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The Hardin County Chamber of Commerce is on a roll.
Last summer the leadership bodies of the chambers of commerce of Elizabethtown, Radcliff, Vine Grove and West Point announced a collective goal to unite their individual organizations. Considerable time was invested following that announcement by Heartland Chambers Alliance in determining foundational details on how each group would merge into a unified body. Their work built up to a vote of approval on the merger by members of the individual chambers.
That unification decision and the resulting reorganization was celebrated during a special chamber luncheon last month. Hundreds of Hardin County’s movers and shakers came to the gathering, not only to commemorate the beginning of a new era for the chamber, but also to hear the keynote speeches by Gov. Steve Beshear and Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Dave Adkisson.
And now, the recent announcement of the selection of Brad Richardson as its new president and chief executive officer signifies that good things are continuing to happen in the developing life of the chamber.
When making the announcement, Tom Hewlett, chairman of the chamber’s new board of directors, described the decision to hire Richardson as an easy choice.
Others echoed Hewlett’s sentiment.
Rik Hawkins, president of the former Elizabethtown-Hardin County Chamber of Commerce and the man who served as the unified group’s interim leader, praised the hiring decision saying Richardson was “absolutely, unquestionably, the best choice.”
Hardin County Judge-Executive Harry Berry also voiced approval saying, “I know Brad and I know he is up to the task” when commenting on his confidence in Richardson’s managerial abilities.
We couldn’t agree more. Although we know nothing of the individuals who made up the final group of candidates, we know much about Brad Richardson. And what we know, we like.
Richardson has a proven track record of success in the many leadership roles he’s had throughout his career. His guiding hand has been ever-present and effective as executive director of One Knox and North Hardin Economic Development Authority. His past experience as director of the state commerce cabinet’s Industrial Development and Marketing Division, and his tenure as president and CEO of the Greater Louisville Economic Development Partnership layer additional strength to his resume of expertise.
In comparison to these heavier responsibilities, his past service as a local chamber director can’t be dismissed either.
The combination of these positions and the experiences they have served to provide Richardson build and gives evidence of a skill set that has both depth and breadth in areas that are critically important to the chamber.
Richardson and the chamber board will have many challenges in the days, weeks and months ahead.
It will be a juggling act to balance his new responsibilities as the man at the helm of the united chamber with those Richardson plans to retain as the leader of One Knox and, at least temporarily, with North Hardin Economic Development Authority as was announced.
The responsibilities he’ll have in these melded roles, some of which are funded with private enterprise money and others that are supported with public money will be tricky to carry out. There also will be continued decisions, adjustments and other tweaks necessary as the chamber adjusts from its previous life as disjointed bodies to the more strongly positioned and cohesive voice of commerce and development it can become.
However, like those who’ve praised the announcement of the chamber’s selection of its new leader, we also believe Richardson has the stuff to make it happen.
This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.