Hello from the desk of the Ashland Alliance! I know it has been a few weeks since my last update. I have been on the road and I’m glad to be back in the office and sharing the news of the day. Last week I had the privilege of traveling to Greensville SC with a delegation of 12 people, including 5 Ashland Alliance Board Members, to see firsthand how a community can make a plan, work a plan and change the face of the community they live in. I think the best quote of the trip was from Carlos Phillips, President/CEO of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce. He said, “people here planted the trees knowing they would never see the shade.”

Our trip to Greenville was an important one. Greenville, like Ashland, has underwent economic challenges over the last several decades. Their main industry, textiles, moved away much like Ashland Oil and AK Steel has here. However, this community not only overcame their economic challenges, they built a better version of their city – a special place they call home. They also found an economic anchor in Michelin and BMW that brought hope to their region, much like what we have going on with Braidy. The story of how they did it – how they planned for the future and how they paid for it – is a great lesson for Ashland and Northeast Kentucky.

Over the next few months the Alliance, along with our partners, will be diving in deeper in building on what we learned and how we can move our community ahead. It won’t be easy, and at times I’m sure good people will disagree, but the price of inaction is too great. We too have to plant our trees today for the shade tomorrow.

I have already heard from many of you about wanting to go on this quick 6-hour drive to Greenville. We will be going back in the fall and will make arrangements to get as many together as possible to go see an example of what can happen when a community forms a vision and then works the plan.

We have been busy here at home, as well. We are reaching out to our members and potential members in all parts of Boyd and Greenup County. Just this week we meet with Callihan’ s American Pub & Grill in the KYOVA Mall. If you haven’t been there lately you are missing out on a great family restaurant with live entertainment and fantastic food. It’s important for the Alliance to represent the entire business community – from Summit to Russell to South Shore – we are all Alliance Communities.

We also met with Boyd County Fiscal Court and TJ Morrison, their economic development specialist. Working together we can and will change the economy of Northeast Kentucky. Finally, I met just today with Ashland Community and Technical College, President Larry Ferguson. Our relations and understanding of the assets at hand are key for us telling the story of this region and having the offering that can help make your business successful.

Lots of opportunities are going on here in the region. We want your business to be highlighted as well! Please let us know if you want to host a Business After Hours or partner with another organization to host. There is no better way than inviting the business community to come see and here what you have to offer. The staff of the Alliance is happy to help find a way and a location to make your event be a great part of your outreach plan.

Thank you for the support and dedication you show every day to making this a great place to live and work. The Alliance is your partner in growth and development now and for the future.

—Tim Gibbs, Ashland Alliance