Thursday night’s Conway Area Chamber of Commerce 2013 Annual Meeting was a chance for chamber members to network, celebrate and be recognized for their work this year.
The chamber’s President and CEO Brad Lacy said they would not be able to do the work they do for the community if it were not for chamber members.
Included in those members are a group of 35 companies who "invest above and beyond a basic membership," Lacy said.
The Chairman’s Circle was started several years ago to encourage and recognize companies willing to invest a minimum of $7,500 per year.
The group includes the City of Conway, Conway Corporation and Hewlett-Packard at the top two tiers.
Additionally, several businesses and leaders were given awards for their impact on the community.
Travis Walls of Arkansas Roofing Kompany was named Young Business Leader of the Year. Walls graduated less than three months ago but has already proven his business sense. He began working at Arkansas Roofing Kompany as a student and has stuck around, bringing innovation to the business.
Central Baptist College President Terry Kimbrow was named Business Executive of the Year. Since he started as president at the college, enrollment has increased 120 percent. Kimbrow is leading a plan to grow with the Vision 2020 campaign.
The Good Neighbor Award went to Billie Carter, engineer and vice president of the Conway Firefighters Local 4016. Carter is a 15-year veteran of the fire department. He has been involved in several volunteer efforts through the department including acting as chairman of the Conway Firefighters’ Fill the Boot program and two firefighter golf tournaments.
Hal Crafton, co-founder of Rush-Hal Properties, was given the Distinguished Service Award. Rush-Hal Properties has built thousands of residential lots and more than 1,100 rental units. Crafton has also made business investments including banking.
Stoby’s Restaurant and PattiCakes Bakery, owned and operated by Patti and David Stobaugh, were collectively named Outstanding Business of the Year in Hospitality. In addition to adding to the local flavor, Stoby’s has proven to be a good community partner by catering meals for charitable events and hosting 40 Sunday Pancake Breakfasts each year to raise money for worthy causes.
The Outstanding Business of the Year in the Nonprofit category was the Boys and Girls Club of Faulkner County. The organization just constructed a new 15,000-square-foot facility to enhance it’s programs that give children ages 5 to 18 a safe place to go when not in school.
Arkansas Golf Center, owned and operated by Brannon and Sarah Watson, was named Outstanding Business of the Year in Retail. The center is one of the largest golf-equipment-fitting centers across several states and has one of the largest public golf ranges. The center also donates money, goods and services to charitable tournaments every year.
Hewlett-Packard was named the Outstanding Business of the Year for Large Employers. Since opening in Conway in 2010, the company has contributed $1 million to the community. Last year HP Conway was recognized among HP sites nationwide for the highest participation in their volunteer program.
For the small business category, Conway Copies owned and operated by Greg and Karen Lamb was named Outstanding Business of the Year. The copy shop has grown by being available to those students, individuals and businesses who need their services through extended hours. It also donates to several nonprofits, local fundraisers and special events.
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