Economic Development Collaborative 2021 Annual Report

Welcome to the 2021 Annual Report of the University of Kentucky's Economic Development Collaborative (EDC). As UK embarks on a new Strategic Plan,  the EDC plays an important role in its implementation as noted throughout this report. The focus on the EDC's bold ideas and goals will strengthen Kentucky’s economy and improve the lives of its people.  

The EDC Core Committee is made up of representatives from the following offices - President, Provost, Finance and Administration, HealthCare, Student and Academic Life, Research, Human Resources, Information Technology, Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement, University Relations, Institutional Diversity, and Athletics, as well as deans from four colleges and leaders from six economic development engagement areas: the Stuckert Career Center, UK Innovate / Office of Technology Commercialization, the Coldstream Research Campus, the Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky,  the Office of Business Engagement and the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship.

Core Committee Duties

The EDC Core Committee acts as the board of advisors and helps establish the strategy to be executed by the six economic development engagement areas and recommend metrics to measure their success. 

  • Communicate appropriate information to their colleges and departments.

  • Promote and recommend economic development opportunities with a focus on the "Bold Ideas".

  • Encourage other UK officials to be part of the effort. 

  • Advocate for proper resources in terms of leadership, staffing, technology needs, web presence, other expenses, etc. 

  • Develop communication plans and incentives to encourage faculty to identify and coordinate potential opportunities through the EDC.

  • Determine how economic development fits with the Our Path Forward concept teams.

Guiding Principles 

The mission of the EDC is to proactively grow economic prosperity in the Commonwealth in the areas of Talent, Innovation, Place, Partnership, and Equitable Economic Development. 


The EDC guiding principals include:

1. Focusing on the four most impactful bold ideas, and advocating for them to be incorporated in the UK Strategic Plan.

2. Setting the strategy to guide Talent, Innovation, Place, Partnership, and Equitable Economic Development across the University.

  • Talent: Catalyze new job growth and create a talent pipeline for UK students and alumni for job openings in the Commonwealth. Create a culture of life-long learning throughout the university.  Communicate appropriate information back to the colleges and departments.

  • Innovation: Encourage innovation ("loonshots"), appropriate risk taking, creative problem solving, basic and applied research, and support the entrepreneurial ecosystem locally and statewide. 

  • Place: Planning, design, and management of UK’s physical resources including the main campus, the Coldstream Research Campus, and the future development of the Innovation District. Support place making in communities throughout the Commonwealth.  

  • Partnership: The university, government, non-profits, and the business community working closely to grow economic prosperity in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

  • Equitable Economic Development: Break down barriers and expand opportunities for low-income people and minority communities, equitable economic development unlocks the full potential of the local economy. It increases entrepreneurship, ownership, and wealth by investing and taking action in an accountable manner. For a city to become competitive, it must also take equitable action.

3. Assembling the necessary resources to execute new impact and/or innovative opportunities both internally at the university and with external partners. 

4. Advocating for administrative processes and guidelines that favor the emergence of agile qualities in our academic organizations and rewards appropriate risk taking.  

5. Improving communication both internally and externally about various UK economic development activities. 

6. Growing financial resources through business contracts and support through donations.

7. Advocate for proper resources in terms of leadership, staffing, technology needs, web presence, and other expenses.

Bold Ideas

All bold ideas are intended to coincide with the University's most recent Strategic Plan.


The EDC is focused on 4 bold ideas:

Bold Idea #1 - Provide the staffing and other resources necessary for a successful Office of Business Engagement reflective of a university of the same size and scope as UK, including access to business intelligence data.

Strategic Plan - Taking Care of our People #4 – workforce and economic development

Progress has been achieved by using technology leveraging staff from various departments: UK IRADS – (Institutional Research, Analytics and Decision Support) is in the process of hiring a data analyst with 50% effort dedicated to the EDC. This new hire will be aggregating data silos into dashboards for each company that has a business engagement relationship with UK. The first-generation working product is expected by mid - 2022.

The Office of Business Engagement utilizes the EDC Partnership Subcommittee as an expansion of Business Engagement staffing. The subcommittee members are using the Hubspot CRM (customer relationship management) tool to track business engagement activity and LinkedIn Sales Navigator to research potential clients including C-Suite UK Alums.

The UK Supplier Project is a collaboration between Business Engagement and UK Purchasing. 383 UK Vendors have been contacted with 56 responding to a survey inquiring about additional business engagement opportunities. Of those, 56 suppliers, approximately 2/3 expressed interest in hiring a student for a full-time position, and/or hiring a student for an internship or co-op.

The Office of Business Engagement further extends its resources by participating in the Lexington Economic Partnership (LEP), led by Commerce Lexington with state and local workforce development partners. The LEP has a business retention and expansion agenda and met with 55 central Kentucky companies in 2021. Like the UK Suppliers, access to talent is the priority for most organizations we talked to.


Bold Idea #2 - Development of the UK Innovation District (Scott St to Bolivar / Limestone to Broadway) including co-location space for UK students/researchers and industry partners.

Strategic Plan – Inspiring Ingenuity #3 – Promote an Agile and creative ecosystem

Progress to date has included: The Burley Tobacco Growers building on Broadway was purchased in early August. The building is currently being prepared for university uses and the area will be redeveloped at a future date. Additionally, the University of Kentucky College of Design has unveiled Studio Gang’s design for its future home in the reinvented Reynolds Building. 


Bold Idea #3 – Develop multi-disciplinary institutes (and consortia) to grow UK’s impact on the Commonwealth.

Strategic Plan – Inspiring Ingenuity 1, 2, and 3 – build upon our research strengths, advance a culture of innovation, and promote a creative ecosystem.

UK has partnered to form a research and innovation consortium around manufacturing innovation in the metals industry. Partners include KY’s Economic Development Cabinet, Logan Aluminum, Nucor, University of Louisville, Western Kentucky University, and others.

A leadership team is developing a kick-off summit planned for early 2022. UK partnered with the Commonwealth, AppHarvest, Render Capital/Access Ventures, SOAR (SHAPING OUR APPALACHIAN REGION), and a coalition led by the Dutch government to form a research consortium that submitted an EDA Build Back Better grant proposal focused on agri-tech, food chain, and food is health. The Phase I proposal was awarded $500,000 by the EDA as one of 60 proposals selected from 529 applications. The consortium will be developing and submitting a Phase II proposal, due by end of March 2022, for a $75M-$100M Phase II award to build and operate an Agri-Tech research facility in Eastern Kentucky.

UK was instrumental in the formation of a consortium of 4 universities the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, Vanderbilt, and University of Tenessee — Knoxville, plus the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, KY Science and Technology Corporation and Launch TN to prepare for pending federal legislation called the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA). If passed, the consortium will seek funding to develop a regional technology hub. The group has been meeting monthly since March of 2021 and are discussing the formation of an entity with shared governance for this purpose similar to the Research Triangle in North Carolina.


Bold Idea #4 – Create an Equity Map of central KY and focus on Equitable Economic Development

Strategic Plan – Bringing Together Many People, One Community #2 and #3 —Further recruit and retain diverse populations and create direct partnerships with the community on DEI matters.

Equity Mapping is a tool that helps to visualize information about inequity and opportunity by mapping different layers of data on a GIS (Graphic Information System) map. – For example: demographics, economic vitality (wages, unemployment, business ownership, job growth), readiness (education, job training, environment, childcare), connectedness (commute time, affordable housing), and other data to establish benchmarks, identify gaps and opportunities, measure changes when resources are committed, and hold agencies accountable.

Equity mapping could be used to track progress in certain neighborhoods or business zones as we engage more disadvantaged business enterprises and increase supplier diversity in those areas. UK’s ITS Information Services department created a presentation on Equity Mapping and shared it with local stakeholders – Commerce Lexington, the City of Lexington, Fayette County Schools, and various UK leaders.

Our next step is to create a minimum viable product (an entrepreneurship term) using mapping software and data sets that UK already has the license to use. IRADS will assist in creating the first-generation equity map. This work will begin in early 2022. Other Equitable Economic Development activities included the following:

1. UK presented an Equitable Economic Development Workshop at the UEDA (University Economic Development Association) annual conference to further develop some of the EED themes UK is working on and to create a menu of EED themes that can be used at other universities. This work has been sent out to the entire UEDA membership and is posted on the UEDA website.

2. Supplier Diversity--Regular meetings are held with the Commerce Lexington Minority Work Group and collaborations have been formed with Fayette County Public Schools, Lexington Fayette Urban County Government, and local Black Faith Leaders. The groups are sharing minority business information, strategies, and contractor information to create a mutual database of information to jump start spending.

Goals / Deliverables

  1. 1. Create jobs and get more UK students job ready for open positions in the Commonwealth
  3. •7,193 degrees conferred in 2020 – 5,011 Bachelors, 2,182 advanced/specialist degrees. This is a slight drop from 2019.
  5. •67% of May 2020 grads reported participating in one or more internships, co-ops, practicums, or clinical rotations during their time at UK — This coincides with the strategic plan’s goals and objectives Students First #3 specific to economic growth, workforce and societal development.
  7. • The talent subcommittee prepared a set of measurements for use in analyzing equitable economic development activities pursuant to “Talent”.
  9. • Supported the procurement of a software platform designed to facilitate networking and mentorship connections between UK students, alumni, and friends of the University. A company called Graduway has been selected through the UK Alumni Association to serve as the vendor. Outreach to UK alumni is underway, with plans for introduction to students and the campus community in 2022.
  11. • Expanded the UK micro-internships agreement with Parker Dewey to allow for on-campus departments/units to employ students through the Parker Dewey platform. This allows UK to establish a track record we can use to show local businesses the benefits of micro-internships.
  13. • Representatives from the Stuckert Career Center, the Gatton-Graham Office of Career Management, and IRADS presented on UK’s First-Destination Survey success at the Southern Association of Colleges and Employers annual conference. As reported last year, UK is now using one survey to serve the entire university.
  15. • A company called Coastal Cloud opened a new office in Lexington and is tapping into UK’s student Sales Force Club for talent and plan to hire 30 or more interns and full-time employees. We see this as a good model for other companies looking to acquire student talent at UK.
  18. 2. Coordinated effort with good communication across the entire campus
  20. • Posted the first State of the EDC on the EDC website.
  22. • Monthly EDC Newsletter and regularly scheduled social media posts on Facebook and LinkedIn are getting the word out on the work of the EDC. Content includes links to upcoming training events as well as Talent, Innovation, Place, Partnership and Equitable Economic Development updates.
  24. • We still need more followers and subscribers to EDC social media and the newsletter. Please get the word out to internal and external stakeholders.
  26. 3. Increase exposure of the activities of the Economic Development Engagement areas
  28. UEDA Awards of Excellence Finalist – Coldstream Research Campus P3 Development.
  30. •  We are Interviewing and writing features on our business engagement partners to increase awareness of the benefits of partnership and business engagement with the University and to Educate our students on different employment prospects and provide exposure to different industries.
  32. • We post appropriate material from EDC core committee members' internal newsletters, and marketing material if you send it to us. You can also tag your department's post – for Facebook - @UKEDC no spaces and LinkedIn @University of Kentucky Economic Development Collaborative.
  35. 4. Continue development of physical structures at Coldstream and the main campus that increase economic output. These physical structures are not only a measure of economic output, but they meet the strategic plan’s Inspiring Ingenuity # 3 by promoting an agile research and creativity ecosystem.
  37. • The 40,000 sf high-tech CoRE building at Coldstream is now scheduled to open in the 2nd quarter of 2022. 
    1. private offices, cubicle seating, and hot desk memberships 

  38. • Construction of the 260 unit FIFTEEN51 Apartments is well underway with the anticipation to accept first tenants in mid-year 2022. The entire complex will be completed in early 2023.
  40. • Currently there are 1.3 million sf under roof at Coldstream that are 94% occupied and another 338,000 sf under development.
  42. •UK has begun the process of purchasing 41 housing parcels across from UK Hospital to create a location for a new cancer center. 13 parcels were purchased before the end of 2021 with the rest purchased before the end of the year with the rest coming in mid-2022.
  44. • The land swap between UK and the City of Lexington will be completed in June 2022 when 200 acres adjacent to Coldstream are conveyed to the city. The city has completed a master plan for the 200 acres and plan to use ARPA funds to install the necessary infrastructure to develop shovel-ready industrial lots.
  46. •The Cornerstone Exchange Food Hall opened several food stalls in 2021 –Ethereal Brewing, Rolling Oven, Miyako Poke Bowl, and Selma’s Deli joined A Cup of Common Wealth. The University of Kentucky Federal Credit Union purchased naming rights for the Esports Lounge. New academic and esports-related programming are now scheduled throughout the year including the presence of a professional NBA2K team over last spring and summer.


  1. 5. Leverage UK’s investment and involvement with government, non-profit and business partners (triple helix) -
  3. • Please see updates in the Bold Ideas sections for example of projects that UK is collaborating with external partners including the KY Cabinet for Economic Development, other universities, Commerce Lexington, and other technology organizations.

The Road Ahead

Talent Subcommittee 

  • Partnership with Commerce Lexington and local government agencies on initiatives related to ‘Talent’ that leverage federal economic stimulus funds 
  • Collaboration with the other subcommittees on ways that UK can help meet critical hiring needs for the University, the region, and the state by attracting talent from outside the state 
  • Participation in North Carolina State University’s (A2i) Accelerate 2 Industry training for university partners, which is designed to help universities better position graduate students and postdoctoral scholars for career opportunities in industry 
  • Support for the Alumni Association’s rollout of the Wildcat Network platform – a hub for connecting alumni, students, and the campus community, with a concentrated focus on mentorship 
  • Talent development and career pathway support for UK employees
  • Collaboration with faculty and campus principals tasked with updating the UK Core Curriculum and initiating the Council on Postsecondary Education's ‘employability skills’ into the student experience   

Innovation Subcommittee

  • Continue to develop UK Innovate: showcasing across campus that innovation and entrepreneurship are important to UK and played a significant role in shaping the new strategic plan — specifically in the Inspiring Ingenuity category 
  • Form a consortium around the metals industry
  • Utilize the Build Back Better grant to aid in the health of the Commonwealth— UK was one of 60 recipients for the Phase 1 EDA (Economic Development Administration) Build Back better grant focused on building an agricultural research facility in Eastern Kentucky
  • Continue the conversation across our campus about the importance of removing bias and being more inclusive in the type of activities that we consider important for promotion tenure as we look at the pursuit of knowledge through innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Carry on with Promotion and Tenure  — Innovation and Entrepreneurship (PTIE) efforts

Place Subcommittee 

  • Providing support in the wake of the Western KY tornados around housing, business redevelopment, and community readiness and response to the disaster. This complements Cooperative Extension and the KY Small Business Development Center's local response
  • Leading a national effort to create a rural placemaking toolkit and to host an event in May open to communities around the country. USDA Rural Development is funding this effort
  • Working to connect the relationship between economic development and health continues through the Center for Rural Health and Economic Analysis
  • Continuing the roll out of BluDot around the state. This is a statewide customer relationship management platform to improve business retention and expansion
  • Supporting the education of our economic development professionals around the Commonwealth. Next year we will be offering in person and advanced courses in marketing, finance, disaster preparation and response, grant writing and diversity equity and inclusion in through the KY Institute for Economic Development.  Economic development certification through  KAED will continue

Partnership Subcommittee

  • Develop & implement the business engagement system 
  • Complete outreach to university service and product suppliers 
  • Conduct a best practices review of Community Partners programs at other universities to assess components that may help UK leverage its relationship with product and service suppliers into the academic areas of campus
  • Align and develop efforts to support the University of Kentucky Strategic Plan 

Equitable Economic Development Subcommittee (EED)

Growing our own Talent—As the nation continues to deal with the great resignation, it has become more difficult to fill vacancies at UK. Finding ways to create pathways for jobs and opportunities for our students, faculty, and staff is more important than ever

Some tactics include: 

  • Catalog of existing internships and pipeline programs at UK 
  • Learn more from the KCTCS Workforce Development and Approved Apprenticeship programs 
  • Strengthen our relationship with FCPS High School Academies 
  • Assist groups on campus with the expansion of student internships and mentoring programs 

Growing our own Students—How do we make UK a school of choice for underrepresented students and improve retention?  We can create a sense of belonging for underrepresented students by involving them in programs with UK in the community and on campus

Some tactics include:  

  • Finding a campus/faculty sponsor for the Nerd Squad 
  • Work with the BMW program to engage their students in programs on and visits to campus 
  • Building relationships with the FCPS High School Academies  
  • Reconnect with the Black Achievers and other community programs focused on student career development 

Growing our own Entrepreneurs—how do we take our knowledge and programs to the community and meet businesses where they are? And How to find the "hidden entrepreneurs" in our community?

Some tactics include:    

  • Craft an EED plan that ties to UK's strategic plan
  • Classes in the community to teach organizations "How to do Business" with UK
  • Construction Diversity Accelerator Program in partnership with Turner Construction and the Kentucky Procurement Technical Assistance Center (KYPTAC) launches in March 2022. This 10-week program will give diverse businesses the skills to be competitive in the construction industry. 
  • Continue the KYPATC webinars and “Meet the Prime” series
  • Increase spending with diverse suppliers especially on long term contracts 
  • Purchase a registration portal and software to track tier 2 spending 
  • Tell the EED story through various marketing channels 

Meet the Team

Rodney Andrews

Associate Vice President for Research Development

Todd Brann

Executive Director

Institutional Research, Analytics and Decision

Rudolph Buchheit

Dean of the College of Engineering


Kathryn Cardarelli

Health Behavior and Society 

Assistant Professor / Assistant Provost 

Ashley Castorena 

Coldstream / EDC

Administrative Marketing Coordinator

Marilyn Clark

Supplier Diversity Manager 

Ray Clere


James W. Stuckert Career Center


Nancy Cox

Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment

Vice President for Land-grant Engagement

Alison Davis

Executive Director

Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky (CEDIK)

Susannah Denomme

Associate Vice President of Philanthropy

Rob Edwards 

UK HealthCare

Chief External Affairs Officer

Melody Flowers

Executive Director for Strategic Analysis & Policy

Ellen Gish

Associate General Counsel

Kip Guy

Dean of the College of Pharmacy

Katie Hardwick

President’s Office

Administrative Staff Officer

Erica N. Harris

HR Business Partner

Thomas Harris

Vice President for University Relations

Lisa Higgins-Hord

Assistant Vice President

Office of Community Engagement 

Lawrence Holloway

Vice Provost and Provost Chief of Staff

Kimberly Kluemper


Office of Business Engagement

Jessica Koenigsknecht-Talboo


Foundation & Corporate Philanthropy

Ian McClure

Executive Director 

Office of Technology Commercialization

Warren Nash

Executive Director

Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship

Lesley Oliver

Experiment Station Associate Director

Joia Patterson 

Diversity Talent Recruiter


Taunya Phillips

Senior Associate Director

New Ventures & Alliances Team


Heath Price

Associate CIO

Jason Schlafer

Executive Associate AD/

Chief Revenue Officer


Simon Sheather

Dean of the Gatton College of Business and Economics


Kim Shelton

JMI Sports 


Shannan Stamper

Deputy General Counsel for Finance & Administration

Todd Stoltzfus

Program Director

Experiential Education and Service-Learning

Barry Swanson

Chief Procurement Officer 

Kirsten Turner 

Vice President for Student Success

George Ward 

Executive Director

Coldstream Research Campus

Marianne Young

Assistant Provost Student & Academic Support