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EVENTS The Conway Area Chamber of Commerce offers a variety of events that provide valuable networking opportunities and avenues for business exposure. These events serve four primary functions for our members and the community: promote, honor, connect, and grow.


ANNUAL MEETING #ConwayAM An awards ceremony recognizing individuals and businesses that have made a difference in Conway over the past year is one of the highlights of the Annual Meeting, Conway’s largest business event. Distinguished Service Award Jerry Adams Good Neighbor Award Cheryl Daniels Business Executive of the Year Dr. Greg Murry, Conway Public Schools Rhea Lana Riner, Rhea Lana Inc. Young Business Leader of the Year Austin and Ashton Samuelson, Tacos 4 Life

Business of the Year: Outstanding Nonprofit Renewal Ranch

Business of the Year: Outstanding Large Employer Incite Rehab

Business of the Year: Outstanding Hospitality Chili’s Bar and Grill ZAZA Fine Salad & Wood-Oven Pizza Co.

Business of the Year: Outstanding Small Business Home Instead Senior Care

Business of the Year: Outstanding Retailer McKinney Tire Pros

Conway Area Chamber of Commerce



ACADEMIC SIGNING DAY #ConwayASD Academic Signing Day 2015 recognized 28 high school seniors from Conway Public Schools, St. Joseph Catholic School, and Conway Christian School who received significant academic awards and substantial scholarships. Conway Christian High School Mallory Bryant Shelby Daniel Caleb Dather Shelby Shelton Conway High School Bridgette Brown William Bryden Jr. Marianne Burnett Kaleb Crow Emily Fahr August Glover Devin Henderson Abigail Nipper Mariah Oates

Zachary Orvin Rebecca Philpott Isaac Powers Drake Rea Collie Shaw Madison Shaw Jackson Smith Morgan Sweere Avery Taylor Olivia Tzeng Jackson Vanderslice Alex Velte Kyle Ward St. Joseph High School Abby Kordsmeier Sydney Spradlin

BOWLING FOR BUSINESS #BowlingForBusiness Managers who are looking to provide team building or reward opportunities for their employees find Bowling for Business to be right up their alley. Bowling for Business encourages interaction in a fun and laid-back environment and promotes friendly competition among participating businesses. 2015 Top Scorers Crain Buick GMC/Crain Kia 1588 Southwestern Energy 1436 Rebecca Rice & Associates 1404 Verizon Wireless 1322 Thomas & Thomas, LLC, CPAs 1299 Centennial Bank 1282


Annual Report 2015

BUSINESS EXPO & TASTE OF CONWAY #ConwayExpo • #TasteofConway


The 2015 Business Expo featured booths from 96 exhibitors. In accordance with the “Solving Mysteries in Business” theme, exhibitors participated in a “Conway Clue” game to encourage networking. Many vendors incorporated a mystery theme into their booth decorations. Best Booth Central Baptist College’s “Mustang Machine” theme, modeled after Scooby Doo, won Best Booth for its interpretation of the mystery theme.

Most Innovative Booth Pro Auto Collision Repair and Towing won Most Innovative Booth. For $1, participants could enter for a chance to drive Pro Auto’s Dodge Hellcat. Proceeds were donated to the Children’s Advocacy Alliance.

The day concluded with Taste of Conway, where 25 restaurants and caterers distributed samples of their best menu items.

CEO Luncheons take place three to four times a year and feature a top executive of a Conway-area company as a guest speaker. Attendees gain insight about the featured company, network with other professionals, and enjoy a plated lunch. 2015 Featured Guests John Womack, Chairman and CEO Arvest Bank’s Central Arkansas Operations Zach Ahrens, President and Publisher Log Cabin Media Troy Wells, President and CEO Doug Weeks, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Baptist Health

Conway Area Chamber of Commerce



MINORITY ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT AWARDS #MEDAwards The annual Minority Enterprise Development Awards Gala recognizes the achievements of minority entrepreneurs and business leaders in the Conway area. Lifetime Achievement Award Shelia Whitmore Advocate for Opportunity Philip Fletcher,City of Hope Outreach Outstanding Minority Business of the Year La Huerta, El Parian, Cilantro’s Grill, Patron Mexican Grill

Outstanding Young Minority Business Professional Li Zeng, University of Central Arkansas Keynote Speaker Nikki Newton, Senior Vice President and Global Director of Institutional Marketing Waddell & Reed/Ivy Funds

WOMEN IN BUSINESS #WIBConway The fourth annual Women in Business was a sellout event. For the first time, the awards luncheon honored Outstanding Women in Nonprofit in addition to Outstanding Women in Business. The honorees embody high standards of excellence, dedication, and accomplishment to their respective organizations, industries, and to the business community. The Diamond Achievement Award is presented to a woman with at least 25 years of professional experience who has inspired and empowered many generations of women and who has had a positive impact on those in her profession and in the community.

2015 Diamond Achievement Award Recipient Pam McDowell, Pam McDowell Properties 2015 Outstanding Women in Business Elizabeth Blankenship, Southridge Village Assisted Living Mary Clements, Middleton Heat and Air Tiffany Duhamel, Regions Bank Patti Stobaugh, PattiCakes Bakery/Stoby’s Judi Lively, Bethlehem House (Nonprofit)


Annual Report 2015

LaTresha Woodruff, Conway Police Department (Nonprofit) Keynote Speaker Kristi Crum Vice President of Strategy and Distribution, Verizon Wireless Outstanding Young Minority Business Professional Li Zeng, University of Central Arkansas

TOAD SUCK DAZE #ToadSuck | @ToadSuckDaze A quirky name and a commitment to education are at the core of Toad Suck Daze. Founded in 1981, the award-winning festival takes place the first weekend of May and provides funding for education initiatives in Faulkner County. The 2015 festival introduced several changes to enhance the festival experience for families with young children, downtown merchants, and festivalgoers as a whole. • Oak Street Galleria: This open-air shopping venue featured high-quality merchandise from upscale boutiques and skilled artisans, attracting customers who would be likely to shop with downtown Conway retailers. • Kids Midway: Rides for young children were separated from the larger carnival rides, resulting in a less-crowded Midway and creating a dedicated area for children’s entertainment. • T-shirt Designs: Multiple T-shirt designs in a variety of colors were available to attendees and fans of the festival. Toad Suck Daze 2015 was also a record year for food sales. 2015 $407,967 2014 $342,449 2013 $264,295 2012 $363,005

Education To date, Toad Suck Daze has contributed more than $1.5 million to scholarships, scholarship endowments, and pre-K funding in Conway and Faulkner County. 2015 Scholarship Recipients Conway High School Jackalyn Barton Kortni Gifford Michael Long Conner Porter Jacklyn Quinit Greenbrier High School Stephanie Battles Mackenzie Crocker Mt. Vernon-Enola High School Kailen Hutchens Vilonia High School Kaydra Francis Reagan Goode

2011 $253,440 2010 $254,611 2009 $96,680 2008 $395,171

Pre-K Initiative Toad Suck Daze presented a $35,000 contribution to Arkansas Preschool Plus. The Conway Area Chamber of Commerce and Conway Public Schools developed the nonprofit to support preschool education. 2015 Highlights: • 720 books distributed each month through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a program that places books in the homes of preschool children • 2 early childhood education centers became partners with Arkansas Preschool Plus, bringing the total number of partner centers to 22 out of 42 sites in Conway • 85 hours of free professional development provided to early childhood educators

Conway Area Chamber of Commerce


NEW EVENTS IN 2015 The Conway Area Chamber of Commerce launched two new events in 2015. The Administrative Professionals Awards honor executive assistants, receptionists, and other administrative professionals who keep their offices running smoothly. The Conway Small Business Institute is a joint effort between UCA and the Chamber to provide continuing education to small-business owners.



Annual Report 2015

New Events in 2015

ADMINISTRATIVE PROFESSIONALS AWARDS The Conway Area Chamber of Commerce created a new event to celebrate and recognize administrative professionals in the Conway area. The inaugural Administrative Professional Awards took place April 22 on Administrative Professionals Day. The luncheon honored administrative support staff, executive assistants, office and facility managers, office clerks, receptionists, and other administrative professionals. Of the more than 20 area professionals nominated for the Outstanding Administrative Professional award, seven were chosen as finalists. Three of the finalists received the Outstanding Administrative Professional award at the luncheon. 2015 Finalists Colleen Fuller, Hewlett-Packard Bonnie Holloway, Kimberly-Clark Corporation Brenda Martin, Crain Buick GMC Sherry Payne, Acxiom Corporation Shawanna Rodgers, True Holiness Saints Center Angela Russell, Central Baptist College Elaine Story, Acxiom Corporation

2015 Outstanding Administrative Professionals Elaine Story Bonnie Holloway Colleen Fuller Keynote Speaker Charlotte Strickland Owner and Founder, Strickly Speaking Professional Development and Training Coordinator, University of Central Arkansas

CONWAY SMALL BUSINESS INSTITUTE The Conway Small Business Institute launched in the fall of 2015, giving small-business owners access to a series of workshops focused on the challenges and opportunities facing independently owned and operated enterprises. The University of Central Arkansas’ Division of Outreach and Community Engagement and the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce formed the Institute to accomplish goals outlined in Conway2025, the city’s long-range strategic plan. 2015-2016 Sessions Small Business Marketing Veteran-, Minority-, and Women-owned Business Certification Human Resources Small Business Finance

Conway Area Chamber of Commerce


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Job growth in Conway has been steady, and at times rapid, over the last decade. But the types of jobs announced in 2015 are dramatically different than announcements from as recent as 2010. Conway is attracting smaller companies in the technology- and knowledge-based employment sector. Initiatives such as Cadron Creek Capital and Conway Corporation’s Data District will make the city even more attractive to tech-driven companies.


Annual Report 2015

Economic Development

TECHNOLOGY New Tech Jobs 2015 got off to an exciting start. In January, three technology companies announced plans to locate new facilities in Conway. Metova Inc., a mobile app development company; Big Cloud Analytics, a predictive analytics software company; and Eyenalyze, a Conwaybased company that has developed innovative software for use in the food service sector, will invest a combined $2.5 million and create 140 new jobs. Data District At the Chamber’s 2015 Annual Meeting, Conway Corporation announced the launch of gigabit Internet service. Conway’s Data District provides Internet services up to one gigabit to businesses located within the district. The service became available in the spring to businesses within a seven-block area and will eventually cover 18 blocks in downtown Conway. MyAcxiomPartner The Conway Area Chamber of Commerce has teamed up with Acxiom to provide affordable marketing solutions to local businesses. MyAcxiomPartner is an easy-to-use, self-service portal that gives small-to-medium business owners and marketers access to precise data to target ideal customers.

Cadron Creek Capital Fifty-five years ago, a group of 77 Conway business leaders pledged $32,000 to form the Conway Development Corporation and develop Conway’s first industrial park. More than a generation of jobs followed that strategic investment. Fast forward to 2015. A group of 55 area investors raise more than $1.5 million to create Conway’s first venture capital fund. Cadron Creek Capital was founded by Jeff Standridge, David Grimes, and Kenny Kinley. The funds mission is threefold: 1. generate return for investors 2. elevate the overall investment acumen in the community 3. create local jobs by encouraging start-ups to settle in the area Since their formation in April of 2015, Cadron Creek Capital has already invested in a number of early-stage companies as they prepare the next generation of Conway jobs.

The Conway Area Chamber was a pilot chamber of commerce for MyAcxiomPartner. In August, the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives inked an exclusive deal with MyAcxiomPartner, giving 1,300 ACCE members and 1.3 million small-to-medium businesses across the U.S. access to marketing capabilities previously available only to Fortune 500 companies.

Conway Area Chamber of Commerce


Economic Development

PROJECTS IN THE WORKS Baptist Health In July, Baptist Health hosted a topping-out ceremony and placed the final beam on the Conway facility. The beam traveled to each of the Baptist Health facilities and to the Chamber of Commerce to give employees and the public the opportunity to sign it and be a part of history. At the ceremony, Baptist Health announced that the new hospital would expand from 211,000 square feet to 264,000 square feet and from 99 to 111 beds. The hospital is scheduled to open late third quarter of 2016. Central Landing and Lewis Crossing The Conway economy in late 2015 and 2016 is in many ways defined by the enormous amount of high-profile public and private construction taking place at the Central Landing and Lewis Crossing retail developments. Major roadway improvements to Dave Ward Drive, the construction of a new overpass at Elsinger Boulevard,


Annual Report 2015

and the construction of Central Landing Boulevard at Oak Street are all underway. Lewis Crossing is scheduled to open in late 2016. Central Landing is scheduled to open in early 2017. The two projects will combine to add almost one million square feet of new commercial development. Parking Study During the second half of 2015, the Conway Area Chamber, Conway Development Corporation, Conway Downtown Partnership, and Central Business Improvement District partnered to commission an overall parking study of downtown. Crafton Tull Engineering and Walker Parking completed the study in December. The study provides a comprehensive market analysis for current parking as well as a forecast of parking demand as downtown continues to develop. In 2016, the four sponsoring organizations will make formal recommendations outlined in the study to the City of Conway.

CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU All-Star Games Due to the success of the All-Star games over the past four years, the Arkansas Activities Association, along with the A&P Commission, agreed to extend the previous five-year contract by an additional three years. Conway will host the High School All-Star Games and Coaches Clinic through at least 2018. A&P Taxes The City of Conway has a 2 percent tax on hotel rooms and a 2 percent tax on food prepared in restaurants, delicatessens, bakeries, and concession stands. Advertising and Promotion (A&P) tax collections were up 4.68 percent from 2014 to 2015. With an increase of 11.39 percent, the month of February showed the highest year-over-year growth.

Wayfinding Signs The Convention & Visitors Bureau is leading the multi-year effort to bring a comprehensive “wayfinding” system to Conway. Wayfinding systems are a uniform and intuitively designed series of signs to help both residents and visitors orient themselves more easily. The Conway Wayfinding project will initially focus on directing Conway residents and visitors to our highest profile destinations: downtown, major shopping and entertainment districts, sports facilities, meeting facilities, colleges, and hospitals.

Sporting Events Conway may not be a traditional “tourist destination,” but it is a destination for business meetings, special events, and youth sports. The A&P Commission funded 57 events throughout 2015 totaling $206,074.

Conway Area Chamber of Commerce


CHAIRMAN’S CIRCLE Members of the Chairman’s Circle underwrite the economic development, education, and government affairs initiatives of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce, Conway Development Corporation, and Conway Downtown Partnership. Thank you to the 50 member businesses that achieved Chairman’s Circle status in 2015. Diamond Conway Advertising & Promotion Commission | City of Conway Conway Corporation Platinum Crain Buick GMC | Crain Kia Southwestern Energy Company Gold Acxiom Corporation Baptist Health Centennial Bank Central Baptist College Conway Regional Health System Crafton Tull First Security Bank / Crews & Associates First Service Bank Log Cabin Democrat Regions Bank University of Central Arkansas Foundation Silver 501 LIFE Arvest Bank Barefoot Athletics BHP Billiton Bear State Bank Conway Management, Inc. Garver Hewlett-Packard International Paper JSI Metal Recycling Kimberly-Clark Corporation


Annual Report 2015

Klaasmeyer Construction Nabholz Construction Corporation Park Hill Home Rogers Group Salter Properties | Salter Construction | Metro Square Simmons First National Bank Smith Ford Snap-on Equipment Virco Manufacturing Corporation Bronze ARcare Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield Arkansas Democrat-Gazette – River Valley & Ozark Edition Arkansas Game & Fish Commission Bank of the Ozarks Corco Construction Covington Roofing | Covington Properties | Covington Construction Delta Dental of Arkansas Hendrix College Magie Smith Charton Eye Clinic, PA McDonald’s Preferred Medical Rik Sowell Architects, Inc. Textbook Brokers Whisinvest Realty, LLC

2015 BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS Conway Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Executive Committee Lane Housley, Chair Bret Carroll, Past Chair Jay Myers, Vice Chair Andrea Woods, Treasurer Brad Lacy, Secretary, President & CEO Dr. Melanie Smith Kevin Ward Board Members Bill Adkisson Jim Baker Dr. Thomas Cabantac Scott Champlin Jeremy Chrysler Jason Culpepper Lee Harris Greg Hunt Darren Jones Cate Ketcheside Alan Kizer Tim McKenna Candace Meeks Dr. Greg Murry Patti Stobaugh Dr. Brad Teague David Traylor Lori Windle Quinn Carter Rook Brent Salter Tab Townsell Shelia Whitmore

Conway Advertising & Promotion Commission Reggie Rose, Chairman Danny Patel Ray Kordsmeier Mike Kraft Jeremy Gardner Andy Hawkins Shelia Whitmore Conway Downtown Partnership Bill Bethea, President Jack Bell, Vice President Lori Quinn, Secretary Kim Williams, Executive Director Bunny Adcock Mike Coats Stephanie Covington TJ Johnston Greg Nabholz Helen Plotkin Jeanne Smyers Kelly Sublett Dot Welch Kent Welch Conway Development Corporation Bill Adkisson, Chairman Jerry Adams, Vice Chairman Johnny Adams Bunny Adcock Richie Arnold Scotty Bell Ed Choate Mark Ferguson Eddie Glover Brad Hegeman Sherry Smith Jeff Standridge Ronnie Williams Conway Area Chamber of Commerce


900 Oak Street • Conway, AR 72032 501.327.7788 • 16

Annual Report 2015

Conway Area Chamber of Commerce 2015 Annual Report  
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