It seems a month doesn't pass without Northern Kentucky announcing a major business relocation or expansion, and the Northern Kentucky Tri-County Economic Development Corp. (Tri-ED) is a major reason.

Perot Systems Corp., for example, recently announced the development of a new consolidated data center in Florence. The center features 24,000 square feet of space and the ability to support the latest server technology. "We are very proud to expand our Kentucky presence and locate a new premier data center in Florence for many reasons, including the region's growing support of the technology industry and rich talent pool of career professionals in the area," says Mike McClaskey, Perot vice president. Catholic Healthcare Partners in Cincinnati is one of Perot's biggest clients.

Melvin Gravely, president and CEO of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Thinking, is the new director of the Minority Business Accelerator. He succeeds Calvin Buford, who served the past three years as a loaned executive from the law firm of Dinsmore & Shohl. The Minority Business Accelerator was launched in 2003 to speed the growth and value of regional minority businesses. Gravely, founder of The Institute for Entrepreneurial Thinking and a consultant to the MBA, is vice chairman of the small business committee of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. The chamber also appointed Jonathan Railey as the MBA's vice president of Economic Inclusion. He served as associate director of the MBA for the past three years as a loaned executive from Duke Energy.

The Cincinnati chamber named Rodney Carson of St. Petersburg, Fla., as  vice president of economic development. Carson will lead the Cincinnati USA Partnership: the three-state, 15-county economic development initiative directed by the chamber. Carson served as the senior economic development executive for the Progress Energy Service Co. He succeeds Nick Vehr, who joined Jack Rouse Associates in 2006.

The Uptown Consortium Inc. promoted Janelle Lee to Director of Business Affairs. She  joined the Consortium when it began two years ago. The Uptown Consortium is a non-profit community development corporation focused on public safety, transportation, housing, economic development and integrated social services for neighborhood residents in Uptown Cincinnati, just north of downtown. Consortium members are Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, The Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati, TriHealth and the University of Cincinnati.

The Kroger Co. is now a bronze level corporate sponsor of the The Cincinnati Business Incubator, based on Kroger's commitment to a supplier diversity program. Kroger spends approximately $880 million annually with minority and women-owned companies, with a goal to reach $1 billion. "Kroger has been a leader in working with minority and women-owned companies in all aspects of its business for more than 25 years," notes Wayne Hicks, CBI president. The incubator has a record 46 companies under contract for services.

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