Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Ron Bunch was named the 2014 James J. Coleman Community Economic Development Professional of the Year at the Kentucky Association for Economic Development (KAED) Annual Conference held at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville on Thursday.
The James J. Coleman Community Economic Professional of the Year Award recognizes practitioners who have made significant and/or innovative contributions to the field and their service area during the past year.
“South Central Kentucky is fortunate to have an economic development professional like Ron Bunch. From his diligent work on expansion and attraction efforts to his continued support of workforce and education efforts, Ron is truly committed the future of South Central Kentucky. I enjoy working with Ron, and am delighted to hear that he has been recognized by his peers statewide for his outstanding work,” said Warren County Judge Executive Mike Buchanon.
Under Bunch’s leadership, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce was privileged to announce $242 million in investment and the creation of 384 in South Central Kentucky in 2013. Among those announcements was Bilstein North America, the Commonwealth’s large capital investment for a new firm in 2013. In addition, Warren County’s expansion investment was the second largest in the state in 2013. According to industry standard Site Selection Magazine, Bowling Green ranked 6th on the list of “Top 10 Metro Areas for New and Expanded Facilities in 2013” and Southern Business & Development Magazine named Bowling Green one of the “Ten More Shining Examples of Economic Development Working in the South”.
So far in 2014, announcements have reached over $220 million in investment and 428 jobs created. Among those announcements is the groundbreaking of the Constellium-UACJ Body-In-White Plant with an investment of $155 million and the creation of 80 jobs. The Constellium-UACJ announcement was the largest announcement in South Central Kentucky in a decade. Additionally in 2014, Bunch has led the Chamber to a finalist position in the 2014 American Chamber of Commerce’s Chamber of the Year competition and obtained a 5 Star Reaccreditation from the US Chamber of Commerce – an honored bestowed to less than 1% of Chambers nationwide.
In October, the Chamber was awarded a Bronze Excellence in Economic Development Award from the International Economic Development Council for The Leader In Me program. Beginning in 2011, Bunch led the Chamber’s funding campaign to raise $1.4 million to ensure The Leader In Me was included in every school, K-12, in the Bowling Green Independent and Warren County School Systems. In September, the Chamber celebrated meeting that funding goal with over 250 investors.
“As Chairman of the Chamber Board of Directors, I know first-hand what an outstanding economic development professional Ron is, and I am so pleased to see his efforts recognized statewide. He is truly committed to the growth and prosperity of South Central Kentucky, and we are lucky to have him here as our Chamber CEO, “ said John Mark Fones, Chairman of the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
“I am honored to be able to work with Ron Bunch on many projects throughout the year. His community vision and vast experience are truly an asset to Bowling Green and South Central Kentucky. I congratulate him on this much deserved recognition,” said Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson.
About the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce:
Incorporated in 1935, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce is a 5-Star Accredited Chamber by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and was named the 2009 Chamber of the Year by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. As the fourth largest chamber in Kentucky, the Chamber serves as a premier business advocate for its more than 1,100 partners and is the driving force for economic development in South Central Kentucky. Its primary goals are to promote growth and success in the business community, reaching its small business partners and those in large industries alike. With leadership programs, governmental relations projects, educational initiatives and involvement opportunities, the Chamber aims to support the community and its neighbors in order to enhance the business climate and continue to grow the region.