Thomas H. Meeker, president and chief executive officer of Churchill Downs Inc., has been named "Business Leader of the Year" for a large business by the Louisville, Ky.-based Business First
publication in its inaugural "Business of the Year" Awards. The honor was presented during a dinner at the Kentucky International Convention Center on Thursday, Dec. 1.
The "Business of the Year" awards are designed to honor companies and individual business leaders in the Louisville area whose outstanding achievements have resulted in a positive impact on their industries and within the local community, according to the publication. Large, small and emerging businesses were honored as well as non-profit organizations.
Meeker was honored for piloting CDI through an growth period that included the acquisition of six racetracks, 22 off-track betting facilities and several racing-related service companies. The company recently completed an impressive $121 million renovation of its flagship facility, Churchill Downs racetrack, in Louisville. The four-year renovation project added nearly 80 luxury suites, a year-round simulcast center, premium venues, technology upgrades and a new entrance to the historic racetrack that has hosted the Kentucky Derby, America's premier horse race and a signature of the Louisville community, since 1875.
"While I am honored to accept this award, the real credit for the success of Churchill Downs Incorporated belongs to its team members," said Meeker. "Their dedication and service to our customers, as well as the unwavering support of our local community, has allowed Churchill Downs to remain one of Louisville's cornerstones for more than a century. We look forward to continuing that relationship for years to come."
CDI was also finalist for the "Large Business of the Year" award from Business First
. Large businesses were defined as those companies with annual revenues in excess of $20 million.