Jonathan Webb

Jonathan Webb, seen here at the groundbreaking for AppHarvest, will be one of the speakers at the Stand Up Rural America economic development conference.

The lineup of speakers has been announced for the Stand Up Rural America Summit, a national economic development conference coming to Somerset-Pulaski County in July.

The lineup features more than 20 nationally renowned subject matter experts and economic development practitioners, including two leaders of companies building operations in this community — AppHarvest CEO Jonathan Webb and Horse Soldier Bourbon COO Scott Neil.

The conference will be July 26-28 at The Center for Rural Development.

Representatives from the Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority (SPEDA), the City of Somerset, Pulaski County Government, Lake Cumberland Tourism and The Center for Rural Development serve on the host committee for the 2022 summit, which is presented by ACCELERATION by design LLC, an economic development consulting firm based in Cedar Park, Texas. Now in its third year, Stand Up Rural America has previously been hosted in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Charleston, West Virginia, and attracted participants from 25 states.

“It is such an honor for Somerset and Pulaski County to be selected for this summit,” SPEDA President and CEO Chris Girdler said. “We are rural America, and the spotlight is on us — there’s not a better opportunity for our community to come together to support this effort and to shine as a leader in Kentucky and across the country. I’m excited to roll out the red carpet for these outstanding professionals and show the nation how we’ve reimagined economic development by improving quality of life.”

Other featured speakers at the summit include Jon Schallert, Daron K. Roberts, Stephanie Stuckey, James Chavez, Lorie Vincent, Zachary Mannheimer and Eric Dusenbury. The summit will also include an Afternoon Tea with the Economic Development Divas and Breakfast with the Economic Development Brat Pack.

Stand Up Rural America is designed specifically for economic development organizations, Chambers of Commerce, cities, counties, state and regional economic development agencies, utilities, lenders, elected officials, community and industry leaders, and anyone with a vested interest in the growth and prosperity of rural America.

Participants receive tangible tools and strategies to help cities, counties and regions grow and thrive. This event is packed with informative and dynamic presentations, panels, discussions and celebrations of what makes rural America special.

ACCELERATION by design LLC President Lorie Vincent launched Stand Up Rural America after working with more than 250 rural communities and regions throughout her 30-plus-year career and witnessing the needs and challenges they face.

“Bringing these topics, presenters and participants together puts viable and tested tools into the hands of the changemakers in rural communities and creates an environment for innovative and immediate action,” Vincent said. “We are thrilled to be bringing the 2022 Stand Up Rural America Summit to Somerset, Kentucky. Somerset and the surrounding area are not only beautiful but great examples of the vibrancy that can be built in a community when collaboration, ingenuity, visionary planning and intentional leadership all come together. We can’t wait to show off the many assets of Somerset and encourage our participants to take advantage of all that this dynamic community has to offer.”

Sponsorships are available and an exhibit area will be offered. Registration for the summit is now open. Special group registration rates are also available. For more information about the 2022 Stand Up Rural America Summit and to register, visit

Girdler encouraged businesses and organizations in Somerset-Pulaski County, surrounding areas and across Kentucky to consider sponsoring the summit, as it is a great way to gain exposure in front of a national audience. To inquire, e-mail Girdler at

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