February 08, 2012 Edition

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Shanks to lead Chamber in 2012

Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman Kari Shanks (right) and Kathy Bradley, Chamber executive secretary, listen to a report during the board's February meeting.
TD Photo ~ Gretchen Hunt
Gretchen Hunt

New leadership has been elected for the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Board with Kari Shanks, manager of the local Walmart, serving as this year's chairman.

"The Chamber had a great year in 2011 with the hiring of the economic development director, hosting the business expo and the accomplishments of the tourism committee," Shanks said. "My goals for 2012 are to continue with these efforts, as well as work with the board of directors and interested community members to ensure the future growth of our Chamber."

Other members of the executive committee are Mike Montgomery, past chairman; Ashley Burris, vice chairman; Dr. Brett Cooper, chairman-elect; and Debbie Smith, member-at-large.

Shanks said they are working to define and restructure some of the Chamber's existing committees, as well as add new ones.

"Plans are in place to add an Agriculture Committee and a Leadership Committee," she said. "Another focus will be on healthcare in Lawrence County."

In fact, the Chamber hosted a meeting on Tuesday to bring together the different healthcare entities.

"The goal is to promote awareness of the services we have available, promote and encourage collaboration and increase usage of our available services," Shanks said.

The Chamber is also working with Scott Sudduth from the Arkansas Hospitality Association to provide training on the attractions available in the area. A meeting regarding this has been set for Feb. 29 from 1-3 p.m. at Williams Baptist College.

"We will also continue hosting quarterly mayors meetings and bring together all mayors in the county," Shanks said. Collaboration seems to be the word of the year, and Shanks said one such project is working on signage to welcome people to the Walnut Ridge and Hoxie community.

"The cities of Walnut Ridge and Hoxie are working with the Chamber to clean and paint the 'Welcome' signs," Shanks said. "This will be a temporary fix with plans being worked on to update the signs in the near future."

Shanks said one of the 2011 projects was the completion of an updated Chamber website by Imboden Live.

"We have a community calendar on the site and events can be communicated to the Chamber office to be posted," she said. "We invite everyone to visit the site at www.lawcochamber.org."

Anyone who would like to join the Chamber or become involved on a committee is encouraged to call the office at 886-3232.

"The Chamber has a lot going on this year, and we encourage support from our citizens interested in joining our efforts," Shanks said.

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