Four economic development officials were recognized today at the annual Arkansas Economic Developers & Chamber Executives (AEDCE) meeting in Fort Smith. The officials and volunteers received awards that highlighted their contributions to their local community and the larger region throughout their career.
The four award winners are Kristi Barr for Outstanding Economic Developer, William Grahm Cobb III as Outstanding Chamber Executive, Jason Green as Volunteer of the Year and Sue McGowan with the Maria Haley Lifetime Leadership Award for Economic Development.
Barr serves as the Little Rock Regional Chamber’s director of workforce development and education. She has been employed with the chamber for approximately 15 years, joining as an economic development team coordinator in 2004, moving to director of small business development and then director of business retention and expansion, according to her LinkedIn account. In June 2017, Barr was named to her current role.
“I’m very honored and humbled to receive this recognition from my peers,” Barr said in a statement. “Economic development is a team sport and I am very lucky to work with great colleagues at the Little Rock Regional Chamber which has allowed us all to have success.”
According to a chamber release, Barr was instrumental in locating CZ USA in Little Rock. As the director of business retention and expansion, she managed projects that represent more than $146 million in new payroll and $708 million in investments.
Cobb serves as the president and CEO of the Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce, a role he has filled since 2017. He previously served as the Little Rock Regional Chamber’s chief operating officer.
McGowan serves as the CEO and director of economic development for the Paragould Regional Chamber of Commerce.