August was a busy month.
Your regional Chamber hosted US Senator Tom Cotton in a dialogue with community leaders (along with North Arkansas College); board chair Gwen Hoffmann and I visited the Clarksville-Johnson County Chamber and Economic Development Organization to learn their best practices; we welcomed four new investors (Leap Kids Pediatric Dental; Nortech Graphics; Simon CRE, owners of North Hills Shopping Center; and Sweet Home Pet Sitting Service); held ribbon-cuttings and open houses with URTH Wellness, Modern Woodman, and NorthArk’s new grill; I met with the Newton County Chamber of Commerce to discuss partnering and visited the O.U.R. Cooperative to learn about their valuable resources; we conducted Windstream and United Way Business After Hours events; we began detailed planning for the 2020 Annual Meeting, and the 2019-2020 Boone County Leadership Institute, presented by Kinetic by Windstream; I met with three local prime business leaders regarding expansions and entertained three perspective new industry CEOs; we said goodbye to Yassin Mbugi, our summer communications intern (returning to North Arkansas College) and welcomed Lloyd Mahoney as our new First Impressions Manager.
All of this, in addition to our routine work with Chamber Board and committee meetings and attending City Council, Quorum Court and CVB regular meetings, working on next steps for #believeboonecounty, (big news coming!), kept us busy.
Two highlights stand out for August. The first, helping coordinate the first-ever Small Biz Connection. Meeting for several months, Don and Rebecca Yarborough, Franklin Harp, Clint Howard, Emily Powers, Joan Bell, Jean Cochran, Leslie Holt and Amber Resnick, all small business owners and entrepreneurs, established this group to advocate and support small business and entrepreneurial growth in Harrison and the region. This energetic, enthusiastic and imaginative team has taken a concept to fruition. The SBC’s first gathering will be September 11, at the Durand Center, inviting ALL small business owners to come share their challenges and successes, and announce several educational workshop topics planned in the months ahead.
The second highlight was the opportunity for me to attend the 2019 Arkansas Economic Developers and Chamber Executives (AEDCE) Annual Meeting in Fort Smith. This three-day event was packed with best-practices, information, and great speakers. I engaged with Governor Hutchinson, Lt Governor Griffin, Secretary of Commerce Preston and other state leaders, along with many successful economic developers from across the state. The education and networking were well worth being away from the office a couple of days.
I hope this gives the community a small glimpse of what everyday life is like at your Chamber. But if you think August was busy, just hold on as we move into September. I’m honored to be part of this great team … taking care of business! Cheers, Bob