January 12, 2011 Edition

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Montgomery to lead Chamber



Michael Montgomery
Shantelle Prater
Staff Writer

Mike Montgomery, owner of Goin' Postal in Walnut Ridge was recently elected to serve as chairman for the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce.

"My primary goal as chairman is job creation and to support our existing businesses," Montgomery said.

"The landscape is changing. There are a lot of new opportunities for the county, and several projects being considered. If we can land one or two of these projects it will mean economic change."

Several companies have shown interest in Lawrence County. Universal Assets Management is considering expanding its company located at the Walnut Ridge Airport, while the Intermodal Authority is working with a company interested in building a railroad-tie plant in Hoxie.

"If UAM decides to expand its operation it will create more than 50 jobs for the area," said Montgomery. "The railroad facility would add an additional 100 plus jobs to the area, plus the facility would also create spin-off jobs in support of the operation."

Montgomery also reported that a bottled-water company was considering the area to serve as its new plant location.

"They have done a lot of testing and like the water quality in our area thanks to the new pipeline system," Montgomery said.

In addition to increased job opportunities, Montgomery feels it's also important to continue beautification efforts and encourage people to move in to the area.

"We have a lack of available housing for those wanting to move to the area, and I would like to see this issue resolved," said Montgomery.

The Chamber of Commerce has many roles, one of which is to develop tourism.

The chamber's current goal is to complete the Beatles project, which will be displayed at the Walnut Ridge Airport, and raise funds for the guitar plaza, which will be located in the Chamber's lawn on Highway 67 in Walnut Ridge.

"I'm most excited about the potential job opportunities and the willingness of chamber members has to work together," said Montgomery.

The chamber is working on several upcoming events to support local businesses, including a phase two marketing seminar and a business expo to showcase local businesses.

Chamber members are also working to organize volunteer efforts coordinated with elected officials, local Boy Scout troops, the Lawrence County Drug Court and residents.

"We have a board that's ready and willing to face the challenges of 2011," Montgomery said.

The Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce board of directors include Montgomery, chairman; Lorra Whitmire, past chairman; Kari Shanks, John Howard, Brett Cooper, Button Wallin, Vickie Mitchell, Terry Lambert, Lloyd Clark, Ashley Burris, Junior Briner, Mel Fender and Debbie Smith.

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