Japan/America Society of Kentucky

Since 1987

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Board of Directors


Robert L. Brown - Lynch, Cox, Gilman & Goodman, PSC

Robert represents domestic and foreign companies reach customers in overseas markets.  In addition to serving as chair of Japan/America Society of Kentucky, Robert is chair of National District Export Council appointed by US Secretary of Commerce. He is also chair of Kentucky District Export Council, and treasurer of Sister Cities of Louisville.  He has previously served as chair of the Kentucky World Trade Center, chair of the World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana, and chair of Crane House, a leading Asian cultural and business society.  On a global scale, he is chair elect of the American Bar Association, Section of International Law and its 20,000 members in over 100 countries. He will become chair in 2018.  In addition to a law degree, he has earned MBA and MS in urban economics (Louisville), MS in Japanese business (Jochi University in Tokyo), and two PhDs in law and development (University of Cambridge and The London School of Economics and Political Science). Recently, he completed an LL.M. in world trade from the University of London. He has also passed the CPA exam.  He is admitted in Kentucky, New York, California, District of Columbia, England and Wales, and Hong Kong. From 1990-3, he was admitted as a foreign lawyer in Japan.


Koichi Kani - Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky 

Senior Executive Engineer

Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc., Toyota’s $5.3 billion investment in Kentucky is a 1300-acre site which includes vehicle production facilities for the Camry, Avalon and Solara as well as a power train plant for engine and axle production. TMMK has the capacity to build 500,000 autos and 500,000 engines each year. TMMK is one of Kentucky’s largest exporters, exporting over $1.3 billion annually in vehicles, parts, components and engines.

Executive Director 

David Carpenter - Japan/ America Society of Kentucky

David is currently the executive director of the Japan/America Society of Kentucky. The Japan/America Society of Kentucky (JASK), established in 1987, is dedicated to sustaining a favorable business and community relationship between Japan and Kentucky by promoting cooperation and mutual understanding. To achieve this goal, JASK organizes a variety of business, cultural, educational and social programs, as well as provide relevant information for business, professionals, schools, families and others.Through these activities, JASK also facilitates social and business networking within the Japan/America community in Kentucky.Furthermore, JASK recognizes the importance of educating future generation for the betterment of the Japan/America relations.

David Carpenter was named Honorary Consul General of Japan to Kentucky in December of 2014.  The role of Honorary Consul of Japan to Kentucky is to represent and facilitate the interest and rights of Japan and Japanese nationals living in Kentucky; protect and promotion of the interests concerning the commerce and navigation of Japan and Japanese national; the settlement of civil disputes among Japanese national themselves and interchange of culture with foreign counties. 

Executive Committee 

Greg Hintz - Crowe

Mr. Hintz has over 25 years of public accounting experience, including over 13 years of experience working with Big 4 firms before joining Crowe in 2004. His experience and qualifications include responsibility for providing tax consulting and compliance services to a variety of clients in the service, manufacturing, telecommunication, and mining industries. Mr. Hintz has advised clients in all areas of taxation including mergers and acquisitions, legal entity structuring, accounting methods and periods, international tax planning, federal tax planning and state and local tax planning.

Crowe LLP is one of the largest public accounting, consulting and technology firms in the United States. Crowe uses its deep industry expertise to provide audit and tax services to public and private entities while also helping clients reach their goals with advisory, risk and performance services. Crowe serves clients worldwide as an independent member of Crowe Horwath International, one of the largest global accounting networks in the world. The network consists of more than 760 offices in more than 120 countries around the world.

Executive Committee

John Ferguson -  Pro Tech Quality Solutions

Mr. Ferguson is the President of Pro Tech Quality Solutions, an industry leader in third party quality assurances services including Containment,  Sorting, Rework, Launch Assistance, Representation and Problem Solving.

Executive Committee

Bill Quenemoen - Denham-Blythe Company

Mr. Quenemoen graduated with his BSCE from Ohio State in 1993. Afterwards, Bill enrolled at the University of Kentucky pursuing his master’s degree in civil engineering while working as a teaching assistant to Prof. Hans Gesund. In April of 1995, Bill accepted a position at the Denham-Blythe Company as a structural engineer in their design department and the following year he received his MSCE degree from UK. Later on in 2004, In May of 2004, Bill received his MBA from the Gatton College of Business at UK.

The Denham-Blythe company was founded in 1976 by Charlie Denham and Dale Blythe, both former recipients of  the Construction Management Founders Society Lifetime Achievement Award. As a structural engineer, some of the design projects that Bill had the  opportunity to work on included a $11.5 million industrial plant for Caterpillar in Danville, Kentucky, a $2.0 million facility expansion for the Okonite  Company in Santa Maria, California, a $4.4 million new manufacturing facility for Webasto in Lexington, Kentucky, and a four-story office building for  Lexmark in Lexington. Bill is currently the Vice President at Denham-Blythe. Finally, Bill is a registered professional engineer in 24 states and is also a  member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Concrete Institute.

Executive Committee

Kay Sargent - Lexington Sister Cities

Ms. Sargent is the Executive Director of Lexington Sister Cities, a program designed to encourage global understanding between American cities and other world communities. Lexington has sister-city ties with Deauville, France; County Kildare, Ireland; Shinhidaka, Japan; and Newmarket, England.

Executive Committee

Kevin Smith - Beam Suntory, Inc.

Kevin Smith is a 28 year veteran of Kentucky’s signature bourbon industry, having worked for the top distilleries in the state.  A 19 year resident of Nelson County, he is currently employed by Jim Beam (Beam Suntory) in Clermont, Ky., where he works with state, local, and civic leaders as well as supporting large and small charities throughout the regional area on behalf of Beam Suntory. He is currently serving on the Flaget Memorial Hospital Foundation Board, the Kentucky Chamber Board, chair of the KY Chamber Competiveness Council, chair of the Kentucky Distillers Association Government Affairs Committee, Louisville Downtown Development Corporation Board, Greater Louisville Inc. Public Policy Council, Bardstown / Nelson County Tourism Commission Board, Bardstown Nelson County Chamber Board, Metro United Way Campaign Cabinet, and will be joining the American Red Cross – Louisville Area Chapter/ Kentucky Region Board in 2017.

Kiyotaka Kobayashi - PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Mr. Kobayashi is the Managing Director of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. Pricewaterhouse offers assistance in areas ranging from business consultation and tax preparation to audit services. 

Craig Fisher - Hitachi Automotive Products USA

Mr. Fisher is the Vice President & Corporate Secretary, Human Resources & Administration at Hitachi Automotive Products USA. The company is a Tier 1 supplier of world-class products to the global automotive market. The company operates ones sales and research and development office, one aftermarket sales office, and three manufacturing facilities in the United States. 

Previously Kevin worked in the manufacturing and supply chain side of the bourbon business as Director of Operations / Plant Manager for Jim Beam and Vice President / Master Distiller for Maker’s Mark where he created Maker’s 46, the company’s first innovation since 1953.  In addition to manufacturing, Kevin has also promoted and represented the bourbon industry around the world conducting seminars, tastings, and media interviews for small and large audiences. In 2010 during his time as the Master Distiller at Maker’s Mark, Kevin debuted as a judge on the Food Network’s Iron Chef America….the secret ingredient was bourbon.   

Michael Rodenberg - Murakami Manufacturing North America

Michael A. Rodenberg is a Senior Operating Officer of Murakami Corporation Japan and    President/COO of Murakami Manufacturing North America. He has a Bachelor’s degree  in Japanese from Brigham Young University and a MBA in Global Management from the University of Phoenix. Over the past 20 years, Mr. Rodenberg has worked at several leading public companies with assignments in Japan, China, and various locations in the U.S. His experience includes, manufacturing operations, new product and market development, as well as mergers and acquisitions.  In 2013 he was selected as the first non-Japanese to serve on the board of Murakami Corporation, an organization with over 130 years of history and tradition. Murakami’s operation in Kentucky, was featured in the 2014 summer edition of Motorworld Magazine for its effort in bridging the gap between two cultures.  In 2015, he received The Kentucky Outstanding Civic Education Leadership Award, from the Secretary of State, which recognizes community leaders who have made notable contributions toward promoting or implementing civic learning to prepare students to be active and engaged in their communities. He currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center, an organization designed to meet Kentucky’s pressing workforce challenges.

Doug Whitlock - Eastern Kentucky University

Mr. Whitlock graduated from EKU in 1965. He later received honors such as becoming part of the Hall of Distinguished Alumn in 2011 and the University's 11th President.He has also served as a member of the Madison County Schools Board of Education (1999-2011), the Richmond Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Commerce Lexington's Central Kentucky Public Policy Council, Bluegrass Tomorrow Board of Directors, the International Town and Gown Association, the Southern Growth Policies Board and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.
During his tenure, Eastern Kentucky University garnered several national recognitions, including: designations by Forbes and U.S. News as being among America's best colleges; distinctions as a community-engaged university by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Washington (DC) Monthly magazine; and recognition for two consecutive years as one of America's "Great Colleges to Work For," including 2010's designation as an Honor Roll institution, by the Chronicle of Higher Education. Most notably, perhaps, is EKU's recognition as a veterans-friendly campus by G.I. Jobs magazine and a Number 1 ranking in the nation by Military Times EDGE magazine with its "Best for Vets" honor.

Kunihiro Takeda - Bicen Tool Corporation

Mr. Takeda is the President of Bicen Tool Corporation. The company was established in 1976 as a cutting tool and steel supplier. Purchased by a Japanese wholesaller, Tezuka Corp., in 1990, Bicen Tool has diversified its tooling lines with measuring tools as well as supplying automotive, tool and die.

Mr. Adams is the General Manager of Sumitomo Electric in Bowling Green. In 1986, Sumitomo Electric Industries (SEI) of Osaka, Japan, and Sumitomo Wiring Systems (SWS) of Yokkaichi, Japan, combined to form Sumitomo Electric Wiring Systems (SEWS), an independent US corporation. Today, with approximately 8,000 employees and net sales over $1,127 million, SEWS manufactures power distribution systems for Toyota, Honda, Ford, GM and others, streamlining the entire product development process, from concept to manufacturing and delivery.

Todd Dorsey - Topy Corporation

Mr. Dorsey is the Director of Topy America, Inc. located in Frankfort, Kentucky.  Topy America was the first Japanese automotive parts supplier in Kentucky, established in 1985.  Topy has a steel wheel manufacturing facility on 85 acres in Frankfort's Industrial Park and supplies parts to most of the Japanese transplants, Detroit 3 and the Korean transplants.

Gregg George - NASCO

Gregg is the senior human resources manager at NASCO. NASCO is a leading supplier of coil suspension springs, trunk lid torsion bars and stabilizer links for the automotive industry. Through continuous innovation in process technology and design, we maintain the highest level of manufacturing capabilities to support our customers in the development of advanced solutions in suspension systems.

Wendy Kobler - Kentucky State University 

As the former Vice President for Advancement at Wittenberg University, Wendy transformed the Advancement division and delivered the best fundraising results in more than five years. In FY 2018, her team raised the highest total cash-in, in the universities 173-year history and surpassed the FY 2017 total by 140%. By designing cultivation practices along with powerful donor follow-up, strategic engagement events and retention policies, she has strengthened donor relations, trust, and stewardship. She strengthened each institutions brand, collaborated with the President and Board members, and built a top-performing advancement team. Leveraging her personal brand, Wendy attendspanels, executive board meetings, and professional organizations representing the university and president. She networks with community leaders locally and at globally to further increase the university’s presence and prestige. Wendy began her tenure at Kentucky State University July 2018. She is thrilled to be part of the proud Thorobred community. Wendy loves living in Frankfort, KY. 

Past Chairs and Honorary Board Members

Jim Wiseman - Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing

Jim Wiseman graduated from Vanderbilt University and had a 23-year career at the Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing before he retired. During his career, Jim served as Toyota’s first CCO for North America and North America Vice President. 

Glen Krebs - Wyatt Tarrant & Combs LLP

Glen Krebs is a member of the Firm's Labor & Employment Service Team.  He concentrates his practice in international and immigration law. Some of his work includes appearing on behalf of clients at U.S. embassies in Ghana, China, Japan, Russia, Canada and Bulgaria and represented clients from more than 65 different countries. In addition, he has assisted more than 40 Japanese companies establish their presence in the United States.

Steve Cecil - Green Metals Inc.

Mr. Cecil is originally from Louisville, Kentucky. A graduate of the University of Kentucky in 1979, Steve has been directly involved in Kentucky recycling since 1980. Steve worked at Baker Iron & Metal in Lexington, Kentucky for 21 years prior to beginning his career with Green Metals, Inc. located in Georgetown, Kentucky. Green Metals, Inc. is owned by Toyota Tsusho Corporation (Japan) and Toyota-Tsusho America. Steve currently serves as President of Green Metals, Inc. and is a Board Member of the Kentucky Recyclers Association.

Nancy Fulks - Age International

Nancy Fulks is a native of eastern KY and attended the University of KY where she obtained a degree in accounting.  Following two years as an Assistant Administrator in a nursing home, she began her career in broadcast financial management.  After spending twelve years in North Carolina she returned to KY and in 1993 began working for Age International, Inc. (owner of Blanton's).

Japan/America Society of Kentucky
464 Chenault Rd.
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 209-9630

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