People Behind the Kentucky Derby Festival

The Kentucky Derby Festival has become the region’s largest annual production with a cast and crew of thousands. Before the event stage comes to life each spring, the many people behind the scenes spend all year scripting, rehearsing and developing the “big show.”

The Festival is a private, nonprofit organization that was created by volunteers. And though it is now managed by a professional paid staff, it is still overseen by a volunteer board and fueled by the manpower of more than 4,000 friends and neighbors. Click on the links below to learn more about the groups of people that come together each year to produce FUN for the entire community. And you just may decide you want to join us!

Chair of the Board
Judy Hess / Horseshoe Southern Indiana

Chair Elect
Mike Shea / Government Strategies

Vice Chair
Ken Selvaggi / WAVE TV

Erin Rasinen / Messer Construction Co.

Alfonso N. Cornish  

Immediate Past Chair
Marita Willis / The Hope Collaborative

President and CEO
Matt Gibson


Kathy Bingham

Natasha M. Collins / LG&E and KU Energy LLC

Steve Conrad / Louisville Metro Police Department

Merilyn Coslow

Harry Dennery

Bill Fisher / Omega Consulting

Barbara M. Porter / BB&T

Nancy Jo Trafton / Indiana University Southeast

David A. Vogel / Louisville Water Co.

Brian Walters

Steve Andriot/Dri-View

John Aubrey/Jefferson Co. Sheriff’s Office

Tracey M. Ballard/Fifth Third Private Bank

David S. Beck/Kentucky Venues

Jill Joseph Bell/Passport Health Plan

David Bingham/Business First

Tyler Bliss/New Albany/Floyd Co. Education Foundation

Shawna Burton/Greater Louisville Inc.

Paul K. Carroll

Patrick Cason/Liberty Financial/ETFCU

Janice Cates/Office of the Mayor

Wendy Dant Chesser/One Southern Indiana

J.P. DeLaney/Logan Lavelle Hunt Insurance & Wealth Management

Dr. Barry D. Denton/The Denton Group

William Donaldson/DPR Enterprises, LLC

Joe Elliott/University of Louisville

Gary Friedman/St. Joseph Children’s Home

Les Fugate/Brown Forman Corporation

Mike Gandolfo/RE Solutions LLC

Dennis Gerstner/Papa John’s

Cynthia B. Goldsberry/Ford Motor Company

Marian Gonzalez

Robert L. Hecht/Stock Yards Bank & Trust Company

Bob Herre/HMS Global Maritime

Darren Hobbs/ZirMed

Charles F. Hoffman

Sarah Jordan/Alpha Media Louisville

Dana Kasler/Louisville Parks & Recreation

Briana Nicole Lathon/ Stoll Keenan Ogden PLLC

Janet Lively/Schaefer General Contracting

Ann Marie Maldini/YPAL

Hank Mangeot/AT&T

Rebecca Matheny/Louisville Downtown Partnership

Tim McGurk/Kroger

Lynnie Meyer/Norton Healthcare

Susan Meyer Moore/The Fillies Inc.

Christy Moreno/WHAS TV

Carol Nord/Nativity Academy at St. Boniface

Nancy O’Hearn/Galt House Hotel & Suites

Brian Outland/Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated

Todd Pitt/Summit Media LLC

Debbie Prewitt/Citizens Union Bank

Debbie Roberson/WLKY TV

Donna Salas/Parade Chair

Bruce Salyer/Meijer

Jean Scott/PNC

Stacy Serad/Humana Inc.

Maria Smith/Harbor House of Louisville

Rick W. Smith

Colleen Truman/Gannett/Courier Journal

Joey Wagner/J. Wagner Group

Kristin Warfield/Churchill Downs Inc.

Louis I. Waterman/Goldberg Simpson, LLC

Dale Woods/WDRB Media

Stacey Yates/Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau

1957 – Robinson S. Brown, Jr.*

1958 – Addison F. McGhee*(F)

1959 – Frank G. Rankin*

1960 – Spencer T. Jones*

1961 – J. Seaton Huff *

1962 – Fred McClellan*

1963 – Richard B. Condon*

1964 – William Moore*

1965 – James Browitt*

1966 – Arthur T. Sturgeon*

1967 – Thomas A. Ballantine*

1968 – Basil P. Caummisar* (F)

1969 – Mac Smith*

1970 – D.A. Sachs, III*

1971 – Samuel H. Gifford*

1972 – Arthur J. Metzler*

1973 – Ralph C. Wooton*

1974 – Samuel H. Klein*

1975 – W. Clyde Glass*

1976 – Lewis C. Tingley*

1977 – Charles R. Smith

1978 – James E. Carrico

1979 – Edwin C. Coburn*

1980 – Katherine G. Peden*

1981 – James S. Judy*

1982 – Bernard D. Rosenthal

1983 – William J. Sheehy*

1984 – William E. Summers, III*

1985 – Barbara M. Hoffman

1986 – Edward Jungbert, Jr.*

1987 – William W. Campbell

1988 – Wendell P. Wright

1989 – Thomas A. DeMuth*

1990 – Mrs. Charles (Jean) Weyland

1991 – David W. Higgins*

1992 – Carol W. Hebel

1993 – David H. Snowden

1994 – Mike Kallay / Chairman of the Board
Guy W. Hempel / Festival Chairman

1995 – Donald G. McClinton / Chairman of the Board
Marlyn Y. Smith* / Festival Chairman

1996 – Donald G. McClinton

1997 – Robert R. Scherer*

1998 – Thomas T. O’Hearn

1999 – Penny McTighe*

2000 – William E. Summers, IV

2001 – Sam Smith

2002 – Linda McGinity Jackson

2003 – E. Douglas Hamilton

2004 – Carolle Jones Clay

2005 – Dan L. Owens

2006 – Rip Hatfield

2007 – Roy Potts

2008 – Nancy Norris

2009 – Chris Dickinson

2010 – Leslie Broecker

2011 – James A. Hillebrand

2012 – Wendy Jacob

2013 – Chris Whelan

2014 – David Nett

2015 – Trish Osborn

2016 – Wes Rutledge

2017 – Lisa Stevenson

2018 – Scott Watkins

2019 – Marita Willis

Matt Bevin

Martha Layne Collins

Barbara Price Cordery*

Hon. Greg Fischer

John R. Guthrie

Earl Ruby* (F)

Scott Willard 

Ray Wimberg* (F)

Mike Ziemianski* 


* Deceased
(F) Kentucky Derby Festival Founder

Matt Gibson – President & CEO

Stacey Robinson – Executive Vice President/Chief of Staff

Jeff English – Sr. Vice President of General Counsel/Kentucky Derby Festival Foundation President

Aimee Boyd – Vice President of Communications

Jennifer Bray – Ticketing & Promotions Coordinator

Jenn Churik – Event Manager

Zach Fisher – Senior Event Manager

Dodie Howlett – Director of Advertising & Promotions

Cynthia Jackson – Customer Service Representative

Chris Martini – Event Manager

Carl Mittelsten – Executive Assistant

Jennifer Morgan – Merchandising Manager

Sarah Nordman – Sponsorship Sales Manager

Jayme Perez – Sponsorship Sales Manager

Jessica Pollio – Sponsorship Sales Manager

Bridget Sherrill – Vice President of Merchandising

Tricia Siegwald – VP of Events

Katherine Steponovich – Merchandising Manager

Catherine Vish – Event Manager

Shanna Ward – Director of Events

Clare White – Digital Content Specialist

Tim Whitten – Director of Finance

April Zik – Director of Sponsorship Sales


No volunteers, no Festival! It’s that simple! Without the help of some 4,000 committed citizens, the Derby Festival would not be the grand civic celebration it has become. With nearly 70 events, production of even a portion of the Festival would be impossible without volunteer support.

From entertaining lost children at Thunder to hosting bands at the parade, volunteers serve on committees that work throughout the year to guarantee Festival fun and safety for the community. In addition, many serve on one-day events performing duties such as handing out water at the Marathon/miniMarathon, hosting a marching band for the Republic Bank Pegasus Parade or selling buckets of golf balls at the $1 Million Dollar Hole-in-One Contest.

If you are interested in volunteering for the Derby Festival, please register here.