Kathy Wyrick, vice president of marketing for the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce, was recently recognized by her peers as recipient of the Ernest Whitelaw award, a designation given to an individual who embodies the spirit of caring and willingness to assume leadership roles. 

The award, through the Community Development Institute, recognizes someone who exemplifies "dedication to professional community development practice," and "a strong personal integrity."

The CDI, housed at the University of Central Arkansas, is a course training economic and community development professionals.

"She was voted to receive the award by her peers, a very high honor. When your peers vote for you, they know and have confidence in you," said Amy Whitehead, coordinator of the CDI. "There were over 30 in her class from around the state and region, not only of Arkansas."

Kelly Hunt Lyon, director of the Center for Community and Economic Development at UCA, said the city of Conway is often used as an example of community development in action in state and regional context.

Wyrick’s embodiment of the qualities in the award’s criteria, and her work at the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce have reach beyond the city of Conway.

"Kathy embodies all (these) qualities, and more, necessary to make a significant contribution to the community," Lyon said. "In addition to this honor, Kathy joined the CDI Advisory Board last year and has a leadership role in shaping the CDI experience for all participants."

Brad Lacy, president of the Conway Development Corporation, said Wyrick’s efforts have been integral in the organization’s success in the past several years.

"Whether it was helping form a Convention and Visitors Bureau, managing the Conway 2025 visioning process or leading the effort to plan a homecoming for Kris Allen, Kathy has been in the middle of every aspect of our work at the Chamber," Lacy said. "She is by nature, someone who will help in any situation. When we were putting together our final proposal to recruit HP, I needed to ensure each of the copies that company officials would receive was accurate. 

"She spent a lot of time proofing each one of them. We had no room for error. Those are the moments the public never sees, but are critical to the success of our organization. She is a relationship builder and this is a relationship business and more important is that she loves this community."

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at courtney.spradlin@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)