A veteran chamber executive and former mayor, Dave Adkisson, CCE, served as the CEO of three chambers: his hometown chamber in Owensboro, KY; the metro Birmingham (AL) Regional Chamber and the Kentucky (state) Chamber. On the national level, he served as the 2010 chairman of the board of the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), was the 2014 chairman of the board of the Council of State Chambers (COSC), was a founder of the national State Chamber Policy Center, served six years on the board of the U. S. Chamber and served as the chairman of the U.S. Chamber’s education policy committee. He is a past chair of the ACCE Foundation. Together, he spent more than 30 years in the chamber field.
Adkisson retired from the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce in 2019 after 15 years as president and CEO. During his tenure the Chamber was routinely ranked as the top lobbying organization in Kentucky, tripled its budget, doubled its staff and was named the 2017 State Chamber of the Year. In addition to achieving several landmark legislative victories, Adkisson created the Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center and the Leadership Institute for School Principals, a program which has invested more than $3 million in executive leadership training for school principals.
Earlier in his career, he was elected mayor of Owensboro, KY at age 34 and re-elected four years later without opposition. He championed the creation of the RiverPark (performing arts) Center on the Owensboro riverfront, the Mid-America Airpark, a city-county workforce center and the 13-mile-long Greenbelt Park which was later named in his honor. He was a co-founder of Leadership Kentucky and is a former chairman of the Kentucky Advocates for Higher Education. He serves on the board of the Kentucky American Water Company.
Originally from Owensboro, Adkisson received his B.A. from Georgetown College, where he serves as the immediate past chairman of the board of trustees, and his masters from Harvard University. He was the 2019 recipient of Leadership Kentucky’s “Flame of Excellence” award and in 2020, was one of two recipients of ACCE’s Life Member Award. He and his wife, Bonnie, reside in Lexington, KY, along with their two children and three grandchildren.