board of directors

Our mission

To actively promote and build a positive business environment in Covington, Kentucky.

Our Vision

CBC maximizes the potential for economic growth in the City of Covington.

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Dedicated to Covington Business

Meet the Covington Business Council Board of Directors, a team of successful leaders with diversified business backgrounds and expertise. 

The Executive Board is responsible for strategic planning, making policy decisions, securing financing and executing the CBC’s mission.

Covington Business Council Board of Directors – General responsibilities


  • Establish the budget and review revenues and expenses on a monthly basis to ensure the mission of the organization is met
  • Strengthen the CBC’s financial base by participating in and contributing to the organization’s fundraising efforts
  • Participate in strategic planning and setting long-term goals.


  • Act on behalf of the organization and its interests, putting aside personal concerns, affiliations or constituencies
  • Set procedures and policies to ensure that all organizational activities are organized and administered in a manner that is in compliance with applicable law


  • Promote the mission of the CBC to generate goodwill for the organization
  • Utilize personal networks to make introductions to new communities, corporate sponsors, foundations and potential member businesses


  • Hire the Executive Director and review performance annually
  • Be willing to use individual expertise to assist in staff organization and development
  • Encourage and support the efforts of staff and volunteers

Read more about each of the Covington Business Council Board of Directors below:

Bob Berendsen is the Creative Director, CEO and Founder of iDeaZone Marketing, LLC, a firm that specializes in branding, packaging, advertising, mobile marketing, new media and website development. Bob founded Get One Free, LLC in 1999, which features the consumer focused coupon website GetOneFree.com. To expand the Company’s reach and offereings, iDeaZone was later formed in 2008 and Get One Free, LLC was merged into it.

In addition, Mr. Berendsen has owned and operated IllustratorsRep.com. This firm represents illustrators and photographers. Customers have included companies such as P&G, Chiquita, Hasbro, Kroger, Dial Soap, The Wall Street Journal and many top agencies and design firms. Mr. Berendsen is also the owner of several patents and trade marks.

Bob is currently a member of several other corporate Board of Directors and also serves as a member of The Board of Directors of the Covington Business Council (CBC).
Dr. Fernando Figueroa is the president of Gateway Community & Technical College in Northern Kentucky. He has served students in higher education for 25 years from classroom instruction to all aspects of administration.

Most recently, as vice chancellor for educational policy at Dallas County Community College in Texas, Dr. Figueroa worked to develop and expand dual credit and early college pathways, competency based education, student success initiatives and partnerships for workforce and economic development. As provost/vice president of instruction and student services at Del Mar College, he aligned academic and student services to ensure student success.

A native of New Orleans, Dr. Figueroa appreciates a good Café Au Lait and a great Rock n Roll riff. He enjoys playing guitar, and recording and publishing his own music. Other favorite past times include writing and collecting fountain pens because he believes writing is art in itself. Dr. Figueroa and his wife Debbie, a professional artist, share four wonderful children, three grandchildren and two fur babies.

Dr. Figueroa holds a Ph.D. and Master of Arts in English from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Loyola University, New Orleans, Louisiana.
John Jay Fossett is a founding partner of Strategic Advisers, LLC, an attorney licensed in Kentucky and Ohio, the former City Solicitor and City Manager or the City of Covington, and is a former newspaper reporter and magazine editor.

Fossett is a 1977 graduate of Holmes High School, 1981 graduate of the University of Kentucky, 1987 graduate of Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, and 2010 graduate of the Haile/U.S. Bank College of Business at NKU, where he obtained a master’s degree in Executive Leadership and Organizational Change (ELOC).

Fossett obtained his B.A. degree (journalism and political science) from the University of Kentucky, where he served as summer editor and managing editor of The Kentucky Kernel, the independent daily newspaper. Fossett worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for seven years with The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Louisville Courier-Journal, and The Kentucky Post before leaving to attend law school. He also was editor-in-chief of Star magazine in Lexington, Ky. while attending UK.

During law school, Fossett served as editor-in-chief of the Northern Kentucky Law Review and was founding editor-in-chief of The Paper Chase, the law school newspaper. Immediately after law school, he worked as law clerk to Ohio Supreme Court Justice Craig Wright, before joining the Cincinnati law firm of Strauss & Troy as an associate.

In 1992, Fossett founded Fossett & Ogle and six months later became a founding partner in Fossett, Howe, Wessels & Ogle, PSC, a six-lawyer law firm in Northern Kentucky. In 1998, his firm merged with the Cincinnati law firm of Cors & Bassett, where he became a partner. His legal practice was focused primarily in the area of civil litigation, with an emphasis on municipal law and commercial and zoning litigation. He is admitted to practice in the state and federal courts of both Kentucky and Ohio.

In 2001, Fossett left Cors & Bassett to become the first full-time city solicitor in Covington, Kentucky, his hometown. Four years later, he was appointed City Manager and served in that position until 2009, when he left the city to start Strategic Advisers.

Fossett served as an adjunct faculty member at Chase Law School for 10 years, where he taught trial advocacy. As a lawyer, he served four terms on the Kentucky Academy of Trial Attorneys (“KATA”) Board of Governors and also served as the editor-in-chief of KATA’s bi-monthly magazine, The Advocate. He is a member of the Kentucky Bar Association and a past member of the Salmon P. Chase Inn of Court and Northern Kentucky Bar Association. He has published articles in three law reviews, wrote several articles for The Advocate, and wrote the “Legally Speaking” monthly column for The Kentucky Post.

He served one term on the Fort Thomas City Council from 2012-2014. He was appointed to the to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance by Gov. Paul Patton in 2003 and to the Board of the Kentucky Local Distribution Fund Oversight Committee by Gov. Ernie Fletcher in 2006.

Fossett is a board member of the Covington Business Council and the Tom Ellis Athletic Memorial Foundation at Covington Independent Public Schools.

In 2007, he received the “Great Neighbor Award” from the Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington in recognition of “his visionary leadership and efforts to mobilize residents and stakeholders for Covington’s future” in developing the city’s citizen-driven strategic plan.

He also has served on the boards of number other charitable and civic organizations in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati, including The Hillside Trust, Literacy in Northern Kentucky, and Salmon P. Chase College of Law Alumni Association, where he served as a past president; Vision 2015 Urban Renaissance Committee; Quest: A Vision for Northern Kentucky, where he served as co-chair of the Citizenship Task Force; Covington City Hall Task Force Committee; Northern Kentucky Volunteer Lawyers Association; American Heart Association, Northern Kentucky Division; and the Woodson Bend Property Owner’s Association.

Fossett and his wife, Barbara Arnzen, live in Fort Thomas, Kentucky. Daughter, Meredith, a 2012 graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, works as a government affairs manager at Axcess Financial. Another daughter, Alyson, is a 2015 graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at the Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, and works as a manager of the Single Barrel Program Manager at The New Riff Distillery in Newport, Ky. A son, Jack, is a 2018 graduate of University of Louisville, where he studied business and finance; he currently works in the accounting department at SD1.

Bruno Giacomuzzi

St. Elizabeth Healthcare

Bruno Giacomuzzi is a Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for St. Elizabeth Healthcare and is responsible for overall operations of St. Elizabeth Florence Hospital and St. Elizabeth Grant County Hospital. St. Elizabeth Healthcare operates five facilities throughout Northern Kentucky – St. Elizabeth Covington, St. Elizabeth Edgewood, St. Elizabeth Florence, St. Elizabeth Ft. Thomas and St. Elizabeth Grant County. St. Elizabeth has resources to serve the Greater Cincinnati area, including almost 1,200 licensed beds, a physician organization which includes over 314 physicians and 71 mid-level providers 115 primary care and specialty office locations, more than 1,400 physicians with admitting privileges, over 8,500 associates, three freestanding imaging centers and two ambulatory surgery centers. St. Elizabeth Healthcare is sponsored by the Diocese of Covington and provides more than $117 million in uncompensated care and benefit to the community on an annual basis.

Bruno is responsible for providing administrative input and direction for the development and implementation of the strategic plan for the Florence and Grant County locations. He also has enterprise responsibility for Pharmacy, Radiology/Imaging, Sports Medicine, Physical Medicine and Rehab, Respiratory Services, two Sleep Centers and Laboratory Services. He has direct responsibility for ensuring successful operations of the Joint Venture Laboratory (PLP) between St. Elizabeth Healthcare and TriHealth, which was formed in June of 2018.

Bruno is a graduate of DePaul University in Chicago with a BA in Psychology and a graduate of St. Xavier University with a master’s degree in Public Health.

Bruno is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE). He is an active member of the community and has board member responsibility for several Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky organizations to include the Covington Business Council, Transitions, Inc., and the Catalytic Fund Board of Directors. He has also lead the NKY HeartChase event for the American Heart Association making it the largest HeartChase event in the country.
Scott M. Guenther is a Member of Adams, Stepner, Woltermann & Dusing, P.L.L.C., and currently serves as the firm’s Managing Partner. In his role as Managing Partner, Scott oversees the day-to-day operations of the law firm, including the management of the firm’s practice groups. Scott is a Member of the firm’s General Civil Litigation and Business Law Practice Groups. For almost twenty years, Scott has regularly counseled and represented businesses in a variety of employment related matters.

Scott is well versed in numerous areas of employment law. Due to the nature of the employment law arena, a single issue can involve numerous areas of the law including, to mention a few, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, the Employee’s Retirement and Income Security Act, unemployment law, workers’ compensation law, and employment benefits in general. Scott’s well rounded background in these areas of the law enables him to quickly and efficiently identify the crux of any particular issue and develop an efficient resolution strategy for the employer.

One emphasis of Scott’s practice is representation of employers and insurance companies in the defense of workers’ compensation claims. He has handled hundreds, if not thousands, of workers’ compensation claims and is a distinguished speaker and author in this area of the law. Scott recognizes the importance of providing practical advice to businessses when disputes arise. Having handled such matters for over twenty years, Scott strives to achieve a quick and efficient resolution of business disputes whenever possible, while always being prepared to initiate and aggressively pursue litigation when necessary. His trial experience and determination will benefit you or your company if formal litigation becomes necessary.

John Keller

PNC Bank

John Keller is currently serving as an Assistant Vice President, Business Banking Center Manager for PNC Bank. He is a former entrepreneur and business owner, as well as, a Certified Women’s Business Advocate, working with both start-ups and existing businesses in the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati area. John also serves on multiple committees with both the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the Covington Business Council. He attended the University of Kentucky and has a BS in Business Management.

Amanda Johannemann

NKY Chamber of Commerce

Amanda serves as the Director, Talent Strategies at the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. In this role, she leads the Chamber’s program for young professionals (NKYP alongside her focus on workforce needs of the region within the GROW NKY talent strategy.

Amanda has over 15 years of experience in non profit work, with an extensive background in convening community partners, fundraising/development, and program management. Prior to her return to the Chamber, she held the role of Events and Development Specialist for The Patty Brisben Foundation. During her 11 year tenure with the NKY Chamber of Commerce, she focused on education initiatives and workforce development under the umbrella of the Chamber’s Foundation.

As an advocate for regional growth and promoting NKY as a thriving community to live & work, her community involvement includes roles with the YWCA’s Career Women of Achievement and Mamie Earl Sells Scholarship committees; 100 Wise Women-Cincinnati, NKY Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Development Coalition; U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation TPM (Talent Pipeline Management) Grant Network, NKY Workforce Investment Board, Covington Partners Board of Directors, Junior Achievement of OKI, NKY STEM Collaborative, Diverse by Design, and the Northern Kentucky Education Council.

Amanda’s awards and recognitions include: 2016 YWCA Rising Star by the YWCA; Graduate of 2011 SOAR Women’s Leadership Class; Leadership Northern Kentucky Alumni, Class of 2007; and recipient of Phi Delta Kappa Community Leadership Award. Amanda earned a Bachelor of Arts in the College of Communications from the University of Kentucky and is a graduate of the Institute for Organization Management at Loyola Marymount University.

A native of Northern Kentucky, she currently resides in Fort Mitchell, KY with her husband Michael and daughter Ella.

David Johnston

City of Covington

David Johnston serves as the City Manager for the City of Covington, Kentucky.

Johnston has 20 years of experience as a local government manager, having served as the City Manager for the City of Maple Valley, WA, Village Administrator for the City of Rantoul, IL and Coal City, IL, and Town Manager for the City of Westfield, IN.

Additionally, Johnston has served as the Administrative Director of the Indiana Health Centers, Inc., the Adjunct Faculty Member at Indiana University-Purdue University, and ran two small state agencies for the State of Indiana.

Johnston holds a Master of Public Affairs from Indiana University, School of Public & Environmental Affairs, a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from the University of Notre Dame and a Certificate in Economic Development from the University of Oklahoma, Economic Development Institute.

Originally from Warsaw, Indiana, Johnston relocated to Covington with his wife Carole and their dog Harvey.
Tony Milburn currently owns and manages The Milburn Group, LLC. The Group invests, develops, renovates and manages real estate. The company specializes in historic and urban properties. Through the years, Milburn hasreceived numerous state and local awards for innovative and quality historic renovations.
Greg Paeth represents the Covington Neighborhood Collaborative, the umbrella organization that represents the interests of the city’s 18 neighborhoods, on the Urban Partnership board of directors. He has been a resident of Covington’s Old Seminary Square Neighborhood since shortly after moving to Northern Kentucky in 1974. Until the Cincinnati and Kentucky Post newspapers closed at the end of 2007, he had been a reporter and editor with the newspapers. He now does some work as a freelance journalist. In the past, Paeth was a member of the City of Covington’s Urban Design Review Board and Vacant Property Review Board and now chairs the Rental Dwelling License Appeals Board. He is a 1971 graduate of Roosevelt University in Chicago, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in philosophy and a minor in English.

Roger Peterman

Dinsmore & Shohl

Roger has been in the forefront of major changes in Kentucky’s public finance laws and in enhancing the public finance tools available to state and local government.

In his career of more than 30 years, he has acted as bond counsel, underwriter’s counsel, disclosure counsel, bank’s counsel, issuer’s counsel and trustee’s counsel in hundreds of transactions. Roger represents state and local governments in transactions involving SWAPS, investment agreements, interlocal cooperation agreements, development agreements and similar matters that are related to public finance and economic development. Serving as bond counsel, he represents state agencies, counties, cities, school districts, utility districts and other special taxing districts. He has also worked with nonprofit organizations regarding their capital financing needs and has helped structure financings for numerous economic development projects.

Roger serves as managing partner of Dinsmore’s Covington, Kentucky office.


  • University of Kentucky College of Law (J.D., 1979)
  • University of Kentucky (B.A., 1975)

Bar Admissions

  • Kentucky


  • Northern Kentucky Bar Association
  • Kentucky Bar Association
  • National Association of Bond Lawyers
  • Fort Thomas City Council (18 years)
  • Northern Kentucky Port Authority, chair
  • St. Elizabeth Hospital, Board of Trustees
  • Covington Business Council, board member
  • Southbank Partners, board member
  • Leadership Northern Kentucky (1984)
  • Leadership Kentucky (1985)
  • Tri-County Economic Development Corporation, past board member
  • Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
    • Past board member
    • Past Executive Committee
  • Kentucky Development Finance Authority, executive director (1980 – 1983)


  • Best Lawyers©
    • Public Finance Law
    • “Lawyer of the Year” in Cincinnati for Public Finance (2017)
Jeanne Shroer is the President/CEO of the Catalytic Development Fund Corp. of Northern Kentucky, a not-for-profit company that provides capital to real estate developers undertaking projects in Northern Kentucky’s urban neighborhoods.Schroer has 30 years of experience as a real estate professional. She began her real estate career as a Financial Analyst with Urban Investment and Development Company in Chicago, developer of large urban mixed-use projects. In 1984, she joined Corporex Companies and held positions of Financial Analyst, Manager-Capital Acquisition, Director-Mortgage & Equity Group, and Senior Vice President and Member of Corporex’s Executive Management Board. Shroer also held the position of Vice President of Finance at Tipton Associates between 1989 and 1991. Prior to joining the Catalytic Fund, Shroer was the Interim Director of the University of Cincinnati Real Estate Center and Field Service Professor of Real Estate.

Shroer graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor of Urban Planning and a certificate in economics. She also received a Master of Business Administration in Finance and Real Estate from Indiana University.

In addition to her professional work, Shroer is active in numerous community planning efforts and real estate professional organizations including Quest, the Riverfront Advisors Commission, NAIOP, the Urban Land Institute, the University of Cincinnati Real Estate Center, the Covington Business Council, Renaissance Covington, Vision 2015’s Regional Stewardship Council, Economic Competitiveness Working Group and Executive Committee, and the Gateway Community College Foundation.

In 2011, Shroer was the recipient of the University of Cincinnati Real Estate Center Distinguished Real Estate Professional Award and was named by the Cincinnati Enquirer as one of the “Twenty Businesswomen to Watch in 2012.”. She also received the 2012 Covington Business Council “Founder’s Award”, the 2012 Center for Great Neighborhoods “Great Neighbor Award”, was one of McAuley High School’s 2012 “Women Who Inspire”, and one of the 2014 “Outstanding Women of Northern Kentucky”.

Dale Silver


Dale Silver is the Vice President Client Services for C-Forward, Inc. She has been with the information technology company since 2012. For over 30 years, she has specialized in Management Sales and Client Service with previous employers including VonLehman, Paycor and Norpax Security Printers.

She has a commitment to the community and has served on the boards of Rosie Reds, Inc./President, Northern Kentucky Chamber Board of Directors, NKY Chamber Women’s Initiative Chair, Hoxworth Blood Center Executive Board, Leadership NKY Alumni President, Leadership NKY Class 1998, Leadership NKY Chair 2002, Queens Pointe Homeowners Association President, Cincinnati Pet Food Pantry and NKY Parish Kitchen Coordinator. She has a passion for causes dedicated to the underprivileged, saving animals and promoting females in the workplace,

Dale’s awards include the Walter L. Peischel Volunteer Award/NKY Chamber, Outstanding Woman of Northern Kentucky & Leader of Distinction Award/NKY Chamber Leadership Foundation.

She attended University of Cincinnati, Dale Carnegie Sales Management Course and Dale Carnegie Sales Course.

Tom Tilmes

Republic Bank

Tom is Vice President at Republic Bank located in Covington, Kentucky. In his role as a Senior Business Banking Officer, he assists business professionals with all of their banking needs using the wealth of knowledge he has gained from more than 30 years of experience in the banking industry.

As a native to the tri-state area, Tom graduated from the University of Cincinnati before beginning his long career in finance. That hometown experience and pride is a driver that reinforces Tom’s passion to invest back into this community. With the support and encouragement of Republic Bank, Tom’s involvement includes his volunteer work with the The Covington Business Council.

At the CBC, Tom is a board member and chairs the Membership Committee. He also was responsible for starting the CBC’s networking group, CBC Connects. Those efforts are paying off with increasing membership and increasing number of volunteers. In the past, Tom also held the office of Treasurer for the Covington Business Council.

Tom other volunteer activities includes serving as chair of the Northern Kentucky Chamber’s Eggs & Issues Committee that has seen a renewed interest in the programs and an increase attendance. For his efforts, Tom was recognized by the Chamber as the Walter L. Pieschel Award winner in 2016 as the volunteer of the year. Other organizations that Tom is involved with include the St Elizabeth Foundation’s Business Support Committee, the Advisory Committee to the Economic and Finance Department at Northern Kentucky University plus many others both past and present.
Nick Wade is a Kentucky native, growing up in the Central KY town of Danville. He has served as the Director of the Heart of Danville Main Street Program since 2015. During his time in Danville, he helped install the first large scale mural in the downtown, developed a monthly concert series, and led the most successful membership drive in the programs 32-year history.

Prior to the Heart of Danville, Nick worked as a Publicist for legendary Country music artists in Nashville. He holds a B.A. in Public Relations from Eastern Kentucky University.

Nick and his husband, and their three dogs are excited to join the Covington community.

Betsy WEber


Betsy is a partner in DBL Law’s Business, Bankruptcy, and Commercial Law practice.

A fifth-generation lawyer, Betsy obtained a B.A. from the University of Illinois in 1982 and a law degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1985.  She is admitted to practice law in both Kentucky and Ohio, and is a member of the Northern Kentucky and Kentucky Bar Associations. Betsy served as a member of the Kentucky Board of Tax Appeals from 1996-2004. She is a former member of the Kentucky Workers Compensation Nominating Commission and a former member of the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance Board.

Betsy is a member of the Kentucky Supreme Court Interest on Lawyers’ Trust (IOLTA) Fund Board of Trustees.  She is a member of the Notre Dame Academy Board of Directors, and also serves on the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Eggs N Issues Committee.
Mary Willenborg is the Founder & President of Park Place Business Improvement Strategies, a small consulting and project management firm founded in 1996, specializing in assisting clients with best practices development, documentation and metrics. Park Place BIS utilizes a process improvement methodology that reliably produces great results for their clients. Their clients operate in many industries, including professional services, tech start-ups, fundraising, healthcare, legal, non-profit, food service, distribution, education and parking industries. A focus on financial analysis and innovative problem solving enables their client organizations to achieve more with less.

Before founding Park Place BIS, Mary worked in a variety of industries, holding increasingly responsible positions such as District Manager,

Director, VP, COO and EVP of Operations. Her passion is with mid-sized businesses that are swinging for the fence. She has been very successful in overcoming the obstacles faced by organizations as they pursue a rapid growth strategy with an unwavering focus on customer service.

Mary holds an MPA from the University of Cincinnati. She is an experienced public speaker with certification from Toastmasters International and has completed the coursework for her Black Belt in Lean 6 Sigma. She has also completed Aileron’s Course for Senior Executives.

She volunteers her time as an active member of many local community groups, including the Greater Cincinnati chapter of SCORE (Platinum Mentor, past Vice-Chair, Meetings & Communication Committee), NKY Chamber of Commerce (Ambassador Committee, Small Business Steering Committee & Mentoring for Women Program), NKY Bar Association (co-founder/presenter of the Business for Breakfast series), and the Covington Business Council (Advocacy Committee member). After completing projects for 2 large local non-profits, she has continued to assist these non-profits in a number of ways, including as a mentor/business coach to one of its Directors.

Ken smith

City of Covington – Interim City Manager


 A recently hired member of the City of Covington’s management team arrived today to oversee a new department that will pull together programs that help citizens in neighborhoods create better surroundings for themselves.

Ken Smith, the City’s new neighborhood services director, will oversee a variety of related services and functions, namely code enforcement; housing and federal programs (previously called community development); parks and recreation; and solid waste services, which include garbage collection and recycling. Ken is currently the Interim City Manager for the City of Covington and is on the Board at the CBC.



I have been in the hospital industry for over 30 years, first job after graduating Cincinnati Technical College was at the Quality Hotel in Covington (currently Radisson) which was owned and operated by Frisch’s Restaurants. I was transferred to Quality Hotel in Norwood and worked there 15 years first as Banquet Manager and then General Manager. I helped open the Sheraton Hotel and Coco Key Water Park in Sharonville and worked there for 5 years as the Asst. General Manager. Currently, I am back in Covington working at the Best Western Plus as General Manager for the past 10 years, this property is managed by Commonwealth Hotels.

I currently serve on the Board of Hoteliers for KTIA, and also served on the Board of the former KHLA, which merged with KTIA last year. I also received the prestigious Garner B. Hanson Outstanding Hotelier Award in 2017 from KHLA.

I live on the West Side of Cincinnati, in Bridgetown and have been married to my wonderful husband Dave for 28 years. We have two great sons Tony 24 and Nick 22 and faithful Chocolate Lab rescue dog.