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Kentucky Derby Festival President and CEO Mike Berry ’83 tells what it takes to run a multi-million dollar annual event.

GEORGETOWN, KY – The Business Administration and Economics Department and Phi Beta Lambda host an Invited Speaker Series throughout the academic term to provide students with an opportunity to hear business people from various industries.

It’s always a special pleasure to welcome back to campus alumni who have achieved success in their careers.

The guest speaker for April was alumnus Mike Berry, class of 1983, President and CEO, Kentucky Derby Festival, Louisville. He has held the position since 1997.

Discussing “The Business of Fun,” Berry described for students in the audience how the private, non-profit, Kentucky Derby Festival is structured and funded, how it contributes to the economy of Louisville and Jefferson County, available internship opportunities, the Festival Foundation’s charitable contributions in the community, and the various activities associated with the three-week event.

He also shared a University of Louisville impact study showing that the Festival’s annual $7 million budget generates a $128 million return for the local economy.

As one of the most well-known festivals in America, Berry cited tradition and volunteers as well as corporate sponsors as the reasons for its success. He also said the Festival draws from far and wide and for many serves as a celebration of the rite of spring as people enjoy the opportunity to move away from cold weather.

This was the last presentation in the Invited Speaker Series for this year.