New Chamber Chair French Hill Discusses 2013 Agenda

by Roby Brock ( 11 views 

Delta Trust & Bank CEO French Hill is the incoming chairman of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, the economic development arm for the capital city and surrounding region.

Hill appeared on the latest edition of Talk Business on Fox 16. He says that one of his chamber goals is to work with UALR’s Institute for Economic Advancement to produce a regional economic report card.

“I thought it was a great idea.  It was a combination idea from members of the chamber and UALR’s economic advancement group led by Jim Youngquist,” said Hill. “And when you think about it, boards of directors, bank regulators, lenders, real estate developers, no one has a one-stop shop for the statistics about the metro Little Rock area and comparing it to its peer group in the region – continuous areas such Nashville or Memphis or Jackson, Mississippi. Or cities that are like us that might be a Greenville-Spartanburg area or something like that.”

Hill added that the report card will look not only at economic indicators, but social statistics, forms of government, and economic forecasting.

The new chamber chairman has also been an integral part of an effort between central and northwest Arkansas business leaders to work on “super-regional” efforts.

“The two biggest MSA’s in the state are Northwest Arkansas and Little Rock, North Little Rock, Conway and my view was we have a lot more in common than we have that makes us dissimilar,” Hill said. “Whether it is school or transportation issues, we should identify what are hot topics for us that we can agree on and work together at the state level – whether it is in the legislature or just in best practices.”

Hill said transportation issues, particularly highway funding and expenditures, will be an area he sees as major collaboration between the two groups.

“You know, highway dollars need to go where the traffic is as a general statement, and I think our two regions agree on that and with the recently enacted vote by the people, that is going to enhance dollars in those two big metro areas for further infrastructure and we will work together on that,” said Hill.

You can watch his full interview below.