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State business leaders discuss future at Ky. Chamber Business Summit

How to Future-Proof Kentucky

In the opening keynote address Thursday at the Kentucky Chamber Business Summit, Global Futurist Jack Uldrich discussed how to future-proof Kentucky against top trends that will be on the horizon in the coming years.

In his presentation, Uldrich highlighted some of the main technologies that have been seen in recent years such as self-driving and more fuel efficient vehicles, virtual reality, wearable technologies like Fitbits, 3D printers, and even the internet—which Uldrich pointed out is only 8,000 days old.

Uldrich encouraged the business crowd to remain open-minded when it comes to new technologies. As an example, Uldrich played a clip of naysayers who did not believe the iPhone was a smart technology and said it would not appeal to business people because it did not have a keyboard.

The global futurist used the iPhone example to encourage Kentucky business leaders to take time to consider new and bold ideas in order to remain competitive.

“If you don’t have time to think about the future of Kentucky, who else does?” Uldrich asked.

Future of Logistics in Kentucky

With Kentucky being home to several logistics company, the second session of the day was a discussion surrounding the future of logistics with Kentucky Chamber Board member Rusty Cheuvront, vice president of Brown-Forman Corp., interviewing Brendan Canavan, president of UPS Airlines.

Capozzoli told the audience that 95 percent of the world’s consumers are outside of the United States, but only 1 percent of companies within the United States export. He noted that UPS is still growing in Kentucky, and planning on tripling the size of its facility in the state and getting new planes to make deliveries.

Discussing the political environment in Kentucky and how it has helped the industry, Capozzoli thanked House Speaker Jeff Hoover for the creation of the new infrastructure working group, as it is a top concern of UPS and noted that tax reform could create a competitive edge for business, especially if the inventory tax was repealed. Moving to federal policies, Capozzoli said that at the end of the day, regardless of political rhetoric, trade is good for business and is beneficial to many Kentucky industries.

Capozzoli said that businesses must invest to grow and through their investments in Kentucky, they now employ 22,000 people and have made available training for all levels to ensure the workforce is prepared. He told the crowd that the state must get creative in looking at workforce recruitment in order to adapt to the market.

For more state government news go to the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce’s The Bottom Line blog.