Joe Graviss Representative with Debbie.j



Joe Graviss is a former Owner\Operator, retiring in late 2017, of nine McDonald’s Restaurants in Lexington, Frankfort, Versailles, and Midway, Kentucky with over 600 employees in total. His Bachelor of Hamburgerology came in 1989 where he made the Dean’s List, received the Team Leader award and a rare addendum to graduate transcripts from the professors at McDonald’s Hamburger University. Joe’s 9 restaurants operated well within the top 20% in the Country as determined by the McDonald’s Corporation. 

Joe graduated Summa Cum Laude from Transylvania University in 1986 with majors in Accounting and Business Administration and minors in Political Science and History. He is a graduate of the Leadership Central Kentucky program given by the Lexington Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Graviss taught The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People program as well as the time management curriculum What Matters Most within his organization.  In 1997 he was chosen from over 14,000 other facilitators worldwide to be among the 5 recipients of the prestigious Franklin Covey “Facilitator of the Year” award. His many awards over the years include the Bluegrass Council of the Boy Scouts Distinguished Citizen of the Year in 2011 and their highest honor, the “North Star” Award in 2013, induction into the Woodford County School System’s Hall of Fame in 2016, and the Legacy Award from the Woodford County Chamber of Commerce in 2017.

Mr. Graviss serves on the Nursing Home Ombudsman Association of the Bluegrass board, and the executive committees of the Woodford County and Kentucky Democratic Party, Woodford Tomorrow, the Bluegrass Bike Hike Horseback and Water Trails Alliance, and formerly served on the Kentucky Resources Council board, The Bluegrass Community Foundation board, and Woodford County Community Foundation. He is a former Certified Public Accountant and has formally served on the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education as vice-chair, Transylvania University Board of Regents, and Midway College Board of Trustees among others. 

His wife of over 30 years, Debbie Graviss, was a long-time board member and President of the Woodford Humane Society where the board re-named their “Humane—itarian” of the Year award the “Debbie P. Graviss “Humane—itarian” of the Year” award in her honor. She continues her service on their Advisory Board. Debbie is an artist and designer who operates a fine art, graphic design and greeting card business from her studio in Midway, Kentucky. Joe and Debbie live on a small farm between Frankfort and Versailles with a couple of bicycles, his golf clubs, fishing poles, and their cat Pixie.   

Boards and Commissions

The following is a list of activities, membership, and involvement in and around the communities currently or formerly serving in and supporting:

  • Member, Kentucky House of Representatives 56th District

  • Member, House Standing Committee on Agriculture

  • Member, Budget Review Subcommittee on General Government, Finance, Personnel, and Public Retirement

  • Member, House Standing Committee on Local Government

  • Member, House Standing Committee on State Government

  • Member, Public Pension Oversight Board

  • Member Woodford, Franklin, Anderson, Owen and Gallatin Counties Chamber of Commerce

  • Woodford Tomorrow board member

  • Woodford County Democratic Executive Committee

  • Kentucky Democratic Party State Central Executive Committee

  • Kentucky Democratic Party State Central Executive Committee—Strategic Planning Team chair

  • Board member Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency of the Bluegrass

  • Bluegrass Bike, Hike, Horseback and Water Trails Alliance founding member

Joe Graviss Community Involvement over the years:

  • Bluegrass Community Foundation board member

  • Kentucky Resources Council—finance chair

  • Kentucky Resources Council—vice-chair

  • Woodford County Community Fund---Founder and Vice-Chair

  • Kentucky Society of Certified Public Accountants

  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

  • Certified Public Accountant (1988-2017)

  • Member Fayette, Woodford, Franklin Counties Chamber of Commerce

  • President and founder Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities of Central and Southeastern Kentucky

  • President & Vice-president McDonald’s of Central & Southeastern Kentucky Co-op

  • Member Ad Committee McDonald’s of Central and Southeastern Kentucky Co-op

  • Vice-chair Employer of Opportunity committee McDonald’s of Central & Southeastern KY

  • Chair McDonald’s of Kentucky Workers Compensation self-insurance fund committee

  • Chair McDonald’s of Central and Southeastern Kentucky People Team

  • Regional McDonald’s Operators Advisory Board Secretary\Treasurer

  • Regional McDonald’s Quality Design Team charter member

  • Regional McDonald’s Execution Gap Team charter member

  • Elected to McDonald’s Divisional Leadership Council representing the Ohio Region (over 175 Franchisees with 700 plus restaurants)

  • Elected to McDonald’s National Leadership Council representing the Ohio Region (over 175 Franchisees with 700 plus restaurants)

  • McDonald’s National Leadership Council System Economics Team

  • McDonald’s National Leadership Council Service Team

  • McDonald’s National Leadership Council Web Site Enhancement Team

  • Business liaison for Bishop J. Kendrick Williams’ Annual Appeal (worked closely and personally with the Bishop for fund raising for the Diocese of Lexington.)

  • Diocese of Lexington Annual Golf Committee

  • Chair Diocese of Lexington Development Director Search Committee

  • Fundraising Committee St. Leo’s Church Re-building the Tradition

  • Equifestival of Kentucky founding sponsor and Board member

  • Secretary\Treasurer Woodford County Chamber of Commerce

  • On air Presenter Kentucky Educational Television (KET) Telefund

  • Actively involved in the partnership with KET to start “McDonald’s and Coca-Cola present the KET Telefund”

  • Work with KET to help people get their G.E.D.’s

  • Work with Kentucky Adult Education to promote increased GED’s

  • On air Presenter Cardinal Hill Hospital Telethon

  • Certified reading tutor

  • Appointed to Woodford County Solid Waste Committee

  • Secretary\Treasurer Woodford County River Association (non-profit organization designed to promote environmental awareness of pollution and has clean-up days around the river bordering our County)

  • Woodford County American Red Cross Board member and Treasurer

  • Treasurer Woodford County Chamber of Commerce

  • Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Governmental Affairs committee member

  • Literacy Link Project Task Force at KET

  • Columbus Region Leadership Team member

  • One of five winners of the 1997 Franklin Covey Facilitator of the Year awards from 14,000 worldwide candidates

  • Board member Woodford County Theatrical Arts Association

  • Board member for Bluegrass Partnership Initiative

  • Board member for Lexington Area Sports Authority

  • Woodford County Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year award for 1999

  • Co-chair Woodford County Planning Task Force--won 1st place Certified Cities Innovation Award

  • Founder and member of the Woodford County Principle-Centered Community Initiative

  • Inaugural participant Leadership Central Kentucky.

  • Received Exemplary Service award from Woodford County Government May 2000

  • Received Key to City award from Versailles City Council June 2000

  • Received Key to City award from City of Midway Kentucky December 2014

  • Appointed by Governor Patton to the Kentucky Smart Growth Task Force

  • Appointed by Governor Patton to the Kentucky Progress Commission

  • Chair Bluegrass Tomorrow, Inc.

  • Bluegrass Tomorrow President’s Award in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007

  • Bluegrass Tomorrow Abercrombie Award in 2008

  • Former Chairman and Vice-Chairman Woodford County Economic Development Authority

  • Business Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

  • State Senate Candidate in Kentucky’s 7th Senatorial District 2004

  • State Finance Co-Chair Dr. Daniel Mongiardo for U.S. Senate race 2004

  • Led the Kentucky Adult Education and McDonald’s tray liner GED enrollment program

  • Named Learning for Life Champion by Kentucky Adult Education 2005

  • Named Benefactor of the Year by KY Community and Technical College System 2006

  • Woodford Humane Society “Humane—itarian” of the Year Award 2007

  • Involved in helping elect Steve Beshear Governor in 2007 and 2011

  • First Day Officer for Governor Beshear 2007

  • Downtown Lexington Corporation Urban Innovation Award 2008

  • International Association of Fundraising Professionals Bluegrass Chapter Distinguished Philanthropist Award 2009

  • Treasurer for Dr. Daniel Mongiardo for United States Senate 2010

  • Republic Bank “We Care Award” Finalist 2010, 2011

  • Advisory Board Woodford County Community Education

  • Bluegrass Community Foundation Board of Directors

  • Bluegrass Community Foundation Executive Committee

  • Chair Bluegrass Community Foundation Grants Committee Midway College Board of Trustees and Executive Committee

  • Chair Midway College Finance Committee

  • Co-Chair Midway College Pharmacy School Task Force

  • Transylvania University Board of Regents

  • Bluegrass Council Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award 2011

  • Bluegrass Council Boy Scouts of America “North Star” Award 2012

  • Change for Kentucky—Frankfort

  • Advisory Board Central Kentucky Riding for Hope

  • South Limestone Business Owners Association

  • Envision Franklin County (helped rewrite parking regulations 2012)

  • Appointed by Governor Beshear to Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

  • Appointed to Kentucky Council on Post-Secondary Education Executive Committee

  • Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education Vice-Chair

  • Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education budget chair

  • Kentucky Governance Board for the Lung Cancer Research Project

  • Kentucky State University Tradition of John Henry Jackson Service Award 2013

  • Co-chair Woodford Forward

  • Woodford County Schools Volunteer of the Year award 2015

  • Woodford County Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year award 2015

  • Bluegrass Cycling Club Ambassador of the Year award 2015

  • Woodford County Democrat of the Year 2016

  • Woodford County Schools Hall of Fame 2016

  • Kentucky Century Cycling Challenge supporter award 2017

  • Woodford County Chamber of Commerce Legacy Award 2017

  • KASAP and KCADV “Champions for Justice” award 2019

  • Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police Outstanding Legislative Service Award 2020

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