By Austin Williams
The London Innovation and Commercialization Center received high praise from federal officials who toured the facility Wednesday.
Lillian Salerno, acting administrator for the Rural Business-Cooperative Service of U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development said, “This is the most impressive thing I’ve seen in my tenure in this position.”
Salerno and Thomas G. Fern, state director of USDA Rural Development for Kentucky toured the facility, which is located on the campus of Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation.
USDA funds were used in the construction of the facility, which has been in operation for two years. The center’s director, Bill Schutters, and Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation president/CEO Jerry Rickett led the tour of the facility, which serves as the London hub of the Kentucky Innovation Network, a collection of facilities distributed across the state that provide free or reduced cost business services and training for technology based start-ups and existing companies, as well as introductions to potential investors in the public and private sectors. The program was inaugurated in 2001 and expanded in 2012 under the Beshear administration.
The London facility contains office space at below market cost for potential tenant businesses. One of these is KRHIT, a software development company that is designing networks so rural Kentucky medical service providers can share medical information. Owner Jeff Campbell told Salerno and Fern he appreciates the center and the affordable office space and infrastructure it provides his business.
At an impromptu press conference following the tour Salerno and Fern gave their impressions of the facility, its programs, and tenants.
Salerno repeatedly voiced her admiration for the way partnerships between multiple levels of government, non-profit and for-profit private enterprises were managed in “places where you have limited amounts of resources.”
“It’s so nice to come and see where rural America has leveraged the money that the federal government gives with the non-profits, the private enterprise, and with some creative people here at Kentucky Highlands,” Salerno said.
Fern praised the facility for being a “very good example of the overall goals” of USDA Rural Development.
The 2-year-old facility also currently houses a patent attorney and a web developer, among other start-ups. Businesses housed in the facility sometimes use the services of the firms with which they share space, Campbell said. The facility also contains a laboratory space, currently empty, that may become home to a forensics firm in the near future, according to Schutters.
The ambitions of the center go beyond just filling the building with tenants, though, as officials spoke in broad terms of energizing small business growth and improving quality of life for rural Kentuckians.
“The entrepreneurs we met in this building may be the next big employers in rural Kentucky,” Salerno said.
By Austin Williams
Twin girls Brooklyn and Brandy Clontz sit on Santa’s lap at the Laurel County Public Library’s annual Holiday Kickoff.
Sharing the Spirit
The Laurel County Public Library held its Holiday Kickoff Thursday from 3:30-7 p.m. The celebration included children 10 and under getting pictures taken with Santa, refreshments and performances by pianist Earlene Vance and the Children’s Theatre of Cincinatti.
- Sharing the Spirit
- Local News
Letter discussed by airport board
- Hearings continued in murder case
- Letter discussed by airport board
- Local Sports
The Corbin Lady Redhounds returned to action in their second round match of the Cumberland Falls Invitational Tournament. Corbin entered the contest riding off an 86-point, hard-fought scoring effort in Wednesday's victory over Harlan.
There was really no question North Laurel would make short work of young Riverside Christian. The Jaguars picked up an 82-25 win Thursday with a running clock starting late in the first half.
- Rolling Along
School-choice critics intimidate but won’t debate
Ken Wilber wrote: “Most of us are only willing to call 5% of our present information into question (at) any one point.” Then there is the closed-minded leadership of the Kentucky Education Association, Jefferson County Teachers Association, Kentucky School Boards Association and Kentucky Association of School Superintendents who, when it comes to school choice, won’t even question that much.
- School-choice critics intimidate but won’t debate
Stacie Eichinger brings out her "Walk 4 Courage" buggy and beads she's selling outside the West Knox Volunteer Fire and Rescue station Wednesday, to pose with the crew. Those in the picture include Chief Darryl Baker and his son.
Raising money for ill children, Stacie sets foot at West Knox firehouse
Moments after Stacie Eichinger got to the West Knox Volunteer Fire and Rescue station on a warm Wednesday afternoon, priority one was to lose the shoes.
- Raising money for ill children, Stacie sets foot at West Knox firehouse
Ky. needs to enact smoke-free law
As president of the Kentucky Society for Respiratory Care and a board member of the Kentucky Rural Health Association, I urge state lawmakers to enact a smoke-free law, which would greatly benefit the health of Kentuckians.
- Ky. needs to enact smoke-free law
Authors Steve Vest (left) and James B. Goode (right) discuss the making of the holiday book, "Kentucky's Twelve Days of Christmas."
Season’s Readings: Christmas book tour stops in Corbin
For an hour Monday, voices filled with the written words of Christmases past filtered through the Corbin Public Library.
- Season’s Readings: Christmas book tour stops in Corbin