What a way to start our year! As we rolled into the third week in January, we were busy preparing for the largest KBT Conference to date.
More than 530 people pre-registered for the Transportation Conference - an increase from our usual pre-registration numbers. As we were packing the office to travel to Lexington, we listened to the weather reports - bad for Wednesday (our kick-off) and even worse for Friday (our wrap-up).
As our attendees arrived in Lexington, we all got in the swing of things (we are transportation people after all) and the threat of bad weather faded from our minds. Attendees visited with exhibitors - more than 50 of them - networked with peers, and heard from some phenomenal speakers.
The morning sessions officially began last Thursday with Kentucky State Senate President Robert Stivers (R-25th) who provided the audience with the Senate perspective on the current session of the General Assembly.
Immediately following the Senate President was House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins (D-99th) who presented the House perspective on the session.
Attendees then heard a Congressional update presented by Congressman Andy Barr (R-6th), Congressman Thomas Massie (R-4th), and Congressman Rodney Davis (IL-13th) who updated our members on the final passage of the long term surface transportation bill, and the need for a long term federal aviation authorization bill. While KBT staff and leadership kept an eye on the weather reports, our guests attended a variety of breakout sessions.
At noon, Governor Bevin joined 500 attendees for lunch. He spoke for 22 minutes, using only a few notes, and provided his insight on the session. The Governor did invite attendees to make appointments to come see him and asked for ideas on how to fix any problems. To view Governor Bevin's entire speech, click the above photo or here.
As wonderful as the sessions were, we were all still thinking of the impending weather. The weather reports went from bad to treacherous and as the luncheon concluded, we were forced to make a decision to cancel the Friday events for the safety of our attendees.
All was not lost. We adjusted the schedule to include as many sessions on Thursday as possible, including our planned dinner event with Representative Leslie Combs, Senator Ernie Harris, Lowell Clary of Clary Consulting, and Ananth Prasad of HNTB.
It was a difficult decision. KBT has never - to my knowledge - in the event's previous 37 year history adjusted the Conference schedule because of bad weather.
But there is a first time for everything - and a 37 year run isn't so bad.