Les Fugate is an accomplished former political aide, non-profit executive, and communications and public relations practitioner. Fugate served seven years in Frankfort as the chief political aide to former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, where he directed Grayson’s communications office, legislative affairs, and local elected official outreach. Fugate has also served as Executive Vice President of Congressman Hal Roger’s Center for Rural Development in Somerset, KY and as the Director of Alumni and Annual Giving for Kentucky’s prestigious Governor’s Scholars Program. Fugate is a Cum Laude graduate of Centre College and earned his master’s degree from Vanderbilt University.
As the Kentucky Beverage Association Executive Director, Fugate represents the interest of the Kentucky refreshing, non-alcoholic beverage industry in all regulatory and legislative matter. He works to link the industry with key leaders throughout the Commonwealth and to enhance the image of the beverage industry by touting the work that the KBA’s member companies are doing in their communities and with their innovative products.
Fugate comes to the KBA with an extensive background in legislative affairs, communications, and outreach. As the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State he oversaw all aspects of the Office of the Secretary of State’s communications efforts including serving as the office spokesperson and webmaster for the internationally acclaimed website. Fugate worked extensively on the office’s legislative initiatives where he successfully passed and implemented Secretary Grayson’s expansive legislative agenda.
As the Executive Vice President of The Center for Rural Development, Fugate oversaw The Center’s business services staff, finance and accounting departments, and The Center’s information technology efforts, including its state of the art data center. Fugate also worked with community partners to help develop community foundations throughout The Center’s 42 -county primary service area.
Fugate is a graduate of Centre College where he graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Economics and of Vanderbilt University where he received an M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration. He is a former member of the National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC) & Kentucky Association of Government Communicators (KAGC) with which he served two terms as treasurer, and a former member of the Public Relations Society of America, as well as its Bluegrass Chapter and Public Affairs and Government Section.
Outside of work, Fugate is active in the performing arts serving as a board member for the Kentucky Theatre Association and Jenny Wiley Theatre, and formerly for the Actor’s Theatre of Louisville Generation One board. Most recently, Fugate was appointed to the Louisville Fund for the Arts NeXt! Board.
Fugate has served stints on the Centre College Alumni Association Board of Directors and the Governor’s Scholars Program Board of Directors. He is currently serving Centre College via the Vice Presidential Debate Host and Steering committees.
Fugate is also active in his fraternity, Phi Kappa Tau, where he serves as Dean of the Volunteer Development Institute, Chairman of the national awards committee, and advisor to the fraternity on such issues as governance and structure.
Mr. Fugate was recently recognized as the Distinguished Young Alumnus Award Recipient of Centre College and was recognized by Phi Kappa Tau earlier this year with the Thomas Stennis Award, awarded to the most outstanding domain director in the country.
Fugate is a graduate of Focus Louisville, Ignite Louisville, Leadership Louisville’s Bingham Fellows Program, and the Leadership East Kentucky program. He has been profiled in Velocity Weekly as one of fourteen next generation of leaders in Louisville and is a 2008 Business First 40 Under 40 honoree. He was honored as the recipient of the prestigious Jennifer Schaaf Memorial Award for excellence in government communications. This award, presented by the Bluegrass Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, recognizes the outstanding public information officer in Kentucky.
Fugate has presented media training to a number of groups including the Kentucky County Clerks Association and the Election Center. He has served as a member of the Election Assistance Commission’s (EAC) Working Group on Media and Public Relations for the EAC’s Election Management Guidelines. He also presented on Media Relations and Contingency Planning at the EAC Meeting during the International Association of Clerk’s Recorders, Election Officials, and Treasurers Conference.
Mr. Fugate is a native of Prestonsburg, Kentucky.