Steven Lamm, a project manager with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and former aide to Gov. Mike Beebe, will soon join the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce as vice president of workforce development.
The position, funded by a $1.3 million grant from the Walton Family Foundation announced in October 2018, is designed to “strengthen ties between educational institutions and the business community,” according to Thursday’s (May 9) statement from the chamber. The nationwide search resulted in almost a dozen qualified applicants who were considered for the position, the chamber said.
The grant is split equally between the Northwest Arkansas Council and the Fort Smith chamber and is part of an effort to build a regional infrastructure to develop talent for a variety of career pathways, including advanced manufacturing, healthcare and information technology jobs.
“We’re excited to have someone with Steven’s enthusiasm and experience join our community in this role,” Tim Allen, Fort Smith chamber president and CEO, said in the statement. “Business leaders absolutely see the value in the effort and the long-range return on investment for their companies. And education leaders throughout the area are structuring their strategies to help build the workforce we need. Bringing those two powerful forces together is a major win for the Fort Smith region.”
Lamm, 32, who will join the chamber June 1, was worked with the AEDC since 2014, and worked for then Gov. Mike Beebe prior to that. Between 2010-2012, he worked at the Center for Preparedness and Recovery at Arkansas Tech University, developing and implementing regional continuity plans and exercises. He earned a bachelor’s degree in international business at Arkansas State University, and earned a master’s degree in emergency management administration and homeland security at Arkansas Tech University. Lamm is a graduate of Leadership Arkansas (Class XII) and attended the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute.
“To say I’m excited and ready would be an understatement,” Lamm said. “Being a part of the effort that will help education and business thrive is a responsibility and challenge I’m ready to tackle. The Fort Smith community is succeeding in so many ways already and advancing workforce development is key to that continuing.”