Bevin appoints heads of tourism, parks agencies

12/05/2015 06:03 PM

Gov.-elect Matt Bevin has named a former Kentucky Fried Chicken and Yum! Brands executive as secretary of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, Bevin’s transition team announced Saturday in a press release.

Don Parkinson, of Louisville, retired as senior vice president of KFC and Yum! Brands in 2005, beginning his career there in 1980, according to his LinkedIn profile. He’s a board member for the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, serving as interim president from August 2013 until February 2014, the profile shows.

Parkinson, in a statement, said he is “thrilled” to join the upcoming administration.

“I am pleased to have someone with Don’s extensive industry knowledge joining the administration as Tourism, Arts and Heritage Secretary,” Bevin said in a statement. “Tourism and travel is Kentucky’s third largest revenue producing industry, generating $13 billion in economic activity. I’m highly confident in Don’s ability to lead this important effort.”

Bevin also named Donnie Holland, of Cadiz, as the next commissioner of the Department of Parks.

Holland served as general manager of Wabash National Trailer Centers, president of Benson International and general manager of Johnson Controls Inc. prior to the appointment, according to a press release.

He also serves on the Trigg County Board of Education, the Cadiz Rotary Club board and the Western Kentucky Workforce Development Board, the release says, also citing his past experience in promoting Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area and Lake Barkley State Resort Park.

“Kentucky’s Parks system is a treasure with deep reserves of untapped potential,” Bevin said in a statement. “Donnie will be a tremendous ambassador for the Commonwealth as we work to make Kentucky State Parks a premier destination for residents and visitors alike.”

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to work within Kentucky’s tremendous Parks system,” Holland said in a statement. “Kentucky’s beauty is spectacular and I look forward to helping promote Kentucky Parks as a travel destination.

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.


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