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200 East Third Street, Owensboro, KY 42303 • (270) 926-1860

Emerge Owensboro

The Emerge Owensboro Program is a joint program of the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corporation focused on educating and engaging individuals to reach their potential and maximize their impact in the community.

Objectives of the Program:

  • Improve the quality of life in the Greater Owensboro region by training future leaders 
  • Identify key individuals with demonstrated leadership qualities and concern for Owensboro’s future 
  • Develop a systematic educational program to familiarize these participants with our community’s opportunities, needs, problems and resources 
  • Expose participants to a wide variety of current local leaders and notable persons through various types of networking opportunities 
  • Encouraging independent thinking, fresh perspectives, and approaches 
  • Acquaintance with relevant community issues, their history, and future possibilities 


Each year, 25 individuals are selected through an application process to be a part of the Emerge Owensboro program. Emerge Owensboro, and its predecessor, Leadership Owensboro, have an alumni base of more than 700 civic, business and education leaders.

Program Sessions
The program includes 10 sessions from September to May each year. Sessions are a full day class, with topics including:


  • Expanding Leadership in Owensboro
  • Human Needs and Services
  • Education – Pre-K through Adult Learning 
  • Innovation, Agriculture and Our Economic Development Strategy
  • Issues in Local Government 
  • Healthcare in Our Community
  • State Capitol Visit
  • Crime, Drugs and Jails 
  • Arts & Tourism in our Community 
  • Changing Your Community (class presentations) 
  • Graduation Celebration and Alumni Reception


In addition to the classes and exposure throughout the community, class participants work in groups to research a

need in the community and present solutions for implementation. The presentations are judged by elected officials and business leaders, and voted on by peers for

which project to champion for implementation.

Current Emerge Owensboro class

2014 - 2015 Emerge Owensboro Class


Beth Benjamin Owensboro Public Schools

College & Career Readiness Counselor

Susan Lynn Colbert Daviess County Public Schools

College & Career Readiness Counselor 

Jason Cox Brescia University

Director of Alumni Relations 

Candice Cross Hampton Inn Owensboro - South

General Manager 

Lacey Cunningham Regional Water Resource Agency

Director of Finance & Administration 

Kevin Dorth Western Kentucky University - Owensboro

Campus Evening Manager 

Corey Gant Owensboro Fire Department/Owensboro YMCA

Firefighter/Membership Coordinator 

Lonnie Gentry First Security Bank, Inc.

Senior Human Resources Generalist 

Brandon Gilles Farm Credit Mid-America

Financial Services Officer 

Ben Hartz Hartz Contracting, LLC 

Project Manager  

Faith Holley RiverPark Center 

Development Director 

Andrew Howard Independence Bank

Commercial Loan Officer 

Jessica Kirk Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce 

Executive Assistant and Events Coordinator

Nicholas Knott Domtar

Project Electrical Engineer 

Mark McAnulty Kahn, Dees, Donovan & Kahn, LLP


Leslie McCarty Daviess County Public Library

Kentucky Room Manager 

Austin McLimore Owensboro Municipal Utilities

T&D Engineering Manager 

Becca McQueen Kentucky Wesleyan College

Director of Sophomore Experience 

Jason Niehaus South Central Bank

Commercial Loan Officer 

Wes Roberts Assured Neace Lukens

Commercial Lines Advisor 

Allen Sabins Rice Drugs


Barry Smith Daviess County Sheriff's Office


John Walker Owensboro Family Health Care

Family Physician 

Larry Wheatley Blue Star Consultants

Principal Consultant 

Nikki Wimpelberg Owensboro Community and Technical College

Nursing Division Administrative Assistant 

Jamie Wright Kentucky Farm Bureau Licensed Customer Service Representative