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SOAR: Shaping Our Applachian Region

Public Affairs

Shaping Our Appalachian Region: SOAR Summit 2013

Information about SOAR, including a calendar of upcoming meetings and events, regional success stories, and up-to-date news is available at the SOAR Kentucky website:

SOAR’s mission is to expand job creation, enhance regional opportunity, innovation, and identity,improve the quality of life, and support all those working to achieve these goals in Appalachian Kentucky.

An interview with SOAR Executive Director Jared Arnett on KET’s “One to One with Bill Goodman” is available here.

The second SOAR conference took place on May 11, 2015.
See KET’s video coverage of the day’s events.

Read blog notes of the 2015 SOAR conference proceedings

Monday, Dec. 9, 2013
East Kentucky Expo Center, Pikeville

Gov. Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers hosted a summit with hundreds of citizens from across the region to share ideas about how to move Kentucky’s Appalachian region forward. KET provided all-day coverage of the summit. A one-hour program covering highlights from the conference was produced by KET.

Entire Summit, Part I

The video for the first half of the day-long summit covers the opening remarks on through to the lunch break.

Entire Summit, Part 2

The second half of the day-long summit covers the job creation/retention discussion, reports from the breakout sessions, and closing reflections and statements.

Video segments from the conference are available below. 

Opening General Session: Shaping Our Appalachian Region Welcome and Conference Charge

Governor Steve Beshear

U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers 

Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo

Senate President Rob Stivers

Giving Voice to Appalachian Kentucky’s Future

Panel 1: Youth Leading the Way

Panelists: Andrew Abbott, Morehead State University student body president; Brandon Pennington, Executive Director of Harlan Tourist and Convention Commission; Jennifer Noble, owner Treehouse Café and Bakery in Hazard.

Panel 2: Emerging Regional Innovation

Panelists: Jeff Whitehead, Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program; Ron Daley, Hazard Community and Technical College and the Kentucky Work-Ready Program; Audrey Sniezek of Microsoft

Framing the Regional Challenge and Opportunity

Conference Moderator Chuck Fluharty, President, Rural Policy Research Institute

Innovation Success in Another Mining Region

Joe and Tony Sertich, Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board, Minnesota 

Bill Goodman Interviews

House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Senate President Robert Stivers

Breakout ‘Regional Opportunity’ Discussion: Job Creation and Retention

Panel discussion with comments and questions from the audience

Panelists: Former Gov. Paul Patton of the University of Pikeville; Jared Arnett of the Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce; Larry Hayes of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development; Danny VanHoose of Appalachian Wireless.

Reports from Opportunity Discussions

Reports from breakout sessions on the following topics:

  • Job Creation and Retention
  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Infrastructure
  • Public and Private Investment
  • Tourism (includes Natural Resources, Culture and Arts, Community and Regional Foods)
  • Regional Collaboration and Identity
  • Leadership Development and Youth Engagement
  • Lifelong Learning
  • Health/Biotechnology/Human Services

Legislative Panel Discussion/Reflections

Regional legislators talk about the summit, ideas presented, and the future.

Commitments to One Another and to Our Region

Speakers are Governor Beshear and Congressman Rogers