Bob’s story, and that of his family, is one that weaves through some of the most consequential events and milestones in the past century of Kentucky political history.

As the grandson of Kentucky Governor Keen Johnson (1939-1943), Bob and his family have been at the center of political life in Kentucky for many years. Twice elected statewide to public office in Kentucky as State Auditor (1988-1992) and Secretary of State (1992-1996), Bob has spent a lifetime shaping public policy. Having also served as a key assistant to Kentucky Governor Julian Carroll (1976-1979), a top aide to the former mayor of Lexington, KY, and as an advisor to former University of Kentucky President Otis Singletary, Bob’s experience in the public sector spans decades and traverses all levels of government.

But some of Bob’s most important work has come as the leading lobbyist of Babbage Cofounder. Cofounder, a name that stems from Bob’s visionary efforts to cofound Leadership Kentucky, launch the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership program in Kentucky, and help initiate the Lexington Dream Factory, is a foremost government relations and corporate strategies firm focused on turning concerns into action and initiatives into results.

Cofounder’s accomplishments have come at the federal, state and local levels, and include landmark events such as the 2004 federal jobs act resulting in a $10.1 billion farm provision, critical legislation affecting technology deployment and tax issues, and advocacy for new laws that have led to health advances in diabetes and cancer.

Bob’s grandfather, Keen Johnson, riding with President Franklin D. Roosevelt

A young Bob with President Clinton in front of Air Force One.

Bob’s mother meeting Eleanor Roosevelt in the White House.

Bob’s grandfather, Keen Johnson, with Presidents JFK and LBJ.

Bob has also been recognized as Kentucky’s “top Frankfort lobbyist” by various media sources including the Lexington Herald-Leader, Louisville Courier-Journal and Huffington Post. He has been one of the state’s “20 most influential” non-elected leaders by the Louisville Courier-Journal and one of the “Top 40 Kentucky Leaders” by The Lane Report, a leading statewide business magazine.

Bob’s equally accomplished wife, Laura, manages Cofounder’s strong philanthropic and charitable efforts on behalf of the firm and our clients. Laura directs Cofounder’s unique advocacy efforts, which help guide non-profits and other enterprises in the effective use of stakeholders and advocates, to win support. A registered nurse with decades of experience in business development, medical practice administration, patient care and advocacy, Cofounder’s perspective and strengths in health-related issues are an extension of Laura’s career in health care and hospital management.

Learn a little bit more about our team here at Cofounder:

Bob Babbage

Bob is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University (journalism and political science) and holds master’s degrees from the University of Kentucky Patterson School of Diplomacy and Lexington Theological Seminary (social ethics). He completed the Harvard University Senior Executive Program.

Joining top state and regional leaders and Kentucky’s prominent congressional delegation, Bob is recognized as the “architect” of the award-winning DC Fly-In, managed by Commerce Lexington. He received a “Washington Influential” honor in 2012.

Bob is a frequent platform and boardroom speaker and workshop facilitator. He is a sought-after political analyst and commentator providing twice-weekly insights on WVLK Radio (Fox) and election coverage analysis for WLEX-TV (NBC).

Julie Babbage

Julie Babbage joined the Cofounder team in 2016. Prior to joining Cofounder, Julie worked as a Business Analyst for Deloitte in the Washington D.C. federal practice. She has also served in a number of internship capacities, ranging from the United States Senate to the U.S. Embassy in London, England.

Julie is a graduate of Vanderbilt University with Honors, studying International Business, Human Development, Philosophy and Spanish.

“Kentucky has always been home and it has long been my goal to work for a leading public affairs firm. To have the chance to do both of those things, alongside my mom and dad no less, is a dream come true.”

Julie interviewing U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Lauren Hogan

Lauren joined Babbage Cofounder full-time in 2017 after interning during the legislative session. As Project Manager for State Affairs, Lauren’s focus is the Kentucky statehouse and all Babbage Cofounder causes in the Commonwealth. A native of Frankfort, her deep knowledge of, and passion for, Kentucky politics stems from her upbringing in the capital city and a family history of involvement.
Lauren received her B.A. from the University of Kentucky in Political Science, with minors in Communications & Writing and Rhetoric & Digital Studies.  While at UK, Hogan interned for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in Washington, D.C., Congressman Andy Barr in Lexington, and the Republican Party of Kentucky office in Frankfort.  Her passion for politics has also led to her work on local, state, and federal campaigns.  During her time at UK, Lauren was also active in the College Republicans organization and Kappa Delta sorority.

Ayten Mirzoyeva

Senior Policy Advisor, Global Affairs

Ayten is VP of Business Development and Partner at Vasconi Architects
International. In this role, she draws on twenty years of business
development experience to manage major industrial projects – such as
hospitals, hotels, and public buildings – in North America, Europe, and
Asia. She actively works with stakeholders across the international
community, including UNESCO, embassies, healthcare ministers, and
foreign dignitaries.

In addition to her expertise in international business and government,
Ayten’s passion for public health makes her a great fit for Babbage
Cofounder. Ayten is very involved in Youth Diabetes Action (YDA) in Hong
Kong. She also works with United International Architects (UIA) in the
Public Health Group, which represents members from 60 countries with an
interest in the planning and design of health facilities.

Working in the intersection of international affairs, marketing, and tourism,
Ayten has served in leadership roles with the Conrad Hilton International
Istanbul; The Pierre New York; Melia Hotels; and Eurostar Hotels, where
she oversaw the opening of 24 hotels and acted as the company’s official
representative in the United States. Having served in many key capacities
throughout the tourism industry, Ayten was appointed by the President of
her home country of Azerbaijan to serve as Vice President of Tourism.

Ayten received her Bachelor of Science in Management and International
Economics at Texas A&M University and her postgraduate degree from the
Oxford University’s School of Management. She is fluent in English,
Russian, Azerbaijanian, Turkish and French.

Willard Adkins

Willard is CFO and Director of Administration for CoFounder. With an MBA and over 20 years of experience in an office environment, Willard’s extensive background in hospitality, customer service, human resources, software development, general computer applications, graphic art and desktop publishing enrich the many and various government relations and business development initiatives undertaken by the Cofounder team.

A native of Pikeville in Eastern Kentucky, Willard was a Governor’s Scholar and attended the University of Kentucky. During his college career, he served as the State President of his fraternity and represented Kentucky at an international council of thirteen countries. He currently serves on the boards of a number of organizations in the Lexington area. Those include the Kentuckians Chorus, the Lexington chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, where Willard has been singing for a number of years.

Doug Alexander

Doug Alexander is a public relations consultant focusing primarily on media relations and communications strategies. He is a former gubernatorial press secretary and private sector corporate communications director. He specializes in written communications, messaging and crisis communications management.

From Owensboro in Western Kentucky, Doug is a graduate of Western Kentucky University (business administration) and holds a master’s degree in public administration from Kentucky State University. Before launching a career in advertising and public relations, Doug was Director of Student Activities and Dean of Men at Transylvania University.

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