LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 30, 2020) — Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) now has a new leader at the helm of its innovative grassroots organization. Colby Hall, a University of Kentucky alumnus and native of Somerset, Kentucky, was introduced yesterday as the new executive director of SOAR during the 2020 Virtual SOAR Summit. U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) and Gov. Andy Beshear made the announcement. SOAR is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working as a champion for Appalachia Kentucky by expanding job creation; enhancing regional opportunities and innovation; and improving quality of life.
"Colby is one of many young, native Eastern Kentuckians returning home to make a difference in the future of Appalachia. His experience, charisma and vision for our region are a winning combination for SOAR as we move into a new chapter of innovation and economic expansion," Rogers said. "Our best resource in Eastern Kentucky is our people, and it's great to welcome Colby home to help pave the road ahead for this organization and our region."
“SOAR and Team Kentucky are welcoming Colby Hall. A son of Eastern Kentucky, Colby brings his passion for the region and its people to his role as the next executive director of SOAR,” Beshear said. “Congratulations, Colby! We look forward to your leadership guiding SOAR’s crucial work in our Appalachian region.”
Hall graduated from UK in 2015 as a Singletary Scholar and Honors student with a degree in biology and a 4.0 GPA. He was involved in several organizations at UK including Student Government Association, DanceBlue and Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. He comes to SOAR following his position with FLS Transportation in Atlanta where he served as director of sales.
With education and experience in both health care and business, Hall brings a diverse set of skills to lead SOAR forward.
"I'm honored, humbled, and thrilled to be selected as the next executive director for SOAR. Having been born and raised here in the region, I'm very aware of the challenges we face. But I strongly believe Eastern Kentucky's moment is now. We have what it takes to build a better future together and everybody has a part to play," Hall said. "Congressman Rogers and Gov. Beshear are a perfect example of the type of bipartisan leadership that's going to be necessary to win. I'm looking forward to meeting as many business and community leaders as I can to hear what is needed to continue moving SOAR forward."
The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers." We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.