GLASGOW – The Barren County Economic Authority has chosen its next executive director.
At a special-called meeting Tuesday afternoon, the authority members immediately went into a closed session that lasted approximately half an hour. Upon resuming the open meeting, attorney Rich Alexander read a proposed motion to hire Maureen Carpenter, based on terms she had presented that afternoon, and he was to work with The PACE Group, the firm contracted to facilitate the search, to formalize the hire, which will be effective Jan. 1.
Board member and Magistrate Carl Dickerson, who had been a member of the search committee as well, so moved, and board member and Glasgow Councilman Gary Norman provided the second. With all other voting members present as well, agreement was unanimous, and the meeting was immediately adjourned.
Larry Glass, who had chaired the search committee, said it was a good day for Barren County.
He provided a copy of the terms that had been negotiated and Carpenter's resume to the Glasgow Daily Times, noting that Carpenter currently works for the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce under Ron Bunch, the president and CEO there who has been serving as interim BCEA executive director for the past few months. He, along with some of his staff, have been working under contract to provide economic development services for the authority. The Bowling Green Area chamber also handles the economic development initiatives for Warren County and some adjoining locations.
Carpenter started there in the position of economic development coordinator May 1, 2011, and was promoted a few months later to director for regional development. Within 18 months of her start date, she became vice president of economic development.
“In this position, I am responsible for existing business retention and expansion and business attraction,” her resume states. “I am also responsible for the chamber's workforce/talent development projects and the regional marketing partnership activities. I have a team of four economic development professionals under my direction.”
Carpenter's resume states that under her leadership in that capacity, the chamber has closed more than $2.5 billion in business expansion and attraction projects and worked on projects projecting to create more than 5,000 new jobs over three years, among other things.
In March 2018, Carpenter became the vice president for partnership services, with her responsibilities including “partnership retention and recruitment, including President's Club, who support our economic development efforts through additional financial investment above and beyond their partnership dues” and development and implementation of programs and events including sponsorship sales and ensuring programs align with our vision and mission while meeting the needs of our partners.”
Under her leadership in that role, the resume states, 324 new partners were recruited and the partner retention rate is 87 percent. All program revenue goals were exceeded the chamber earned a 5-star rating from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Carpenter notes that from the time she took on the new job through July of this year, she “continued to aid in the Economic Development Division” as they sought to fill her former position.
“Due to the lack of finding a qualified candidate, I have been asked to return to the Economic Development Division.
Prior to her time with the Bowling Green Area organization, she was director of economic development and then president and CEO of Commerce Chenango Inc. in Norwich, New York, which was the umbrella organization for four entities that included a public industrial development agency. She started there in April 2004 and left in April 2011. She had also worked for two years prior to that as a program manager for the Chenango, Delaware, Otsego (CDO) Workforce Investment Board in Norwich.
In a press release from The PACE Group distributed Wednesday, Carpenter is quoted as saying, “There is great synergy throughout Barren County right now and I look forward to being a part of the positive changes ahead. I am very appreciative of the opportunity to serve the community as the new executive director of the Barren County Economic Authority and look forward to working with other leaders in the community towards economic growth and prosperity."
Her annual salary with BCEA is to be $140,000, with an auto allowance of $450 per month, unlimited cell phone plan, membership at the local country club, Willow Oaks Golf Club, and payment of certain association fees. She could receive a bonus of up to 6 percent of her base salary “at the discretion of the board.”
Health insurance is not provided by the authority, noting that the base salary incorporated some dollars that could be used toward that, but she will have disability insurance and a $150,000 life insurance policy and a retirement contribution match.
The terms also address holidays (11), sick time (12 days per year) and vacation time (three weeks, with carryover allowed).
Glass said the four finalists who were interviewed included one other woman and two men. Two of the people were from Bowling Green, one from northern Kentucky and one from Lexington.
“We had four phenomenal candidates; we really did – all of them highly, highly qualified could get a job anywhere in economic development, and I think we as a search committee are very pleased with how it turned out,” he said. “Maureen's very gifted, very talented. She brings a lot of experience to the table.”
Carpenter was the third interviewee, “and she kind of blew us out of the water, very impressive.”
He said he had asked her what her first 90 days in this job would look like, and she was very detailed and specific. Noting her experience in Bowling Green in particular, he said “she understands the processes.”
Glass said she “comes from one of the most successful economic development engines in the country, so her experience speaks for itself.”
Dickerson had been the only member of the full authority who was also on the search committee, and when the process came to the point of conducting the interviews, Glass had invited BCEA Chairman David Peterson and Vice Chairman Gary Hartell to be part of that process as well.
“I'm very excited for the hire that we made,” Peterson said. “I think we're going to move Barren County forward. I really look forward to being one the best economic development authorities in the state of Kentucky, if not the United States.”
-- Editorial note: The quote from Carpenter was added after the original report was published.