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.

Focus On Business: Bill Bissett on Kentucky Coal

7 hours ago

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.

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.

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