FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - The man who has headed Kentucky’s premier business advocacy group longer than anyone else will be stepping down later this year.
Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Dave Adkisson will retire in October after 14 years at the helm, it was announced on Thursday.
Under his leadership, the Kentucky Chamber has doubled in size, increased its staff to 40 professionals including a team of staff lobbyists, created the Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center and the Leadership Institute for School Principals, expanded its headquarters in Frankfort and placed a major emphasis on public policy, government relations and improving education.
Among many other accomplishments during Adkisson’s 14 years at the organization, the Kentucky Chamber also became the first state chamber in the country to hire a professional reporter to cover state government news for a business audience and was recognized as the 2017 State Chamber of the Year by the national Council of State Chambers.
Kentucky Chamber Board Chair and LG&E KU Energy President Paul Thompson said Adkisson will be missed.
“His vision and leadership on a broad spectrum of Chamber interests has built today’s strong and vibrant Chamber that has achieved many business community goals and positioned us well for future gains,” he said. “His caring and upstanding qualities have allowed him to be the ideal person to collaborate with all various constituents involved with advancing the commonwealth.”
Adkisson, 65, is a native of Owensboro, where he began his career working for the local chamber of commerce. Later, at age 34, he was elected mayor of Owensboro and re-elected without opposition four years later. He was recruited in 1999 to become president of the Birmingham, Ala., Chamber of Commerce and served five years in that post before returning to Kentucky to head the Chamber.
He has held several statewide leadership posts, including chairman of the Kentucky Advocates for Higher Education and chairman of the Kentucky Center for Public Issues. He was a co-founder of Leadership Kentucky.
He is a graduate of Georgetown College where he currently serves on the board of trustees and holds a master’s degree from Harvard University. He resides in Lexington with his wife Bonnie.