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August 8, 2018 1:10pm

Future growth and success in the region: Business at Breakfast Luncheon

The Bureau of Economic analysis announced impressive statistics on how the economy is growing for our nation last week.  Growth sentiments seem relatively high following those statistics, and business decisions are following suit, but in the middle of the positive fervor emerges an important question:  How well is the Louisville region competing with its peer cities?  And, what can we expect for the future?

On Monday, August 27th, Greater Louisville Inc. (GLI) is proud to host its Business at Breakfast event in which we will hear the reflections of two of Louisville’s most prominent business leaders:  Paul Varga, CEO of Brown-Forman and Ben Breier, CEO of Kindred Healthcare.  Both CEOs and their companies have had to face competitive challenges in their own industry sectors.  As market leaders in their own right, we will hear them share their impressions and viewpoints as they tell the story of their competitiveness, reflect on Louisville’s business environment, and share what Louisville can do to further compete.

In addition to hearing from these leaders, organizers of a capital campaign aimed at expanding Louisville’s economy, Bill Samuels, Jr. and Evelyn Strange, will publicly announce local progress on their effort to raise $7.5 million towards local growth initiatives, named Greater Louisville 2020.

“This Initiative is about taking a proactive approach to growing high quality businesses and jobs in our community. We need to strengthen the business percentage of our tax base and we’ll do that by attracting new businesses to the greater Louisville region, supporting our existing businesses so that they stay and thrive, recruiting new talent to the region in support of those businesses, and continuing our targeted efforts to advocate for a better business environment,” Samuels said.

Greater Louisville 2020 is mid-way through its capital campaign.  Bill Samuels, Jr, chairman of the campaign, said it is crucial that the greater Louisville business community make an investment in the city’s future.

Leading up to the event, organizers have been working hard to secure pledges of financial support.  This is an unprecedented campaign for the local business community. However, the effort is not unheard of from our competitors.  Nashville, Indianapolis, Charlotte, and many other peer cities have all stepped up to raise funds from both the private and public sectors to strategically grow their economies of the future.

GLI plans to use the $7.5 million to:

  • Recruit businesses and create a minimum of 5000 primary jobs resulting in an annual payroll impact of nearly $596 million by 2020;
  • Aggressively work on the recruitment of 38,000 new workforce to the community, resulting in a $2 billion payroll impact (if workforce is employed at a median salary range of $54,000).
  • Expand GLI’s business advocacy locally, statewide in Kentucky and Indiana, and in Washington.  In 2017 and 2018, GLI’s advocacy efforts in Frankfort and Indianapolis had an estimated economic impact of a quarter billion dollars per year on the Greater Louisville region.

According to an independent research study of the economic impact and ripple effect of this plan, the cumulative economic impact of these three initiatives, if successful, is over $5.4 billion of annual impact on the local economy.  That result alone is compelling enough to these campaign volunteers and others to get behind this and persuade other business leaders to both invest and get involved.

Bill Samuels, Jr. is assisted by a talented and energetic group of business leaders who are assisting Greater Louisville 2020.  General Co-Chairs for the campaign include:  C. Edward Glasscock, Chairman Emeritus of Frost Brown Todd; and Evelyn Strange, President of Advanced Electrical Systems.  Industry chairs include:  Mary Ellen Wiederwohl, Chief, Louisville Forward at Metro Louisville Government; Michael Ash, Regional President, Fifth-Third Bank; Steve Cunanan, Chief People Officer, Kindred Healthcare; Condrad Daniels, President of HJI Supply Chain Solutions; and Neville Blakemore, Chairman, Great Northern Building Products, LLC.