Ross Patten (maroon shirt) listens during the Eastern Corridor cookout & conversation event last fall.
Key economic development official Patten
leaving the City for overseas adventure
COVINGTON, Ky. – Even if you haven’t met Ross Patten personally, odds are you see evidence of his work every day throughout Covington.
New small business in your neighborhood? Patten likely played a role in making it a reality. Updated storefront or façade on a nearby building? That’s his work too. A gathering at a City park where neighbors gathered to share their vision for the neighborhood? Patten was there to listen.
As assistant director of Covington’s Economic Development team, Patten has made a visible difference in the City’s landscape.
“Maybe only once or twice in your career you have the opportunity to work with someone whose passion for their work is matched by their technical skills and their knowledge,” said Covington Economic Development Director Tom West. “Ross is one of those people and I feel very fortunate to have had him in the department as a manager and later, assistant director. Businesses, developers, residents, and community leaders have all benefitted from Ross’s expertise and creativity.”
That’s why Patten will be missed when he leaves the position on March 10. He’ll miss The Cov too.
“The projects I’ve been part of here have been more meaningful than in other places where I worked,” Patten said. “Covington is more grassroots. Here, you can see a project from conception to all the way through. It might take three years but you’re like, ‘that did make a difference.’ That’s cool.”
Patten is setting out on something he’d set his sights on way back in high school: cycling through France.
The seed for the journey was planted when he read a 2010 magazine article in The Atlantic about two friends who cycled through rural France. They stayed at bed and breakfasts and biked all day, immersing themselves in the country and its culture.
“For me, there’s always been this desire to push myself out of my comfort zone, so I’m going by myself,” Patten said. “Cycling is something I’ve done many times and I want to see different cultures and stretch myself. It’s all about what life throws at me. I’m petrified and I’m pumped.”
Patten came to the City of Covington in 2016. During his six-year tenure, his acuity of the most salient challenges of economic development, his ability to find solutions, and his vision, were at the marrow of his success.
“I like urban economic development because it comes with its own challenges and, at the end of the day, is harder than suburban challenges,” Patten said. “It’s way more meaningful because it has a lot more diversity in every sense of the word, particularly in Covington where you’re trying to deal with a lot of socioeconomic diversity of all sorts.
If he couldn’t fix something, Patten said, he wanted to at least try to “move the needle forward.”
Patten’s philosophy showed itself in a number of the City’s ongoing initiatives, West said.
“He was the creative driver behind the department’s current focus on helping the neighborhoods of the Eastern Corridor benefit from the rest of Covington’s economic success,” West said, adding that Patten has raised the bar for the next person who fills the position.
“While we might find someone who can take on his roles like underwriting development deals or administering the small business program, finding someone who has his passion for our mission and love of Covington will be difficult,” West said. “He has laid a solid foundation for the person who will follow him and set the bar very high as well.”
West said the entire team wishes Patten the best on his next adventure.
“We’re a little jealous and we’ll miss his contributions and sassy (in the best way) attitude,” West said.
The City is accepting applications for Patten’s position. The link to the opening can be found HERE.
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