Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives receive international award for economic development

Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives have earned international acclaim for their success in using innovative technology to bring jobs and investment to Kentucky.

The cooperatives were awarded the Excellence In Economic Development Award for New Media on Tuesday at the International Economic Development Council’s annual conference in Toronto.

“We compete every day against economic development professionals around the globe, so it is truly an honor to be recognized for innovation by the world’s premier economic development organization,” said Rodney Hitch, Manager of Economic Development for Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives.

To better gain attention for communities located primarily in rural Kentucky, the co-ops have developed ground-breaking tools to showcase Kentucky’s resources to industries looking to expand or relocate.

In particular, the IEDC award singled out PowerMap featuring StateBook and PowerVision, a project that combines GPS mapping with StateBook’s economic development database and drone-captured video and data to make Kentucky’s sites highly visible and accessible around the globe. And it’s all contained in applications for handheld devices.

Read the full story on The Lane Report →

Drones used to map Elk Mountain site

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Three certified drone pilots (left to right) Scott Fontan, Ben Shinabery and Paige Wilson used drones to map the Elk Mountain Industrial site.
Drones used to map Elk Mountain site


Businesses that may be interested in locating on the Elk Mountain Industrial site will soon be able to get a birds-eye view of available sites and tracts, along with vital information about Manchester without leaving the comfort their office.

Jamie Shepherd, Director of Community and Economic Development for Jackson Energy and Clay County Interim Judge-Executive Johnny Johnson were on hand as drones were used to map the Elk Mountain Industrial site.

Read the full article on The Manchester Enterprise →

Digital Spec Development Arrives

EKPC’s PowerVision to showcase rural industrial sites remotely through mobile technology

By Chris Clair

The new Powervision website and app created by East Kentucky Power Cooperative combines existing data with drone images and engineering renderings to allow prospects to preliminarily assess Kentucky development sites without physically visiting remote properties.

The new PowerVision website and app created by East Kentucky Power Cooperative combines existing data with drone images and engineering renderings to allow prospects to preliminarily assess Kentucky development sites without physically visiting remote properties.

East Kentucky Power Cooperative is releasing a dramatic new digital site presentation tool it thinks could change the economic development game in its rural service territory, and maybe for the state. It enables a prospect in Germany or New Jersey to see a Kentucky site in three dimensions, its pertinent infrastructure both existing or as it could be installed, and include renderings of the facility they want to build.

The PowerVision web site and associated app for mobile devices combines high-definition aerial drone video of industrial sites with digital topographic mapping and detailed engineering information to create three-dimensional surface models. That’s then merged with data from StateBook, which aggregates community demographic, tax, utility cost, incentive and quality of life information.

Read the full article on The Lane Report →

SOAR kicks off STEM-based education, workforce initiative 64 teachers in eastern Kentucky enroll

MANCHESTER – Gov. Steve Beshear and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, co-chairs of SOAR – Shaping Our Appalachian Region, joined educators from 22 eastern Kentucky school districts at Clay County High School to help kick-off an education initiative aimed at building a STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) workforce by creating new opportunities for teachers through National Board Certification.

Morehead State University has partnered with the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), Council on Postsecondary Education, University of Pikeville, Department for Local Government and Touchstone Energy Cooperatives to provide 64 teachers in 22 of the highest unemployment, highest poverty SOAR counties with National Board Teaching Certification. The selected teachers started the three-year program earlier this month.

“National Board Certification of teachers is the critical first link in the chain of creating an environment where eastern Kentucky students can get a high-quality STEM-based education that leads to higher-wage jobs,” said Anthony “Tony” Campbell, president and CEO of East Kentucky Power Cooperative.

Along with obtaining the certification, teachers will receive a master’s degree with an emphasis on leadership at regional teaching centers close to their homes, plus rank change and salary increase, all provided at no cost to them or their school districts.

Read the full article on Kentucky Department for Local Government →

SOAR kicks off STEM-based education, workforce initiative

64 teachers in eastern Kentucky enrolled in program

MANCHESTER — Gov. Steve Beshear and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, co-chairs of SOAR – Shaping Our Appalachian Region, joined educators from 22 eastern Kentucky school districts at Clay County High School to help kick-off an education initiative aimed at building a STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) workforce by creating new opportunities for teachers through National Board Certification.

Morehead State University has partnered with the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), Council on Postsecondary Education, University of Pikeville, Department for Local Government and Touchstone Energy Cooperatives to provide 64 teachers in 22 of the highest unemployment, highest poverty SOAR counties with National Board Teaching Certification. The selected teachers started the three-year program earlier this month.

“National Board Certification of teachers is the critical first link in the chain of creating an environment where eastern Kentucky students can get a high-quality STEM-based education that leads to higher-wage jobs,” said Anthony “Tony” Campbell, president and CEO of East Kentucky Power Cooperative.

Read the full article by Middlesboro Daily News →

KY Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Releases the PowerMap App

KY Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Releases the PowerMap App

App integrates geolocation technology with site selection data for economic development.

Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives released PowerMap, a new mobile and web application that gives economic development professionals instant access to detailed cooperative service territory maps and data for all of its 87 Kentucky counties. PowerMap is integrated with StateBook International, an online marketplace for economic development and site selection that strategically aggregates, updates, and organizes more than
60,000 data points from over 50 sources. The software for Powermap was developed by Louisville based mobile app development firm Interapt.

With PowerMap, users can either type in a street address or use native GPS tracking on their mobile device to determine whether the location entered falls within the service territory of any of the 16 Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives. In the past, the process of verifying which energy provider serves a certain defined territory would involve several parties, such as the Public Service Commission, and could take several days, if not weeks.

PowerMap constitutes a “first-of-its-kind tool” according to Rodney Hitch, Manager for Economic Development. “Economic developers on a site visit can use PowerMap to leverage mapping technology with StateBook’s vast database and instantly retrieve important site data, such as average commuting time, which in the past could have taken weeks,” says Hitch. “Our electric cooperatives are working hard to bring jobs and investment to the communities we serve, and PowerMap is another tool for that effort,” said Anthony “Tony” Campbell, CEO of East Kentucky Power Cooperative.
“I commend East Kentucky Power Cooperative for being the first utility in the U.S. to integrate StateBook’s robust data for site selection and cuttingedge technology,” said Calandra Cruickshank, President and CEO of StateBook International. “Powered by StateBook data, PowerMap enables the communities served by EKPC to put data into the hands of economic development professionals and business prospects onsite.”

The idea for building the PowerMap app spawned from a discussion about economic development during a recent trade mission to Canada that included Associate Manager Brad Thomas and Interapt CEO Ankur Gopal.

“Data is power, and timing is important in any economic development deal,” said Thomas. “By placing geographic information regarding power service territories literally in the hands of economic development professionals, Powermap will streamline the process of quickly analyzing the most important and costly factors of placing warehouses, assembly plants, industrial buildings, logistics, and advanced manufacturing in a defined area.”

“PowerMap is a tool that helps Economic Development teams gain a competitive advantage by providing the most important site selection data on their mobile device,” said Gopal. “PowerMap helps economic developers bring new jobs, new companies, and new revenue to their region.”

PowerMap is part of a suite of economic development efforts by Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives that includes a new economic development website as well as StateBook rollouts of 104 economic development sites for our cooperatives and counties served.

The PowerMap application is available for download to Apple devices on the App Store and to Android devices on the Google Play store. The web application is available at www.PowerMapKY.org.