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Kennedy set to retire after 28 years at Buffalo Trace ADD

Amy Kennedy, above, is set to retire July 31, 2024, after serving 28 years with the Buffalo Trace Area Development District. She began her tenure in 1996 as a transportation planner.

Amy Kennedy, whose nearly 28-year tenure with the Buffalo Trace Area Development District (BTADD) has been marked by transformative community development and steadfast public service, will retire from her role as executive director July 31.

Kennedy began her tenure with BTADD in October 1996 as a transportation planner and transitioned to the role of executive director in June 2008.

“I was asked a question during my interview for my first position with the ADD in 1996, and I still stand by my answer today,” Kennedy said. “My response was that I wanted to build a career where I knew that I could make a difference in many lives, and I truly feel I have had a career that has been able to make a difference and give back to the region.”

Motivated by a commitment to service, Kennedy found her role at BTADD to be the perfect fit. She viewed her position as more than just a job; she saw it as a career path that allowed her to assist in delivering essential services such as potable water, senior care, employment assistance, and business support.

Teamwork played a crucial role in BTADD's achievements under Kennedy's leadership. The organization earned recognition as a strong agency at the state level, reflecting the collective efforts of the BTADD team. Kennedy took pride in the agency's standing with various state and federal entities.

During her tenure, Kennedy led several key projects, including recruiting industries to the region, securing grants for infrastructure improvements, assisted in securing a portion of the funding for the renovation of the Cox Building, constructing the Fleming County Senior Center, and expanding the Medicaid program. She noted that managing during the pandemic was one of the most significant challenges.

"The pandemic required us to become more adaptable to continue providing essential services to our constituents and local governments," Kennedy added.

As she steps down, Kennedy expresses confidence in the future of BTADD. She trusts the board of directors, staff, and incoming executive director to continue delivering essential services and adapting to the region's evolving needs.

"Amy Kennedy has been an exemplary leader whose commitment to community service and development has significantly improved the quality of life in the Buffalo Trace region," said Casey Ellis, Executive Director of the Kentucky Council of Area Development Districts. "Her leadership and vision have set a high standard, and her contributions will have a lasting impact on the region."

Jessie Melcher, Chairman of the BTADD Board of Directors, added, "As a lay member of the BTADD for over 15 years, four of those as chairman, I have greatly enjoyed working with Amy. She has been a tremendous asset to BTADD, and her leadership and statewide recognition will be greatly missed."

From 2017 to 2019, Kennedy served as chair of the Kentucky Association of District Directors (KADD), where she played a pivotal role in advocating for regional development and collaboration among the state's development districts. Her leadership in this role further demonstrated her commitment to enhancing the quality of life for communities across Kentucky.

"Amy Kennedy dedicated a lifetime to public service for the betterment of the Buffalo Trace region and the Commonwealth," said current KADD Chairman and Barren River Area Development District Executive Director Eric Sexton. "Her commitment and determination are qualities that will be missed as we celebrate her well-earned retirement. Amy has been a valuable member of our state association and contributed to the success of the Area Development District network, including the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Southeast Regional Directors Institute."

While Kennedy will miss working with BTADD's dedicated staff and board members and the relationships and friendships she has formed over the years, she looks forward to retirement.

"At this time, I plan to spend time with family and am blessed to be able to babysit my first grandchild, who will be four months old at my retirement," she said.

In addition to her grandchild, Kennedy is also excited to spend more time with her family, including her husband of 30 years, Rodney, and their two children, Paige and Damon, as well as son-in-law Tyran.  

Kennedy's retirement marks the end of an era for BTADD, but her legacy of service and community development will continue to influence the region for years to come.


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