Focus on Business

Mondays, 5:45 & 7:45 am plus 5:44 pm
  • Hosted by Tom Martin

A weekly short feature hosted by Tom Martin of the Lexington Herald Leader. The segments, running approximately four minutes in length, are excerpts from Martin’s bi-weekly Q-and-A series in the Lexington Herald-Leader’s Business Monday section.

Tom Martin, Focus on Business host

Martin, who grew up in Morehead, has enjoyed a long career in broadcast journalism, serving as news anchor for KQV Radio in Pittsburgh, for AP Radio Network News, the RKO Radio Network and at WABC in New York. While serving with the AP in Washington, he won a Peabody Award for best radio news documentary.

For a number of years, Martin was a substitute for Paul Harvey on Harvey’s nationally syndicated broadcast. From 2005 until earlier this year, he was the founding editor in chief for Business Lexington. He is also an accomplished musician.

Focus on Business segments air Mondays at 7:35 a.m. during Morning Edition and at 5:45 p.m. during All Things Considered.

Technical support for these broadcasts is provided by Dynamix Productions of Lexington,
online at:  www.dxaudio.com.

Kip Cornett chairs the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Keeneland Host Committee. In this week’s Focus on Business, he talks with Tom Martin about what’s in store for Lexington during the week leading up to the racing at Keeneland on October 30th and 31st.

When he made the transition last year from Lexington’s Chief of Police to Public Safety Commissioner, Ronnie Bastin left some big shoes to fill. So, it was quite a statement about his chosen successor when a search committee – including representatives of the criminal justice community, local businesses and the Urban County council - voted unanimously to recommend 28-year veteran Mark Barnard.

Focus On Business: Alison Davis on Rural Hospitals

Jul 24, 2015

A recent state audit found that 34 percent of rural hospitals were considered to be in poor financial health. According to the Kentucky Hospital Association, 70 of the state's hospitals have laid off more than 7,700 employees in the past two years. What’s happening to rural hospitals and the communities that depend on them? Tom Martin raised those questions with Dr. Alison Davis, University of Kentucky Professor and Executive Director of the Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky and President of the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals.

What is Kentucky’s leading export industry? If I told you that it’s manufacturers of products for the aviation and aerospace industry, would you be surprised?  In 2014, Kentucky Aerospace exports quietly surpassed far better known industries such as automotive and bourbon.  Robert Riggs is founder and current board member of the Kentucky Aviation Association.  He spoke with Tom Martin.

As a child growing up in Georgia, notions of someday becoming an engineer never occurred to Dianne Leveridge.  But the girl who didn’t think she was good at math went on to earn first a master’s degree, and then a PhD in civil engineering and is now guiding other smart young women to act on their true professional talents and ambitions. Dr. Leveridge is now Director of Technical Programs for the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.  She shared her journey with Tom Martin.

Rich Ord is CEO of iEntry, a Lexington-based company that serves online newsletter and internet advertising.  Rich has been in the business long enough to have witnessed firsthand a great deal of growth and development, as well as some pivotal technological innovations.

  

Phil Holoubek’s downtown-Lexington projects have included Main & Rose and the Nunn Lofts. He is now leading an effort to redevelop the eastern end of downtown Lexington along Midland Avenue, from Vine to Third Streets. Phil joined Tom Martin for a conversation about the project.

Education, economic development, and tax policy are among the focus issues of Commerce Lexington’s 2015 local, state and national Public Policy Agenda.  Tom Martin’s conversation with the Chamber’s public policy committee chair Carla Blanton deals with matters before the 2015 session of the Kentucky General Assembly.

LaShana Harris is a mother, a lawyer, a business professional, and an award winning entrepreneur. She’s the founder of Babylocity, a Frankfort-based company that is developing innovative baby products for on-the-go moms.

Tom Martin talked with LaShana about the challenges and the rewards of having an idea for a business and then shaping and preparing that idea for the marketplace.

Focus On Business: Michael Hartman on Online Gaming

Dec 2, 2014

Frogdice is an independent game development studio in Lexington, Kentucky.  Founded in 1996 by Michael Hartman, Frogdice creates online and digital download games of the role-playing or "RPG" variety.  Tom Martin talked with Michael about his company and about gaming.

November 17th begins a week of focus on innovation and entrepreneurial inspiration during the 4th Annual Lexington Global Entrepreneurship Week.  In his role as director of the Lexington office of the Kentucky Innovation Network, Warren Nash is one of those overseeing the event.  He sat down with Tom Martin.

Bobby Clark is founder and president of Sustainable Business Ventures, a non-profit working to develop businesses, social enterprises, environmental literacy training and entrepreneurial training.  In part one of his conversation with Tom Martin, Clark discusses his work to help a Kentucky community overcome tragedy.

Focus on Business: Kip Cornett on Breeder's Cup 2015

Oct 13, 2014

The Breeders’ Cup will take place in 2015 at Lexington, Kentucky’s Keeneland Race Course - the spot where this prestigious international thoroughbred racing event was conceived - but before now, has never been held.

The horse racing will take place on Friday and Saturday, October 30th and 31st of next year. But planning is now underway to begin the party well before October 30th.

Kip Cornett chairs the 2015 Breeders’ Cup/Keeneland Host Committee and he spoke with Tom Martin.

Focus on Business: Deirdre Lyons on Innovation and Jobs

Sep 24, 2014

Deirdre Lyons is, with her husband Pearse, co-founder of the international animal nutrition and health company Alltech, based in Nicholasville, Kentucky and operating in 128 countries.  She talked with Tom Martin about the company’s creative efforts to deliver innovation and jobs to Eastern Kentucky through brewing and distilling, as well as poultry and fish production.

 

In 1982, Hospice of the Bluegrass was known as Community Hospice of Lexington serving up to eighteen patients in Fayette County with a staff of five plus several dozen volunteers.

Today, Hospice of the Bluegrass serves nearly 700 patients in 32 Kentucky counties with a staff of more than 400 and a volunteer-base of nearly 1,000. This growth and expansion has occurred on the watch of Gretchen Brown, regarded one of the most successful, innovative, and respected leaders of the American hospice movement.

Going from finding herself a 20-year old unwed mother with only a 2nd grade education - who had just received custody of her six younger siblings - to earning a spot among the 20 winners of USA Today’s 2013 All-USA Community College Academic Team, as well as a Coca Cola New Century Scholar, and graduating this year from Bluegrass Community and Technical College with a 4.0 GPA and associate degrees in Science and the Arts. Intrigued? This is the story of Ebony Nava.  She spoke with Tom Martin.

Tom Stultz is president of San Diego-based JMI Sports.  The Greenup native has more than forty years professional executive experience negotiating and securing more than a billion dollars in multimedia and sponsorship rights agreements with major universities - agreements like the 15-year deal announced in late June between JMI and UK valued at $210 million.  Tom Martin talked with Stultz to find out what the deal means to UK...and to Cats fans.

Focus on Business: Matt Bellis on 3-D Scanning

Jul 28, 2014

Science is creating jobs in Lexington.  Seikowave is a technology company focused on three dimensional scanning. The company is a working example of the University of Kentucky’s efforts to establish a high-tech sector of the central Kentucky economy. Here’s Tom Martin’s conversation with Seikowave founder and CEO, Matt Bellis.

Nicholasville is the fifth fastest growing city in Kentucky and Jessamine County was the tenth fastest growing county, according to the latest U.S. Census.  What does this growth look like and mean?

Discussing it with Tom Martin is Amy Cloud, CEO of the Jessamine County Chamber of Commerce.  In this role, Cloud is on the forefront of many issues raised by the expansion Jessamine is now experiencing.

Lexington’s downtown has come a long, long way in recent years; restaurants, music venues, the farmers market and Thursday night live. But, we still hear people say they avoid downtown, and it usually has to do with uncertainty about parking. That’s the focus of Tom Martin’s conversation with Robert Wagoner, a retired commercial real estate and development professional whose projects include the Tates Creek, Palomar and Lexington Green shopping centers.

To be in the communications business these days requires staying up to date on the latest developments in the endless evolution of digital technology.  It’s the focus of Tom Martin’s conversation with Ron Mossotti, President of Lexington’s Hammond Communications.

Tourism contributed more than $12 billion to Kentucky's economy in 2013. Tourism was responsible for more than 175,000 jobs in Kentucky last year, and those jobs generated more than $2.8 billion in wages. Bob Stewart is secretary of Kentucky’s Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet. He talked with Tom Martin about some of the latest trends in Kentucky tourism.

Kip Cornett is president, CEO, and namesake of Lexington’s advertising and creative agency, “Cornett.” His firm employs 52 and is just a few months away from its 30th year in business. 

May 19th was a big day at Cornett. The firm has won the Webby “People’s Choice” Award in the “Professional Services” category - recognition in what amounts to the “Oscars” of the Internet, presented annually since the late 1990’s. 

Tom Martin talked with Kip Cornett not only about this distinction, but also about Lexington’s creative culture.

Scott Clark is an online business consultant and owner of Lexington-based BuzzMaven Labs. He focuses on helping his clients find ways to improve the performance of their websites. And he offers guidance on internet marketing investments and social media activities.  

In recent years institutions that we tend to take for granted: our airport, the library, the Kentucky League of Cities, the Kentucky Association of Counties, the Bluegrass Area Development District, have experienced controversies that have shaken faith in leadership, highlighted instances of lax board governance, and most painful of all, damaged reputations.

Focus on Business: Ron Crouch on Business Trends

Mar 24, 2014

Ron Crouch is Director of Research and Statistics, Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet in Frankfort. He oversees the development of databases on demographic, social, educational, workforce, and economic issues and trends relating to life in the Commonwealth. He spoke recently with Tom Martin about the numbers flowing across his desk and what they mean to us.

Mukang Cho is CEO of In-Rel Properties, a privately held Florida real estate investment firm founded in 1985 with approximately $500 million in assets under management. Chase Tower on East Main Street in downtown Lexington is the firm’s first Kentucky acquisition.

It is among more than 6 million square feet of office and retail properties throughout the United States owned by In-Rel. With transactions to his credit valued at more than $100 billion, Cho is an expert on real estate financing. 

Chris Young is a member of the Bluegrass Angels, a seed funding organization of some of Kentucky’s most accomplished entrepreneurs and business leaders.

Tom Martin’s conversation with Young begins with something new for The Bluegrass Angels:  a “Launch Fund” – Chris’ concept of a competition to provide funding to entrepreneurs who have interesting business ideas, but are not yet far enough along to present them to the Bluegrass Angels group.  As a result of its first competition, held recently, the Fund awarded $25,000 investments to each of four finalist companies.

Paul Coomes is a retired Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Louisville and a consultant for the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. He is recognized as one of the most knowledgeable and experienced economists in the Commonwealth. He spoke with Tom Martin about current economic conditions.

While Lexington and Louisville remain rivals in many areas, the mayors of both cities continue to move forward on a mutually beneficial economic partnership. They formed the Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement (BEAM).  They commissioned the Washington, D.C. think tank, The Brookings Institution, to conduct a study into the feasibility of creating a 22-county economic region, anchored by Lexington to the east and Louisville to the west. 

In this week's Focus on Business, Tom Martin discusses some of the study's findings and its vision with Lexington Mayor Jim Gray.

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