Louisville Courier-Journal, July 24, 2017
The Food with Wine Coalition (FWWC) is a non profit organization which was established by the Kentucky Grocers Association (now known as the Kentucky Grocers Association & the Kentucky Association of Convenience Stores) for the purpose of educating and informing Kentucky’s thought leaders about the benefits of revising existing state law to allow grocery stores to sell wine in wet and moist counties. At present, 34 states allow grocery stores to sell wine. Six of seven of Kentucky’s border states allow grocery stores to sell wine.
Lifestyles have changed and wine has become a healthy part of a balanced diet when consumed in moderation. Across Kentucky, consumers are asking grocery store managers to sell wine to pair with the food that they are purchasing for dinner. There are three compelling reasons why the law should be changed:
- Expands consumer choice and competition in the wine marketplace
- Supports Kentucky’s farm families by expanding the number of sales outlets for Kentucky-produced wine and increases the demand for Kentucky-grown grapes
- Adds much needed tax revenue to the coffers of the Commonwealth without raising taxes
The FWWC retained Luke Schmidt and L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC for the purpose of developing and directing the project.
As consultant to the FWWC, Luke Schmidt provided the following services to the Coalition:
- Designed project scope and established goals
- Managed the Coalition; scheduled meetings, established Agendas and conducted meetings and teleconferences
- Developed collateral support materials such as one-pagers, project brochure, project promotional video, Web site, etc.
- Distributed collateral materials
- Conducted outreach to key writers and editorial boards to all daily newspapers, key news talk radio stations and television stations; secured editorial support; served as the spokesperson for the Coalition; developed list of regional grocery industry spokespersons
- Developed PR campaign strategy with press releases, op-ed articles; solicit/secure talk radio, television and other media opportunities
- Started outreach to key local chambers of commerce, The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and built support for the issue
- Developed and maintained the link with the agriculture community, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the Kentucky’s grape and wine industry
- Coordinated outreach to the Governor’s Office and Members of the General Assembly
- Coordinated legislation development and sponsorship
The FWWC positioned itself to lead the discussion on this issue. Luke Schmidt led the development of various collateral materials which were used to support the Coalition’s position, including a new logo.
The Coalition developed a Web site which contains a wealth of information on the issue. In addition, Luke Schmidt led the development of the Coalition’s promotional video . The Coalition also produced a project brochure which was distributed to industry and legislative representatives.
The Coalition also produced a general one-pager, along with an economic impact one-pager, both of which were distributed to Members of the Kentucky General Assembly and were also distributed with press releases.
As consultant to the Coalition, Luke Schmidt developed an extensive media distribution list and called on over 40 key media outlets throughout the Commonwealth (and adjacent markets in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio and West Virginia) during two statewide media tours, including television stations, talk radio stations, NPR radio stations and all daily newspapers which resulted in hundreds of positive newspaper articles, radio and television news stories. (Many of the newspaper articles and television news reports can be viewed in the Media section on this Web site) Three newspapers endorsed the Coalition’s position. Press releases were issued as needed.
Luke Schmidt called on key local Chambers of Commerce in the Commonwealth’s Top 10 markets. The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce endorsed the Coalition’s position.
The Coalition launched an initial statewide petition drive which included 110 grocery stores and which gathered 56,000 signatures. A follow-up online petition drive secured another 18,000 signatures. The petition drives were supported with unique in-store collateral pieces.
Luke Schmidt worked closely with a group of grocers which comprised the FWWC Steering Committee. The grocers provided invaluable support, insight and counsel. A true partnership was established. Yet, Members of the Kentucky General Assembly continued to focus exclusively on critical issues such as the Commonwealth’s severe budget shortfall, unfunded pension liabilities, etc., all the while avoiding the controversial issue. As such, the foundation to support legislation to allow grocery store wine sales was put into place; however, the environment needed to pass the controversial legislation remained challenging at best.
The FWWC elected to take this issue to court, challenging the constitutionality of the law. In 2012, U.S. District Court Judge John Heyburn ruled in Louisville that Kentucky’s existing law which outlawed the sale of wine in grocery stores was illegal and further stated that grocery stores should be allowed to sell wine and distilled spirits. The ruling was appealed by the liquor store industry and the issue is currently being reviewed by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.
In 2009, Hardin County, KY (located in the Elizabethtown – Fort Knox Metropolitan Statistical Area) found itself in the middle of a major expansion of Fort Knox – one of the United States Army’s largest posts – with growth in jobs (approximately 12,000 net new direct and indirect jobs), along with an expected increase in population of between 12,000 and 15,000 people. Base realignment (commonly referred to as BRAC) at Fort Knox resulted in the largest economic development project in Kentucky’s history (larger than the initial investments by Toyota in Georgetown and UPS at Louisville International Airport). The impact on Hardin County has been enormous.
In order to capitalize on this once in a lifetime opportunity, under the leadership of Hardin County Judge/Executive Harry L. Berry, Hardin County Government commissioned a visioning project for the purpose of building upon the positive momentum created by BRAC. The project was designed to build upon Hardin County’s strengths and current growth opportunities, identify weaknesses, maximize efficiencies and establish strategic community goals.
L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC was retained to conduct the project on behalf of Hardin County Government and in partnership with the Lincoln Trail Area Development District and the United States Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment.
The project’s methodology included a community strategic assessment (which included analysis of previously conducted studies and interviews with key groups and organizations). Also included in the community assessment was a 30 page confidential key stakeholder survey which was sent to over 100 community leaders representing the agriculture, business, education, government, health care, industrial, military and tourism sectors, and, two community leadership forums.
The project also analyzed benchmark (or peer) counties through research, site visits and meetings with leaders in each community that align with Hardin County demographically in order to determine how these counties approach various issues, such as community and economic development. The benchmark counties included:
- Daviess County, Kentucky (Owensboro area)
- Lee County, Mississippi (Tupelo area)
- Lowndes County, Mississippi (Columbus area)
- Montgomery County, Tennessee (Clarksville area)
- Warren County, Kentucky (Bowling Green area)
The key stakeholder surveys generated a 73% response rate which provided an accurate snapshot of attitudes and opinions on various key issues. The survey covered the following areas:
- Arts/Cultural Issues
- Quality of Life/Quality of Place
- Downtown Elizabethtown
- Economic Development
- Community Competitiveness with Other Communities
- Fort Knox
- Conference/Convention Facilities
- Health Care
- Community Position (Standing/Stature in Frankfort and Washington, D.C.)
- Government/The Big Picture
Community leaders participating in the vision process and through the key stakeholder surveys in Hardin County easily reached consensus on a number of broad areas, including:
Based upon the research which was conducted, along with the site visits and discussion from two robust community leadership planning sessions, project participants agreed upon 24 strategic goals, grouped in the following categories for Hardin County:
- Community Unification
- Community Development
- Quality of Place/Quality of Life
- Downtown Elizabethtown
- Health Care
The (Elizabethtown) News-Enterprise reported extensively on the Hardin County Vision Project. Many of these articles can be viewed by visiting the Latest News section of this web site.
Path Forward/Hardin County United
The process resulted in the establishment of 24 strategic goals for the next 15 years which touch upon government, education, community development and quality of life. Following the completion of the project, a new organization, Hardin County United, was formed by many of the vision project participants for the purpose of examining each of the 24 strategic goals and developing an implementation strategy.
The first official action taken as follow-up to the Hardin County Vision Project was the development of Hardin County United (HCU).
HCU is an ad-hoc group which was established to formally examine the goals which were established during the Vision Project. HCU started with a Steering Committee comprised of 58 community leaders (including elected officials, business and industry leaders, school superintendents, etc.) and with three subcommittees: Community Development, Education and Governance.
L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC President Luke Schmidt provides management and consulting services to Hardin County United.
The Elizabethtown (KY) Airport Board (EAB) operates the city’s municipal airport, Addington Field – Elizabethtown Regional Airport (EKX). The EAB decided to respond to numerous inquiries received from area citizens and businesses regarding the establishment of passenger airline service at EKX.
The EAB initially retained Luke Schmidt and L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC for the purpose of conducting a market feasibility study to confirm the presence of a viable passenger airline service market in Central Kentucky. Following the completion of the feasibility study, the EAB elected to proceed with the project to formally recruit an airline to EKX and again retained L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC to direct the project
The Market Feasibility Study (276 pages) included detailed demographic research into each of the 24 counties in the regional air service market. Highlights of the Study (and the updated market profile which followed) include:
- Analysis of Fort Knox travel patterns
- Summary of Fort Knox market (current Commands and incoming Commands)
- Projected annual passenger enplanements by developing the Origin & Destination Study
- Detailed demographic information on Elizabethtown Metro area
- Analysis of regional driving distances, costs and times to all regional commercial airports
- Develop communications/promotion strategy for the airport
- Develop regional support for passenger airline service
- Address airport infrastructure issues
- Recruit airlines to EKX
Project milestones include:
- Re-branded the airport by changing the airport’s name to reflect new regional mission
- Developed new airport logo and related collateral materials
- Developed new airport Web site
- Developed concept design for new passenger terminal
- Developed an unprecedented level of regional support for new passenger service at EKX along with key support at Fort Knox (included 72 resolutions and 200+ letters of support from government jurisdictions and chambers of commerce from 22 counties in support of EKX’s USDOT Small Community Air Service Development grant proposal)
- Began efforts to develop contract military airfares
- Started airline recruitment process with formal and ongoing discussions with all major network carriers and one low-cost carrier
- Attended the airline industry JumpStart Conference in Pittsburgh
- Established a schedule of airline airport charges and fees
Luke Schmidt also worked with the EAB to address airport infrastructure issues. Luke Schmidt facilitated initial meetings with former Congressman Ron Lewis for the purpose of securing funding for an Instrument Landing System (ILS) Glide Slope (which will be installed in 2013). This included multiple trips to Memphis, TN with airport board members to meet with FAA regional officials.
The EAB commissioned a set of concept drawings for a new passenger terminal.
In 2012 and in response to this project, the runway at EKX received a significant pavement overlay which now will allow for sustained operations of 76-passenger Canadair CRJ-900 regional jets for the next 15 years (along with occasional Boeing 737/757 charter flights).
Significant progress has been made towards the attainment of the goals set forth with this project. This ongoing project has the potential to substantially impact future economic development efforts in Central Kentucky and will assist in creating new jobs.
The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC) (now known as Call2Recycle) is a large Atlanta-based trade association which represents the manufacturers of portable rechargeable batteries. The batteries are used in a wide variety of applications, including laptop computers, cordless power tools, cordless telephones, etc. Members of RBRC include such companies as Panasonic, Sony, Varta and others. Batteries manufactured by these companies are used in such applications as laptop computers, cordless power tools, cordless telephones, etc.
RBRC’s primary mission is to facilitate the collection and recycling of portable rechargeable batteries. Since its inception, RBRC-sponsored recycling programs have been responsible for the processing of 75 million pounds of batteries which would have otherwise wound up in landfills. RBRC’s territory includes the United States and Canada.
RBRC has established over 50,000 innovative consumer collection points for batteries at leading retailers, including Best Buy, Office Depot, Office Max, Sears, Zellers and many others. RBRC supports its program with an extensive advertising program. In addition to the retail consumer collection points, RBRC also interfaces with municipal recycling programs, such as curbside collection and drop-off collection programs.
RBRC has also developed partnerships with many of the consumer products companies (such as Black and Decker, Motorola, etc.) which help to support the organization’s goals.
Like many entities, RBRC periodically examines the overall status of the organization and its programs. RBRC decided that it wanted to conduct an in-depth strategic assessment in order to ascertain how its members, senior staff and principal customers view the organization – in terms of its strengths and weaknesses. RBRC also wanted to examine its current mission and vision statements to confirm that both continue to adequately serve the organization. Finally, based upon the findings of the assessment, RBRC also wanted to establish new strategic goals for the purpose of guiding the organization going forward for a period of at least five years.
RBRC retained L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC to carry out this project, which included the following components:
- Organizational Profile (structure, finances, internal/external messaging, etc.)
- Key Stakeholder Interviews (which included Board members, corporate licensee partners, retail partners, state and municipal recycling officials and senior staff)
- Compilation of Organization Strategic Assessment
- Leadership Retreat
- Final Report
During the Key Stakeholder Interview phase, Luke Schmidt interviewed 21 key stakeholders. The interviews included the completion of an extensive survey document prior to the interview. The survey document covered a wide variety of issues/topics relative to the Stakeholder and to RBRC.
The interviews were conducted in-person on a strictly confidential basis in locations throughout the United States and Canada. In order to assure an accurate reflection of attitudes on various issues, each Stakeholder was given an assurance of complete confidentiality with regard to his/her responses. (The intent here is to obtain a fully candid response from each Stakeholder as to how they perceive various issues away from a typical group setting in which many individuals are somewhat reluctant to express how they truly feel on various issues)
Following the completion of the interviews, Luke Schmidt compiled the responses in aggregate form (again, no individual responses were ever shared with anyone at RBRC – either in written, verbal or PowerPoint form). The responses were compiled in a strategic assessment document and presented to attendees at the Leadership Retreat.
During the Leadership Retreat, which was held on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, several Key Issues were identified. These served as the basis for all subsequent discussion. The organization’s Mission Statement and Vision Statement were examined as to their current applicability and both were revised. The attendees also developed 19 short-term goals (to be completed over the next 12 months) and 17 long-term goals (to be completed over the next five years).
Also during the Leadership Retreat, the participants developed strategies (in outline form with personnel assigned to each) for the purpose of implementing the various goals.
Finally, following the Leadership Retreat, Luke Schmidt compiled a Final Report which served as a summary of the action taken during the Leadership Retreat.
M & G Finanziaria Industriale S.r.l. (M & G) is a large and well established chemical company based in Tortona, Italy. M & G is one of the largest producers of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic resins, with manufacturing facilities located in Europe, the United States and Mexico. The company has other interests related to the chemical industry. The company is constantly introducting new products and technologies to the marketplace.
M & G needed assistance in facilitating the development of a new technology related to solid waste disposal in the United States. However, before it could develop a detailed marketing plan, it first needed to gain a better understanding of the U.S. solid waste disposal system. As such, M & G retained L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC to provide an analysis of the system.
The analysis focused on the following key areas:
- Overview – U.S. Solid Waste Disposal System
- Overview – Current Landfill Issues
- Recommendations for the Introduction of New Technologies
Extensive research via the Web was conducted. In addition, site visits and key interviews were conducted in Louisville and Washington, D.C.
Following the completion of the research phase, Luke Schmidt delivered a 120 page report to the client which provided a complete overview of the disposal system, along with recommendations regarding the introduction of the new technology.
Article was originally posted to the WKYT-TV (Lexington) Web site http://www.wkyt.com/home/headlines/Somerset-group-announces-study-of-potential-unified-government-201456651.html
Today a group in Somerset announced a study to see if a “unified” government should be explored.
The group Somerset-Pulaski County United held a news conference announcing a study to cost about $35,000 to simply examine the idea of a unified government.
The group is made up of dozens of people from all walks of life, government, and community. They say they simply want to study the idea of a merged government, but those behind the movement say if the unified government did happen, the benefits to the average citizen would be great.
The Somerset-Pulaski County United group says they will pay for a third of the cost. The Somerset City Council and Pulaski Fiscal Court will be asked to each pay a third of the cost.
Officials say the study will explore similar unified governments in Athens and Clarke County, GA., as well as communities in Nevada and Louisiana.
BY BILL MARDIS, Editor Emeritus and KEN SHMIDHEISER, Managing Editor
Article was originally posted to Lexington Herald-Leader Web site http://www.kentucky.com/2013/04/04/2586569/merger-of-somerset-and-pulaski.html