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.
Kristel Smith serves as a 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.
Jason Rainey joined the Kentucky Small Business Development Center at Eastern Kentucky University 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.