Beam Suntory’s Kevin Smith Elected 2023 Kentucky Chamber President

Kevin Smith

Frankfort, KY – Kevin Smith, vice president of Beam Suntory Kentucky Penn Affairs, has been elected president of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce for a term of 2023. Smith succeeds Diane Medley, executive chairman and co-founder of MCM CPAs and Advisors, whose term expires on September 27. 30.

Smith served on the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for several years and previously served as Chairman of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Smith also served on the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Workforce Center Committee and chaired the Chamber’s Competitiveness Policy Committee.

“We are delighted to welcome Kevin as chairman of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors,” said Ashli​​​ Watts, President/CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. “Kevin has worked tirelessly to advance the Commonwealth and we look forward to what we will achieve together next year.”

During his tenure at Beam Suntory, Smith focused on advancing corporate relationships, maintaining relationships with federal, state and local leaders, strengthening communities, and ensuring Kentucky has the most sustainable business environment possible.

One of his accomplishments at Beam Suntory includes playing a key role in leading the team at the University of Kentucky that created the James B. Beam Kentucky Spirits Institute, a driving force for research and talent development in the bourbon whisky industry.

He began his career in the bourbon whisky industry in 1989 and spent most of his time in a variety of roles from supply chain to manufacturing to construction and operations and other areas of production. Throughout his career, Smith has traveled the world representing the bourbon industry, leading extensive seminars, tastings and media interviews.

Previously, Smith was Vice President and Chief Distiller at Maker’s Mark Distillery, where he was instrumental in the expression of Maker’s 46.

In addition to his involvement with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Smith currently serves on the Board of Directors of CHI Saint Joseph Health; Kentucky Workforce Innovation Council; Japanese American Kentucky Association; Elizabethtown Community and Technical College Foundation Board; Greater Louisville Corporation Board of Directors; Bardstown Industrial Development Council ; the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Advisory Board; and the UofL Speed ​​School of Engineering Industrial Advisory Board. Smith also serves as the 2022 chair of the Kentucky Brewers Association Board of Directors.

“I would like to thank the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce for the opportunity to serve as the organization’s next board chair,” said Kevin Smith, vice president of Kentucky Beam Bourbon Affairs. “I’m proud to help the Chamber of Commerce continue its work to make Kentucky more business-friendly, improve the lives of every Kentucky, and advance the Commonwealth.”

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport CEO Candace McGraw will serve as chair-designate for 2023. Joining Smith and McGraw on the Chamber’s Executive Committee will be:

  • Past Chairman: Diane MedleyExecutive Chairman and Co-Founder, MCM CPAs & Advisors, Louisville, KY
  • Vice-President, Administration: kelly workerPresident, Planters Bank, Hopkinsville, Kentucky
  • Vice President of Communications and Marketing: Steve BranscombePresident and CEO, Branscum Construction Co., Russell Springs, KY
  • Vice President of Membership and Business Services: John CrockettPresident, LG&E KU Energy LLC, Louisville, KY
  • Vice President for Public Affairs: La Juana WelcherPartner, English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley, Bowling Green, KY
  • Treasurer: Mark GoochPresident and Chief Executive Officer, Community Trust Banking Corporation of Pikeville, Kentucky
  • President of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Foundation: Conrad DanielsPresident, HJI Supply Chain Solutions, Louisville, KY
  • At-Large Member: Susan ElkingtonPresident, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Corporation, Georgetown, KY
  • At-Large Member: Amy LetrellPresident and CEO of Goodwill Industries, Kentucky, Kentucky
  • At-Large Member: Mark NewmanExecutive Vice President, Health Services, UK Healthcare, Lexington, Kentucky
  • At-Large Member: Mark SummerMember, Frost Brown Todd LLC, Louisville, KY
  • President and Chief Executive Officer: Ashley WattsPresident and CEO, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Frankfort, KY

Newly elected directors:

  • Jeff BokovskyCEO of ClearPath Mutual, Louisville
  • Kristen BirdRegional President, Louisville PNC Financial Services Group
  • Alan CallLouisville State Senior Director of Government Affairs, Charter Communications
  • Nancy ChambleyPresident of Campbellsville Manchester Tank Equipment
  • Patrick ColemanVice President, Government Affairs and ESOP Management, Houchens Industries, Bowling Green
  • Nick D’AndreaVice President, Government Affairs, UPS, Louisville
  • Ray DanielsChief Executive Officer, Equity Solutions Group LLC, Lexington
  • Hayley McCoy*President/CEO, Kentucky Economic Development Association
  • Carlos SanchezPresident, AT&T Louisville, KY
  • Amy SpillerOhio and Kentucky Presidents, Duke Energy, Cincinnati


A complete listing of the Board, including members continuing their terms, can be found online at

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