Oldham County Chamber of Commerce
Karem resigns Oldham Chamber
post for GLI job
She is praised for many achievements
LA GRANGE, Ky. (September 2015) – Since joining the Oldham County Chamber of Commerce in 2006, Deana Epperly-Karem has brought many changes to the county. She recently resigned her position as executive director to accept the position of Vice President for Economic Development with Greater Louisville Inc., the city’s chamber of commerce. Her new position will focus on branding and marketing the metro region and surrounding counties.
“This is a promotion for Deana and we are happy for her,” said Oldham County Chamber board president Chris Roty. “Our board was not anticipating her leaving, but this is a great opportunity for her.”
“We need to find the right person for the position, so it could be several months before a new person is named for this position.”
Her position with the Oldham County Chamber of Commerce consisted of creating new programs, recruiting new members and making the chamber a vital part of the community leadership. In 2009, she was asked to lead an effort to merge the boards of the Oldham County Chamber and the Oldham County Economic Development Authority. In May 2010, she was named executive director of the new entity, Oldham County Chamber & Economic Development.
Roty said economic development is the most important part of the executive director’s job. He said Karem led the way in the controversial expansion of Carriage House Companies Inc. in Buckner. The company invested nearly $100 million in its peanut butter production and distribution center.
She set a precedent for Oldham County when Artemis expanded in Prospect, and Oldham County participated in its first tax incentive package. Karem helped negotiate tax incentives that led Carriage House to stay in the county and add 200 jobs.
“She has helped numerous small businesses with their business plans, and she has facilitated the introduction of hundreds of people for the purpose of networking, job creation, construction, market and much more,” said Roty.
A major accomplishment for Karem is having grown chamber membership from 334 members to nearly 450 members in the last 9 1/2 years. She relied upon her expertise to make the chamber profitable, and worked with the board to keep membership and income steady through some difficult economic times, Roty said.
“Through Deana’s leadership, the chamber has set fundraising and attendance records with its annual showcase and golf scrambles,” Roty said.
She created and grew such programs as the annual Celebration of Women and the Back to Business Basics Series. During her tenure, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell attended seven chamber events, and the chamber hosted presidential candidate, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul.
Karem actually worked as an executive at Greater Louisville Inc. before taking the Oldham County Chamber position. Part of Karem’s various duties at Greater Louisville Inc. included setting up business networks and recruiting companies to expand or invest in Louisville businesses. What she learned while on staff there helped her position Oldham County to become an attractive place to do business in.
“What makes her very good is her relationship building skills and her facilitation skills,” said Joe Reagan, former CEO of Greater Louisville Inc.
She had actually been drawn to government and chamber work after being introduced to public relations while attending the University of Louisville. A summer internship led to a job in the office of former Jefferson County Judge-Executive Bremer Ehrler.
She continued to work for Jefferson County government through college. After graduating from U of L in 1994, she took various jobs among local government, chamber and economic development agencies.
“Deanna has done a wonderful job and it will certainly be a difficult task to replace her,” said Roty. The Oldham Chamber and Economic Development board plans to form a search committee to seek a replacement for Karem.
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