Board of Commissioners
Mayor Tom Watson
Tom Watson is the former president and co-owner, with his wife, Barbara, of Tom Watson's Prosthetic and Orthotics Labs, Inc. He recently retired after fifty years in the prosthetics industry. Tom studied at the Northwestern University Medical School at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. He entered the field of prosthetics and orthotics in 1972 after a construction accident left him in need of a prosthesis but without resources to procure one.
Tom has served on many local, state and national boards and has spent many years as a paraprofessional football and baseball coach at the high school and collegiate level. He was a founding member of the KFL youth football league, for which he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his work with youth sports. Watson was a recipient of the Owensboro Public School Hall of Achievement Award and was honored by the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Assn. as a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for excellence in prosthetic care for people with limb loss. He currently serves on the Foundation Board for the Owensboro Community and Technical College, the You Decide, Kentucky! (YDK!) Board, as well as the Kentucky League of Cities, Inc. Board of Directors and previously served on the transition team for Attorney General Daniel Cameron.
Watson first served as Mayor of Owensboro from 2005-2008. He was re-elected for a second term in 2016 and is now serving his third term. Tom and his wife Barbara have two sons, David and Jeff Phelps, two daughter-in-laws, Trisha and Krystal, and seven grandchildren.
Mayor Pro Tem Mark Castlen
Mark Castlen is a lifelong resident of Owensboro. He attended Owensboro Catholic High School and graduated from Apollo High School in 1979. After attending Owensboro Junior College of Business, he became a realtor for three years, and is retired after 41 years at United Parcel Service (UPS).
Mark is married to Chris Fisher and has four children; Travis, Courtney, Katie, and Jill. They have eight grandchildren and are parishioners at Precious Blood Catholic Church. Family and community involvement have always been important to Mark.
Mark has served two terms on parish council‘s, coached youth ball teams, and volunteered his time to many important causes around the city. Commissioner Castlen is serving his second term as Owensboro City Commissioner.
Commissioner Sharon NeSmith
Sharon NeSmith moved to Owensboro when her parents returned to Kentucky with the opening of Green River Steel. Her father was an electrician and her mother co-owned a Mr. Jim’s Beauty Salon and taught cosmetology in the vocational system.
Sharon is the General Manager for the Hampton Inn Downtown Waterfront. She previously retired from BellSouth/ATT after a successful career that involved multiple offices in several states.
Sharon holds a Master of Science Degree in Management from Brescia University. She currently serves on the boards of the Owensboro Convention & Visitor’s Bureau and the BBQ & Barrels Festival. Previous community board service includes Telephone Pioneers of America, American Red Cross, American Association of University Women, Owensboro Museum of Science & History, International BBQ Festival and United Way. Sharon is a member of the Leadership Owensboro Class of 2016 and received the President’s Volunteer Service Award- Council on Service and Civic Participation 2009 -2014.
Sharon and her late husband Gene NeSmith, have a blended family with 3 daughters, Kay Thompson (KY), Sandy NeSmith (FL), Sherri NeSmith (KY) and a son, Michael Stewart (FL), along with their spouses and partners and families.
Commissioner Bob Glenn
City Commissioner Bob Glenn rejoins the commission after a two year hiatus. He looks forward to serving the community and moving Owensboro forward.
Bob Glenn is a long-time resident of Owensboro and Daviess County. He is an award winning veteran educator at Owensboro Community College (Professor of Communication/Director of Forensics), a Lay Pastor at Bethlehem UMC, a certified High School sports official, and a tireless advocate for our community. As an educator, Bob has coached the award winning OCTC Speech and Debate team for over three decades.
Bob serves on several community non-profit boards including as chair of the H.L. Neblett Center, and as a member of St. Benedicts Homeless Shelter, Crossroads Women’s Emergency Shelter, Imagination Library of Daviess County, and the Bold Promise Scholarship Committee boards.
Bob served three successful terms as an Owensboro City Commissioner (from 2012-2018). In 2016, he was elected Mayor Pro Tem by earning the most votes among 10 challengers. He is married to Holly, his wife of 30 years, and they have two adult children, Bobby (a Firefighter) and Caitlin (a Nurse). Bob and Holly are longtime members of Settle United Methodist Church.
If you have questions or need help with a city service or issue contact Commissioner Glenn at Robert.Glenn@owensboro.org or (270) 929-7471.
Commissioner Pamela L. Smith-Wright
Pamela LaVerne Smith-Wright was born and raised in Owensboro, the daughter of Ethel and Willie Smith, Jr. Pam grew up on Elm Street and attended Western High School (first through sixth grade), Foust Jr. High School and Owensboro High School, where she was on the first Girls Track team, winning a state championship in her senior year.
As an entrepreneur, Pam owned her own salon for over 30 years, along with Tastefully Yours catering service for over 20 years. Pam was the first African-American to hold the office of President of the Kentucky AmVets Ladies Auxiliary for the state of Kentucky. On her first bid for a seat on the Owensboro Board of Commissioners in 2010, she garnered the most votes in the primary and general elections, making her the first female to hold the office of Mayor Pro Tem. She went on to serve an additional four terms and is currently serving her sixth term as a City Commissioner. Pam is a graduate of Leadership Owensboro and The Kentucky Women’s Leadership Network. She served on the Advisory Board of Cosmetology at KCTCS from 1975 until 2011. Her current leadership roles in the community include: President of the Lady Kentucky Colonels, President of the Owensboro Dance Theatre Board, board member of the Owensboro Museum of Science and History, Owensboro Museum of Fine Art, Senior Community Center of Owensboro-Daviess County, Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Kentucky, Friday After Five, and the Bluegrass Chapter of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels. Additionally, she was an instructor for Community Education and a nurturer for Habitat for Humanity. Pam previously served as a board member of the RiverPark Center, Wesleyan-Shawnee Neighborhood Alliance Chair, past President of the Owensboro Human Relations Commission and the Kentucky Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials, Mayor’s appointee for the Unified Government Task Force, and past board Chair of Hospice of the Ohio Valley. She has served as a board member of The Wendell Foster Campus and Chairperson for the Wendell Foster Campus Human Rights Committee. Pam has been honored as a Kentucky Colonel and received the Owensboro Human Relations Humanitarian Award in 1999. She was the 2011 recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Citizenship Award presented by the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. State Commission in Kentucky. In 2015, she was honored with the Wendell H. Ford Regional Legislative Leadership Award for her service and dedication to working with legislative issues for the citizens of the GRADD region, and in 2016, was inducted into the OHS Hall of Achievement.
Pam and her late husband, Eugene Wright, have two children, Leonard Wright of Richmond, Virginia, Starlene Smith-Wright of Louisville, Kentucky and two wonderful grandchildren, Kennedy and Kaiden Wright of Richmond, Virginia.
City Manager Nate Pagan
Nate Pagan has served as City Manager for the City of Owensboro since June of 2018 after briefly serving as Assistant City Manager. Prior to coming to Owensboro, Nate was City Administrator for the City of Hopkinsville, KY for approximately 5 years and has over 17 years of local government management experience. He has a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a Bachelor of Science from Murray State University. Nate currently serves as a Vice President of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), the first ICMA VP from Kentucky since 1953, is a Past President of the Kentucky City/County Management Association, and is an ICMA credentialed manager. Nate’s wife Michelle is a high school math teacher, and they are parents to two sons, Andrew and Griffin.