October 19, 2016 Edition

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Danny Games (from left), executive vice president, global business, with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, visits with John Thomison, the Democratic nominee for Lawrence County Judge and Dr. Brett Cooper of Williams Baptist College, following the Lawrence County Chamber quarterly meeting held in conjunction with the Business Expo and Job Fair.

AEDC's Games: work
behind scenes crucial

Gretchen Hunt

Arkansas Economic Development Commission Executive Vice President for Global Business Danny Games shared about economic development efforts on the local, state, national and international levels during Friday's Chamber meeting.

The Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce hosted the quarterly luncheon in conjunction with the Business Expo and Job Fair, which was held at the First Baptist Church MAC Building in Walnut Ridge.

Games said the AEDC works within the state, out of the state and even out of the country to develop opportunities for Arkansas.

"Business development makes headlines, but a lot of work goes on to get to those opportunities," he said.

On a local level, he noted that good business development begins with good community development.

"To attract businesses you need an attractive community," he said. "Don't underestimate your role and impact in doing good community development to lead to good business development."

He also encouraged events like Friday's Business Expo to encourage people to do business locally.

"Prevent as much leakage of local money as possible," he said. "The more times a dollar can turn over here the better."

He stressed that support of elected officials, as well as expecting them to govern responsibly, are important factors.

"It is a hard job being an elected official," he said. "Saying no is not easy, but when it's the right thing you have to do it."

He shared some success the state is enjoying, including a 3.9 percent unemployment rate and leading the nation in GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth.

"There are more Arkansans working than ever before in recorded history," he said.

Games also reported that the AEDC is working hard to be efficient and effective for Arkansas. He said that 17 divisions have become 13, and over the last two fiscal years, the AEDC has turned back approximately $1.5 million from its budget.

"We are proving you can do more with less," he said. "There is a commitment and buy in at the AEDC to do good things for good people across our good state."

Globally, he shared there are now offices in Germany, Japan and China solely working for Arkansas. The AEDC also works with the World Trade Center to find export markets for Arkansas products.

"We want to export our products and inject and import their money," he said.

He said all the different facets, from local to global, work together.

"Things going on around the world affect Lawrence County," he said. "Think globally, even though you mostly act locally."

He said small things can send a big message, and Arkansas is fortunate to have a great business environment.

"We want to make sure businesses and industries want to do business in Arkansas and Lawrence County," he said.

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