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Monday, July 28, 2014, 10:07 p.m.
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Chamber directors mull steps to fill Morrilton’s president/CEO position

By Tammy Keith

This article was published June 5, 2014 at 8:12 a.m.

MORRILTON — Cody Hill had his hands full last week at the Morrilton Area Chamber of Commerce.

Hill is serving an interim president and CEO of the chamber and Conway County Economic Development. He’s also still handling responsibilities in his position as director of membership and events for the chamber.

“I’m kind of doing it all and everything right now,” he said. “We’ve been very busy.”

Former CEO Brandon Baker’s last day was May 16. He left to take a position as health safety and environmental coordinator at Southwestern Energy.

A search committee was meeting at press time to decide what direction members want to take.

Mike Dunaway, chairman of the Conway County Economic Development Commission board and a member of the search committee, said several people have called him to express interest in the job.

“We want the very best person we can find, of course,” Dunaway said. “We want somebody that has a vision and somebody that’s energetic; somebody that’s knowledgeable in the area of chamber activities and economic development and job growth and all those things important in the community.”

Dunaway also said the chamber CEO should be “a consensus builder.”

Miles Lacy, president of the chamber board of directors, said he has heard a buzz about the position, too.

“I would say we’re going to have a lot of interest,” Lacy said.

Baker was head of the chamber for two years and six months. Hill, who has been employed by the chamber since 2012, said he hasn’t decided if he will apply for the open position.

On Friday, Hill said it had been “just a great day” at the chamber.

“We had our membership appreciation lunch today, where we serve lunch to all our members. We had about 400,” he said. “It’s always good to visit with our members.”

Hill said he was looking forward to the Ladies Downtown Shopping tour June 13, a tradition during the annual Auto Show and Swap Meet on Petit Jean Mountain, which begins Tuesday and ends June 14.

“It attracts about 200,00 people every year. When people show up to register, they’re there all week, we let them know we’ll be here,” he said, and the women can sign up.

“When women tire of dealing with car parts with their husband, we do a lunch. We send a bus up to go get them,” he said.

Hill said many of the women are from states other than Arkansas, so Morrilton gets to show off the community to them.

“A lot of the downtown merchants participate and help and just love this day. We do tours and stuff,” he said. “It’s really neat.

“Last year, even a couple of the merchants called me and some of the ladies came back down on Saturday, so the economic impact on it is great.”

Even though the women may not be spending thousands of dollars, he said, “it’s the people from out of town down here enjoying our downtown, and they’re going to remember Morrilton treated them well.”

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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