Dr. Anton Reece, President of West Kentucky Community and Technical College, has been elected to serve as the 2021 Chair of the Board for the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce. Chad Beyer, Owner of i5 design group, inc., who was Chair in 2020, will serve as Immediate Past Chair. Cory Hicks, Four Rivers Nuclear Partnership, has been elected as Chair-elect.
Dr. Reece will assume the role of Chair in January. Typically, the “annual passing of the gavel” happens at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting and Business Celebration held each year in late January. Due to COVID-19, the Chamber’s Annual Meeting is being postponed until late spring or early summer.
“We typically host 800 people at the Convention Center during our Annual Meeting,” said Chamber President Sandra Wilson. “We know we can’t host that many people together right now and postponing this event is the responsible although disappointing option for us right now.”
Closer to the rescheduled date, the Chamber will accept nominees for its annual awards including Business of the Year, Small Business of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year and others. The Young Leader of Western Kentucky award, co-sponsored by the Four Rivers Business Journal and the Paducah Chamber, has also been postponed. Nominations for the award will open closer to the Celebration date.
Byer and Dr. Reece will both make comments about their terms of service at the Chamber’s Power in Partnership Virtual Breakfast scheduled for January 7th.
Dr. Reece has served more than 26 years in higher education. A native of Barbados, he started out at what was then Paducah Community College (now West Kentucky Community and Technical College) in 1990 as a minority affairs coordinator and counselor. He was the first minority affairs coordinator in the University of Kentucky Community College System. He became the first African-American dean of student affairs at the college. By the time he joined the administrative team at University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2003, he was WKCTC’s dean of student affairs and enrollment. In October 2016, Reece became the second president of West Kentucky Community and Technical College, which is a four-time Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence finalist and currently ranks in the top three colleges among the nation’s more than 1,000 community and technical colleges. Dr. Reece and his wife, Cornelia, are the parents of two daughters, Tina and Kiana.
In addition to Reece, Beyer and Hicks, other members of the Chamber’s 2021 Executive Committee
include: Brent Housman, Housman Financial Group, Vice Chair of the Board and also of Business Advocacy; Mike Karnes, Williams, Williams & Lentz, Treasurer; Susan Ybarzabal, CFSB, Vice Chair of Membership and Marketing; Terri Lundberg, Lundberg Medical Imaging, Vice Chair of Education and Workforce; Jessica Newman, Advantage Insurance Services, Vice Chair of Small Business; and Sandra Wilson, President, Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce.
New Board members joining in 2021 are: Tammy Courtney, Swift & Staley; Katie Englert, Compass Counseling; Chris Hill, Entreneering; Ashley Johnson, U.S. Bank; and Michael Yungmann, Mercy Health Lourdes.
Continuing Board members are: Tony Copeland, Arkema; Whitney Denson, McMurry & Livingston; Jeff Douthitt, GEO Consultants; Bob Ezell, Computer Services, Inc.; Barry Hatcher, Kemper CPA Group, LLP; Dr. Brad Housman, Baptist Health Paducah; Rachel Rayburn, Ingram Barge Co.; Gretta Rose, Beltline Electric; Dennis Rouleau, Barkley Regional Airport; and Shawn Washer, HDR Engineering, Inc.
Ex-officio Board members are: McCracken County Judge Executive Craig Clymer; Paducah Mayor George Bray; Steve Carter, McCracken County Schools; Dr. Donald Shively, Paducah Independent Schools; Jennifer Frazier, Murray State University – Paducah campus; Bruce Wilcox, Greater Paducah Economic Development; Rhiannon Jenkins, Paducah Young Professionals; and Crystal Rothrock, Leadership Paducah Alumni Association.
For more information about the Paducah Chamber or to register for any upcoming virtual events, go to paducahchamber.org.