It is a great day to be in Northeast Kentucky! Fall is a wonderful time of year and it serves as a great metaphor for my piece today. Fall is the changing of the season; it’s when colors come to peek, and it sets the stage for rebirth in the spring. This week has been like that for me and the Alliance. We too were in full color this past Saturday night with over 550 of our closest friends for the Annual Meeting and Regional Celebration. We tried something different. We wanted to highlight the work and progress of the City of Ashland and the rebirth of our downtown. Thank you to all that attended and sponsored the night, there are many that worked to make this a special evening. We didn’t do it for one person, we did it for all to celebrate who we are and where we are going. It was truly special!

It is time to turn the page from the Annual Meeting. This week showed us where we have been and how we can move forward. I attended the Christening Ceremony of Marathon Petroleum Company’s three new motor vessels that will move products from Ashland up and down the Ohio River along with the Mississippi River. It was truly inspiring to see the ceremony and pride that this company places in their people and the $25,000,000 addition to the Marine Division based in Catlettsburg, Kentucky. The largest of the river tugs had over 6,000 horsepower.

Last night was a very busy night in Ashland, as well. PNC Bank hosted a great Business After Hours at their home office. Many of you know this building was the C&O Railroad Passenger Terminal for 50 years. Mike did a great job telling the history of the building and the bank. PNC Bank started here in Ashland around the turn of the century. It has grown to a national bank, all here from its Ashland roots.

Speaking of roots, understanding our history and how it’s the guide for the future, I had the honor of attending the Paul G. Blazer documentary shown at the Paramount Arts Center last night. I thought I knew the story of Paul Blazer. I knew maybe 25% of it. His vision and his company made the Ashland we know today. His passion for people, education, and community is an example for all of us to live by. I was moved and humbled to think that, today, together all of us can build on his legacy.

This community, now, is poised for great things. At the Ashland Rotary meeting this week, I had the honor to introduce our own Amanda Clark as the speaker. She spoke eloquently about Ashland redevelopment and the example of Greenville South Carolina and how the Alliance trip to Greenville with our Board Members and Community Leaders gave us a dose of inspiration and the “hands on dose” of “this is how we did it”. What a week this has been. I am grateful to you, your business, and this community.

We are building a better, stronger community. You are a great part of it.

—Tim Gibbs, Ashland Alliance