Fourth Annual Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

  • By creekmoremarketing
  • 31 Jul, 2015

George Fischer, Carol Martin “Bill” Gatton, Billy Harper and the late R. J. Corman to be honored November 20, 2013 in Louisville, KY.  

Lexington, KY – November 8, 2013   – George Fischer, Carol Martin “Bill” Gatton, Billy Harper and the late R. J. Corman will be inducted into the Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Wednesday, November 20, 2013, at 6 p.m. at the Ice House, 226 East Washington Street in Louisville.

The Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame celebrates the stories of Kentucky’s most successful entrepreneurs. The mission is to raise awareness of the impact that entrepreneurship has made in the Commonwealth and to encourage others to pursue similar ambitious endeavors.

Tickets for the Fourth Annual Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony are available for $75 per person; reservations are required. Sponsorships are also available. To reserve a seat or for information about sponsorship opportunities, please visit .

Details about the inductees for the fourth annual event:

George Fischer   – After several successful years at IBM, Fischer was a founder of MetriData Company Inc., a leader in the field of proprietary education when it was sold to Sun Oil in 1979. Fischer and his sons went on to launch Servend International Inc. in 1980, which became the number one manufacturer of ice and beverage dispensing systems nationally and internationally.  In that same year, he became secretary of Governor John Y. Brown, Jr.’s Executive Cabinet. Fischer has shared his talents as a mentor and investor for many new startups, and is former chair of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees and Junior Achievement. Dr. Fischer received an Honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from Spalding University and was elected   “Louisvillian of the Year”   in 2012.

Richard J. Corman –   A “larger than life” native of Nicholasville, Kentucky, Corman began his remarkable career in 1973 working in railroad construction with a single backhoe. Within 20 years, he had developed several companies into what is today one of the nation’s leading railroad service providers. Headquartered in Nicholasville, there are several R. J. Corman divisions employing approximately 1,200 people across 23 other states as far west as Arizona and Montana. Principle operating companies include shortline railroads; R.J. Corman provides track material distribution, track construction, industrial switching, and emergency derailment and natural disaster response services. Leaving a legacy of great integrity and kindness, one senior editor of   Fortune Magazine described Mr. Corman as   “the most unforgettable character I’ve ever met in my more than a half-century at Fortune.”

Billy Harper –   Harper, founder of Harper Industries, has more than 40 years of executive leadership experience in construction. Harper has structured a strong and diverse company poised for long-term growth. Harper’s passion for giving back to the community has led him to serve on both state and national boards for the Council of Economic Education, Associated General Contractors, and the Governor’s Scholars Program. He has been Chair of Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, served on the Kentucky State School Board of Education and is chairman and a founding member of The Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky. Harper also has been inducted into the   UK Engineering Hall of Distinction .

Carol Martin “Bill” Gatton   – Gatton worked for a trust company in Lexington until he started a successful Volkswagen dealership in Owensboro in 1959. In 1975, he and four of his friends purchased the Owensboro National Bank and formed a holding company, which grew from a single bank with $100 million in assets to 17 banks with $3 billion in assets by the time it was sold to BB&T in 2001. Gatton served as Chairman for nearly 20 years.  He has owned and operated as many as twelve automobile dealerships in Tennessee, Texas and Alabama, and has owned substantial farm land in Fayette County and in Tennessee. Harper is the recipient of numerous awards and is a Trustee of UK. He founded the Bill Gatton Foundation in 1985, which contributes substantial sums to support the UK Gatton College of Business and Economics and the Gatton Academy of Math & Science at WKU and   many other charitable and educational organizations .


The four 2013 inductees will join the three former classes:

2010 Inductees :

Ralph G. Anderson

Governor John Y. Brown Jr.

Pearse Lyons

Davis Marksbury

Warren Rosenthal

John Schnatter

Lee Todd

William T. Young Sr.


2011 Inductees:

Dana Bowers,

David Jones Sr.

Wendell Cherry

Kent Taylor

Bill Samuels Jr.


2012 Inductees:

Ron Geary

Bruce Lunsford

Terry Forcht


The idea to establish the Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame originated in 2010 at Awesome, Inc., which partnered with Sustainable Business Ventures Corporation to host the inaugural induction ceremony on November 16, 2010, in Lexington.

Sponsors of this year’s event include Lunsford Capital; Delta Dental, Marksbury Family Foundation; Forcht Group; Jim Host; Robert Schneider/Morgan Stanley; UK MBA Program; U of L College of Business; Kent Oyler, Kentucky Science &Technology Corp; Hanna Resource Group; Rick Kueber/Sun Tan City; OPM Services; York Management; Kentucky Small Business Development Centers; and Kauffman Foundation’s Global Entrepreneur Week.

Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame 2013 inductee photos are available upon request. The Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame web site is .

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By Robbi Meisel 04 May, 2017

LEXINGTON, Ky., (May 4, 2017) - Kentucky’s small businesses were celebrated recently in the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort during Kentucky Celebrates Small Business. The Kentucky Small Business Development Center and the Kentucky District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration presented the awards ceremony.

Acknowledging the importance of National Small Business Week in the state, Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton recognized the contributions that Kentucky’s small businesses and entrepreneurs make to the state.

“Small business is the backbone of the American economy,” Hampton said. “As you’ve seen over the last several months, Kentucky is experiencing an unparalleled renaissance of economic growth, and it’s only going to continue as we nurture a climate for small business to thrive.”

WLEX-18 chief meteorologist Bill Meck served as emcee, and Connie Meck, from the Sign Language Network of Kentucky, provided interpretation for the event.

The Kentucky Small Business Development Center presented Kentucky Pacesetter awards to 10 businesses. The winners were chosen based on how they are changing Kentucky’s economic landscape by introducing innovative products, increasing sales and/or production, boosting employment and serving their communities.

This year’s Kentucky Pacesetters are Bluegrass Electrical Consultants Inc., Burlington; Doc Lane’s Veterinary Pharmacy LLC, Lexington; Imperial Fisheries LLC, Middlesboro; Limestone Branch Distillery, Lebanon; Oscarware Inc., Bonnieville; The Miller House Restaurant, Owensboro; Two Rivers Fisheries Inc., Wickliffe; Universal Compressor Solutions LLC, Mayfield; Verbal Behavior Consulting Inc., Lexington and Victory CNC Plasma, Owensboro.

“Kentucky has so many outstanding small businesses and entrepreneurs offering amazing products and services. They are critical to Kentucky’s economy and quality of life. We cannot thank them enough or celebrate them enough, but it’s great to try,” said Becky Naugle, KSBDC state director.

The U.S. Small Business Administration has recognized outstanding small businesses each year since 1963. The Small Business Person of the Year winner from each state was acknowledged at both regional and national levels. The 2017 Kentucky Small Business Person of the Year is Debra Dudley, co-founder and president of Oscarware Inc. in Bonnieville. She is also the runner-up U.S. National Small Business Person of the Year.

“I’m so happy, so grateful for this honor,” Dudley said. “It’s not an award I’m just going to put on my desk. To me it’s a reward for the hard work we’ve done in the 28 years we’ve been in business.”

The 2017 Kentucky Small Business Administration award winners are:

Kentucky Small Business Media Advocate of the Year: Tim Preston, editor of Grayson Journal-Enquirer and Olive Hill Times, Grayson.

Kentucky Financial Services Advocate of the Year: Robert Brandon Feltner, business banking officer at Citizens Bank of Kentucky, Prestonsburg.

Kentucky Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year: El Kentubano LLC, Frankfort. Luis David Fuentes is the owner and publisher.

Kentucky Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year: Land Shark Shredding LLC, Bowling Green. Don Gerard is the president and CEO.

Kentucky Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year: Puzzles Academy and Puzzles Fun Dome, Louisville. Kimberly Stevenson is the president.

Kentucky Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Josh Barrett, owner and operator of Josh Barrett and Associates, Richmond.

“All of us owe a deep debt of gratitude to the entrepreneurs of Kentucky who do so much to make our Commonwealth a prosperous and happy place,” said Ralph Ross, district director of the Kentucky office of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The Kentucky Small Business Development Center, part of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, is a network of 12 offices located throughout the state. The center helps existing and start-up businesses succeed by offering high quality, in-depth and hands-on services. KSBDC is a partner program with the U.S. Small Business Administration. More information on KSBDC services can be found on their website, .


Writer: Roberta Meisel, 859-257-0104


UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, through its land-grant mission, reaches across the commonwealth with teaching, research and extension to enhance the lives of Kentuckians.

By Robbi Meisel 21 Mar, 2017
WASHINGTON – Kentucky businesses and residents affected by severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, winds and hail from Feb. 28 through March 1, 2017 can apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration, SBA Administrator Linda E. McMahon announced today.

McMahon made the loans available in response to a letter on March 16 from Michael E. Dossett, Authorized Representative of Gov. Matthew Bevin, requesting a disaster declaration by the SBA. The declaration covers Estill County and the adjacent counties of Clark, Jackson, Lee, Madison and Powell in Kentucky.

“The SBA is strongly committed to providing the people of Kentucky with the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist businesses of all sizes, homeowners and renters with federal disaster loans,” said McMahon. “Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA.”

SBA’s customer service representatives will be available at the Disaster Loan Outreach Center to answer questions about the disaster loan program and help individuals complete their applications.

The Center is located in the following community and is open as indicated:
Estill County
Estill Development Alliance
177 Broadway Street
Irvine, Kentucky 40336

Opening: Thursday, March 23
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Days: Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday, March 25, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Closed: Sunday, March 26
Closing: Thursday, March 30, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Businesses and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes. Eligible mitigation improvements may now include a safe room or storm shelter to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.

Interest rates are as low as 3.15 percent for businesses, 2.5 percent for nonprofit organizations, and 1.875 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amount and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at .

Businesses and individuals may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by emailing Loan applications can also be downloaded at . Completed applications should be returned to the center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

The filing deadline to submit applications for physical property damage is May 19, 2017 . The deadline for economic injury applications is Dec. 20, 2017.

For more information about the SBA’s Disaster Loan Program, visit their website at .
By Robbi Meisel 27 Feb, 2017

LEXINGTON, Ky., (Feb. 14, 2017) – Kentucky Small Business Development Center is seeking nominations for the 2017 Pacesetter Awards. The recognition program was created to honor high performing, second-stage businesses that are changing Kentucky’s economic landscape. The deadline to submit nominations is March 15.

KSBDC encourages small businesses that meet the following minimum qualifications to apply:

         ·  Privately held

         · In business for three or more years

         · Employ six or more full-time employees, including the owner

         ·  Annual sales meet or exceed $500,000

         · Located and headquartered in Kentucky

         ·Demonstrate the intent and capacity to grow evidenced by the judging criteria.

Pacesetters will be selected based on two or more of the following criteria:

         · Growth in the number of employees

         ·Increase in sales and/or unit volume

         · Innovativeness of the product or service

         ·Response to adversity

         ·Employee engagement and commitment

         ·Contributions by the nominee to aid community-oriented projects

Pacesetters will be recognized at the Kentucky Celebrates Small Business event held at the Capitol rotunda in Frankfort during the first week of May. Each honoree will receive an award inscribed with the business’s name and a promotional video for their own use that highlights the business. In addition, KSBDC will send a customized press release announcing the award to local media and trade associations. Honorees are given the rights to use the Kentucky Pacesetter logo and event photographs in promoting their business.

Anyone may submit nominations, including third parties associated with an eligible second-stage business. A business may self-nominate by completing the required form. Winners will be notified by March 27. Full nomination requirements and the application are online at .

The Kentucky Small Business Development Center, part of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, is a network of 12 offices located throughout the state. The center helps existing and start-up businesses succeed by offering high quality, in-depth and hands-on services. KSBDC is a partner program with the U.S. Small Business Administration. More information on KSBDC services can be found on their website, .


Writer: Roberta Meisel, 859-257-0104


UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, through its land-grant mission, reaches across the commonwealth with teaching, research and extension to enhance the lives of Kentuckians.




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