Source: Katherine Knott, The News-Enterprise
The first permanent leader of the Knox Regional Development Alliance officially went to work Tuesday.
Retiring Brig. Gen. James Iacocca said in his first year, he’s excited about establishing the alliance as the first point of contact when businesses want to reach out and do business on Fort Knox and the greater Knox area.
Iacocca was named president and CEO of KDRA in October after a 10-month search.
Retired Maj. Gen. Bill Barron has served as interim president since the alliance started at the end of 2016. The alliance works to sell the Department of Defense, businesses and organizations on the value of Fort Knox and the surrounding community.
Iacocca said he sees the alliance as a connector, integrator and facilitator. He said a key function of KDRA is to connect the right people.
Since its founding, the alliance has had three stated goals: Protect existing missions and advocate for new ones; increase defense spending in the region; and develop public-private partnerships.
Iacocca said he’s come up with objectives the board is overlooking now. He said those objectives will serve as his marching orders.
Iacocca said he wanted to lead the alliance because the job offered an opportunity to stay connected with Fort Knox and the community outside the gate.
During his U.S. Army career, Iacocca served twice at Fort Knox. His last assignment was as adjutant general of the Army, a position he held at U.S. Army Human Resources Command.
He said during his assignments at Fort Knox, he came to appreciate the installation and the surrounding community.
“I’m excited to be here just because of the support of the people, the community and Fort Knox,” he said.
For Iacocca, Fort Knox is an unrecognized jewel in the Army from training areas to energy independence.
During his pitch about the area, he said he highlights the capabilities and capacity of Fort Knox, such as buildable land and training areas. He said those are assets that attract units to Fort Knox.
Iacocca said based on what is at Fort Knox, if there was another round of base realignment and closures, the post would fare well.
“The connection Fort Knox has with the community off post is unique,” he said.
During his first year at the alliance, Fort Knox will mark its 100th anniversary. Iacocca said he wants to highlight how the communities outside the gate have changed over the years.
Overall, Iacocca said he looks forward to the alliance growing into the role of being able to help the community and Fort Knox.
Katherine Knott can be reached at 270-505-1747 or firstname.lastname@example.org