Secretary Derrick Ramsey
Secretary Derrick Ramsey has decades of experience working in Kentucky’s
higher education system. He began his career as a Community Relations Officer
at the University of Kentucky before becoming Athletic Director at Kentucky
State University, where he developed the Student Athlete Excellence in
Academics program. Under his leadership,
Kentucky State athletics produced more Presidential Scholars than any other
school department. Secretary Ramsey also served for seven years as the Director
of Athletics for Coppin State University in Baltimore.
Most recently, Ramsey served as the Secretary of the Labor
Cabinet under Gov. Bevin, where he was responsible for administering worker
compensation and workplace standard laws for 1.9 million Kentucky workers and
employers. Ramsey also served as Deputy Secretary of Commerce under former Gov.
Ernie Fletcher, where he managed a $50 million budget and oversaw human
resources for the agency.
As Labor Secretary, Ramsey emphasized workplace safety
education and helped to streamline and modernize the state’s litigation
management system for workers’ claims. Ramsey also revived Kentucky’s
Registered Apprenticeship Program to better recruit and train the next
generation of workers. Over 1,000 Kentucky employers have joined the program,
which offers paid on-the-job training for participants.
Ramsey is also an accomplished athlete and was the first
African-American starting quarterback for the University of Kentucky football
team. His athletic abilities vaulted him to a nine-year career in the NFL,
which included a Super Bowl championship in 1981.
Ramsey resides with his wife in Lexington, Kentucky.
Deputy Secretary Josh Benton
Josh Benton, with more than 14 years of public service focused on strengthening Kentucky’s workforce and building the state’s economy, joins the cabinet as deputy secretary. In this leadership role, Deputy Secretary Benton will oversee the cabinet’s workforce development agencies, programs and activities. Benton will be the primary policy maker for the cabinet’s workforce development strategies, and serve as the liaison to other state agencies to help coordinate and elevate the state’s workforce training efforts.
Prior to this position, Benton served as executive director of workforce development at the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development where he led community development and research efforts, and worked with the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet’s Work Ready Communities program. He also previously served as a project manager for the Bluegrass State Skills Corporation and for the Office of Business Development, and worked in the Kentucky Office of Career and Technical Education.
Before beginning his career in state government, Benton worked for UPS. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Cumberland College and a master’s degree in public administration from Kentucky State University. Benton lives with his family in Frankfort.
Deputy Secretary Mike Nemes
Mike Nemes brings years of business and government experience to his role as cabinet deputy secretary. Nemes will serve alongside Deputy Secretary Josh Benton and act as the cabinet’s legislative and executive liaison.
Prior to this appointment, Nemes served as deputy secretary of the Kentucky Labor Cabinet since 2015. Nemes is also a former state lawmaker who served Kentucky's 38th House District. In this role, he was co-chair of the Labor and Industry Committee serving on the Judiciary and License and Occupation Committees.
Prior to his time in the legislature, Nemes worked private industry for 17 years as a soft drink bottler where he was a Teamster Union Steward. He later bought a bakery distributorship before going into the construction industry as a project coordinator for an insulation company.
He and his wife Angie currently invest in real estate and reside in Bullitt County. They have four children and six grandchildren.