Why Convene a Problem-Solving Forum in Kentucky?

Next week marks the start of an historic summit for Kentucky — the first-ever Concordia Lexington Summit. The timing could not better. The summit comes at a time of immense promise and opportunity for the American Heartland, a region that is awash with great ideas. The summit will highlight the fact that great ideas can come from anywhere in this great country—not just the coasts—and that the American Heartland is poised to become the center of industry and innovation once again.

The 2022 Concordia Lexington Summit, taking place April 7-8, will bring together thought leaders with a clear focus on Kentucky, the American Heartland, and the United States, and will spark dialogue, create networks, and ultimately chart the path toward a brighter future. The Summit is being convened with the understanding that while policy must lead, effective policies that advance meaningful progress require input from all corners of our society. Speakers include Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, United States Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, NYT's Jonathan Martin, University of Kentucky President Dr. Eli Capilouto, University of Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops, and New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, among others. Additionally, Frank Luntz, CEO of FIL, Inc, will moderate a session with student leaders from the University of Kentucky to share perspectives on civil engagement, democracy, economic potential, and their outlook on the future as the rising group of next generation leaders.

Concordia is a nonprofit organization that strives to create a community where challenges are solved collaboratively. With successful regional initiatives as well as their flagship Annual Summit, Concordia is the premier platform for building and enhancing long-term partnerships that transform conversations into action. The 2022 Concordia Lexington Summit will advance civil discourse and understanding between the different socioeconomic worlds present in the United States. In line with its mission, Concordia will be creating impactful partnerships that not only address drivers of division and improve economic empowerment for all, but also address the future of American technology, trade, environmental sustainability, and much more.  

Why convene in Kentucky? Flip that question on its head: Why haven’t we convened such a problem-solving forum in Kentucky before? Kentucky is literally in the center of the country. It is where pioneers first came through the Cumberland Gap. It is where we distill America's great spirit, bourbon. And, it is where horses grow faster and stronger than almost anywhere in the world.

Kentucky and America's Heartland are also where we must turn to see where America is headed, and how America as a whole can come together to address the greatest challenges of our time. The issues facing Americans today affect all Americans, no matter where they live. The solutions, too, should come from all Americans. All Americans need a seat at the table to decide our future, and the greatness of that future will be determined by the strength of those at the table.

Kentuckians are among the strongest, most determined people of our nation, and the Heartland is where we see the most potential. That is why I agreed to chair Concordia Lexington, a summit focused on the United States and specifically how we advance economic opportunity and ensure a sustainable future for all Americans.

Concordia is partnering with the University of Kentucky, an institution that plays a vital role in promoting economic development and human wellbeing across the commonwealth of Kentucky. With a rich history of educating, innovating, healing, and serving the communities in which it operates, the University of Kentucky is committed to using its facilities to share and apply knowledge in a way that improves the quality of life around the globe.

The Heartland of America has traditionally been the source of our greatest strengths. Our manufacturing might, our agricultural awareness, and the moral center of our nation have come from deep in the heart of America. So, too, will the solutions to our modern challenges.

Working together, we can elevate the Heartland of America to greatness, and the time to begin is now.

 (Nate Morris is the chairman and CEO of Rubicon, a Lexington-based company using technology and software to drive innovation in the waste and recycling sector.)

Editor's note: Register here to attend the April 7-8 2022 Lexington Summit. Digital registration is complimentary and open to all. A limited number of in-person passes remain available. The Summit will include an exclusive musical performance from The Temptations. For registration questions, email rsvp@concordia.net.

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