136 Second Street, Suite 500
Henderson, KY 42420

Chamber News

Donna Crooks is stepping down after nearly seven years of overseeing the economic development functions of Kyndle.

Crooks, who is a native of Henderson county, plans to pursue a new career in commercial and industrial real estate development. During her tenure at Kyndle, Crooks was involved with the merger of the regional economic development organization and the Henderson Chamber of Commerce. During this time, Crooks has facilitated the development of two shovel-ready sites and Kentucky’s first build-ready site at the 4 Star Industrial Park, two new websites for Kyndle, and a new website for the 4 Star Industrial Park. Crooks recently secured a state grant of over $50,000 to assist with the opening of Henderson’s first-ever entrepreneurial center, HEATLab.

"For the past seven years, Donna has been the face of Economic Development for Kyndle”, said Tony Iriti, CEO of Kyndle. “We are selfishly saddened by her moving on but extremely happy for her as well. She has been a professional in every sense of the word but most importantly, a major part of our Kyndle family. Donna is very well respected by our colleagues at the Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet. She will be very hard to replace."
Before joining Kyndle, Crooks worked as a Director of Economic Development for Growth Alliance for Greater Evansville. Crooks started her Economic Development career in 1997 when she was hired by the Henderson Economic Development Council. Afterwards, Crooks worked as Business Development Director for EDAWN, regional economic development agency for Greater Reno for five years.
Crooks graduated from the Henderson Community College with an Associate Degree and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Nevada-Reno. Crooks also is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) and is a member of International Economic Development Council.
“It has been a privilege to serve the Kyndle region over the past several years and work with so many outstanding local community leaders, utility providers, business and industry leaders, and others who care about the development of this region”, said Donna Crooks. “This was a difficult decision to make but I believe it is time for me to begin a different direction in my life.”

“We will be evaluating our service delivery before beginning a replacement search. In the interim, feel free to direct all inquiries to me, said Tony Iriti, CEO.”

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Arvin “Bill” Rhodes has accepted and officially began his tenure as the new Executive Director at The Gathering Place on Monday, February 25th. Bill brings a background as a retired firefighter, advanced emergency medical technician, active community and Arvin Bill Rhodeschurch member to our local senior center. When asked what he is most excited about as the new director, Bill responded, “I am honored to be able to give back to Henderson and look forward to helping our senior population.”

The mission of The Gathering Place is, “To discover and identify needs of older persons; to promote the development of services to meet the special needs of senior citizens; to coordinate and evaluate services and programs of all agencies delivering services to older persons in Henderson County; to serve as a means through which group opinion can be voiced and community effort channeled to meet the needs of older people; to inform the community of existing programs and services to meet the needs of senior citizens.”

If you are local senior want more information on The Gathering Place, please contact Bill Rhodes at (270) 827-2948.

Kyndle announced Columbia Sportswear Co., a manufacturer of apparel and footwear products, will expand its distribution operation in Henderson County with a $700,000 investment that will create 25 full-time jobs.
"Columbia is a widely recognized brand within its industry, and we are excited for the company's decision to expand its presence in the commonwealth," Gov. Bevin said. "This is just the latest investment that exemplifies Kentucky's status as a national leader in distribution and logistics. We are grateful for Columbia's commitment to the commonwealth over the past 15 years, and we are excited to see their business continuing to grow."
Columbia plans to invest in its existing operation at 2001 Northern Star Way near Robards with the purchase of new racking and electronic processing equipment to accommodate growing customer demand. The expansion will increase the location's capacity to distribute Columbia, Sorel, prAna and Mountain Hardwear branded products. Located in the community since 2004, the company currently employs 89 people in Henderson County. The facility is one of two distribution locations operated by the company in the US, with the other located in Oregon.
"We have been very happy with our distribution center in Kentucky," said Tim Boyle, CEO and president of Columbia Sportswear Co. "We are pleased to invest again in Kentucky, and to create more quality jobs for the region."
Columbia Sportswear Co. has assembled a portfolio of brands for active lives, making it a leader in the global active lifestyle apparel, footwear, accessories and equipment industry. Founded in 1938 in Portland, Ore., the company's brands are today sold in approximately 90 countries. In addition to the Columbia® brand, Columbia Sportswear Co. also owns the Mountain Hardwear®, SOREL® and prAna® brands.
Sen. Robby Mills, of Henderson, said the company has been a great fit for the local community.
"I am excited that Columbia has decided to expand its operation in Robards by investing in new equipment and expanding its employment numbers," Sen. Mills said. "Columbia is a world-class corporate citizen, and when they choose Western Kentucky as the location to expand their business, I think that speaks volumes about our people, our location and our quality of life."
Rep. Suzanne Miles, of Owensboro, said the state's economy as a whole has shown great progress of late.
"I'm thrilled to see Columbia's new investment in Henderson County, which is just the latest positive trend in an economy that is seeing higher levels of job creation and consumer spending," Rep. Miles said. "These new jobs will pay dividends for our communities, and I look forward to seeing more growth and expansion in the future."

Henderson County Judge-Executive Brad Schneider said the local leadership and workforce will continue to prove to be a serviceable partner to the company.
"It is a point of pride in Henderson County that one of the nation's most recognizable brands for outdoor gear in the world, Columbia Sportswear, has a distribution facility here," Judge-Executive Schneider said. 

"Columbia has become a terrific corporate citizen in our community, and we appreciate that Henderson Countians play prominent roles in managing its local operations. This expansion indicates Columbia approves of the business climate in Henderson County and the job their Kentucky team is doing. We couldn't be happier about that, and hopefully, this expansion will lead to even more investment by Columbia in Henderson County in the future. We look forward to doing anything we can to help Columbia continue to grow and prosper."
Tony Iriti, CEO of Kyndle, noted the company's reputation as a strong corporate partner.
"The Columbia distribution center has been a tremendous corporate citizen located in the 4 Star Industrial Park," Iriti said. "We are excited to work with them through this expansion project to add jobs and investment to the Kyndle region."


Organization Serves Henderson Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development for Northwest Kentucky

On Thursday, February 7, 2019, Kyndle announced the official launch of their newly designed website at the organization’s annual meeting and dinner.

The website, www.kyndle.us, built in partnership with economic development firm Insyteful, addresses Kyndle’s need for a web presence that serves both their economic development audience and their chamber membership. The site includes proprietary and interactive features, as well as complete data analysis and graphs supporting the Northwest Kentucky area as a wonderful location for business and industry and promoting the area’s existing businesses.

Tony Iriti, Kyndle CEO, addressed the need for the new site. “For some time now, we have recognized that our website is a primary tool for business recruitment and chamber interaction. Kyndle needed a contemporary site that offers the features and industry and labor force data that decision makers require when reviewing new locations. We also saw the need to better serve our local chamber members with enhanced features and a more prominent chamber branded website.”

Kyndle’s new tagline of “You Can Get There From Here” truly comes to life in this new website, stated Donna Crooks, CEcD, Vice President of Economic Development for Kyndle. She remarked, “this site is designed with our core audience of site selectors and corporate decision makers in mind. The site is full of data and interactive features - from our workforce, to targeted sectors, to our available sites - in a way that is easy to find, easy to use, and easy to save. In today’s digital world, this website allows us to effectively get our message out to the world that Northwest Kentucky is a great place for business.”

Ellen Redding, Vice President of Chamber of Commerce, reflected on the chamber side of the website. “We have heard from our membership and Henderson residents that they wished for a chamber site that is easy to find and use and one that offers more online features like membership payment, enhanced calendars, and is mobile-friendly. Our new site includes state-of-the-art chamber functions that will improve our website visitors’ experience.”

John Mathias, Kyndle Director of Communications and Marketing, emphasized, “the new website also allows us the ability and freedom to quickly edit and administer the site ourselves. This will keep the entire website content updated and fresh, ensuring that the site remains current and a useful tool for our great community and area.”