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Meet Our Team

The Kentucky APEX Accelerator staff is made up of experienced professionals with diverse backgrounds and strong ties to government agencies and contracting companies.
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Nancy Brown
Executive Director
Lexington Office

Nancy Brown currently serves as the Executive Director of the Kentucky APEX Accelerator, the primary program for government contracting assistance in Kentucky, where she oversees seven offices across the commonwealth to help businesses with government contracting readiness.
Prior to being involved in government contracting, Nancy was able to advance the lives of many disadvantaged women by leading a program focused on workforce development and self-sufficiency. Additionally, Nancy facilitated multi-million-dollar communications and marketing initiatives for Valvoline Headquarters and the University of Kentucky HealthCare.
Early in her career, Nancy worked at Queen Rania of Jordan’s Public Relations office to establish new press and communications processes for the queen. In this role, Nancy communicated important press releases and news to the queen daily and conducted research on microloan programs for women-owned startups in the Middle East.

Nancy’s academic and training achievements include a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Media Studies from the University of Kentucky, a Leadership Principals Certificate from Harvard Business School, a Financial Management Certificate from Cornell University and a Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate from the Project Management Institute. Nancy is also fluent in written and spoken Arabic.

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Anna Leigh O'Brien
Senior Communications Coordinator
Lexington Office

Anna Leigh currently serves as the Senior Communications Coordinator for the KY APEX Accelerator. Prior to joining the KY APEX Accelerator team in 2022, she worked in the world of higher education enrollment for four years, where she honed skills in communication, public relations and recruitment strategy.

Anna Leigh is a lifelong resident of the Bluegrass region of central Kentucky. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Spanish from Asbury University and a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification through the Project Management Institute.

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Chloe Johnson

Lexington Office

Before joining the KY APEX Accelerator team, Chloe gained valuable experience through a marketing internship at the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce. Chloe is a native of Bowling Green, Kentucky and is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in Finance and Marketing with a minor in International Business at the University of Kentucky.

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Jon Olsen
Senior Procurement Consultant
Lexington Office

Prior to joining the KY APEX Accelerator, Jon was the Procurement Operations Manager for the Corporate Services Office of the Western Area Power Administration. He has a total of 30 years experience in federal contracting and financial assistance award placement and administration.


Within the Department of Energy, Jon held positions as a Contract Specialist, Grants and Agreements Specialist and Contracting Officer for the Western Area Power Administration and Golden Field Office. He also was a civilian Contracting Intern with the U.S. Army and a Contract Negotiator with the U.S. Air Force.

Jon earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alaska Anchorage and an MBA from the University of Colorado Denver.

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Eric Byrd
Procurement Consultant

Morehead Office

Eric brings almost 20 years of experience in business management to the KY APEX Accelerator team. Prior to joining, Eric’s most recent experience includes five years of management and accounting as a part of a fast-growing small manufacturing business and six years of service for the Commonwealth of Kentucky helping Eastern Kentucky secure funds to reclaim lands that were affected by the abandonment of coal mining facilities.   

Eric earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Finance from Georgetown College. 

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Lynn Louis
Procurement Consultant
Covington Office

Lynn brings more than 10 years of experience in small business supplier diversity and coaching to her role.


Before joining the KY APEX Accelerator team, she worked with small business owners to obtain a national minority business certification, and once certified, provided the necessary coaching that business owners needed to help secure corporate procurement opportunities.

A native of Kentucky, Lynn is a former SCORE Mentor and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Finance.

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Douglas Brent
Procurement Consultant
Louisville Office

Doug has been a trusted advisor to businesses for more than thirty years. Before joining the KY APEX Accelerator team, Doug was counsel at a prominent Kentucky law firm where he advised regulated businesses. Before his private practice, he was Director of Regulatory Affairs for a national telecommunications provider. He has served as a board member for several Kentucky nonprofits.

Doug earned both Business Administration and Law degrees at the University of Kentucky. 

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Shawn Rogers
Procurement Consultant
Elizabethtown Office

Shawn brings nearly 20 years of experience in small business and economic development to her role. 

Before joining the KY APEX Accelerator team, Shawn’s previous experience includes serving as the Director of Operations for the Council on Licensure, Enforcement & Regulation. She was also the Center Director and Management Consultant for the Bluegrass SBDC, where she worked across multiple industries to assist existing and new businesses with capital formation and business planning.


From Shawn's work for the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and Community Ventures, she gained experience in community development financing, including Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and New Markets Tax Credit.


Shawn earned bachelor's degrees in Management and Accounting from the University of Kentucky.

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J.C. Watkins
Procurement Consultant
Bowling Green Office

Prior to joining the KY APEX Accelerator team, J.C. worked at Western Kentucky University’s Department of Training and Technical Assistance, where he served the last seven years as Department Head and twenty years as a Financial and Management Specialist assisting organizations holding grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

J.C. holds a master’s degree in Developmental Economics from The American University, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Western Kentucky University and a bachelor’s degree in Government from Western Kentucky University.

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Frank Bennett
Procurement Consultant

Paducah Office

Frank brings decades of experience in business leadership and strategy to his position at the KY APEX Accelerator.


Before joining the KY APEX Accelerator team, Frank was the CEO of The National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky for ten years. Frank has also served in leadership roles with several other firms, including Sage Fundraising Solutions and SmartStream IT Solutions. Frank has written on leadership and strategy topics for several years. His book, The Breathing Organization: Essentials of Effective Leadership, was published in 2007.

Frank holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in strategy and supply chain management from Northern Kentucky University and a bachelor’s degree in communication from Middle Tennessee State University. Frank also holds certifications in Disruptive Strategy and Sustainable Business Strategy from Harvard Business School and a certificate in Fundraising Management from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Most recently, in 2023, Frank became one of fewer than ten procurement professionals that have completed the American Procurement Technical Assistance Center University (APTAC U) full curriculum. 

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