Danville resident Tony Wilder receives KCADD ‘Vision’ Award

Published 11:45 am Friday, April 19, 2024

Former Kentucky Council of Area Development Districts (KCADD) Executive Director Tony Wilder has received the Development District Association of Appalachia’s (DDAA) John Whisman “Vision” Award.

The “Vision” Award is presented to an individual who has contributed to making the region a better place. The purpose of the award is to “honor efforts made by an individual to relieve the deep-seated problems of Appalachia, promote systems of federal, state, and local cooperation, and further the mission of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the local development districts.”

Wilder began his career in public service in 1987, serving as Boyle County Circuit Court Clerk until 1993, when he was elected Boyle County Judge/Executive, an office he held until 2008. In 2008, he was appointed Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Local Government by then-Gov. Steve Beshear. He served in this capacity until 2016, returning to Frankfort in 2018 to serve as KCADD Executive Director.

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Wilder received his bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Eastern Kentucky University. He lives in Danville with his wife, Sandy.

Gateway Area Development District Executive Director Joshua Farrow, who represents Kentucky on the DDAA as a board member, was responsible for Wilder’s nomination on behalf of the state’s Area Development Districts.

“I was honored to submit Tony’s name for consideration,” Farrow said. “Tony has spent his life in public service and personifies the Whisman Award. His leadership and commitment to fostering economic growth and sustainable development have left an indelible mark on the Appalachian region of Kentucky and the Area Development Districts.

Wilder, who retired from the KCADD in 2023 after serving four and a half years as executive director, received the award on Sunday, March 10, during the annual National Association of Development Organization (NADO) and DDAA Washington Conference.

“I’m very honored by this recognition and consider myself privileged to have had some role in improving the quality of life for folks in our Appalachian counties and those in the 13-state region,” Wilder said. “I am particularly proud of the fact that John Whisman was a fellow Kentuckian and is someone for whom I had great admiration.”