|Julie Kirkpatrick, president and CEO of meetNKY, spoke at the Fort Thomas council meeting on the shared vision of Northern Kentucky economic development organizations. |
by Robin Gee
Representatives from three organizations with closely aligned missions to support and promote growth in Northern Kentucky are visiting cities, counties and other organizations across the region to share their vision to present a more unified voice in and for the region.
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Julie Kirkpatrick, president and CEO of meetNKY, a three-county tourism organization, brought the presentation to the November meeting of Fort Thomas City Council. Brent Cooper, president and CEO of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, and Lee Crume, president and CEO of the development-focused Tri-ED, are also making the rounds.
"The NKY Chamber, MeetNKY and NKY Tri-ED have been working together to better align our efforts, and we want folks to know what we’re up to. I have to say, the reception we’ve received has been wonderful! The cities and counties understand there are regional issues and opportunities that transcend the borders of their jurisdictions, and they’ve been eager to have these conversations," explained Cooper.
"We want the Northern Kentucky metro region to be aligned on major regional challenges wherever possible. Whether it’s workforce challenges, transportation issue, or opportunities for better health, we want to encourage the kind of conscious, long-term investments that have long been the drivers of local economic growth and high standards of living here in Northern Kentucky," he said.
|Orangetheory Fitness, Newport Pavilion.|
Kirkpatrick briefed Fort Thomas council members and those present on what the three organizations have been doing. Right now, she said, all three are focused on workforce as a major concern.
Health, is another shared concern, she said, echoing the chamber’s motto "Good health is good business."
"We’ve been working with all our businesses and the visitor industry to make sure we make health a focus," she said.
"And transportation is obviously a big advocacy mission of all our organizations," she said. "You can’t visit Northern Kentucky if you can’t get to Northern Kentucky, so we are very interested in everything that’s going on in transportation."
Updates on projects at the NKY Chamber
Kirkpatrick started with an update (or a reminder) of initiatives at the NKY Chamber.
The organization puts leadership training and support at the forefront. The description of the chamber’s GROW NKY initiative from their website outlines the objective and mission of the project. "Growing Regional Outcomes Through Workforce (GROW NKY) is a strategic workforce collective comprised of leaders across key industries, educational institutions and community organizations working collaboratively to leverage the region’s assets to grow, attract and retain a globally competitive workforce."
Kirkpatrick also pointed out the organization’s leadership development programs, in particular the Women’s Initiative. In other chamber news, the organization recently hired Tami Wilson as the new vice president of Public Affairs.
Two events coming up at the NKY Chamber are:
- "Where We Stand," a panel discussion with elected leaders from the Northern Kentucky Caucus and two members from the Senate and House leadership. It will be held Tuesday, November 30, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Triple Crown Country Club in Union.
- Annual Chamber Dinner with the theme "Raising Our Spirits" will be held at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington on Thursday, December 16, from 5 to 8:30 p.m.
Find information on these events and about membership on the NKY Chamber website.
Here’s what’s been happening with meetNKY
"We are working on destination assessment and strategic planning right now," said Kirkpatrick. She said she likes to look at Northern Kentucky as an amusement park and figure out what the next "ride" will be — and then focus on supporting that next project.
She then shared some news that is a source of pride for Fort Thomas. "We’ve also worked very closely with our good friends at Bourbon Review this year. Did you all know that Fort Thomas has one of the best bourbon bars in America here at the Midway Cafe? There are 11 bourbon of the best bourbon bars in Northern Kentucky, and I’m really excited that this year that Midway Cafe joined that list."
The B Line, is another initiative involving bars, restaurants and distilleries in our area that brings many new visitors to the area, Kirkpatrick noted.
"Finally, what I’m most excited about right now, we are working on a grant process with Southbank Partners to fully make the Riverfront Commons come to a reality," she said.
She is hopeful the money will come through with recovery plans to help bolster the tourism and hospitality industry, she said. "It’ll be great for Fort Thomas, great for Silver Grove, great for Bellevue—all of our cities—to have Riverfront Commons," she added.
Learn more on the meetNKY website.
News from Tri-ED
The regional economic development organization, Tri-ED, is focusing on a four-pronged approach to building and expanding Northern Kentucky, Kirkpatrick said.
- Developing a data-informed community leveraging the work of Northern Kentucky University
- Activating the Northern Kentucky Port Authority to help make land ready for development
- Delivering customized workforce solutions to help industries with the most demand to have a plan to get there
- Targeted business growth and support for area industries
|Tri-ED has a four-pronged strategy to encourage growth and development in Northern Kentucky.|
For more, go to the Tri-ED website.
A look at the census for our region
Kirkpatrick noted that data from the 2020 census has just been released. Overall, the Greater Cincinnati area is on a growth trajectory, she said, but not at the pace of nearby regions such as Nashville and Columbus.
The workforce challenge continues with the census data showing that many in our workforce will have aged out by the year 2050.
The population growth is slowing, she said, and the population is getting older. And, new talent is leaving the area. Keeping up with other markets will be a challenge for the region.
"We’ve got to keep talent here and be aggressive about influencing people to move here," she said.
Summing up, Kirkpatrick said the mission of the Northern Kentucky organizations devoted to growing the region is to find ways to do exactly that.
"Everything we do is to build so that people will want to move, invest and thrive here. This is why we are working together."