Tom Cottingham is a serial entrepreneur who builds successful publishing companies in the digital age.
As CEO of Insider Louisville, Cottingham leads his team to deliver news in the world of smart phones, tablets and other emerging platforms in which traditional media may struggle. As he describes it: “Our mission is to deliver useful, engaging information about critical issues. We tell stories, tell them sharply, and in a way that respects the intelligence of our audience.”
With a motivation of creating jobs to fuel him, Cottingham has a long track record of creating successful publishing companies in the midst of technology changes. As a lead investor and founding partner in successful start-ups, his roster includes hits like TechRepublic and NarrowCast Group LLC, publisher of ITBusinessEdge. TechRepublic sold to Gartner and ITBusinessEdge to Quinstreet Enterprise.
In the early days of tech, he co-founded The Cobb Group as one of the first desktop publishing firms in the country. That company sold to Ziff Davis, where Cottingham served in executive roles prior to founding TechRepublic. He also served in marketing roles at computer book publisher Que Corporation, as a start-up.
Cottingham was selected as the 2000 winner of the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for E-Business in the Ohio Valley region.
In addition to his duties at Insider Louisville, Cottingham advises entrepreneurs and investors about the best ways to create and capitalize on opportunities. He has served for many years on the Anchorage Independent School Board and the board of the Louisville Orchestra. He is also a supporter of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana.
Abby Drane leads Uspiritus, whose mission is healing the hearts and minds of vulnerable youth and their families.
A career professional administrator in the field of behavioral sciences, Drane re-joined Uspiritus as the president/CEO by unanimous vote in 2014. A twenty-five year veteran in the field, she previously served Uspiritus as CFO before moving to Seven Counties Services as VP of finance and CFO.
Having moved fourteen times during her childhood, Drane has an innate passion for helping children who may not be able to help themselves. This fuels a true passion for excellent service to children and families in need. She is a skilled coach, teacher, team builder and leader who brings the tools and drive to help Uspiritus go from good to great.
A licensed CPA, Drane received her M.B.A. from Western Kentucky University and a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business management from Central Missouri State University. She has also served as an accounting instructor at Sullivan College of Business in Fort Knox, Ky.
Episode 197. Terry Forcht – Founder, Chairman and CEO, Forcht Group of Kentucky
Terry Forcht is a leading Kentucky entrepreneur and investor and the founder of Forcht Group of Kentucky. A lawyer by training, Forcht began a law practice in Corbin, Ky. after serving as the chairman of the commerce department at Cumberland College (now University of the Cumberlands).
In 1972, he purchased the first building block of his future company – Hillcrest Nursing Home. Today, 1st Corbin Long Term Care owns nine health and rehab centers. In the same year, he was appointed to the board of directors of Corbin Deposit Bank & Trust Company.
Forcht and other investors later founded Tri-County National Bank with $1.5 million in assets. That bank now has 30 locations and manages over $1 billion in assets. Forcht has also invested heavily in media. His holdings include newspapers and broadcasters (TV and radio). Forcht Group also invested in such diverse holdings as a pharmacy and diagnostic lab, retail furniture and gift shop, a construction company, real estate, and other businesses.
Forcht has won a number of awards and served on several boards. He and his wife of over 50 years, Marion, have given several major gifts to the community. These include money to build a wing at the Grace on the Hill Church, establish the Forcht Center for Entrepreneurship in the School of Business at University of Louisville, and a contribution to complete the murals in Frankfort’s Capitol Rotunda building.
Ian Derrer leads the Kentucky Opera, fueled by a lifelong love of opera.
He became the fifth general director in Kentucky Opera history in 2006 and leads the organization in their mission to entertain and educate a broad and diverse audience by producing opera of the highest quality. Derrer joined the organization after serving in his previous role as artistic administrator and a member of the senior management team of the Dallas Opera.
Bitten by the opera bug as a young child, Derrer has worked with opera companies throughout the U.S. and in Italy. His experience from serving operas in Dallas, New York, Santa Fe and Charlotte has given him an opportunity to learn from leading general directors in the field. Their lessons on fundraising, audience development, branding, and community involvement give him a unique advantage.
Derrer’s prior experience includes working as a scheduling coordinator for the International Institute of Vocal Arts in Chiari, Italy. He also interned at Columbia Artists Management, Inc. in the office of Ronald A. Wilford.
Derrer received masters’ degrees in opera production, voice, and performing arts management from Northwestern University and Brooklyn College. He also completed a Bachelor of Music degree in voice performance from the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University.
Donald E. Lassere leads the Muhammad Ali Center and fosters its mission of building and expanding on the Center’s educational programs, partnerships, and other outreach initiatives.
He facilitated a comprehensive rebranding process and implemented a strategic plan that focused the Center on the three primary program areas of education, global citizenship, and gender equality.
Lassere also launched the Muhammad Ali Global Humanitarian Awards, designed to inspire and encourage young people worldwide to become actively involved in social justice issues that impact their communities, countries and the world.
Prior to joining the Muhammad Ali Center, Lassere served as senior vice president of programs at Scholarship America. In this role, he administered over 1,200 scholarships, tuition reimbursement and education assistance programs amounting to over $160 million annually.
Previous to Scholarship America, Lassere spent over 20 years working at top tier organizations including Gallup Consulting, Enron Corporation, Ernst & Young Consulting, and Verizon.
He currently serves as the chair for the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau and Lassere is on the advisory board for the Family Business Center. He is also on the Jeffersonville County Technical College Presidential Search Task Force.
Lassere holds a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, and a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of San Francisco.
Taylor Trusty loves building – be it business or digital properties.
He is the guiding force for Blackstone Media, a web design and development agency with offices in Louisville, Ky. and New York City. He built and leads the company with an unconventional background.
A self-proclaimed computer nerd, Trusty began computer programming at the age of 13, and was working at a web design company by 15. At the age of 16, he was a territory sales manager for Hewlett-Packard, before becoming the head of customer service and web master of a sports memorabilia e-commerce start-up. By the age of 20, he had co-founded and sold his own sports collectibles business and founded Blackstone Media.
A voracious reader and popular speaker, Trusty credits a great deal of his success to actively pursuing and learning from remarkable mentors. This led to Trusty’s realization of his years-long dream to build a second office in New York.
When he isn’t busy running Blackstone Media, Trusty can be found working off his cookie habit at a CrossFit box, traveling, spending time with family and friends or, on the off chance that he’s sitting still, reading the latest tech brief from Elon Musk and his Tesla and SpaceX ventures.
James O’Connor is a former professional soccer player and is head coach of Louisville City FC.
O’Connor is a former Orlando City player and coach who came to Louisville to coach the Louisville City team in 2014. In his first season with Orlando, the team broke almost every record in league history – scoring the most goals, conceding the fewest goals, and setting a new point record for the league. While at Orlando, O’Connor won the USL regular season championship and the USL championship.
Prior to going to Orlando, O’Connor – who is Irish – played professionally in Ireland and England. He played for the English club Stoke City from 1996 – 2003. He later played for two other teams before joining Orlando. In all, he played in over 500 professional games and is one of the youngest persons to hold the UEFA Pro License – the highest coaching license in the world. He holds a number of licenses and certifications.
O’Connor resides in Louisville with his wife Amy and their two children.
Conrad Bachmann’s career spans four decades and hundreds of roles.
Bachmann’s desire to give back to his hometown community is at the heart of founding the Louisville International Film Festival. The annual festival attracts hundreds of films from all over the world each year, and the proceeds help fund film study in the Louisville community.
Bachmann’s impressive career spans film, theatre and television. Beginning over forty years ago with an appearance on the “Dobie Gillis” series, he is known from television for recurring roles in “West Wing” (treasure secretary) and “General Hospital” (Judge Lawrence), among others. He has also worked with industry greats in film – including Tommy Lee Jones, Ben Kingsley, Samuel L. Jackson and Jack Palance. Co-starring in “Portrait of a Killer” with Jack Palance and Rod Steiger was a highlight of his career.
In addition to acting, Bachmann took time out to be president/CEO of his own advertising and marketing firm. He designed and produced numerous commercials and industrial films and created new products for various manufacturers and corporations domestically and internationally.
He has served in numerous roles to advance and support the entertainment industry. Bachmann served eight years as a well-respected governor of the Performers Peer Group for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. In addition, he served on the Academy’s executive committee and recently co-chaired the Hall of Fame for it.
Bachmann also served in the armed forces with the Air Force Special Services. He created and produced monthly shows and toured with Tops In Blue, special entertainment services, in the U.S., Korea and Japan as a featured entertainer.
He participates in numerous charities and has received a number of awards. Bachmann is married to his wife of over forty years, Kate, and has four children and several grandchildren.
Amanda Duffy’s desire to break boundaries and her competitive spirit to succeed drive her every day.
Named president of the Louisville City FC in November 2015, Duffy had previously served as the club’s VP of operations and general manager. In those roles, she saw the club reach the Eastern Conference Final and boast the league’s second highest average attendance. Her rapid promotions – she was promoted to GM in three months and named president within a year – are even more remarkable in a league where women as senior executives are rare.
Duffy worked for almost eight seasons in various league management roles, which included strategic planning, league management, player registration and coordinating referee development and assignment to the league’s teams.
As a player, Duffy held multiple school records at East Carolina University. She played three seasons after college in the Women’s League, the USL’s highest level of women’s soccer in the U.S. and Canada, winning one national championship and three division championships. She also played in Sweden’s 1st Division for one season with Danmarks IF.
Her skills on the soccer field resulted in induction into East Carolina University’s Sports Hall of Fame. In 2016, she was named to Louisville Business First’s Forty under 40, a group of top achievers under the age of 40.
Since this interview was taped, Duffy accepted a role as managing director of operations for the National Women’s Soccer League.
Mitch McConnell has served as U.S. Senate majority leader since 2015. He is only the second Kentuckian to serve as majority leader in the Senate; the first, Alben Barkley, led the Democrats from 1937 to 1947.
McConnell has been called “the most conservative leader of either party in the history of the Senate.” He has also earned a reputation as a “master tactician” for permanently locking in critical tax relief for working families and small businesses, and putting in place the most significant spending reduction legislation in a generation. In 2015, TIME Magazine named him one of its 100 Most Influential People in the World.
Since Republicans took charge of the Senate in 2015, McConnell has worked to restore the legislative process by empowering committees and individual senators. As a result, the Senate has attained a number of significant legislative accomplishments under his leadership: from replacing No Child Left Behind with the most significant K-12 education reforms in years to passing a major overhaul of America’s outdated energy policies to taking action on America’s growing opioid and heroin epidemic. (For more on the Republican Senate’s accomplishments click HERE.)
McConnell previously served as the Republican Leader in the 110th through 113th Congresses, a position he was unanimously elected to by his colleagues every two years since 2006. He also served in leadership as the majority whip during the 108th and 109th Congresses and as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee during the 1998 and 2000 election cycles.
McConnell is Kentucky’s longest-serving senator. First elected to the Senate in 1984, he made history that year as the only Republican challenger in the country to defeat a Democrat incumbent and as the first Republican to win a statewide Kentucky race in nearly two decades. McConnell was elected to a record sixth term in 2014 with broad support from across the commonwealth, winning 110 of Kentucky’s 120 counties.
He has long been the Senate’s leading voice for increased freedom and reconciliation in Burma, and in protecting Americans’ First Amendment rights to free speech here at home.
McConnell currently serves as a senior member of the Appropriations, Agriculture and Rules Committees.
Before his election to the U.S. Senate, McConnell served as county judge-executive of Kentucky’s Jefferson County, as deputy assistant attorney general to President Gerald Ford, as chief legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Marlow Cook, and as an intern on Capitol Hill to Senator John Sherman Cooper.
McConnell was born in Sheffield, Alabama, in 1942 and moved to Louisville, Kentucky with his family at the age of 13. He graduated with honors from the University of Louisville. He is also a graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Law, where he was elected president of the Student Bar Association.
He is the proud father of three daughters.
McConnell is married to the Honorable Elaine L. Chao, who served for eight years as President George W. Bush’s secretary of labor. Secretary Chao is a former president of the United Way of America and director of the Peace Corps.
Ingrid Hernandez delivers high quality design while building personalized client relationships.
As president and creative director at InGrid Design since 2002, Hernandez leads her business and team, while also providing expertise as a creative director and project manager. InGrid Design is an award-winning graphic design firm offering services from concept to completion, as well as Spanish translation services. The firm helps companies communicate regionally, nationally and globally with a multicultural sensibility.
Hernandez grew up in Puerto Rico and attended the Instituto San Miguel de Allende with a focus on painting. She then went on to the Rhode Island School of Design for her B.F.A. in graphic design.
Hernandez and InGrid Design have won many awards, including the NAWBO Woman Business Owner of the Year and the GLI Emerging Minority Business of the Year. Hernandez was named to Business First magazine’s Fast 50 and Fast Dozen lists, as well as a finalist for Leader of the Year.
Donald M. Vowels is a psychotherapist and spiritual counselor with Body, Mind, Spirit Health and Wellness in Louisville. He has an extensive resume in psychotherapy, theology and social work.
While his professional life was in full swing, a December 2011 routine colonoscopy profoundly and instantly changed Vowel’s personal life when he was diagnosed with anal cancer. A May 2014, recurrence of cancer in his chest area led Vowels to creating his own Caring Bridge Blog for followers of his cancer journey. This is what ultimately led Don, or Donnie as some call him, to our program, not to mention numerous fan requests to make him a featured guest.
Vowels was previously the radio show co-host of “The Art of Healthy Living” on WKJK 1080 AM Radio for two years. He also released a calming guided meditation album, “The Quiet,” in 2007.
Sterling Lapinski is an entrepreneur and angel investor.
In 2012, he co-founded ClipperData, an energy market information service, where he currently serves as CEO. Lapinski is also the co-founder of Genscape, the world’s leading provider of real-time energy information. The technology and intellectual property core of the business were created and managed by Lapinski. In 2006, Lapinski and his partners sold Genscape to the Daily Mail & General Trust for almost $200 million.
Lapinski has invented more than a dozen domestic and foreign patents.
In 2003, Ernst and Young named Lapinski an Entrepreneur of the Year. He is currently an investor in, advisor for, or board member of many companies, including Stonestreet One, CD Funding Group, and SimPak International, to name just a few.
When Nina Moseley talks about her work helping those in poverty, her eyes light up with hope and her enthusiasm fills the room.
Since 1988, Moseley has been the chief operating officer of Wayside Christian Mission. The organization helps Louisville’s homeless population “not with a hand-out, but with a hand up.” The organization has grown from an overnight shelter for the homeless, to a center for hope with education and skills training as well. Along the way, they’ve taken on the city, enlisted HUD and the Louisville community at large.
Moseley traded in a career in finance and collections at local department stores to take the leap into the unknown at Wayside. She met her husband there, and has contributed to many lives turning around.
Moseley earned her J.D. from U of L’s Brandeis School of Law in 1999, and is a member of the Board of the Coalition for the Homeless, a board member and past president of Metrobon Kiwanis Club, and a past board member of the Flaget Alumni Association. She has been a licensed member of the Kentucky Bar, Indiana Bar, and Arkansas Bar. Moseley was also the recipient of the Leadership Award from Mercy Academy, as well as the Spirit of Flaget Award. In 2011, she and her husband were honored with the Blanche B. Ottenheimer Award for going above and beyond to improve life in the Louisville community.
Mitzi Friedlander has spent much of her career bringing stories to life for the blind. After 50 years of recording books, Friedlander holds the record for most talking book titles narrated for the National Library Service.
As a Louisville-native and former singer, Friedlander once performed in the Kentucky Opera Association. She sang and acted in many operas, musicals and plays in the 1950s. Friedlander also holds a master’s degree in theatre arts from the University of Louisville.
She went on to become a celebrity in the narrated books world and recorded more than 2,200 titles. In 1993, Friedlander received the Alexander Scourby Award for her narration of nonfiction books. According to the Courier-Journal, Friedlander said her most favorite book that she ever recorded is the children’s classic, “Charlotte’s Web.”
Rebecca Eaves saves and protects animals suffering from abuse and neglect.
A long-time animal rescuer and activist, Eaves is the founder and president of The Arrow Fund, a Kentucky based non-profit that provides medical treatment to animal victims of torture, abuse, or neglect, and then finds them loving homes. The organization takes legal possession of the animal and holds the abuser responsible by pursuing legal action against them. This selfless mission is truly fueled by love, as all the members of The Arrow Fund Board are volunteers and are not paid for their services.
Eaves says her mission began in 2009, when a labrador mix, later named Aiden, was deliberately shot with an arrow in Pike County. She then became no stranger to the spotlight, spreading the message about animal abuse everywhere she could, drawing attention to this important cause and educating the public.
Eaves has seen the worst in people in the harm inflicted to animals, and the best in those who work tirelessly to save them. The first thing she says to every rescued animal? “You will never be hurt again.”
Barry Denton is passionate about his hometown of Louisville.
In 2003, he began work as a bomb squad commander and police sergeant. Currently, Denton serves in the police force, and in educating the next generation. He works as a patrol officer for Audubon Park Police, and serves as an adjunct professor with the American Military University, the University of Louisville, and Indiana Wesleyan University. Since 2013, he has served as the executive director of the Louisville Metro Police Foundation.
Denton strives to make Louisville the best city in the nation through his work and through volunteerism with such organizations as the Louisville Downtown Rotary and the Kentucky Derby Festival Board.
He is the recipient of many awards including the 1995, 1999, and 2003 Medals of Valor from the Jefferson County Police Department.
Joey Wagner, Owner of the J Wagner Group, has been putting on some of the biggest events in the city of Louisville and the midwest region for the past 10 years. J. Wagner Group, a full-service event planning, marketing, and promotions firm, serves many well-known and high-end clients.
Wagner also owns DerbyVIP.com, a full-service concierge service providing rental houses, car service, fashion, security, and tickets to celebrity and charity events for Kentucky Derby Weekend.
Wagner previously served as the marketing and promotions coordinator for the athletic department at Morehead State University.
He holds many awards and recognitions. He was nominated as a Louisville magazine’s Most Creative Business Person, was named one of the 8 Men Changing Louisville by Today’s Man magazine, and named one of the Most Powerful People at the Kentucky Derby by Velocity Weekly in their Kentucky Derby Power issue. Wagner was also been honored as a distinguished alumnus at Morehead State University.
Gale Lively always felt her job was to help people excel in their jobs.
She brought this view to her leadership position as the executive vice president of the Louisville Apartment Association. She served in this position for over 37 years prior to announcing her retirement in 2014. The non-profit represents apartment owners, vendors, and apartment communities in Louisville and advocates on behalf of the apartment industry through legislative lobbying on the local, state and national levels.
Focused on bringing visibility to the association, Lively has served on several committees of the National Apartment Association. In the past, she was named executive officer of the year and chosen to be president of the association executive council.
The organization also provides education certificates to those in the industry, and advocates on matters as varied as changes in building codes and rules for sprinklers and smoke detectors in apartment units.
Ankur Gopal’s desire to make an impact has fueled his success building a technology application company.
Gopal is the founder and CEO of Interapt LLC, a Google Glass partner.
Interapt is an award-winning company specializing in mobile apps and wearable technology. Interapt partners with businesses in the healthcare and long-term care industries, helping them use technology more effectively to complement their overall business strategy.
Interapt was selected by Google as one of only ten global companies to be a Glass at Work Partner. It has also earned the Gartner Cool Vendor Award, an international award designated by the research giant Gartner Group.
Gopal was named an emerging entrepreneur by the Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame and one of the 40 Business Leaders Under 40 in Business First magazine. Gopal also serves on the Speed Museum Board, the Kentucky Center for the Arts Board, and the Junior Achievement Board, and is an entrepreneur mentor.
Gopal is married to Dr. Kiran Gill and they are expecting their first child in December 2015.
A competitive spirit drives Chris Morris in his pursuit for excellence as a master distiller.
A Louisville native, Morris is only the seventh master distiller at the Brown-Forman Corporation since 1870, as well as its current spirits historian. He is responsible for maintaining the award-winning taste of the Woodford Reserve family of brands and serves as brand ambassador at trade and consumer functions.
Morris is one of three generations in his family to work at Brown-Forman. He began as a trainee at Brown-Forman in the central lab under the master distiller in 1976. He left to work for Glenmore Distillers in 1988, and then United Distillers when it acquired Glenmore in 1991. He returned to Brown-Forman in 1997. It was at this time that he was chosen to train as a master distiller.
Morris has served on the boards of the Kentucky Distillers Association and the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. He has also had the honor to judge at the International Wine and Spirits Competition and the International Spirits Challenge.
Since Lee W. Robinson was seven years old and constructing scale models, he has had a passion for design and building beautiful homes.
After a 14-year career in banking, Robinson decided to pursue his dream to open a design company that offers drafting, remodeling and design services in one location. The Lee W. Robinson Company, now in St. Matthews, fills two floors with a beautiful collection of furniture and accessories from artisans and design houses. The collection includes Robinson’s three lifestyle lines, each named after his sons Owsley, Thurston and McDowell.
Business First magazine named the Lee W. Robinson Company the #1 Full Service Remodeler in Louisville in 2008, just 9 years after opening its doors. It was also credited as a Fast 50 Top Growing Company. Robinson has been featured in several national magazines. In 2012, his company designed the Evelyn Lauder Holiday House in New York for the Hampton Designer Showcase.
Robinson was born in Lexington and currently lives in Louisville.
Kevin Grangier is driven by his desire to create things that make people happy.
Grangier began his career in marketing and communication locally, before heading to Los Angeles to start his own company. Carry On Communication Inc. is an award winning firm specializing in branding, public relations, and marketing. It expanded to five communication companies and offered services to some of the largest, most significant brands in the U.S. like Yahoo!, Clorox and many others.
In 2010, Grangier returned to Louisville to open The Village Anchor Pub & Roost, an eclectic European “bistropub.” The restaurant received critical acclaim for its unconventional marketing strategies and practices, and he was named Restaurateur of the Year.
Grangier has since opened a second restaurant in Louisville, Le Moo Fine Steakhouse, as well as creating Belle Noble Entertainment Group. He plans to develop new restaurant and entertainment concepts in various cities across the U.S.
Grangier follows guidance he received early in life: listen to others, take the information, and then trust your own instincts to make decisions. This has served him well in the building of his successful communications firm and two restaurants.
Dan McDonnell loves to compete, loves to win, and loves seeing the growth in his players as he coaches the University of Louisville baseball team.
Since McDonnell’s hiring in 2006, the team has accomplished amazing statistics.
In his first year, McDonnell led the team to the College World Series. Then he led the Cardinals to seven more NCAA appearances in eight years, including two more to the College World Series. Louisville is ranked 6th place nationally, with a school record of 51 wins in 2013. The Cardinals also hold six regular-season titles and two tournament championships in their conference.
McDonnell was awarded National Coach of the Year by rivals.com, as well as ACC Coach of the Year. He has had 22 All-American players and 43 players who have signed professional contracts at the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
McDonnell is married to the former Julie Anne Underwood of Charlotte, N.C. The couple has two sons.
Tom Jurich cites his motivation to do things right and see results as he leads athletic programs at the University of Louisville.
Since 1997, Jurich has made a permanent mark at the University of Louisville by leading an athletic department that has enjoyed tremendous athletic and academic accomplishments. In 2003, Jurich began his run as vice president at U of L.
Under Jurich, the Cardinal athletic teams have produced unparalleled success in multiple sports. Louisville’s 2012 – 2013 year marked the first time any university has ever won a BCS level bowl game, placed both its men’s and women’s basketball teams in the NCAA Final 4, and reached the baseball College World Series in the same season.
CBS Sports ranked Cardinals Athletics among the top three nationally for the past three years. Jurich and his wife share U of L’s prestigious Hickman-Camp Award and he was named Louisville magazine’s Person of the Year in 2007.
He resides in Louisville with his wife, Terrilynn. They have four children and several grandchildren.