DAVE ADKISSON is president and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, the largest business association in Kentucky.
The Chamber represents businesses large and small, from Paducah to Pikeville, and works to advocate a strong business climate in Kentucky. The organization’s slogan is “Uniting Business, Advancing Kentucky.”
Adkisson and his staff work with the Kentucky legislature, the governor, the state’s congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., and in the court system to advance Kentucky.
During his fourteen years at the Kentucky Chamber, the organization has doubled in size, increased its staff to forty professionals including five staff lobbyists, created the Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center, expanded its headquarters in Frankfort and placed a major emphasis on public policy, governmental relations and improving education. The Kentucky Chamber, located on I-64 in Frankfort, is routinely listed as the top lobbying organization in the state. Its board of directors consists of 60 key business leaders elected from across Kentucky.
In 2009, the Chamber released its in-depth analysis of state spending, called the Leaky Bucket report. The subsequent Leaky Bucket campaign has helped focus Frankfort’s attention on state spending problems, and has helped force some long overdue solutions that have saved Kentucky hundreds of millions of dollars. It contributed to major spending reforms in our prison system, our public pension systems, the state’s Medicaid program and on public employee health insurance.
The Kentucky Chamber was named the 2017 State Chamber of the Year by the national Council of State Chambers.
Adkisson served as the 2010 chairman of the board of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), an association that represents more than 7,000 chamber professionals across the country. In addition, he was elected by his peers as the 2014 chairman of the Council of State Chambers. He served six years on the board of directors of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s largest business association and chaired the U.S. Chamber’s education policy committee. He championed the creation of a national policy center for state chambers of commerce, a think-tank now professionally staffed in Washington, D.C.
Adkisson regularly contributes commentary for the business community in the state’s newspapers and television stations. In 2010, he was featured on PBS’s NewsHour with Gwen Ifill and presented the U.S. Chamber’s response to a meeting with President Obama.
Adkisson is originally from Owensboro, Ky., where he began his career working for the local chamber of commerce. Later, at age 34, he was elected mayor of Owensboro and re-elected without opposition four years later. He was recruited in 1999 to become president of the Birmingham, Alabama Chamber of Commerce and served five years in that post before returning to Kentucky.
Adkisson has held several statewide leadership posts in Kentucky including chairman of the Kentucky Advocates for Higher Education and chairman of the Kentucky Center for Public Issues. He was a co-founder of Leadership Kentucky. In January, he will be honored as the 2019 recipient of Leadership Kentucky’s “Flame of Excellence” award.
He is a graduate of Georgetown College where he now serves as chairman of the board of trustees and holds a master’s degree in ethics from Harvard University. He resides in Lexington with his wife Bonnie. They have two grown children. In his free time, he enjoys reading, travel and above all, spending time with his three grandchildren who live in Lexington.