Business community, regional leaders gather for Commerce Lexington Inc. Annual Dinner

(Lexington, KY) – More than 1,000 business professionals, community and regional leaders, and elected officials attended the 2017 Commerce Lexington Inc. Annual Dinner presented by Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance at Lexington Center on Thursday, January 26.  This event gave a look back at 2016, highlighted some of the key goals of the organization, and recognized Commerce Lexington’s most involved members, volunteers, and community leaders.

Commerce Lexington Inc.’s 2017 Board Chair Carla Blanton, owner of Carla Blanton Consulting, said, “I am excited to serve as Chair of the Commerce Lexington Inc. Board of Directors this year.  The organization’s key focus areas have always included education and workforce development at the top.”

“We know that the possibilities for our future lie with our children in our schools,” added Blanton.  “The strength of our community, our workforce and our economy has always been driven by how well we educate our youth.  Ensuring that ALL kids learn at a high level and providing them with the resources necessary for success should always be among our community priorities.”

During the Annual Dinner, several awards were presented to recognize outstanding community leaders and volunteers, such as the Commerce Lexington Inc. Ambassador of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Leadership Lexington Adult and Youth Distinguished Leaders, and the Public Policy Advocate of the Year.

Ambassador of the Year Award
Todd Sallee, Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance
Commerce Lexington’s Ambassador Committee is a key connection between the staff and the member businesses, ensuring that they are getting the most out their membership.  Todd Sallee works tirelessly to ensure that our members understand Commerce Lexington and how to best utilize their benefits. He also serves as a mentor to fellow ambassadors who are learning the ropes of the committee.

Volunteer of the Year Award
Billy Lanter, Unified Trust Co.
Billy Lanter has served on the Leadership Lexington Youth Steering Committee since 2013 and currently serves as its chair.  He has gone above and beyond in helping prepare youth program events, meetings, and the class selection process. He takes his role as steering committee chair very seriously, constantly looking for ways to improve the program and streamline the selection process.

Public Policy Advocate of the Year Award
Advocates of the Lexington Convention Center Project
Lexington Center Corp. Board of Directors, VisitLEX, and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray
Although there were several entities involved in the process, this year’s Public Policy Advocate of the Year Award specifically recognizes representatives of the Lexington Center Corporation board of directors, VisitLEX, and the Mayor’s Office, who saw the importance and value of this project, led the way in building support and advocating for it, and worked with Governor Bevin to figure out a way to make it a reality.  Representing the Lexington Center board were board chairman Brent Rice, treasurer Craig Turner, and president & CEO Bill Owen, along with VisitLEX President Mary Quinn Ramer, president and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray.

Leadership Lexington Distinguished Leader Award
Melissa Moore Murphy, LFUCG Law Department
Melissa Moore Murphy helped lead a Leadership Lexington class project entitled “100 Hands for Douglass Park,” which is working to revitalize one of Lexington’s most historic parks, making it safer and more appealing for children, parents, and members of the community. Members of the group collaborated with Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government’s Division of Parks and Recreation, Division of Police, the Arbor Grove Homeowners Association, and the Georgetown Neighborhood Association to improve the park’s equipment, amenities and community center.

Leadership Lexington Youth Program Distinguished Leader Award
Josephine Wendroth, Lafayette High School
The Leadership Lexington Youth Distinguished Leader Award recognizes the class member who demonstrates strong principles and dedication to the concept of community service.  A senior in Lafayette High School’s pre-engineering program, Josephine Wendroth is musically talented, has given back to her community and church, and has worked hard to enhance her leadership skills.

2017 COMMERCE LEXINGTON INC.
ANNUAL DINNER , Thursday Jan. 26, 2017 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Mark Mahan