Dr. Thomas M. Martin is the Executive Director of the Center for Economic Development, Entrepreneurship & Technology (CEDET) at Eastern Kentucky University. CEDET provides guidance and assists EKU faculty and staff, along with communities, entrepreneurs, businesses, industries, institutions and government with accelerating innovation and economic development.
Prior to his appointment, Dr. Martin was Senior Fellow for Research and Economic Policy at the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.
Dr. Martin earned his doctorate in Political Science from the University of Kentucky in 2008, an MBA from Eastern Kentucky University in 2001, and was a Visiting Professor of Government at Eastern Kentucky University from 2008-2011.
He is a member of the Kentucky Statewide EPSCoR Committee, Kentucky Campus Compact, on the Board of Advisors for At The Gap Solutions, and President of the Eastern Kentucky University International Alumni Association.
Dr. Martin and his wife Veronica reside in Danville, Kentucky. They have three children, Brandi 21, Daniel 19, and Grace 16.
Cassie Malick joined the CEDET staff in June 2009. As a previous manager of a family owned photography business in Lexington, she brings the knowledge and understanding of the needs of entrepreneurs to this department with over twenty years of small business management. She recognizes that a vital part of bringing hope and economic development to communities, businesses, families, and individuals, is achieved by investing in them the knowledge, resources, and opportunities for growth. In addition to her duties as Program Assistant for CEDET, she also lends administrative support and project assistance to the Kentucky Innovation Network at Richmond and The EKU Small Business Development Center, and serves as the Incubator/Accelerator Manager to ensure a successful experience for all clients participating in the program. She has served on several external committees for 6 years such as The Collegiate Business Concept Challenge (CBCC) and The Excellence in Entrepreneurship Awards (EIEA) as Program Coordinator/Representative for EKU. Cassie resides in Berea, Ky., with her daughter Emily, 22.
Kristel Smith serves as an Executive Director at Eastern Kentucky University. Her specific role includes serving as Director for both the Kentucky Innovation Network at Richmond and the EKU Business & Technology Accelerator. In her roles, Ms. Smith has assisted hundreds of companies and prepares businesses, communities, and industry clusters for strategic growth and development. She creates business models, and integrates innovation and intellectual property to deliver solid financial business positioning and growth. Kristel is skilled in developing key partnerships, advisory boards, and educational models for startups, businesses, and other organizations. Entrepreneurial in experience and thinking, Kristel connects universities, communities, businesses, and government leaders. Her educational background includes a bachelor of computer science, an MBA, and an international economics study at the School of Economics in Austria. She completed Kentucky Entrepreneurial Coaching and Leadership Institute (Scotland) administered by the University of Kentucky and Venture Capital Institute at Emory University, and has several certifications, including as FastTrac administrator and facilitator through the Kaufmann Foundation, as well as, through the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA). Among other accomplishments, her strong background and experience at Procter & Gamble and IBM, and various boards and community service projects provide Kristel with a well-rounded and exceptional ability to analyze, lead and position organizations for growth and change. She serves on the Kentucky Commission for Small Business Advocacy, as well as other small business and work force councils.
Tonita Goodwin has been named Assistant Director for the Kentucky Innovation Network at Richmond. The Kentucky Innovation Network is part of a unique and dynamic partnership to facilitate the development of start-ups and to assist growth oriented businesses. It is managed in partnership by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, the Kentucky science and Technology Corporation and Eastern Kentucky University. The Kentucky Innovation Network Center at Richmond primarily supports a 13 county area which includes Mercer, Boyle, Garrard, Madison, Clark, Powell, Estill, Lee, Casey, Lincoln, Rockcastle, Jackson and Owsley counties. For the past 3 ½ years, Tonita has been the Executive Director for the Richmond Industrial Development Corporation and prior to that she had a successful 28 year career in selling real estate in Madison County and central Kentucky. Tonita currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Kentucky Association for Economic Development and was appointed by Governor Beshear to the Kentucky Chemical Demilitarization Citizens’ Advisory Commission and Chemical Destruction Community Advisory Board. She has served as Director for the Richmond Chamber of Commerce where she is still active with the Economic Development Committee and several subcommittees. Tonita has also served as President and Director for the Madison County Industrial Management Club and was a part of the Charter Class of Leadership Madison County. Tonita is a 1980 graduate of EKU with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration and has lived in Richmond since 1976.
Jason Rainey joined the Kentucky Small Business Development Center at Eastern Kentucky University as Director in 2014 with a passion for the people of east Kentucky and more than a decade of experience in lending environments. He has a diverse background that includes strong experience in financial lending as well as business management consulting and training. His personal experience as a small business owner allows for a unique perspective as he assists SBDC clients with their own business planning and analysis.
During his time with USDA Rural Development, Jason worked in a leadership role with distribution of the American Recovery Reinvestment Act Business & Industry loan program monies, totaling $59.6 million dollars directly invested into Kentucky businesses to save and create jobs. He also served as the lead Business-Cooperative Loan Specialist in Eastern Kentucky serving 23 counties.
Jason earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and a Master in Business Administration from Morehead State University and currently serves as President-Elect of the MSU Alumni Association, Inc. He is a former Board of Regents member and Student Government President at Morehead State University and former gubernatorial appointee for the State Board for Proprietary Education. Jason resides in Lexington.