Michael Hayes is Special Projects Coordinator for Kentucky Highlands. He was responsible for establishment and overall administration of the Kentucky Highlands Empowerment Zone, one of the three original rural designations in the United States. This $40 million, 15-year federal experiment focused on locally based planning and execution of economic and community development initiatives. Michael is also responsible for coordinating and management of the several loan funds totaling more than $15 million, as well as preparing and evaluating business proposals, making investment decisions, closing loans, and marketing. Prior to coming to Kentucky Highlands, Michael was an Investment Banker for First Kentucky Securities Corporation where he was responsible for arranging financial packages for public and private sector bond issues. Prior to that, Michael worked for the Commonwealth of Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development in various capacities including Executive Director of the Office of International Marketing and the Chief Representative in the Far East Representative Office in Tokyo, Japan where he was responsible for promoting Kentucky as a location for manufacturing investment to Japanese companies and assisting Kentucky companies research and market products in the Japanese economy.
Michael has also been Executive Director of the Glasgow-Barren County Industrial Development Authority in Glasgow, Kentucky and Assistant Director of the Cumberland Valley Area Development District in London, Kentucky.
Michael has Bachelor of Arts Degree in Government from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. This included study at the Universidad Veracruzana, Xalapa, Mexico. He also has a Masters Degree in City and Regional Planning with a specialization in Spatial Economics and Physical Planning from Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. He has completed and conducted various work related training and conferences.
Sandi Curd is the Promise Zone Coordinator, a position created when Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation was named the first rural Promise Zone in America. Her work as Coordinator provides a relationship with the Promise Zone’s eight counties’ local government and leaders in education, healthcare, economic development, broadband, substance abuse, agriculture, housing, and downtown revitalization. Curd also serves as the National Coalition of Promise Zones convenor, bringing all 22 zones together to share best practices.
Curd serves on the Upper Cumberland Community Foundation, The Challenger Learning Center of Kentucky, The Red Bird Settlement School, The East Kentucky Leadership Foundation, and The Baptist Health Corbin Foundation Board of Directors. She has 25 years of experience in the healthcare field, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences from the University of Kentucky, a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration from the University of Minnesota, and a Ph.D. in Leadership Studies from the University of the Cumberlands.
Curd is a thirty-year member of the First Baptist Church Corbin, where she teaches an adult Sunday School class. Her husband, Bryan, is a physician working in the Emergency Department at Baptist Health Corbin. Together, they enjoy movies, books, and their two dogs: Doc Holiday, Big Nose Kate, and quarter horse Bo. They reside on a farm in Whitley County.
Stephen Taylor is Development Director for Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation (KHIC). He has been with Kentucky Highlands since 1992. Mr. Taylor identifies and secures funding KHIC’s business lending, entrepreneurial development, and affordable housing development efforts. He also obtains funds and manages partnerships to implement various economic development pilot projects. Prior to becoming Development Director, Stephen developed the company’s United States Department of Agriculture Intermediary Relending Program and the United States Small Business Administration Microloan Program through funding acquisition and making loans. Stephen joined KHIC after working for three years as a grant writer and revolving loan fund manager for a regional planning agency.
Stephen joined Kentucky Association for Economic Development in 1992 and served as a board member for five years. As a board member and VP of the KAED Foundation, he helps to plan and evaluate the organization’s educational programming. In 1999
He is a founder, secretary, and board member of the Appalachian Development Alliance, the first CDFI collaborative. It was established in 2000 by eight nonprofit nontraditional lenders to better serve Appalachian Kentucky’s business community through cross-marketing, joint lending, and professional development programs.
Stephen researched entrepreneurial leadership to earn a PhD from the University of the Cumberlands, Williamsburg, KY. He earned his B.S. in Industrial Technology Management and Education at Berea College, Berea, Kentucky, and his M.A. at Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana. Stephen earned his Economic Development Finance Professional certification in 1994 and Certified Economic Developer certification (CEcD) through the International Economic Development Council in 2006. He currently serves on IEDC’s Education and Certification Committee. He is a certified facilitator of the Entrepreneurial Learning Institute’s Ice House Entrepreneurial mindset training program and a graduate of Leadership East Kentucky and Leadership Tri-County.
Shelton Ansley is the director of the Kentucky Highlands Innovation Center. In addition, he is a Salesforce professional helping companies implement, manage, and optimize their Salesforce experience.
Before joining Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation in 2017, he was a consultant for one of the world’s largest providers of public services to governments while working to implement the Affordable Care Act for millions of Americans.
While attending the University of Tennessee as a full time MBA student he interned with the U.S. Department of Energy addressing on sustainability issues impacting their facilities in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Prior to his MBA experience, Shelton was an entrepreneur, launching a regional commercial maintenance company focused on industrial services using sustainable methods and supplies.
Shelton began his career with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection where he worked in marketing and public relations and was a member of the State Emergency Response Team assisting in the response to emergencies including hurricanes and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Shelton earned a Masters in Global Business with Blockchain Technology from the University of the Cumberlands, an MBA from the University of Tennessee and a Bachelor of Human Environmental Science from the University of Alabama. He is also a graduate of Leadership Tri-County.
Ken Stegman is the Technical Systems Engineer for Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation. Ken came to Kentucky Highlands as an investment analyst intern for his final year in college and joined the staff full time upon the completion of his internship. He is very skilled and knowledgeable in computer software, hardware, and systems.
Ken’s responsibilities include business planning and research, financial modeling, budgeting and providing technical assistance to portfolio companies in the area of accounting and information systems. Ken maintains the computer network and systems of Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation and is responsible for design and implementation of its Web site. While attending Berea College, Ken served as Loan Officer for the Student Loan Fund and Supervisor for Berea College Campus Activities including conferences and college hosted events.
Ken has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in accounting and finance. He has attended various business related conferences and classes in accounting and computer information systems. And is a Member of Leadership Tri-County.
Ken is Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer.