Organization kicks off its third year with new members
The co-founder of a behavioral health services center in Pulaski County and the president and CEO of a growing hospitality group are SPEDA’s newest board members.
Tina Hamm and Ameet Patel attended their first meeting of the economic development board in February. They replace Ron Pfaff and Cody Gibson — Pfaff’s term on the board ended, while Gibson left for other pursuits.
“Ron and Cody’s hard work and dedication were crucial to launching the SPEDA organization and for that, we extend our greatest appreciation and gratitude,” SPEDA President and CEO Chris Girdler said. The two were presented with plaques commemorating their service in December.
Appointed to a four-year term by Pulaski County Judge-Executive Steve Kelley, Hamm is the co-founder of Phoenix Preferred Care, which has provided behavioral health services to Pulaski County’s children and families for more than 20 years. There, she serves as the chief financial officer as well as a licensed professional clinical counselor supervisor. As such, she educates clinicians, consults for programs across the state, and oversees more than 40 employees who provide services to nearly 1,100 children annually at home, school, in the community and via telehealth.
Hamm received her master’s degree in education with an emphasis in mental health counseling from Western Kentucky University in 2005. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Eastern Kentucky University in 1997.
She is past president of Somerset-Pulaski Morning Rotary and continues to be an active member. She is also a member of the Association for Play Therapy, Kentucky Association for Play Therapy and the Kentucky Counseling Association. Along with her husband, Mark, she is a lifelong resident of Pulaski County. They have two daughters, Zoey and Lily, who are pursuing their post-secondary education.
Appointed by Somerset Mayor Alan Keck to fill a two-year vacancy, Patel was born in Bowling Green, but has called Somerset and Pulaski County home for the past 22 years. A graduate of Southwestern High School and the University of Kentucky, he holds degrees in accounting, finance, and management.
After joining one of the nation’s largest public accounting firms during his senior year, Patel decided to return to Somerset and help his parents retire after 45 years in the hospitality industry. He has since used his family business as a platform for expansion by forming Thoroughbred Hospitality Group, which operates hotels in Somerset, Louisville, Georgetown, Lexington, Danville and Columbia.
Patel has also served on the UK College of Business and Economics Emerging Leaders Board and Choice Hotels International Rising Stars Board, and was recently selected to receive the Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce Rising Star Award. The son of Arvind and Hansa Patel, he has three older sisters and recently married his college sweetheart, Jessica.
“Tina and Ameet are outstanding examples of true community servants and have so much to offer SPEDA’s board with their expertise in the private sector,” Girdler said. “I look forward to working with them as we continue to build momentum for economic development and make progress in Somerset and Pulaski County.”