with the Chamber leadership about my interest in looking at other options and I recently decided that the time is right for me to make a move,” Grayson said.
“Three years ago — after a wonderful stint in Boston — Nancy, the girls and I were looking for a way to get back to spend more time with our family and friends in Northern Kentucky, and fortunately, the Chamber allowed me to do just that.”
Grayson will leave the Chamber on June 9 but will serve the organization in an advisory capacity for the next couple of months.
“We appreciate Trey’s service to the Chamber of Commerce over the past three years and we wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors,” said Bob Heil, president of KLH Engineers and current Chairman of the Board.
The Chamber will conduct a national search to replace Grayson, which is expected to take several months. Brent Cooper, president and CEO of C-Forward, an IT services company, will serve as interim president of Chamber until a replacement is hired.
Cooper served as Chamber chair in 2011-12 and as interim president of the organization when Steve Stevens resigned as president in 2014. Cooper has agreed to take a temporary leave of absence from C-Forward while he serves as interim president of the Chamber.
“Trey has accomplished many great things as the leader of our Chamber and presided over one of the best legislative sessions for Kentucky businesses in recent history,” Cooper said. “I know I speak for the entire Chamber membership and staff as well as the Northern Kentucky community when I say that we are extremely grateful that Trey came back home to lead our organization.”
The Chamber’s Board of Directors and Board of Advisors will hold an appreciation reception in Grayson’s honor on June 9. More details about this reception will be forthcoming.
Under Grayson’s leadership – a Northern Kentucky native who graduated from Dixie Heights High School — the Chamber recorded a number of accomplishments, including:
• Recently filling key leadership positions at the Chamber, including hiring former Fort Thomas Independent Schools Superintendent Gene Kirchner as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.
• Working with officials from Kenton County, the Kentucky General Assembly, and the leadership at the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport to enact reforms and improve air service and airport-related economic development.
• Attaining legislative success in Frankfort, including a pivotal role in enacting outcomes-based funding for post-secondary education, which is expected to provide a major boost for Northern Kentucky University, as well as improving relationships with legislators who represent the region.
Improving the relationship and developing shared agendas regarding transportation infrastructure improvements and other business-related issues with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce.
• Forming the Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Development Coalition to address the skills gap that area employers are face.
• Enhancing membership benefits, including the opportunity to save money through association health plans.
• The continued success and advancement of the Women’s Initiative and other leadership programs.
Prior to joining the Chamber, Grayson served three years as the Director of Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, where he was known as an expert on the political views of millennials and the role of technology in politics and government.
Before working at Harvard, Grayson served two terms as Kentucky’s Secretary of State, the youngest Secretary of State in the country at the time of his election. He led both the Republican Association of Secretaries of States and the National Association of Secretaries of State and was a nationally recognized expert in election administration, government innovation and civic engagement.
Grayson, who is an attorney, received an A.B. in Government from Harvard College in 1994 and a JD/MBA from the University of Kentucky in 1998. Grayson said he has not yet decided on his next career move.
“It’s been great having a job in which I get to work every day at making my community a better place to live, work and play,” he said. “Given all that we need to do to continue making Northern Kentucky a better community, I’d like to conclude my time at the Chamber, as I always concluded my NKY Business Journal column, with ‘Let’s get to work’.”