Brooke and Matthew Barzun in Sweden.

Here’s something interesting.

Sources have been sending us copies of a Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government request for proposal.

We know … sounds kinda dry. Until you understand the scope of the project, what’s at stake and who’s involved.

The Fischer Administration is looking for consultants to, in essence, sell the Louisville Vision Plan.

What? You’ve never heard of the Louisville Vision Plan?

Neither had we until we read through 25 pages of RFP boilerplate to get to this: Matthew Barzun and Maria Hampton are heading up an effort to articulate where Louisville should go and how we should get there.

Why is this news? Because Barzun currently is helping this guy Barack Obama raise $1 billion and get reelected President of the United States. So recreating Louisville must be like Barzun’s weekend hobby.

Barzun, you’ll recall, is national finance chairman for Obama for America, the president’s Chicago-based campaign committee. Barzun replaced billionaire Penny Pritzker,  who raised more than $700 million for Obama’s 2008 campaign. Barzun, former U.S. ambassador to Sweden, is married to hometown girl Brooke Brown Barzun, a Brown-Forman heir.

To complete the circle, Barzun was business partners with Ted Smith, Fischer’s director, Department of Economic Growth and Innovation, in MedTrackAlert and other businesses. MedTrackAlert was sold in 2008 to Arlington, Va.-based The HealthCentral Network for an undisclosed amount, but we’re thinking the check read something like, “Pay to the order of Matt Barzun … one gazillion dollars.

Maria Hampton is the Louisville-based vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, which covers this region. (We’re guessing The Mayor is going to be hearing from Rand and Ron Paul about this.)

Our point here being, these are power players. But what’s the vision?

Before we get too far afield, the RFP is for a communications/multi-media consultant who can sell the dream. (This could be you.)

Louisville Vision Plan co-chairpeople Barzun and Hampton apparently will appoint a Advisory Committee to map out that plan. Which would be yet another vision-by-committee, which would be kind of discouraging if Barzun and Smith weren’t on board.

Also, most Louisvillians have forgotten that a similar visioning effort produced the Ross Boyle plan back in 1996. Boyle’s research suggested we build on our strengths, health sciences and distribution. And we have.

The Louisville Vision Plan apparently came out of the mayor’s State of the City speech last January, when Fischer  pointed out how Louisville lost 25,000 jobs during the last decade as thriving neighbors Nashville and Indianapolis added jobs through the Great Recession.

If you couldn’t care less about policy, we’re going to guess the value of this contract could come in at way over $200,000.

This could be huge on many, many levels ….

Section 1- Background

The Louisville Vision Plan is an effort to create a unified vision for improving Louisville and

develop a blueprint for the city’s continued growth and transformation over the next 25 years.

The Vision Plan will help create a strategic framework of major city-wide goals and specific

projects that are the cornerstone of that blueprint. The Vision Plan is structured around a

transparent and interactive process that will involve all citizens of Louisville throughout the

development of the Vision. The Communications/Multi-Media Consultant will support a

professional consulting Design Team developing the overall brand and identity of the visioning

effort and developing the Vision Plan and associated components.


Mayor Greg Fischer and Co-Chairs Matthew Barzun and Maria Hampton, supported by the

Department of Economic Growth and Innovation, intend to appoint an Advisory Committee who

will help provide input into the overall visioning effort. The Committee is made up of

community leaders who represent major stakeholders and key partners from across

metropolitan Louisville and will work with the Design Team throughout the process.


The Louisville Vision Plan is envisioned as a two-phased effort unfolding over approximately 9



Phase I: Developing a Vision (July- October, 2012)


Phase II: Project Definition and Implementation Strategies (October, 2012-March, 2013)

Phase I work includes creating a project communications presence

in the form of a website, social media outreach; and the creation of a strategy and

documentation of “community conversations” involving the public at large. It is envisioned that

the consultant will assist in defining a creative and dynamic outreach strategy for involving

Louisville citizens in a discussion of Louisville’s future and in documenting that input through 

creative multi-media such as video.

This Phase I work by the Communications/Multi-Media

Consultant will parallel in-depth research and analysis by a multi-disciplinary professional Design

Team, who will be developing an overall brand and identity for the Vision Plan, creating graphic

materials, conducting targeted stakeholder interviews and leading public workshops.


Phase II, if authorized, will involve ongoing online and social media support as well as

supporting and documenting the work of the Advisory Committee and anticipated working

groups (“Focus Groups”) that will work with the professional consultants to define catalytic

programs, plans and projects to implement the Vision developed in Phase I.


The Communications/Multi-Media Consultant hired will support Economic Growth & Innovation

and the Design Team by connecting major stakeholders and the public in an approachable,

understandable and interactive process. It is encouraged that the outreach methods used are

creative and user-friendly.

The selected Communications/Multi-Media Consultant is expected to have expertise in the following


Web Design

Website Construction and Maintenance



Public Outreach

Strategic Social Media Campaigns

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Terry Boyd
Terry Boyd has seven years experience as a business/finance journalist, and eight years a military reporter with European Stars and Stripes. As a banking and finance reporter at Business First, Boyd dealt directly with the most influential executives and financiers in Louisville.

4 thoughts on “Obama BFF Matthew Barzun and Maria Hampton heading up the Louisville Vision Plan

  1. As a former MedTrackAlert employee, I wish the check had been that
    generous – for any of us. 2008 was the beginning of the downturn, if you

    I can see the nepotism angle you point out, but having worked with
    Matthew previously, I can say that he really is a vision guy and if
    anyone could sell and/or build out a “vision plan,” it would be him.

  2. As a former MedTrackAlert employee, I wish the check had been that
    generous – for any of us. 2008 was the beginning of the downturn, if you

    I can see the nepotism angle you point out, but having worked with
    Matthew previously, I can say that he really is a vision guy and if
    anyone could sell and/or build out a “vision plan,” it would be him.

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