Fayetteville Chamber salutes 10 building projects at annual banquet

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 199 views 

Teamwork was the theme for this year’s Construction and Developers 2014 Banquet hosted by the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce on Monday (Oct. 20). City and chamber officials shared some insight into the accomplishments of the growing city and region for the 360 attendees at this year’s event.

“In 2009 when we had our Construction and Developers Banquet it was not so much about the builders as it was about the survivors. Attendance that year was about one-quarter of this year, but we have made major strides in the past few years and we have big plans for the next 48 months,” said Steve Clark, president and CEO of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce.

He said Fayetteville adds one new resident every six hours with a population of 77,761 this year and expected to grow to 84,995 in the next 48 months. The University of Arkansas’ growth is partly responsible for that growth as student enrollment has grown 54% in the past decade. In the past year the city has added 2,582 bedrooms, another 1,800 are coming to the market in the next 12 months with a occupancy rate of 96.5%, according to Clark.

One of the largest projects recognized in the evening was the Fayetteville Flyover that provides easy connection for northbound traffic on North College Avenue to the Fullbright Expressway and the Interstate 49.

Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan said this project was a great example of federal, state and local agencies working together. He said the project was 14 years in the making, which is a long time to wait. But that pales in comparison to the downtown parking garage on Spring Street which is holding its groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday (Oct. 21).

“We have waited 25 years for this project,” Jordan said.

He said the city will have some other large projects coming in the next 24 months. Those include:
• Van Ashe extension from Sam’s Club to the Northwest Arkansas Mall;
• Regional Park;
• Rupple Road widening to Mount Comfort Road;
• Restoring the historic Lafayette Bridges;
• Walton Arts Center Addition; and
• Whole Foods on North College Avenue.

Donnie Smith, CEO of Springdale-based Tyson Foods, was the keynote speaker at the event. He saluted the work done in the city and across the region and said there’s strong evidence of teamwork in many projects that benefit the entire community.

Teamwork and culture were key topics in Smith’s short speech.

“Many people say experience is the best teacher, but I tend to disagree. Experience is a teacher but it’s a hard teacher. Experience would have you trip over a stump, where as books and a better teacher can teach you how to avoid tripping over stumps,” Smith said.

Smith said when he and the top management team at Tyson Foods took the helm in the fall of 2009, they made a commitment to lead as a team, embrace differences and give everyone a change to weigh in, to state their objections in the room so differences in opinions can be worked through effectively.

“When we took over leadership at Tyson Foods the market cap was about $4.5 billion. Today that value has quadrupled to $16 billion,” Smith said as he took out his iPhone to make the calculation for the crowd, and adding that Yahoo! Finance has the number wrong.

He said the secret to that success was unlocking the value hidden inside talent within the company ranks.

“I don’t care what Wall Street analysts attribute the growth to, at the very core it comes down to a strong culture and teamwork that are the root of positive change at Tyson Foods,” Smith said. “Many times we call audibles, that’s the nature of our business. It takes precision teamwork who can adapt and run effectively when an audible is called after they have planned to run another play.”

Smith said there are several things that make the difference between great and good businesses. The first of those is trust, as it means there is some vulnerability from each of the team members. Second he said there is some conflict, which is handled more easily when the trust has been established. Next, he said is achieved commitment and accountability. When these are present and working in sync among management teams, he said good companies improve.

There were 10 projects honored at this year’s events. They ranged from a renovated single family home in the historic district which boosted the value from $100,000 to $337,000, to Hunt Ventures’ Chapel project in Rogers.

The Wal-Mart AMP was also honored and Peter Lane, director of the Walton Arts Center, said this project is a win for the entire region as 20% of the ticket sales come from outside the region. He said this venue will mean the Walton Arts Center can offer more arts and outreach programs this year and next, and it’s part of the mission to make the Walton Arts Center a sustainable venture.

The awards and winners were:
Adaptive Reuse Award: 227 S. Locust, Fayetteville
Vision Award: University of Arkansas, Ozark Hall
Quality of Life Award: Northwest Health Wedington Clinic
Community Infill Award: Werner Carriage House Project
Transformational Award: University of Arkansas Housing Office Project
Skyline Award: Arkansas Music Pavillon
Community Outreach Award: Melba Shewmaker Southern Regional National Child Protection Training Center
Legacy Award: Hunt Chapel Project
Public Infrastructure Award: Fayetteville Flyover Bridge
Student Life Award: University of Arkansas Founders Hall
Economic Commitment Award: Karcher North America Renovation Project and Acumen Brands/Country Outfitter Retail Makeover Project