The Heber Springs Chamber of Commerce held their annual banquet recently. Eagle Pest Management was named Outstanding Business of the Year while the Downtown Network was awarded the Outstanding Non Profit award. Keynote Speaker was Randy Zook, President and Chief Executive Officer Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and the Associated Industries of Arkansas. Zook spoke on the needs of businesses in Arkansas and the efforts of Gov. Asa Hutchinson to fulfill these needs. He also discussed the need for 600 R.N.’s on the stretch of I-630 in Little Rock, where there are seven hospitals on that stretch. There is also a need for 3,000 C.N.A.’s. The poultry processing industry needs 25,000 to 30,000 employees for above average jobs but have no one applying. Tyson has made a 10 million dollar investment to help train students for these jobs.
Zook praised the Pangburn School District for their program which teaches soft skills to students. Zook said he hears business leaders say they need workers who can show up for work sober and on time.
“It is a great time of growth and an enormous time of opportunity for Arkansas if we make the right strategic choices.” said Zook.
Jo Price was inducted into the Hall of Honor as the 14th inductee. Price is a former Executive Director of the Chamber.
“This isn’t about me. I share this with the volunteers, members, board, Arlen Anderson and Ina Brown.” said Price. “I love this community.”
Price spoke of working at the Anglers Expo in the Greers Ferry Trails Festival Booth and was so happy to see people walking around the track here at the community center. Price said she is thankful for Ricky Davis for spearheading the one cent sales tax that allowed the community center to be built.
The Past President award was given to Brett Graham, outgoing Chamber President. Rena Kelly was given an outgoing board member award. Paula Sporn was given one but was unable to attend the meeting.
Julie Murray, Chamber Director thanked the corporate sponsors of the banquet. She announced Harold Chapin VI, the Distinguished Award and gave the audience a history of what he has done for the community.
“Howard moved to Cleburne County in 1982 where he served as President of the newly formed First National Bank of Cleburne County. As president, he became very involved in the community development of the area.
Howard is a charter member and past president of the Rotary Club of Cleburne County with 25 years of perfect attendance. While involved with Rotary, he served several clubs as the Governor's Representative. He was recognized as Club Rotarian of the Year in 2009, and was recognized as Paul Harris Fellow
In 1999, Howard became president of First Security Bank in Heber Springs where he was extremely involved in creating and building the two bank facilities that exist today. He was the catalyst for providing one of the former First Security Bank buildings as the new home of the Heber Springs Area Chamber of Commerce offices in 2016.
Beginning in 1997, Howard was a key member of a group of Heber Springs citizens that worked to pass a half-cent countywide sales tax to support an ASU-Heber Springs campus. The campus, consisting of an Academic Center and Student Services Building, opened in 2007. Howard is a charter member and past president of the ASU Development Council for the Heber Springs campus.
In addition, Howard has served on the Board of Visitors for Arkansas State University-Beebe, the Board of Directors for the Arkansas State University Foundation, and the Board of Directors for The Community School of Cleburne County. He is a member of the First United Methodist Church and has served on the Finance Committee, as treasurer and various other committees.
Howard has been married to Alyce for 42 years, they have one daughter, Kayla and son in law, Ben.” said Murray.
The meal was catered by Arrows.