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Lisa and Norm Desmarais to be honored with Covington Award at annual ‘Friends’ dinner this week

Two of Covington’s most prominent leaders will be honored May 16 with the Covington Award at the annual dinner of the Friends of Covington.

Since they moved to Covington from New England about 25 years ago, Lisa and Norm Desmarais have distinguished themselves through a long list of accomplishments in Covington and throughout the region.

They will be the 34th and 35th recipients – and the fourth couple – to be honored with an award that recognizes people who have devoted their time, energy and financial resources to making Covington a better place to live, work and play, according to John Niland, the president of the organization.

“Selecting Lisa and Norm as the award winners for this year was an easy decision for our board,” Niland said. “If you look at all that they have accomplishments in a relatively brief period of time, it’s fair to say that they are two of the most worthy people who have ever been recognized by the organization.

“They have made a difference as business people, as public servants, as residents and as volunteers,” he said.

Lisa Desmarais

Over the years, the Friends of Covington, which was created in 1987, has honored a long list of people who have played critical roles in improving the city. Previous winners include Ralph V. Haile Jr., a banker who led an effort to revitalize the downtown business district; Bishop William A. Hughes; real estate developer Bill Butler; downtown business and real estate owners Jim and Donna Salyers; Jeanne Schroer, president and CEO of the Catalytic Development of Northern Kentucky, and Emily Wolff and Paul Weckman, real estate rehabbers and restaurateurs in MainStrasse.

Lisa and Norm moved to Northern Kentucky in 1993 when Lisa was selected by Fidelity Investments, one of the largest investment firms in the country, to become a member of the “Build Team” when the company made the decision to develop a new office complex at the south end of Covington. Fidelity is one of the city’s largest employers on a 188-acre corporate “campus.”

After leaving Fidelity, Lisa worked in the non-profit sector for 12 years before taking a job with the City of Covington, where she was the finance and operations director until the latter part of 2016, when she left to take a job as the director of information technology for Kenton County.

She is a member of the board of Covington Partners, an organization that works with the public schools in Covington, and the board of regents of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, which oversees 16 community colleges in the state. 

Norm Desmarais

Norm Desmarais is one of the three founders of TiER1 Performance Solutions, which is now headquartered in the RiverCenter office complex that overlooks the Ohio River.

The company had modest roots in 2002 in the Madison E-Zone, where high-tech startups got office space and a chance to network with other entrepreneurs in a tech incubator. TiER1 says its primary business is to create software that is designed to increase the efficiency of employees and the overall efficiency of the company.

Clients have included Wendy’s, FedEx, Fidelity Investments, Nationwide Insurance, Macy’s and Kroger’s. The company has about 250 employees and offices in nine cities.

Besides his leadership role at the company, Desmarais chaired “Covington 200” in 2015, a bicentennial celebration that included special events throughout the year. He is a member of the board of regents of Northern Kentucky University and the Gateway Community and Technical College Foundation board. He also chairs the Northern Kentucky Entrepreneurship Council.

Tickets for the dinner, which begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m. at The Madison in Covington, are $60 per person and may be purchased at the door, by visiting the website or through the mail from Sue Corken, 632 Point Benton, Point Benton, Covington, 41014.

Friends of Covington

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