State business leaders focus on the future of Kentucky in first day of Ky. Chamber Business Summit

How to Future-Proof Kentucky

uldrich 1In the opening keynote address on Thursday, Global Futurist Jack Uldrich discussed how to future-proof Kentucky against top trends that will be on the horizon in the coming years.

In his presentation, Uldrich highlighted some of the main technologies that have been seen in recent years such as self-driving and more fuel efficient vehicles, virtual reality, wearable technologies like Fitbits, 3D printers, and even the internet—which Uldrich pointed out is only 8,000 days old.

Uldrich encouraged the business crowd to remain open-minded when it comes to new technologies. As an example, Uldrich played a clip of naysayers who did not believe the iPhone was a smart technology and said it would not appeal to business people because it did not have a keyboard.

The global futurist used the iPhone example to encourage Kentucky business leaders to take time to consider new and bold ideas in order to remain competitive.

“If you don’t have time to think about the future of Kentucky, who else does?” Uldrich asked.

Future of Logistics in Kentucky

With Kentucky being home to several logistics company, the second session of the day was a discussion surrounding the future of logistics with Kentucky Chamber Board member Rusty Cheuvront, Vice President of Brown-Forman Corporation interviewing Brendan Canavan, President of UPS Airlines.

logistics panelCapozzoli told the audience that 95% of the world’s consumers are outside of the United States, but only 1% of companies within the United States export.  He noted that UPS is still growing in Kentucky, and planning on tripling the size of their facility in the state and getting new planes to make deliveries.

Discussing the political environment in Kentucky and how it has helped the industry, Capozzoli thanked House Speaker Jeff Hoover for the creation of the new Infrastructure working group, as it is a top concern of UPS and noted that tax reform could create a competitive edge for business, especially if the inventory tax was repealed.  Moving to federal policies, Capozzoli said that at the end of the day, regardless of political rhetoric, trade is good for business and is beneficial to many Kentucky industries.

Capozzoli said that businesses must invest to grow and through their investments in Kentucky, they now employ 22,000 people and have made available training for all levels to ensure the workforce is prepared. He told the crowd that the state must get creative in looking at workforce recruitment in order to adapt to the market.

Political Panel

IMG_3320Kentucky Chamber Director of Communications Jacqueline Pitts closed the day with a session focusing on state politics featuring CNN political consultant, Republican Scott Jennings and former state Auditor, Democratic Adam Edelen.

In the discussion on the future of Kentucky politics at the Kentucky Chamber Business Summit and Annual Meeting, former State Auditor Adam Edelen said he will not run for governor on the Democratic side in 2019 while Kentucky’s most well-known conservative commentator says the Democrats will have a hard time finding someone to put up against Gov. Matt Bevin in the next gubernatorial election.

When asked if Bevin will run and be elected for a second term, Jennings replied absolutely the Governor will run and win re-election.  He said the current Republican momentum in Kentucky cannot be stopped and as long as the Republicans in the House continue to deliver on their promises, voters will continue to send them to Frankfort.

Pitts stated there is much speculation with Edelen’s New Kentucky Project and asked if he plans to run for Governor.  Edelen stated that he is enjoying the private sector and making an impact with projects such as his solar project but said “who knows what the future holds” on a possible run.

The panel discussed much more about the future of Kentucky politics. Read all the details of the session in the full story on The Bottom Line here.

Stay tuned to The Bottom Line for video of the panel.

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