Mark your calendar 17 Nov - 23 Nov 2014

Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

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In Person
During GEW

Fourth Annual Kentucky Entrepreneur
Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

George Fischer, Carol Martin “Bill” Gatton; Billy Harper and
the late RJ Corman to be honored


On Wednesday November 20, 2013, at 6:00pm, the Fourth Annual Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame will honor this year’s inductees at the Ice House located at 226 East Washington St, Louisville, KY 40202. The 2013 inductees are George Fischer, Carol Martin “Bill” Gatton; Billy Harper and the late RJ Corman.

The Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame celebrates the stories of Kentucky's most successful entrepreneurs. The mission is to raise awareness of the impact that entrepreneurship has made in the Commonwealth and encourage others to pursue similar ambitious endeavors.

George Fischer is former Chair of Minerva Ventures, LLC which was venture capital fund of the University of Louisville specializing in early stage investments. During his 11 years at IBM, he twice developed sales teams that achieved the number-one national office ranking in both Chicago and NYC. He was founder of Metridata Computing, Inc. which was sold to Sun Oil in 1979 and became the largest remote computer processing company for banks in the Midwest and a leader in the field of proprietary education under his leadership. In 1980, Mr. Fischer started SerVend, and became the number-one manufacturer of ice/beverage dispensing systems in the nation. In the early '80s he was Secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet during the Brown Administration. He is a former chairman of the U of L Board of Trustees. Fischer was former Chair of Junior Achievement and in 1990 was Inc. Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year.

Richard J. Corman was a native of Nicholasville, Kentucky and in 1973, right after graduating high school, he started doing railroad construction with a single backhoe. Within 20 years, he developed several companies into what is today one of the nation's leading railroad service providers. Headquartered in Nicholasville, there are divisions of several R. J. Corman companies in 23 other states as far west as Arizona and Montana, employing approximately 1,200 people. Principle operating companies include shortline railroads, track material distribution, track construction, industrial switching, and emergency derailment and natural disaster response to our country’s large railroads. A senior editor of Fortune Magazine described Mr. Corman as “the most unforgettable character I've ever met in my more than a half-century at Fortune”.

Billy Harper has more than 40 years of executive leadership experience in construction businesses. Billy has negotiated company acquisitions, start-up operations and business sales during his career, and has structured a diverse company poised for long term growth. His long term vision and ability to think strategically has allowed him to face the many challenges of growing companies and managing through difficult times. He has served on both state and national boards for the Council of Economic Education, Associated General Contractors, and the Governor’s Scholars Program. He has been Chair of Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, served on the Kentucky State School Board of Education and is chairman and a founding member of The Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky. Billy was inducted into the University of Kentucky Engineering Hall of Distinction.

Carol Martin "Bill" Gatton is the owner of nine automobile dealerships in Tennessee, Alabama, and Texas and is engaged in various real estate projects in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Texas. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Kentucky and a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He is the former Chairman of the Board of Directors of Area Bancshares, one of the largest bank holding company headquartered in Kentucky. He is a former director on the boards of all seventeen subsidiary banks located throughout the Commonwealth. He is the recipient of numerous awards and a member of the University of Kentucky College of Business and Economics Hall of Fame. He is the founder of the Bill Gatton Foundation, which has contributed substantial sums to support various charitable and educational organizations.


The four 2013 inductees will join the three former classes. 2010 Inductees: Ralph G. Anderson, late founder of the engineering firm Belcan; Governor John Y. Brown Jr., who built KFC into a national chain; Jim Host, founder of sports marketing firm Host Communications; Pearse Lyons, founder of Alltech; Davis Marksbury, co-founder of Exstream Software; Warren Rosenthal, who helped build Long John Silver's; John Schnatter, founder of Papa John's International; Lee Todd, University of Kentucky president and founder of technology firms Projectron and DataBeam; andWilliam T. Young Sr., the late founder of W.T. Young Foods and W.T. Young Storage Co. 2011 Inductees: Dana Bowers, who co-founded iPay Technologies, an electronic bill-pay provider, in Elizabethtown; David Jones Sr. and the late Wendell Cherry, who co-founded Louisville-based Humana; Kent Taylor, founder of Louisville-based Texas Roadhouse; and Bill Samuels Jr., former president of Maker's Mark, who oversaw dramatic growth in the company. 2012 Inductees: Ron Geary built ResCare into a national company that employs 40,000; Bruce Lunsford, built a Fortune 500 healthcare company now known as Kindred Healthcare employing over 65,000; and Terry Forcht, founder of the Forcht Group of Kentucky which owns over 100 companies and employs 2,400.

Seating for the Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame celebration is available for $75 per person and reservations are required. To reserve a seat, please contact

In 2010, the idea to establish the Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame originated at Awesome, Inc and they partnered with Sustainable Business Ventures to host the inaugural induction ceremony on November 16, 2010 in Lexington.

Current sponsors of this year’s event include the Kauffman Foundation’s Global Entrepreneur Week; Delta Dental; Forcht Group; Kentucky Science& Technology Corp.; Marksbury Family Foundation; Jim Host; Bruce Lunsford; York Management; UK MBA Program; U of L College of Business; Kent Oyler, OPM Services; Kentucky Science &Technology Corp; Hanna Resource Group; Rick Kueber, Sun Tan City; and Robert Schneider, Morgan Stanley; and Kentucky Small Business Development Centers.

Students / Youth
Entrepreneurs / Startups
Investors / Mentors
  • When: 6:00pm to 8:30pm
  • Start: 20 November 2013
  • End: 20 November 2013
To be determined


Louisville, KY

The 5th Annual Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame is tentatively scheduled for November 19, 2014 in Louisville KY.

What is GEW

Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world's largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare.

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