Bevin appoints six business people to higher education board

Gov. Matt Bevin has appointed six new members Tuesday to the Council on Postsecondary Education, all of them representing business and industry.

The council’s board has 13 citizen members, including one student and one faculty member, all appointed by the governor. The commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Education serves as a non-voting member.

Last year, former Gov. Steve Beshear had appointed four people — Joe Graviss, Bruce Ayers, Mark Guilfoyle and Brenda McGown — to empty positions, but they were not confirmed by the Senate during the last legislative session. The terms of two other members, Marcia Ridings and Dennis Jackson, had expired and they were not reappointed.

The council is higher education’s governing agency. Its members have traditionally come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including education, law and politics.

Bevin has said he wants to reinvent Kentucky’s manufacturing sector and has repeatedly questioned the value of spending tax dollars to subsidize liberal arts students.

“All the people in the world who want to study French literature can do so, they’re just not going to be subsidized by the taxpayers like engineers will be, for example,” he said in January.

Members appointed Tuesday by Bevin are:

▪ Ron Beal, of Bowling Green, president of Luvata’s Tubes Division with its main U.S. operations center in Franklin;

▪ Ben Brandstetter, of Hebron, vice president of the Transportation Engineering Division of Brandstetter Carroll Inc.;

▪ Luke Mentzer, of Lexington, program manager in acquisitions and mergers for Lexmark International in Lexington;

▪ Joe Papalia, of Louisville, chief executive officer of Munich Welding and Deposition Technology Innovations in Jeffersonville, Indiana;

▪ Vidya Ravichandran, of Louisville, technology entrepreneur owner of Glow Touch Technologies in Louisville;

▪ Carol Wright, of Tyner, president and chief executive officer of Jackson Energy Cooperative in McKee.

“This is an exciting time within the education community, as we take bold steps to better position our students and our commonwealth for success,” said Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Hal Heiner in a press release Tuesday. “Postsecondary institutions will play a pivotal role in developing a stronger Kentucky workforce and citizenry, and I am confident that this distinguished group of new CPE appointees is up to the task.”

CPE President Bob King said he looked forward to working with the new members.

“Their contributions will help transform the lives of our students and help our state prosper as we continue our progress to raise educational attainment in Kentucky at all levels, from career-oriented certificates and associate degrees to bachelor’s degrees and above,” he said.

Linda Blackford: 859-231-1359, @lbblackford