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

Col. John E. Aubrey / Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office

Tracey Ballard / Fifth Third Bank

David Beck/Kentucky Venues

Jill J. Bell / Passport Health Plan

David Bingham / Business First

Kristen Branscum / Kentucky Department of Travel & Tourism

Shawna Burton / Greater Louisville, Inc.

Paul Carroll

Patrick Cason / Liberty Financial/ETFCU

Janice Cates / Office of the Mayor

Wendy Dant Chesser / One Southern Indiana

Natasha Collins / LG&E and KU Energy LLC

Mike Coomes / Papa John’s International

Merilyn Coslow

J.P. DeLaney / Logan Lavelle Hunt

Barry Denton / American Heart Association

William Donaldson / DRP Enterprises, LLC

Joe Elliott / University of Louisville

Bill Fisher / Omega Consulting

Gary Friedman / St. Joseph Children’s Home

Les Fugate / RunSwitch PR

Mike Gandolfo / RE Solutions LLC

Cynthia Goldsberry / Ford Motor Company

Glenn Haygood / WLKY-TV

Marti Hazel / WDRB Media

Robert Hecht / Stock Yards Bank & Trust Company

Darren Hobbs / Zirmed

Charles Hoffman

Sarah Jordan / Alpha Media Louisville

James O. King, III / King Southern Bank

Janet Lively / Schaefer General Contracting

Ann Marie Maldini / Y.P.A.L.

Hank Mangeot / AT&T Kentucky

Rebecca Matheny / Louisville Downtown Partnership

Tim McGurk / Kroger

Christy Moreno / WHAS 11-TV

Carol Nord / Nativity Academy At St. Bonafice

Nancy O’Hearn / Galt House Hotel & Suites

Brian Outland / Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated

Barbara Porter / BB&T

Debbie Prewitt / Citizens Union Bank

Debra Rayman / The Fillies, Inc.

Michael Sadofsky / Republic Bank & Trust Co.

Bruce Salyer / Meijer

Jean G. Scott / PNC Bank

Stacy Serad / Humana

Mike Sewell / Gresham, Smith & Partners

Maria Smith / Harbor House of Louisville

Rick Smith / Kentucky College of Art and Design

Colleen Truman/ Courier-Journal Media

Lani Vandertoll / KentuckyOne Health

David Vogel / Louisville Water Company

John Waggoner / HMS Global Maritime

Joey Wagner / J. Wagner Group

Brian Walters / KDF Pegasus Parade Chair

Kristin Warfield / Churchill Downs Inc.

Stacey Yates / Louisville Convention & Visitor’s 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 – 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 – Director of Event Production & Volunteers

Katherine Steponovich – Merchandising Manager

Shanna Ward – Event Manager

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.