KEEP Hires Three to Form Executive Staff

Edited release from KEEP

The Kentucky Equine Education Project has hired three individuals that will form its executive staff.

KEEP, whose mission is to educate the public and legislators on the economic impact of the horse industry in Kentucky, named Claria Horn Shadwick, an attorney, as executive director; Jim Navolio, the former Kentucky Commissioner for Business Development, as operations director; and Gene Clabes, a horseman and journalist, as equine director.

Shadwick, originally from eastern Kentucky, will direct KEEP's mission to promote and protect the horse economy through grass-roots initiatives and broad-based education throughout the state. Shadwick graduated summa cum laude from Transylvania University in 1991, and graduated from Vanderbilt Law School in 1994.

She served for several years as an Assistant United States Attorney in Lexington and Louisville. She is a partner in the law firm of Strother & Shadwick in Lexington.

"This campaign is more important than an individual candidate's race," Shadwick said. "It's an historical effort to preserve and protect Kentucky's heritage and its signature industry--the horse industry."

Navolio served as Kentucky's Commissioner of the Department for Business Development from 1992-2004. In that capacity, Navolio recruited new business and industry to the state. A lifelong racing enthusiast, Navolio also served as executive director of the Kentucky State Racing Commission 1982-84.

"We need every Kentuckian to understand that a healthy horse industry is crucial to the state's future," Navolio said.

Clabes, who has bred, shown, and trained Quarter Horses, Paints, and Thoroughbreds, is charged with ensuring broad participation from the equine industry. Clabes, originally from western Kentucky, received a B.A. in journalism from the University of Kentucky in 1973, and was awarded a Ford Foundation Fellowship to study journalism at Northwestern University.

In the early 1990s, he served as president, chief executive officer, and publisher of the Recorder Newspapers in Northern Kentucky. In 1997, he served as president of the Kentucky Press Association, and in 2002, he was appointed to the state Board of Kentucky 4-H.

"KEEP is focusing on a mission that all horsemen can identify with and are committed to," Clabes said. "We know it and we've lived it--now we have a historic and important mechanism for working together to do something about the issues we care about."