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FRANKFORT, Ky. – Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers and Governor Matt Bevin announced Kimberly S. McCann as chairperson of the executive board of Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR).  McCann was elected to the position during a meeting of SOAR’s executive board on Tuesday, August 21 in Frankfort, Ky.  

McCann, of Ashland, Ky., is a partner at VanAntwerp Attorneys, LLP.  She has served on the executive board of SOAR since its inception in 2014. 

 “Kim has been an instrumental part of SOAR since day one,” said Congressman Rogers. “Knowing first-hand the greatest challenges we face in Kentucky’s Appalachian region, Kim has been a consummate advocate for SOAR to drive innovative opportunities to create new jobs, expand broadband connectivity and reimagine our future holistically.” 

As McCann takes over the helm of the SOAR Executive Board, Rogers and Bevin will continue their commitment to the organization as principal officers. Their designee proxy members will be Karen Kelly, District Director for Rogers and Scott Brinkman, Secretary of the Executive Cabinet for Bevin.  

“This is an important transition for the organization, and it will further the transformative work of SOAR throughout communities across the Appalachian region of Kentucky,” said Governor Bevin.  “SOAR is the catalyst for people and communities to come together to address challenges and seize new opportunities.  I am excited to have Kim as Chairperson of the SOAR Executive Board, and I am confident that her experience and passion for the area will help SOAR continue its meaningful work.” 

McCann has a juris doctor degree from the University of Kentucky and earned her undergraduate degree from Eastern Kentucky University.  Her professional accomplishments include: Kentucky 40 Leaders Under 40, Legal Services Advocate of the Year (2009), Outstanding Kentucky Volunteer Award (United Way of Kentucky), YWCA Members Award (2001), Leadership Kentucky (1995).  She also has an extensive background with professional organizations, including the Kentucky Bar Association Past CLE Commission Chair, Kentucky Bar Association House of Delegates (Past Member), Kentucky Supreme Court Rules Committee, Kentucky Judicial Council, Ohio Bar Association, Boyd County Bar Association, Energy and Mineral Law Foundation, and Kentucky Environmental Quality Commission (Past Commissioner).  

“I am humbled and honored to be selected as chairperson of the SOAR Executive Board,” said McCann. “I want to thank Congressman Rogers, Governor Bevin and the SOAR Executive Board for their support and encouragement. I am excited to be a part of such a great Board. We are witnessing a transformation across the entire region which is bringing new excitement and opportunities which many could not imagine.  SOAR is committed to continue to collaborate with new and existing partners, provide a positive avenue to explore new ideas, and assist this region in reaching its full potential.”  

Jared Arnett, Executive Director of SOAR, said McCann exemplifies the spirit and work of SOAR.  

“Kim has been committed to SOAR since it was an idea,” said Arnett. “She has been a part of every milestone to date, from the formation of the organization to the creation of the Regional Blueprint.  I look forward to working with Kim in her new capacity as we work to build a 21st Century Appalachia.” 

Arnett is grateful to Congressman Rogers and Governor Bevin for their leadership and support of SOAR.  

“The work and leadership of Congressman Rogers and Governor Bevin have been instrumental, and I look forward to their continued support and guidance as we move forward,” said Arnett. “We are writing a new chapter in the history of Appalachia Kentucky.  This chapter is one we are authoring through a spirit of unity, collaboration, and innovation. We’ve come a long way, but there is still much more work left to do.” 

SOAR also welcomed new board members at the August 23 meeting.  They include:  

  • Chuck Sexton, President/CEO of One East Kentucky (through June 30, 2020) 

  • Andrew Scott, Mayor of Coal Run Village (through June 30, 2020) 

  • Dan Mosley, Harlan County Judge-Executive (through June 30, 2021) 

  • French Harmon, Pastor of Somerset Baptist Church (through June 30, 2021) 

  • Nate Haney, Senior Vice President of Braidy Industries (through June 30, 2021) 

  • Lynn Tipton, Paralegal at Tipton and Tipton (through June 30, 2022) 

Jean Hale, President, CEO, and Chairman of Community Trust Bancorp; Jim Host, retired CEO of Host Communications; and McCann have been reappointed to the Executive Board, along with the following ex-officio members Senate President Robert Stivers, Speaker of the House David Osborne, Magoffin County Judge-Executive Dr. Charles Hardin, and Bell County Judge-Executive Albey Brock. Donovan Blackburn, CEO of Pikeville Medical Center, is the treasurer. 

“I look forward to getting to know the new members of our executive board, and I am also glad to continue to work with those who have been reappointed,” said Arnett. “Our executive board represents the best and brightest in Appalachia Kentucky. They fully understand the scope and magnitude of our work, and I appreciate their dedication to our work.” 

Members of the executive board plan to attend the 2018 SOAR Summit on August 30-31 in Pikeville, Ky. at the East Kentucky Expo Center.  Registration is still open for the event at or by calling (606) 766-1160. 

To learn more about SOAR, visit