Researchers typically define the millennial generation as those born after 1980 and somewhere around the mid 1990s. That puts them at the right age to be entering and redefining America’s workforce. They’re young professionals, business owners, managers and experts in a diverse array of fields who are making waves in the Central Kentucky community and changing the way Lexington runs. We photographed these local Gen Y business professionals at Amtek on New Circle Road in the beautiful office spaces designed by millennial Jessica Cull of Design Link. 

Longship, Patrick Hale, Account Executive • Kevin Mitchell, Account Executive • Chandler Forman, Sr. Account Executive

Longship is a third-party logistics company specializing in over-the-road truckloads of fresh, frozen and dry shipments. On-time delivery is their priority. They value preparedness and creative solutions to issues to ensure that every customer is satisfied.

Kevin believes that what sets Longship apart is their commitment to the client. “I try do go above and beyond when it comes to taking care of my business. Answering phone calls after normal working hours, coming to work on the weekends, and, above all, making sure my customers are always taken care of,” he said. “If the job you perform means something to you, then it makes working hard easy.”

Chandler knows that there is competition in the industry, and that motivates him to succeed. “When I started working here, there were already established brokers that had built great books of business. I knew what I was capable of, and I knew that I could go straight to the top,” he explained. “Our company is seeing incredible growth. We come to work and push each other every day.”

Patrick has heard the misconception that millennials have no work ethic. “On the contrary, this generation is highly motivated to become successful.” He said, “If you need proof of young men and women who are willing to pay their dues to achieve greatness, spend a day at Longship!”

Design Link, Jessica Cull, Co-Owner & Interior Designer

“It’s easy to come to work every day when you love what you do.” Jessica loves the variety of the projects and clients that she gets to work with. Most recently, Jessica completed the top-to-bottom upfit and design of the Amteck building, where this feature’s photo shoot took place. Working alongside Amteck business owner Daren Turner to transform the old Halloween Express into a state of the art open workspace environment gave Jessica an opportunity to explore her creativity. Jessica’s hard work and determination is easily recognized in her projects and the long term success of Design Link.

Design Link offers a broad range of services, from interior architectural space planning and finish selections to furniture layout and more in both commercial and residential settings. She said, “Often times if we work with our clients on a commercial space, they will also pull us into their residential projects because we have the resources to accommodate their designs in both areas.”

Jessica is a big believer in the power of determination. “As long as you’ve got passion, faith and are willing to work hard, you can do anything you want in this life. You just have to put your mind and heart into it!”

Jessica knows that millennials have the advantage of being familiar with today’s newest technologies, and she and her team put those talents to use. “Having the educational background to use certain design programs that show our clients their designs before they are even complete is such a huge resource!” She added, “Understanding social media allows us to market and connect to our clients in new, innovative ways. We love rising to the challenge of proving to our clients that even though we are considered millennials, we can still offer the highest level of service.”

Rector Hayden Realtors, Maggie Cohen • Patrick Pearson • José Rosas • •

Rector Hayden Realtors is a real estate service in Central Kentucky. They serve the community’s commercial and residential real estate needs. Their team of REALTORS® are committed to honesty, integrity and service to the client, first and foremost. 

“I could not think of a better company to be a part of. Not only does Rector Hayden provide the useful skills and knowledge to run your own business and be successful in this industry, but the support and mentorship you receive along the way is incomparable,” explained Maggie. “I am passionate about my business and want nothing more than to be of support, value, and purpose to others. I truly enjoy and have the ability to communicate, engage, and work with all types of people.”

Patrick understands that the real estate process can be an emotional one because he has experienced it firsthand. “I’ve been on both sides of buying and selling, and it’s not always a positive experience for every situation,” he said. “I think it’s important to put yourself in their shoes and do whatever you need to make the process as smooth as possible for them.”

Bilingual in English and Spanish, José does whatever he can to make his clients feel comfortable in the real estate process. “My job is helping families make their dream come true on becoming homeowners by counseling them through their buying process,” he said. “I also enjoy helping homeowners sell their homes quickly and easily!”

Rector Hayden Realtors, Cory Cooley • Caitlin Mittle • Jonathan Bronaugh III • •

As a U.S. Marine, Cory knows that he’s a living example that millennials absolutely have the work ethic to get results. “I was raised to work hard and take pride in my work, no matter what job it is,” he said. He knows that it’s easy to see a fresh, young face in the workplace and assume that they’re inexperienced. “I bring the core values of the Marines – like honor, courage and commitment – into helping people find their home. I pride myself on my work ethic and knowledge of the local housing market.”

Caitlin has been with Rector Hayden for seven years. As a life member of the Million Dollar Club, she knows millennials have unique skills in the workplace. “I think our creativity in marketing and tech savviness is a big factor. We also have the motivation in this stage of life to be successful,” she explained. “I love to make a difference for people. Serving people with excellence and really caring for what they care about makes a big difference.”

Jonathan loves that he’s working for a member of the prestigious Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® global network. “At Rector Hayden, I feel like I’m at an organization like the Lakers or the Yankees: every day I walk in the office, I know I’m going to run into a legend or a giant in our industry and learn something new!” He said, “I’m able to take the lessons learned and put them to work servicing my clients at the highest level.”

LexEffect Events + Management, Kaelyn Query, Founder & President

LexEffect is an events and management company, working with individuals and businesses to create unique events and memorable experiences. From weddings to corporate meetings, farm to table dinners to festivals, and everything in between – LexEffect produces events across the US for a variety of clients. 

Founder Kaelyn Query is committed to exceeding client goals and expectations. “We bring experience and knowledge to the table that’s unique. We use those experiences across the board with all of our clients, no matter the genre of event,” she explained. She has worked at many levels of event management, so she understands the business.

Like many millennials, Kaelyn loves to learn and adapt to the latest advances for the benefit of her clients. “There’s always new technology that can help impact an event, or a new trend in entertainment, or a new technique to be implemented. I never want to stop learning,” she said. “Millennials grew up with technology, so we are more adaptable when it comes to new technology being introduced in the workplace. We have the ability to pick up new platforms and programs.”

Kaelyn loves that her work helps show off the best of the region. “We want to help bring others to Kentucky to see what we have to offer and experience hospitality and entertainment unlike anywhere else,” she said. 

Hamburg Family Dental, Alisha Patel, Owner & Dentist

Hamburg Family Dental is a new practice that aims to offer patients a different, more enjoyable dental experience. Dr. Alisha Patel and her staff bring the advancements in education and technology garnered from her experience in the San Francisco Bay Area back to Kentucky. She explained, “I truly believe the environment that has been created and currently exists in this office is felt from the moment you walk in the door. You will just know you want this place to be your dental home and it’s something special.” She added, “I love being my patient’s cheerleader when it comes to making the necessary changes for improving their oral health.”

Dr. Patel knew the time was right to start her own practice because she had been listening, observing and taking in the lessons from mentors, coworkers and former bosses. “Absorbing it all has helped me to always keep an open mind and allowed me to become a better leader and communicator.”

Jack Kain Ford, Nik Venn, Sales Consultant

Nik is proud to work for a company that has been in business since 1953. “When you come to Jack Kain Ford, whether its for service or buying a vehicle, you feel like you’re a part of the family here,” he explained. “There is zero pressure, complete transparency, and you’ll get Jack’s best price the very first time. I don’t want you to just be a one time customer, I want to build a strong relationship with you for the years to come.”

Nik is the youngest person in the sales department. As a millennial, he understands that he must leverage his talents and flexibility to succeed, and that includes his generation’s familiarity with tech. “With all the up and coming technological advances today, I like to embrace them and use it all to the best of my abilities,” he said. “What motivates me is my desire to be the best I can be. I have no problem harnessing the power of technology to make me productive.”

Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP, Jacob Cassady, Associate

Jacob’s first years of practice at a large international law firm in Miami quickly honed his commercial real estate experience. His projects tend to be complex, with high stakes and far-reaching effects for clients and their communities. But that’s what he loves about it. 

“Clients need my technical and drafting experience, but sometimes their greatest need is for someone to listen closely and offer an objective analysis that identifies a creative solution – or a hard truth,” he said. “I work hard to learn the fundamentals of my clients’ businesses so that I can offer what they need to know, not simply what they want to hear.”

For Jacob, real estate investing is also personal. “In addition to my law practice, my own investing is primarily in commercial real estate. I strive to never lose sight of my clients’ business goals as I work on the legal dimensions of their projects,” he explained.

Like many of his generation, Jacob is committed to building a brighter future. “Though born in Louisville, I’ve spent most of my formative years here in Lexington, as did my wife Jenna. We’re proud to be founding our own family here. When we seek opportunities for service, we’re investing in the community that will be home to our children,” he says. “I see millennials’ belief in the potential for positive change as making that change more likely. And I see our generation – and Lexington – poised for continued innovation and growth.”

For other millennials, Jacob’s advice is to be fully open to learning from others, especially the senior members of any team. “Find good mentors, the more experienced the better. When you encounter someone who is both knowledgeable and willing to share what they know, become a willing and active listener,” he said. “In my experience, that improves the chances that your own contributions will be valued.”

Mees Tile & Marble, Clayton Meyer, Branch Manager

When Clayton stepped into the role of managing the Lexington branch of Mees Tile & Marble, he was well prepared to take on a big role in the family business. “Being brought up in the tile and stone business has enabled me to learn an abundance of knowledge from a very young age,” Clayton explained. Mees is a fourth generation family-owned and operated business, established in 1954 in Cincinnati, Ohio by his great grandfather Howard Mees Sr. Some of their employees have been with the company for over 30 years. “Tile and stone work is an art, and mastery in this field is not something you can learn overnight.”

“We set ourselves apart in many ways. We have everything to offer for a complete home remodel or new build project all under one roof,” he explained. “We import natural stone, quartz, and tile from all over the world and stay up to date on the most trending looks from all over. In addition to over 60 years of expertise, we have great relationships and can recommend the best tile contractors, builders and remodelers in the area.”

Clayton’s advice to young professionals is to ask questions and always be a listener. “Looking towards your peers and learning from those who have been in it much longer will make you much more successful. I am fortunate enough to work with men and women in our company who have ‘been there, done that’.” he said. “Nothing excites me more than coming into work every day confidently knowing I can provide my customers with the best advice and ideas to make their project all come together.”

Clayton has big plans for Mees Tile & Marble, and knows it takes great work ethic to make them a reality. “I have always had to work hard, and I learned at a young age what it takes to get what you want and that is show up and work hard to achieve your goal,” he said. “In 10 years, I plan to be taking on a bigger role in the family business and expanding our business into new areas.”

Milestone Realty Consultants, Anne Hart Cornett, Realtor®


“I live, love and breathe for all things real estate!” For Anne Hart, her number one priority is to be her clients’ most trusted advisor. “I always listen, provide loyalty and always, always, always keep my clients’ best interests at heart.” Whether she’s working with buyers or sellers, she believes in focusing and never giving up, letting her passion be her motivation.

“The biggest misconception of millennials, in my opinion, is that they don’t have the experience needed to thrive in an industry like mine. For me, this only makes me more determined to follow my passion, maintain a ‘go-getter’ attitude and prove the stereotypes wrong!” She added, “Millennials can provide a fresh approach to what may be lacking or becoming dull in this day and age. We are tech-savvy, creative minds and are always thinking outside of the box!”

Good Foods Co-op, Kat Luchtefeld, Interim General Manager

As a cooperative business, Good Foods welcomes everyone to discover what makes the region’s agriculture so incredible and gives everyone the opportunity to own an equal share of the business. “I get to work with some of the most thoughtful and creative people in Lexington and as a team, we get to serve and interact with the best customers anyone could ask for,” Kat explained. “It’s easy to stay motivated when you get to see a direct line from the work you do to making your community a better, healthier, happier place!”

Kat knows that millennials face difficulty finding the right fit. “Don’t give up on finding ways to blend your education and intellectual skills with your passions to create your dream career,” she advised. “It wasn’t until I found my Co-op career that I realized I could apply my legal education and corporate experience to my love of food, wellness and community.”

Republic Bank, Ali Cahill, Workplace Specialist • Christopher L. Henry, Business Development Manager • Mason McCauley, Assistant Vice President & Private Banking Officer

Over the last 35 years, Republic Bank has grown to become the largest locally-owned community bank in Kentucky with 45 locations in 5 states and over $5.3 billion in assets, offering a full array of banking and financial services for individuals as well as small and large businesses. Their goal is to make banking easier than anyone else for their clients and exceed customer expectations in all that they do.

Ali knows that what sets Republic Bank apart is the integrity of the staff. Her goal is to embody that in everything she does. “Every day, I am the most honest, friendly and helpful banker I can possibly be,” she said. “I love working one-on-one with my clients, which allows me to hear all of their concerns so I can work above and beyond their expectations.”

Christopher has seen first hand how millennials bring expertise, as well as many talents to their roles. “I offer a financial perspective from various viewpoints that bridges the gaps between generations,” he said. “As with most stereotypes, there is not a box everyone fits in. Millennials are open to change, take pride in being different and for all intents and purposes are tearing ‘the box’ down.”

Mason believes that people are first in his business. “I work with clients on their personal and business/commercial banking needs. From specialty lending products to deposit services, I am able to offer a wide range of products and services to accommodate the needs of my clients and help them achieve their financial goals,” he said.

Feather & Blade, Holly Meredith, Proprietor

Holly was driven to bring microblading and restorative cosmetic tattooing to Central Kentucky by her desire to support and serve other women. “I am motivated to build community and inclusiveness among women by building them up and helping them feel their best selves,” she explained. “We specialize in various brow procedures including microblading and also areola repigmentation for clients who have had mastectomy and other breast related surgeries.”

In an ever-changing world, Holly believes it’s absolutely essential to fine tune and expand her staff’s abilities and talents to better serve the community. “Our team values true connections with our clients and we strive to continually grow our craft in order to best support them,” she explained. “It’s a strength of millennials to see the world in a new way, and to be adaptable to approach challenges from thoughtful and creative angles. We use this adaptability to collaborate with our clients and help them reach their individual goals.”

Lexington Ice Sculptures, Matthew Stoddart, Lead Ice Artist

“Ice sculpting is something that I have taken a natural love for and that passion has kept me hooked since the start,” Matthew explained. “My passion for ice sculpting has always driven me to learn more and progress in my craft. Being able to work with such a unique medium challenges me daily.”

He loves working with the only ice sculpting company in Central Kentucky, which has been providing breathtaking ice sculptures of all kinds for twenty years. They’ve created just about everything out of ice, from cocktail ice to full size bars!

Matthew knows firsthand that young professionals entering the workplace face a lot of hard work, but he also knows that doing what you love is worth it. “Follow your dreams and conquer the obstacles that will come your way,” he said. “If you stay strong and follow your passion, it will never lead you astray.”

Peplum, Lauren West, Co-Owner

Lauren West and her mother co-own Peplum, a women’s boutique specializing in affordable, on-trend clothing, accessories and shoes where everything is priced under $150. Lauren says she is motivated by other women. “Our clients have become our friends and their energy and enthusiasm for our brand make us want to be better and work harder everyday!” She added, “We make every person that enters our doors feel welcomed and celebrated. Our clients enjoy and have come to expect our personal touch on their experience.”

Lauren believes that the one sure bet is yourself. “Work hard, be tenacious and believe in your ability to do great things,” she advised. She admits that millennials face older, more established business people not taking them seriously, but she believes in staying flexible and open to experience. “There may be bumps along the way, but you are not defined by those challenges.” 

She is also a big believer in learning through mistakes. “Your identity lies in the times after failure – can you be brave and continue to go after your dream? If you can muster the courage to keep going and working diligently towards your goal, success is inevitable,” she said.

Lauren has big plans for the future. “I see myself owning and operating multiple businesses within ten years, whether they be additional Peplum locations in other cities, or another concept altogether,” Lauren said. “One thing is for sure: it will always be female-focused and something that works to make women feel good about themselves.”

Community Trust Bank, Joe Kenney, VP, Commercial Lender • Andy Jarvis, SVP, Central KY Senior Lender

Joe said, “I am truly customer-centric. I invest in professional relationships with my customers, but also develop personal relationships along the way. I believe most products and services in financial institutions can be similar, but it’s truly how people are treated that makes the difference.” 

His values line up perfectly with those of Community Trust Bank. “It’s a community bank with local decision making that you can trust will provide you with superior customer service and tailor products to meet your needs.  We take great pride in serving businesses and individual customers within our community and are active participants within our local area.”

Andy agrees that a personal touch is essential. “I always discuss with my customers their big picture goals – not just why they want to invest, but also what they want their investments to do for them,” Andy explained. “Providing quality service and spending time investing in them is my way of helping every customer achieve their dreams.” 

Andy likes that access to both traditional insitutions and technology have given millennials more opportunities to branch out with their money. “We grew up in the age of resources and have more opportunity to fund startups via traditional lending or crowdsourcing with apps like KickStarter and Go Fund Me,” he said. “Entrepreneurial opportunities are not out of reach for us like they were for other generations.”