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:

Tom Martin talks with Lexington attorney Jim Frazier, chair of the governing board of the new Downtown Lexington Management District.  Frazier also chairs the Lexington Parking Authority, so he has his eyes on much of what’s happening to improve Downtown Lexington’s attractiveness - not only as an interesting destination, but also as a place to live and work.

Focus On Business: Chris Stiles on Drone Delivery

Oct 10, 2016

UPS is testing drone delivery of urgent packages to remote areas, while Chipotle experiments with drone delivery of burritos on a college campus. How do these remote-controlled flying robots figure into your future? Tom Martin talked with Chris Stiles, president of Unmanned Services, a Lexington-based company providing drone services to all kinds of commercial and civil industries.

Focus On Business: Graham Rowles on KERI

Sep 26, 2016

Americans of the baby boom generation, the so-called “silver tsunami,” born between 1946 and `64, are now turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 per day and are entering what experts on aging refer to as The Third Age.” Today, Tom Martin discusses the implications with Graham Rowles (ROLLS), a professor in the Graduate Center for Gerontology in the University of Kentucky’s College of Public Health and director of the Kentucky Elder Readiness Initiative.​

 Tom Martin talks with Dave Tatman, executive director of the Kentucky Auto Industry Association. He is also associate vice president for advanced manufacturing at Western Kentucky University. Dave and his team are getting ready for "AutoVision," the association’s annual conference coming to the Lexington Center September 12th and 13th.

  Today, Tom Martin talks with Steve Kelly, executive vice-president of marketing and sales at Lexington-based Central Bank. The subject: credit card fraud and the shift to a new generation of high-tech debit and credit cards known as “chip cards.”

Lynne McNees is vice president of the Lexington-based Associations International and president of one of its nine member organizations, the International Spa Association.  In this week’s Focus on Business, she talks with Tom Martin about the business of serving the many needs of a variety of interests.

Seventy-nine percent of present-day college students believe education should include some form of professional experience, according to a study by Northeastern University. And in today’s economy, professional life is increasingly entrepreneurial.  That’s the focus of the Innovation Network for Entrepreneurial Thinking, or iNet – an undergraduate academic program in leadership and entrepreneurial thinking for all University of Kentucky students, regardless of major.

Tom Martin talks with Clive Pohl, a principal of the Lexington architecture firm Pohl-Rosa-Pohl. He is a proponent of “Natural Capital Accounting,” a method of measuring and assigning values to the world's natural assets as a way to assign a cost to environmental destruction. 

Why does the expansion of the Panama Canal have people talking in Western Kentucky?  And what can be accomplished when Republicans and Democrats work together toward a common goal? Tom Martin posed those questions to Jonathan Miller, the former state treasurer. Now a principal of CivicPoint, the public affairs affiliate of the law firm of Frost-Brown-Todd, Miller works in support of an economic development strategy for the 4 Western Kentucky River counties of Ballard, Carlisle, Hickman, and Fulton.

In early May, the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky convened a variety of stakeholders in Kentucky’s Medicaid program to gather feedback on Kentucky’s plan to apply for a federal waiver that allows states to test and evaluate new ways to provide Medicaid. Tom Martin talked about the outcome of that gathering with Foundation President and CEO Susan Zepeda.

This week, Tom Martin talks with Mary Claire O’Neal, author of “Becoming What You Want to See in the World”.  Her book has won 3 national book awards and has been translated into several languages and sold in over 30 countries. It is now in its second edition. As a consultant and coach, O’Neal has worked with Fortune 500 companies, healthcare and educational organizations, nonprofits and individuals.

“One: The Alltech Ideas Conference” opens on May 22nd featuring keynotes by Apple computer developer Steve Wozniak, former Ford Motors CEO Alan Mullally and UK Coach John Calipari.  Alltech founder and president Pearse Lyons talked with Tom Martin about the unique annual conference his company will host for a 32nd year at the Lexington Center.

Focus on Business: Rodney Vinegar on Human Resources

May 10, 2016

During his 18-year professional career, Rodney Vinegar has been responsible for recruitment, training, professional development, human resources leadership, and labor relations with such global companies as UBS Investment Bank, Colgate-Palmolive, Pepsi and Scripps Network Interactive.  Rodney recently returned from New York to his home state of Kentucky and joined Tom Martin to discuss some HR issues common in today’s workplace.

Focus On Business: Kathy Plomin on "100 Women"

Apr 18, 2016

What can be accomplished in a community when you pool the brainpower and resourcefulness of 100 businesswomen?  We’re about to find out.  Tom Martin talked with former United Way of the Bluegrass President Kathy Plomin, now one of three directors of the organization, “100 Women.”

Focus On Business: Vincent Smith on SCORE

Apr 4, 2016

Tom Martin talks with Vincent Smith, chair of the Lexington Chapter of “SCORE,” an organization of volunteer business mentors helping small businesses and startups work through business issues.

Focus On Business: Neil Goldsmith on Biotechnology

Mar 21, 2016

What does a grapefruit have in common with a deer tick? Tom Martin found out in talking with Neil Goldsmith, co-founder of Evolva, a Swiss-based biotechnology firm with a significant relationship with Lexington and the University of Kentucky.

A new stage for live music performance in Lexington is about to open. With a new business partner and relocation from North Broadway to a larger space on Southland Drive, “Willie’s Locally Known” is now just days from throwing open the doors.  Tom Martin talks with the “Willie” in ‘Willie’s Locally Known,’ creator, owner and operator, Wilson Sebastian.

Alyssa Faith Ericson is co-founder of both Kentucky Hempsters and United Hemp Industries.  She talked with Tom Martin about the move to revive hemp farming and hemp production in Kentucky.

Focus On Business: Bill Bissett on Kentucky Coal

Feb 8, 2016

Near the end of 2011, about 19,000 people were employed by Kentucky coal mines and preparation plants.  By this past October, the number for all of Kentucky was down to about half that.  The decline was worse than that in the Eastern coalfields.  Nationwide, production dropped as much as 10% in this past year and companies have been filing for bankruptcy.  Tom Martin discussed these issues with Dr. Bill Bissett, president of the Kentucky Coal Association.  

Mariam Gorjian is a commercialization specialist and director of the Venture Studio at the University of Kentucky’s Gatton College of Business and Economics. She talked with Tom Martin about the resources the studio makes available to help move a new idea, technology, product, or service from concept to the market place.

Making Kentucky’s public colleges and universities more accountable, efficient and effective is the aim of a proposal being championed in the General Assembly this year by Senate Republicans. Tom Martin talked with Bob King, President of the Council on Postsecondary Education about proposed “Performance-Based Funding.”

The 2016 session of the Kentucky General Assembly begins on January 5th.  Kentucky Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Dave Adkisson joined Tom Martin for a look at the business organization’s top priorities for the 2016 session.

Sara Day Evans of Midway is the founding director of Accelerating Appalachia, described on its website as a “nature-based” business accelerator. The idea is to support the growth of entrepreneurialism in areas like eastern Kentucky where the decline of coal mining and related businesses has cost middle class jobs and driven young talent out of the region in search of better opportunities.

Focus On Business: Matt Partymiller on Solar Energy

Nov 30, 2015

World leaders have convened in Paris to work on an agreement  addressing climate change. Solar Energy is one alternative to the fossil fuels emitting the CO2 scientists link to changes in the earth’s climate. Tom Martin spoke with Matt Partymiller, operating manager of the Lexington-based Solar Energy Solutions. The company has been in business in Lexington since 2006 and employees 15.

If you go online to ArtsCouncil-dot-ky-dot-gov, you’ll find a trove of information about programs and resources available to anybody interested in participating in Kentucky’s creative industry.  In 2014, the Kentucky Arts Council produced an in-depth report on this sector of our economy and the report has served as a roadmap for Lori Meadows in her role as executive director of the Kentucky Arts Council.  She spoke with Tom Martin.

The Breeder’s Cup takes over Lexington beginning next weekend. It’s a huge event for the city but especially so for Keeneland, Lexington’s classic thoroughbred race track and host of this year’s Breeder’s Cup World Championships. In this week’s Focus on Business, Tom Martin talks with the man who is overseeing all the planning and preparations, Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason.

With only 22% of the public expressing a positive impression of the thoroughbred racing industry, the 2011 Jockey Club report on the state of the industry strongly suggested a new direction. One strategy is to open the horse farms of the Bluegrass to tourism.  Tom Martin talks with Anne Sabatino-Hardy, executive director of “Horse Country, Inc.“ the not-for-profit created to make that happen.

The former Buster’s music venue on Manchester Street in Lexington recently was sold for $1.1 million dollars to a trio of Pikeville businessmen who plan to keep it as an entertainment venue and are in the process of opening the doors in late September.  Adam Hatton will be in charge of the new Manchester Music Hall.  He shared his plans with Tom Martin.

Ian Mooers is former director of the Center for Economic Development, Entrepreneurship and Technology at Eastern Kentucky University, and a member of the East Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board. His focus has been on Southeastern Kentucky, a region facing many serious socio-economic challenges, but now receiving the attention of such initiatives as Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR), and the Promise Zone program which has identified more than $200 million in funding for the region in the next 5 to 7 years.

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.