Our thanks to the General George Patton Museum of Leadership for featuring KRDA President/CEO Brig. Gen. (ret) Jim Iacocca in its Leader Lessons speakers series. The speaker series is geared toward highlighting leaders in the military and civilian sectors as they present their perspectives on leadership excellence. During the seminar, Iacocca shared his perspective on 33+ years of leadership excellence. To view the full Leader Lessons speakers series, click here.
RADCLIFF, Ky. – Radcliff officials announced recently that the Knox Regional Development Alliance (KRDA) will be the new tenant of the iconic Elmer L. Hargan Building on North Wilson Road. Beginning in May, the building will serve as the physical location for the community-based non-profit that works to promote and protect Fort Knox and grow defense-related business in the region.
“We are thrilled to welcome KRDA to the Hargan Building,” said Radcliff Mayor JJ Duvall. “KRDA’s work to help protect Fort Knox and grow its economic impact is a direct benefit to the people of Radcliff and the entire region. Fort Knox remains an engine that drives our regional economy.”
Named for the city’s first mayor, the building which sits behind the tank display and city welcome sign, was donated by the Hargan family with the stipulation that it be used for municipal needs as determined by city government.
Duvall called KRDA the perfect fit.
“I cannot think of a better occupant than an organization that supports our community’s and our region’s largest employer,” he said.
KRDA offices have been in the Radcliff Square Plaza, almost directly across U.S. 31W from the Hargan Building. The plaza’s former owner, Joe Markham, donated their former space at a highly reduced rental rate as part of his investment in KRDA.
Markham sold the plaza in 2018 and with the expiration of the initial lease, the new property managers indicated that rent would more than quadruple. That’s when KRDA CEO Brig. Gen. retired Jim Iacocca first met with Duvall about moving into the Hargan Building.
“It just made sense,” said Iacocca. “We cannot thank the city enough for their financial commitment to KRDA with both their annual investment and this generous in-kind donation that allows us to keep operational costs lower and be the best stewards of our investors’ dollars.”
Founded in 2016, KRDA is funded through the support of private and public donations.
Abound Credit Union CEO and KRDA board chairman Ray Springsteen shared Iacocca’s and Duvall’s sentiment.
“This is a win on so many levels – for KRDA, for the city of Radcliff, for the entire region, and for the Soldiers and families of Fort Knox that KRDA helps us all support,” said Springsteen. “KRDA works to protect our region’s greatest economic asset, Fort Knox, which generates nearly a billion in annual payroll. We appreciate the city’s foresight in giving KRDA a new place from which do their critical work.”
Renovations to the building are ongoing in advance of KRDA’s move, including a remodeled office space that is accessed from the main North Wilson Road entrance, and exterior maintenance work to include new roofing. The city also plans to renovate the lower level of the building that features a larger meeting space later this year.
The Hargan building had been home to the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce’s north-end office and the Radcliff Chamber of Commerce prior to the chamber merger in late 2010.
The Hardin County Chamber officially vacated the location last year citing operational efficiency at a single location in Elizabethtown.
“COVID operations showed us that we can continue to serve and advocate for the entire Hardin County business community from one location,” said Margy Poorman, President and CEO of the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce. “We are excited to continue our long-standing partnership with KRDA and think they are an ideal tenant for our former office space.”
Representatives from the Radcliff Small Business Alliance (RSBA) were also on hand for the welcome ceremony and expressed their support for KRDA’s move into the Hargan Building.
“We’ve long advocated for the city and our community to get the best return on investment possible from the Hargan building tenants,” said RSBA president Matt Smith. “Our thanks to the mayor and city council for their leadership in this valuable and important decision.”
The Knox Regional Development Alliance (KRDA) officially welcomed new board members and board officers at its recent annual meeting of investors. New additions to the board include Selena Hudson, Vine Grove city council member and mortgage loan officer with Mutual of Omaha Mortgage; Margy Poorman, President and CEO of the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce; and Brandon Simpson, an insurance agent with Hardin County Kentucky Farm Bureau.
“We are excited to have these three great community leaders join the KRDA board of directors and bring their talent and expertise to bear in support of KRDA’s work to promote and protect Fort Knox and support Soldiers and their families,” said Ray Springsteen, KRDA board chairman and President and CEO of Abound Credit Union.
“Fort Knox’s economic impact on our region cannot be overstated. With nearly one billion dollars in annual payroll and a workforce that’s two to four times more than the next five largest employers combined in Hardin, Meade, LaRue and Bullitt Counties, Fort Knox is our region’s economic engine,” Springsteen said.
Two board members, Luke Schmidt, CEO of L.B. Schmidt and Associates, and Retired Col. Bill Betson, were appointed as board officers and will now serve on the KRDA executive committee. Betson will serve as the board secretary and Schmidt will serve as the treasurer. Schmidt replaces Keith Johnson who served as KRDA treasurer since the organization was formed in 2016. Johnson will continue serving on the board of directors.
Betson and Schmidt join Springsteen; Retired Maj. Gen. John Tindall, who continues serving as the board’s vice chair/military; and Marilyn Ford, heartland region city president of Wesbanco, who previously served as the board secretary and was elected to the newly established officer position of vice chair/chair-elect.
Terry Bennett, of Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson and Humphrey, will also continue to serve on the executive committee as council.
“Our board and executive committee provide tremendous leadership and are critical to KRDA’s long-term viability,” said KRDA CEO Jim Iacocca. “I am incredibly appreciative of the board’s support and commitment to KRDA and keeping Fort Knox strong. Our community plays an important role in setting the conditions for Fort Knox to grow and prosper.”
As a private, non-profit 501(c)(6) organization, KRDA is governed by a volunteer board of directors consisting of 30 members made up of community leaders and investors from across the Greater Fort Knox Region.
- Retired Maj. Gen. Bill Barron
- Harry Berry, Hardin County Judge/Executive
- Jim Bradford, Fort Knox, Deputy Garrison Commander
- Retired Brig. Gen. Steve Bullard, Kentucky Commission on Military Affairs, Executive Director
- J.J. Duvall, City of Radcliff Mayor
- Brandon Fogle, South Central Bank, Northern Region President
- Jim Fugitte, Plansmith Corp, Director of Strategic Services
- Jeff Gregory, City of Elizabethtown Mayor
- Brian Kerr, Kerr Office Group, President
- Retired Maj. Gen. Troy Kok
- Ben LaRue, Owen LaRue Financial, Partner and Financial Advisor
- Darin Logsdon, Wilson & Muir Bank & Trust Co., Vice President
- Pam Ogden, Vine Grove Mayor
- Brad Richardson, Hardin County Chamber of Commerce, Retired President/CEO
- Leslie Stith, Meade County Judge/Executive
- Jerry Summers, Bullitt County Judge/Executive
- Carl Swope, Swope Family of Dealerships, President/CEO
- Tracee Troutt, Baptist Health Hardin, Vice President/Chief Marketing and Development Officer
- Allison Willoughby, Brandenburg Telephone and Telecom Companies, General Manager
- Don Wise, The Cecilian Bank, Senior Executive Officer
To learn more about KRDA’s board members, visit growknox.org/about-krda.
RADCLIFF, Ky. – Local defense contractor North South Consulting Group (NSCG) announced today plans to build a new Radcliff location amid workforce expansions. This announcement comes as the contractor’s workforce triples in size in support of nearly every major command on Fort Knox. With more than 300 employees and nearly $10 million in annual payroll, the diverse professional services firm’s new location will support its expanded operations.
“We are thrilled that North South Consulting Group chose Radcliff as the place to start their business and that they will continue to call Radcliff home as the company expands,” said Radcliff Mayor J.J. Duvall.
Army combat veteran Dr. Krista Stevens established NSCG in 2012 and opened its Radcliff headquarters in 2019. Stevens and her husband, Chase, who is also a veteran, have led NSCG’s exponential growth. This growth has been especially evident over the past three years, as the company saw a nearly 900% increase in revenue.
“I attribute NSCG’s growth to our highly-talented employees, many of whom are veterans who served at Fort Knox and intuitively understand the installation’s various missions,” Stevens said. “Our team has built a reputation of always delivering quality service to our customers. We pride ourselves on it.”
Stevens added that having a proven track record, or “positive past performance,” as it is called in the government procurement realm, is especially critical.
“An aggressive approach to business development, past performance, strong working relationships and learning how to navigate the government procurement process have all been key to our success,” she said.
Knox Regional Development Alliance CEO retired Brig. Gen. Jim Iacocca said the lessons learned during Stevens’ and her team’s military service and their heart for Soldiers and families also contribute to NSCG’s success.
“Krista, Chase and all of the other talented military veterans on the North South Consulting Group team know what it’s like to work 18 and 20-hour days to accomplish the mission. That, coupled with their passion for Soldiers, leads to their excellent contract performance. They see the Soldiers and families in every action they undertake,” said Iacocca. “Their success excites me but it doesn’t surprise me. KRDA is committed to doing all we can to help grow defense sector businesses like NSCG in our region.”
Duvall said NSCG’s job creation and new payroll brings added spending power to the region.
“NSCG employees eat in our restaurants, shop in our stores and call Radcliff and the surrounding communities in the Greater Fort Knox region home,” he said.
Stevens said she’s proud to live and work in the Greater Fort Knox region.
“Radcliff and Hardin County have so much to offer. It’s a community full of partners who are ready and willing to help us grow. Whether it’s the mayor connecting us with potential funding sources or people offering us cubicles for our growing office or our neighbors at the Gathering Bakery giving us added space to meet, we cannot say enough about how supportive everyone is,” said Stevens. “We can’t imagine working anywhere else and we are excited to grow here.”
ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. – The Knox Regional Development Alliance (KRDA) during its annual meeting of investors at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College (ECTC) honored Meade County defense contractor Universal Spartan for making the prestigious Inc. 5000.
KRDA Board Chairman and Abound Credit Union CEO Ray Springsteen lauded Universal Spartan founder and CEO Alejandro “Alex” Ramirez for leading one of the fastest-growing and most successful private companies in the U.S.
“Alex’s leadership in guiding Universal Spartan to this distinction is worthy of celebration,” said Springsteen. “One of KRDA’s goals is to help foster and support defense-related business growth in our region. We’re so glad Alex chose our region to do business.”
Inc. 5000 companies are often where future household names first make their mark. Companies such as Microsoft, Zappos, Under Armour and Patagonia are all former Inc. 5000 companies.
“Successful companies like Universal Spartan help make our region a better place to live and work,” said Springsteen. ”We’re proud to see the accomplishments of Alex and Universal Spartan and look forward to continued growth and prosperity.”
The Inc. 5000 list ranks companies with over $2 million in annual sales by overall revenue growth over a three-year period. Ramirez said the company, which specializes in providing tactical, IT, electrical, industrial and medical equipment, has realized more than a 1000% growth in sales since 2017.
Of the 5,000 companies, Universal Spartan ranked 457 in the United States, fourth in Kentucky and number one in the Elizabethtown, Bowling Green, Lexington and Cincinnati markets.
Ramirez, a military veteran, founded the company in 2013 after retiring from the Army at Fort Knox. Ramirez says he regularly calls upon the lessons learned from his military service in running the business, particularly lessons in persistence and discipline.
“Learning how to navigate the government procurement process is no easy task. It can seem so overwhelming, but the military taught me to do my research, develop a game plan, stick with it and adapt or adjust as needed,” said Ramirez.
Ramirez said he chose to establish his business here because of the support he had both from his family and the broader community.
“This region provides an unmatched quality of life for me and my family. Just as important is its positive business climate and the community’s supportive nature, especially toward its military veterans,” said Ramirez. “Organizations like KRDA, ECTC, the Kentucky Procurement Technical Assistance Center, the Small Business Development Center and countless businesses and individuals all want to help you succeed. It’s really something special.”
KRDA CEO Jim Iacocca called the accomplishment remarkable but not surprising based on his experience watching Ramirez at work. He said what he finds most special about Ramirez is his desire to give back and help others through his non-profit, the Kentucky Veterans Business Alliance (KVBA).
“Alex, like many veterans, has what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur: perseverance, dedication and an ironclad work ethic. We are so proud that he chose to do business here in the Greater Fort Knox Region,” said Iacocca. “But we are equally, if not more, proud of his commitment to give back and help fellow veteran entrepreneurs through the Kentucky Veterans Business Alliance. It epitomizes the selfless service we are all taught to embody as Soldiers.”
Ramirez said he founded KVBA after attending trade shows with other veteran entrepreneurs.
“I saw we were all in the same boat and could benefit from sharing ideas, advice, resources and best practices,” Ramirez said. “For me, it was a great way to continue to serve and help my fellow veterans.”
Since late 2019, the Lincoln Trail Area Development District (LTADD), in partnership with Fort Knox and the surrounding communities, has led a study to develop a Fort Knox Compatible Use Plan (CUP). The CUP provides a framework for how the installation and surrounding communities can be mutually supportive.
It serves as a critical tool to help limit encroachment and keep Fort Knox, the region’s economic engine, viable and well-positioned for growth. Dubbed Mission Knox, the LTADD team has conducted countless hours of research, analysis and community outreach to produce an incredibly valuable product. KRDA is proud to serve on the Executive Committee and Technical Assistance Committee in support of the CUP. To see a draft of the plan click here.