Cabinet for Economic Development

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, June 08, 2005  
Contact Information:  Mandy Lambert, (502) 564-7670  

FRANKFORT, KYFollowing a national search lead by an executive search firm, Governor Ernie Fletcher has nominated Deborah L. Clayton as the new commissioner of the Department of Commercialization and Innovation (DCI).


            Cabinet for Economic Development Secretary Gene Strong has recommended the appointment of Clayton to the Kentucky Economic Development Partnership, which must be approved by their Executive Committee and also reviewed by the Government Contract Review Committee at their next meeting June 14.


“Deborah Clayton brings a strong background in research and development as we seek to bring more high-tech companies and jobs to Kentucky’s growing economy,” Governor Fletcher said.  “Her expertise in combining academic and corporate interests to create high-tech economic opportunities will be an asset in this position.”


Deborah Clayton most recently served as the founding executive director for the Charlotte Research Institute (CRI) at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where she established an internationally recognized research institute. She was selected as one of the Charlotte Business Journal’s 2004 Top Women in Business.


 Prior to that, Clayton served as manager of operations at Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, Ill., associate manager of corporate  research with the Department of Energy and co-founder of a high-tech research and development company -- Orchid One Corporation in Illinois. 


“I am honored to be recommended as the commissioner of the Department of Commercialization and Innovation,” Clayton said.  “Considering existing state resources, including available funding, intellectual capital, state of the art facilities, and strong support from Governor Fletcher and Secretary Strong, I anticipate an enhanced sense of partnership and collaborative spirit that will allow me to accomplish this task. I look forward to contributing to the economic growth of Kentucky.”


            DCI was formerly known as the Office of the New Economy. The Commissioner’s responsibilities include development of a knowledge-based economy strategy, oversight of the modernization initiative, recruitment of research and development companies and attraction of high-technology research and development centers.  The Commissioner will also work closely with educators state-wide.


"The Department of Commercialization and Innovation is vital to Kentucky's economic future and especially the linkage between higher education and the economy.  Deborah Clayton is bringing some exciting ideas and a sense of collaboration that should enhance the relationship between the state's economic activities and our university," said University of Louisville President James R. Ramsey. "I look forward to working with Deborah to promote economic opportunities for the citizens of Kentucky."


"It's exciting to have someone with Deborah Clayton's depth and breadth of experiences in such an important role for Kentucky's future," said UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. "Kentucky's economic future depends on our ability to create sustainable and innovative high-tech jobs. I applaud Gov. Fletcher's commitment to this important initiative."


“The Cabinet was presented with several outstanding candidates for this job,” stated Secretary Strong. “Deborah’s strong background in research, education and commercialization made her the top choice. We look forward to her joining the Cabinet and know she has the experience and skills to take Kentucky to the next level.”


Subject to approval by the Government Contract Review Subcommittee and the Kentucky Economic Development Partnership, Clayton will begin her duties as commissioner on July 1, 2005