Reprinted with permission of Jennifer P Brown, hoptownchronicle.org
Taylor Wood Hayes, the former publisher of the Kentucky New Era, became the new president and CEO of the Christian County Chamber of Commerce on Friday, July 2. Hayes served as president of KPA in 2008 and remains a member of the KPA Legal Defense Fund committee.
The chamber board announced Hayes’ selection in a news release last Thursday.
“It was important for the next chamber president and CEO to possess strong proficiencies in fundraising, marketing and public relations, community and economic development, membership and financial management,” board chairman Jeff Hurd said in the release. “In addition to having experience in all of those areas, Taylor has served in our community for years and will be able to immediately make an impact in our community and within our membership.”
Hayes, 58, has served with the chamber in many roles, including as a board member, for more than 30 years. After his family sold the New Era in November 2018, he worked as a consultant to the chamber to coordinate the Christian County Vision Plan for 2030.
“Having been involved with each of the community visions plans since 2005, I have a good grasp of our unique cultural vision. We are a community where family, connectedness, hospitality, caring and patriotism are a part of our foundational DNA,” Hayes said in the release. “I look forward to being an advocate for Christian County and the chamber member businesses. Throughout the Vision 2030 process, we as a community identified many opportunities and priorities for Christin County, and I look forward to leading our organization in that growth. I’ve always had the belief a strong, active chamber of commerce is incredibly important to the vibrancy of a community.”
Hayes was publisher of the Kentucky New Era from 1997 to 2018. His great-great-grandfather was among the paper’s earliest owners after its establishment in 1869, and the New Era was one of the country’s oldest family-owned dailies until the Paducah-based Paxton Media purchased it along with several smaller papers that the New Era owned.
A 1985 graduate of Centre College, Hayes most recently worked with Vistage Worldwide, a peer advisory group for business executives. He currently serves on the boards of the Hopkinsville Industrial Foundation and Feeding America Kentucky Heartland. He is a former city councilman.
Hayes’ wife, Karen Hayes, is an employee of Planters Bank. They have two adult children and one grandchild.
Hayes will fill the vacancy left by Kelli Pendleton, who departed as chamber president in March to become executive director of the Fort Campbell Strong Defense Alliance.
The chamber’s news release did not provide details of Hayes’ compensation. According to the most recent publicly available IRS filing for the chamber, Pendleton earned approximately $93,000 in 2018. The 990 Form indicates the chamber’s revenue that year was $806,691. The chamber has approximately 800 members.