Business Briefs

Louisville Public Media Names Stephen George New President and General Manager

Louisville Public Media, the parent company of Louisville’s NPR news station 89.3 WFPL, 90.5 WUOL, 91.9 WFPK, the Peabody Award-winning Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting and Do502, recently announced that its board of trustees has chosen Stephen George as the organization’s next president and general manager.

Stephen George. Photo by J. Tyler Franklin for Louisville Public Media.

George has served as interim president since January. He will assume his role as president effective immediately.

“Great journalism, music and the arts have the power to make communities better. Everyone at Louisville Public Media comes to work with a passion for serving that mission every single day,” said George, a Louisville native. “At a time of broken trust and social upheaval, we are a trusted source of news and information, an arbiter of the arts and a cultural wayfinder for the place we love and serve. I look forward to a future where LPM is serving our city, state and region even more deeply through radio, digital channels and face-to-face connections.”

George joined Louisville Public Media as executive editor in 2015. He led a restructuring of LPM’s news operations that resulted in audience growth across broadcast and digital platforms. He also spearheaded multiple new initiatives and partnerships, including the regional journalism collaborative Ohio Valley ReSource, a news partnership with the Spanish-language newspaper Al Día en América, and LPM’s acquisition of

George succeeds Michael Skoler, who resigned in January 2018.

Rada Halaseh.

Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor Rada Halaseh Promoted to Vice President

Merrill Lynch recently announced that Rada Halaseh has been promoted to vice president. She is based in the Louisville, Kentucky office.

“We are proud to congratulate Rada on her promotion to vice president,” said Scott Cox, director, Louisville market. “This promotion is a well-deserved recognition of Rada’s industry knowledge and commitment to delivering personalized wealth management strategies to help clients pursue their financial goals.”

Halaseh, a resident of Louisville, joined Merrill Lynch in 2007. She received a master’s degree from Indiana University Southeast. Halaseh is based in the Louisville Merrill Lynch office at 101 Bullitt Lane and can be reached at 502.329.5036 or by visiting

Argi Employee Selected For Leadership Louisville 2019 Class

ARGI, a Louisville-based personal and business financial advisory firm, is pleased to announce that director of business development Erin Haynes Reed will be a part the Leadership Louisville Center’s Leadership Louisville Class of 2019. Reed will be one of 60 local professionals selected to participate in the program.

Since 1979, Leadership Louisville has helped leaders become knowledgeable about local issues, passionate about the success of the region and well connected to the community. The class of 2019 will spend 10 months immersed in an active learning experience, diving into our community’s history, assets and challenges, emerging ready to create positive change alongside a network of fellow influencers and decision makers.

“I’m looking forward to connecting with the impressive list of business leaders selected as part of Leadership Louisville’s 40th Anniversary Class,” says Reed. “It’s exciting to be truly immersed in the growth and future development of my hometown for my family and future generations.”

Reed, a Louisville native, has led ARGI’s business development department since 2014. She resides in Middletown with her husband and two children.

Leaders of Global Whiskey Groups Unite In Kentucky, Call On World Leaders To Come Together And Restore Open And Fair Trade Of Spirits

Executives with the world’s top whiskey associations recently called upon global leaders to engage in timely dialogue that results in the prompt removal of recent tariffs between long-time friends and allies, particularly those imposed on spirits exports.

At the “W9 – Spirit of Collaboration Summit,” hosted by the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, representatives from nine international whiskey and distilled spirits organizations joined together to speak with a united voice.

KDA President Eric Gregory said the group unanimously approved a resolution declaring open and fair trade to be essential for the future of the iconic industry – even though they couldn’t agree on who makes the best whiskey, or whether it’s spelled “whiskey” or “whisky.”

The resolution also welcomes the commitment announced by the U.S. and the EU to de-escalate the current trade dispute and address tariff issues and calls for the removal of tariffs.

“In Kentucky, we like to say that bourbon brings people together,” he said. “It’s actually a lesson that our legendary industry learned long ago – that we can accomplish more by working together than standing apart. The global whiskey industry has been built on centuries of friendship, partnership and kinship.

“(Now), we call on world leaders to likewise work together, over a glass of whiskey or their favorite non-alcoholic beverage. All nine members of this historic summit stand ready to assist and reach a solution.”

The gathering marked the first time these nine associations have come together to discuss collaborative solutions to recent trade policy decisions that could have long-term economic impacts on each of the country’s distilled spirits industries and negatively affect consumers worldwide.

Participating trade associations include:

American Craft Spirits Association

Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S.

Irish Whiskey & Spirits Associations

Japan Spirits & Liqueurs Makers Association

Kentucky Distillers’ Association

Scotch Whisky Association

Spirits Canada


The Presidents’ Forum

Ulrich Adam, director general of spiritsEUROPE, said, “Spirit drinks are appreciated around the world. Wherever local economies grow and markets open, we see a rising demand for our whiskies, vodkas, Cognacs or gins.

“As true champion of open and fair trade, we very much value any efforts by public authorities to negotiate tariff removal and the elimination of non-tariff barriers. This helps our spirits companies, large and small, to be commercially successful abroad. The benefits are manifold and substantial – and go well beyond our sector, including our suppliers, distributors and customers around the globe.”

Distilled Spirits Council interim president and CEO Clarkson Hine said, “The Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. is joining with our counterpart organizations from around the world to send a strong message of support for free and fair trade of distilled spirits.

“We welcome the announcement made by the President and the EU as an important step in the right direction,” Hine said.

“U.S. whiskey exports are a great American success story, and these trade disputes threaten the global competitiveness of American-made whiskeys that create jobs throughout the entire supply chain, from farmers to distillers to the retail market and consumers.

“We stand side-by-side with our domestic and international colleagues to urge continued dialogue that restores the tariff-free market access that has benefited producers and consumers for the past two decades.”

According to the Distilled Spirits Council, global U.S. spirits exports set a new record in 2017, reaching $1.64 billion. American whiskeys, specifically bourbon, Tennessee whiskey and American rye whiskeys accounted for nearly 70 percent of the total, and thus are the key drivers of this export success.

The summit concluded with a ceremonial planting of a white oak tree on Whiskey Row in front of the Frazier History Museum, home to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Welcome Center™ opening at the end of August as the official starting point of the KDA’s world-famous KBT tours.

According to U.S. guidelines, bourbon whiskey must be stored in new, charred oak containers, many of which are shipped overseas for use in crafting other whiskies. “Oak is a tie that binds all our whiskies,” Gregory said.

Gregory praised the energy and insight each of the members brought to the two-day gathering and said the group hopes to formalize its partnership and meet annually. “It only makes sense as we share so many common issues, interests and opportunities.

“It was an honor to host such a distinguished group of global citizens here in Kentucky,” he said. “To welcome our extended whiskey family to the birthplace of bourbon in order to work together for the greater good of all is an extraordinary privilege. We look forward to the next family reunion.”