Registration open for 2018 SOAR Summit

Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR) will host its 2018 Summit on August 30-31 at the East Kentucky Expo Center in Pikeville, Ky.  The theme of this year’s Summit is “There is a future in Appalachia.”

The two-day event will feature some new additions, including a special leadership pre-summit session on Thursday, August 30.  The session will include a keynote presentation with specialized tracks in health and technology.  It will also showcase more than 100 innovative solutions from across Appalachia Kentucky and extensive time to network with people, business, and organizations working to build a 21st Century Appalachia.

“Leadership is one of our core values, and we wanted to devote some time to learn more about leadership and leadership development and move into specialized tracks in health and technology to try to move the conversation forward in our communities,” said Jared Arnett, executive director of SOAR. “We are excited to focus on health and technology in our pre-summit tracks.  We believe that healthy economies are built by healthy communities and a healthy workforce.  When it comes to technology, we believe it can fundamentally disrupt poverty, and those who attend the technology track will learn more about using the broad application of technology for economic development, and community-driven solutions for last-mile deployment.”

“The new narrative of Appalachia Kentucky is one that boldly declares, ‘The debate is over. There is a future in Appalachia.’”
— Jared Arnett

Earlier this year, SOAR launched its “There is a Future” campaign.  Built around a new comprehensive website,, SOAR created a platform to share a new narrative for Appalachia Kentucky. 

“The new narrative of Appalachia Kentucky is one that boldly declares, ‘The debate is over. There is a future in Appalachia,’” said Arnett. “This narrative is a chapter in our history that we author, instead of playing the characters of a narrative constructed by others who have no direct ties to our region, our people, or our ideas.”

The Summit’s main program will be on Friday, August 31 at the East Kentucky Expo Center.  It will include remarks from SOAR Co-Chairs Congressman Hal Rogers and Governor Matt Bevin.  The interactive program will also highlight many projects and solutions taking place across Appalachia Kentucky that align with SOAR’s Regional Blueprint for a 21st Century Appalachia.

In the coming weeks, SOAR will announce keynote speakers for the Summit.

On the evening of Thursday, August 30, SOAR will host a reception for attendees.  The event will feature networking opportunities and a performance by Billie Jean Osborne’s Kentucky Opry, a production of the Mountain Arts Center. 

The Summit will also feature different businesses, organizations, and individuals doing innovative work across Appalachia Kentucky on the Expo Center arena floor.  This year, attendees will have the opportunity to visit and network with solutions on Thursday, August 30, and the afternoon of Friday, August 31 (after the Summit’s morning session).

Discounted early-bird registration is available through July 20 at

For more information on the Summit, email or call (606) 766-1160.