The Department of Communication Alumni of the Year: Kay Coomes, M.A.

kay coomesIn recognition of her career achievements and service on the Communication Advisory Council, Ms. Kay Coomes, M.A., has been awarded the 2015 Alumnus of the Year on behalf of the of Department of Communication at Western Kentucky University (WKU). An accounting graduate of Kentucky Wesleyan College, Ms. Coomes received a job at Atmos Energy in 1986 as a marketing analyst where she crunched data and numbers for two years. Needing a change, she went back to WKU to work towards a Masters in Communication. After receiving her Masters degree, she began managing the Public Affairs Department of Atmos Energy in Owensboro, KY.

Ms. Coomes credits the Department of Communication for helping her professional career, “My communication experience prepared in every way, from how to prepare for presentations to how to handle a corporate crisis or dealing with public officials.” Ms. Coomes claims that the most important advice she received in her professional career was to be flexible for anything. “In this world, things change so quickly and you must be nimble enough to move in that direction and learn quickly. It is a constant challenge.”

Like many members of the Department of Communication, Kay is active in her community. Ms. Coomes is very involved in children activities and community work with United Way in the Ohio Valley region. Also she gives her time to the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association. Currently she serves the American Red Cross, Owensboro Community Technical College and Owensboro Health as a member of their foundation boards. She is also a graduate of the Leadership Kentucky Program.

Most recently Ms. Coomes, as the Public Affairs representative for Atmos, spoke to the media about how a rooftop-heating unit was to blame for an hour-long evacuation at Wal-Mart on February 27, 2015 She addressed the reason for the incident as faulty equipment.

When asked the best professional advice you can give to a recent college graduate, she came up with this: “Never stop learning and be as ready as much as you can for anything, as it has served me well. On behalf of the Department of Communication, we would like to congratulate Ms. Kay Coomes, M.A., as the 2015 Alumni of the Year!



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