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Cumberlands provides professional conference experience for business students


Presenters at Cumberlands’ Business Forum and their student escorts. From left, first row: Jim Richards, Jim Carroll, Marilyn Clark and her escort Candice Rodgers; second row: Alex Roepe, who escorted Richardson, Madison McCalmon , who escorted Carroll, Libby McCarty and student escort Amanda Hensley.

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. — The Hutton School of Business at University of the Cumberlands on April 14 hosted its second annual Business Forum for Young Professionals. The program, “Recognizing Business Opportunities in any Economic Environment,” brought together four outstanding business leaders to speak to Cumberlands’ business students.

Jim Carroll, director for Entrepreneurial Growth at Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, a venture capital group based in London, addressed the questions, “What is an entrepreneur, and why would I want to be one?”


At Cumberlands Business Forum for Young Professionals, Jake Brock, left, was escorted J. Hunt Perkins, sponsor of the event.

Marilyn Clark, the founder and president of Worksmart, LLC, a Lexington based leadership training and consulting firm, spoke about the importance of communication as the “Key to Success in an increasingly diverse workplace.”

Libby McCarty, co-owner of Riley Oil Company in Richmond, helped students understand, “What happens when a tough business meets a tougher economy?”

Jim Richardson made such a strong impression on participants when he spoke at the 2009 forum that he was “back by popular demand” this year to help students understand how discipline affects business success. Richardson is first vice president and portfolio manager at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Lexington.

The forum, which replaced the normal class schedule, not only allowed juniors and seniors to attend their choice of two of the four presentations, held in two concurrent sessions, it also provided opportunities for student business leaders to interact with the guest presenters during a reception and dinner the evening before the event and at a luncheon afterward. Also, a student escort was assigned to each of the guests.

The program, under the direction of Dr. Margaret Combs, director of Hutton School of Business, is the brainchild of J. Hunt Perkins, who makes the program possible. “It is a privilege to provide this opportunity for future business leaders,” said Perkins.

“I do not know if any other school in Kentucky offers anything similar,” said Combs. “There is no way we could afford to send 200 people to a professional business conference. The forum brings the conference here. It allows our students to meet some very successful people, and it broadens their horizons tremendously.” She went on to say, “This is a tremendous gift that Mr. Perkins provides for our students.”

Perkins, a geologist, is president of J. Hunt Perkins and Associates, Inc., a Lexington firm established in 1983 that specializes in oil and gas exploration services, gas well drilling and field exploration services. A current member of Cumberlands Board of Trustees, his strong association with the university extends back to when his mother served more than ten years as the bursar for Cumberland College.