The Leadership Owensboro Class of 2020, announced this week by the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce, gets down to business with a retreat on Sept. 19-20.

The chamber said it had a record number of applicants this year.

Jessica Kirk, Leadership Owensboro's executive director, called the class "a strong group."

"Owensboro continues to attract leaders who are interested in contributing to our community and truly making a difference," she said.

"This spirit of giving back, of making a difference, is one of the things that makes Owensboro and Daviess County such a great place to live and work," said Helen Mountjoy, a member of Leadership Owensboro first class.

More than 1,000 people have completed the program in the past 37 years.

It offers nine full-day sessions on topics such as education, human needs and services, local government issues, the justice system, tourism, health care and other aspects of the community.

The monthly classes are held from September through April.

Class members are also required to participate in local civic leadership meetings and work together as a class to present and implement a solution to an identified community challenge.

"This chamber talent program continues to cultivate leaders and expose them to challenges and opportunities in our community," said Candance Castlen Brake, chamber president. "Our goal for the class is that they graduate with a clear plan on how they can make Owensboro a better place."

Class members are Bill Berry, Owensboro Municipal Utilities; Jonas Billingsley, Ken-tron MFG. Inc.; Courtney Calhoun, Girls Inc. of Owensboro-Daviess County; Landon Camp, Disaster Team Inc.; Beth Cecil, Owensboro city clerk, Kevin Collignon, Owensboro Engineering Department; Jeremy Crowder, Owensboro Health; Jared Daugherty, BB&T; Cori Douglas, Sunrise Children's Services.

Dwayne Duke, Regional Water Resource Agency; Niki Frailley, Alexander Thompson Arnold PLLC; Stephen Franklin, Owensboro Public Works Department; Reisz Hayden, E.M. Ford & Co.; Chelsea Howard, Evergreen Lawn Care/Weed Man; Deb Jones, Kentucky Wesleyan College; Rachel Knott, Owensboro Health; Blaire Linn-Neighbors, Puzzle Pieces Inc./Employment Opportunities; Patricia Lovett, Brescia University.

Ryan McDaniel, E.M. Ford & Co.; Olga McKissic, H.L. Neblett Community Center; Justin Merritt, Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Owensboro; Jesica Mills, Owensboro Family Pharmacy; Jill Payne, Simply Therapy/Play Smart Preschool; Matthew Purcell, Owensboro Insulators LLC; Monica Rice, Owensboro Public Schools; Allyson Sanders, KCTCS/Workforce Solutions; Becky Shelton, German American Bank; Skyler Stewart, Green River Area Development District; Karla Ward, New Beginnings Sexual Assault Support Services; Kristin Whitney, Commonwealth Attorney's office; and Elizabeth Wilson, Center for Cosmetic and General Dentistry.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301, klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

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