June 12, 2024. Louisville, KY. – Louisville business leader Alfonso N. “Al” Cornish will Chair the 2025 Kentucky Derby Festival. Cornish, who has served on the Board for 10 years, was elected by the Festival’s Board of Directors at its annual meeting this afternoon. Cornish is the Chief Operating Officer for Closing the Gap Consulting, LLC, and is a former System Vice President, Learning and Organizational Development/Chief Learning Officer for Norton Healthcare. He follows the leadership of Erin Rasinen, who will continue serving as Immediate Past Chair of the Derby Festival.

“To serve as Chair of an organization that is committed to bringing the community together prior to one of the most iconic events in America is humbling,” Cornish said. “KDF, its exceptional board members, leadership team, staff, volunteers and sponsors are the best in creating and executing annually over 70 world-class events.”

Cornish, a native of Maryland, works to assist organizations in creating healthy workplace cultures. He has more than 40 years of experience in administrative, training, human resource and operations management, and has had senior leadership roles at some of the most well-known companies throughout the country. He was first elected to the Derby Festival Board in 2014 and has been a member of the Executive Board since 2018. He was elected as Secretary in 2021. He has served on various committees and Derby Festival events and programs, including the Derby Equity & Community Initiative (DECI), PNC Tour de Lou, GE Appliances miniMarathon and Marathon, They’re Off! Luncheon Presented By BAE Systems, Nominating, Administration, Audit, President & CEO Review, New Event & Review, Ad Hoc Research & Long-Range Strategic Plan and Thorobreds.

Matt Gibson serves as President & CEO of the Derby Festival. Louis Waterman, Partner at Goldberg Simpson, was elected Chair-Elect; Bill Fisher, President of Omega Consulting, was elected Vice-Chair; Les Fugate, VP & Director, State and Local Public Affairs of Brown-Forman, was elected Secretary; and Rebecca Wood, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of GLI, was elected Treasurer.

Joining the 75-member Board as newly elected directors are: William “Maurice” Brown (American Printing House for the Blind); Joe Simoneit (Courtesy Cadillac); Caroline Clark (LG&E); Brittney Monteith (Park Community Credit Union); Dean Schlader (GLI); Alfred Smith (PNC); Hank Mangeot (AT&T); Allison Martin (GE Appliances, a Haier Company); Alyssa Upton (Meijer); Dior Cotton (Humana); Jenni Schelling (Louisville Water Company); and Joanne Hurst, who is the 2025 President of The Fillies Inc.

Dates for some of the Festival’s signature events are already set for 2025: Thunder Over Louisville Presented By Caesars Southern Indiana, Humana, LG&E, Meijer and UPS: Saturday, April 12; PNC Tour de Lou: Saturday, April 19; Block Party Presented by Churchill Downs, Humana and Park Community Credit Union: Saturday, April 19; Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville on the Waterfront opens Thursday, April 24 and runs through Friday, May 2; L&N Federal Credit Union Great BalloonFest: Thursday April 24 through Saturday, April 26; GE Appliances miniMarathon and Marathon: Saturday, April 26; Zoeller Pump Company Pegasus Parade: Sunday, April 27; and the Shepherd Insurance Great Steamboat Race: Wednesday, April 30. (See Festival Highlights Schedule for additional event dates online at KDF.org).