Aaron Dockery one of 41 participants who will innovate, collaborate and advance community and economic development in Appalachian Kentucky

City of Somerset Engineer Aaron Dockery is one of 41 participants selected for the second BRIGHT Kentucky class, a Leadership Kentucky initiative designed to build the capacity of next-generation leaders in the Appalachian region of the state.

Participants of the 2020 class hail from 30 different counties in the region and a variety of public and private sectors. Dockery joins United Way Executive Director Crystal Cox in representing Pulaski County.

City of Somerset Engineer Aaron Dockery

Dockery said he is honored to participate in the program.

“It is truly humbling to be seen as someone who may have the potential to take part in leading the coming generation of eastern Kentucky,” Dockery said. “I am thankful that the city of Somerset and its leaders would allow me this opportunity and hope to gain insight from other areas of the commonwealth that we can apply to continue moving Somerset forward.”

BRIGHT Kentucky, which began in 2019, engages bright, entrepreneurial minds from various occupational sectors to offer non-partisan, ethical leadership training, expanded networks, and mentors designed especially for residents of the 54 Kentucky counties of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). The program is made possible by a $500,000 ARC grant and private funding from the Whitaker Foundation, SOAR, and others.

Leadership Kentucky, established in 1984, brings together a select group of people who possess a broad variety of leadership abilities, career accomplishments, and volunteer activities to gain insight into complex issues facing the state. Its goal is to prepare participants to take an active role in advancing the state for the common good. The BRIGHT program is an extension of this mission.

Somerset Mayor Alan Keck said Dockery’s passion for his community and the state of Kentucky make him an excellent choice for this opportunity.

“Aaron not only has a vision for how to make Somerset a better place to live, work and play, but he gets the opportunity as an engineer for the city to be hands-on in the process of making it so,” Keck said. “I’m thrilled he is taking part in this program and can’t wait to see what ideas he will bring back to our team.”

BRIGHT Kentucky is made up of five, three-day sessions where the focal point is to help participants fully understand the local economic context and to build robust skill sets in communication, collaboration, consensus building, visioning, and community engagement.

The program, which runs July through November, will take participants across Eastern Kentucky. It began in Somerset in July, where the class heard from business leaders, visited Lake Cumberland, and networked with other participants. It continues in Ashland in August, Berea/Frankfort in September, Pikeville in October, and Hazard in November.

Dockery is a graduate of Somerset High School and the honors college at Western Kentucky University, where he earned a degree in civil engineering. He worked for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet for six years before joining the City of Somerset, where he works closely with the executive staff to oversee community improvement projects in addition to his partial duties as city engineer.

Dockery recently launched his own private engineering firm, Triple Point Engineering, with a vision of providing fiscally responsible consulting services to municipalities.