It has been a record breaking year for Conway Area Chamber of Commerce and Conway Development Corporation economic development duo Brad Lacy, president and CEO, and Jamie Gates, senior vice president.
The CDC kicked the New Year off right announcing the relocation of Internet marketing and technology company Inuvo Inc. from its corporate headquarters in New York to 1111 Main Street.
The largest development in the city’s history was announced in October. Plans to turn the former airport site into more than 150 acres of commercial real estate known as Central Landing is said to solidify Conway’s position as a regional shopping destination, spur redevelopment in aging commercial areas and contribute new tax revenue and payroll to the local economy.
In April, the chamber first revealed plans for a new entryway to downtown Conway. By the end of the year, Rogers Plaza will be complete with brick and concrete pavers, a fountain and an archway that will serve as a gateway to the downtown area.
Less than six months after layoffs were announced at Hewlett-Packard’s Conway facility, the company announced plans to establish a “regional industry development center” that would add approximately 200 jobs to that same site during 2014.
Gates earned the Certified Chamber Executive designation by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives in July. The CCE is the highest designation a chamber executive can earn, and participants must complete a rigorous four-step process.
Lacy is also certified as a CCE, earning the certification in 2011. In 40 years, 530 of these certifications have been achieved. There are 270 active today and three are working in Conway: Gates, Lacy and Executive VP TJ Johnston.
Lacy and Gates lead the chamber to receive Arkansas’ first Chamber of the Year award in July. The Chamber of the Year award is the nation’s only award recognizing the dual role chambers have in creating both leading businesses and communities. The award recognizes excellence in operations, member services and community leadership.