April 8, 2015 Edition

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Industrial Development Intern Jeff Morris visits with Tonjia Miles, administrator of The Children's Shelter in Walnut Ridge, at the quarterly meeting of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce. Morris gave a presentation on work he has completed during his internship with the city of Walnut Ridge.
TD Photo ~ Gretchen Hunt

Meeting offers update
on industrial recruitment

Gretchen Hunt

Those attending the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce quarterly meeting on Thursday received an update on industrial recruitment efforts, including a sneak peek at new tools being developed to draw businesses and industries to the county.

Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp shared information about efforts by the industrial development committee, which includes himself, Chamber Chair Fran Cavenaugh, Walnut Ridge Alderman Allen Smith and Airport Commissioner Dr. Brett Cooper.

"We quickly realized we needed tools to market our county," Snapp said. "Industrial recruitment has changed. It is more competitive, and prospective companies want specific data."

Snapp said after reaching out to Williams Baptist College about that need, a partnership was formed, that resulted in WBC senior Jeff Morris becoming the industrial development intern.

Prior to Morris sharing a PowerPoint presentation with attendees, Snapp offered praise regarding his work during this internship.

"Jeff's got a lot of talent and has spent a lot of time on this," Snapp said.

Morris shared a presentation, which can be adapted depending on the type of business being recruited and what part of the county is being promoted. Some of the data included is information about transportation, available commercial properties, quality of life, workforce, education and existing industries.

Working with those existing industries is crucial, Morris said.

"They are the perfect base for what we can build here," he said. "Those interested in locating here will look to see what is already here. They already have a proven track record."

In addition to having more recruitment tools, Snapp said there is a renewed energy for industrial recruitment.

"The city and the county are on board with the Intermodal, but their focus is on large industry," he said. "We have to be sure we are going after the smaller industries, as well as other businesses, and getting them to locate here in our county. We have to be working toward all industrial and commercial development."

Leadership graduation

The meeting concluded with a graduation ceremony for Lawrence County Leadership Class X.

Junior Briner, who served as a facilitator for the class, along with Diana Shelton, Anthony Pinkston and Lloyd Clark, shared information about different sessions the members attended.

Dr. Jeremy Dutschke, vice president for enrollment management and student services at Williams Baptist College, served as spokesperson for the class and shared details about the class service project in support of the American Red Cross.

Dutschke said while most people think of blood drives when they think of the Red Cross, the organization also helps victims of catastrophes such as fires and natural disasters.

The class is participating in the Every Red Cent counts drive and had a goal to raise $5,000 in support of the program.

"As of today, we have raised $5,080 and we still have more to be turned in," Dutschke said.

Class members will also be participating in the Red Cross Bucket Brigade on Friday in Walnut Ridge and Hoxie.

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