Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Jack Conner, December 30, 2019

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:01 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: Welcome to another interview from the oral history project at the Scott County Public Library in Georgetown, Kentucky.

Segment Synopsis: Interviewer Mike Key introduces interviewee Jack Conner. Conner discusses growing up in Columbus, Indiana which Time Magazine designated "Athens of the Prairie." He talks about his education and how Columbus became a community benchmark for him.

Keywords: "Athens of the Prairie"; "Iron Curtain"; Community benchmarks; Executive directors; Georgetown-Scott County Chamber of Commerce; Jack Conner; Scott County Public Library

Subjects: Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America; Churchill, Winston, 1874-1965; Churchill, Winston, 1874-1965. Sinews of peace; Churchill, Winston, 1874-1965. Speeches; Columbus (Ind.); Cummins Engine Company; Franklin College (Franklin, Ind.); Fulton (Mo.); Georgetown (Ky.); Lackland Air Force Base (Tex.); Martinsville (Ind.); National Churchill Museum; San Antonio (Tex.); Scott County (Ky.); Westminster College (Fulton, Mo.); Wren, Christopher

GPS: Scott County Public Library
Map Coordinates: 38.191315, -84.564022
GPS: Georgetown-Scott County Chamber of Commerce
Map Coordinates: 38.209762, -84.558236
GPS: Columbus (Ind.)
Map Coordinates: 39.217276, -85.913015
00:06:06 - Journey to Georgetown, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: That's quite a journey.

Segment Synopsis: Conner describes how he came to Georgetown in 1979, applying for a community development position. He discusses how both he and Georgetown have made transitions.

Keywords: Survey crews; Transitions

Subjects: Columbus (Ind.); Community development; Europe; Georgetown (Ky.); Purdue University; United States. Air Force; Urban renewal

00:10:06 - Columbus, Indiana: Benchmark for Georgetown and Scott County

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Partial Transcript: Uh, before I forget, um, where is Columbus in Indiana?

Segment Synopsis: Conner says Georgetown and Scott County need to economically diversify like Columbus, Indiana did. Scott County should not rely on just one industry. He cites Country Boy Brewery and Ecofibre Black Hemp as examples of Scott County diversification.

Keywords: Benchmarks; Country Boy Brewery; Diversification; Ecofibre Fiber Black Hemp

Subjects: Columbus (Ind.); Cummins Engine Company; Economic development--Kentucky; Georgetown (Ky.); Scott County (Ky.); Toyota Motor Manufacturing U.S.A.

00:13:19 - Challenges for the future: Workforce development and diversification

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Partial Transcript: Workforce development, right now.

Segment Synopsis: Conner says that workforce development is critical. There is a critical need for skilled workers. Toyota, Scott County schools, and Georgetown College are working together to meet this need. Conner thinks industrial hemp will be an important component of economic diversification.

Keywords: "Tuggers"; Autoguide vehicles (AGVs); Corporate headquarters; Ecofibre Black Hemp; Industrial Hemp Laboratory; Lanes Run Business Park; Quarles, Ryan; Ryan Quarles; Scott County schools; Toyota Production System (TPS); Workforce development

Subjects: Georgetown (Ky.); Georgetown College (Georgetown, Ky.); Hemp; Hemp industry; Hops; Hops industry; Kentucky. Cabinet for Economic Development; Lakeshore Learning Materials (Firm); Midway (Ky.); Quality circles; Robotics; Scott County (Ky.); Skilled labor; Toyota Motor Manufacturing U.S.A.; Vineyards; Work ethic

00:22:25 - Evolution of Georgetown-Scott County Chamber of Commerce

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Partial Transcript: Well, this is all fascinating, Jack, uh, but we haven't talked really about the Chamber of Commerce.

Segment Synopsis: Conner explains how the unique 1990 merger of Scott County United and the Chamber of Commerce, economic development with business development, has helped Georgetown and Scott County. He points out that although he is the director of this merged entity, both boards remain separate 501(c)(6) organizations.

Keywords: 501(c)(6); Benchmarks; Board of Directors; Bob Quick; Commerce Lexington; Funding; Georgetown-Scott County Chamber of Commerce; Lexington Chamber of Commerce; Lexington United; Quick, Bob; Scott County United

Subjects: Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America; Clark Equipment Company; Georgetown (Ky.); Membership; Scott County (Ky.)

00:28:43 - Mission of Georgetown-Scott County Chamber of Commerce

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Partial Transcript: Now tell me something about the Chamber.

Segment Synopsis: Conner explains the mission of the Chamber, giving examples of mission success--Georgetown-Scott County Revenue Commission, Main Street Program, and the 2020 Vision Statement. It's important, he says, to preserve community values and that the past, present, and future need to be and can be accommodated.

Keywords: Community values; Georgetown-Scott County Chamber of Commerce; Georgetown-Scott County Revenue Commission; Growth; Main Street Program; Mission statements; Planned growth; Scott County United; Vision 2020

Subjects: Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America; Georgetown (Ky.); Scott County (Ky.)

00:35:35 - Chamber committees

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Partial Transcript: Can you tell me something about the committees?

Segment Synopsis: Conner describes the Chamber's five committees and the importance of relationship-building.

Keywords: Committees; Georgetown-Scott County Chamber of Commerce; Leadership Scott County; Meetings; Relationship-building; Return on investment (ROI); Scott County Schools; Soft skills; Workforce development; Workshops

Subjects: Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America; Georgetown (Ky.); Scott County (Ky.)

00:42:01 - Preserving community identity

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Partial Transcript: That's what people are looking for.

Segment Synopsis: Conner says that it is important to preserve Georgetown and Scott County community identity. Conner says this will require business leadership which eschews petty politics and self-serving political agendas.

Keywords: Business leadership; Community identity; Community values; Paradigm shifts; Political agendas; Politics; Relationship-building; Small community; Workforce development

Subjects: Georgetown (Ky.); Hiking; Scott County (Ky.)

00:45:23 - Particular issues affecting Georgetown and Scott County

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Partial Transcript: I wanted to talk to you about some other issues.

Segment Synopsis: Conner discusses issues confronting Georgetown and Scott County--water reservoir property (Skullbusters), workforce development, infrastructure, public transportation, tourism, and public-private partnership opportunities (P3 opportunities).

Keywords: "Old Friends"; "Skullbusters"; Amen House; Benchmarks; Bluegrass Community Action; ColumBUS; GTran; Infrastructure; Kentucky American Water; P3 opportunities; Parking; Politics; Private investment; Public private partnerships; Return on investment (ROI); Sewage treatment; Tourism; Water reservoirs; Work ethic; Workforce development

Subjects: Columbus (Ind.); Georgetown (Ky.); Hiking; Lexington (Ky.); Scott County (Ky.); Toyota Motor Manufacturing U.S.A.; Trails

00:53:08 - Accomplishments and legacy

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Partial Transcript: Um, oh, one thing I wanted to ask you, too. Um, so you've been part of, uh, Georgetown, uh, Chamber, executive director since 1990.

Segment Synopsis: Conner considers good character and a job well done the most important aspects of his legacy. He's very proud of the Lanes Run Business Park. He appreciates the value of oral history.

Keywords: Accomplishments; Chamber website; German company; Good character; Lanes Run Business Park; Relationships circle; Scott County Public Library; Vision 2020

Subjects: Legacy; Oral history