Charles Sexton Wins 40 Under 40 Award in Economic Development

30 Jan 2017

Awards and Recognition

40 under 40Jacksonville, Fla. – Charles Sexton, President& CEO of One East Kentucky has been selected as a winner in the economic development profession’s 40 Under 40 awards, the only award of its kind recognizing young talent in the economic development profession.

An independent six-member selection committee evaluated and chose the winners based on their exceptional contributions to the economic development industry. The award’s program was managed by Development Counsellors International (DCI), a New York-based firm that specializes in economic development marketing.
“Chuck has done an exceptional job of not only building this regional organization, but helping break down the barriers that sometimes divide individual counties. He has implemented a number of strategies that are helping to shape the future of Kentucky’s Appalachian region and I believe the results of One East Kentucky will continue to exceed our expectations over the next several years under his leadership,” said Allen Gillum, Chair of the One East Kentucky board of directors and CEO of Appalachian Wireless.

Charles Sexton has been an economic development professional for seven years and is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute. During his time in the industry, Sexton has successfully assisted in the recruitment of 1500 new jobs and nearly $100 million worth of investment in the state of Kentucky. His efforts at One East Kentucky are helping redefine the region’s ability to attract industry with a massive 27-County Workforce Study to prove that the nearly 10,000 available former coal workers can easily transition into automotive, aerospace and other manufacturing industries with their broad base of skills. Sexton and One East followed that with an AEROready certification to attract aerospace and aviation industry, worked closely with leaders on the new eKentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute, and announced a 120-job transportation manufacturing facility in the county with the highest unemployment in the commonwealth. DCI’s 40 Under 40 award was designed to discover the economic development profession’s rising stars.

“The people chosen by the selection committee represent a bright future for the economic development world,” said Andy Levine, president of DCI. “They are a new breed of results-driven place makers. We’re very pleased to see Charles among the winners.”

“I was impressed by the energy and dedication of these developers,” said Zach Patton, Executive Editor at GOVERNING Magazine and 40 Under 40 selection committee member. “Their passion for good economic development really stood out in their smart innovations, thoughtful programs, and cool ideas.”

DCI officially announced the winners last night at an awards ceremony during the International Economic Development Council Leadership Summit in Jacksonville and will feature an in-depth profile of each on its website during 2017.

For more information on DCI’s 40 Under 40 winners, visit


About One East Kentucky

One East Kentucky is a nine-county, regional economic development organization in the “coal fields” region of Kentucky. Created and funded by private business, this 501(c)3 is charged with diversifying the economy and working with organizations such as SOAR and the KY Cabinet for Economic Development toward strategic results. Learn more at

About DCI

Considered the leader in marketing places, Development Counsellors International (DCI) specializes in economic development and tourism marketing. The agency has worked for more than 400 cities, regions, states and countries since it was established in New York City in 1960.

Media Contacts:

One East Kentucky
Charles Sexton

Susan Brake
Vice President, DCI