Kentucky Recovery in the Workplace Conference - 2020 Speakers

  • Andy Beshear

    Governor • Commonwealth of Kentucky

    Andy Beshear, Governor, Commonwealth of Kentucky Andy Beshear grew up in Fayette, Franklin, and Clark counties and graduated from Henry Clay High School. He is the son of Steve and Jane Beshear, the 61st Governor and first lady. Along the way, they instilled in Andy the teachings of Andy’s grandfather, a Baptist minister from Dawson Springs, Kentucky, including the values of family, faith, and public service. Andy graduated magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University and earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was a Dean’s Scholar. After law school, Andy worked at an international law firm based in Washington, D.C., and it was during that time that he met his wife, Britainy. After marrying, Andy and Britainy moved back to Kentucky and Andy continued his legal career at Stites & Harbison, where he was recognized as the nation’s top consumer lawyer by Lawyer Monthly and received many accolades for his litigation work. Andy also tailored his practice to represent non-profit youth organizations, helping implement background checks and other protective measures to keep kids safe. The values Andy learned growing up, his experience as a private practice attorney and his commitment to his community led him to run for and become Attorney General in 2016. In his role as Kentucky’s 50th Attorney General, Andy fought tirelessly for our families. He fought against the opioid epidemic, suing opioid manufacturers and distributors that flooded our state with pills; creating the Kentucky Opioid Disposal Program to remove unused opioids from Kentuckians’ medicine cabinets; and investigating and prosecuting rogue doctors and drug traffickers. To protect the Commonwealth’s children, the Office of the Attorney General, under Andy Beshear, arrested record numbers of child predators and trained thousands of Kentuckians on how to recognize, report and prevent child abuse and human trafficking. Andy worked diligently to protect seniors from scams, fraud and physical and financial abuse. He was a leader in the fight to protect access to health care and to manage the rising costs of prescription drugs. As Attorney General, Andy made it a top priority of his office to end the state’s rape kit backlog, seeking justice for victims of sexual assault. Through settlements, he secured millions of dollars in funding to get kits tested and to make much-needed upgrades at the Kentucky State Police crime lab, and he launched one of the nation’s preeminent cold case units to investigate and prosecute cases. As a result, Kentucky is one of only a few states to have now tested every backlogged kit. Andy Beshear was an independent voice as Attorney General and fought to uphold Kentucky’s constitution and laws. He stood up for higher education and hard-earned pensions. He knows when state government operates in secret, it is not working for the people and that is why Andy is committed to an open, transparent and inclusive administration. Andy and Britainy have two young children, Will and Lila. The family attends Beargrass Christian Church, where both Andy and Britainy serve as deacons, and they volunteer with several local organizations.  
  • Beth Davisson

    Founding Executive Director • Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center

    Beth Davisson is the Founding Executive Director of the Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center.  The Workforce Center is part of the philharmonic arm of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce; the state’s largest association advocating on behalf of business. Beth joined the Chamber in 2017 to begin building the Workforce Center as its only fully dedicated employee.  Since then, the center has grown to a team of ten and continues to expand their support to employers and efforts in building a stronger workforce. Beth is a lifelong resident of Kentucky, earning her undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky and MBA from Sullivan University. She has spent the last 10+ years advocating for workforce in Kentucky and the nation’s capital and aligning talent to the strategic plans of business. Beth was honored as a “Top 40 under 40” and named a “Top 20 People to Know in Human Resources” by Business First Louisville. Previous employers include Greater Louisville Inc., The Oliver Group, and Sullivan University. Beth also serves as the Workforce Readiness Chair for the Kentucky Society for Human Resource Management.  
  • Darnell Ferguson

    Founder and Owner • SuperChef's Restaurant

    Darnell “SuperChef” Ferguson is most recently known for appearing on the premiere of Guy Fieri’s “Tournament of Champions” where he won in his battle round against the legendary Alex Guarnaschelli. As Guy Fieri told Darnell, “You just pulled off the biggest upset in culinary history.” Darnell is also the winner of the Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge hosted by Giada De Laurentis on The Food Network and has appeared as a guest on such shows as Rachael Ray, Beat Bobby Flay and Guys Grocery Games. Darnell is responsible for bringing high-end fine dining to short-order cooking and is best known for his innovative “Urban Eclectic” style which uses traditional flavors in untraditional ways. His restaurants are located in Louisville, Kentucky, Columbus, Ohio, and Tuscumbia, Alabama. Darnell has inspired many with his story of adversity as he went from living out of his car to becoming a nationally recognized TV personality and restauranteur. Darnell uses his platform as an opportunity to give back to the community, including teaching others how food and the Culinary Arts can positively impact your life.  
  • Amanda Hall

    Policy Strategist, Smart Justice • American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky

    Amanda Hall joined the ACLU of Kentucky staff as the organization’s first Smart on Crime Field Organizer in November 2017. The ACLU of Kentucky has taken the lead in establishing Kentucky Smart on Crime, a broad-based coalition working for common-sense justice reforms that enhance public safety, strengthen communities, and promote cost effective sentencing alternatives. Amanda has focused on the responsibility of creating and mobilizing a statewide infrastructure of advocates for criminal justice reform. Playing a significant role in continuing to build out the coalition and mobilizing ACLU activists, supporters, and volunteers to advance the common-sense justice reform priorities of the coalition. Before joining the ACLU, Amanda served as program director of The Healing Place for Women in Louisville, KY. Amanda is currently a student at the University of Louisville Kent School of Social Work. She is also a registered peer support specialist in the substance abuse field.  
  • Van Ingram

    Executive Director • Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy

    Van Ingram, Executive Director, Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy Van joined ODCP in November 2004, shortly after it was created with the mission of coordinating Kentucky’s substance abuse efforts in enforcement, treatment and prevention/education. Van served with the Maysville Kentucky Police Department for more than 23 years, the last six as Chief of Police. He is a former President of the Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police, and was named “Kentucky Chief of the Year” in 2001. He is the 2004 recipient of the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Law Enforcement, as well as, the Melvin Shein Award for distinguished service to Kentucky law enforcement. Van is a certified law enforcement instructor and has trained officers across the state on a variety of topics, including community-oriented policing, case management, and “Kentucky Substance Abuse Issues” for Chiefs, Sheriff’s and command staff. He is a frequent speaker on a variety of substance abuse issues both in Kentucky and nationally.  
  • Scott Koloms

    President/CEO • FMS pbc

    Scott Koloms is a leader in the good business movement in Kentucky. As President/ CEO of FMS pbc, the first certified B-Corporation janitorial service in the world, and Founder of Canopy, a non-profit aiming to make Kentucky first in good business, Scott’s mission is to have a positive impact on people and communities.  Scott is a sought-after speaker who inspires audiences to unite with a common purpose of adopting socially-conscious business models. His presentations focus on both his personal journey towards social entrepreneurship and the concepts behind his FMS for-profit social enterprise.  
  • Rehana Lerandeau

    Fair Chance Program Manager • Checkr

    Rehana is a dedicated fighter for vulnerable talent with a track record of successful programming and thought leadership. She has experience curating cultural experiences and building business transformation services to support the successful hiring of reentry workers and diverse talent. Rehana has supporting experience in event planning, project/program management, public speaking, and marketing & communications.  
  • Desiree Morton

    Learning Experience Director • Overmorrow Group

    Desiree Morton is the Learning Experience Director with the Overmorrow Group, a consultancy focused on bringing humanity back into the workplace. We believe that when an employee can bring their complete humanity to work, the company benefits by creating better products, increasing retention, and increasing workplace satisfaction. Desiree's experience spans higher education, human resources, and recruiting.  
  • Michael A. Rodenberg

    CEO • Murakami Manufacturing USA, Inc.

    Michael serves as a board of director for Murakami Corporation Japan as well as CEO of Murakami Manufacturing USA, Inc. He has a bachelor’s degree in Japanese from Brigham Young University and an MBA in Global Management from the University of Phoenix. Over the past 25 years, he has worked at several automotive component suppliers with assignments in Japan, China, and various locations in the U.S. Since joining Murakami in 2011, he has taken a specific interest in helping young people make the jump from school to the workforce.  He currently serves on the board for The Japan America Society of Kentucky and is the past-board chair of The Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center. In November of this year he will release his first book, "BRIDGE THE GAP How Leaders Can Revitalize Broken Organizations".  
  • Kate Shanks

    Senior Vice President of Public Affairs • Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

    Kate Shanks is Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for the Kentucky Chamber, the state’s largest business association.  Kate joined the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce in 2015. During her tenure directing Public Affairs, she led the effort to adopt significant legislation such as COVID-19 liability protections for employers and unemployment insurance tax relief in 2021 and successfully advocated for recovery through employment legislation and alcohol shipping modernization in 2020. She oversees the Chamber’s advocacy in Frankfort and D.C., policy research and design, state and federal agenda development, grassroots expansion, and political engagement.  Kate is a lifelong resident of Kentucky and earned both a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Conservation and Management and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Kentucky. Before joining the Chamber, Kate spent nearly 12 years working for state agencies in communications, policy analysis, and legislative affairs. Kate lives in Frankfort with her husband, Greg, and two sons, Tyler and Brendan.  She is the daughter of a small business owner and is originally from Louisville.      
  • Ashli Watts

    President and CEO • Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

    Ashli Watts was named the President and CEO for the Kentucky Chamber, the state’s largest business association, in November 2019. Ashli joined the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce in November of 2012 and during her tenure a Senior Vice President of Public Affairs at the Chamber led efforts in passing significant pieces of legislation such as felony expungement in 2016, right to work legislative in 2017, workers’ compensation reform in 2018 and reinstating arbitration agreements in 2019. As part of the Chamber’s leadership team, the Kentucky Chamber was named National State Chamber of the Year in 2017. Prior to joining the Chamber, she worked at the Kentucky Bar Association and the Legislative Research Commission. Ashli graduated from Campbellsville University with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History in 2004 and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration from the University of Louisville. Ashli is a 2016 graduate of Leadership Kentucky, currently serves on the boards for Campbellsville University, Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), where she was also named a 40 under 40 in 2020. Ashli also serves on the Kerner Commission, Agritech Council, and the Commonwealth Education Continuum, appointed by Gov. Andy Beshear. She currently resides in Frankfort with her husband Ryan and two children, Emma and Carter.  
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