Hello from the desk of the Alliance! In my mind, since this is the FIRST Friday Report of the year, it needs to be a good one! 2021 will be a good year but it will take some time to get going. I just want you to know we have learned valuable lessons in 2020 and will make progress for you and this region in 2021.

Leading into this year we have received an Abandon Mine Lands Grant for $1.5 million from the Kentucky Diversion of Abandoned Mine Lands for a new site at EastPark. We hope this new development will be a great project in 2021. We have completed a $4 million AML Grant for Unity Aluminum at EastPark and we have contracted for lead generation services for even more opportunity to bring growth to Northeast Kentucky. 2021 will be better for this organization and for the community we service.

Our Chamber side of the Alliance has also been busy adjusting to the new methods of business. We have found new ways to serve you and your business. Digital media, social media, new means of delivery of services are not buzz words but how we can serve you! We can put eyes on you and your business. We have built new platforms for sharing information and opportunity to our community. For 134 years this organization has been with our business community to make this place the best possible place to live, work, and play. 2021 will not be an exception to this.

The Ashland Alliance has a new Chairperson and Vice Chair today as you read this. Cindy Wiseman ,Vice President External Affairs and Customer Service at Kentucky Power, is your New Chairperson of the Alliance. Vice Chair is our own Dr. Larry Ferguson, President of Ashland Community and Technical College. I have always had the honor of learning from each Chair that I’ve had the pleasure to serve under. This year will not be an exception to that. We are going to make a difference this year. I look forward to working with our newly elected official and our past friends. New officials and their ideas spark opportunities for all of us. We look forward to helping along the way.

Before I wrap up for the day, I do want a few thank you’s to be shared. First, to my past Board Chair Kristie Whitlatch. Kristie is as fine a person as I have ever worked with and is leading the most important cause ever for this region. She and her team at King’s Daughters are working to keep us safe and healthy. She is a great leader and a true friend. I also want to say thank you to Mrs. Susan Hunt who is retiring from Community Hospice. Susan has been a fine Board Member of the Alliance and given wonderful counsel to me of the services of hospice. In my mind there is not a better organization for families in need than hospice.

2020 has been a challenge for each of us. Let us make 2021 the best it can be. Let each one of us strive to be the best revision of ourselves that we can be. This is my call for each one of you. Thank you for the chance to make this community the best that it can be. Our families deserve it.

For those of you who missed our 2020 Annual Meeting or anyone who would like to view it again, you can stream it at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Omefzt2lyho&feature=youtu.be.

— Tim Gibbs
Ashland Alliance