Elevate Performance, a peer-to-peer mentorship business based in Fayetteville, announced Tuesday (Nov. 21) the recipients of the inaugural John Lewis Leadership Award.
Lowell Grisham, Alan Fortenberry and Joe Fennell are recipients of the award. It is named for the Fayetteville business leader who founded the Bank of Fayetteville, and was actively involved in community-building efforts until his passing in June 2007.
“John Lewis was an exemplary leader, a talented business person, a community builder and a mentor to many successful people,” Elevate Performance CEO Tim McFarland said in a statement. “He helped me found the first CEO Forum, and his influence still flourishes in what has grown to now five CEO Forums. It’s an honor to create an award in his name, and all three of the inaugural recipients demonstrate the great qualities John shared with us.”
Grisham is retiring after having served as rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church for 20 years, according to a news release. As “CEO” of the church, he manages the business needs of one of Fayetteville’s most visible religious organizations, as well as the spiritual needs of a thriving congregation.
Under his leadership, the church has been involved in compassionate outreach across region, including noteworthy efforts to assist homeless people, and women making the challenging transition from prison to productive life.
Fortenberry has been CEO of Beaver Water District since 2001. Under his leadership, the organization has grown to deliver almost 19 billion gallons of water a year to municipalities across Northwest Arkansas.
Since being named as the CEO in 2001, capital improvements in excess of $125 million dollars have been accomplished, which has positioned the District to meet water needs in Northwest Arkansas for many years to come. Alan has championed the protection of Beaver Lake throughout his tenure as CEO. He established a separate Environmental Quality Department and encouraged the development of a Beaver Lake watershed protection strategy through the Northwest Arkansas Council, which resulted in the formation of the Beaver Watershed Alliance.
Fennell has been instrumental in the development of Fayetteville’s culinary and hospitality scene as the founder of the former Jose’s restaurant, and the founder and current owner of Bordino’s, both flagships of Fayetteville’s culinary scene.
Fennell has consistently served on boards and commissions that have guided the transformation of Dickson Street into what is now the arts and entertainment epicenter of Northwest Arkansas.
Fennell is also known for his support of track and field. Almost 30 years ago, he and a partner created the Chili Pepper Cross Country event as a fundraiser for the Fayetteville High School track program. Today the Chili Pepper Cross Country Festival is one of the premier running events in the country, hosting more than 7,000 junior high, high school and college runners, and raising money for track programs in our region.