Top 5 business/economy story — No. 4: Economic development changes
Editor’s note: With the days, weeks and months seemingly passing faster than ever, it can be difficult to remember what happened yesterday much less the past six months. To that end, The City Wire will during the next three weeks highlight the top 5 stories of the first half of 2009 in the following categories: Business/economy, political, and cultural. The top 5 business/economy stories will be counted down between July 20 and July 24; the political top 5 between July 27 and July 31; and the top 5 cultural between Aug. 3 and Aug. 7.
Personnel changes at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith and the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce offer the possibility of improving specific and broad economic development efforts in the region.
UAFS officials announced June 12 a significant change in the structure of its “community-related entrepreneurial, small business, family business and economic development activities.”
According to UAFS, the Center for Business Research and Economic Development (CBRED), the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (IEC) and the Family Enterprise Center (FEC) will be part of the College of Business. The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC) functions will become the Division of Small Business Assistance (DSBA) and will report to the IEC. All the functions and activities of UA Fort Smith’s former ASBTDC will continue to be offered.
Kermit Kuehn was named director of the CBRED, Nick Remy was named the new IEC director, and Dave Robertson will continue to head the FEC. Steve Williams serves as the dean of the UAFS College of Business.
The university noted in its statement that the restructuring will allow it to “better serve as the essential partner in the region’s economic development by supplying ‘one-stop shopping’ for business research, developmental support and community outreach activities” in the region.
Officials with the chamber announced April 16 the hiring of Arkansas chamber veteran Paul Harvel as the new chamber president. Harvel has served as president and CEO of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce for two years, and served more than 20 years as the president and CEO of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce. He is now a commissioner on the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.
Harvel started Leadership Little Rock in 1985 and was responsible for the vision and construction of the $8.6 million Little Rock Chamber Building, now considered one of the nation’s premier chamber marketing facilities, according to a statement from the Fort Smith chamber.
The chamber began its search for a new president when Tom Manskey announced Dec. 18 he would resign the chamber president job effective Jan, 30, 2009. Sandy Sanders was tapped to serve as interim chamber president until a replacement was found.
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