You might say Mill Springs Battlefield Association Executive Director Stephen B. McKinney was tailor-made for his newest job.
The Alabama native has been in the position for around seven weeks now, and he’s intent on aggressively pursuing national park status for the battlefield, along with drawing in more tourists in an effort to make the park a more educational experience.
“It (the position of MSBA executive director) fit many of the things I was looking for in a position,” said McKinney. “I’ve been very interested in history preservation and conservation and historic easements.”
“Interested” can be taken to a whole new level in McKinney’s case. McKinney, who has worked in private consultation for both profit and non-profit organizations for more than 20 years, has experience in advertising, marketing, public relations, fundraising, and client relationship management.
McKinney received his undergraduate degree from Auburn University, and from there he pursued his master’s degree in public administration from Auburn University-Montgomery.
But he didn’t stop there. McKinney — who has been intensely interested in Civil War history since his childhood days, when he had abundant access to the Alabama state archives thanks to his grandmother’s employment there — also has a master’s degree in military history from American Military University.
McKinney’s master’s thesis was titled “Confederate Defeat: A Failure of Strategy and Tactics?” and it has been published.
“I’ve had a lot of opportunities,” McKinney said. “I’ve been really blessed.”
This Saturday, McKinney will give his first speech as MSBA executive director during the 151st anniversary ceremony of the Battle of Mill Springs. The battle occurred on January 19, 1862 in Pulaski and Wayne counties. It was the second-bloodiest battle in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and more significantly, the battle was the first major victory for the Union Army in the Civil War and represented a major breach in the Confederate State’s “Western Defense.”