SOAR Summit to Feature Innovative Platform for Attendees to Share Ideas

PIKEVILLE, Ky. – The 2019 SOAR Summit will allow attendees to contribute like never before with the integration of an interactive crowdsourcing platform.

The Summit is set for September 5-6 at the Appalachian Wireless Arena (formerly the East Kentucky Expo Center) in Pikeville, Ky.

Jared Arnett, executive director of Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR), said the Summit will incorporate Slido, an application that has been used in over 320,000 events across the globe, to enhance communication and increase interaction among Summit attendees.

“We want to provide a platform where we can crowdsource ideas to help us tactfully move our Blueprint forward,” said Arnett. “Sun Tzu once said, ‘Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to history.  Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.’”

The technology will be a critical part of Blueprint discussions held during the first day of the Summit on Thursday, September 5.  This will include discussions on each of the seven goals outlined in SOAR’s Blueprint for the Future of Appalachia. Those goals are:

• Broadband Expansion

• 21st Century Workforce

• Small Business in the Digital Economy

• Industrial Recruitment

• Healthy Communities

• Local Food

• Regional Tourism

“It is amazing to think how far we have come since the first Summit. Just a few years ago we gathered information from working groups and listening sessions and compiled it into a Blueprint,” said Arnett. “We are building on that by leveraging technology to crowdsource ideas.  Slido enables those attending the Summit – and those watching via LiveStream – the ability to contribute and share ideas to move our region forward.”

This year’s keynote speaker is ABC World News “Person of the Year” Major Dan Rooney.  Rooney is the founder of the Folds of Honor Foundation and is a social entrepreneur, PGA golf professional, and America hero.  The keynote speaker is presented by Appalachian Wireless.

Other speakers include: SOAR Principal Officers Congressman Hal Rogers and Governor Matt Bevin; SOAR Executive Board Chair Kimberly McCann; Dr Eli Capilouto, president of the University of Kentucky; Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles; and Arnett.

The first-ever Startup Appalachia Business Pitch Competition will be held at 5 p.m., Thursday, September 5 at New Beginnings Fellowship Church, which is located adjacent to the Appalachian Wireless Arena.  Applications are being accepted now at

The SOAR Summit Reception will be presented by Alltech and held at the Dueling Barrels Distillery in downtown Pikeville from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, September 5.  The Reception has limited capacity.

Registration is still open for the 2019 SOAR Summit.  You can register online at or by calling (606) 766-1160.  There are also scholarships available to waive registration costs.  For more information on the scholarships, call (606) 766-1160 or email