IBMA Appoints Ken White As Next Executive Ditector
The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Board of Directors has selected Ken White to be its next Executive Director beginning on October 2nd, following the completion of IBMA World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Ken White comes to the IBMA with a wealth of experience in bluegrass music and business leadership. Raised on a steady diet of Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley and Tony Rice, Kentucky native, Ken White, fell asleep many childhood nights with an ear next to the family hi-fi. As a result, he cinched the Kentucky State Banjo Championship at age 14. At the University of Louisville Music School, he studied guitar with the late, great jazz icon Jimmy Raney, while continuing to record, perform, and tour with Bluegrass and Americana luminaries in acclaimed venues such as the Grand Ole Opry, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, RockyGrass, Walnut Valley Festival, IBMA World of Bluegrass in Owensboro, KY, and The Station Inn where he spent many nights listening, playing, or helping restock the bar.
Ken has written for and performed with the Louisville Mandolin Orchestra, the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble and the Wichita Symphony Orchestra. Over a lengthy musical career Ken’s multi-instrumental prowess can be heard on many recordings, most recently, a catalog of music he has co-written with his wife, Robin Macy, inspired by the bountiful patch of earth they have called home for 22 years: Bartlett Arboretum, in Belle Plaine, Kansas.
In 2002, he and award-winning designer Nicole Howerton formed Howerton+White, an integrated marketing agency. For over two decades, Ken has led the company’s expansion and ongoing integration of marketing and media platforms. Under his leadership, Howerton+White has become a multimillion-dollar business with more than 40 active clients on the roster.
Ken has played an active role in several community organizations that couple his technological acumen with his passion for music. He has served as president of the Wichita Jazz Festival, serves on the Wichita Symphony Orchestra board, and for 17 years has co-produced a popular seasonal concert series at Bartlett Arboretum. Despite having established roots in Kansas, Ken looks forward to returning to Nashville and its vibrant bluegrass music scene to lead the IBMA.
The IBMA Board of Directors formed a committee led by Dan Boner, IBMA Board Chair, to conduct its extensive search. After receiving interest from a diverse group of over 70 applicants, the committee conducted interviews to present highly qualified finalists for further interviews by the board and staff.
IBMA is an enthusiastic international organization with a diverse and welcoming membership. That was on our minds throughout the interview and selection processes, and Ken demonstrated, very naturally, that he understands the needs and interests of all people who love bluegrass music and work to make it their livelihood – Dan Boner.
Ken White will assume the position currently held by Paul Schiminger, the Interim Executive Director. Schiminger, an IBMA board member, was asked in March to temporarily step back into the role he held for six years before retiring in 2021.
There were a handful of excellent candidates for the role, but Ken’s knowledge of our music and its community, along with his demonstrated business skills, made him stand out. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Ken through the process, and I’m excited to know the IBMA will be in excellent hands going forward – Paul Schiminger, Interim Executive Director.
A vocation that tethers both heart and mind becomes purposeful work. I have loved bluegrass music since I was a small child. My 22-year career as a business owner has defined both technology and marketing strategies. I feel fortunate to have this opportunity to lead IBMA forward, fueled by these two life-long passions – Ken White.
IBMA – the International Bluegrass Music Association – is the non-profit music association that connects, educates, and empowers bluegrass professionals and enthusiasts, honoring tradition and encouraging innovation in the bluegrass community worldwide.