Kentucky Recovery in the Workplace Conference - Speakers

Ryan Bowman, Manager, Workforce Recovery Program, Workforce Center, Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center
Ryan Bowman is the Program Manager of the Workforce Recovery Program at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. He works with the business community to help show how being a transformational employer can be mutually beneficial for everyone involved. Ryan is a combat veteran, serving two tours in Iraq. He received his undergraduate degree in Psychology from Morehead State University and is currently pursuing his MPA from Murray State University. Ryan is excited to have a hand in sculpting the business landscape of Kentucky through his continued efforts to reduce the stigma of addiction, addressing criminal justice reform, and assisting employers and organizations in those areas through programs offered by the Kentucky Chamber Foundation.

Patrick Bryant, Recruitment Manager, AppHarvest
As the recruitment manager for Greenhouse Operations at AppHarvest, Patrick Bryant is committed to helping individuals impacted by substance use disorder find meaningful employment to assist in their recovery. Patrick joined AppHarvest in 2021 with over 20 years of talent acquisition experience across many different industries.  Since joining AppHarvest, he has helped develop recruitment strategies, assisted in the development of second-chance programs and created partnerships with numerous organizations committed to helping individuals achieve long-term recovery from substance use.

Albert Crout, III, D.Min. Organizational Leadership, Director of Kentucky Recovery Career Network, Isaiah House Treatment Center
Dr. Albert Crout is a trainer and advocate for youth and adults in need of strategies and support to improve their lives through a compassionate second chance approach. He utilizes his diverse professional experiences in the areas of education, business, ministry, and education leadership at the Isaiah House Treatment Center to serve as the Director of Kentucky Recovery Career Network. He has attained a Doctorate in Organizational Leadership, Master's Degrees in Christian Ministries, Educational Leadership, English Literature for Secondary Education, and a Bachelor's degree in Secondary English and History Education. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Hermeneutics. He has an extensive history of providing speaking engagements, trainings, and presentations to public schools, colleges, churches, businesses, and civic groups. Attendees of his speaking engagements have described the presentations as "engaging, interactive, informative, and entertaining," Dr. Crout is married and has three children. He and his family have been lifelong residents of Central Kentucky. They love animals, have raised horses, cats, and dogs, and enjoy being actively involved in their church and community organizations.

Beth Davisson, Senior Vice President, Foundation, Kentucky Chamber
Beth Davisson is a Senior Vice President with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. She leads the Kentucky Chamber Foundation, the philanthropic 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 the Foundation’s only fully dedicated employee.  Since then, the Foundation has grown to a team of fifteen and continues to expand its 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 the 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. She serves on the boards of KYSHRM and Goodwill Industries. Beth was appointed by Governor Andy Beshear to the Executive Committee for the Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board, leading the state’s education attainment and employer engagement efforts, and is a Talent Pipeline Management Fellow for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  

Pradeep Deshpande, Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering, University of Louisville
Pradeep B. Deshpande is Professor Emeritus in and former Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Louisville, and President of Six Sigma and Advanced Controls (SAC). Pradeep joined the Chemical Engineering faculty at the University of Louisville in 1975 and worked there for thirty-three years, retiring in 2008. He introduced SAC’s Six Sigma Green Belt training and certification program in the newly revamped MBA program of Gatton College of Business & Economics, University of Kentucky in 2005, and taught the six sigma course in their MBA program in Athens. Greece for twelve years.  Born in Hyderabad and raised in Bidar, Pradeep obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and Physics from Government Arts and Science College, Gulbarga that is affiliated with Karnatak University, Dharwar, India. He came to the United States nearly sixty years ago, completing his B. S. and M. S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alabama, and a Ph. D. also in the same field from the University of Arkansas. He has briefly worked/taught at the University of Arkansas, Howard University, Drexel University, Northrop Space labs, Bechtel, Inc., Exxon Chemical Co., DuPont, Mobil Research & Development Company, IIT, Kanpur, IIT Madras, NCL Pune, and UDCT Mumbai. Pradeep’s expertise and experience in advanced control & optimization and six sigma are internationally recognized. He has authored or coauthored seven text books and over one hundred refereed papers and presentations. While on the faculty of Chemical Engineering at the University of Louisville, he supervised twenty doctoral scholars and over forty master’s scholars. Pradeep has made pioneering contributions to six sigma by deciphering what makes six sigma possible in the fundamental sense based on four natural laws he articulated and by extending the applicability of six sigma to dynamic and nonlinear systems. With these enhancements, it becomes possible to apply six sigma to any work process whether manufacturing or transactional, static or dynamic, linear or nonlinear, continuous, batch, or discrete parts-manufacturing. Partnering with a well-known B School in Pune in 2005, Prof. Deshpande helped establish the SCMHRD-SAC, USA Six Sigma Excellence Awards Sponsored by the Sakaal Group for corporate India, the first of its kind.  In the nineties, Dr. Deshpande developed a theory of rise and decline of civilizations that is based on three natural laws he articulated. The theory allowed him to correctly predict the imminent rise of China and India in that order in the early nineties.  Emerging nations are characterized by high defect levels in the products they produce and the services they offer, while developed nations are characterized by low defect levels. Lowest defect levels in processes and transactions occur in the state of minimum variance.

Alex Elswick, Founder, Voices of Hope and Assistant Extension Professor, University of Kentucky
Dr. Alex Elswick is a tireless advocate for people with substance use disorders.  He currently serves the University of Kentucky as an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist for Substance Use Prevention and Recovery.   Alex is a trained researcher, recovery coach, and mental health therapist, as well as the co-founder of Voices of Hope, a peer-driven recovery community organization.  But most importantly, Alex is himself a person in long term recovery from the chronic disease of addiction.

Nan Gibson, Executive Director for Public Policy and Corporate Responsibility, JPMorgan Chase PolicyCenter
Nan Gibson is Executive Director for Public Policy and Corporate Responsibility at the JPMorgan Chase PolicyCenter. In this role, she works to develop and advance evidence-based policy solutions to drive inclusive economic growth by bringing together the firm’s global expertise, data, research, and philanthropic investments.  Nan provides policy expertise across a broad range of economic issues and conducts outreach to key stakeholders to build unique partnerships for initiatives related to economic security and workforce development. She works closely with criminal justice reform leaders to advance policies that lower barriers to employment and create greater economic opportunity for individuals involved in the justice system. She developed the strategic framework and co-leads the corporate recruitment and programmatic work of the Second Chance Business Coalition. Nan previously served as Chief of Staff for the White House Council of Economic Advisers and as Executive Director of the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress. 

Van Ingram, Executive Director, Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, Commonwealth of Kentuky
Van Ingram is the Executive Director for the 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 a former 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.

Jamie Johnson, Vice President, Light Duty Distribution, Dorman Products
Mr. Johnson leads the light-duty operations team for Dorman Products, a leading supplier of automotive aftermarket products. He has an MBA from the University of Phoenix, BS in Management from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University with an AAS in Engineering Technology from the Community College of the Air Force. Mr. Johnson has served his county in both the United States Marine Corp and the United States Air Force. He is the founder of a Non-Profit organization called “Stand With Us” where he passionately pursues solutions to the many impeding obstacles to individuals seeking recovery. Efforts have directly resulted in over 50 people returning to the workforce.

Morgan Kirk, Program Director, Workforce Recovery, Workforce Center, Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center
Morgan Kirk is a native of Harlan County, driven by connecting the right people to the right resources. She has worked in child services and the healthcare industry for more than a decade, identifying and helping to remove social determinant of health barriers. Through her role as Director of the Workforce Recovery Program with the Kentucky Chamber Foundation, Morgan works directly with businesses to focus on economic stability for individuals in recovery and with justice history, leading barriers for individuals who experience disparities. Morgan received her undergraduate degree in Sociology from Morehead State University and currently resides in Perry County, supporting local non-profits through multiple committee and volunteer opportunities.

Lisa Lourie, Owner/CEO, Spy Coast Farm
Lisa worked as an ICU nurse before obtaining her MS in Health Care Management. She started Spy Coast Farm in 2003 and now breeds around 50 foals a year at her Lexington, KY farm. Lisa is committed to the advancement of the equine industry in America. To that end, Spy Coast Farm offers breeding and training services. They offer CEM Quarantine and a state-of-the-art Rehabilitation and Fitness Center and recently opened their Equine Education Center. Spy Coast has an extensive internship program, including veterinary externs, undergraduate students, international students, and an annual 12-month veterinary internship. In 2019, Lisa and the SCF Human Resource Manager attended the Blackburn Correctional Facility Farm Day, interviewed potential grooms on the spot, and have since hired elite grooms from the TRF/Blackburn program and the Lexington Rescue Mission. Lisa sits on the U.K. Gluck Equine Research Center Board, The Kentucky Horse Park Foundation Board, and the Midway College Equine Advisory Committee. She also sits on a variety of USEF and USHJA committees. She was awarded the USEF "Breeder of the Year Award" in 2018.

Laurie Mays, Kentucky Chamber Foundation Ag & Equine Talent Pipeline Manager, Kentucky  Chamber
Laurie Mays joined the Chamber as the Agriculture and Equine Talent Pipeline Project Manager in 2018. She works cooperatively with the equine and agriculture industries to bridge the workforce gap in Kentucky. Before her time there, she held the roles of Operations Manager and Director of Youth and Community Education at the Kentucky Horse Park. She also developed a nationally recognized equine program in conjunction with the United States Pony Clubs at Locust Trace AgriScience Center. By understanding the industry through these endeavors, Mays works statewide with employers, educators, and other agriculture stakeholders to develop a talent pipeline that will ensure a consistent, skilled labor pool.

Abby McIntire, Warden, Blackburn Correctional Facility
McIntire began her career in 1998 as a correctional officer at the Kentucky State Reformatory and, in 2000, transferred to the Division of Probation and Parole. In September 2005, she went back to Roederer Correctional Complex (RCC). After several promotions at RCC, McIntire was then named deputy warden at Blackburn Correctional Complex in 2015 and Warden in 2021. Since being at BCC, McIntire has overseen programs/operations and security.

LaKisha Miller, Executive Director, Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center
LaKisha Miller is the Executive Director of the Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center.  For nearly five years, the Kentucky Chamber Foundation's Workforce Center has represented over 68,000 businesses, convening employers to understand their hiring needs and providing programs to educate Kentuckians and prepare them for meaningful employment.  LaKisha has spent the last four years advocating for the workforce in Kentucky by aligning talent to the needs of businesses across the state.  LaKisha serves on several Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board committees and statewide workforce development committees.   The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has recognized her nationally as a leading workforce professional to guide the national movement towards employer-led workforce systems.  LaKisha currently serves as the chair of the Jobs and Workforce Data (JWD) Network and on the T3 Leadership Committee committed to improving the development, sharing, and utilization of high-quality workforce data.

Kim Moore, Founder and CEO, Joshua Community Connectors
Kimberly Moore is the CEO/Founder of Joshua Community Connectors. She is in her 24th year of sobriety and is invested in CHANGE across the state. She is the mother of four children and Nana to six amazing grandchildren. She credits an amazing family and support system for her recovery. She started her recovery journey at the Beacon House and is so GRATEFUL for generosity of Don Blackburn who is the Founder of the Beacon House. She uses her PHD from the streets to change lives. Originally from West Virginia she credits who she is to her parents and the village that surrounded her. She is a former Metro Government Employee who was able to transition into her current role due to the support from the Kenan Foundation. She truly believes that when you have been brought out of the darkness it is your duty and responsibility to be a light for others.

Rob Perez, Founder and Operator, DV8 Kitchen & Bakery
With 30 years of restaurant experience, Rob has seen first-hand how to build restaurant brands with the Walt Disney Company, Hard Rock Café and as an entrepreneur. Along with his wife Diane, conceptualized, developed and operate four restaurants and a bakery in Lexington, Kentucky.  In 2017, they founded Dv8 Kitchen as a social enterprise focused on giving second chance employment opportunities to people in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction.  Dv8 Kitchen focuses on providing “Live Changing Food”, service and atmosphere.  DV8 uncovered the need for business to change how to employ, motivate and retain employees.  They have formalized the DV8 Employment model and are working with other businesses to apply this model to their businesses focusing on a bottoms-up approach.

Rena Sharpe, Chief Operating Officer, Goodwill Industries of Kentucky
Rena spent the first 29 years of her Career in Automotive Manufacturing at Westport Axle Corporation. It was through her position as Vice-President of Operations, where she became heavily involved in Work Force Development at the local and state level. That involvement included Chairing the Kentuckiana Workforce board and serving on that board for over 5 years as well as being instrumental in launching the Kentucky  Fame Chapter for Greater Louisville. Rena joined Goodwill Industries of Kentucky as Chief Operating Officer in February 2017. In her role at Goodwill, she leads the Retail, Transportation and Logistics, Career Services, and Human Resources state-wide. Rena is actively involved in the community serving on the Louisville Asset Building Board of Directors, New Directions IRISE Committee, Group Violence Intervention (GVI) Governance Committee, the JCPS Academies Guiding Team and the Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) Advisory Group. Rena has seen firsthand how individuals trying to get their lives back on track can excel in the workforce if given a fair chance and prioritizes this focus in all programming at the Goodwill Opportunity Centers across Kentucky.

Brandon Stinnet, Groom, Young Horse Development Center, Spy Coast Farm
Brandon is originally from Whitley County and currently resides in Fayette County.  Brandon has worked as a groom at Spy Coast Farm in the Young Horse Development Center since August 2021.  Before his employment with Spy Coast Farm, Brandon was a student at TRF Second Chances Farm, where he took daily care of 50-60 horses and worked with a herd of 80 head of cattle.  Brandon's favorite part of his job is with the horses.

Catherine Wright, Attorney, Jackson Kelly PLLC
Catherine is an attorney with Jackson Kelly PLLC in Lexington, Kentucky, and is well versed in all aspects of employment law, including defense of employment discrimination, retaliation, breach of contract, wage-hour, intentional tort, ERISA denial of benefits, FMLA, and wrongful discharge claims before federal and state trial courts and appellate courts. Catherine is also highly experienced in defending employers before federal and state agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Kentucky Human Rights Commission and other states' fair employment practice (FEP) agencies, and the Department of Labor. She enjoys devising effective legal solutions and obtaining outstanding results for her clients, whether that client is a large corporation or a small local organization. She enjoys spending time at the barn, riding, and practicing yoga in her free time.



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