By Chad Carlton, Building Kentucky
Each time that I return to Bowling Green, I get more envious and more impressed.
My alma mater, Western Kentucky University, is a glowing and growing campus – filled with amenities, art and modern buildings that were absent when I ambled the Hill more than three decades ago. And the expanding city – much more than the college town of my memories – is now the hub of a growing Southcentral Kentucky region with major employers and a great quality of life.
How did this transformation happen? Leadership, logistics and location are major reasons.
I learned this on a recent visit with two leaders who have been part of the change – Ron Bunch, president and CEO of the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce, and Rod England, chief financial officer at Scotty’s Contracting and Stone.
Western Kentucky University is a magnet for talented young people, entrepreneurs and problem solvers. The university’s leadership and faculty are committed to growing people, business and opportunities.
Strong governmental leadership at all levels and coordinated economic development make the region stand out in a state where people too often pull in different directions with competing visions.
The decades-long widening and expansion of I-65, the Automotive Corridor, has propelled the region’s growth.
The proximity to major air cargo hubs in Louisville and Memphis has strengthened the manufacturing core and the just-in-time supply chain. And the Kentucky Transpark, an economic development park once maligned as a dream, is a tremendous and expanding success.
Nashville is an increasingly powerful force in the region’s expansion, impacting everything from education and workforce development to housing prices and cultural loyalties. The 66-mile distance between Bowling Green and Nashville seems shorter now than ever before as the metropolitan areas of both communities connect.
Some of the challenges ahead include attracting people from surrounding communities to the workforce, diversifying the manufacturing base and expanding regional roads and infrastructure.
But if past performance is a predictor of future success, bet on Bowling Green.
Grow Big Red!
About The Author
Chad Carlton is Publisher of Building Kentucky and President at C2 Strategic Communications. He brings more than 25 years of high-stakes, front-line communications experience to the leadership of C2 Strategic.
Chad is a strategic and creative thinker, a polished writer and a respected adviser to strong leaders including governors, mayors, company executives, cabinet secretaries and entrepreneurs.
Since founding C2 Strategic in January 2011, Chad has focused on work that makes a positive difference in the community – from education to transportation, from non-profits to business.