Board of Directors


John Cornett, President

John Cornett is the president and founder of Appalachian Connection. John is a graduate of Hazard High School, earned a Bachelor of Science from the United States Air Force Academy, and his MBA from Wright State University.
Upon graduation from the Academy, John began a career in the active duty Air Force. After five years of active duty, he transferred to the Air Force Reserve where he continues to serve as a leader in the financial management career field.
In the corporate world, John has worked for multiple Fortune 500 companies with experience ranging from manufacturing to financial and program management. Today, John leads a team focusing on contract and vendor management.
On the personal side, John has learned a great deal about scholarships from his lovely wife Kathy, who is a high school math teacher. John and Kathy are blessed with two wonderful children, Connor and Kylie.


Patrick Farrell, Director

Patrick Farrell is the founder and President of Savage Grant, a holding company created to capitalize on the opportunities in Appalachia that have broad tailwinds from the energy, infrastructure, and technology industries. The company’s primary focus is to grow a diversified portfolio of non-correlated assets through the creation or acquisition of privately held businesses.
As part of that strategy Patrick co-founded Mountain Point, a Charlotte, NC based cloud technology consulting firm and acquired Service Pump & Supply, an industrial products and services company serving the mining, municipal, and oil and gas industries.
Patrick is a board member of the St. Joseph Catholic School and the Mountain State Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization. He is the founder and president of West Virginia Veterans Inc., a non-profit dedicated to increasing veteran employment.
Patrick served in the US Air Force as an F-15E Strike Eagles weapons systems operator. He is a decorated combat veteran and was awarded Distinguished Flying Cross for Heroism, four Air Medals, and an Aerial Achievement Medal.
Patrick is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and earned his MBA from the Duke University Fuqua School of Business. He lives in Huntington, WV with his wife and children and spends his free time as a Cub Scout Pack Leader and coaching his sons’ sports teams.


George Fitz, Director

Born and raised in Hazard, Kentucky, George’s days were spent soaking up an education in some of Appalachia’s finest schools, his afternoons were spent operating camera and master control for WYMT-TV and his nights were often spent sneaking out of the house and stealing his parents’ Buick Elektra station wagon (kids, don’t try that at home). Upon graduation from Hazard High School in 1991, George left the beautiful hills of Eastern Kentucky to spend 4 chilly years attending Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Television & Film Studies, George moved to California to pursue his craft as a Visual Effects Artist for film and television. His work has appeared in Academy Award winning films and has been featured at distinguished film festivals such as Sundance, Tribecca and Cannes, where his work was awarded the prestigious Cannes Gold Lion in the advertising category. While George has enjoyed the fruits that the West offers, he has always had one foot back home in Eastern Kentucky. He is the owner of Pikeville Mini Storage in Pikeville, Kentucky and he is also excited to use Appalachian Connection to give back to the community that has given him so much. George lives in Santa Monica, California with his wife Christina and his two daughters.

Hugh Trigg Mitchell, Jr., Secretary

Trigg Mitchell is a financial advisor at Raymond James who builds personalized financial plans that help his clients achieve their financial objectives, whether it be saving for college tuition, planning for retirement, business succession planning or estate planning. Prior to joining Raymond James, Trigg worked as a tax consultant at a Big 5 accounting firm and practiced law for more than 10 years with an emphasis in corporate transactions and estate planning. In 2013, Trigg received the Martindale-Hubbell AV Peer Review Rating, which is an indicator of a lawyer’s high ethical standards and professional ability, and is awarded to less than 5% of attorneys nationwide. Trigg is a 1991 graduate of Hazard High School. He graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in accounting in 1995. He then went on to earn his law degree from the Salmon P. Chase College of Law in 2000, and his LL.M. in Taxation from the University of Denver in 2002. Trigg stays involved in the community by volunteering with The First Tee of Lexington and serving on the board of directors of Appalachian Connection and the ARH Foundation for Healthier Communities. Trigg makes his home in Lexington, KY with his two daughters, Grace and Emmy.

Charlotte Fitz Daniels, Communications Director

Hazard native, Charlotte Fitz Daniels is passionate about education.  Charlotte is a ceramic artist and curator of the Faulkner Art Gallery.  She also organizes programs and events at Joyner Library, East Carolina University.   She is a graduate of Guilford College in Greensboro, NC and has an Masters of Arts in Teaching and Ceramics from East Carolina University in Greenville, NC.  She is loves the arts and has worked in non profit management and fundraising while she was the Executive Director of the Greenville Museum of Art.  She lives in Winterville, NC with her husband, Chris, her two stepchildren, and menagerie of animals.