Economic Development Collaborative 2020 Annual Report

Welcome to the first annual report of the University of Kentucky's Economic Development Collaborative (EDC). UK is a powerful economic engine for Kentucky — not only are we educating the next generation of citizens that will take our state to new heights, but we are collaborating with the business community, the City of Lexington and state government to strengthen Kentucky’s economy and improve the lives of its residents.  UK’s focus on innovation and collaboration with economic partners is inspiring a future where anything is possible. 

The process of creating the EDC began in early 2019 with an inventory of economic development engagement activities taking place at the university.  One-on-one meetings were held with campus administrative and academic leadership including several college deans. As progress was made formulating this team, the structure of six economic development engagement areas, the EDC Core Committee and the proposed "Bold Ideas" began to take shape. 

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, the 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 and Partnership.


The EDC guiding principals include:

1. Focusing on the three 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 and Partnership 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.

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

The EDC has gained traction and made great progress in 2020 by focusing on the three bold ideas with the most impact.


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

Progress has been made using technology and aligning colleagues around campus on accomplishing a common goal. In place of adding new employees, the Office of Business Engagement became part of the Coldstream/EDC team in October 2020 and utilized the EDC Partnership Subcommittee as an expansion of Business Engagement staffing. These relationship managers are using the Hubspot CRM to track business engagement activities as well as utilizing LinkedIn Sales Navigator to reach out to UK Alumni at businesses around the country to see how UK can partner with their companies for mutual benefit. UK's Institutional Research, Analytics and Decision Support unit is working to aggregate data silos and produce business engagement dashboards for individual companies that have a UK business engagement relationship. A working dashboard is expected in 2021. 

The Office of Business Engagement further extends its resources by participating in the Lexington Economic Partnership (LEP), led by Commerce Lexington with other partners including BCTC and local and state economic and workforce development organizations. The LEP, with a business growth and retention agenda, began meeting in August and has met with 32 companies to date. UK schedules follow up meetings to address specific needs voiced by the companies in the LEP meetings. 


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

Much has occurred in the Innovation District in 2020 including The Cornerstone esports facility and innovation space opening with some programming taking place in October 2020. The first food hall stall, A Cup of Common Wealth opened in November 2020. Ethereal Brewing and Rolling Oven, opened during the 1st quarter of 2021, and Miyako Poke Bowl and Selma's is planned for the second quarter of 2021. In addition, the Burley Tobacco Growers building on Broadway is under contract for UK to purchase in June or July 2021 and design work is finished on the Reynolds Building to create a new home for the College of Design


Bold Idea #3 - Talent & Innovation – Develop emerging ideas and opportunities for multi-disciplinary research aligned with research strengths, economic development missions and priority industries of the state, to grow UK’s impact on the Commonwealth.​

At the core of the future of AgTech, healthcare, transportation, sports, energy and many other fields is the development, collection, analysis, and transmittal of data.  As a result, the Innovation Subcommittee is recommending ways to capitalize on the data analytics and big data work being performed at UK. Subcommittee ideas that align with key areas for economic development include Non-opioid Pain Management and Food is Health.


Goals / Deliverables

Goals and deliverables that were established in late 2019 have the following results:


Goal #1 - Create jobs and get more UK students job ready for open positions in the Commonwealth

  • 7,446 degrees conferred in 2019 – 5,202 Bachelors and 2,244 advanced/specialist degrees
    • 70% of May 2019 graduates reported participating in one or more internships, co-ops, practicums, or clinical rotations during their time at UK 
  • The primary focus of Lexington Economic Partnership clients has been accessing talent and offering internships
    • Micro internships using the Parker Dewey platform are of particular interest
  • Institutional Research, Analytics and Decision Support is developing a more robust data set from the First Destination survey – a single survey used by the entire university to track career choices for bachelor degree graduates
    • More than one-third of our May 2019 graduates indicated either acceptance or plans to enroll in some form of continuing education


Goal #2 - Coordinated effort with good communication across the entire campus 

  • Launched the EDC website and social media in November 2019
  • Launched the monthly EDC Newsletter in May 2020 with links to upcoming training events and Talent, Innovation, Place and Partnership updates.
  • Coordination with the UK Alumni Association to co-promote selected events


Goal #3 - Increase exposure of the Economic Development Engagement Areas activities 


Goal #4 - Continue development of physical structures at Coldstream and the main campus that increase economic output 

  • Currently there are 1.3 million square feet under roof at Coldstream that are 94% occupied
  • See Bold Idea #2 above for information on further development on and adjacent to the UK campus


Goal #5 - Leverage UK’s investment and involvement with government, non-profit and business partners (triple helix) 

  • Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky (CEDIK) purchased market research tools available to economic development professionals throughout the Commonwealth.  
    • Size Up, Gazelle.Ai, FDI 365
  • CEDIK in partnership with the Gatton College of Business and Economics and Murray State University revamped the EconDev Professional Certification program and added an advanced practitioner certificate. 
  • Lexington Economic Partnership – met with 32 companies, 16 follow-up meeting specifically with UK 
  • Continued working relationship and program development with KY Cabinet for Economic Development, including the following: 


The Road Ahead: Plans for the EDC moving forward in 2021


Establish the Equitable Economic Development Subcommittee

  • Add Bold Idea #4 – Create an Equity Map of Central Kentucky using metrics provided by EDC subcommittees with approval from the EDC Core Committee.
  • The components of Equitable Economic Development include:
    • Human Resources –  using the “Grow your own” concept for recruitment and retention aimed at retaining minority populations and elevating people within their existing organizations
    • Community building through UK’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Project 17 – Create a Community Advisory Group
    • Building networks that support women, veterans and underrepresented minorities
    • Diversifying the UK supplier pool


Talent Subcommittee

  • Alumni engagement – A request for proposal has been issued to find a platform for mentorship matching including career guidance between alums and student, alums to alums and student to student – creating a stronger digital network of alumni.
  • Unmet needs gap – Identify the gaps (what is not being tracked) and establish baseline data and goals for talent development
  • Build micro-internship partnerships with local employers
  • Uncovering data and advocate for linking degree offerings and enrollment with high demand occupations


Innovation Subcommittee

  • Develop and implement a plan for PTIE – Promotion and Tenure – Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Submit the Data Analytics "hub and spoke" plan for review through the Faculty Senate
  • Formal launch of the Kentucky Boomerang Program (EDA grant proposal)
  • UK Venture Fund development


Place Subcommittee

  • The construction phase for the Coldstream High-Tech building will be in 2021
  • The Cornerstone, working with non-profit community innovation partner, Campus Community Connection, to develop programming involving students, faculty and the community
  • Innovation District planning will begin with coordination through UK Facilities
  • CEDIK is working to find a mechanism to compile “place” work around the state
    • Inventorying what people are doing across the Commonwealth
    • Capturing economic development activity
    • Working through the new Office of the Vice President of Land Grant Engagement 
  • Begin implementing some of the findings from the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program. Kentucky was one of nine international program locations and the first in USA


Partnership Subcommittee

  • Implement the business engagement system – dashboard with the help of UK's Institutional Research, Analytics and Decision Support
  • Expand the relationship between UK and other major external stakeholders including the KY Chamber, the KY Science and Technology Corporation and SOAR (Shaping Our Appalachian Region).
  • Explore data sources that can lead to business engagement opportunities such as data from the UK event management system for number of business and non-profit partners that meet on campus


Association of Public and Land Grant Universities – Innovation & Economic Prosperity University (APLU – IEP)

  • This project requires a deep self-study so UK can better Know, Measure, Tell, and Maximize its contribution to economic engagement.
  • This is a one year project that will involve internal and external surveys and focus groups to help UK identify its strengths and areas of growth and improvement in economic engagement.


Meet The Team

Jessica Koenigsknecht-Talboo


Foundation & Corporate Philanthropy

Rodney Andrews

Associate Vice President for Research Development

Ian McClure

Executive Director 

Office of Technology Commercialization

Todd Brann

Executive Director

Institutional Research, Analytics and Decision 

Warren Nash

Executive Director

Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship

Rudolph Buchheit

Dean of the College of Engineering

Lesley Oliver

Experiment Station Associate Director

Camille Burnett

Associate Professor in the College of Nursing

Ashley Castorena

Coldstream / EDC

Administrative Marketing Coordinator

Ray Clere


James W. Stuckert Career Center

Joia Patterson 

Diversity Talent Recruiter

Nancy Cox

Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment

Vice President for Land-grant Engagement

Taunya Phillips

Senior Associate Director

New Ventures & Alliances Team

Alison Davis

Executive Director

Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky (CEDIK)

Heath Price

Associate CIO

Susannah Denomme

Associate Vice President of Philanthropy

Jason Schlafer

Executive Associate AD/

Chief Revenue Officer

Rob Edwards 

UK HealthCare

Chief External Affairs Officer

Simon Sheather

Dean of the Gatton College of Business and Economics 

Ellen Gish

Associate General Counsel

Kim Shelton

JMI Sports 

Melody Flowers

Executive Director for Strategic Analysis & Policy

Shannan Stamper 

Deputy General Counsel for Finance & Administration 

Kip Guy

Dean of the College of Pharmacy

Todd Stoltzfus

Program Director

Experiential Education and Service-Learning

Katie Hardwick

President’s Office

Administrative Staff Officer

Barry Swanson

Chief Procurement Officer 

Thomas Harris

Vice President for University Relations

Kirsten Turner 

Vice President for Student Success

Lisa Higgins-Hord

Assistant Vice President

Office of Community Engagement 

George Ward 

Executive Director 

Coldstream Research Campus  

Lawrence Holloway

Vice Provost and Provost Chief of Staff

Marianne Young

Assistant Provost

Student & Academic Support

Kimberly Kluemper


Office of Business Engagement