Business

Shedding some light on a few new faces in Lexington

David Blackwell is the new dean of the University of Kentucky's Gatton College of Business & Economics.

Photo courtesy University of Kentucky
David Blackwell is the new dean of the University of Kentucky's Gatton College of Business & Economics. Photo courtesy University of Kentucky SHAUN RING PHOTOGRAPHY

Over the past year and a half, Lexington's business and community leadership has seen a bevy of new faces. Here's a look at some of those fresh faces and their takes on the Bluegrass and their jobs.

David W. Blackwell, University of Kentucky Gatton College of Business & Economics

Background: Age 53, and coming to Lexington in March from College Station, Texas.

Why Lexington other than the job: "I lived in Fort Campbell, Ky., when I was in high school, so I had a natural affinity for Kentucky and I had enjoyed visiting Lexington in my youth. My mother lives less than a four-hour drive away in Clarksville, Tenn."

Non-work conversation starters: "I enjoy talking about college football and basketball or hearing about good local music."

What is an initiative you would like to complete this year in your job, and what's one you would like to have accomplished in the next five years? "During my first year, I plan to spend a significant amount of time focusing on the planning and funding for a new Gatton College of Business & Economics facility. In five years, I would like to see the Gatton College receive considerably more national recognition for its academic programs."

If you could change anything about Lexington that you're not in control of, what would it be? "So far I haven't seen much I'd change, other than the unusual wheel-and-spoke traffic flow, which has made it difficult for me to learn my way around. I'm sure even that will grow on me."What would people be surprised to learn about you? "I enjoy performing music in public. Over the last couple of years, I have been occasionally singing with a couple of impromptu bands in College Station and starting to learn guitar. A few weeks ago, I actually played guitar with the band for the first time."

What is your favorite bourbon? "I was introduced to Maker's Mark by a friend in the late 1970s. It has been my favorite ever since."

George Clooney or Johnny Depp? "Do I really have to pick one?"

Hot Brown or burgoo? "Burgoo. Ever so slightly healthier than the hot brown."


Eli Capilouto, University of Kentucky

Background: Age 62, he came to Lexington in July from Birmingham, Ala.

Why Lexington other than the job: "When my wife, Mary Lynne, and I traveled to Lexington during the interview process, we fell in love with the place and the people. The Bluegrass region is idyllic, and the people of Lexington and the University of Kentucky are warm and inviting. They are part of the soul that makes this place special."

Non-work conversation starters: "Baseball. I'm a big Boston Red Sox fan."

What is an initiative you would like to complete this year in your job, and what's one you would like to have accomplished in the next five years? "My conversations with the campus community and across the state have provided me with a long list of things to do and a sense of urgency to do them. So it is hard to identify a single initiative or two.

"But we simply must begin making progress in transforming our facilities. So in the next few months, I want to see construction starting on a new residence hall, which we aim to open in fall 2013.

"And over the next five years, I want to see construction on new facilities in the core of our campus. We will modernize our campus to meet the needs of 21st century learners."

If you could change anything about Lexington that you're not in control of, what would it be? "We are our own worst critic. There are a lot of great things about Lexington — our heritage and tradition; special gems unique to our region — that we should celebrate. We are a family-friendly, business-friendly, entrepreneurial and well-educated city. These are things we should remember to celebrate as we chart a path forward for our city and region."

What would people be surprised to learn about you? "Mary Lynne and I have two dogs: Gracie and Daisy."

What is your favorite bourbon? "On the rocks."

George Clooney or Johnny Depp? "I'm more of a Michael Clayton fan than a Jack Sparrow fan."

Hot Brown or burgoo? "Burgoo — it's a little healthier."


Cheryl Norton, Kentucky American Water

Background: Age 47, she came to Lexington in January 2011 from Okawville, Ill., 40 miles east of St. Louis.

Why Lexington other than the job: "Everyone that I talked to about Lexington told me the same thing — it's a great place to raise a family. So far, I would definitely agree."

Non-work conversation starters: "Sports. I quickly became a UK basketball fan. I have always liked football. My daughter plays softball. And the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series."

What is an initiative you would like to complete this year in your job, and what's one you would like to have accomplished in the next five years? "We will become increasingly more efficient in order to continue providing great value for our customers. I will continue my efforts to get to know our region even better — its strengths, its weaknesses, its challenges — so that I can be an even more effective and active leader in positioning the commonwealth for future success."

If you could change anything about Lexington that you're not in control of, what would it be? "I'm still getting to know our community and its key challenges, so I'm not sure I've identified the one thing I would like to change. On the other hand, I've met a lot of people here who battle seasonal allergies (including my daughter and husband), so I suppose I wish everyone could enjoy all the incredible beauty of the Bluegrass without the challenges chronic allergies bring."

What would people be surprised to learn about you? "I grew up on a farm in a very small town in Missouri. I'm very 'country' at heart."

What is your favorite bourbon? "It's a toss-up between Maker's Mark and Woodford Reserve; however, I haven't tried them all ... yet."

George Clooney or Johnny Depp? "Probably Johnny Depp. He has played so many great, weird roles. I think he's incredibly talented or maybe just a little bit crazy."

Hot Brown or burgoo? "Hot Brown, definitely."


Rufus M. Friday, Lexington Herald-Leader

Background: Age 50, he came to Lexington in June from Kennewick, Wash.

Why Lexington other than the job: "The opportunity to move closer to immediate family that lives in North Carolina."

Non-work conversation starters: "World War II history, college basketball or football."

What is an initiative you would like to complete this year in your job, and what's one you would like to have accomplished in the next five years? "I outlined six financial, audience and customer service initiatives six months ago that I wanted to complete by year-end, the most important ensuring that we recognize and reward, very often, our great asset — the team of employees at the Herald-Leader that create what we call our 'daily miracle' every day in print and online.

"Within the next five years successfully complete our transition from being considered a print-only company to a news and information 'media' company that delivers information across whatever platforms our audience and advertisers desire."

If you could change anything about Lexington that you're not in control of, what would it be? "I have only been here less than six months. Ask me again in a year."

What would people be surprised to learn about you? "I played college football at North Carolina State University, 60 pounds heavier than I am today."

What is your favorite bourbon? "I don't drink."

George Clooney or Johnny Depp? "Johnny Depp. I am a fan of his Pirates of the Caribbean movies."

Hot Brown or burgoo? "I am ashamed to say that I have yet to try either."


Gary Payne, Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital

Background: "Ageless," he came to Lexington in October from Albuquerque, N.M.

Why Lexington other than the job: "The job at Cardinal Hill was most compelling. I'd move to the middle of the desert to work at this organization. I love the high-energy college town and horse country atmosphere."

Non-work conversation starters: "Right now it's Kentucky basketball."

What is an initiative you would like to complete this year in your job, and what's one you would like to have accomplished in the next five years? "We have wonderful people and facility resources at Cardinal Hill. I want to make sure we always utilize them to the fullest extent possible for the betterment of the patients who require our services and our community now and far into the future."

If you could change anything about Lexington that you're not in control of, what would it be? "The length of time I spend at stop lights."

What would people be surprised to learn about you? "I held a national sports car racing license until about five years ago."

What is your favorite bourbon? "I haven't tried many yet, but I've liked them all so far."

George Clooney or Johnny Depp? "I'm more of a Robert Duvall kind of guy."

Hot Brown or burgoo? "I haven't tried hot Brown but really liked burgoo. What's in that soup anyway?"


Andrew T. Hunt, nanotechnology firm nGimat LLC

Background: Age 51, he came to Lexington in August 2010 from Atlanta.

Why Lexington other than the job: "The clear sky, roads, educated and friendly people, central location and incentives."

Non-work conversation starters: "College football, golf, outdoor activities and politics."

What is an initiative you would like to complete this year in your job, and what's one you would like to have accomplished in the next five years? "Have a great team of people that can get leading-edge nanomaterials produced, and this is mostly in order. In five years, I would like to have a strong growth nanomaterials production plant."

If you could change anything about Lexington that you're not in control of, what would it be? "Have lower-cost air travel and a lot more direct flights."

What would people be surprised to learn about you? "A nanotechnologist can have a normal conversation. I have four children: Andrea, 20; twins Patrick and Paula, 18; and 15-month-old Ada."

What is your favorite bourbon? "Kentucky distilled!"

George Clooney or Johnny Depp? "Both in movies but would prefer time with George socially."

Hot Brown or burgoo? "Both, but if I must choose before a taste test of that establishment's servings, then burgoo."

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader

  Comments