The founders of a bank and health care company, as well as the former leader of a home care company are this year's inductees into the Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame.
This year's class is the third for the hall of fame, which has 14 members.
"We did something a little bit different this year," said Brian Raney, founder of business incubator Awesome Inc. and one of the organizers of the Hall of Fame. "We've started to allow the current inductees to vote on the future inductees.
"While nominations are open to anyone, we then create a ballot from the nominations. I think the inductees really bought into it and are excited about it."
This year's inductees are:
Terry Forcht: Forcht is the founder, chief executive and chairman of Forcht Group of Kentucky. It's composed of 95 separate companies, ranging from the familiar Forcht Bank in the financial services industry to the Hamburg Journal in media.
Bruce Lunsford: In 1985, the businessman and future aspiring politician co-founded the health care company Vencor, which is now known as Kindred Healthcare. Through Vencor, he also founded the health care real estate investment firm Ventas. Lunsford is now the chairman of a private investment firm, Lunsford Capital.
Ronald Geary: After various executive work including time leading Cincinnati Bible College and Seminary, Geary joined the home care company ResCare about 1990. He took the company public in 1992. He retired in recent years and purchased Ellis Park racetrack from Churchill Downs Inc. and serves as its president.
Among the qualities considered for inductees, Raney said, were economic impact and effect on the individuals' particular industries.
The group will be honored at a ceremony on Nov. 13 at Awesome Inc. Attendance is by invitation only, but those interested are encouraged to e-mail Raney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The event also will honor four emerging entrepreneurs: Eric Ostertag of Transposagen, a Lexington biotechnology company; Taylor Trusty of Blackstone Media, a Louisville web development and marketing firm; Brad Wayland of BlueCotton, a custom apparel company in Bowling Green; and John Williamson of Ucloser, a real estate software company in Louisville.
"All of the people who are being inducted into the Hall of Fame were at the same stage as these up-and-coming ones at one point," Raney said, "so we felt like in an effort to encourage more entrepreneurs at that level, it would be great to recognize these four."