Frankfort, KY (February 19, 2015) In show business, the old adage is “The show must go on!” That was the consensus this week with the combined KY FAME Conference and KAM Day at the Capitol event, despite brutal cold, snow and high winds. More than half of those registered made it to Frankfort to attend this first KY FAME conference, billed as a primer on the program and a deeper dive into the nuts and bolts of how it works and how it can be replicated across the Commonwealth.

Governor Steve Beshear addressed the conference at midday, explaining his enthusiasm for the initiative this way: “I want to give you the very best workforce in the world…to improve the quality of life for everyone across the Commonwealth.” His comments seemed to resonate with those attending the conference.

Although some of our speakers were unable to attend due to the bad weather, road conditions and flight cancellations, in true collaborative spirit, others with experience and insight to share stepped to fill their spots. Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer graciously filled in for a legislative update and we were pleased to have Education Secretary Thomas Zawacki and Commissioner Beth Kuhn fill in for our keynote speaker John Ladd, Administrator of the Office of Apprenticeship and Training Administration in the US Department of Labor, who was unable to fly out of DC. Their insight and remarks were invaluable to those in attendance.

After the conference, we were pleased to have several manufacturers, educators and legislators attend our Legislative Reception at the Capital Plaza Hotel.

“Despite the uncooperative weather and travel conditions, I couldn’t be more pleased with the turnout and the collaboration during this conference,” said Greg Higdon, President & CEO of KAM. “The Panel Discussion at the end of the day and the dialogue it generated were exactly what we hoped would happen.” We appreciate Representative Wilson Stone, Vice Chair of the House Education Committee, for his participation on this panel.

Other speakers and participants who offered invaluable insight and leadership throughout the day were: Kim Menke and Dennis Parker, Toyota; Erik Dunnigan and Josh Benton, Cabinet for Economic Development; Dr. Larry Ferguson and Dr. Dianne Leveridge, KCTCS: Terry McMichael, 3M; Myron Henderson, Akebono Break; Rena Sharpe, Westport Axle; Carole Crawford, Bluegrass Community & Technical College; Mark Harrell, Project Lead The Way; and Brian Tramontin, Project Lead The Way student participant.

Please check the KAM ( and KY FAME ( websites for pictures and more information on the days events.

© 2016 Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education