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Center for Rural Development celebrates 20 years

U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers, right, presented Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of The Center for Rural Development, with the Hal Rogers Innovative Leadership Award. Lawson was recognized for his leadership role at The Center and service to Southern and Eastern Kentucky.
U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers, right, presented Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of The Center for Rural Development, with the Hal Rogers Innovative Leadership Award. Lawson was recognized for his leadership role at The Center and service to Southern and Eastern Kentucky. Photo provided

▪ The Center for Rural Development is celebrating 20 years as a “symbol of hope” for Southern and Eastern Kentucky. The Center for Rural Development, a nonprofit organization was created in large part by U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers to be a state and national model for rural economic development.

More than 250 people — many of the original founding members and past and present board members — gathered Dec. 12, at The Center in Somerset to celebrate the success of the last 20 years and to look ahead.

During the celebration, two community leaders and long-time supporters of The Center were presented Hal Rogers Difference Maker Awards: Joseph L. Fink III, professor of pharmacy law and policy at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy and the Kentucky Pharmacists Association professor of leadership, and Allen Anderson, head coach and CEO of South Kentucky RECC.

The Hal Rogers Difference Maker Awards are presented to individuals who are making a difference in the Fifth Congressional District.

▪ Heather Purnell, a paralegal with DelCotto Law Group, is the recipient of the 2016 Donald E. Eppler Commitment Award, presented by the Greater Lexington Paralegal Association. Each year, the Donald E. Eppler Commitment Award is given to a paralegal who has demonstrated love, enthusiasm and commitment for the GLPA and the paralegal profession.

▪ Community Trust Bank has been awarded the Gold Lender Award by the United States Small Business Administration as Kentucky’s top community bank SBA 7a lender in 2015-2016. This is the eighth consecutive year that Community Trust has received this award from the SBA.

Over the last eight fiscal years, Community Trust has closed more than 680 SBA 7a and 504 loans, providing in excess of $115 million for small businesses in the communities it serves. During the most recent fiscal year, Community Trust Bank closed or increased 79 SBA 7a and 504 loans, representing more than $15 million.

Bob Watson in Versailles was the top SBA lender for Community Trust Bank in number of loans for the eighth consecutive year. Watson closed or increased 15 SBA loans for more than $6.7 million.

▪ Hera BioLabs, a Lexington-based contract research organization serving the pharmaceutical and biotech markets, announced it has been awarded a $400,000 Kentucky SBIR/STTR Matching Funds Grant to develop new products and services. Hera utilizes advanced gene editing technology to develop improved drug discovery tools for the $10 billion pre-clinical CRO outsourcing market.

The grant adds to Hera’s $774,000 National Institutes of Health grant for a total of more than $1.1 million in non-dilutive funding through the end of 2017. In order to qualify to apply for the SBIR/STTR Matching Funds Grant Hera was required to raise at least $400K in private investment funding.

Compiled by Dorothea Wingo

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