LEXINGTON, Ky. (JANUARY 25, 2018) – Business and civic leader Jim Host, a pioneer in sports marketing as well as project leader for construction of Rupp Arena in the 1970s, received the Lifetime Achievement Award tonight at the 2018 Commerce Lexington Inc. Annual Dinner before an audience of more than 1,000 business professionals, community and regional leaders, and elected officials.
Host received a sustained standing ovation in recognition of his more than 50 years of successful involvement in projects and work that impacted Lexington, the state and college sports across the nation.
In addition to bestowing other awards, the event at Lexington Center gave a look back at 2017, highlighted some of the key goals of the organization, and recognized Commerce Lexington’s most involved members, volunteers, and community leaders. Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance was presenting sponsor of this year’s dinner.
“Commerce Lexington is a very supportive organization, both for business and for our community,” Commerce Lexington Inc.’s 2018 Board Chair Karen Hill, COO and Chief Nursing Officer for Baptist Health Lexington, said. “But it takes much more than just one organization to achieve economic success. Everyone contributes to economic development in some way and impacts our ability to recruit and retain business and industry, creating good-paying jobs and increased family income, which ultimately is spent throughout our community and supports local businesses. This economic ‘ripple effect’ plays out across our community and beyond each day.”
During the Annual Dinner, several awards were presented to recognize outstanding community leaders and volunteers. A list of award recipients follows.
Ambassador of the Year: Mark Wiemer, WesBanco
Commerce Lexington’s Ambassador Committee is a key connection between the staff and the member businesses, ensuring that they are getting the most out their membership. Mark Wiemer has gone above and beyond, as he takes the time to personally visit with members and help them engage. He regularly attends ribbon cuttings and is an all-around quality representative of Commerce Lexington Inc.
Volunteer of the Year: Dave Sevigny, Volta Inc.
Dave Sevigny has been involved in Commerce Lexington’s Business Owners Advisory Boards, known as BOAB, since 2002, and has served as chair of the program since 2008. BOAB groups act as a board of directors for business owners, assisting in problem-solving through discussion with members of the group. He has been a strong advocate for this initiative for many years, always eager to speak about the program and help members get connected to the right group.
Public Policy Advocate of the Year: UK President Dr. Eli Capilouto, Mayor Jim Gray & Darby Turner
The Public Policy Advocate of the Year Award honors individuals and organizations that have made a lasting impact on public policy in a priority area for the business community. One policy challenge for economic development has been available land in order to continue to attract businesses. Through the leadership of Darby Turner, Mayor Jim Gray, and representatives of the University of Kentucky, the community came together in support of a land exchange between the city and university that benefitted everyone.
Leadership Lexington Distinguished Leader: Steven Stadler, Fayette County Attorney’s Office
Steven Stadler was instrumental in his group project that helped engage Lexingtonians in the On The Table community-wide conversations in partnership with the Blue Grass Community Foundation and Imagine Lexington. The group recruited people to participate, raised funds, organized a kickoff event at Keeneland with nearly 300 people, and was part of subsequent conversations throughout the city.
Leadership Lexington Youth Program Distinguished Leader: Zion Walker, Carter G. Woodson Academy
The Leadership Lexington Youth Distinguished Leader Award recognizes the class member who demonstrates strong principles and dedication to the concept of community service. Zion Walker is a senior and student body president at Carter G. Woodson Academy. He is a member of the Black Men Working (BMW) Academy and plays in the Henry Clay marching band. He enjoys studying cardiology and mentoring others in his free time. He plans to attend Hampton University as a Biology Pre-Med major and will work toward becoming a pediatric cardiologist.
W.T. Young Lifetime Achievement: Jim Host
Jim Host has had a profound impact on Lexington and the Commonwealth of Kentucky over his lifetime as a successful businessman, committed public servant and visionary leader. Mr. Host served as Chairman of the Board for the Greater Lexington Chamber of Commerce in 1984, a year that saw strong growth and visibility for the organization. He has received numerous distinguished honors and awards, and today serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) Initiative.