Our Mission - Anchored in a Great Legacy

McKinney Speakers is a trusted source for professional speakers, trainers and entertainers across the world. What began as the booking office for an up-and-coming Southern humorist named Grady Nutt has evolved to be a full-service speakers bureau committed to ensuring quality presentations at corporate, associational, government and church gatherings worldwide. We have not abandoned the values and mission of Grady Nutt or Michael McKinney (founder of McKinney Associates): treat everyone like your neighbor, be even-handed with recommending the best speakers or entertainers for your meeting or event, and offer the best service possible in an efficient manner. We listen to your goals and help you achieve your winning outcomes, all with the friendly, "front-porch" way that has been the McKinney hallmark.

Our History

In 1969, Michael McKinney, then an assistant to nationally respected newspaper magnate Barry Bingham Sr. in Louisville, accepted the invitation by Grady Nutt to be his booking contact. Their relationship and the ensuing success of this preacher-cum-comedian launched a perfect environment for developing the early careers of speaking greats such as Scott McKain, Liz Curtis Higgs and Carl Hurley. Over the past several decades McKinney has represented authors Keith Miller and Robert Benson, singer Cynthia Clawson, the great Minnie Pearl, and a longstanding stable of speakers who have become our best resources and closest friends, including Bryan Townsend, CPAE and Cavett Award-winner Jeanne Robertson, CPAE.

Since Grady's untimely death in 1982, we have been the home office for "America's Funniest Professor" Carl Hurley, Ed.D. Carl has become an icon for humorists and motivational speakers, elected into the Speakers Hall of Fame, and played on the XM/Sirius radio satellites and in households across the world with his 15 comedy recordings in circulation.

In February 2009, McKinney Associates Speakers Bureau officially became McKinney Speakers under the new ownership of Jim Rittenhouse, principal agent and director of the bureau for more than 6 years.

About Our President

Jim Rittenhouse has worked as production coordinator and booking agent for Dr. Hurley since 1993, and has directed bureau operations since 2002 when Janet Rittenhouse, his wife and mentor in the industry, left to pursue her career in social work and counseling. Jim Rittenhouse has been a member of the KY Bluegrass Chapter of Meeting Professionals International since 2003, and has been awarded the Rising Star Award, Gene Metzler Supplier of the Year Award, and in 2009, the President’s Award for exemplary leadership. He serves as the Chapter’s current President. Jim has also been active in the International Association of Speakers Bureaus as a past coordinator of the Speaker Showcase and on its Award Committee, receiving the Above and Beyond Award in 2007.

Today, McKinney Speakers is poised to meet the needs of a growing clientele in the region, and across the globe. We understand that the bottomline of any organization is its capacities to inspire, motivate and engage its stakeholders. McKinney Speakers can be a part of your team that creates that engagement – and delivers exemplary service.

Not Just Talk. Impact!


Tennessee Valley Authority

"McKinney Speakers has quickly spoiled us."

KY Rural Water Association

Bobbie Shanahan

"As always, it's a pleasure to have you do all the hard work for us!"

Cardinal Hill Healthcare

Dena Sherman

"Jim Rittenhouse was great to work with - very accomodating and a very nice person. I appreciate his quick responses."