Chamber celebrates major milestone
That’s a lot of birthday candles.
Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce celebrated 125 years of providing service to business members and the community in 2014. Chamber CEO and president Steve Clark says the organization continues to move forward with the progressing times.
“Back in the 20th century, chambers of commerce were all about dealing with companies involved with green fields and brown fields and buildings, and we still are to some degree, but nowadays, we are more about recruitment and retention of talent,” he says. “Our community is advancing all the time, and so is the chamber.”
Clark says the chamber, which is accredited by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, spends much of its efforts these days supporting and promoting three key aspects of the growing community – eds, meds and innovation.
“Eds is short for education, and we help to promote Fayetteville and its academic strengths for the sake of current and future economic development,” he says. “Many people know about the good things happening at the University of Arkansas, but Fayetteville also has an award-winning high school, top charter schools, and U of A’s Sam M. Walton College of Business. In fact, Walton College places 100 percent of their MBA graduates into the workplace.”
Meds and Innovation
As for meds, which is short for medicine, Clark says more than 5,000 people in Fayetteville are employed in the health-care sector.
“We have a large veteran’s hospital that recently expanded and treats 50,000 patients a year, and we have a top U of A medical teaching school along with their new physical therapy school,” he says. “The health-care sector is ever-advancing in Fayetteville.”
Clark adds that several innovation companies in technology sectors are hiring employees, helping to rank Fayetteville among the top five metro areas in the nation for current job growth, according to California-based Milken Institute.
“Innovation is the shoulders that Fayetteville will stand on in the 21st century,” he says. “Exciting economic times are certainly ahead for this community.”