Western Arkansas Business of the Year awards announced, inaugural event set for Oct. 1

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,240 views 

Shipping, banking, medicine and beer are categories producing honorees in the inaugural Talk Business & Politics Western Arkansas Business of the Year award program.

Talk Business & Politics is launching the Business of the Year award program to not only highlight efforts of businesses, nonprofits and startup operations, but to consider their future impact on the Fort Smith region. The program, sponsored by Oklahoma City-based OG&E, began in August to take nominations and make selections in the following four categories.

• Business of the Year: This category recognizes businesses with 300 or more employees.
• Small Business of the Year: This category recognizes businesses with less than 300 employees.
• The Startup: This category recognizes a business founded in the Fort Smith metro within the past three years.
• Nonprofit of the Year: This category recognizes a nonprofit agency, with preference given to those unique to the area.

Unlike some area recognition programs, nominees and those chosen to receive category awards will not be solicited for advertising, nor will the selection process include a social media push for votes. Factors for selection in the Talk Business & Politics Western Arkansas Business of the Year award program included the success of the business, philanthropic efforts, leadership in the business community, and activities outside the region that reflect well on the region.

“We had a good pool of nominations for this first year. The nominations not only made it tough to make a selection in each category, but served as a reminder of the broad and deep philanthropy and community support from businesses and organizations in the Fort Smith metro,” said Talk Business & Politics President and Executive Editor Michael Tilley.

Following are the honorees in each category.
• Large Business

• Small Business
First National Bank of Fort Smith

• Startup
Fort Smith Brewing Company

• Charity/nonprofit
Arkansas Colleges of Health Education

“OG&E congratulates these four companies for being selected as a Western Arkansas Business of the Year. Their recognition as the first recipients of this new award is a testament both to their commitment and significant contribution to our vibrant, growing region,” said Rob Ratley, OG&E community affairs manager.

A recognition event for the honorees will be held 4 to 6 p.m., Oct. 1, in the bottom floor of the Propak headquarters building (1100 Garrison Ave.) in downtown Fort Smith. The event will include a wine and beer bar and light finger foods. There is no cost to attend, but space is limited and reservations are required. Reservations can be made by emailing [email protected]. Please include the number of reservations requested and phone number of the person making the reservation(s).