A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

People in the News: Commerce Lexington promotes Tyra; Blankenship to receive Medal of Excellence

Commerce Lexington Inc. has announced that Tyrone Tyra has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Community and Minority Business Development.

He has spent the last 22 years working for economic development agencies and has led Commerce Lexington’s Community and Minority Business Development Program since 2005.

Tyrone Tyra

His responsibilities at Commerce Lexington Inc. include helping companies build connections through public & private sector purchasing assistance, minority business recruitment, business referral assistance, community outreach, advocacy, business certification, technical assistance, and client business plan development.

Tyra also manages the Access Loan small business financing program, which has facilitated approximately $15.8 million in approved loans for small businesses since its inception in 2001, and the recently created Minority Business Accelerator program, which helps accelerate the development of sizable minority business enterprises, further strengthening the regional minority entrepreneurial community.

Tyra A graduate of LaSalle University and native of Detroit, Michigan.

Former Tesla, Apple executive Blankenship to receive Medal of Excellence at ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference

Former Tesla Motors, Apple Computer and GAP Inc. executive George Blankenship will receive the Alltech Medal of Excellence during ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference (ONE17) in Lexington, Kentucky, USA, held May 21–24.

An annual event committed to inspiring innovation, the 33rd international conference is expected to draw crowds of more than 3,000 from nearly 80 countries for discussion of disruptive ideas in business, technology, food and agriculture.

George Blankenship

The Alltech Medal of Excellence is Alltech’s highest accolade, awarded annually to someone of great accomplishment and leadership. Previous honorees include former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and Norman Borlaug, the father of “the Green Revolution.”

Blankenship is receiving the Alltech Medal of Excellence in recognition of his ability to create unrivaled customer experiences with two of the most disruptive brands of our time: Apple and Tesla.

Blankenship pioneered Apple, Tesla and GAP’s retail philosophies, transforming the customer experience. At Apple, he crafted one of the most dominant retail growth strategies in recent history, growing brand loyalty and exponential profit. Then, at Tesla, Blankenship redefined the car buying experience, moving the Tesla brand into shopping malls, something never done before by a car manufacturer.

At ONE17, Blankenship will take the main plenary stage in Rupp Arena to inspire businesses to disrupt their industry and emerge as leaders.

Registration is now open for ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference in Lexington, Kentucky, USA, held May 21–24. Visit one.alltech.com to learn more and to register. Join the conversation online with #ONE17.

UK author Underwood wins two IPPY Awards for crime book

Richard H. Underwood, the William L. Matthews Jr. Professor of Law at the University of Kentucky College of Law has been announced as a winner of two Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) for his book, “CrimeSong: True Crime Stories From Southern Murder Ballads.”

Richard H. Underwood

The IPPY Awards, the world’s largest international and regional book awards contest, is conducted annually to honor the year’s best independently published titles. Out of 5,000 entries, 419 medals were awarded to authors from 43 U.S. states, seven Canadian provinces and 15 countries overseas. The IPPY Awards are one of the highest honors for books published by independent publishers.

Underwood received a silver medal for best nonfiction in the southeast region and a bronze medal for nonfiction cover design in the overall national awards.

“My wife and I were very pleased. This was our first venture into the ‘trade,’ and to get two awards on our first book was a bit of a shocker,” Underwood said.

“CrimeSong,” a 328-page book which plunges readers into the riveting true crimes behind 24 Southern murder ballads, was published by Shadelandhouse Modern Press LLC last year. The book brings to life a series of stories filled with jump-off-the-page real and memorable characters, shadowy history, courtroom dramas, murders, mayhem and music. It is available for purchase at http://smpbooks.com/.

In addition to the IPPY Awards, Underwood is a finalist in the true crime category for a contest run by Foreword “Indies,” another independent publisher’s organization. The results will be released in June.

And, keep an eye out for Underwood’s next book, “GasLight Lawyers,” which will explore lawyers and criminal trials in the Gilded Age in New York City. The book is set to release later this year.

Heiner to address annual Sparks Lecture at Murray State University

The Murray State University College of Education and Human Services will be hosting its annual Harry M. Sparks Distinguished Lecture Series on Tuesday, May 2 at Wrather Auditorium in Murray.

Secretary Hal Heiner

A posters presentation at 4:30 p.m. will precede the lecture to be held at 5 p.m. This year’s featured speaker is Secretary Hal Heiner of Kentucky’s Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

Heiner is anticipated to speak about the future of education policy in Kentucky.

The following honors will also be presented during the evening: the Outstanding Educator Award, the Outstanding Service Leadership Award and the Dr. Charles and Marlene Johnson Outstanding Education Faculty Award.

Following the lecture and awards portions of the event, a complimentary fish fry dinner will be served.

Murray State University provides an “Opportunity Afforded” for more than 10,000 students through a high-quality education with experiential learning, academic and personal growth and the ability to secure a lifetime of success. The University’s main campus is located in Murray, Ky. and includes five regional campuses. For more information on Murray State University, please visit murraystate.edu.

Grossman re-elected faculty trustee at UK

Robert B. Grossman, professor of chemistry at the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences, has been re-elected to serve as faculty trustee on the university’s Board of Trustees. His new three-year term will end June 30, 2020.

Grossman edged out his closest competitors in the final round of voting, which concluded with strong voter turnout at noon Wednesday, as 37.6 percent of the eligible voters cast a ballot. Of the 837 votes cast, Grossman won 437, including 310 first-place votes.

His closest competitor, Patrick McGrath, received 333 total votes. Margaret Mohr-Schroeder had 244 first place votes.

“First, I want to express my appreciation for the willingness of all the candidates to serve the university,” Grossman said.

Staff report

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