Chamber welcomes 22 to Patton Leadership Institute 2020 class

Pikeville, KY (October 17, 2019) – Patton Leadership Institute kicked off a new cycle by welcoming 22 business leaders from across the region to the program during a retreat held at Breaks Interstate Park last week.

Patton Leadership Institute takes its name from Gov. Paul and Judi Patton, and the leadership they have displayed for the region and state of Kentucky over the years. PLI builds teams of emerging leaders from throughout the region who have assumed leadership roles in their communities but may not hold established positions.

Participants in the program attend a two-day opening session and eight day-long sessions during a nine-month period. The curriculum weaves together topics crucial to the development of community such as education, economic development, healthcare, energy, tourism, and government. Key leadership skills are integrated into each session.

“Patton Leadership Institute provides a unique opportunity for individuals to strengthen their leadership skills, to learn from other leaders throughout the region, and to have some fun in the process,” said Jordan Gibson, Southeast Kentucky Chamber president and CEO. “We are excited to welcome a new group of individuals to the program for the 2020 class.”

During the retreat, the group of leaders participated in a number of activities to get to know each other and themselves. Some of those activities included a workshop devoted to finding their communication styles and understanding styles of others, an exercise which participants defined the challenges facing the region, as well as a team zipline and hike.

During one of the exercises, the group narrowed down what they thought to be the three biggest factors facing the region – the abundance of drugs and opioids; a lack of pride in the area and in ourselves; and the need for job creation, infrastructure, and industry. They discussed possible solutions to the problems and ways the needs of the region can be met.

The 22 business leaders participating in the 2020 Patton Leadership Institute class include: Meagan Russell, Appalachian Wireless; Kelli Martin, Big Sandy Community & Technical College; Josh Thacker, Big Sandy Community & Technical College; Summer Morris, Big Sandy Health Care; David Akers, Community Trust Bank; Brenton Belcher, Community Trust Bank; Sarah Lange Hyden, Edward Jones; Joshua Keeton, Fast Change Lube & Oil; Sam Tackett, Fast Change Lube & Oil; Melissa Little, Food City; Daniel May, Food City; Billy Burgett, Food City; Kaylie Miller, Foundation for Appalachia KY; Shane Allen, Kentucky Power; David Sammons, Kentucky Power; Josh Little, Southeast Kentucky Chamber; Jennifer Dugan, University of Pikeville; LeAnne Epling, University of Pikeville; Courtney Justice, University of Pikeville; Eric McLaughlin, University of Pikeville; Tivis Newsom, US Bank; and Tiffany Slone, WestCare.

Patton Leadership Institute is presented by Food City with additional support from Appalachian Wireless, Fast Change Lube and Oil, Kentucky Power, and the University of Pikeville.

In addition to the leadership exercises at the opening retreat, each participant of the program was also provided a head-shot courtesy of Moments of the Heart Photography by Deneisha Osborne.

For more information about the Chamber or the Patton Leadership Institute, visit them online at,, or call 606.432.5504.

The Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce is located at 178 College Street, Pikeville, and serves more than 500 businesses in eight Eastern Kentucky Counties: Floyd, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, and Pike. The Chamber’s mission is to be a resource for businesses in Southeast Kentucky that is committed to improving the regional economy.