Board of Visitors

The Martin School is advised and supported by its Board of Visitors. Below is more information on each member.

David Adkins, a former Kansas state senator, leads The Council of State Governments as its executive director and CEO.

The Council of State Governments is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization serving all three branches of state government. CSG is the only national organization serving all three branches of state government. CSG is a region-based forum that fosters the exchange of insights and ideas to help state officials shape public policy.

The Martin School of Public Policy and CSG have had a longstanding relationship because of both organizations’ interest in public policy. Adkins is pleased to continue that relationship as a member of the Martin School’s Board of Visitors.

Prior to joining CSG, Adkins served as vice chancellor for External Affairs at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Adkins, a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law, was a Kansas state senator from 2001 to 2005 and served in the Kansas House from 1993 to 2001. He had also served as the founding executive director of the Community Foundation of Johnson County, an affiliate of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation.

While in the legislature, Adkins was an active CSG member serving on the executive committee of the national organization and as chair of the 11-state Midwestern Legislative Conference of CSG. He also is an alumnus of CSG’s Toll Fellows Leadership program, Class of 1993.

His gubernatorial appointments in Kansas include chairman of the Kansas Advisory Group on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and a member of the Governor’s Task Force on Higher Education. He received the Kansas Bar Association’s Outstanding Young Lawyer Award in 1996.
Adkins, his wife, Lisa, and their daughter Nell reside in Lexington.

CSG affiliate organizations based in Lexington include the American Probation and Parole Assn.; the Emergency Management Accreditation Program; the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision; The National Association of State Chief Administrators; the National Association of State Facilities Administrators; the National Association of State Technology Directors; the National Association of State Treasurers; the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators; and the National Emergency Management Association.

Other organizations affiliated with CSG are the National Lieutenant Governors Association, which is based in Florence, Ky.; the National Association of Attorneys General; the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators; State International Development Organizations; and the National Association of Secretaries of State.

Dave Adkisson, President and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce returned to Kentucky in 2005 after serving as president of the Birmingham Alabama Chamber of Commerce and earlier, as president of the chamber in his hometown, Owensboro, Kentucky.

Adkisson is a graduate of Georgetown College and holds a master’s from Harvard University. He began his career with the Owensboro Chamber, first as project manager and then as executive director.

At age 34, Adkisson was elected mayor of Owensboro and re-elected four years later. During his administration, he led the effort to revitalize Owensboro’s downtown, created the RiverPark (performing arts) Center, recruited several industries to the MidAmerica Industrial Airpark, expanded the city’s parks and bikeways and developed a new $300 million bridge linking Kentucky and Indiana across the Ohio River. 

Adkisson has held several statewide leadership posts in Kentucky, including chairman of the Kentucky Advocates for Higher Education, co-founder of Leadership Kentucky and chairman of the Kentucky Center for Public Issues

During his four years at the Kentucky Chamber, the organization has grown substantially, increased its professional staff to 28 (including six specialized lobbyists), expanded its headquarters in Frankfort and placed a major emphasis on its governmental affairs activities.  Reaching out to hundreds of citizens across Kentucky, the Chamber created a strategic plan for the state called the “New Agenda for Kentucky” and in 2007, the Chamber assembled a panel of Kentucky’s top CEO’s to conduct a major study of higher education in Kentucky.  
Adkisson is currently the chairman of the board of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives, an association of more than 7,000 chamber executives across the country.  He also serves on the board of directors of the World Equestrian Games.

Adkisson resides in Lexington, Kentucky with his wife Bonnie.  They have two grown children who also reside in Lexington.  In his pastime, he enjoys running, reading and travel.

Andy Barr has served as the U.S. Representative for Kentucky’s Sixth Congressional District since January, 2013.  He is a Member of the Committee on Financial Services, and is the Chairman of the Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee. 

Barr is focused on strengthening Kentucky’s signature bourbon, equine, coal, agriculture and manufacturing industries, and serves as co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Horse Caucus. He is fighting for policies that will save the country from bankruptcy, increase government accountability, and that would restore the balance of powers as intended by the founders of our nation.

In an ongoing effort to be an accessible representative to citizens of the Sixth District, Congressman Barr initiated several constituent coalitions focused on finding solutions that will help Kentucky’s Veterans, signature industries, and to find solutions to the growing drug epidemic.

Congressman Barr continues to implement his Accessibility Initiative, holding public events in each county he represents -- meeting directly with constituents, maintaining monthly staff office hours in every county, and publishing actively on social media and in his eNewsletter.

Congressman Barr graduated from Lexington's Henry Clay High School in 1992, earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and Philosophy from the University of Virginia in 1996, and received his law degree from the University of Kentucky in 2001.

Congressman Barr is a 2007 graduate of Leadership Lexington, a member of the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church and has served on the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden and Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky.

He and his wife, Carol, are the proud parents of two daughters, Eleanor and Mary Clay.

Mark D. Birdwhistell currently serves as the Vice President for Administration and External Affairs for the University of Kentucky HealthCare. In this capacity, he provides executive leadership in administration and strategic direction across the clinical enterprise, collaborating effectively with physicians and other leadership of the healthcare team. Mr. Birdwhistell is also responsible for the development and oversight of UK HealthCare, clinical outreach and development initiatives including clinical co-management approaches.  In addition he provides direction and oversight to marketing and public relations.  He represents UK HealthCare at the local, state and national levels, and serves as a national speaker on healthcare policy and Medicaid reform efforts.

Prior to this position, Birdwhistell served in senior leadership roles in both the private and public sectors, including Secretary for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services and Chief Executive Officer for CHA Health. He has over 30 years’ experience in healthcare, with specific expertise in Medicaid policy.

During his tenure as Cabinet Secretary, Birdwhistell received recognition from the federal government, advocacy organizations and the national media for his role in the design of Kentucky's progressive Medicaid modernization agenda. He also championed and secured passage of legislation for social worker safety reform and promoted efforts to improve services for Kentucky’s aging population.

As CEO of CHA Health, a regional health plan serving 100,000 members, Birdwhistell led the troubled health plan through a successful financial and operational turnaround.

Birdwhistell has received numerous awards for his achievements in the area of healthcare and disability rights, and has been published on topics such as private payer strategies, aging and independent living, and Medicaid. Most recently he has co-published chapters in Stop Paying the Crooks: Solutions to End the Fraud that Threatens Your Healthcare, and the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 editions of Health Law & Compliance.           

Birdwhistell was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, Pikeville College of Osteopathic Medicine, May 2008.  He earned his Master of Public Administration from the University of Kentucky Martin School for Public Policy and undergraduate degree from Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky.

Dr. Blanton, now retired, has served the University of Kentucky in a variety of capacities, including Treasurer and Vice President. He received his MPA from the University of Tennessee, and doctorate degree in educational policy from the University of Kentucky. Dr. Blanton has also served in the state budget office in Kentucky.

Dan Bork was appointed by Governor Matt Bevin as the Commissioner of Revenue for the Commonwealth of Kentucky in December 2015.

He recently retired as Vice President of Tax for Lexmark International, Inc., a $3.7B global technology company providing printing and imaging products, software and solutions that help customers save time and money. He was responsible for worldwide tax matters, including compliance, planning and strategy to ensure favorable tax rates and improved cash flow.

Bork became Vice President of Tax in May 2001. He joined Lexmark in 1996 as Director of Tax after nearly 20 years of experience in U.S. and international tax matters. He previously was Senior Director of Tax for Cray Research Inc. in Eagan, Minn. He also held various senior-level positions with Coopers & Lybrand, L.L.P. in Minneapolis, including Director of International Tax Services.

Bork holds a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting from Winona State University in Winona, Minn., and a Master's in Business Taxation from the University of Minnesota.

He served two six year terms on the Board of Directors of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. He held several different positions in that capacity, including serving on the Executive Committee, Treasurer, Chair of the Competitiveness Council, Chair of the Tax Committee and Chair of the KY Chamber Foundation.

He has served as President of the Kentucky Chapter of the Tax Executives Institute as well as on the Board of the Tax Executive Institute at the national level.

He currently serves on the Board and the Executive Committee of Leadership Kentucky and serves as their Investment Committee Chair and on the Board of Visitors for the Martin School of Public Policy at the University of Kentucky.

Bork is active with his church, Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary Parish in Lexington, having served as the School Board Chair, Finance Council Chair and was a member of the strategic planning group among other positions.

He is a Certified Public Accountant and is a member of the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Michael Carozza is a retired federal affairs and biopharma executive. For over two decades he was an executive at the Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, retiring in 2010 as Vice President, Federal Government Affairs, and head of the Washington office, where he led a team that focused on issues important to the R&D based biopharma industry. Michael served as Deputy Commissioner of Social Security in the Reagan Administration and on the staff of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Penn State and two master’s degrees from the University of Kentucky; Communication (’77) and Public Administration (’78).  Michael was named the 2013 Outstanding Alumnus of the College of Communication and Information.

Ron Carson joined the Council on Postsecondary Education in 1999 as a Senior Fellow & Legislative Liaison, working as a part-time employee primarily on budget and legislative issues. Prior to joining the Council staff, he worked for 27 years in the state budget office, serving as deputy state budget director for five governors and as a budget analyst during the administrations of two governors. He has served as president of the Kentucky chapter of the American Society for Public Administration, as chair of the board of directors of the Kentucky Long-Term Policy Research Center, has participated in Leadership Kentucky, and has been voted life membership in the National Association of State Budget Officers. 

He served for three and a half years in the U.S. Navy as a communications officer aboard the aircraft carrier USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, where he was responsible for top-secret control and crypto security and attained the rank of Lieutenant (j.g.). He holds degrees from Centre College, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Southern California, and participated in the Senior Executives in State and Local Government program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. 

He taught the Martin School’s public budgeting class for several years in the late 1970s with Dr. Merl Hackbart, and has been involved with the School since that time. Originally from Louisville, he has lived in central Kentucky for over forty years.

Mr. Childress received his B.A. from the University of Kentucky in 1984 and an M.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1986—both in political science. From 1988 to 1993, he was an analyst at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California. While at RAND, he authored numerous studies on topics ranging from demographic trends in the third world to the implications of declining budgets for the U.S. Army. In August of 1993, he became the first executive director of the Kentucky Long-Term Policy Research Center. Mr. Childress oversaw the Center's numerous research activities and authored reports on the future of tobacco, entrepreneurism, child care, technology use, electronic commerce, state and local taxation, immigration, health, and transportation. He currently works with CBER, which "has a long history of conducting applied economic studies and is the leading source of information on the Kentucky economy."

His interest in the Martin School is both professional and personal.  He has worked with Martin School faculty to help inform policymakers about state and local public finance trends—producing a report on the topic, Financing State and Local Government: Future Challenges and Opportunities (2001), as well as a statewide conference.  On a personal level, his sister Tracy graduated from the Martin School in 2005 with her MHA and now works as a hospital administrator.

Jennifer B. Coffman was appointed as United States District Judge for the Eastern and Western Districts of Kentucky on October 22,1993, and elevated to Chief Judge of the Eastern District of Kentucky on October 15, 

2007. The first female to hold either of those positions within the Commonwealth of Kentucky, she retired from the federal district bench on January 9, 2013. Judge Coffman was appointed in 2011 to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees requests by the United States national security community for surveillance of suspected foreign intelligence agents. She also retired from this position in January 2013.

Prior to her federal judicial appointment, Judge Coffman was a trial lawyer whose practice focused on the areas of education, employment, and Constitutional law. She was also an Adjunct Instructor of Legal Writing at the University of Kentucky College of Law. She lectured frequently, served on various law-related committees, and chaired the 1992 Kentucky Bar Association Convention. Before attending law school, she taught middle- school English in Virginia and was a reference librarian at the Newport News, Virginia, Public Library and the Margaret I. King Library at the University of Kentucky.

Judge Coffman earned all of her degrees at the University of Kentucky: a Bachelor of Arts (English) in 1969, a Master of Science (Library Science) in 1971, and a Juris Doctor in 1978 from the College of Law, where s

he published two student articles in the Kentucky Law Journal and argued on the National Moot Court Team. Currently she is an Adjunct Instructor at the UK College of Law, where she directs the Judicial Externship Program, facilitates a Visiting Judge initiative, and assists with philanthropic efforts.

Judge Coffman was in the inaugural class of the UK College of Law Alumni Hall of Fame in 1996, and she was named Outstanding Alumnus by the UK College of Communications & Information in 2013-14.  In 2015 she was inducted into the University of Kentucky Hall of Distinguished Alumni.  She has received awards from various organizations, including the Kentucky Bar Association Distinguished Judge and Kentucky Bar Center awards; the Lexington YWCA Women of Achievement Award; and the Equipoise Award for Career/Family Balance from the Lexington chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners.

Her husband, Dr. Wes Coffman, is a retired dentist who is now an Assistant Professor at the UK College of Dentistry. Married since August 16, 1969, they have two children: Will, who lives in Washington, D.C., and is married to Katie Kaufman; and Blair, who lives in Oakland, CA and is married to Tyler Martin.

Martha Layne Collins was born in Shelby County, Kentucky, in 1936. A graduate of the University of Kentucky, she taught in the public schools of Louisville and Woodford County. After entering politics in 1971, she became active in gubernatorial and congressional campaigns. In 1975, she was elected clerk of the Kentucky Supreme Court. In 1979, she was elected lieutenant governor, chairing the National Conference of Lieutenant Governors. In 1983, she was elected governor. The Democratic National Committee selected her to chair the 1984 Democratic National Convention. She chaired the Tennesse-Tombigbee Waterway Authority, which opened the waterway to commercial traffic in 1985. She also chaired the Southern Growth Policies Board, Southern States Energy Board and co-chaired of the Appalachian Regional Commission. After her term as governor, she became president of St. Catherine's College for six years. She also served as the Executive-in-Residence at the University of Louisville's School of Business, and as director for the International Business and Management Center at the University of Kentucky.