Advisory Council

Ballard County - Julie Thomas (Advisory Council Vice-Chair)

Julie Thomas is the community education and PR director for Ballard County Schools, currently serves as President of the Ballard Chamber board of directors, is on the marketing committee of the West Kentucky Regional Chamber Alliance board of directors, and the board of the Kentucky School Public Relations Association. She was the first executive director of the Ballard Chamber, and served as membership and marketing director of the Paducah Area Chamber. Thomas won 10 Kentucky Press Association awards while at the Mayfield Messenger from 1988-1995.

Caldwell County - Christy Phelps

Christy Whittington Phelps was born and raised in Princeton, Kentucky. After having taught for 17 years, she moved into school administration and is currently serving as principal of Caldwell County High School. Christy received her undergraduate degree, masters degree and rank I in administration from Murray State University. While juggling work and her two teenage daughters, she stays involved in community and church activities.

Calloway County - Gerald Washington

Gerald T. Washington currently serves as the Executive Director for the United Way of Murray-Calloway County and is also a private consultant for Pathway Counsel. Gerald has over thirty-five years of experience providing strategic leadership, assessment and planning, and has raised more than $141 million for non-profit and for-profit organizations through major gifts, grants, and contributions for capital campaign programs. His experience with public affairs and development for public and private colleges and universities includes: Vanderbilt University (Nashville), Fisk University (Nashville), Tennessee State University (Nashville), North Carolina A&T State University (Greensboro, NC), Johnson C. Smith University (Charlotte, NC), Allen University (Columbia, SC), South Carolina State University (Orangeburg, SC), Stillman College (Tuscaloosa, AL) and Jackson State University (Jackson, MS).  He has additional public affairs and development experience with the Caterpillar Corporation (Peoria, IL), the Cumberland Heights Foundation (Nashville), and the Cary Christian Center (Cary, MS). As a private consultant and Chief Executive of Pathway Counsel, LLC, he provides a wide range of hands-on services to nonprofit organizations including nonprofit organizational development; the conduct of capital campaign feasibility studies; designing, organizing and structuring capital campaigns; recruitment of volunteers for participation in campaigns; training staff, board and volunteer participants; supporting campaign leadership though direct participation; and developing materials and processes for use in the evaluation of progress, management and implementation of capital campaign programs. Gerald is a graduate of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee and Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky.  

Carlisle County - Kevin O'Neill (Advisory Council Chair)

Kevin O'Neill is Director of Continuing Education for West Kentucky Community and Technical College in Paducah, Kentucky. He grew up in Arlington, Kentucky and is a 1976 graduate of Murray State University. Kevin is chairman of the Carlisle County Board of Education, a member of the Carlisle County Senior Citizens Board, an active member of Bardwell Baptist Church where he serves as chairman of deacons, and is a youth Sunday School teacher.

Christian County - Diane Croney-Turner

Diane Croney-Turner has served as finance director with Pennyrile Allied Community Services for 35 years. She is President of the Kentucky Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs, a board member and treasurer of the Hopkinsville/Christian County Crime Stoppers, Pennyroyal Area Museum, and the Focus 21st Century Minority Leadership. Ms. Croney-Turner is also a member of the Christian County Revolving Loan Fund Committee and BB&T Hopkinsville Advisory Board.

Christian County - Hol White

Hollis White III is the co-owner of Propulsys, Inc., in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. He works as Director of Global Supply Chain and Quality in the company and has held executive positions in Engineering and Operations over the past 20 years. He currently serves on the Pennyroyal Hospice Board of Directors and has served on the board of University Heights Private School and the Hopkinsville YMCA. He graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Manufacturing Engineering. He also holds a Masters in Business Administration from Vanderbilt University.

Crittenden County - Ryan McDaniel

Ryan McDaniel is Vice President of Operations for Tyler Manufacturing in Marion, Kentucky - a Par 4 Plastics business in which he is co-owner. Ryan has served with the Par 4 Plastics team for the last 12 years in the custom injection molding and value added assembly work business. He has also served on various boards in Crittenden County, along with being Past-President of the Crittenden County Chamber of Commerce. He attended Murray State University and is the proud father of three.

Fulton County - Eddie Crittendon

Eddie Crittendon was born and raised in Fulton, Kentucky.   Eddie is the executive director of the Fulton County-Hickman County Economic Development Partnership. This is a two-county partnership that was formed in 2007. Previously Eddie served as administrator of the Park Terrace Assisted Living facility in South Fulton, Tennessee. Eddie served two years as vice mayor of the City of Fulton before being elected to his first term as mayor in 2000 and was re-elected in 2004. Eddie also served as constable of the First District in Fulton County. Eddie is very involved in the community through youth activities and currently serves as president of the Twin City Youth League.

Graves County - Renee Buckingham

Renee Buckingham is the service region administrator for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Renee was licensed by the State Board of Examiners of Social Work of Kentucky in 1986 and has served as a social worker in Graves County since 1985. She graduated from Murray State University in 1981 with a Bachelor of Social Work degree and recently completed a Masters Degree in Social Work from Western Kentucky University. In 1996 she was selected to participate in the Empower Kentucky Initiative conducted by Governor Paul Patton. She was recognized in 1997 as Social Worker of the Year by the Kentucky Foster Care Review Board for outstanding service to foster children.

Henderson County - Douglas E. Bell

Doug Bell is the Senior Vice President and Senior Lender for the Ohio Valley Financial Group headquartered in Henderson, Kentucky. He is a 2005 alum of the Graduate School of Banking in Madison, Wisconsin, and a 1995 alum of Murray State, where he was active with Lambda Chi and the Student Government Association. He also worked as a Summer Orientation counselor and Student Ambassador. Currently Mr. Bell serves as Chair of the 4 Star Industrial Park, and is a board member for the Henderson Hospital Foundation, the Henderson County Healthcare Corporation, and KyNDLE. He is active with the Holy Name of Jesus Parish, and is former Chair of Northwest KY Forward.

Hickman County - Casey Henderson

Casey Henderson is Superintendent of Hickman County Schools. He has been in education for over 15 years - serving as teacher for seven years and most recentley as an administrator. He grew up in Carlisle County and graduated from Murray State University with a BA in History and a minor in Ag Business. Casey began his career at Carlisle County Schools serving as a middle/high school World Civilization teacher and basketball/baseball coach. He continued his education at MSU receiving a Masters in Administration in 2002 and later served as the Assistant Superintendent at Carlisle County and Hickman County. He has served on many different advisory committees within Hickman County.

Hopkins County - Deborah Cox

Deborah Cox has served as the Chief Academic Officer at Madisonville Community College for the past seven years. Prior this position, she served in a variety of roles at the College since her initial employment in 1982. Deborah received her B.S. degree in Psychology from Murray State University in 1975, her Masters in Counseling from Eastern Kentucky University in 1976, and her Ed.D. in Policy Studies and Analysis from the University of Kentucky in 1996. Over the years, she has served on numerous boards and committees in the region working to improve community services and economic opportunities.

Hopkins County - Will Cox

Will Cox founded the Law Office of William M Cox Jr PLLC in August 2012. Will has extensive experience and knowledge of Kentucky municipal law and management, Kentucky election law, government affairs, and crisis communications and management. Additionally, Will provides professional legal services in general civil litigation, criminal defense, estate planning, business organization and management, and real estate transactions.

Will graduated from the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville in 1999 and the University of Kentucky in 1991. After law school, Will moved home to Madisonville and practiced law across Western Kentucky with the firm of Whitfield & Cox, PSC (formerly Whitfield & Calvert, PSC). He is admitted to practice in the courts of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and in the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. Will is a member of the Kentucky Bar Association and the Hopkins County Bar Association, where he has previously served as President, Vice President, and Treasurer.

Will served two terms on the Madisonville City Council, and then served as Mayor of Madisonville from 2007-2010. As Mayor, Will directed the city’s response to the devastating Ice Storm of 2009. Subsequently, the City of Madisonville won two national awards for emergency response and communication efforts and was recognized by the Kentucky Public Service Commission as a model for disaster preparation and response. Prior to his city government experience, Will practiced law across western Kentucky with the firm of Whitfield & Cox, PSC (formerly Whitfield & Calvert, PSC). He lives in Madisonville with his wife, Marci, and their three spoiled-rotten dogs: Fred, Barney and Sally.

Livingston County - Darrell Jones

Darrell Jones is a field representative with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and has been with the company for 22 years.  He is a 1985 graduate of Murray State University where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture. He currently works in 17 counties in west Kentucky. He serves as president of the Livingston County Farm Bureau and is on the board of the Livingston County Conservation District. He lives near Smithland and enjoys working on the farm.

Lyon County - Chris Sutton

Chris Sutton is the executive director of Pennyrile Area Development District (PADD), a nine-county planning and development agency headquartered in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. He has worked at the PADD for nearly 20 years, previously serving as Economic Development Specialist and Projects Coordinator. He is a graduate of Murray State University, holding both a BS and MBA degrees. He served on the Eddyville City Council from 1994-2000 and on various other community boards. He is currently serving on the Boards of the Hopkinsville-Christian County Chamber of Commerce and the Lyon County Water District.

Marshall County - Gene Gilliland

Dr. Gene Gilliland is Assistant Vice President of Strategic Planning and Public Relations at Community Financial Services Bank (CFSB) where he has been employed since 2004. He represents Marshall County on the regional chamber and is the Immediate Past Chairman of the Marshall County Chamber of Commerce. Prior to coming to the bank, he was a pastor for over 30 years in AL, TN, OH, CA, and KY. He has four degrees from three universities including one doctorate (in Church Growth). Since joining the bank he has also completed three banking school programs, graduating magna cum laude last May at the Barret School of Banking in Memphis, TN. Gene believes strongly in community involvement as he is an active member of the McCracken, Calloway, and Marshall Chambers as well as being on the board of the West Kentucky Regional Chamber Alliance. He is a shepherd/elder at the Reidland Church of Christ. He has been a member of the Benton Lions Club since 1990 and served in a variety of leadership positions (Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer) as well as serving as a Zone Chairman for the district. He is Vice Chairman for Marshall County Needline. He is founder and president of Character Counts in Marshall County since 2001. He is president of the Society for the Preservation of Southern Harmony Singing which in 2012 hosted their 130th annual Big Singing at the old courthouse in Benton. He also publishes a Quick Reference Directory of Community Resources for Marshall and McCracken counties. Gene has been happily married to his wife Ella for 38 years. Ella is a speech-language pathologist for the Marshall County School System. They have three grown children. Bradley and his wife Anna live in Oklahoma City where he is a middle school teacher. Bethany and her husband Ryan live in California where she is a deputy district attorney. Cindy and her husband Jesse live in Draffenville where she is a server at Patti's Restaurant and subs for the Marshall County School System. Gene and Ella recently became welcomed their first grandchild, Paige.

McCracken County - Michael Muscarella

Michael Muscarella has been the Director of Rehabilitation Services at Baptist Health Paducah for 23 years. He has been a physical therapist for 33 years and is responsible for the Community Health Needs Assessment for Baptist Health Paducah. He holds a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the University of Kentucky and a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy from Old Dominion University. He has taught as an adjunct faculty to the University of Kentucky’s doctoral program in physical therapy for 10 years. Currently he serves as the President of the Kentucky Physical Therapy Association. In addition to chairing the Purchase Area Health Education Center Advisory Board at Murray State University, he also serves the Regional Advisory Board. He is a member of the Kentucky AHEC advisory board. Michael has been a member of the American Physical Therapy Association and the Kentucky Physical Therapy Association for 33 years. He is a member of the Kentucky Rural Health Association’s Board of Directors working to address health disparities throughout the state and region. Locally, he is a past president of the Rotary Club of Paducah and teaches adult Sunday school at First Baptist Church Paducah. He is married to Julie Waldrop Muscarella, UK ’80, a dietitian and a Certified Diabetes Educator. They have one daughter, Miriam, who is a 2012 graduate of Harvard College and is currently involved in endocrine research through an NIH grant.

McCracken County - Ashley Wright

Ashley Wright is the Vice President of Institutional Advancement for West Kentucky Community and Technical College. She earned a bachelor's degree from Berea College and a master's degree from Washington Univeristy in St. Louis. Before joining WKCTC, Wright served as the Executive Director of the United Way of Paducah-McCracken County. She and her husband, Sam, have two children.

Trigg County - John Rufli (Advisory Council Past Chair)

John Rufli is the Executive Director of the Land Between The Lakes Association, Friends of LBL. He is responsible for general oversight of the daily operations, membership development, funds development, budget oversight, and staff supervision. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Illinois in 1971 and a Master of Science degree in Biology from Murray State University in 1975. He worked as an Interpretive Naturalist for the Kentucky Department of Parks at Lake Barkley State Resort Park for eight years. He was business manager for Lake Barkley State Resort Park for ten years and resort park manager for twelve years.

Union County - Drew Wells

Drew Wells is an insurance agent for J. Craig Riddle Company in Madisonville, KY where he holds a license for life, health, property and casualty insurance. He has been with the company since 2006. After graduating from Union County High School, Drew attended Kentucky Wesleyan College where he was a member of the 2001 National Basketball Team. Drew resides in Union County with his wife and daughter where he assists in managing the family farm.

Webster County - Alan C. Lossner

Alan Lossner is a native of Colorado but grew up in Christian County. He graduated from Hopkinsville High School in 1973, and Murray State with a double major in Psychology and Philosophy in 1977. He then received a Masters Degree in Education in 1984. Alan began teaching that same year in the Providence Independent District. He earned a Rank I in Educational Administration in 1995 from Murray and then served as principal at Clay Elementary in Webster County from 1995-2001. He became a district administrator in Webster County in 2001 and retired as Assistant Superintendent in 2014. He and his wife Lisa live in Slaughters.