BRIGHT Kentucky celebrates Class of 2020 graduation

FRANKFORT — Leadership Kentucky proudly congratulates the BRIGHT Kentucky Class of 2020 on its November graduation held in Hazard. The Class of 2020 is the second cohort to participate and graduate from BRIGHT Kentucky.

Of these graduates, Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy Academic Supervisor Erica Trammell, of Harlan, was also honored.

BRIGHT Kentucky began in 2019 with the hope of engaging bright, entrepreneurial minds from various occupational sectors to offer non-partisan, ethical leadership training, expanded networks, and mentors designed especially for residents of the 54 Kentucky counties of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). BRIGHT Kentucky has been made possible by a $500,000 ARC grant and private funding from the Whitaker Foundation, SOAR, and others.

BRIGHT Kentucky’s training seminars and experiential learning focuses on understanding the local economic context and working to build a robust skill set in communication, collaboration, consensus building, visioning, and community engagement. This year’s program ran from July through November and took participants across Eastern Kentucky: Somerset in July, Ashland in August, Berea/Frankfort in September, Pikeville in October, and Hazard in November.

“BRIGHT Kentucky was formed to help develop local leaders that will transform the Appalachian region for future generations. To move this region forward, the local leaders will need resilience, courage, a strong network, and commitment,” said Elmer K. Whitaker, President/CEO of Whitaker Bank and Leadership Kentucky board member. “There is no doubt that these 38 individuals possess all that and more, having responsibly navigated a leadership program in the midst of a global pandemic. We are so proud of what they overcame to take full advantage of this experiential program; their futures are indeed bright!”

This year’s graduates include 38 participants from 32 different ARC counties representing a variety of public and private sectors.

The full list of graduates include:

  • Dr. Sarah Adkins – Whitley County – University of the Cumberlands
  • Frank Baker – Leslie County – Hyden Citizens Bank
  • Adam Bowling – Bell County – Self-Employed – Small Business Owner
  • Ben Carr – Montgomery County – Kentucky 4-H Foundation
  • Crystal Cox – Pulaski County – United Way of South-Central Kentucky
  • Tyler Curran – Nicholas County – Kentucky Army National Guard
  • Gene Detherage Jr. – Rowan County – The Fletcher Group
  • Aaron Dockery – Pulaski County – City of Somerset
  • Hanna Gabbard – Johnson County – Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR)
  • Courtney Gillette – Boyd County – Boyd County Tourism and Convention Bureau
  • Laura Gregory – Wolfe County – Kentucky Waterways Alliance
  • Sara Hacker – Rowan County – Morehead State University
  • Megan Haile – Monroe County – TJ Samson Community Hospital
  • Jennifer Hall – Knott County -Alice Lloyd College
  • Jenni Hampton – Pike County – Big Sandy Area Community Action Program, Inc
  • Tena Hunley – Magoffin County – McDonald’s Of East Kentucky
  • Summer Jackson – Whitley County – University of the Cumberlands
  • Mindy R. Johnson – Edmonson County – Western Kentucky University
  • Kayla Jude – Martin County – Big Sandy Area Community Action Program
  • Patrick Lager – Montgomery County – Whitaker Bank Corp. 
  • Josh Little – Pike County – Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
  • Caitlin Mason – Laurel County – Cumberland Valley Area Development District
  • Aaron Montgomery – Greenup County – Addiction Recovery Care & Rise Above
  • Courtney Oliver – Laurel County – Reppin2Recovery INC
  • Andrew Owens – Bath County – Michael R. Gray Funeral Home, Owingsville
  • Justin Pruitt – Boyd County – Boyd County Fiscal Court
  • Jessica Ritchie – Breathitt County – Juniper Health, Inc.
  • Jacob Roan – Bell County – City of Pineville
  • Jonathan Shell – Garrard County – State Solutions LLC
  • Dustin Stephens – McCreary County – East Ky Power Cooperative
  • Jacob Taylor – Rockcastle County – Rockcastle Regional Hospital and Respiratory Care Center
  • Erica Trammell – Harlan County – Appalachian Challenge Academy
  • Gavin Tussey – Boyd County – Plumbers & Steamfitters Local Union 248
  • JoAnn Vanzant – Lee County – Operation UNITE
  • Tyler Ward – Letcher County – Jacobs+Ward
  • A.J. Wilson – Hart County – Hart County Fiscal Court
  • Dr. Elijah Wilson – Cumberland County – University of Kentucky
  • Jennifer Wilson – Johnson County – Kentucky Cancer Program