People Behind 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
Mike Shea / Government Strategies

Chair Elect
Ken Selvaggi 

Vice Chair
Erin Rasinen / Messer Construction Co.

Alfonso N. Cornish

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

Immediate Past Chair
Judy Hess / Caesars Southern Indiana

President and CEO
Matt Gibson

Kathy Bingham

Merilyn Coslow

Bill Fisher / Omega Consulting

Les Fugate / Brown Forman Corporation

Barbara M. Porter / Truist

Nancy Jo Trafton / Indiana University Southeast

David A. Vogel / Louisville Water Co.

Brian Walters/ Citibank

Louis Waterman/Goldberg & Simpson

Steve Andriot/Dri-View

John Aubrey/Jefferson Co. Sheriff’s Office

Phillip Baker/JCPS

Tracey M. Ballard/Fifth Third Private Bank

David S. Beck/Kentucky Venues

Jill Joseph Bell/Molina Healthcare

David Bingham/Business First

Paula Bishop/The Fillies Inc.

Tyler Bliss/New Albany/Floyd Co. Education Foundation

Paul K. Carroll

Janice Cates/Office of the Mayor

Wendy Dant Chesser/One Southern Indiana

Jason Chin/Humana

Carolle Jones Clay/Republic Bank & Trust Co.

Lisa Columbia/WHAS TV

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

Dr. Barry D. Denton/The Denton Group

William Donaldson/DPR Enterprises, LLC

Gary Friedman/Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana

Mike Gandolfo/RE Solutions LLC

Cynthia B. Goldsberry/Ford Motor Company

Marian Gonzalez

Erin Grant/Kroger

Jo Graves

Robert L. Hecht/Stock Yards Bank & Trust Company

Bob Herre/American Queen Voyages

Darren Hobbs/ZirMed

Charles F. Hoffman

Cassidy Hyde/YPAL

Mary Irby-Jones/The Courier Journal

Briana Nicole Lathon

Janet Lively McCauley/Schmidt Associates

Hank Mangeot/AT&T

Mike Mangeot/Office of the Governor

Lynnie Meyer/Norton Healthcare

Dillon Miles/University of Louisville

Sarah Neff/University of Louisville

Carol Nord

Nancy O’Hearn/Galt House Hotel & Suites

Mike Parrino/Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated

Ashley Parrott/James Graham Brown Foundation

Taylor Powers/Zoeller Company

Debbie Prewitt/Citizens Union Bank

Leslie Raeber Eberle/Liberty Financial

Debbie Roberson/WLKY TV

Donna Salas/Parade Chair

Bruce Salyer/Meijer

Jean Scott/PNC

Maria Smith/Harbor House of Louisville

Joey Wagner/J. Wagner Group

Kellie Stallard Watson/MSD

Rebecca Wood/GLI

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

2020/2021 – Judy Hess

Michael E. Berry

Gov. Andy Beshear

Martha Layne Collins

Barbara Price Cordery*

Hon. Greg Fischer

John R. Guthrie

Earl Ruby* (F)

Willard Scott

Ray Wimberg* (F)

Mike Ziemianski* 


* Deceased
(F) Kentucky Derby Festival Founder

Matt Gibson – President & CEO

Maeve Armstrong – Digital Content Specialist

Aimee Boyd – Vice President of Communications & Media Relations

Jennifer Bray – Ticket Manager

Elexus Buie – Event Manager

Jenn Churik – Event Manager

Zach Fisher – Director of Event Operations

Joanie Lepping Gillis – Sponsorship Sales Manager

Cadeja Hays – Event Manager

Dodie Howlett – Vice President of Marketing & Creative Strategy

Cynthia Jackson – Customer Service Representative

Chris Martini – Event Manager

Carl Mittelsten – Executive Assistant

Jennifer Morgan – Merchandising Manager

Jayme Perez – Sponsorship Sales Manager

Jessica Pollio – Sponsorship Sales Manager

Christa Ritchie – Communications Manager

Leah Shaeffer – Advertising Coordinator

Bridget Sherrill – Vice President of Merchandising

Katherine Steponovich – Merchandising Manager

Catherine Vish – Event Manager

Tim Whitten – Director of Finance

April Zik – Vice President of Sponsorships


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.