Endeavor’s regional office based in Louisville announced the additions of Joe Kelley, President & CEO at Kelley Construction, and Endeavor Entrepreneur Brian Brackeen, General Partner at Lightship Capital, to the Board of Directors. Joe and Brian will support Endeavor working with entrepreneurs across Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio.
“We are thrilled to have these entrepreneurial and business powerhouses join our board,” said Endeavor Managing Director, Jackson Andrews. “Both Kelley and Brackeen bring with them a wealth of business acumen and experience in their industries, especially in our Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio region.”
About Joe Kelley
Joseph Kelley, Jr. (Joe) has served as the President and CEO of Kelley Construction, Inc. since 1995. After having joined the company in 1981, Joe worked his way up in the field for the next 14 years before stepping into the role of Project Manager, Senior Vice President and ultimately President and CEO. He succeeded his father, Joe, Sr., who founded Kelley Construction in 1978 and has been leading the company ever since. As one of his many leadership strengths, Joe’s ability to see the “big picture” is a driving force for the strategy, direction, and future of Kelley Construction. He has nurtured the company from a local niche contractor into the national firm it is today. Kelley Construction is licensed in 49 states, with a focus on four divisions: healthcare, commercial, food service, and industrial markets. The company operates as a Construction Manager and a General contractor.
“As a new member of the Endeavor board, I’m excited to join such an esteemed group of individuals that have the commitment and passion to give back to the entrepreneurs that will help better our communities, create jobs, and will perpetuate the mission of Endeavor,” said Joe. “I look forward to, hopefully, helping others achieve success and grow myself along the way.”
A native Louisvillian, Joe has been a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO-WPO) since 1999. He is a founding member, past chairman and current board member of the Louisville Metro Police Foundation, and has been involved with various construction related associations and boards throughout his career.
About Brian Brackeen
Brian Brackeen is a General Partner at Lightship Capital, the Cincinnati-based VC firm dedicated to backing underrepresented entrepreneurs in the Midwest. As General Partner, Brian oversees fund operations, leads the AI development team, and serves on the investment committee.
Prior to Lightship, Brian founded the Miami-based face recognition innovator, Kairos. His leadership saw the company selected by Wall Street Journal as one of the top 25 startups in the country and positioned Kairos alongside tech giants like Microsoft and Face++ as one of the world’s foremost face recognition software providers. Brian’s work with Kairos also led to his selection as the 1000th Endeavor Entrepreneur at the Miami ISP in 2014. Kairos has processed nearly a billion faces and has raised more than 15 million dollars from investors. Under Brian’s leadership, Kairos took a strong stand against the government use of facial recognition and worked hard to eliminate racial bias in its datasets.
Prior to founding Kairos, Brian served as a Senior Project Manager for Apple Inc. and as Senior Managing Consultant at IBM.
“This spirit, this entrepreneurial, go get it attitude, it doesn’t go away,” said Brian. “Sometimes we lack support, mentorship and capital in these regions to create that kind of success. So one of the things I’d like to bring to the board is how we can continue to grow that engine of innovation, with kindness, tolerance and thoughtfulness.”
In addition to his work at Lightship, Brian lectures extensively around the world on entrepreneurship, code, the digital economy, AI and machine learning — and participates in mentorship programs for organizations like Girls Who Code, Black Girls Code and The School District of Miami.
“Part of Endeavor’s mission continues to be providing a path to success through community building, and we are eager to see that promise continue for our entrepreneurs with the addition of Kelley and Brackeen to our board,” said Jackson.
Endeavor is a 22 year-old organization that is leading the global movement to drive long-term economic growth by selecting, mentoring, and accelerating the best high-impact entrepreneurs around the world. Founded in 1997 by Linda Rottenberg and Peter Kellner, Endeavor has helped more than 2,000 of these entrepreneurs build more than 1,200 companies across 35+ markets, which generated combined revenues of $24 billion in 2019. To date, companies led by Endeavor Entrepreneurs have created 4 million jobs, and often go on to mentor and invest in the next generation of founders or serve on the boards of Endeavor offices. In 2015, an Endeavor office was launched in Louisville, Kentucky as one of the first in the U.S. Through our regional office, we have selected 18 entrepreneurs across Kentucky, Indiana, & Ohio.