A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky impact on aerospace industry continues to be significant, but still has room for growth

By Johnathan Gay Special to KyForward What if the popular TV game show Family Feud asked of contestants, “Around the world, what is Kentucky most famous for?” The most frequent answer would probably be horses. Next would likely be bourbon. Cars might be on the list of a savvy contestant. But how many of our fictional contestants would mention aerospace products? Steve Harvey would probably...

Johnathan Gay: New generation of Kentucky entrepreneurs filling big shoes quite well

  Where Col. Harland Sanders and ‘Papa John’ Schnatter changed the food industry, entrepreneur Dustin Grutza and Craftforce are changing the way people share/locate job information. (Photo from Craftforce.com)   A new generation of entrepreneurs is following in the footsteps of well-known Kentuckians such as Col. Harland Sanders and “Papa John” Schnatter. Where those Kentucky...

Johnathan Gay: New life, fresh beginnings, renewed optimism in Eastern Kentucky

  Springtime is a season for green-shoots: new life, fresh beginnings, renewed optimism. This spring, the same might be said for the economy in Eastern Kentucky. That’s because spring has brought plenty of signs that a new economy may be growing in the region.   It started in late March, not long after the historic snow had melted. That was the month the Kentucky Innovation Network held...

Johnathan Gay: Morehead's space science presence propelling Appalachia, state forward

Could the key to curing cancer, finding traces of water on the moon or developing the next wave of communication originate in Appalachia?   I’ve mentioned in previous columns that Morehead’s space science presence is making waves throughout the country. Talking about the possibilities of this industry is great, but what about its practical application? How can the technology being developed...

Johnathan Gay: Morehead’s space science presence propelling Appalachia, state forward

Could the key to curing cancer, finding traces of water on the moon or developing the next wave of communication originate in Appalachia?   I’ve mentioned in previous columns that Morehead’s space science presence is making waves throughout the country. Talking about the possibilities of this industry is great, but what about its practical application? How can the technology being developed...

Johnathan Gay: IdeaFestival again seeks to leverage state’s success in aerospace industry

When you think of Kentucky exports, several things probably come to mind, including cars, bourbon and horses. You might not, however, think about turbine engines, satellite receiver dishes, and structural components of helicopters and airplanes.   In recent years, one industry has surpassed both bourbon and car parts when it comes to Kentucky exports: aerospace products. Last year, Kentucky...

The Power of the Network: New program helps entrepreneurs who need legal advice

The Kentucky Innovation Network has volunteer attorneys who proved small business owner with needed legal advice – for free. (Photo from Creative Commons)   By Rachel Gilliam KyForward correspondent   Entrepreneurs across the state now have a new resource to help them succeed.   A program from the Kentucky Innovation Network brings together attorneys who are willing to provide...

Johnathan Gay: All roads lead to success when young people learn to be 'kidpreneurs'

The old joke has it that when you grew up in Eastern Kentucky in the old days you needed to master the “three R’s” to have a good living: Readin’, Ritin’ and Route 23 (if you lived farther west, just switch 25 or 27 for that route part). In other words, if you wanted to have a successful life, you needed to pack your bags and head elsewhere.   Fortunately, things are changing. The days...

Johnathan Gay: All roads lead to success when young people learn to be ‘kidpreneurs’

The old joke has it that when you grew up in Eastern Kentucky in the old days you needed to master the “three R’s” to have a good living: Readin’, Ritin’ and Route 23 (if you lived farther west, just switch 25 or 27 for that route part). In other words, if you wanted to have a successful life, you needed to pack your bags and head elsewhere.   Fortunately, things are changing. The days...

Johnathan Gay: Growing the broadband economy in Eastern Kentucky … here's how

Everyone agrees that rural Appalachia needs a high-speed, broadband Internet network to create a new economy in Eastern Kentucky. But once the network is built, how will it best be utilized? This question is especially important when it comes to creating more businesses and jobs in the region.   On Nov. 10, the Kentucky Innovation Network office at Morehead State University will host a conference...

Johnathan Gay: Growing the broadband economy in Eastern Kentucky … here’s how

Everyone agrees that rural Appalachia needs a high-speed, broadband Internet network to create a new economy in Eastern Kentucky. But once the network is built, how will it best be utilized? This question is especially important when it comes to creating more businesses and jobs in the region.   On Nov. 10, the Kentucky Innovation Network office at Morehead State University will host a conference...

Johnathan Gay: Kentucky's food, farming economy needs real entrepreneurship, too

Kentucky has a fascinating heritage when it comes to public unity. Everyone knows the Commonwealth was home to both Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis. Today, different debates occupy the minds of average Kentuckians, such as UK vs. Louisville, wet vs. dry counties and urban triangle vs. rural heartland.   Ask folks what’s needed to grow our economy, and you’ll get a variety of answers....

Johnathan Gay: Kentucky’s food, farming economy needs real entrepreneurship, too

Kentucky has a fascinating heritage when it comes to public unity. Everyone knows the Commonwealth was home to both Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis. Today, different debates occupy the minds of average Kentuckians, such as UK vs. Louisville, wet vs. dry counties and urban triangle vs. rural heartland.   Ask folks what’s needed to grow our economy, and you’ll get a variety of answers....

Johnathan Gay: If given time, SOAR has potential to transform Eastern Kentucky

Legend has it that in 1972 the Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai was asked to give his assessment of the French Revolution. Although the uprising began in 1789, Zhou cryptically answered “it’s too early to tell.” Folks looking for the full impact of the Shaping our Appalachia initiative would be well advised to take Zhou’s long-term view of history.   Last week, 10 working-groups, headed by...

Johnathan Gay: Having an entrepreneurial economy requires a new way of thinking

If you take a poll of the average person on the street and ask “what should Kentucky be most focused on?” the answer overwhelmingly would be jobs. Nothing is more important to our state than promoting, creating and saving good jobs.   As with most things, however, the devil is in the details. We all agree we need better jobs. But how do we get there? That’s where the debate begins.   Should...

Johnathan Gay: Farmer, entreprenueur took chance on Eastern Kentucky – and succeeded

Maggie and Will Bowling of Old Homeplace Farm in Clay County sell locally raised beef, lamb, pork, eggs and vegetables directly to customers and restaurants around the region. (Photo provided)   Editor’s note: This column was written as part of an ongoing response to The New York Times story What’s the Matter With Eastern Kentucky? The entire response can be found at www.ekyhelpingourselves.com,...

Johnathan Gay: Despite Eastern Kentucky’s challenges, ex-Wildcat returns to his roots

Editor’s note: This column was written as part of an ongoing response to The New York Times story What’s the Matter With Eastern Kentucky? The entire response can be found at www.ekyhelpingourselves.com, a collaborative project of entrepreneurs and the Kentucky Innovation Network.   * * * * * * * * * * * *   Growing up in Magoffin County, Grayson Smith always knew he wanted to come...

Sixth Summit on Philanthropy draws top speakers on social enterprise, innovation

  Special to KyForward   The Kentucky Philanthropy Initiative will convene the 6th annual Kentucky Summit on Philanthropy at the Marriott Griffin Gate Resort and Spa in Lexington on Sept. 30-Oct. 1. For the second year, the Summit will be presented in partnership with the Federal Reserve Banks of Cleveland and St. Louis.   Kosair Charities is presenting sponsor.   The two-day event...

Johnathan Gay: Entrepreneur ignores sad statistics, finds Jackson Co. ‘ready to work’

Launching a new business venture in a county purported to be one of the worst in America is not something you’d ordinarily expect from a successful entrepreneur, especially one who lives nearly three hours’ hard drive away. But, that’s exactly what Tim Robinson did.   Did he read all those dreary stats the New York Times assembled? Poor educational attainment, household income, jobless...

Johnathan Gay: Like Owensboro's Ebola drug, what 'miracles' are hidden in our mountains?

Kentucky got to see the good that comes out of capitalizing on a region’s strengths last week when the city of Owensboro and its fading-but-still potent tobacco infrastructure gave birth to what many are calling a “miracle drug” to treat Ebola, one of the most dangerous diseases in the world.   In a nutshell, the Owensboro area had long been a thriving hub of tobacco growth and research....