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Business Development Manager at Conexon Leslye Krampe – Helping Rural America Connect to Broadband Internet

The Hancock Clarion reported the announcement by Kenergy in August of 2022 of their partnership with internet service provider Conexon Connect (CC) to bring world-class broadband to rural areas across the state, delivering high-speed internet access to homes and businesses across 14 counties: Hancock, Daviess, Henderson, Hopkins, Ohio, Webster, McLean, Crittenden, Union, Lyon, Caldwell, Livingston, Muhlenberg and Breckinridge.

This is the first time ever for fiber internet to be available to Kentuckians in rural areas and Leslye Krampe, Business Development Manager at Conexon, played a key role in making it possible.

Leslye said she is very passionate about broadband internet and helping rural America get connected. “That’s why I chose to work at Conexon,” she said. “That is a passion of mine. I was thankful, through the Kenergy project, to find that passion and help others.”

She has served on several different local economic development boards such as Henderson Economic Development, Lake Barkley Partnership and the Hancock County Industrial Foundation. “My role through Kenergy on the Hancock County Industrial Foundation was my first interaction with anyone from Hancock County,” she said.

“Most people that I have worked with in Hancock County are wonderful, wonderful people. I’m proud to call many of them friends and colleagues. Judge Roberts and Mike Baker are wonderful stewards of the county and community. Steve Canepari and Richard Basham – all of those people that I’ve met from there are just wonderful people that love their community and want to see it grow.”

She was an active member of the Hancock County Industrial Foundation Board for several years starting when her boss at Kenergy, David Hamilton, retired in 2017. “I contributed to Kenergy’s project to Hancock County because they kept asking, ‘Why can’t Kenergy be a broadband provider since they serve most of the county?’ So if it weren’t for Hancock County, the project probably wouldn’t be happening,” she said.

“The Kenergy project for broadband, that was a huge undertaking to figure out how Kenergy could be a provider for Hancock County and the other counties as well. We had to change the state laws in order to be able to do that. The state laws were that you can’t get into any other business besides providing electricity so it took a lot of work to get us to this point – a lot of work behind the scenes.”

For over 4 years, she was Accounts and Economic Development Specialist for Kenergy taking care of large industrial customers and Kenergy members such as Domtar, Kimberly-Clark and Aleris. She was the point person if they had any issues or needed help related to their electricity bill, as well as helping existing industries grow and helping locate new industries into our area.

Leslye received national recognition for choosing to earn her Certified Key Accounts Executive (CKAE) offered by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).

She transitioned into a new position working on economic development for Big Rivers and the 3 distribution cooperatives, including Kenergy, for 2 years and then began as Business Development Manager at Conexon in January of this year. Leslye is now working with counties and electric cooperatives to help bring fiber to the home in rural communities across the United States.

“It’s great to be able to travel around and work with other communities in rural areas that have similar needs for fiber infrastructure,” she said. “It’s very challenging in rural America to get connected but I think Conexon has an awesome solution if the electric cooperatives are interested in working with the company and partnering with the company.”

She works out of her home in Henderson and travels about 50 percent of the time all over rural America. “It allows me to use my knowledge on the electric side to be able to communicate with co-op leaders and other community members about how the electric co-op and the fiber infrastructure can benefit the electric co-op,” she said. “When I was working at Big Rivers, I didn’t work on the Kenergy broadband project, I was more focused on economic development and the sites and building. Now this brings me back, indirectly, involved but on the other side of the Kenergy project.”

Since she’s been with Conexon, she has traveled to Kansas City, Missouri; Jacksonville, Florida; Jefferson City, Missouri and Frankfort, KY, in less than one month. She is also still involved, on a daily basis, with the Kenergy Conexon broadband project that will serve Hancock and 13 other rural counties and will be providing a new update soon so look for that article in an upcoming Clarion edition.

“I work with the counties and communities educating them about Conexon’s different business models to help the electric cooperative,” she said, “and also trying to keep up with the different state funding programs. All the government money is funneling down through the states – ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act), BEAD (Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment) and IIJA (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) – just keeping up with all of those opportunities for electric co-ops.”

Leslye grew up in Sturgis, Kentucky. She started her first job at 14-years-old at the local pizza place there, Sam’s Pizza. Her parents are Brian & Kelli Dalton. She has two older brothers, Eric and Chris Dalton. Growing up, she said she and her brothers had fun playing on the Tradewater River.

She graduated from Union County High School in 2001 and lived at home with her parents while attending Henderson County Community College for her first two years. She then attended Murray State University at the Henderson campus and earned her Bachelor’s in Business Administration. She worked for several different banks while attending college and after graduation in the positions of: Vice President Facilities, Credit Analyst and Customer Service Manager.

She and her husband, Tony, have been married for almost 12 years. He is Vice President of Corporate Lending at Independence Bank in Owensboro. They are blessed with one son, August, who is 10. “I also have 3 bonus daughters,” Leslye said, “Sophia is 20, Madison is 26 and Kynedi is 28.” Kynedi and her husband, Alex Holder, are blessed with one daughter, Ellie, and are expecting another baby girl in March.

Leslye Krampe with her family

“When we’re not at a sporting event for my son or spending time with our family we like to go to Lake Barkley and go boating,” she said. They also enjoy traveling to Destin, Florida with the family in the fall.

“Never let your emotions overrule your common sense,” Leslye said is the valuable advice her dad gave her that has been very helpful in life. “It’s true in just about every situation,” she said. “I didn’t think he was right until I was much older.”

Leslye said of her close relationship with her mom, “She’s the best. She’s my best friend and she is a wonderful mother and nurse.”

Her favorite quote is by Mother Teresa: “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” And one of her favorite scriptures is Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” She said, “My grandfather, before he died, said that when I walked into a room I would light it up and to let my light shine.”

By Jennifer Wimmer

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