Learning Through Research

Plenary Speakers


Plenary Speakers


Dr. T. Pearse Lyons is the founder and president of Alltech, a top-10 animal health company that employs more than 3,500 people and conducts business in 128 countries.  Founded in 1980 with $10,000 capital, the company has grown to annual sales of nearly $1 billion.  Dr. Lyons is widely recognized as an innovative industry leader. His scientific expertise, combined with an acute business sense, helped revolutionize the animal feed industry through the introduction of natural ingredients to feed.  Now in its fourth decade of business, Alltech improves the health and performance of people, animals and plants through natural nutrition and scientific innovation.  Dr. Lyons received his bachelor's degree from University College Dublin, Ireland and obtained his maters' and doctoral degrees at the University of Birmingham, England.  He later worked as a biochemist for Irish Distillers before founding Alltech.  Since then, he has authored more than 20 books and numerous research papers in scientific journals. 

Dr. Lyons was acknowledged as leading one of the top 100 fastest-growing high-tech companies by World Trade Magazine.  He has been recognized for his contribution to science and industry and has been awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Plymouth, England; Heriot-Watt University, Scotland; and the University of Kentucky, Centre College, Eastern Kentucky University and the University of Pikeville, United States.  University College Dublin awarded Lyons an honorary doctorate on the occasion of its 150th anniversary.  In 2013, Dr. Lyons was named Business Person of the Year by Business and Finance, was honored as one of Irish America's Business 100 and received the prestigious Ireland-U.S. Council Award for Outstanding Achievement.  In 2013, he was once again named to Irish America's Business 100 and was selected to receive the Commander's Award for Public Service, a rarely-presented official U.S. Army medal.  Dr. Lyons has spearheaded Alltech's commitment to international equestrian sport, beginning with the Alltech FEI World Equestrian GamesTM 2010 in Lexington, Kentucky, which were attended by more than half a million spectators from all 50 U.S. states and 63 countries and joined by another 500 million television viewers.  Dr. Lyons' leadership in the historic event led to his receipt of the Commonwealth of Kentucky's first-ever Legacy Award in 2011.  Alltech is proud to continue its partnership with these elite world championships.  The Alltech FEI World Equestrian GamesTM 2014 in Normandy, France, will take place from August 23 to September 7, 2014.  This plenary session is sponsored by Alltech.

Mr. Kris W. Kimel presents, Big Ideas Start at Crazy.  Mr. Kimel is the founder and serves as the President of Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation. He also serves as a Partner of NanoRacks LLC. Mr. Kimel is a leader behind the vision and implementation of Kentucky Space, a non-profit enterprise focused on the design, development and application of entrepreneurial and educational space platforms. He is also the founder of the international IdeaFestival (IF), a world-class event that attracts leading and highly diverse thinkers from across the nation and around the globe to explore and celebrate innovation, imagination and game-changing ideas.  This plenary session sponsored by Gallatin Steel.


Nikky Finney was born in South Carolina, within listening distance of the sea. A child of activists, she came of age during the civil rights and Black Arts Movements. At Talladega College, nurtured by Hale Woodruff's Amistad murals, Finney began to understand the powerful synergy between art and history. Finney has authored four books of poetry: Head Off & Split (2011); The World Is Round (2003); Rice (1995); and On Wings Made of Gauze (1985). The John H. Bennett, Jr. Chair in Southern Letters and Literature at the University of South Carolina, Finney also authored Heartwood (1997) edited The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South (2007), and co-founded the Affrilachian Poets.  Finney's fourth book of poetry Head Off & Split was awarded the 2011 National Book Award for poetry.  This plenary session sponsored by Lockheed Martin and Toyota.

Ernest Bailey, Ph.D. is a professor of veterinary science at the University of Kentucky's Gluck Equine Research Center and coordinator for the USDA Horse Genome collaboration, an international effort by over 100 scientists in 20 countries to define the genome, the DNA sequence, of the domestic horse. With this knowledge, scientists can begin to understand the genetic aspects of equine physiology and disease. Genetic tools have the potential to help researchers find new therapies and treatments for diseases such as laminitis, respiratory diseases, etc.  This plenary session sponsored by Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation.