The University of Kentucky Department of Retailing and Tourism Management recently named eight industry professionals to its advisory board.

The board will initially be tasked with assessing strengths and weaknesses of the programs, serving as a resource for students concerning career advice, and highlighting industry problems that students and faculty could solve through research.

Industry members include:

  • Andrea Bailey, general merchandising manager, UK Bookstore
  • Rodney Branum, Target store team leader
  • Karla DiNardo, president of National Tour Association Services Inc.
  • Haley Harris, store manager at White House/Black Market, Hamburg Pavilion
  • Matt Higgins, manager at Buffalo Trace Distillery Visitor Center
  • Ty Slone McBrayer, owner of Twirl Boutique, Lexington
  • Mary Quinn Ramer, vice president of tourism marketing at VisitLex
  • George Ward, executive director at Coldstream Research Campus

“We are honored that these successful industry leaders are giving their time to create opportunities for students and help the Retailing and Tourism Management Department develop resources, said Nancy Cox, dean of the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, of which the department is a part. “We hope that this mutual partnership will also help RTM give back to the industries in tangible ways.”

In addition to the eight industry members, the board is comprised of two UK students and two faculty members.

“The role of the advisory board is to assist the university in preparing students for management positions in the hospitality and retail industries,” said George Ward, who is also a veteran hotel developer and former director of Kentucky State Parks. “The diverse expertise around the table ensures that department graduates enter the work force with a well-rounded education, practical experience and the best opportunity for success.”

The department is an academic unit within UK’s School of Human Environmental Sciences. Students have the option to enroll in degree programs in merchandising, apparel and textiles or hospitality management and tourism. Graduates of the department are employed in many diverse fields including food service management, hotel management, tourism, purchasing, event planning, retailing and apparel testing.

“The industries we serve change rapidly,” said Vanessa Jackson, department chair. “We need the support of professionals in the field to help us maintain excellence.”

Contact: Mary Graham, 859-257-7776
Terms: RTM