Several important developments have surfaced at City Hall in the past several weeks that should be welcome news to Covington businesses. Just this week Interim City Manager Ken Smith became the permanent City Manager. Ken had been interim since the departure of David Johnston early this year.
For the past three years he’s been the chief of Neighborhood Services. Under a reorganization, the department was created to pull together a variety of disjointed services and functions dedicated to improving life and the appearance of neighborhoods.
Previously, Smith served for 11 years as executive director of Price Hill Will, a non-profit community development organization. Before that, he was chief operations officer of Brighton Properties Inc. and had worked at the Children’s Law Center of Northern Kentucky. Ken brings a positive personality to the job, is warm, collaborative, responsive and is great to work with, and has a wry sense of humor.
Joining the City in the past few weeks has been Joy Pierson as Assistant City Manager, replacing Bruce Applegate who returned to his native Tennessee to work closer to family.
Most recently Joy worked for Hamilton County Community Development as a Division Manager, Pierson leveraged $140 million with $6.3 million to create or preserve 625 affordable housing units with 13 partners; created an economic development program that leveraged $23 million from $2.8 million; and managed HUD grant programs with 42 local governments and 20 partner agencies, increasing participation and grant awards by 30 percent.
A grad school internship took Pierson to Lenexa, Kan., a “sleepy little suburb” where – at the height of the AIDS/HIV crisis – she put anti-discrimination policies and procedures in place with the city’s personnel policies.
After graduation, Pierson was hired full-time with the City of Dayton as a senior management analyst. Then came the opportunity to work with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), a clearinghouse for local governments, enabling them to share information between each other.
Pierson seized new opportunities to make her mark in local governments: In Westerville, Ohio, she prepared a $30 million citywide budget and managed OSHA compliance program for all departments. And as director of economic development in University City, Mo., she managed construction of a $2.4 million parking garage and retail tenant space.
In the City’s press release announcing Joy’s hiring they said this:
“Joy is a high-energy person who brings a tremendous amount of experience working for local government in Greater Cincinnati and elsewhere,” interim City Manager Ken Smith said. “She’s had a particular focus on federal funding which will be of particular benefit as Covington looks to utilize its American Rescue Plan allocation.”
Joy has told the CBC she is very interested in helping Covington restaurants and bars access funding from the Plan because of the harm done to them financially by the pandemic.
Fun fact about Joy. She is one of 14 children!
Lastly, the Covington Economic Development Department has produced a Business Resource Guide to assist new and existing businesses in navigating help from the city. The Guide is comprised of five sections:
• A 10-step guide for opening your business, which includes things like finding space/buying a building, applying for permits, historic preservation concerns related to building rehab, license fees and taxes;
• Support Services for start-ups, Aviatra Accelerators for women entrepreneurs as well as the Small Business Development Center and Mortar encouraging the underserved markets.
• Business retention and expansion, which can range from helping you settle headaches like construction trucks blocking your parking spaces to helping you find a larger building in Covington if you’ve outgrown your space.
• Business support and advocacy, accessing business advocacy organizations for networking and education, like CBC, the Latonia Business Association, Renaissance Covington and the NKY Chamber of Commerce.
• Community Connections for Volunteer/Corporate Social Responsibility, detailing various nonprofits where employees can volunteer and serve.
Contact me at the CBC for a copy of the guide, email@example.com.