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Friday, January 29, 2021

Blue North Announces Board of Directors

Kenton County Judge Executive, Kris Knochelmann, is the new Board Char of Blue North.


Blue North, Northern Kentucky’s hub for entrepreneurs, startups, creatives, and small businesses, is excited to kick off 2021 by announcing members of its Board of Directors.

“We’ve assembled an all-star team to advise and guide Blue North and its offerings to the region’s entrepreneurs and startup community, and I’m excited about our region’s future with their leadership,” said Brit Fitzpatrick, Executive Director. “Our growing Board of Directors represents Northern Kentucky’s eCommerce, healthcare, local growth, and supply chain sectors. A new year presents new opportunities for many – especially as we continue to navigate through the pandemic – and Blue North is the ecosystem’s resource connector and expert.” 

The Board of Directors are:

Kris Knochelmann, Board Chair
Kris serves as Kenton County Judge-Executive and previously served as County Commissioner for District Three. A lifelong resident of Kenton County, Kris and his wife Lisa are owners of Schneller and Knochelmann Plumbing, Heating and Air, a business founded in 1928, with offices in Covington and Cincinnati. Kris has been working in the industry since he was 15. The company now consists of 85 employees. He is a Covington Latin School graduate and a Xavier University alum with a degree in accounting.

Stephen Saunders, Vice Chair
Stephen currently serves as the Director of Innovation & I.T. at the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG). He has a deep passion for data analytics and visualization and fed that desire while serving as Senior Manager of Terminal Operations and Customer Service Operations Analyst at CVG. Through the rapidly growing innovation portfolio that he helped create and now leads at CVG, Stephen has become very accustomed to collaborating and building with start-up companies around the world. Stephen holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership from the University of Mount St. Joseph and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Northern Kentucky University.

Matt Hollenkamp, Secretary
Matt is an Emmy-award winning advertising and marketing executive with more than 20 years of experience building brands across consumer-packaged goods, health care, and non-profit industries. He’s currently Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for St. Elizabeth Healthcare. A lifelong Northern Kentucky resident, Matt previously spent nine years at P&G, where he held a variety of leadership positions in brand management and within their Ventures organization. Matt is active in the Greater Cincinnati entrepreneurship and innovation community serving as a connector, advisor, and mentor. He received his bachelor’s degree in business from NKU and MBA from Xavier University.

Christine Russell, Treasurer
Christine is the Vice President of Strategy for Northern Kentucky Tri-ED. In this role, she is responsible for defining and implementing the strategic direction of the organization, as well as managing the day-to-day operations and finances. Christine previously served as Economic Development Director for the City of Springdale, Ohio where she focused on expanding the economic base of the city through business attraction, business retention/expansion, and project development. Christine has a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University and a Master of Science from the University of Findlay.

Carmen Hickerson
Carmen serves as the Assistant Vice President of Economic Engagement & Government Relations at Northern Kentucky University. She has more than 25 years of experience in public affairs, corporate communications, and consulting in the corporate and non-profit sectors, including banking, healthcare, and business association management. Her previous roles have included Vice President of Strategic Relations for Metro United Way (Louisville, KY), and Vice President of Public Affairs & Communications for Greater Louisville Inc. Carmen earned her bachelor’s degree with honors from Morehead State University in communications, public relations, and public affairs.

Jesse Simmons
Jesse is the President of Simmons Supply Chain Solutions. A retired P&G executive, Jesse is an innovative and resourceful supply chain expert, providing insight and leadership to Supply Chain OKI, Partners for a Competitive Workforce, and the National Fund for Workplace Solutions. He is a graduate of DePaul University. 


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