At KRDA's Lunch with a Fort Knox Leader, Brig. Gen. Robert Bennett talked about his roles as Adjutant General of the Army, Commanding General of the Physical Disability Agency and Executive Director of the Military Postal Service Agency. Thanks to all of the community leaders who attended! Also, thank you to Colton's Steak House & Grill for catering!
Just like Soldiers did 100 years ago, the greater Fort Knox community is gathering on Tuesday, May 22 from 1 PM – 4 PM to spell out F-O-R-T-K-N-O-X.
Interested in participating in this once-every 100 years event? Signups are now open through April 27 and capped at 2,500 civilians, so act fast.
Sign up here!
Source: Louisville Business First
Interim president/CEO, Knox Regional Development Alliance Inc. (KRDA)
Years in current job: 14
Years in economic development: 14
Tell us about the biggest economic development win for your agency.
The Knox Regional Development Alliance is a newly established organization with a mission to promote Fort Knox as a premiere military installation that is ideal for new Department of Defense missions and a catalyst for business development off-post. It replaces an earlier organization known as the CORE Committee in existence since 1991. Our successful 2016 capital campaign has been our biggest win. In eight short months, private- and public-sector leaders committed $2.5 million over the next five years.
What can the region do better to market our area for economic development?
KRDA will undertake a proactive integrated marketing effort to showcase Fort Knox and the surrounding region. We want to make sure leaders at the Pentagon know and understand what a valuable installation they have and how it is well suited for growth. Fort Knox’s capacity for growth, world-class ranges, training areas and fully instrumented airfield are among the many aspects we will tout. We will also market to public- and private-sector leaders who are looking for business development opportunities and unique workforce development partnerships. Fort Knox has been our region’s best kept secret for too long.
What are some benefits and drawbacks of public-private partnerships?
Research shows that public-private partnerships are often more cost-effective and result in a higher return on investment. KRDA wants to broker these conversations with our Army partners at Fort Knox and consider all that is possible. From energy independence to cyber security to talent and leadership development, Fort Knox is leading the way. It behooves us to leverage this incredible source of knowledge that is right here in our backyard to the benefit of Fort Knox and our region, not to mention more broadly all tax payers and our military.
What’s the most useful tool in your toolkit to encourage economic development?
Our greatest economic development tool is Fort Knox. An installation of this caliber, with the assets it has cannot be overlooked. In years past we have had a marginally funded effort with a part-time staff but with a well-funded full time operation dedicated to this work, we are confident that we can attract new missions and new business opportunities for the Region. Finding the right leader for KRDA is also critical to our success. An executive search is underway with support from the Oliver Group. We are considering several exceptional candidates to lead KRDA.
What areas of the city are ripe for economic development?
The low cost of doing business makes our region an ideal location for defense contractors to grow their presence and be in proximity to a premiere military installation. Fort Knox lets over $250 million in federal contracts annually. Only a small percentage of those are awarded to local businesses. KRDA wants to change that by helping local businesses navigate the world of federal contracting. Fort Knox is synonymous with innovation, whether it is energy independence, human capital management or big data. KRDA will serve as a conduit for entrepreneurs seeking opportunities related to the innovative work happening at Fort Knox.
Source: The Meade County Messenger
Representatives of Scotty’s Contracting and Stone, based in Bowling Green, present a $75,000 investment to the Knox Regional Development Alliance’s (KRDA) Campaign Operations Committee.
Source: The Bowling Green Daily News
With the federal base realignment and closure anticipated in 2019-20 and the constant threat of budget cuts, officials are making the case for maintaining and boosting Fort Knox’s economic impact.
Bowling Green company Scotty’s Contracting and Stone joined the effort by donating $75,000 to the Knox Regional Development Alliance’s Campaign Operations Committee. KRDA is a nonprofit alliance between the private and public sectors with the goal of raising $2.5 million to boost Fort Knox and the region’s economy, a news release said.
Private and public sector leaders in Hardin, Meade, LaRue, Bullitt, Jefferson and Warren counties launched the $2.5 million capital campaign. The campaign’s goals are to advocate new missions and retaining existing missions at Fort Knox and attracting and retaining defense-related business.
Source: The News-Enterprise
ISSUE: Value of Knox Regional Development Alliance
OUR VIEW: Organization will protect, promote post
Fort Knox employs thousands of people, attracts businesses to service its needs and generates millions of dollars in tax revenues for our region.
It is one of Kentucky’s major economic engines and must not be ignored. A new, proactive effort to provide support and promotion of Fort Knox’s attributes to enhance local opportunities is being developed.
Most successful undertakings have a marketing strategy so they can stay ahead of the competition and hopefully win more than they lose. The Knox Regional Development Alliance was created for this purpose.
The community rallied around the base earlier in the decade when the Base Realignment and Closure threat loomed and Fort Knox gained new missions and jobs. That same effort must be maintained 365 days a year if we want Fort Knox to sustain its current missions and potentially attract new ones.
Other states have well-funded voices fighting for opportunities and it is critical to our community that Fort Knox be represented at the table. With an estimated economic impact of $2.6 billion, the value of Fort Knox should not be taken for granted.
The volunteer efforts of the Core Committee, which has been at work locally for a quarter century, will be united with the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce’s existing One Knox Council to create KRDA.
Its top three priorities are to retain existing and attract new Department of Defense missions; attract new business from defense related industries; and develop more public-public and public-private partnerships.
The competition between military communities like ours for more Department of Defense dollars is fierce. In an era of federal budget deficits and shrinking defense spending, future base realignment and closures are inevitable.
The KRDA has collected commitments for nearly $1.6 million toward its $2.5 million goal — which would provide an annual operating budget of $500,000 for the next five years.
As outlined at the launch of the public portion of the alliance’s fundraising drive, the money will be used to attract a professional staff dedicated to the priorities listed above and promoting the many advantages of Fort Knox in the halls of the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol and to cover related expenses.
The community again has an opportunity to rally around Fort Knox by supporting the Knox Regional Development Alliance. It’s success ultimately will create more jobs, on and off post, and enhance the local economy.
This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.