Alumni Spotlight

Jay Shepherd

By: Whitney E. Copley
November 15, 2012

As Marketing Director of the Pike County Tourism, Convention, and Visitors Bureau, Jay Shepherd makes a living by being submersed in the region’s heritage, history and events. As a result of the History Channel’s highly-acclaimed “Hatfields & McCoys” miniseries and documentary titled “America’s Greatest Feud: The Hatfield and the McCoys” which initially aired in the spring of 2012, Pike County, Ky., has experienced an influx of tourists interested in the feud. In response to increased tourism, Pike County Tourism CVB collaborated with the City of Pikeville and Pikeville Tourism to launch a Hatfield-McCoy marketing campaign.

Shepherd and his colleagues at Pike County Tourism CVB recently brought six Traverse Awards from the Kentucky Travel Industry Association (KTIA) home to Pikeville. The KTIA Traverse Awards are presented to travel professionals for talent, creativity and effectiveness in marketing. Pike County Tourism received two first-place awards for a U.S. 23 Country Music Highway Co-op Ad with Ashland, and a Hillbilly Days rack card brochure. The office received three second-place awards, two of which were for Hatfield-McCoy promotional materials, and the other for the office’s “What in the Sam Hill?” marketing campaign. Pike County Tourism CVB also received an honorable mention for its Bushwhacking on the Russell Fork brochure.

“Everything that I do with my profession is to impact the community in a positive way. The people I work with and our tourism board members share this vision, and work just as hard as I do to make sure that this comes to pass,” said Shepherd.

Although currently working as a marketing professional, Shepherd possesses a varied employment background, which includes working in retail and as a fire and police dispatcher. Shepherd worked as a web designer for three years at SouthEast Telephone where he maintained more than 60 websites. He was also an IT specialist at the University of Pikeville for a brief time before accepting his current position at Pike County Tourism CVB.

Shepherd began his academic career at Mayo Technical College where he obtained an associate’s degree in graphic design. Consequently, he attained an A+ and IT Fundamentals certificate from Big Sandy Community & Technical College. In 2008, Shepherd graduated from the University of Pikeville with a bachelor’s degree in communication. He earned a master’s degree in communication from Morehead State University in 2010.

While enrolled in the master’s program, Shepherd’s outstanding work was recognized. “I was selected to present my graduate research on ecumenical dialogue at the 2010 Kentucky Communication Association Conference,” Shepherd said. He completed his graduate internship with the Girl Scouts of Kentucky’s Wilderness Road where he redesigned their website. “I spent several months after my internship ended assisting them with updates for the website,” he said. “My internship led to becoming a nominee for Intern of the Year Award at Morehead State University in 2010 and winning a Girl Scouts of Kentucky's Wilderness Road Community Service Award in 2012,” Shepherd said.

In his spare time, Shepherd enjoys working with the Blessed Unity of God (BUG) ministry on UPIKE’s campus. Shepherd’s wife, Shena Shepherd, started the ministry with her friends when she attended the university. He explained, “I've had ups and downs, challenges and setbacks, but I trust in God to see me through. My goal in life is to see people's lives changed by God’s grace.”

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