Nonprofit organization Concordia holds summit in Lexington


Former US Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and Concordia CEO Matthew Swift speak during a fireside chat on transportation and innovation at the Concordia Lexington Summit on Friday, April 8, 2022, in Lexington, Kentucky.

Sophia Shoemaker

The nonprofit organization Concordia held its first ever Lexington summit on April 7 and 8 at the Lexington Marriott City Center.

Founded in 2011, the organization is a non-partisan entity that “enables public-private partnerships to create a more prosperous and sustainable future,” according to its LinkedIn page. Concordia is known for holding summits where government leaders, business owners and students gather to share ideas and address challenges.

The summit began as an annual event in 2011 in New York City. The organization has since held summits in Miami and now Lexington. Participants are also able to join any summit virtually.

“Ever since I started Concordia with my best friend Nick Logothetis, I’ve always wanted to do something that focused on the United States,” Matthew Swift, co-founder and CEO of Concordia, said. “Kentucky is within 24 hours of 90% of the country. It’s a manufacturing hub, it’s an infrastructure hub, transportation hub. It’s such a great story.”

Notable speakers included UK president Eli Capilouto, Mark Stoops, Lt. Col. Amy McGrath, Gov. Andy Beshear, former President of Colombia Alvaro Uribe and former President of Uruguay Luis Alberto Lacalle.

In order to hold the Lexington Summit, Concordia partnered with Rubicon, a Lexington waste company. Nate Morris, the CEO and founder of Rubicon, advocates for Kentucky to be considered a hub for business and commerce.

“Nate could locate his global company anywhere,” Capilouto said. “But he has chosen to be here [Lexington] because he understands the potential of this place. He is passionate about the promise of UK, of this community, of this Commonwealth.”

University of Kentucky colleges, such as the Gatton College of Business and Economics and the Rosenberg College of Law, were programming partners for the Concordia Lexington Summit.

Among the sessions held at the summit was “Student Perspectives on the Future,” which featured UK students such as SGA president Michael Hawse.

Swift urged students to use their programming to learn and use the platform to share their ideas.

“My advice to the student population of the University of Kentucky is don’t let opportunities pass you by,” Swift said. “Seize the moment, seize the opportunities that exist. Do internships, learn about your home state, learn about the country, learn about the world. Participate in our programming. Come in with an open mind.”

Another student on the panel was senior Veronica Reyes, President of the Economics Society and DACA student. When the panel was asked to debate the merits of socialism versus capitalism, Reyes offered her perspective.

“I lean more capitalist because I grew up in an area that didn’t have the opportunities that my whole family came to America to give me,” Reyes said. “I have a very different perspective on it. I think that we should lean a little more capitalist because we have that sense of opportunity that I didn’t have in my country.”

According to Swift, her responses during the session were so moving that many of the Latin American politicians participating in the summit wanted to meet with her.

“My family had to leave everything behind. I didn’t know how to speak English when I came to America,” Reyes said.

A few other sessions held at the summit were “Tackling Hunger in the Heartland,” “Equitable Economic Recovery” and “Fixing America’s Black Mental Health Crisis.”