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Attracting jobs, industry to rural America

Kentucky takes center stage at economic development conference

Like a championship coach opening his playbook for other teams, Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives are sharing the secrets of their economic development success with economic development professionals from across the country at a major conference in Louisville later this month.

“We are helping our communities make the very best impression they can, because it means jobs and investment for Kentucky,” said Rodney Hitch, economic development manager for Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives.

Using ground-breaking tools to showcase Kentucky’s resources to industries looking to expand or relocate, Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives have been involved in economic development projects that resulted in 7,000 jobs and over $2 billion in investment for Kentucky.

Last month, the International Economic Development Council awarded the Kentucky team the Excellence In Economic Development Award for New Media at the organization’s annual conference in Toronto.

“We want to share real world experiences and technologies,” said Brad Thomas, associate manager of economic development.

Thomas is among more than a dozen speakers scheduled to address the EUCI conference October 23-24 in Louisville, Economic Development Best Practices within Electric Cooperative & Municipal Utility Communities.

Other presenters include Statebook International, Powersouth Energy Cooperative, Denton Municipal Electric and more, discussing how to leverage numerous economic development tools. The conference will review rural development programs, and assess how to respond to communities’ demands for efficient and renewable energy and site readiness to help “close the deal.”

“The integrated design of the cooperative and municipal utility business model grants the opportunity for this industry to help better serve the communities for which they provide power,” said Jessica Matson, EUCI Program Manager.

Matson said the conference will showcase modern technologies and innovations available for economic development professionals and utilities looking to increase electric load through attraction of new industrial and commercial activity.

Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives are leading the field by using PowerMap, a first-of-its-kind tool that puts the power of locational knowledge in the hands of economic development professionals. The technology provides detailed cooperative service territory maps, state of the art drone flights to showcase top industrial sites, and economic development data.

More information is available on the EUCI website or at the EUCI office: 303-770-8800.

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