BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — The Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce recently convened a Strategic Council comprised of key leaders from each economic sector, local government and leading institutions to facilitate economic recovery and growth, post-COVID-19.
This exceptional group is modeled after the Strategic Council that was convened by the chamber several years ago to create the Engaged Strategic Plan, which resulted in an interdependent community economic development plan. Since that plan, the chamber had the good fortune to lead efforts that resulted in consecutive, nation-leading economic successes.
“Given the current economic challenges brought on by COVID-19, the chamber reconstituted an exceptional group of leaders to enhance early recovery efforts as we build a new multi-year plan that will accelerate our economic growth and improve the quality of life in our community,” said Ron Bunch, Chamber president and CEO.
The Strategic Council is comprised of business and local leaders representing business and government sectors. The group is co-chaired by Charles English and John Holland.
Members include: Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon; Spencer Coates, President of Houchens Industries; Mike Buckentin, President of Logan Aluminum; CEO of Fruit of the Loom; Melissa Burgess-Taylor, Mike Sherrod, CEO of TriStar Greenview Regional Hospital; Jon Sanders, SVP/GM of ShopHQ; Kent Murphy, President and Chairman of BOD for Axon Connected; Steve Minns, President of Reinhart Foodservice-Bowling Green (BGN), Todd Davis Owner of DTD Construction; David Chandler, Owner of Chandler Real Estate; Robert Boone, President/CEO of South Central Kentucky Workforce Development Board; Craig Browning, Regional President for US Bank; Buddy Steen, VP Technology for Vaon, LLC; Dr. Tim Caboni, President of Western Kentucky University; Jim Scott, Owner/President of Scotty’s Development Co./Scotty’s Contracting & Stone; Connie Smith, CEO of Med Center Health; Rob Clayton, Superintendent of Warren County Board of Education; John Hughes, Owner of Wendy’s of Bowling Green; Kai Spande, Plant Manager of General Motors’ Bowling Green Assembly Plant; Gary Fields, Superintendent of the Bowling Green Independent School District; Sherry Murphy, Executive Director of the Bowling Green Area Convention & Visitors Bureau; Dr. Phil Neal, President/CEO of Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College; Eric Walker, Commercial Team Leader of US Bank and 2020 Chamber Chairman; and Bruce Wilkerson, Mayor of City of Bowling Green.
“Bowling Green is privileged to have this group of highly-respected business leaders at the table. Their insight is invaluable at every level,” said Wilkerson.
Warren County Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon echoed these sentiments when saying, “The Strategic Council brings together some of the brightest minds to ensure that our community is taking the appropriate steps to prepare for recovery and growth post-COVID-19.”
The council’s mission is to develop an action-oriented strategic plan to expedite and enhance economic recovery in the South Central Kentucky area. Members of the council represent a wide variety of business sectors, demonstrating the interconnectedness of the Bowling Green community.
“This is a team effort where businesses across our top sectors must work together to spur an early recovery and to be able to take advantage of growth opportunities presented by recent changes in the global economy,” said Chamber Chairman Eric Walker of U.S. Bank.
In addition to evaluating growth opportunities, the council has an eye on economic recovery and identifying the resources and policies that are necessary to rebound quickly. Time is of the essence for creating a strategic plan, and the Council has committed to producing one this summer. To do so, they will meet every three weeks from May through August in order to review data and metrics, evaluate opportunities and create action plans to be implemented by the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce and local stakeholders. Once complete, the plan will contain actionable SMART goals that outline what we will do, what it will take to do it and how we will measure the success of each goal.
The council will be supported in its efforts by the Economic Foresight Tactic Team who has been tasked with conducting the deep research necessary to obtain the most accurate and up-to-date data. In addition, the Chamber staff, Camoin 310 (a national economic development consulting firm), and Golden Shovel Agency (a national economic development marketing & communication firm) will be providing additional assistance during the planning and execution phases.
This fiscal year, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce has closed two economic development projects totaling $150.3 million in capital investment and generating 141 new jobs for 2020.