December 4, 2013By iHigh Staff of News from iHigh.com
The formation of iHigh was proposed by Rick Ford and Tim Campbell to Host Communications CEO Jim Host. Seeing the potential of organizing the high school market around the Internet while incorporating the decades of sports marketing experience the company had developed at the college level, they marshaled support from the company and investors and installed Ford and Campbell as its management. Host later joined the team as CEO of iHigh.com.
W. James Host
Jim Host is serving as Chairman of iHigh.com, a Lexington, Kentucky based Sports Internet Company. He served as Secretary of Commerce for the Commonwealth of Kentucky under Governor Ernie Fletcher for two years, leaving in October 2005. He is the former chairman and CEO of Host Communications, Inc. (“HOST”) which he founded in Lexington Kentucky in 1972. HOST became IMG College, a subsidiary of IMG in 2007.
Host, a University of Kentucky graduate, played professional baseball after receiving one of UK’s first baseball scholarships. He worked with Procter and Gamble in sales and spent the early 1960’s with his own real estate, building and insurance company as well as doing play-by-play for several networks broadcasting UK sports.
In 1967, at age 29, Host became the youngest member of Governor Louie B. Nunn’s cabinet as commissioner of the Department of Public Information and then as commissioner of the Department of Parks. He was the Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor in 1971, but lost in the general election.
Host returned to Lexington in 1972 and opened Jim Host and Associates, which began rapid development in 1974 with two contracts: a basketball and football radio agreement with the University of Kentucky and an executive management relationship with the National Tour Association. Host began a long standing business relationship with the National Collegiate Athletic Association in 1975 and is personally credited with implementing the first collegiate corporate sports marketing program for the NCAA in 1983. HOST handled all radio, publishing, marketing and corporate marketing for the NCAA for over 25 years.
In 1995, Host was named to the Junior Achievement Bluegrass Business Hall of Fame. In 2000, he was named to the University of Kentucky Distinguished Alumni Hall of Honors and the state of Kentucky’s Athletic Hall of Fame. In 2001, he received one of Kentucky’s top civic awards: Kentuckian of the Year from the Chandler Foundation. In 2003, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications. In 2004, Host was named Rural Kentuckian of the Year by the Rural Electric Cooperatives of Kentucky. In 2008, Host received the Spirit of Louisville Award from the Louisville Metro Council for his efforts on behalf of the Louisville Arena project. In 2009, he was the recipient of the University of Louisville Hickman Camp Award, given annually to the individual who has provided special service in support of the University of Louisville Cardinal Athletics. Also, in 2009, Host received the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Chairman’s Cup Award and was named to the University of Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame. Host has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of College Marketers, has been inducted into the Travel Industry of America’s Hall of Leaders, the National Tourism Foundation Hall of Fame and in March 2010, he was part of the “Inaugural Class of Six” as a member of the Champions, Pioneers and Innovators on Sports Business by the Sports Business Journal.
He recently retired as chairman of the Louisville Arena Authority which oversaw the construction and opening of the $238 Million KFC Yum! Center in downtown Louisville. The 14,000 sq. foot lobby of the facility was named Host Hall at the ribbon cutting ceremony in his honor.
In 2011, Host was named the Chairman of the Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement (BEAM), an economic partnership between Louisville and Lexington, by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray. Retiring as Chairman in 2012, he remains a member of the Board.
The Bluegrass Sports Commission honored Host by naming two of its annual awards after him in January 2012. The Jim Host Youth Sports Award will be given annually to a Kentuckian that has achieved great success in coaching, administering, volunteering or otherwise associating with youth and/or high school sports that has had a positive impact on their community and the Commonwealth. The Jim Host Sports Business Award will be given annually to a Kentuckian that has achieved a high level of success in the sports industry and has had a positive impact in the state.
Most recently, Host was one of 10 individuals named to the November 2012 class of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. Other members of the 2012 class include Georgetown's Patrick Ewing, Kansas' Clyde Lovellette, Grambling's Willis Reed, Winston-Salem State's Earl Monroe, and former Kentucky coach Joe B. Hall, along with administrator and broadcaster Joe Dean Sr.
Blake Brickman serves as iHigh.com's Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining the iHigh team, Brickman was an attorney in the Lexington office of the Dinsmore & Shohl law firm. Brickman also served as a law clerk to United States District Court Judge Amul R. Thapar in the Eastern District of Kentucky.
Prior to practicing law, Brickman was the Chief of Staff to United States Senator Jim Bunning in Washington, D.C.
Brickman graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in History and Spanish from Vanderbilt University and received his law degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law.
John R. Farris
Interim Chief Executive Officer
John R. Farris serves as iHigh.com's Interim Chief Executive Officer. He began his career as an economist at the Center for Economics Research at the Research Triangle Institute. Mr. Farris continued his professional career as a senior economics consultant with the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation. From 2006 - 2007, Mr. Farris served as Secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, where he oversaw the collection, investment and distribution of over $8 billion dollars in annual tax revenue. Currently, Mr. Farris also serves as a Professor of Economics and Finance at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky.
Mr. Farris received a full-tuition fellowship to study economics and finance at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, where he was awarded a Master’s Degree in 1999. Before attending Princeton, Mr. Farris studied economics and set-theoretical logic at Centre College from which he graduated, Phi Beta Kappa, attaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Philosophy in 1995. Mr. Farris is also a Series 65 Licensed Registered Investment Advisor.
Chief Financial Officer
David Larson serves as iHigh.com's Chief Financial Officer. Prior to joining the iHigh team, Larson was a Director at Commonwealth Economics, a financial and operational consulting firm based in Lexington, KY. While at Commonwealth Economics, Larson worked closely with companies and management teams across Kentucky and throughout the surrounding region, advising on capital raising processes and providing in-depth financial guidance and analysis to help build new and improve existing businesses.
Prior to joining Commonwealth Economics, Larson served as an analyst at Svoboda Capital Partners, a Chicago-based private equity group with over $250 million under management. While at Svoboda Capital Partners, Larson was heavily involved in all aspects of the investment process, transaction execution, and management of portfolio companies. Larson's experience includes working closely with companies and management teams in the healthcare, value-added distribution, consumer products, business services, technology, and direct mailing industries, among others.
Prior to joining SC, Larson was an analyst at Harris Williams & Co. in Richmond, Virginia, where he advised clients in sell-side mergers and acquisitions. He has extensive experience in investment screening, financial modeling and analysis, performing detailed due-diligence on new investments, financial planning and budgeting, and working closely with management teams to build leading businesses across a variety of industries.
Larson graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Accounting with special attainments in Commerce from Washington and Lee University.
Executive VP for Content and Sales
David Bertram comes to iHigh from IMG College, where he served as Vice President for NCAA Partnerships and National Properties. In his ten years at the company, Bertram worked with numerous high-profile properties, including the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame (NFF), the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), the John R. Wooden Award, the Bowl Championship Series and EA Sports.
Bertram also served as the Executive Director for NCAA Football USA, Inc., a coalition of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), the Collegiate Commissioners Association (CCA), the Football Bowl Association (FBA), the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the National Football Foundation (NFF), that was formed to promote and market intercollegiate football.
Prior to moving to the college sports marketing division, Bertram worked within the events group managing tradeshows, conventions and special events for associations and corporations.
Bertram currently sits on the Boards for NCAA Football USA, Inc., the University of Kentucky Sports Marketing Academy and the Bluegrass State Games; he also serves in an advisory capacity to the Lexington chapter of the American Heart Association.
Bertram earned a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and a Master's degree in Sports Administration from the University of Kentucky. While in graduate school, he served as an intern in the University of Kentucky's Athletic Department.