Category: Vision Awards Breakfast

The Greater Clark Foundation Receives 2023 Vision Award for Community Enhancement

The 2023 Vision Award for Community Enhancement is awarded to The Greater Clark Foundation.  The Greater Clark Foundation has done an amazing job  in Winchester and Clark County in recent years.

Since its launch in 2013, GCF has provided aspirational leadership and encouraged an Ambition for a Vibrant Community. GCF believes strong citizens build strong communities. But the right conditions — capacity, collaboration, communication, and cohesion — must be healthy and vibrant to stimulate a community identity that is forward-leaning, self-sustaining, engaged, and resilient.

From visualization of North Main Street to ideal racial justice investments, to solving local issues with public innovators, to the wonderful gift of Legacy Park Grove to the Citizens of Winchester and Clark County.   We Congratulate the Greater Clark Foundation, and Executive Director Jen Algire with the 2023 Bluegrass Tomorrow Vision Award for Community Enhancement.

Dr. Nancy Cox Receives 2023 Vision Award for Agriculture & Sustainability

The Agriculture & Sustainability Vision Award is presented to an individual or organization that has made a major impact on our signature industry in the Bluegrass Region, and our recipient this year has been making a remarkable impact on our Agriculture industry for many years.

The College of Agriculture, Food and Environment is one of UK’s largest undergraduate colleges and ranks second among UK colleges in external funding. It is home to the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, which has offices in all 120 counties and serves a critical role in disseminating knowledge to the citizens of the Commonwealth.

Under Dean Cox, the college has seen tremendous growth in support of the state’s signature equine and distilled spirits industries. As a renowned animal physiologist and associate dean, she accelerated the college’s land-grant role as a research and engagement leader in Kentucky agriculture; prioritizing investments in veterinary diagnostics, equine health and safety, and animal and forage production.

Thank you, Dr. Nancy Cox, for your service to the Commonwealth in our signature industries for so many years, we are proud to present you the 2023 Vision Award for Agriculture and Sustainability.



Dr. Blaine Early Receives 2023 Robert N. Clay Service Award

The Robert N. Clay Award is named after the first President of Bluegrass Tomorrow back in 1989, when he was also President of Three Chimney’s Farm. It is a Board, President’s Award and is really a most valuable player award presented to a board member for outstanding service….who has done the most to improve Bluegrass Tomorrow and promote its mission over the past year or years.

The Award is chosen by the President and Chair of Bluegrass Tomorrow, with the approval of the selection committee and executive committee.

Our Robert Clay Award Winner, Dr. Blaine Early who has practiced environmental law at Stites & Harbison for over 20 years. He has been a very active Board member through his four terms on the Board of Directors. He has served as Vice Chair for two years and Chair in 2009 and 2010.

Blaine has held several other positions as an officer of the board, including secretary for 3 years and is currently in the third year as Vice President of the Bluegrass Forever Green Division, overseeing the Conservation, Preservation, and Sustainability programming and initiatives of Bluegrass Tomorrow.

Last year, Blaine was responsible for the planning and execution of the first ever Bluegrass Forever Green Summer Conference at Transylvainia University. The purpose of the event was to focus on Blugrass Tomorrow’s Vision for a Sustainable Future in the Region, with the preservation of our most productive agricultural land as the centerpiece of Bluegrass Sustainability.

Blaine worked diligently with the committee to help define the four pillars of sustainability according to Bluegrass Tomorrow, based on our Vision and Mission Statements.
1. Land Use, Agriculture
2. Smart Growth/Preservation/Infill
3. Environment, Sustainability, Natural Resources
4. Recreation, Trails, Healthy Living
And the four panel presentations at the event lined up with each of these pillars. So many initiatives and strategies have resulted from this conference. Blaine even wrote, edited, and printed the program for the event himself.

The 2nd Bluegrass Forever Green Conference will take place this August under Blaine’s leadership.

Dr. Early is a former chair of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Energy & Environment Council and the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government Environmental Commission. Before law, he was a professor of biology and chair of the department at Cumberland College.

We are proud and honored to present the 2023 Bluegrass Tomorrow Robert N. Clay Vision Award to Dr. Blaine Early.



Will Arvin Receives 2023 Vision Award for Preservation & Adaptive Reuse

The 2023 Vision Award for Preservation & Adaptive Reuse is presented to Will Arvin for an outstanding example of an important element of Bluegrass Tomorrow’s vision for the region. Will Arvin was certainly a visionary when he accepted the challenge of preserving and renovating the Castle & Key Distillery located on the Woodford/Franklin County border first built on Glenn’s Creek in 1887 as the Old Taylor Distillery by Colonel Edmund H. Taylor.

It is interesting to note that renowned landscape architect Jon Carloftis calls restoring the sunken garden at Castle & Key one of his all-time favorite projects, and the garden and landscape on the entire property is stunning. The time and patience the Castle & Key team has put into their distilled products is evident in their products like Restoration Rye, Roots of Ruin Dry Gin and just released Small Batch Wheated Bourbon.

Mr. Kris Kimel Receives 2023 Bluegrass Legacy Award

Our 2023 Bluegrass Legacy award recipient is a national leader in deep space research and a leader in the Kentucky aerospace industry, Kris Kimel, co-founder of Space Tango and several other entrepreneurial STEM related enterprises.  Let’s go to the video Kyle.

Kris Kimel’s most recent endeavor into space research is the Founder of Humanity in Deep Space in 2019, an initiative that fosters a planetary conversation as humankind continues its transition into space as our minds surround the possibilities and limitations of the future.

Early in his career, Kimel served as the executive assistant for the Kentucky Attorney General and chief administrative assistant for Lieutenant Governor Steve Beshear, who was also secretary of the Bluegrass Tomorrow Board of Directors at that time.

We don’t have Star Wars music to play, but let’s imagine it….. as we congratulate our 2023 Bluegrass Legacy Award for Entrepreneurship in Aerospace Technology, Kris Kimel.

Dr. Eli Capilouto Receives 2023 Vision Award for Excellence in Education

The 2023 Vision Award is for Excellence in Education was presented President Eli Capilouto, who has been a great leader for higher education in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Dr. Capilouto hosted the Bluegrass Higher Education Consortium’s Presidents’ & Superintendents Summit luncheon at UK in December 2022. When he was introduced by Rob it was noted that President Capilouto is the last remaining President who was signatory of the Bluegrass Higher Education Consortium Charter Agreement back in 2012. As  President Capilouto began to address the audience he noted that “he should probably win some kind of award for that, right?”   He was unaware The Vision Awards Committee had already chosen him for this excellence in education honor.

Thank you President Capilouto for your leadership and for your support of the Bluegrass Higher Education Consortium.

Like most great leaders, President Capilouto does not take credit for the University of Kentucky’s recent successes, rather he credits his great leadership team, faculty and staff, calling his team “The Power of We.”

Because of this “Power of We” there has been a transformation of the campus, resulting in historic student success, improved health care of our people, unrivaled ingenuity, greater trust, transparency and accountability; and a more inclusive community. This progress on campus is resulting in a high-quality talented workforce and improved well-being for the Commonwealth.  Thank you Dr. Capilouto for your service!

We are happy to announce that the Excellence in Education Vision Award is presented to Dr. Eli Capilouto, University of Kentucky.