SOMERSET, Ky. — The Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority (SPEDA) was recognized as Business of the Year by the Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce.
Nominated in the 2-5 employee category, SPEDA received the honor at the Chamber’s annual banquet and awards ceremony. The city-county partnership, now entering its fourth year, was selected for its unique and proactive approach to reinventing economic development with a focus on quality of life initiatives.
SPEDA uses industrial recruitment, business and business development, tourism marketing and promotion, education, workforce development, arts and entertainment, and community planning to improve the quality of life in Somerset, Pulaski County and the Lake Cumberland region. The organization – led by a nine-member Board of Directors representing city and county government as well as a variety of economic sectors – embraces the values of boldness, dynamism, innovation, growth, of collaboration and unity to improve the economic, political and social well-being of the inhabitants of the commune.
Through this approach, SPEDA has reinvigorated the local economy and earned Somerset-Pulaski County a place at the table in statewide economic development discussions. In 2021 alone, SPEDA announced over $300 million in newly committed retail development and $30 million in existing retail expansion. This included the grand opening of the community’s first bourbon distillery, Horse Soldier Bourbon, and its first sustainable indoor farm, AppHarvest, both of which received national media attention.
SPEDA has also launched several initiatives that are firsts in Kentucky, including a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that raises funds for community projects. In its first attempt, the SPEDA Community Foundation has so far raised nearly $200,000 for Somerset’s first Veterans Memorial Park, which will be built downtown in 2022.
The SPEDA team includes Girdler and chief accounting officer Jessica Carlton, who both work tirelessly to ensure SPEDA operates smoothly, efficiently and transparently, said board chairman Brook Ping.
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