Danny Lee, owner of two convenience stores and a pizza place, was named Entrepreneur of the Year. A graduate of EKU, Lee bought Dairy Mart while attending EKU and later bought another store in Russell County. He also owns half interest in Shell Mart in Liberty.
Casey County Pork Producers received the Agriculture of the Year award. Founded in 1985, the organization has had as many as 200 members and has been recognized by the state Pork Producers Association.
The group is active in community activities including the county fair and apple festival. It recently donated a 60- by 120-square-foot building at the Ag Expo Center. It awards a scholarship to a high school senior annually.
Tarter Gate Co., a 59-year-old business that has been owned by four generations of the Tarter family, was named Manufacturer of the Year.
It is the largest producer of farm and livestock products in the nation, Canada and Mexico. The company also has a wood division that sells grade lumber and pallets.
The largest employer in Casey County, Tarter Gate has 650 employees.
The operation recently doubled the size of its tube mill operations and added a $5.5 million electro-deposition finishing system, one of the most technologically-advanced finishing systems in the nation, and the only system of its kind on farm and livestock products.
The company recently added two powder-coat finishing facilities and is in the process of building a new water tank manufacturing facility in Liberty and a western manufacturing facility in Utah.
Hinkle Contracting Corp., which bought the old Casey Stone Co. in Bethelridge in 1971, was named Industry of the Year.
It also acquired the asphalt plant within Casey Stone from Marion Contracting Co. Hinkle currently supplies crushed limestone products for construction and agricultural needs, hot mix asphalt for the state Transportation Cabinet and private projects.
Hinkle has helped clean a couple of illegal roadside dumps in the county and helped prepare the site at the Ag Expo Center by donating fill materials and grading and compaction equipment.
It also donated the layout, equipment and crushed stone for the new show arena and paved the entrance to the site.
Image Entry, a document imaging/scanning operation, was named New Business of the Year. It has created 45 new positions in the county. Since its inception in 1992, Image Entry has achieved phenomenal growth of 77 percent per year.
The company has more than 800 employees in 11 offices in southeast Kentucky, Alabama and Arkansas.
Family Home Health Inc., a full-service home health agency, was named Health Care Agency of the Year. Its 400 employees provide patient services to 45 counties in Kentucky, five in Tennessee, and five in Ohio. Currently, the agency has six adult day health care centers serving residents in Casey and five other counties.
Roy L. Baker, who formed Access Cable Television Inc., was named Businessman of the Year. He has a degree from UK and is a certified public accountant. He began a career in cable TV with Tennessee-Kentucky Cable TV Co., which purchased the local system owned by George Wolford and continued in the business until 1995. He also helped set up the Casey County High School WREB-TV station.
Baker is president of Access Cable TV, chief financial officer of Sharpe Houseboats, and operates a beef cattle and tobacco farm in Nancy. He and his wife, Brenda, have two sons.