PRESS RELEASE: The Appalachian Regional Commission Names Kim Davis as Appalachian Leadership Institute Fellow




Olivia Bailey

Friends of Southwest Virginia


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The Appalachian Regional Commission Names Kim Davis as Appalachian Leadership Institute Fellow

Kim to Represent Virginia in Intensive Regional Leadership Development Program


ABINGDON, Va. (Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022)  – The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) named Kim Davis, Executive Director of Friends of Southwest Virginia, to participate in the 2022-2023 class of the Appalachian Leadership Institute, a free leadership and economic development training opportunity for individuals currently living and/or working in one of ARC’s 13 Appalachian states.

Kim Davis is the executive director of Friends of Southwest Virginia.

The 2022-2023 class comprises a diverse network of professionals representing all 13 Appalachian states and a wide spectrum of perspectives and sectors, including tourism, healthcare, education, civil service, and more.


The nine-month curriculum is anchored by six multi-day seminars across the Appalachian region focusing on each of ARC’s strategic investment priorities, which aim to strengthen economic and community growth in Appalachia. The fourth class will run from October 2022 through July 2023, focusing on skill-building seminars and best practice reviews to prepare fellows to:

  • Design effective economic development project proposals
  • Integrate community assets into long-term economic development strategies
  • Identify resources available to spark economic and community development
  • Locate and access investment capital from a variety of public and private sources
  • Prepare competitive applications for public grant opportunities
  • Use expanded connections and leadership skills to create strong regional partnerships

Two other Southwest Virginia professionals were also selected to the ARC Leadership Institute. These include Emily Kate Bowen, Dental Assisting Program Director, Mountain Empire Community College, Big Stone Gap, and Robert Kell, New Economy Program Manager, Appalachian Voices, Norton.


. “I am looking forward to working alongside leaders from throughout the Appalachian region to learn from their experiences and find ways to build long-term economic development initiatives for our region.” Kim Davis, Executive Director of Friends of Southwest Virginia“I am honored to represent Southwest Virginia in this year’s Appalachian Leadership Institute Fellows,” said


Upon completion of the program, Kim will automatically become part of the Appalachian Leadership Institute Alumni Network, a peer-to-peer working group of experts helping foster collaborative solutions that will build a stronger future for Appalachia.


Appalachian Leadership Institute fellows were selected via a competitive application process to reflect the Appalachian region’s wide range of economic development challenges, opportunities, and strategies.


“I am eager to see this class of fellows collaborate across state lines to set big goals that will help the entire Appalachian region thrive.”ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin.”Congratulations to the incoming 2022-2023 class of Appalachian Leadership Institute fellows! These leaders are already growing their Appalachian communities and will be even better equipped to drive positive change after their work with this program,” said


To learn more about the program, visit


To meet the 2022-2023 class of fellows and learn more about how they are working to transform their Appalachian communities, visit: