Kentucky Wesleyan’s Becca McQueen Graduates with Emerge Owensboro Class

By Candance Brake | Posted: Sunday, May 24, 2015 12:00 am

May is a month of graduations. The Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corporation hosted a graduation ceremony this month, which was sponsored by Western Kentucky University-Owensboro and the Western Kentucky University MBA Program.

Twenty-four emerging community leaders spent the past school-calendar year learning about the inner workings of Greater Owensboro and identifying challenges and opportunities for our community to improve. Emerge Owensboro class participants were charged with class projects which involved identifying a pressing need in the community and crafting a solution.

In the past, there has usually been a mix of areas that class participants identify as issues. This year, every group developed plans and solutions to address our community’s lack of workforce development and talent development/recruitment programs.

On a concurrent track, our staff and board meet regularly with cross sections of the Chamber membership. Workforce issues are discussed at every meeting.  Many our members who are major employers go as far as forecasting very dire workforce shortages in the next five to seven years.

What do we do and who is responsible? The Emerge class’s answer was clear. Group after group proposed that collaborations between colleges, employers, school systems, the Chamber and EDC were key to moving in the right direction.

It is clear that we have work to do. Emerge class, thank you for reminding us of the urgency. You have a great insight and the energy to make things happen here. I hope you continue to find ways to contribute and to push for these community reforms.

Emerge Class of 2015

Beth Benjamin, Owensboro Public Schools

Susan Lynn Colbert, Daviess County Public Schools

Jamie Wright, Kentucky Farm Bureau

Candice Cross, Hampton Inn Owensboro – South

Lacey Cunningham, Regional Water Resource Agency

Kevin Dorth, Western Kentucky University

Corey Gant, Owensboro Fire Department/Owensboro YMCA

Lonnie Gentry, First Security Bank, Inc.

Brandon Gilles, Farm Credit Mid-America

Ben Hartz, Hartz Contracting, LLC

Faith Holley, RiverPark Center

Andrew Howard, Independence Bank

Jessica Kirk, Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce

Nicholas Knott, Domtar

Mark McAnulty Kahn, Dees, Donovan & Kahn, LLP

Leslie McCarty, Daviess County Public Library

Austin McLimore, Owensboro Municipal Utilities

Becca McQueen, Kentucky Wesleyan College

Jason Niehaus, South Central Bank

Wes Roberts, Assured Neace Lukens

Nikki Wimpelberg, Owensboro Community and Technical College

Barry Smith, Daviess County Sheriff’s Department

John Walker, Owensboro Family Health Care

Larry Wheatley, Blue Star Consultants

Courtesy Messenger-Inquirer