Tonita Goodwin has been named assistant director of the Kentucky Innovation Network at Richmond, based at Eastern Kentucky University.
For the past 3 ½ years, Goodwin has been the executive director of the Richmond Industrial Development Corporation. Previously, she sold real estate in Madison County and central Kentucky.
Goodwin currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Kentucky Association for Economic Development and was a gubernatorial appointee to the Kentucky Chemical Demilitarization Citizens’ Advisory Commission and Chemical Destruction Community Advisory Board. She has also served as director for the Richmond Chamber of Commerce, with which she remains active with the Economic Development Committee and several subcommittees, as well as president and director of the Madison County Industrial Management Club. She was also a member of the charter class of Leadership Madison County.
The Jackson County native, who has lived in Richmond since 1976, earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from EKU in 1980.
“Tonita’s depth and breadth of experience and stakeholder contacts will complement the impact that Director Kristel Smith and the Kentucky Innovation Network have on their customers and community, while continuing to enhance the working partnership with EKU to fuel faculty and student start-ups,” said Dr. Tom Martin, executive director of the Center for Economic Development, Entrepreneurship and Technology on the Richmond campus.
The Richmond office of the Kentucky Innovation Network, located in EKU’s Business and Technology Center, facilitates the development of start-ups and assists growth-oriented businesses, primarily in Boyle, Casey, Clark, Estill, Garrard, Jackson, Lee, Lincoln, Madison, Mercer, Owsley, Powell and Rockcastle counties. The EKU-based office also works in conjunction with other offices, particularly as a collaborator in the Eastern Region Innovation Network, which encompasses Richmond, Morehead, Ashland and London, as well as with the Lexington office. The statewide network, with 13 offices scattered throughout the Commonwealth, is managed in partnership with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation, along with local partners, such as EKU.
Smith said Goodwin “will help the Richmond office expand its reach in each of the counties that it serves. Tonita will bring her relationship-building skills to help increase the number of startups in the region. In addition, the office will continue to help grow established businesses by facilitating connections to various resources and providing technical assistance.”
Goodwin said her existing network of contacts will help her “open doors in surrounding counties. I’m excited for the opportunity to bring to the table some of my experience and help a larger region. Our region’s location, split by I-75, is fantastic and we need to take full advantage of it.
“I’ll be there to listen and help,” she vowed. “I want to see what communities have going on and how we can add to it. I love the area, and I want to see it grow.”
For more information about the Kentucky Innovation Network at EKU, visit kyinnovation.eku.edu.