WE'RE ALL IN THIS
2 018 ANNUAL REPORT
we re all in this
In a city with three high schools and three colleges, education is truly around every corner. Conway’s knowledge-based economy thrives because the people here are committed to lifelong learning. The lessons learned and relationships built during school are formative. That shared experience is why we always remember our classmates and teachers. In Conway, the learning never ends. In Conway, we’re all classmates. In Conway, we’re all in this together. This year a city with class is taking you back to school. We hope you enjoy learning even more about some of the great things that took place in 2018.
Who’s Who Business Expo
Most Likely to Make Millions Business Expo and Taste of Conway as well as the Teacher Breakfast & Education Fair are business-to-business and industry-specific trade shows that allow companies to exhibit products and services to hundreds of potential customers.
Taste of Conway
Conway’s biggest business-to-business networking event got even bigger in October 2018, with 97 exhibitors showcasing their goods and services on the floor of the Conway Expo Center. Presented by Baptist Health – Conway and Cousins’ Office Furniture, Business Expo included informative sessions throughout the day. Joe Borgstrom, co-founder of Place & Main Advisors, was the guest speaker during breakfast, and Arkansas Department of Transportation director Scott Bennett provided an update on local highway projects during lunch. A panel discussion on purchasing as well as a session on how to pitch your company provided participants with actionable information on how to grow their businesses. Taste of Conway – sponsored by Crain Buick GMC, Crain Kia, Crain Hyundai, and Molex – attracted more than 750 community members to the Business Expo floor to sample food from 27 area restaurants and food-service providers.
No Heartache at the End of Summer Break
Teacher Breakfast & Education Fair
Presenting sponsor Conway Corporation and more than 100 participating vendors helped the Chamber welcome educators from Conway Christian, St. Joseph, and the Conway Public School District back to school. During the Teacher Breakfast & Education Fair, the 500+ teachers enjoyed a hot breakfast, goody bags, door prizes, and other giveaways as they prepared for their first day of school. New in 2018, each teacher received a wristband that gave them discounts at participating restaurants for the entire day, courtesy of lunch break underwriter Sandstone Real Estate Group.
Most Studious CEO Luncheons and Leadercast feature local and internationally known leaders who inform and inspire business professionals by sharing their experiences and advice. Outlook Conway gives a firsthand look at the state of the local economy, helping professionals guide their business investment decisions. CEO Luncheon featuring Adam Head, CARTI
Hearing from the Head Honchos The 2018 CEO Luncheon series took place at Central Baptist College and featured as keynote speakers Adam Head of CARTI in February, Bret Carroll of Conway Corporation in June, Gopala Krishnan of DXC Technology in September, and Larry Wilson of First Arkansas Bank & Trust in November. More than 500 business professionals attended the quarterly luncheons, which were presented by Nabholz Construction Corporation.
Live from Atlanta, It’s Leadercast! Leadercast is broadcast live from Atlanta to hundreds of sites around the world each May. The 2018 Conway simulcast took place in UCA’s McCastlain Ballroom in front of 200+ community leaders and was presented by Pediatrics Plus and Kimberly-Clark Corporation. Experts took the Leadercast Live stage to speak on the theme “Lead Yourself,” highlighting the importance of leading oneself first in order to be the best leader for others.
Cannonball! Take a Deep Dive into the Local Economy Presented by Smith Ford Inc. and Thomas & Thomas CPAs, Outlook Conway took a deep dive into the regional North Metro economy. During the intensive, half-day economic forum that took place in May, expert panelists speaking on the topics of minority business, manufacturing, education, and scalable startups addressed more than 300 community leaders about their specific companies or enterprises. Education Panel at Outlook Conway
Most Athletic Morning Flight Top Scorers 1st Place: Crain Automotive 2nd Place: Sandstone Real Estate Group 3rd Place: Corco Construction/ Fureigh Electric Afternoon Flight Top Scorers 1st Place: Kimberly-Clark Corporation (top overall score) 2nd Place: Crafton Tull 3rd Place: American Safeguard Insurance
Bowling for Business
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ANNUAL MEETING Guy W. Murphy Distinguished Service Award Ronnie Williams University of Central Arkansas Lloyd Westbrook Good Neighbor Award Crystal Kemp Conway Corporation Business Executive of the Year Matt Troup Conway Regional Health System Young Business Leader of the Year Drew Spurgers Kangabloo Creative BUSINESSES OF THE YEAR Outstanding Nonprofit Haven House Outstanding Hospitality Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom Outstanding Retailers The Ride Haynes ACE Hardware Outstanding Large Employer Centennial Bank/Home BancShares Inc. Outstanding Small Business Conway Manufacturing Group Pro Auto
NORTH METRO HEALTHCARE AWARDS Physician of the Year Dr. Robert McCarron Conway Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Center Nurse of the Year Channing Hall Independent Living Services Administrator of the Year Stephana Loyd Baptist Health – Conway Healthcare Professional of the Year Gary Jones, D.D.S. CHI St. Vincent Conway Interfaith Clinic Workplace Wellness Award Kimberly-Clark Corporation
Most Likely to Succeed Awards programs such as Annual Meeting, the North Metro Healthcare Awards, Academic Signing Day, Workplace Wonders (formerly the Administrative Professionals Awards), the Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Awards, and Women in Business celebrate achievements and recognize the contributions of individuals and businesses in the Conway area.
Prom for the Business Community
Top of the Class
In mid-March, more than 1,100 people were “under the big top” in the University of Central Arkansas HPER Center for the 127th Annual Meeting of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce. Inspired by the 2017 film The Greatest Showman, a musical drama about American showman P.T. Barnum, the theme of the evening was “The Greatest City.” The night opened with a dramatic video and live entertainment featuring performers from Arkansas Circus Arts, Stage Door Dance Arts, and Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre. Governor Asa Hutchinson spoke about the state’s economic development strategy. And several businesses and individuals were recognized as Annual Meeting award recipients throughout the evening. Annual Meeting 2018 was underwritten by TriTechne and presented by the University of Central Arkansas, Crafton Tull, and Conway Regional Health System. The Annual Meeting awards were sponsored by Log Cabin Democrat and Northwestern Mutual.
For the Health of It The second annual North Metro Healthcare Awards, underwritten by the University of Central Arkansas, honored individuals and companies that have made an impact on the overall health of the community and their workplaces. More than 250 health care professionals gathered in February to celebrate industry standouts and hear from Curtis Barnett, president and CEO of Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
Academic Signing Day, presented by Acxiom, recognizes high school seniors in Conway who have received significant academic awards and substantial scholarships. At the April event, the 54 honorees – the largest group in the history of the event – stated where they plan to attend college, signed a placard indicating their choice, and received an award. Dr. Maria Markham, director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, delivered the keynote address. Graduating seniors from Conway High School, St. Joseph High School, Conway Christian High School, and those home-schooled in the Conway School District were eligible to apply. This year’s honorees maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.8 or higher on a 4.0 scale and have been recognized in at least one of these five areas: •
the recipient of a top scholarship from the four-year accredited college or university they plan to attend;
a National Merit Scholar or National Merit Finalist designation;
acceptance into a U.S. Service Academy;
the winner of a state or national scholarship program; and
the recipient of a Governor’s Distinguished Scholarship or Governor’s Scholarship.
North Metro Healthcare Awards
ADMINISTRATIVE PROFESSIONALS AWARDS Outstanding Administrative Professionals Colleen Brock Milestones Services Inc. Myrna Eldridge Green Bay Packaging, Arkansas Kraft Division Carol Harrison First Security Bank
Women in Business
Outstanding Paraprofessionals Nakia Jackson Counseling Associates Bridget Fuller Nabholz Construction
MINORITY ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT AWARDS Lifetime Achievement Award Ken Patel Conway Management
Administrative Professionals Awards
Minority Enterprise Development Awards
On Top of … Well, Everything
Held in April during Administrative Professionals Week, the Administrative Professionals Awards breakfast celebrated the valued work of administrative professionals and paraprofessionals and recognized individuals in the Conway area who keep their offices running smoothly. Presented by Stoby’s Restaurant and PattiCakes Bakery, the 2018 event was the first to recognize paraprofessionals. In 2019, the event will be rebranded “Workplace Wonders” and will expand further to include a category for service providers.
In October, Northwestern Mutual sponsored the 2018 Minority Enterprise Development Awards recognizing the achievements of minority entrepreneurs and professionals in the Conway area. Before attending a public lecture at Reynolds Performance Hall featuring Rita Moreno, honorees and guests heard from the EGOT-award-winning actress at an intimate awards reception.
Chick-fil-A owner and operator Alan Kizer delivered a keynote address about the difference between “customer service” and “customer served.”
“Who Run the World?! Girls!” Sue Kelly, president and CEO of the American Public Power Association, addressed a crowd of more than 350 professional women during the Women in Business awards luncheon in December. H+N Architects and Conway OB/GYN sponsored the event celebrating the contributions and achievements of women in all industries. Academic Signing Day
Advocate for Opportunity Dr. Angela Webster University of Central Arkansas Outstanding Minority Business of the Year Treehouse Cleaning LLC Outstanding Young Minority Professional Jimmy Warren II Pulaski County Youth Services
WOMEN IN BUSINESS Diamond Achievement Award Donna Townsell Centennial Bank Outstanding Women in Business Laine Berry Laine Berry Inc. Donna Blecher Hilton Garden Inn Conway Amy Denton Pediatrics Plus Vickey Kirkemier Salem Place Nursing and Rehabilitation Andrea Woods Nabholz Construction Corporation Outstanding Women in Nonprofit Kristy Carter University of Central Arkansas Division of Outreach and Community Engagement Mona Dixon AETN Foundation Sarah Murphy Conway Human Development Center
S M A R G O R P L O O H C AFTER-S
Game. Set. Match!
Tucker Creek Trick-or-Treat
Off the Clock After the last bell rings, it’s nice to come together for some fun. Conway Regional Health System and TriTechne were joined by a team of event-specific sponsors in offering a year of purely fun events.
Game. Set. Match! The new Conway Tennis Center opened in
style this spring as local “celebrities” battled on the court. Tennis pros offered free lessons while a capacity crowd enjoyed food and live music.
Purple Passion The first-ever “Purple Passion” at UCA’s Estes Purple Passion
Stadium welcomed Nathan Brown as the new head coach of UCA football. Fans of all ages interacted with student-athletes and participated in a mock combine, cheer zone, tailgate cook-off, and other activities.
Tucker Creek Trick-or-Treat When the Halloween forecast predicted a 100% chance of heavy rain, the plan for community-wide trick-or-treating at Tucker Creek Trail had to be adjusted quickly. Sponsors and dozens of volunteers from area churches helped make the Chamber’s first Halloween Off the Clock a huge success. Illuminate Holiday shoppers ended Small Business Saturday at the Conway Christmas tree lighting. Visitors took pictures with Santa, rode in horse-drawn carriages, and viewed downtown from a three-story Ferris wheel.
Toad Suck Daze The 37th Toad Suck Daze gave more money to more organizations than any time in the festivalâ€™s history. Twentyfour schools received STEM training valued at $60,000. The festival, presented by Davidâ€™s Burgers, also contributed more than $80,000 to eight area nonprofits and scholarship recipients. The Acxiom Tinkerfest brought Museum of Discovery exhibits and activities to a full city block of Oak Street.
SCHOOL SPIRIT and community
Academics Math Local taxable sales in Conway grew by 3.8% in 2018. This was on the heels of 2017’s 4.8% growth. Conway’s 201 single-family building permits represented a 35% increase over 2017. Those permits resulted in almost $50 million in residential construction.
Bank OZK underwrote the rebrand and launch of PulseofConway.com. The economic data resource was integrated into the Chamber’s website and publications. The site is updated monthly and offers interactive data sets for banking, construction, real estate, demographics, and more.
Science Toad Suck Daze and partner First Arkansas Bank & Trust provided funding for more than 20 elementary schools in six central Arkansas counties to take part in the Museum of Discovery’s STEM education program, the “Discovery Network.” Fifty educators and more than 1,250 elementary students participated in the Discovery Network in 2018. Each educator earned nine hours of professional development training.
Physical Education In June, the Chamber contributed more than $30,000 to the engineering and design of a trail expansion that will connect east Conway to the existing trails system. The Conway Development Corporation also dedicated a trails easement through Central Landing as part of the proposed expansion. Health In December, Conway Regional Health System announced a $40 million bond issue to fund several project over the next few years, including construction of a 42,000-square-foot, three-story medical office building dedicated to women’s services. The facility is scheduled to open in late 2020.
Literature 2018 marked the return of a monthly business journal. The Chamber partnered with the Log Cabin Democrat and Gateway Publishing to produce and distribute the North Metro Business Journal. The 8-12 page tabloid insert is distributed to approximately 9,000 each month on a Sunday in Conway (5,000 via home delivery), North Little Rock and northern Pulaski County (1,500 via home delivery), Heber Springs and Clinton (1,500 via home delivery on a different day), and Maumelle and Morrilton (1,000 via wire racks). In addition to the print distribution, the Chamber publishes the journal on Issuu.com and promotes it digitally on Facebook.
NEW KIDS IN SCHOOL Molex When Molex decided to find a new home for the 100+ employees who made up their engineering and research team, they didn’t have to look very far. The Maumelle-based team moved to the Village at Hendrix in June. UPS In August, UPS purchased a five-acre site in the Guy Murphy Industrial Park from the Conway Development Corporation. The company will build a 100,000-square-foot facility in 2019, replacing their Halter Road location. DXC In September, DXC announced plans to add more than
200 employees in the following months. That would bring the total to more than 600 employees for the Fortune 500 company.
conway’s homeroom DOWNTOWN CONWAY
In 2018, downtown Conway’s numbers spoke for themselves: • 124 new full-time jobs created • 24 new housing units built • $6 million in new construction • 19 new businesses opened • 15 building rehabs/remodels
Class Trips CVB/A&P
Conway hosted more than 130 tourism-related events in 2018. The Advertising and Promotion Commission provided funding to 58 of these events, ranging from baseball, softball, and soccer tournaments; to live performances through Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre and Reynolds Performance Hall; to ComiConway, a comic, anime, sci-fi, and gaming convention. Conway hit a home run with its state-of-the-art parks. The city hosts 40 percent more baseball tournaments than any other in-state competitor and is in the top 5 percent in the country for the number of baseball tournaments held. All of those visitors added up to increase A&P tax collections by 6.2% this year.
Clubs s e i t i v Acti 2018 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 78 member businesses that achieved Chairman’s Circle status in 2018. DIAMOND
Conway Convention & Visitors Bureau City of Conway Conway Corporation
Acxiom Corporation Baptist Health – Conway Conway Regional Health System First Security Bank | Crews & Associates TriTechne University of Central Arkansas
Centennial Bank Central Baptist College Cherokee Casino & Hotel Roland Crafton Tull Crain Buick GMC | Crain Kia First Arkansas Bank & Trust First Service Bank Nabholz Construction Corporation Virco Manufacturing
American Safeguard Insurance ARcare Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield Arkansas Business Publishing Group Arkansas Democrat-Gazette – River Valley & Ozark Edition
Arkansas Federal Credit Union Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Bank OZK Caldwell Toyota Cintas Crain Hyundai of Conway David’s Burgers Delta Dental of Arkansas Edafio Technology Partners Eric Rob and Isaac Garver Green Bay Packaging – Arkansas Kraft Division Kimberly-Clark Corporation Klaasmeyer Construction Landmark PLC, CPAs Log Cabin Democrat Moix RV NABCO Northwestern Mutual Park Hill Home Pediatrics Plus Preferred Medical Pro Auto Regions Bank Rock Pond Pros Rogers Group Salter Construction | Engage Management Simmons Bank Smith Ford
Snap-on Equipment Southwestern Energy Company Stoby’s | PattiCakes Bakery Trinity Development Walmart Wonder State Box Co.
Academy Sports + Outdoors Andy’s Frozen Custard Arkansas Surgical Hospital Arvest Bank AY Magazine CAMS | Safely Tucked Away Mini Storage Conway OB-GYN Corco Construction Cousins’ Office Furniture Covington Companies H+N Architects Hendrix College International Paper Magie Smith Charton Eye Associates Mainstream Technologies Metova Federal Petit Jean Meats Reliance Health Care | Incite Rehab Reynolds Performance Hall Sam’s Club Second Baptist Church
2019 GOVERNING BOARDS CONWAY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Executive Committee Jason Culpepper, Chair Dr. Melanie Smith, Past Chair Patti Stobaugh, Vice Chair Pete Tanguay, Treasurer Brad Lacy, Secretary Cate McConnell Drew Gainor Board Members Chris Boudrie Tim Bowen Dr. Thomas Cabantac Will Cone Alison Cowles Korry Garrett Darren Jones Sarah Murphy Jake Nabholz Joanna Nabholz Randy Milligan John Ben Scherrey Dr. Brad Teague Matt Troup Mike Yoder
Bill Adkisson Judge Jim Baker Mayor Bart Castleberry Dr. Spencer Gordy Shelia Isby Lori Quinn Chase Blackwell Dawn Bramlett Carl Harris Kenny Kinley CONWAY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION Jerry Adams Johnny Adams Bunny Adcock Bill Adkisson Scotty Bell Bret Carroll Ed Choate Mark Ferguson Eddie Glover Brad Hegeman Jim Rankin Dr. Jeff Standridge Ronnie Williams
Pipeline is the Chamber’s premiere lead generation and referral network. These popular referral groups have helped professionals gain a competitive advantage in the Conway area marketplace, as well as build lasting professional and personal relationships. In 2018 alone, the 45 members representing the three Pipeline groups – Monday Mullet Machine, Toad Suck Nation, and Conway Progress – exchanged 562 leads and closed nearly $4.6 million in business deals.
Toad Suck Nation Pipeline Group
CONWAY DOWNTOWN PARTNERSHIP Jack Bell, President Bunny Adcock, Vice President Stephanie Covington, Secretary Kim Williams, Executive Director Bill Bethea Mike Coats Dr. Shaneil Ealy Greg Nabholz Tom Nelson Rob O’Connor Lori Quinn Jeanne Smyers Kelly Sublett Dot Welch CENTRAL BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT George Covington, President Greg Sanson, Secretary/ Treasurer Ray Kordsmeier Rep. Steve Magie Greg Nabholz
CONWAY CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU Advertising and Promotion Commission Alan Kizer, Chair Jeremy Gardner, Vice Chair Andy Hawkins Shelia Isby Esther McClellan Travis Mulhearn Danny Patel CONWAY FOUNDATION LeAnn Dietz Bill Hegeman Lane Housley Eric Hutchinson Gene Klaasmeyer Linda Linn Jay Myers Charlie Nabholz Ellen Roberts
Monday Mullet Machine Pipeline Group
Conway Progress Pipeline Group
Ambassadors are the Chamber’s most visible volunteers and represented the organization at 59 ribbon-cuttings throughout 2018. The 50-member committee also attends quarterly meetings, and one member is named Ambassador of the Year at the end of the year. Brittany Butler of McGhee Insurance Agency earned the designation in 2018.
Future Business Leaders of America: The Conway Area Leadership Institute At 59 participants representing a cross section of the business, civic, and nonprofit arenas, the Conway Area Leadership Institute Class of 2018 was the largest class in the leadership program’s 30-year history. The eight-month immersive program – modeled after the Conway 2025 community strategic plan and underwritten by Rock Pond Pros – is designed to help prepare community leaders for service both inside and outside their organizations.
Class Favorites The Conway Area Chamber of Commerce was one of three finalists for the 2018 Chamber of the Year award, presented by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives at its annual conference in Des Moines, Iowa. The award is the most prestigious and competitive recognition presented annually by ACCE.
The Conway Area Chamber of Commerce goes "back to school" in this yearbook-inspired annual report.