kentucky state council


Jonathan Blue
Chairman & Managing Director, Blue Equity (Co-chair) 

Ryan Quarles
Commissioner of Agriculture, State of Kentucky (Co-chair)

James Comer
U.S. Congressman (Honorary chair)

Jon Yarmuth
U.S. Congressman (Honorary chair)

Robert Brown
Chairman, District Export Council of Kentucky (Vice Chair)

Richard Grana
Owner, Impex (Vice Chair)

Nathan Cryder
Director, Edelen Strategic Ventures (Vice Chair)



Interfaiths Path to Peace

Archbishop Joseph Edward Kurtz
Archdiocese of Louisville

Bill Miller
Executive Director, Paducah-McCracken County Riverport Authority

Sam Rock
Cofounder, Bluegrass Distilling

Sister Cities of Louisville

Jonathan Steiner
CEO, Kentucky League of Cities

Griffin Van Meter
Founder, Kentucky for Kentucky

Bryan Warren
Director of Globalization, Louisville International Organization Network

J. Edwin Webb
President & CEO, World Trade Center of Kentucky

Xiao Yin Zhou
Director, Kentucky World Affairs Council

Kaveh Zamanian
President, Rabbit Hole Distillery

Barrel House Distilling Co.

Steven Beam
President, Limestone Branch Distillery

Barbara Boyd
Chair, Kentucky Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression

Keith Bundy
President, Silent Brigade Distillery

Adam Caswell
Asst. Vice President for Government & Corporate Engagement, Northern Kentucky University

Lisa Crutcher
CEO, Catholic Charities of Louisville

Adam Edelen
CEO, Edelen Strategic Ventures

Dr. Robert Farley
Professor, University of Kentucky Patterson School of Diplomacy

Jim Gray
Mayor, City of Lexington

Craig Greenberg
President, 21C Hotel and Museum

Alison Lundergan Grimes
Secretary of State, State of Kentucky

Mark Haney
President, Kentucky Farm Bureau

Phil Holoubek
CEO, Lexington Real Estate Company

Kentucky's Champions

News clips

Representative James Comer (R-KY-01) Cosponsor of H.R.525 Cuba Agricultural Exports Act & H.R. 442 Cuba Trade Act

Representative James Comer (R-KY-01)

Cosponsor of H.R.525 Cuba Agricultural Exports Act & H.R. 442 Cuba Trade Act

Prensa Latina: Cuban Ambassador Sees Kentucky Businessmen interest in Cuba 

Cuban Ambassador to the United States, José Ramón Cabañas, confirmed the interest of business representatives and other sectors of the state of Kentucky in increasing ties with the island, reported the diplomatic delegation of the Caribbean country. During a visit to that territory, Cabañas exchanged greetings with Governor Matt Bevin, and with the mayors of the cities of Louisville and Lexington, Gregory E. Fischer and Jim Gray, respectively. During the stay, May 4 to 7, he also held meetings with federal congressmen James Comer and John Yarmuth, as well as other state representatives, pointed out the embassy in a note.

WEKU FM: Kentucky Businesses interested in Cuba

Representatives from the Kentucky World Trade Center are taking a business related trip to Cuba next month.  Lexington council members received an update last week of trade center activities. Center President Ed Webb says area business leaders approached him about a trip to Cuba. “Basically we said initially no because the embargo still exists,” Webb said. “It’s still in place which means we cannot do any kind of business activity except for humanitarian aid, which would be medical and food supplies.”

Business Journals: Jonathan Blue: Kentucky needs to be at cuba's front door

Previous travel restrictions had hindered most U.S. citizens from experiencing the country for themselves. But the removal of those travel restrictions opened the eyes of the participants and helped them discover potential business opportunities they didn't know existed. "It's mind-boggling," Blue said of the opportunities. His biggest takeaway from the trip is that many opportunities are available in the "right areas," which he described as legal business deals that meet mutual needs of Kentucky and Cuba.

Bowling Green Daily News: Comer visits Cuba, examines country's agriculture

U.S. Rep. James Comer, R-Tompkinsville, recently visited Cuba and hopes to restore agricultural trade with the island nation and provide the United States with a valuable new market for agricultural exports. Comer said Cuba is a “logical” market for U.S. trade. “To me, that’s a market we should have and as a member of Congress, I’m going to do everything I can to lift the embargo,” he said. Cuba is about 90 miles from Florida’s southern tip, and its proximity to the U.S. makes it an ideal potential market, Comer said. Most of Cuba’s food imports come from China, Canada and Europe, all three of which make for longer journeys and more costly shipping, he said. In addition, Cuba’s climate renders it unable to grow certain crops that the U.S. produces in abundance like wheat, corn and soy, Comer said. 

Business Journals: Kentucky's relationship with cuba could be as complementary as bourbon and cigars

J. Edwin Webb, president and CEO of the World Trade Center Kentucky, said that if the trade embargo is lifted between the United States and Cuba, it could reap dividends for the state of Kentucky and the 11 million Cubans who suddenly would have access to U.S. products and services. For example, Webb noted that the overwhelming majority of Cuba's food is imported, a factor Kentucky could take advantage of as a state heavy on agriculture.


Richmond Register: Kentuckians begin first efforts to trade with cuba

President Obama made headlines recently as the first U.S. leader to visit Cuba since the communist revolution. The two neighboring countries have resumed diplomatic relations and are taking cautious steps toward full normalization, including trade and travel. Last October, however, a group of Kentucky business leaders, including John McPearson of Richmond, CEO of Lectrodryer, visited this island nation only 90 miles south of Florida. The mission was sponsored by the World Trade Center of Kentucky, which may plan another this October, if enough interest is shown, according to Sherry Mulkins, WTCKY spokesperson. “This was only an exploratory mission, designed primarily to start building relationships,” McPhearson said of the October 2015 trip.