22 Mar 2022

One East Kentucky to conduct national search for new leader as two key employees prepare to make their next move

PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (March 22, 2022) – One East Kentucky President and CEO Chuck Sexton, along with Director of Regional Development, Ivy Stanley, have both tendered their resignations effective April 1, 2022. The duo has been recruited by national economic development consulting firm, Next Move Group as CEO and COO, respectively, to lead the company’s growth.

Uniquely, One East Kentucky is solely funded by private businesses from around the region and led by a board of directors elected from that group. Mark A. Gooch, President and CEO of Community Trust Bancorp, Inc., is the current Chairman of the Board.

"We appreciate the vital work provided by Chuck and Ivy the past few years for One East Kentucky and are saddened to see them leave,” said Mr. Gooch. “We remain optimistic and confident our national search will provide strong leadership in a timely manner. This business led entity will continue to be a leader in economic development and job creation throughout East Kentucky and our state."

By marketing the coal fields as a preferred location for private companies to do business and create new jobs, One East Kentucky has established itself as a top economic development organization in both Kentucky and the US over the last seven years. Additionally, One East has assisted communities, organizations, and industrial authorities with strategic planning and plan implementation to support future growth throughout the region.

Sexton discussed the difficulty in making the decision.

“Seven years ago, I was coming into the region for the first time to interview. I’ve made lifelong friends and relationships here in East Kentucky and will always consider it to be one of my greatest experiences,” said Mr. Sexton. “A good economic developer never feels like their job is done. It was difficult to accept the role with Next Move Group for that sole reason. Ivy and I both feel there is so much more to accomplish and many more opportunities to be had for this region, but at the end of the day, everyone has a trajectory to follow and opportunities to grasp of their own, this just happens to be mine.”

Stanley has vastly grown her career and knowledgebase in community and economic development over the last 10 years, beginning with the City of Greensburg (Kentucky) right out of grad school in 2012.

“Community and economic development is the only thing I know, but there is so much more for me to learn,” said Ms. Stanley. “Every community I’ve worked with over the last 10 years has been unique, bringing forth different strengths and weaknesses, but they all had one thing in common – they have great people helping to shape their future.

“My goal as a community and economic developer has always been to help as many people as possible with my work and I am grateful to One East’s board of directors, investors, communities, and the region’s stakeholders for allowing me the opportunity to use my talent and skillsets to do just that over the last four years. The work we’ve done as a region is a great foundation and springboard for success. I consider my time here to be one of my life’s greatest accomplishments and I look forward to what comes next in both my future as well as that of Eastern Kentucky,” Ms. Stanley concluded.

Although the pair begin their new roles with Next Move Group in early April, both have decided to remain in Eastern Kentucky for at least six months to a year.

“We are both committed to helping One East during this transition period. I know it is a huge change when even just one person leaves but to lose two key staff members at the same time can rock an organization,” said Mr. Sexton. “Ivy and I will still be assisting the board, staff, and contributors for a time to keep things running smoothly until the right person is found to step in as the new President and CEO.”

The OEK Board of Directors will be setting its sights on a national search for the next President and CEO to continue the work that has been laid out by Sexton and Stanley.  

“We will be working diligently in the coming weeks and months to find the next President and CEO of One East,” said James Ayers, OEK Secretary/Treasurer and First State Bank Regional Retail and Relationship Manager in Inez (KY). “The search committee looks forward to vetting the numerous qualified candidates that we are certain will be interested in this very important position. We are very appreciative of the fact that Chuck and Ivy will assist during this period of transition.”

The search will begin immediately via state and national economic development trade associations to gather experienced, professional, candidates. The board hopes to begin reviewing resumes by April 22, with the goal of hiring by the beginning of summer.

Sexton and the board echoed similar sentiments about the attractiveness of running the organization, citing several accomplishments since operations began in 2015.

Solely because of One East’s recruitment efforts, Dajcor Aluminum, a Canadian aluminum extrusion company, chose Perry County for their very first US manufacturing operation. One East was able to work with Martin and Magoffin Counties to make sure Logan Corporation remained in Eastern Kentucky, creating over 100 jobs since opening in Salyersville in 2016. One East’s efforts landed Thoroughbred Aviation at the Big Sandy Regional Airport in Martin County, as well as having assisted the region’s communities and industrial authorities in obtaining over $20 million dollars in grant funds for economic development and securing $1.2 million in Appalachian Regional Commission funds to support more community-based strategies and assistance with retail development and downtown revitalization.

"This organization has a solid foundation for the next leader to aggressively carry the torch into the future,” said Mr. Gooch. "We look forward to working with new leadership as we continue the task of One East Kentucky in facing the challenges of economic development and finding solutions that will attract new businesses, grow current businesses, and create jobs."

Interested candidates for the One East Kentucky position can find the job description at

About One East Kentucky:

Established in 2015 as east Kentucky’s Center of Economic Development Excellence, One East Kentucky is a 501(c)3 regional economic development organization responsible for spearheading the growth and diversification of eastern Kentucky’s economic base through recruiting new industry, jobs and investment to the heart of Appalachia. Since 2016, One East Kentucky has announced over 1,000 new jobs and $154.6 million in capital investment. For more information about One East Kentucky, the nine-county region, industrial properties, workforce development, incentives or other economic development resources, visit Follow One East Kentucky at, on Twitter @OneEastKY and LinkedIn.


Ivy Stanley, Director of Regional Development