Congressman Hal Rogers

Representative (R-KY 5th District), SOAR Co-Principal Officer

Hal Rogers, representing Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District since 1981, holds the record as Kentucky’s longest-serving Congressman. He’s been re-elected 21 times. On September 2, 2021, he became the longest-serving Member of Congress from Kentucky, and on March 18, 2022, he became the Dean of the U.S. House of Representatives due to his extended tenure. Rogers focuses on economic development, job creation, combating drug use, conserving Appalachia’s natural beauty, engaging with constituents, and promoting regional interests.

Born in rural Kentucky, he represents a disadvantaged district, but his efforts have spurred successes. Initiatives like Eastern Kentucky PRIDE, Operation UNITE, and Southeast Kentucky Economic Development have united communities, addressing the environment, drug issues, small businesses, and tourism. During his chairmanship of the House Appropriations Committee (2011-2016), Rogers curtailed government spending, oversaw federal agencies, and restored fiscal discipline. His leadership resulted in a historic $126 billion reduction in discretionary spending since 2010. He championed regular order, conducting 650 oversight hearings and considering 2,000+ appropriations bill amendments. Rogers boasts almost 40 years on the Appropriations Committee, with roles on over ten subcommittees, including leadership positions.

In 2003, he headed the Subcommittee on Homeland Security, advocating for first responders, FEMA accountability, immigration enforcement, and border security. Whether in Washington or his home district, Rogers remains dedicated to fiscal responsibility, economic growth, national defense, and America’s prosperous future.

Governor Andy Beshear

Governor of Kentucky, SOAR Co-Principal Officer

Raised in Kentucky’s Fayette, Franklin, and Clark counties, Andy Beshear graduated from Henry Clay High School. Influenced by his parents’ public service and his grandfather’s Baptist ministry, he values family and faith.

He achieved a magna cum laude degree from Vanderbilt University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law. Andy worked in D.C. at an international law firm, where he met his wife, Britainy. Returning to Kentucky, he excelled at Stites & Harbison, focusing on consumer advocacy and youth organization protection.

In 2016, Andy became Kentucky’s 50th Attorney General. He fought the opioid epidemic, suing manufacturers, launching the Kentucky Opioid Disposal Program, and prosecuting rogue doctors. He prioritized child safety, arrested predators, and educated on abuse prevention. Andy advocated for seniors, healthcare access, and affordable drugs.

Addressing the rape kit backlog was vital. Settlements funded testing and lab upgrades, with a successful cold case unit launch, clearing Kentucky’s backlog.

As an independent voice, Andy defended the constitution, education, and pensions. Transparency was key to his open governance approach. Andy and his wife Britainy are actively engaged in their church and local organizations, raising two children.

Keynote: Dr. Nora D. Volkow

Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health

Dr. Nora D. Volkow is the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health, the world’s largest funder of research on drug use and addiction.

Her pioneering work as a research psychiatrist using brain imaging has shown that drug addiction is a brain disorder. She has studied how substance use affects brain functions, particularly the dopamine system’s impact on reward and self-control in addiction. Her research has also contributed to understanding obesity, ADHD, and aging.

Born in Mexico, she earned her medical degree from the National University of Mexico. She trained at New York University and held leadership roles at the Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory. She was also a professor at The State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Dr. Volkow has published extensively, received numerous awards including the Nathan Davis Award, and is a member of prestigious organizations like the National Academy of Sciences. She was recognized by Time, Newsweek, and Fortune magazines for her influential contributions to brain imaging and addiction science.

Keynote: JP Blevins

Entrepreneur, Investor

Edmonton, Kentucky native JP Blevins graduated from Metcalfe County High School in 1998, during which time he earned First Team All-State distinctions during both junior and senior years. His collegiate journey led him to the University of Kentucky Basketball Team from 1998 to 2002, where he graduated in 2002 with Magna Cum Laude distinctions.

Blevins relocated to Wilmington, NC in 2010, and embarked on a path of entrepreneurial ventures. Notably, he played a pivotal role as a seed-round investor in the success stories of Live Oak Bank and the global banking software provider NCino. These ventures have since flourished into publicly traded companies listed on Nasdaq, boasting peak market caps of $4 billion and $7 billion respectively.

His tenure at Live Oak Bank has been one of steady growth, beginning from the ground floor and attaining the prestigious position of Chief Revenue Officer in Live Oak’s C-suite by 2017. After a decade in North Carolina, he returned to his Kentucky roots a few years ago, reestablishing his permanent residence in Lexington.

His current endeavors include a spectrum of interests. He’s deeply engaged in overseeing Maximus Capital, a trading fund he founded, while also actively participating in diverse private investment opportunities. Equally close to his heart are his philanthropic pursuits, through which he strives to make a meaningful regional impact.

He is happily wed to Grace Blevins, and together, they are blessed with two sons, John Paul and Marshall.

Keynote: Nate Morris

Morris Industries (Chairman and CEO), Founder of Rubicon Technologies, Inc.

Nate Morris serves as the Chairman and CEO of Morris Industries and is the Founder of Rubicon Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: RBT).

Morris Industries is a privately held conglomerate headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky. Morris Industries is reimagining the industrial economy while leveraging the power of business to solve some of America’s biggest challenges, including environment conservation and national security.

Prior to Morris Industries, Morris founded Rubicon Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: RBT), one of America’s largest waste and recycling companies with operations spanning all 50 U.S. states and 20 countries. Rubicon delivers cost and taxpayer savings to our business and government partners worldwide. Founded in 2009 with only a $10,000 line of credit, Morris served as CEO for over 12 years. Rubicon was named “One of the World’s Most Innovative Companies” by Fast Company, an “Industry Disruptor” by Inc. Magazine, and a Great Place to Work™ 5 consecutive years.

Morris graduated from George Washington University, studied public policy at Princeton University, and studied business at Oxford University. He was elected Phi Beta Kappa and is a Fulbright Specialist Scholar. Morris holds an honorary doctorate of letters from the University of Pikeville. Morris currently serves as the Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Kentucky’s Gatton College of Business and Economics.

Morris was the first Kentuckian to be named to Fortune Magazine’s 40 Under 40 list and is a regional winner of Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of Year Award. He is also the youngest inductee ever to the Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame.

Nate Morris is the founder of the Morris Foundation whose mission is to provide access to the American Dream for all Kentuckians.

Keynote: Lincoln Brown

Entrepreneur, Investor

Lincoln Brown is a social impact focused investor, philanthropist, and serial entrepreneur.  He has started four businesses, of which three succeeded and in aggregate, have generated over $1.5 Billion in revenue.

These businesses were in Mobile Gaming, Precision Healthcare, and Early Childhood Development.  He is currently the Chairman and Co-Founder of KidStrong, the largest early childhood development program in the United States, with 110 locations nationwide.  In addition, he co-founded Grant Ready Kentucky, with a focus on underserved areas in Kentucky.

He also serves on the board of Rare, an international environmental conservation nonprofit.  Lincoln graduated from the Wharton school with a BSE in Economics and double concentration in Finance and Management.

T.J. Rayhill

Founder of Bluegrass Crickets, Entrepreneur

T.J. Rayhill possesses an innate fervor for bucking conventional trends. His journey began at the tender age of 19 when he inaugurated a bookstore, and from there, he embarked on a series of ventures that included the inception of a food truck, a boutique gift shop, and even a restaurant. These diverse undertakings ultimately paved the way for his latest and most audacious enterprise: the establishment of Bluegrass Crickets, heralded as Kentucky’s pioneering Commercial Cricket Farm.

In the realm of Bluegrass Crickets, a novel and forward-looking initiative, the farm specializes in cultivating organic crickets, catering to both the bait and feed industries. This groundbreaking endeavor, however, does not stop there. The visionary trajectory of Bluegrass Crickets is set to extend into the realm of human consumption, with plans underway to produce crickets that will contribute to the culinary landscape. This audacious expansion into the realm of edible insects speaks volumes about TJ’s unflagging spirit of innovation and his unrelenting dedication to forging paths less traveled.

Dr. Ryan F. Quarles

Agriculture Commissioner of Kentucky

Dr. Ryan F. Quarles serves as Kentucky’s Commissioner of Agriculture. First elected to that position in 2015, he was re-elected in 2019, winning 117 of 120 counties.

Under his leadership, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) started several new programs, including initiatives to combat hunger and connect Kentucky farmers to new markets.

Quarles’s outspoken advocacy for farmers has been recognized on the regional and national level. He has served as President of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA), as President of the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture (SASDA), and as Chairman of the Republican Agriculture Commissioners Committee (RACC).

Quarles graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2006 with three undergraduate majors and two graduate degrees. In 2008, he graduated with a master’s degree in higher education from Harvard University. He received his law degree from the University of Kentucky and a doctorate in higher education from Vanderbilt University in 2018.

From 2010 to 2014, Quarles served as a member of the House of Representatives. A native of Scott County, he grew up on his family’s farm in central Kentucky, an area where they have lived and farmed for more than 200 years.

Robert Schena

Chairman, CEO, and Co-Founder, Rajant Corporation

In 2001, Robert Schena co-founded Rajant Corporation, the pioneer of Kinetic Mesh® Networks. Mr. Schena has successfully grown this once-small startup in Wayne, Pennsylvania to have a strong international presence in a broad array of markets including military, industrial, transportation, utilities, and telecommunications. Today, Rajant is doing business in over 75 countries with large global partners and has offices across the U.S., including offices in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Kentucky, and Alabama.
In 1999, Robert Schena co-founded Airclic, Inc., a wireless application and scanning company, and raised $15 million from a group led by Goldman Sachs and Blue Capital Management. Motorola and Symbol Technologies forged a partnership to acquire Airclic and closed a $287 million financial round as well as the contribution of intellectual property in excess of $162 million. Also, in 1999, Mr. Schena participated in the founding of World Wide Packets, a Gigabit Ethernet company.

In 1996, Mr. Schena successfully obtained for his company an FCC license to provide an Open Video System, becoming the first one to do so. In 2004, he was successful in changing U.S. telecommunications regulations, resulting in obtaining the first FCC license for broadband services delivered in the U.S. from a Canadian satellite.

In 1992, Schena founded FutureVision of America (FVA), forging a partnership with Bell Atlantic to commercially launch the first video dial tone and digital TV over television. FVA was successfully sold to Bell Atlantic. Prior to founding FVA, Schena served as the CFO, Treasurer, Vice President of Finance, and Vice President of Marketing for Harron Communications.

Mr. Schena was appointed to the State of Pennsylvania’s Ben Franklin Technology Board by Governor Ridge in 2001, reappointed by Governor Rendell in 2004 and 2008, and reappointed by Governor Wolf in 2016. He serves on the Board of the Methodist Home for Children. In late 2010, Mr. Schena was named to Governor Corbett’s Marcellus Shale Transition Team. Mr. Schena sits on the Kentucky EPSCoR Board as well as the Morehead State University Foundation Board.

Mr. Schena earned a B.A. degree in Business Administration from Temple University and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He has lectured extensively on broadband communications to professional and corporate organizations.

Lindy Casebier

Secretary of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, Kentucky

Lindy Casebier, a Louisville native, was appointed by Gov. Beshear in February 2023 as the Secretary of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet. Secretary Casebier was appointed as Deputy Secretary for the Kentucky Personnel Cabinet in December 2019 after many years as a public school educator, administrator, legislator and non-profit director. Casebier previously served in senior roles within the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet. For 18 years, Casebier represented Louisville in the Kentucky General Assembly, where he chaired the Senate Education Committee. Prior to joining the Beshear administration, he served as executive director of Louisville Visual Art.​

Robert Stivers

Senate President, Kentucky

Senate President Robert Stivers was elected to the Senate in 1997. He represents the 25th District, which encompasses Clay, Jackson, Knox, Lee, McCreary, Owsley, and Whitley counties.

President Stivers was elected by his colleagues to serve as Senate Majority Floor Leader in 2008, a position he held until being elected as Senate President in 2013. As the Senate President, Senator Stivers represents the entire body of the Kentucky State Senate in any official state business.

In 2015, President Stivers was honored by Governing Magazine as a Public Official of the Year for his work in the General Assembly. In 2016, he was named the Chair of the Southern Legislative Conference and in 2018 served as the Chair of the Council of State Governments, a national organization. The President currently serves as Chair of the Senate President’s Forum.

President Stivers serves as chairman of the Senate Committee on Committees and Rules Committee and the co-chairman of the Legislative Research Commission. Additionally, President Stivers is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Education Committee and was most recently appointed as co-chair to the Bourbon Barrel Taxation Task Force during the 2022 Interim.

President Stivers was the Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney from 1989 to 1993. He has served as a member of the Kentucky Appalachian Council, the Kentucky Appalachian Commission, the Early Childhood Development Council, the Governor’s Council on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault, the OxyContin Task Force, the Evidence Committee (University of Louisville Law School), the Corrections & Public Safety Task Force of the Council of State Government, the Fiscal Affairs and Government Operations Committee of Southern Legislative Conference, the Southern States Energy Board.

He graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in industrial management and a minor in economics. He earned his law degree from The University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law and is a practicing attorney in Manchester. He is married to Regina Crawford Stivers and between the two of them, has seven children and 10 grandchildren.

Attorney General Daniel Cameron

Attorney General of Kentucky since 2020

Daniel Jay Cameron is Kentucky’s 51st Attorney General, making history as the first Black American independently elected to statewide office in Kentucky. He’s also the first Republican elected as Attorney General since 1948. Leading around 200 employees in seven state offices, he’s dedicated to upholding the Commonwealth’s laws, safeguarding Kentuckians, combatting the drug crisis, and advocating for the vulnerable, including victims of child abuse and human trafficking.

Before becoming Attorney General, Cameron served as legal counsel to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, playing a key role in confirming conservative federal judges, including Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. Recognized for his commitment to law enforcement, he was named “Legislative Staffer of the Year” by the Kentucky Narcotics Officers Association and received the endorsement of the Kentucky Fraternal Order of Police.

Cameron’s roots are in Elizabethtown, where he graduated from John Hardin High School. He pursued higher education at the University of Louisville, where he also played football, and earned his law degree from the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. Following graduation, he completed a federal judicial clerkship and practiced law in Frost Brown Todd’s Louisville office. He currently resides in Louisville with his wife and son.

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