Banking, liquor and property development are the areas of business to be recognized in the second annual Talk Business & Politics Western Arkansas Business Awards program.
Talk Business & Politics launched the Business Award program in 2019 to not only highlight efforts of businesses, nonprofits and startup operations, but to consider their future impact on the Fort Smith region. The program in in part sponsored by Oklahoma City-based OG&E.
Following are the categories in the program.
• 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 were not solicited for advertising related to the program, nor did the selection process include a social media push for votes. Factors for selection in the Talk Business & Politics Western Arkansas Business 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.
Following are the 2020 honorees in each category.
• Large Business
Arvest-Fort Smith region
• Small Business
Pernod-Ricard (Hiram Walker)
Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority
“It was again a tough process to select among all the excellent nominations received. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses and organizations in the Fort Smith metro continue to be engaged in the community in often far-reaching and innovative ways. We’re proud to be able to recognize their business success and civic input,” said Talk Business & Politics President and Executive Editor Michael Tilley.
There was not a qualified applicant this year for the startup category. The inaugural year honorees were ArcBest (large business), First National Bank of Fort Smith (small business), Fort Smith Brewing Co. (startup), and Arkansas Colleges of Health Education (charity/nonprofit).
Honorees will receive special recognition from Talk Business & Politics through a virtual event in early January. We wish we could get together in person in a large networking environment, but we all know the circumstances we’re under with COVID-19. We will be together soon and celebrate face-to-face.
Congratulations to the Western Arkansas Business Award honorees of 2020.