Greater Louisville Inc. The Metro Chamber of Commerce
× Greater Louisville Inc. The Metro Chamber of Commerce

GLIDE Takeaways

GLIDE is so much more than a three-day getaway. More than 30 trips have taken Louisville’s leaders across the United States, Canada, and Europe to learn from the best. Here are some the BIG things that have happened thanks to GLIDE.

  • City-County Merger
  • The TIF Financing for projects like the YUM! Center
  • The creation of the Waterfront Development Corporation and the Young Professionals Association of Louisville (YPAL)
  • Supporting the expansion of the Kentucky International Convention Center
  • The completion of the Ohio River Bridges project

That is just a quick list, but there are countless other ideas, businesses, and community initiatives that trace their creation to GLIDE. Here are the top takeaways from 1988-2021.

2021: Indianapolis, Indiana 

Economic Development Structure

  • Public – private partnerships are paramount
  • Streamlined approach will reduce confusion and improve outcomes

Equity & Inclusion

  • Increase minority suppliers
  • Investing in education, technology, and public transportation in underserved areas
  • Impact generational wealth through housing and small businesses


  • The Louisville Medical and Education District (LOUMED) will connect a major corridor of innovation in our city and foster connectivity and collaboration between healthcare, education and science.

2020: West End, Louisville, Kentucky 

  • Access to healthcare for people of color
  • Police and criminal justice reform
  • Closing the wage gap for people of color

2019: San Francisco/Silicon Valley/Sonoma Valley, California


  • Increase Density & Connection
  • “1099s Have Souls”
  • Speed of Education
  • Art & Innovation


  • Get Dirty in the Vineyard
  • Sustainability


2018: Denver, Colorado

Regional Economic Development

  • Streamline the process for Business Attraction
  • Create a unified regional brand
  • Strengthen Regional Economic Development partnerships at the state and local levels
  • Champion an elected officials coalition to promote Economic Development
  • Create a Tech Cluster & Grow it
  • Attract a WeWork to Louisville
  • And Develop & Implement a Regional Transportation Plan

Love of Place: “Topophilia”

  • Brand Louisville’s Regional Assets with a single entity
  • Grow the Bourbon brand throughout the region
  • Advocate for Local Control of Taxes for community projects
  • Develop more WOW! Attractions
  • Promote Louisville’s outdoor assets
  • Focus on projects and amenities that attract the next generation of workers

2017: Nashville, Tennessee

  • Have a plan and stick with it. Embrace the ideas already on the table and fund them to make real change happen
  • What’s our Opryland? Look at what holds Greater Louisville back and try to turn it into an asset
  • Civic furniture. Build it and they will come
  • It’s all about the brand. Louisville must embrace and own its identity to be truly successful in “selling” our city to the world.

2016:  Austin, Texas

  • A cool downtown matters for talent attraction
  • Embrace what makes Louisville, Louisville
  • Celebrate risk-taking and failure in the startup community
  • We must build the future of workforce
  • Universities must become economic engines
  • Direct flights matter

2015:  Portland, Oregon

  • Understand and implement a bi-state regional economic development organization
  • Study an inclusive city that has crafted a successful community branding initiative
  • Understand Portland’s talent attraction efforts and how we can translate those to Louisville

2014:  Charlotte, North Carolina (Joint Leadership Expedition with Commerce Lexington)

  • Understand and utilize creative public/private partnerships to foster business growth
  • Study how collaboration can address our region’s workforce needs
  • Continue collaboration between chambers
  • Continue to strengthen the regional political relationships

2013:  Houston, Texas

  • Study an inclusive U.S. city with amazing job growth
  • Global strength and energy stronghold
  • Provided inspiration, affirmation or ideas for the region’s next big strategy, Advantage Louisville
  • Learn from Texas Medical Center – Houston’s largest employer and one of the best examples of “co- opetition”

2012:  Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

  • Oklahoma City’s transformation into a net talent attractor through the use of a local option sales tax (Metropolitan Area Projects or MAPS) provides proof and inspiration that Louisville can do the same
  • Louisville is not plowing new ground with Local Investments for Transformation (LIFT) – we are playing catch up
  • MAPS clearly made the difference in Oklahoma City’s ability to create and expand jobs, attract talent, improve place and business and Chamber leadership was vital to making MAPS happen
  • Business leaders in Oklahoma City and now in Louisville understand the need to invest in significant capital projects and understand the long term sustainability of key community assets
  • Momentum and commitment from Louisville’s business leadership can propel our LIFT project to success as the same did in Oklahoma City

2011:  Toronto, Canada

  • Festivals and special events with international status can become major community PR machines
  • Making inclusion, philanthropy and social responsibility cultural norms pays off
  • Collaboration between science, business and capital accelerates innovation and amps up the economic and social impact of new ideas and discoveries
  • Art, architecture and design are important economic development and place making tools
  • All these strengths work together to create a hot bed of ideas and innovation

2010:  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (joint Leadership Expedition with Commerce Lexington)

  • Pursue passage of Local Option Sales Tax
  • Strengthen Metro Chamber Coalition
  • Explore Louisville/Lexington Light Rail
  • Investigate creation of Bidwell Centers
  • Promote the horse industry
  • Strengthen Advantage Kentucky Partnership (joint economic development efforts)
  • Continue collaboration between chambers

2009: Indianapolis, Indiana (meeting site only)

  • One Dream® for our 26-county region can transform our thinking and our results: to be the “Idea Capital of the World – Where Imaginations and Individuals Thrive”.

2008: Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul), Minnesota

  • Regional consensus and collaboration make a big difference.
  • Continuous investment in education can transform.
  • Deep investment in the downtown core from private business paid off.
  • Creative financial tools, private foundations and strong corporate leadership bring projects to fruition.

2007: Dublin, Ireland

  • Modern tax code fueled the Celtic Tiger.
  • Heavy, consistent investment in educational attainment paid off.
  • Ireland took an aggressive role in the global economy.
  • Built consensus around a national development plan and exploited social partnerships.

2006: Denver, Colorado

  • Strong downtowns benefit everyone.
  • Major development projects should develop concurrently; Denver works as an “and” city while Louisville operates as an “either/or” city.
  • Explore and implement new financing and revenue generating tools.
  • “Get Everyone in the Game.”
  • Act as one region and collaborate; remove regional rivalry.
  • Stop talking, start doing and accelerate the momentum; “Giddy Up.”

2005: Kansas City, Kansas

  • Multiple financing tools being used to fund downtown development.
  • Simultaneous major projects created momentum.
  • “One downtown” mindset despite geographic distance from Crown Center to river.
  • Kansas City Live! Sprint Center developments recently broke ground.
  • Aggressive leadership and partnership from public and private sectors.

2004: Jacksonville, Florida

  • Better Jacksonville Plan: excellent example of comprehensive community development plan, with an effective funding mechanism.
  • 30 years of experience as a consolidated city/county government.
  • Impressive Quality of Life Index, which Louisville used as a model.

2003: Louisville, Kentucky

  • Harness the momentum and energy created by the successful merger campaign.
  • Coalesce business community around GLI’s strategic plan.
  • Nurture relationships in Frankfort.
  • Distribute GLIDE publications outlining the outcome of previous GLIDE trips.

2002: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

  • Educate the community on progress made downtown; market progress to create a buzz.
  • Research improvements for downtown parking.
  • Facilitate the business community taking a bigger interest in education.
  • Conduct a survey to understand the internal/external perceptions of Louisville to lead a single brand image for promotion.
  • Develop a series of festivals that celebrate the richness of Louisville.

2001: Nashville, Tennessee

  • Build cooperation among GLI, Greater Louisville Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Louisville Central Area, Metro Development Authority, and Sports Commission.
  • Develop Tax Increment Financing.
  • Develop a rallying point around education.
  • Develop a community marketing effort.


  • Assist regional universities in gaining research funding and recruiting top faculty and students.
  • Identify and establish a flagship entertainment district.
  • Encourage the inclusion of minorities and young professionals on community boards and commissions.
  • Proactively grow and develop minority and inner city businesses.
  • Support development of eMain, Shelby Campus and other innovative technology initiatives.
  • Help the region develop a comprehensive telecommunications infrastructure plan.
  • Share technology best practices among companies.
  • Identify and connect with the best and brightest post-secondary students.
  • Establish contact with Louisville alumni and link them to career opportunities.
  • Promote Greater Louisville success stories.
  • Create an elevator story on Greater Louisville.

1999: Portland, Oregon

  • Regional outreach.
  • Support for light rail development.
  • Support for downtown housing.
  • Furthered the discussions to create the Young Professionals Association of Louisville (YPAL).
  • Continued support for waterfront development.
  • Continued push for merged government.

1998: Birmingham, Alabama

  • Creation of the Greater Louisville Sports Commission.
  • Downtown medical center.
  • Minority business development.
  • Need for local government and regional cooperation.

1997: Memphis, Tennessee

  • Market-rate housing in the city core.
  • Development of speculative buildings to support logistics.

1996: Cleveland, Ohio

  • Broadened support for waterfront tourism attractions and Brownfield development.
  • Coordinated capital investment strategy.
  • Support for light rail and downtown housing.

1995: Kansas City, Missouri

  • Development of more entrepreneurial programs; led to the creation of the EnterpriseCorp.
  • Broadened support for the Convention Center expansion.

1994: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Focus on technology and international activities.
  • Prioritizing of capital projects.

1993: Columbus, Ohio

  • Focus on research and business in advanced technology.
  • Orienting Sister Cities activities to economic development.

1992: Nashville, Tennessee

  • Pledges to form local venture capital funds.
  • Beginning of discussions to develop an entrepreneurial culture in Louisville.
  • Community branding dialogue.

1991:  Charlotte, North Carolina

  • The Louisville Housing Partnership, a public/private venture to develop affordable housing.
  • Cornerstone 2020 comprehensive land use plan.

1990: St. Louis, Missouri

  • West Main Street Cultural District.
  • Eventual formation of the Louisville Medical Center Development Corporation.

1989: Cincinnati, Ohio

  • Broadened support for waterfront development and downtown tourism attractions.
  • Catalyst for the Convention Center expansion.

1988: Indianapolis, Indiana

    • Louisville/Jefferson County Sports Attraction Committee.
    • Groundwork laid for the Goals for Greater Louisville project.
    • Downtown Development Corporation.