Elizabethtown Metropolitan Statistical Area Continues to Receive National Acclaim with New Economic Growth Rankings

MSA Ranked 5th Out of the Top 20 Southern Cities for Economic and Job Growth; Counties’ Cities Show Continued Population Growth

Elizabethtown, Kentucky (June 29, 2012) – Hardin County United (HCU) today praised the findings of a national survey which was recently conducted by Area Development magazine, one of the nation’s most respected industrial site selection and economic development publications. Area Development has ranked all 365 U.S. metros in terms of economic and job growth for 2012.  Here is how the Elizabethtown MSA (which includes all of Hardin and Larue counties) fared in various categories:

  • Ranked 5th out of the Top 20 Southern Cities for economic and job growth (Lafayette, LA was first; Tuscaloosa, AL was 20th)
  • Ranked 7th out of the Top 25 Small Cities for “Recession Busting” Factors (Bismarck, ND was first; Battle Creek, MI was 25th)
  • Ranked 9th out of the Top 25 Small Cities for Prime Workforce Growth (Ithaca, NY was first; Alexandria, LA was 25th)
  • Ranked 17th out of the Top 50 Small Cities for economic and job growth (Columbus, IN was first; Hattiesburg, MS was 50th)
  • Ranked 21st out of the Top 25 Small Cities for Economic Strength Factors (Midland, TX was first; Fairbanks, AK was 25th)
  • Ranked 45th out of 365 metros for economic and job growth (Columbus, IN was first; Dalton, GA was last)

The MSA’s ranking of 45th out of 365 metros puts the Elizabethtown MSA in the Top 15% of all metros in terms of economic and job growth.

“Once again, the Elizabethtown MSA is setting a strong pace for the rest of the Commonwealth,” said Hardin County Judge/Executive Harry L. Berry, who also serves as the Chairperson of Hardin County United’s Steering Committee. “Although the Owensboro MSA ranked a little higher (and we congratulate our neighbors to the West), the Area Development survey is consistent with other top-tier rankings that the Elizabethtown MSA has received during the past three years,” said Berry.

Here is how all Kentucky MSAs performed (out of 365 metros):

Elizabethtown MSA Ranking Hardin County Growth

“It is also interesting to note that the Elizabethtown MSA ranked higher than virtually all of its peer military metro markets (such as Fayetteville/Fort Bragg, Columbus/Fort Benning, Killeen/Fort Hood, Savannah – Hinesville/Fort Stewart, Lawton/Fort Sill, etc.),” said Luke B. Schmidt, President of L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC and consultant to Hardin County United. “In spite of a sluggish national economy, this market continues to amaze us in terms of its sustained growth and national rankings. Once again, we feel that this current environment makes a strong case for developing a plan for unified government by creating the Unification Review Commission. There is a real opportunity to unlock Hardin County’s full potential by creating the Commission,” said Schmidt.

On a related note, U.S. Census Bureau estimates for city populations were recently released. Hardin County’s cities continue to grow as shown in the chart which follows:

Elizabethtown surpassed Henderson’s population of 28,853 to move up and become Kentucky’s 10th largest city.

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Hardin County United (HCU) was established for the purpose of examining the various strategic goals which were established by the Hardin County Vision Project in 2010. The intent of HCU is to prioritize the goals and to develop implementation strategies. HCU’s leadership team includes Hardin County Judge/Executive Harry Berry who chairs the Steering Committee; Hardin County Chamber of Commerce President Brad Richardson, who chairs the Community Development Subcommittee; North Central Education Foundation President/CEO Al Rider, who chairs the Education Subcommittee; and Hardin Circuit Court Judge Ken Howard who chairs the Governance Subcommittee. Luke Schmidt, President of L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC, provides management and consulting services to HCU.

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Press Release: Elizabethtown MSA Ranks # 1 in Personal Income Growth

MSA Ranks First Among 366 Metros

Elizabethtown Metropolitan Statistical Area Hardin County Larue County KentuckyElizabethtown, Kentucky (August 9, 2011) – Hardin County United (HCU) today acknowledged the outstanding first place ranking of the Elizabethtown Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in personal income growth during the year 2010.

The Elizabethtown MSA includes Hardin and LaRue counties.

The Elizabethtown MSA ranked first in income growth out of 366 metros throughout the United States, according to a study released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Last year, personal income grew by 10.1%. The Elizabethtown MSA was the only MSA to achieve double digit growth in 2010. This first place ranking builds upon solid economic growth in the MSA, including last year’s fourth place finish among all metros. Recently, the MSA has achieved the following positive rankings:

  • First MSA in Kentucky to move from recession to recovery (Source: Moody’s Analytics)
  • MSA led all Kentucky MSAs in job growth 2010 – 20112 (Source: Moody’s Analytics)
  • MSA ranked 16th nationally for job growth – 20113 (Source: New Geography 2011 Best Cities for Job Growth report)
  • MSA return to 2008 peak employment is expected in 20114 (Source: Governing Magazine)

“This is great news,” said Hardin County Judge Executive Harry L. Berry.  “This ranking confirms what we have known all along, and that is that this area is on a roll.  Hardin County continues to reap the benefits of base realignment at Fort Knox and our citizens are fortunate to have job opportunities that are not necessarily available in other areas.”

Since 2008, personal income in the MSA has grown from $3.895 billion to $4.388 billion in 2010, an astounding 12.7%.  The Elizabethtown MSA was the only Kentucky MSA to crack the Top 10 in 2010, which includes the communities shown in the following chart:

Elizabethtown MSA Ranks #1 in USA Personal Income Growth

“The number one ranking shall serve to shine an additional spotlight on Hardin County,” said Luke B. Schmidt, consultant to HCU.  “This is a game changer.  Rankings such as this one and the other positive trends shall assist in developing new business opportunities and will create new jobs, and it illustrates the power of this market as it considers such things as unified government.”

HCU is currently leading an initiative to unify Hardin County Government with each of the six cities located in the county by calling for the appointment of a Unification Review Commission.

The complete BEA report can be accessed by clicking on the following link:

http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/regional/mpi/2011/mpi0811.htm

Hardin County United (HCU) was established for the purpose of examining the various strategic goals which were established by the Hardin County Vision Project in 2010.  The intent of HCU is to prioritize the goals and to develop implementation strategies.  HCU’s leadership team includes Hardin County Judge/Executive Harry Berry who chairs the Steering Committee; One Knox Executive Director Brad Richardson, who chairs the Community Development Subcommittee; North Central Education Foundation President/CEO Al Rider, who chairs the Education Subcommittee; and Hardin Circuit Court Judge Ken Howard who chairs the Governance Subcommittee.  Luke Schmidt, President of L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC, provides management and consulting services to HCU.

Press Release: Hardin County United Launches Unified Government Initiative

Effort Will Create Kentucky’s Third Largest Community, New Clout in Frankfort and Washington, and Streamline Government;

HCU to Request the Appointment of a Unification Review Commission

Elizabethtown, Kentucky (July 29, 2011) – Hardin County United (HCU) today launched an initiative to develop unified government in Hardin County by announcing the findings of its year-long examination of the issue.

During the past year, HCU commissioned a study of unified government which was conducted by Louisville-based consulting firm, L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC. HCU’s Governance Subcommittee, chaired by Hardin Circuit Court Judge Ken Howard, conducted community leadership meetings with groups representing law enforcement, fire protection, Fort Knox, state elected officials and federal elected officials. HCU also received presentations from former Louisville Metro Mayor Jerry Abramson and former Lexington-Fayette Urban County Mayor Foster Pettit on the issue of government unification.

Upon review of the issue, both HCU’s Governance Subcommittee and Steering Committee reached consensus and agreed that Hardin County would be well served with unified government, citing the following benefits:

  1. The ability for the community to speak with one voice and more efficiently target grants and appropriations which will benefit the entire community while improving the community’s standing and stature in Frankfort and Washington, D.C.,
  2. The attainment of a new level of clout that will assist the entire community with economic development, the creation of new jobs and which will create Kentucky’s third largest community,
  3. Streamlined government which will result in the more efficient delivery of government services to all citizens, and,
  4. The achievement of economies of scale which will result in the more efficient use of public resources (tax dollars)

“Hardin County is fortunate to have good local government in place,” said Ken Howard. “The real opportunity here is to take local government to the next level, to capitalize on the growth opportunities presented by base realignment and ongoing Army restructuring at Fort Knox and the Glendale mega site.”

“Unified government won’t necessarily save money, but what it will do is organize government more efficiently and eliminate duplication of effort,” said Howard. “Our research indicates that the rate of growth in the cost of public services has been shown to be reduced in unified governments, thereby reducing the need for frequent tax increases.”

The Hardin County Unified Government Study examined Hardin County’s existing local government structure along with five communities in Georgia and Kentucky that have been through the unification process. Some of the key findings from the Study include:

  • Hardin County, a community of 105,000 people, is governed by 94 government jurisdictions, county and municipal departments, utilities, boards and commissions
    • (By comparison, In the case of Columbus and Muscogee County, Georgia prior to unification, the community was governed by 44 jurisdictions and departments; with unification, that number was reduced to nine primary departments)
  • Significant duplication exists between County government and the six municipal governments in terms of workers and budgets
  • In spite of the fragmented manner in which the community has developed, a significant urban core has emerged in Hardin County between the three principal cities – Elizabethtown, Radcliff and Vine Grove – and the rapidly developing unincorporated areas of Cecilia, Glendale and Rineyville
  • If this area had no immediate boundaries, its population would total 85,000 people and it would easily be Kentucky’s third largest city (see map which accompanies this release)
  • Competition for support of issues, grant/appropriation requests, etc., exist in counties with more than one local government jurisdiction – would this process be better served with one request from a unified government speaking with one voice?
  • In the case of each of the five unified communities which were examined, the communities were able to streamline government, mitigate future cost increases and increase their standing and stature (clout) in their respective state capitols and in Washington, D.C.

“Unification has provided major benefits to the communities that have been through the process,” said Luke B. Schmidt, consultant to HCU. “In every case, communities came together through unification and began speaking with one voice and the net result has been increased clout with state and federal governments, expanded economic development and increased representation for all citizens through unified government councils.”

“Unified government leads to less parochialism and forces government to conduct a ‘big picture’ analysis of issues with more progressive outcomes,” Schmidt continued. “We found out that economic development prospects like to deal with one government, and in the case of Lexington, unified government is one of the four cornerstones that help to sell Lexington as a place to do business.”

Going forward, HCU plans to take the leadership role in educating and informing the Hardin County community and each government entity about the facts of unified government by speaking to various groups and interested parties.

HCU is hosting an information session open to all elected local government officials on Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at Hardin Memorial Hospital’s fifth floor conference room beginning at 5:30 PM.

Citizens are invited to HCU’s community forum which will be held on Thursday, August 4, 2011, at the Hardin County Performing Arts Center at John Hardin High School, 384 W.A. Jenkins Road, Elizabethtown, and beginning at 4:30 PM. Interested citizens are encouraged to attend.

HCU also plans to approach each local government entity beginning in September and request the passage of an ordinance which will create a Unification Review Commission (pursuant to Kentucky Revised Statutes Chapters 67.900 – 67.940). Members of the Commission (which will include between 20 and 40 citizens) will be appointed by those local government entities that choose to participate. The Commission will be charged with the task of developing a specific plan of unified government which will be presented to the voters to approve in November 2012.

Additional information on this issue can be found on HCU’s Web site (www.hardincountyunited.com).

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Hardin County United (HCU) was established for the purpose of examining the various strategic goals which were established by the Hardin County Vision Project in 2010. The intent of HCU is to prioritize the goals and to develop implementation strategies. HCU’s leadership team includes Hardin County Judge/Executive Harry Berry who chairs the Steering Committee; Hardin County Chamber of Commerce President Brad Richardson, who chairs the Community Development Subcommittee; North Central Education Foundation President/CEO Al Rider, who chairs the Education Subcommittee; and Hardin Circuit Court Judge Ken Howard who chairs the Governance Subcommittee. Luke Schmidt, President of L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC, provides management and consulting services to HCU.

Brad Richardson, Community Development Chairman

Brad Richardson Hardin County United Community Development ChairmenBrad Richardson took over the position of President/CEO, Hardin County Chamber of Commerce in April of 2011.  The newly united chamber combines the former Elizabethtown, Radcliff, Vine Grove and West Point chambers into one.   Prior to joining the Chamber, Richardson, has been serving as the Executive Director of One Knox and also the North Hardin Economic Development Authority, roles that he will continue.

Brad has been heavily involved in economic development in Kentucky for many years, having served in the Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet as the Director of the Industrial Development and Marketing Division.  During this period, he was part of a team that recruited the Toyota Motor Corporation’s assembly plant to Georgetown, a project which brought record growth to the Commonwealth.  After leaving state government, he served as Vice President of Sales for Binswanger Company of Philadelphia in the company’s Industrial Real Estate Division. Following this, he served as the President/CEO of the Greater Louisville Economic Development Partnership.

Richardson received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration and Political Science from Georgetown College.   He is also a graduate of Leadership Louisville and the Bingham Fellows.  Brad is married to the former Leigh Fleming and the couple has three children and three grandchildren.

Hardin County’s Key Growth Indicators Show Positive Trends

Elizabethtown MSA’s High National Rankings Reveal a Metro with Momentum

Elizabethtown, Kentucky (May 9, 2011) – As the base realignment at Fort Knox continues towards its completion in September 2011, the Elizabethtown Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) continues to grow at record rates which are now being recognized on a national basis.  The Elizabethtown MSA includes all of Hardin and Larue counties (and the cities of Elizabethtown, Hodgenville, Radcliff, Sonora, Upton, Vine Grove and West Point) – Kentucky’s Heartland.

Recently several studies have been released which clearly illustrate the growth in the metro area, in the area of job creation, personal income growth, housing values and employee compensation.

According to Moody’s Analytics1, the Elizabethtown MSA was the first fully contained MSA in Kentucky to move from recession to recovery in August 2009.  Job growth numbers are up substantially too: the Elizabethtown MSA led all Kentucky metros in job growth during the past year, as shown in the chart2 which follows:

Elizabethtown MSA Employment Growth Jobs

On May 6, 2011, New Geography, a respected online journal of information related to urban issues posted its annual ranking of the Best Cities for New Jobs4.  This study, which is conducted on behalf of Forbes, analyzes “the robustness of a region’s growth both recently and over time.”  The rankings include all 398 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) from which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports monthly employment data.

The rankings were based on an analysis of the following criteria:

  1. Recent growth trend: the current and prior year’s employment growth rates, with the current year emphasized (two points)
  2. Mid-term growth: the average annual 2005 – 2010 growth rate (two points)
  3. Long-term trend and momentum: the sum of the 2005 – 2010 and 1999 – 2004 employment growth rates multiplied by the ratio of the 1999 – 2004 growth rate over the 2005 – 2010 growth rate (two points)
  4. Current year growth (one point)

The rankings confirm the explosive growth which is underway in the Elizabethtown MSA.  Out of 398 metros, the Elizabethtown MSA ranked 16th in the U.S. (and first in Kentucky) by New Geography in its 2011 Best Cities for Job Growth report.  The Elizabethtown MSA moved up 87 positions from the previous report.  The following chart lists the Top 20 MSAs for Best Cities for Job Growth:

Elizabethtown MSA Best City Growth

“It’s gratifying to see that Hardin and Larue counties are reaping the benefits of base realignment at Fort Knox,” said Hardin County United Chairperson Harry L. Berry.  “More importantly, at a time when many areas of the nation are still in recession, Hardin County continues to benefit from a diverse economy which is built upon the military, manufacturing and agriculture.  Hardin County is indeed poised for additional and significant growth in the near future,” said Berry.

In 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (U.S. Commerce Department) published personal income data for 366 metros, showing the change from 2008 through 2009.  The Elizabethtown MSA ranked fourth in the U.S. in per capita income growth during this period.  In fact, seven of the top 10 metros in income growth are markets with military bases which reaffirms the importance of base realignment (as shown on the chart5 which follows):

Employee compensation6 in Hardin County is also growing rapidly:

Elizabethtown Radcliff Vine Grove Compensation Growth

Finally, the manufacturing sector is also showing substantial growth, as shown in the chart7 which follows:

Elizabethtown MSA Industrial Manufacturing Growth
“Hardin County is strategically positioned for further growth,” said Luke B. Schmidt, President of L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC and consultant to Hardin County United (HCU).  “The recent merger of the four chambers of commerce into the new Hardin County Chamber of Commerce and HCU projects such as the ongoing unified government study and educational mapping study will enable the County and its citizens to make some strategic choices for the future.  Growth, new jobs and opportunities for the future are there for the taking,” said Schmidt.

Hardin County United (HCU) was established for the purpose of examining the various strategic goals which were established by the Hardin County Vision Project in 2010.  The intent of HCU is to prioritize the goals and to develop implementation strategies.  HCU’s leadership team includes Hardin County Judge/Executive Harry Berry who chairs the Steering Committee; One Knox Executive Director Brad Richardson, who chairs the Community Development Subcommittee; North Central Education Foundation President/CEO Al Rider, who chairs the Education Subcommittee; and Hardin Circuit Court Judge Ken Howard who chairs the Governance Subcommittee.  Luke Schmidt, President of L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC, provides management and consulting services to HCU.

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Notes:
BACK TO POST
1  Source: Moody’s Analytics http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33312701/ns/business-eye_on_the_economy/

2  Source: Moody’s Analytics http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29976394/ns/business-eye_on_the_economy/

3  Source: Moody’s Analytics http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29976394/ns/business-eye_on_the_economy/

4  Source: www.newgeography.com/content/002208-2011-how-we-pick-best-cities-for-job-growth

5  Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis Web Site: www.bea.gov/newsreleases/regional/mpi/2010/pdf/mpi0810.pdf

6  Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

7  Source: Moody’s Analytics http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29976394/ns/business-eye_on_the_economy/

Press Release: Hardin County United Announces Support for Initiative to Change Alcoholic Beverage Laws in Elizabethtown, Radcliff and Vine Grove

Successful Petition Drive will Allow Voters to Express Their Views on an Issue that Supports Economic Development

Elizabethtown, Kentucky (March 23, 2011) – Hardin County United (HCU) today announced that its Steering Committee has voted to support the ongoing petition drive of the YES for Economic Success (Y.E.S.) Committee to gather signatures of registered voters in Elizabethtown, Radcliff and Vine Grove in order to allow for a referendum later this year and changing existing law to allow alcoholic beverage sales in all three cities.

Y.E.S. is a collaborative group of organizations and concerned citizens which is working to allow voters the opportunity to vote on changing the existing alcoholic beverage laws in all three cities.  While each campaign is separate, each campaign is running concurrently, allowing voters the opportunity to express their view on the same day later this year with the same ballot question.  To date, nine organizations in addition to HCU have endorsed the activities of Y.E.S.

“HCU fully respects the view that the consumption of alcoholic beverages is a personal choice,” said HCU Chairperson Harry L. Berry.  “However, HCU believes that it is entirely appropriate to allow voters to express how they feel about the issue and therefore we support the ongoing petition drive to obtain the required number of signatures to bring this issue to a vote in all three cities,” said Berry.

Members of HCU believe the issue of alcoholic beverage sales has become an economic issue.  Research indicates millions of dollars are being left on the table in surrounding counties by Hardin County citizens when they travel to Bullitt, Jefferson, Meade and Nelson counties to purchase alcoholic beverages.  It’s time to put these dollars in local cash registers along with the taxes that such sales generate.

Changing existing law to allow alcoholic beverage sales will enhance economic development efforts in all three cities.  The availability of alcoholic beverages in restaurants, pubs, etc., is an issue which is often considered by professional site selection representatives and business decision makers to be a quality of place issue.  Changing the law will make it easier to open new establishments in the historic buildings in downtown Elizabethtown and Vine Grove and in commercial areas in Radcliff.

Finally, changing the law will make the community more competitive when it comes to attracting tourists along the I-65 corridor.  Most tourists would like a choice when it comes to the opportunity to consume alcoholic beverages.  Most of the communities that Hardin County competes with in the tourism arena, such as Bardstown, Bowling Green, Columbus, IN, Jeffersonville, IN, Lexington, Louisville and Nashville allow alcoholic beverage sales.

“Hardin County United was established to follow-up, prioritize and implement various strategic goals which were established as part of the Hardin County Vision Project in 2010,” said Luke B. Schmidt, President of L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC, the consulting firm which conducted the Vision Project and provides consulting services to HCU.

“During the Vision Project, we asked community leaders many questions pertaining to ‘quality of life/place’ including their views of the current dining scene.  Only 28% of the respondents found the dining/entertainment scene to be ‘robust,’” said Schmidt.

“When asked if current alcoholic beverage laws hinder the development of new dining and entertainment ventures, nearly 70% said YES.  For those who answered YES to this question, 90% said that the laws should be changed in order to attract new dining and entertainment ventures (and improve the quality of place for the community),” Schmidt stated.

Additional information on this issue can be obtained by visiting the Y.E.S. Web site (www.2011yes.com).

Hardin County United (HCU) was established for the purpose of examining the various strategic goals which were established by the Hardin County Vision Project in 2010.  The intent of HCU is to prioritize the goals and to develop implementation strategies.  HCU’s leadership team includes Hardin County Judge/Executive Harry Berry who chairs the Steering Committee; One Knox Executive Director Brad Richardson, who chairs the Community Development Subcommittee; North Central Education Foundation President/CEO Al Rider, who chairs the Education Subcommittee; and Hardin Circuit Court Judge Ken Howard who chairs the Governance Subcommittee.  Luke Schmidt, President of L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC, provides management and consulting services to HCU.

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Brad Richardson Introduces the Community Development Committee

Hello, I’m Brad Richardson.  Chair of HCU’s Community Development Subcommittee.  Our group is working to address the strategic goals related to community development from the Hardin County Vision Project.  This includes such things as the possible formation of a “powerhouse” economic development entity which will represent Hardin County and address new sources of funding for such work.

Over the past several months, we’ve visited communities in Tennessee and Mississippi that have successfully established such entities and are realizing the positive impacts that come from a unified approach to business attraction.

In the coming weeks and months, we’ll share more information with you on our visits and observations at each location.

Other strategic goals of the subcommittee are being addressed via other working groups such as the Hardin YMCA Steering Committee ( www.facebook.com/ymcahardin).  Work is also underway to capitalize on the economic development benefits available through the expanded sales of alcohol.  Look for news about a separate group working on this initiative in the coming weeks.

Visit the Community Development Committee page for a listing of our committee members.

We look forward to sharing our work with you and hearing from you.

The HCU Web site is intentionally built to be interactive so let me encourage you to join in on the conversation and regularly post comments.  For starters, the community development subcommittee would like to hear from you.  What types of businesses and employers would you like to see come to Hardin County?

Simply click on the link under the title above – “Leave a Comment” – and let us hear from you!

Introducing the Community Development Chairman

Brad Richardson

Photo of Brad RichardsonBrad Richardson is the current Executive Director of One Knox and also the North Hardin Economic Development Authority.  Richardson has been heavily involved in economic development in Kentucky.  Prior to joining the Authority and One Knox, Richardson served in the Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet as the Director of the Industrial Development and Marketing Division.  During this period, Richardson was part of a team that recruited the Toyota Motor Corporation’s assembly plant to Georgetown, a project which brought record growth to the Commonwealth.  After leaving state government, Brad Richardson served as Vice President of Sales for Binswanger Company of Philadelphia in the company’s Industrial Real Estate Division.  Richardson returned to Kentucky and served as the President/CEO of the Greater Louisville Economic Development Partnership.  Brad Richardson received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration and Political Science from Georgetown College.   Richardson is a graduate of Leadership Louisville and the Bingham Fellows.  Richardson is married to the former Leigh Fleming and the couple has three children and three grandchildren.

UPDATE:  Brad Richardson has a new bio that reflects his new position as President, CEO of the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce.  Read more here.

Hardin County United Launches Steering Committee

New Organization to Develop Platform Which Will Examine Recently Developed Community Strategic Goals

Elizabethtown, Kentucky – A new organization – Hardin County United – has been launched and has established a steering committee to see it through its initial development phase.

The development of Hardin County United (HCU) is the first action taken by community leaders since 24 strategic goals were announced earlier this month as the result of the Hardin County Vision Project. As of today, 28 community leaders have volunteered to serve on the steering committee (a complete list of steering committee members is below).

The intent of HCU is to develop a platform which will examine each of the 24 strategic goals and to develop recommendations as to how the community should proceed. It is expected that the steering committee will work to formally charter HCU into a formal, free-standing organization.  Hardin County Judge/Executive Harry L. Berry will serve as the Chairperson of HCU. Radcliff Mayor Sheila Enyart will serve as Vice Chairperson. In addition, Brad Richardson, Executive Director of One Knox, will serve as the Chairperson of the Community Development Subcommittee. Al Rider, President/CEO of the North Central Education Foundation, will serve as the Chairperson of the Education Subcommittee and Ken Howard, Hardin Circuit Court Judge, will serve as the Chairperson of the Governance Subcommittee.

“Hardin County United will serve as the springboard to fully examine each of the 24 community strategic goals and to implement those goals which will provide real dividends to the County,” said Hardin County Judge/Executive Harry L. Berry. “Each of these goals can make a real difference when it comes to such things as education, community unification, quality of place/quality of life issues, etc. Hardin County has always been one of Kentucky’s leading counties…HCU will help take us to the next level.”

Each of the 24 goals was established following a methodical visioning process conducted by L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC, a Louisville-based consulting firm, beginning in July 2009. Group interviews were conducted along with an examination of benchmark counties (select counties which align demographically with Hardin County in the Southeast). In addition, confidential key stakeholder surveys were submitted to 100 community leaders with over 70% responding. Two community leadership forums were held to review the survey findings and to develop the strategic goals.

“The formation of HCU is an important first step towards the examination and implementation of the strategic goals,” said Luke B. Schmidt, President of L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC. “All too often when visioning and strategic planning sessions such as this one are conducted, the goals are tucked away in a nice, neat report and placed on a shelf to gather dust. The community’s leaders have decided that in this case they would like to gain a complete understanding of the impact of each goal and work towards the implementation of those goals which make the most sense.”

In the end, the intent of the process is to make Hardin County even more competitive for future civilian and military investment Schmidt stated. The goals can assist in this process. The next step in the process will be to present the findings of the Vision Project to the first Community Forum, which will be held at the Hardin County Schools Performing Arts Center at John Hardin High School (384 W.A. Jenkins Road, Elizabethtown) on Thursday, April 29th, [2010] beginning at 4:00 PM. The public is invited to attend.

Steering Committee Members, as of 4/26/10

  • The Honorable William Ash, West Point Mayor
  • The Honorable Harry Berry, Hardin County Judge/Executive
  • Michael Bell, Glendale Christian Church
  • Donna Broadway, Vine Grove Chamber of Commerce
  • Jo Emary, Radcliff Chamber of Commerce
  • The Honorable Sheila Enyart, Radcliff Mayor
  • Gary French, Elizabethtown Independent Schools
  • Rick Games, Elizabethtown/Hardin County Industrial Foundation
  • Ron Harrell, Elizabethtown Community & Technical College
  • Rik Hawkins, Elizabethtown/Hardin County Chamber of Commerce
  • The Honorable Ken Howard, Hardin County Circuit Court Judge
  • James Jeffries, Hardin County Water District # 2
  • Greg Jenkins, Elizabethtown Industrial Foundation
  • Nannette Johnston, Hardin County Schools
  • The Honorable Garry King, Hardin County Commissioner
  • Mary Jo King, Elizabethtown Community & Technical College
  • Ben LaRue, LaRue Financial
  • Wendell Lawrence, Lincoln Trail Area Development District
  • Diane Logsdon, Hardin Memorial Hospital
  • Jim Long, Elizabethtown Tourism & Convention Bureau
  • Sherry Murphy, Elizabethtown Tourism & Convention Bureau
  • Brad Richardson, One Knox
  • Al Rider, North Central Education Foundation
  • Paul Rogers, Cardinal Health
  • Ben Sheroan, The News-Enterprise
  • Ron Stephens, Western Kentucky University
  • John Tindall, North Hardin Economic Development Authority
  • The Honorable David Willmoth, Elizabethtown Mayor