Event Details

The Arkansas Economic Developers & Chamber Executives (AEDCE) Annual Conference is the premier annual gathering of economic development and chamber professionals in Arkansas. This conference is THE place for chamber professionals and economic developers to gain classroom knowledge as well as glean wisdom from their peers while building their professional network.


Events at the AEDCE Annual Conference include the Annual AEDCE Awards Luncheon, Golf Tournament (additional fee), Networking Building Reception (Monday evening), the State of the State Breakfast featuring Mike Preston, and insightful general and breakout sessions tailored for the chamber or economic development professional.


This year's conference is in Fort Smith at the Fort Smith Convention Center. The conference will begin on Monday morning, August 26th and conclude on Tuesday afternoon, August 27th.

Aug 25 - 27, 2019

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The Fort Smith Convention Center
800 Rogers Avenue
Fort Smith, Arkansas

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Agenda

  • Day 1 (August 25, 2019)
    11 AM - 4 PMAEDCE Golf Tournament
    2-man Scramble Golf Tournament

    Ben Geren Golf Course
    7200 Zero Street - Fort Smith

    $36 per golfer and includes green fee, cart, and range balls.

    To sign-up, please email Kevin Sexton at ksexton@hsvpoa.org. Please include your handicap in your email to Kevin.
    4 PM - 5 PMAEDCE Executive Committee Meeting
    Fort Smith Convention Center, Hall A3
    5 PM - 6 PMAEDCE Board Meeting
    Fort Smith Convention Center, Hall A3
    8 PM - 11:59 PMAT&T Hospitality Suite
    Penthouse Suite, DoubleTree Hotel Room 903
    Day 2 (August 26, 2019)
    8 AM - 8:30 AMRegistration/Continental Breakfast
    8:30 AM - 9 AMWelcome
    Halls A1 & A2

    Tim Allen

    President/CEO of Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce

    Mayor George McGill

    Mayor at City of Fort Smith

    9 AM - 10 AMGeneral Session 1 - Talking ‘Bout My Generation: Generations should be your GREATEST strength, not your BIGGEST headache!
    Halls A1 & A2

    There are FOUR generations in the workplace with one on the way. Bring up the topic and boom! bam! pow! the fireworks show can’t be missed! It is time to step away from the finger pointing, blanket statements, and trash talk about each other and find common ground. Relying on tired and cliched generational stereotypes about one another do little to promote an environment where people are inspired to do great work by collaborating with one another. If you are tired of the tone of the generations
    conversation, this talk will be a breath of fresh air. No name calling. No labels. Just a desire to expand our understanding of each other!

    Libby Spears

    Educator, Liberator, Entertainer at Bravo cc

    10 AM - 10:15 AMNetworking Break
    Sponsored by: Black Hills Energy
    10:15 AM - 11:15 AMGeneral Session 2 - Preparing Your Community for the Future of Work
    Halls A1 & A2

    Technology jobs are required in every industry sector and the need for individuals with information technology skills continues to grow. Industry 4.0 is well underway and growing manufacturing jobs are exacerbating the shortage as the time to fill technology jobs increases and the supply remains well below what is needed. Community workforce development strategies must look beyond traditional training and implement plans to boost technology skills for emerging, transitioning and current workforce in every sector. Are Arkansas communities ready?

    Debra Lyons

    Principal Consultant at Lyons Workforce, LLC

    11:30 AM - 1 PMAEDCE Awards Luncheon
    Hall C

    Annual luncheon recognizing achievement in the economic development and chamber profession.

    Sponsored by:
    Arkansas Economic Development Commission
    Entergy Arkansas
    Little Rock Regional Chamber
    Mississippi County Economic Development
    Newport Economic Development Commission

    The Honorable Asa Hutchinson

    Governor at State of Arkansas

    1 PM - 2 PMConcurrent Breakout Sessions
    Choose from 1 of the 3 options below:

    Option 1 (Hall A3): How can Chamber leaders and ED professionals support and build their small business communities? (Speakers: Fine, Lane, Magee, Moody, Pettis, Zimmerman)

    Small business is the foundation of most local economies. A robust local business community typically means a strong local economy. A panel of representatives from the U.S. SBA, Small Business Technology Development Centers, Procurement Assistance Centers, SCORE, Arkansas Women’s Business Center and the Conductor will discuss how they serve small businesses and what local business support organizations can do to help their small businesses start, survive and grow.

    Option 2 (Hall B): Economics Arkansas - Connecting Educators to Industry (Speakers: Masters, Cathey, and Griffin)

    Economics Arkansas’ (EA) mission is to equip PreK-12 schools with standards-based resources and professional development to teach economics, personal finance and the free enterprise system using practical, innovative and inspiring methods. The EA Connecting Educators to Industry workshop is designed to connect educators with industry experts in regions across the state by providing educators with research, data, and information that can be shared with students as they make decisions about future career paths in manufacturing, trucking, construction, agriculture and other industries in Arkansas. Drawing upon EA’s model, two local chambers embarked on a pilot project to work with their local school district to equip teachers, administration, and school personnel with the knowledge about careers and manufacturing opportunities available in the local area. Come learn how your chamber/EDO can serve as this valuable connector and resource within the community to showcase career paths leading to talent retention.


    Option 3 (Halls A1 & A2): The Relevancy Conundrum: Make it meaningful for today’s young professional. (Speaker: Spears)

    In today’s marketplace, the word “relevancy” sends a cold sweat across the brow of any chamber that worries about their future. “What if they just don’t get us?” they ask about millennials and Generation Z. After all, we are bombarded with article after article about how different “they” are. But after a decade in the workplace, millennials are a known thing and Generation Z is on their way. It is time to stop looking confused or perplexed and get to work. I can show you how. Chambers who stay relevant do two things: they ask hard questions and make room for tough conversations. In this fun and informative session, I share with you the SEVEN things every chamber needs to talk about when they get back home. You will leave operating from a place of excitement and curiosity, imagining the possibilities of what can be. Take notes, ask questions, share your story, and then commit to do the work.

    Laura Fine

    State Director of Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center

    Suzy Griffin

    EVP Economic Development at Arkansas Valley Alliance for Economic Development and Russellville Area Chamber of Commerce

    Kim Lane

    Chief Executive Officer at Conductor

    Kim Magee

    Program Associate-Community & Economic Development at University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service

    Marsha Masters

    Associate Director of Economics Arkansas

    David Moody

    Deputy Director of United States Small Business Administration

    Chauncey Pettis

    Director of Arkansas Women's Business Center

    Libby Spears

    Educator, Liberator, Entertainer at Bravo cc

    Tim Zimmerman

    Little Rock Chapter Chair at Score

    2 PM - 3 PMGeneral Session 3 - Transforming the Way We Work – Arkansas’s Government Transformation
    Halls A1 & A2

    In April 2019, Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law the Transformation and Efficiencies Act of 2019 bringing about a historic transformation and reorganization of state government agencies, boards, and commissions. A cornerstone of this effort was the reduction in cabinet-level agencies from 42 to 15 resulting in a more modern and efficient way to operate state government without cutting any services. This panel will discuss how the realignment will impact local chamber professionals & economic developers and transform the way we work.

    Dr. Charisse Childers

    Director of Division of Workforce Services

    Amy Fecher

    Secretary at Arkansas Department of Transformation and Shared Services

    Johnny Key

    Secretary at Arkansas Department of Education

    Steve Sparks

    Director, Existing Business Resource of Arkansas Economic Development Commission

    3 PM - 3:15 PMNetworking Break
    3:15 PM - 4:15 PMConcurrent Breakout Sessions
    Choose from 1 of the 3 options below:

    Option 1 (Hall A3): Arkansas Steps Up Its Competitiveness With Tax Reform (Speaker: Boch)

    Arkansas underwent a thorough tax reform process in 2017-2018, culminating in major changes in the 2019 legislative session. Come understand what these reforms mean for your projects and learn about additional recommendations that would further boost Arkansas competitiveness.

    Option 2 (Halls A1 & A2): Why Communities Fail & Succeed (Speakers: Games, Johnson & Young)

    In late 2018, Entergy Arkansas conducted a survey of site location consultants, economic developers, and opinion leaders and posed one question – What are 3-5 reasons communities fail? The survey results will be shared along with ways to address some of the failures, including examples of success from Batesville and Jonesboro that can be emulated in other communities.

    Option 3 (Hall B): Tallo - Recruiting future talent in a digital age in Arkansas (Speaker: Martin)

    Tallo provides a platform for students to professionally showcase their talents, skills, interest, and abilities to market themselves to companies and colleges. With over 530K students using the platform to connect with opportunities, companies and colleges can search, message and engage with students that fit what they're looking for.

    Matthew C. Boch

    Member at Dover Dixon Horne PLLC

    Danny Games, CEcD

    Director of Business & Economic Development at Entergy Arkansas

    Crystal Johnson, PCED, IOM

    President/CEO of Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce

    Ben Martin

    VP, Partnerships at Tallo

    Mark Young, CEcD

    President and CEO of Jonesboro Unlimited

    4:15 PM - 5:15 PMGeneral Session 4 - Political Roundtable/Legislative Update
    Halls A1 & A2

    An update on the legislative action that occurred in the past legislative session and how it impacts communities and those in the economic development and chamber profession.

    This session will also feature a political roundtable of legislators.

    Representative Justin Boyd

    Member at Arkansas House of Representatives

    Senator Lance Eads

    Member at Arkansas Senate

    Senator Jane English

    Member at Arkansas Senate

    Kenny Hall

    Executive Vice President at Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/AIA

    Senator Jim Hendren

    President Pro Tempore at Arkansas Senate

    Senator Mathew Pitsch

    President Assistant Pro Tempore at Arkansas Senate

    Randy Zook

    President/CEO of AR State Chamber of Commerce/AIA

    5:30 PM - 7 PMNetwork Building Reception
    906 Lounge
    906 Garrison Avenue - Fort Smith

    Sponsored by:

    Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce and Innovate Arkansas
    8 PM - 11:59 PMAT&T Hospitality Suite
    Penthouse Suite, DoubleTree Hotel Room 903
    Day 3 (August 27, 2019)
    8 AM - 9:15 AMState of the State Breakfast & Membership Meeting
    Hall C

    Tim Allen

    President/CEO of Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce

    Mike Preston

    Secretary at Arkansas Department of Commerce

    9:15 AM - 9:45 AMMini General Session - Arkansas's Good Roads Lead to Economic Development
    Hall C

    Arkansas Good Roads Foundation executive director Joe Quinn talks about the fact that 25% of the roads in Arkansas are in failing condition. This matters in terms of our ability to attract business and tourists, as well as being a huge quality of life indicator. Next year Arkansans will vote on the extension of a half-cent sales tax that could go a long way toward addressing these issues. This discussion is far more about local roads, bridges, and streets around communities in Arkansas than it is about new highways. Passage of the measure in 2020 will also mean funding for road repairs and construction continues to flow to counties and cities.

    Joe Quinn

    Executive Director of Arkansas Good Roads Foundation

    10 AM - 10:45 AMConcurrent Breakout Sessions
    Choose from one of the 3 options below:

    Option 1 (Hall B): Census 2020: Why It Matters to You (Speakers: Wright and Wilkins)

    31 weeks. 5,232 hours. 313,920 minutes. 18,835,200 seconds. Census Day, April 1, 2020.
    • Do you know how important the Census is to Arkansas?
    • Do you know what questions will be asked?
    • Did you know that the Census count affects Federal funding for essential community services like education, transportation, housing, and medical care?
    • Did you know that Arkansas is in danger of an undercount and that even a 1% undercount in 2020 could result in a loss of 750 million in funds over a 10-year period?

    Do you want to know how you can make a difference and help get Arkansas and your community fully counted?

    Option 2 (Hall A3): Economic Development Project Case Study (Speakers: Holmstrom, Barr, Story, Darby & Sorrell)

    This session will take a closer look at two recent project announcements. Projects featured will be the recruitment of CZ-USA to Little Rock and the expansion of Coca-Cola in West Memphis.

    Option 3 (Halls A1 & A2): Non-dues revenue - “Ease their pain” (and the Chamber will Gain!) - EACH Health Plan (Speaker: McCollins)

    Arkansas employers are facing year over year escalating health insurance costs. Even more, small (2-50) and mid-sized (50-300) employers have little to no options to help ease their pain. UNTIL NOW! Come hear about new health insurance options for your Chamber members AND how your Chamber will benefit in receiving non-dues revenue!

    Features of these health insurance options are:
    • For qualified employers an average savings of 5-15%
    • Up to a $500 deductible credit can be earned annually for participating in certain health and wellness programs
    • $0 cost benefits like telemedicine, diabetic testing supplies, and other value-added benefits to save on patient costs
    • Premium refunds for employers having good claim years.

    You will also hear from an employer who has benefited from these programs (Sebastian County, Arkansas)

    Kristi Barr

    Director, Workforce Development & Education of Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce

    Mallory Darby

    Project Manager at City of West Memphis - Office of Economic Development

    Katherine Holmstrom, PCED

    Senior Project Manager, Business Development at Arkansas Economic Development Commission

    Bob McCollins

    Managing Director of Employers’ Advanced Cooperative on Healthcare (EACH)

    Phillip Sorrell, P.E.

    Economic Development Director of City of West Memphis - Office of Economic Development

    Bentley Story

    Division Director, Business Development of Arkansas Economic Development Commission

    Kara Wilkins

    Census Coordinator at Arkansas Impact Philanthropy

    Alison Wright

    Research Specialist at Arkansas Economic Development Institute

    10:45 AM - 11 AMNetworking Break
    11 AM - 12 PMGeneral Session 5 - Site Location Consultant Panel
    Halls A1 & A2

    Join this panel of site location consultants as they discuss trends in business recruitment and expansion. Learn what is on the mind of their clients and how corporations today are evaluating and choosing their next location or expansion opportunity and how to best position your community to win.

    This session will be opened by The Honorable Steve Womack, United State Congressman (AR-3)

    Sponsored by: OG&E

    Josh Bays

    Partner at Site Selection Group

    Carol Henderson

    Senior Director, Business Incentives Practice of Cushman & Wakefield

    Monty Turner

    Principal Consultant and Vice President of Operations at Global Location Strategies

    The Honorable Steve Womack

    Member at United States House of Representatives

    12:30 PM - 2 PMADD ON: Post-Conference Site Location Consultant Roundtable
    Hall A3

    Special opportunity to participate in a small Round Table discussion with three site selection consultants. This conference add-on session is open to 25 individuals on a first come, first served basis (limited to 2 from each organization). Join our conference site selector panel for an in-depth small group discussion about top business location factors including talent/workforce development, incentives, infrastructure, technology, and the impact of opportunity zones, tax reform, and federal tariffs. Also, up for conversation is Arkansas' and the region's competitiveness and what they see as their clients' biggest needs going into the next decade.

    There is an additional fee to attend this session.

    Josh Bays

    Partner at Site Selection Group

    Carol Henderson

    Senior Director, Business Incentives Practice of Cushman & Wakefield

    Monty Turner

    Principal Consultant and Vice President of Operations at Global Location Strategies

Conference Hotel

DoubleTree by Hilton Fort Smith

700 Rogers Avenue

Fort Smith, AR 72901

(479) 783-1000


Room Rate: $89/night plus tax - Click here to book


Please reference AR Economic Developers Conference when booking via phone.


Room block extended and will close on August 9, 2019.

Speakers

  • Tim Allen (President/CEO of Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce)

    Tim Allen

    President/CEO of Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce

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  • Kristi Barr (Director, Workforce Development & Education of Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce)

    Kristi Barr

    Director, Workforce Development & Education of Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce

    Read Bio
  • Josh Bays (Partner at Site Selection Group)

    Josh Bays

    Partner at Site Selection Group

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  • Matthew C. Boch (Member at Dover Dixon Horne PLLC)

    Matthew C. Boch

    Member at Dover Dixon Horne PLLC

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  • Representative Justin Boyd (Member at Arkansas House of Representatives)

    Representative Justin Boyd

    Member at Arkansas House of Representatives

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  • Dr. Charisse Childers (Director of Division of Workforce Services)

    Dr. Charisse Childers

    Director of Division of Workforce Services

    Read Bio
  • Mallory Darby (Project Manager at City of West Memphis - Office of Economic Development)

    Mallory Darby

    Project Manager at City of West Memphis - Office of Economic Development

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  • Senator Lance Eads (Member at Arkansas Senate)

    Senator Lance Eads

    Member at Arkansas Senate

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  • Senator Jane English (Member at Arkansas Senate)

    Senator Jane English

    Member at Arkansas Senate

    Read Bio
  • Amy Fecher (Secretary at Arkansas Department of Transformation and Shared Services)

    Amy Fecher

    Secretary at Arkansas Department of Transformation and Shared Services

    Read Bio
  • Laura Fine (State Director of Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center)

    Laura Fine

    State Director of Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center

    Read Bio
  • Danny Games, CEcD (Director of Business & Economic Development at Entergy Arkansas)

    Danny Games, CEcD

    Director of Business & Economic Development at Entergy Arkansas

    Read Bio
  • Suzy Griffin (EVP Economic Development at Arkansas Valley Alliance for Economic Development and Russellville Area Chamber of Commerce)

    Suzy Griffin

    EVP Economic Development at Arkansas Valley Alliance for Economic Development and Russellville Area Chamber of Commerce

    Read Bio
  • Kenny Hall (Executive Vice President at Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/AIA)

    Kenny Hall

    Executive Vice President at Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/AIA

    Read Bio
  • Carol Henderson (Senior Director, Business Incentives Practice of Cushman & Wakefield)

    Carol Henderson

    Senior Director, Business Incentives Practice of Cushman & Wakefield

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  • Senator Jim Hendren (President Pro Tempore at Arkansas Senate)

    Senator Jim Hendren

    President Pro Tempore at Arkansas Senate

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  • Katherine Holmstrom, PCED (Senior Project Manager, Business Development at Arkansas Economic Development Commission)

    Katherine Holmstrom, PCED

    Senior Project Manager, Business Development at Arkansas Economic Development Commission

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  • The Honorable Asa Hutchinson (Governor at State of Arkansas)

    The Honorable Asa Hutchinson

    Governor at State of Arkansas

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  • Crystal Johnson, PCED, IOM (President/CEO of Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce)

    Crystal Johnson, PCED, IOM

    President/CEO of Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce

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  • Johnny Key (Secretary at Arkansas Department of Education)

    Johnny Key

    Secretary at Arkansas Department of Education

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  • Kim Lane (Chief Executive Officer at Conductor)

    Kim Lane

    Chief Executive Officer at Conductor

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  • Debra Lyons (Principal Consultant at Lyons Workforce, LLC)

    Debra Lyons

    Principal Consultant at Lyons Workforce, LLC

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  • Kim Magee (Program Associate-Community & Economic Development at University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service)

    Kim Magee

    Program Associate-Community & Economic Development at University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service

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  • Bob McCollins (Managing Director of Employers’ Advanced Cooperative on Healthcare (EACH))

    Bob McCollins

    Managing Director of Employers’ Advanced Cooperative on Healthcare (EACH)

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  • Ben Martin (VP, Partnerships at Tallo)

    Ben Martin

    VP, Partnerships at Tallo

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  • Marsha Masters (Associate Director of Economics Arkansas)

    Marsha Masters

    Associate Director of Economics Arkansas

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  • Mayor George McGill (Mayor at City of Fort Smith)

    Mayor George McGill

    Mayor at City of Fort Smith

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  • David Moody (Deputy Director of United States Small Business Administration)

    David Moody

    Deputy Director of United States Small Business Administration

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  • Chauncey Pettis (Director of Arkansas Women's Business Center)

    Chauncey Pettis

    Director of Arkansas Women's Business Center

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  • Senator Mathew Pitsch (President Assistant Pro Tempore at Arkansas Senate)

    Senator Mathew Pitsch

    President Assistant Pro Tempore at Arkansas Senate

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  • Mike Preston (Secretary at Arkansas Department of Commerce)

    Mike Preston

    Secretary at Arkansas Department of Commerce

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  • Joe Quinn (Executive Director of Arkansas Good Roads Foundation)

    Joe Quinn

    Executive Director of Arkansas Good Roads Foundation

    Read Bio
  • Phillip Sorrell, P.E. (Economic Development Director of City of West Memphis - Office of Economic Development)

    Phillip Sorrell, P.E.

    Economic Development Director of City of West Memphis - Office of Economic Development

    Read Bio
  • Steve Sparks (Director, Existing Business Resource of Arkansas Economic Development Commission)

    Steve Sparks

    Director, Existing Business Resource of Arkansas Economic Development Commission

    Read Bio
  • Libby Spears (Educator, Liberator, Entertainer at Bravo cc)

    Libby Spears

    Educator, Liberator, Entertainer at Bravo cc

    Read Bio
  • Bentley Story (Division Director, Business Development of Arkansas Economic Development Commission)

    Bentley Story

    Division Director, Business Development of Arkansas Economic Development Commission

    Read Bio
  • Monty Turner (Principal Consultant and Vice President of Operations at Global Location Strategies)

    Monty Turner

    Principal Consultant and Vice President of Operations at Global Location Strategies

    Read Bio
  • Kara Wilkins (Census Coordinator at Arkansas Impact Philanthropy)

    Kara Wilkins

    Census Coordinator at Arkansas Impact Philanthropy

    Read Bio
  • The Honorable Steve Womack (Member at United States House of Representatives)

    The Honorable Steve Womack

    Member at United States House of Representatives

    Read Bio
  • Alison Wright (Research Specialist at Arkansas Economic Development Institute)

    Alison Wright

    Research Specialist at Arkansas Economic Development Institute

    Read Bio
  • Mark Young, CEcD (President and  CEO of Jonesboro Unlimited)

    Mark Young, CEcD

    President and CEO of Jonesboro Unlimited

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  • Tim Zimmerman (Little Rock Chapter Chair at Score)

    Tim Zimmerman

    Little Rock Chapter Chair at Score

    Read Bio
  • Randy Zook (President/CEO of AR State Chamber of Commerce/AIA)

    Randy Zook

    President/CEO of AR State Chamber of Commerce/AIA

    Read Bio

Program & Agenda

2019 AEDCE Annual Conference Program
2019 AEDCE Conference Agenda Pages Only.pdf
Fort Smith Convention Center Floor Plan.pdf

Registration Fees

The pricing below includes all scheduled conference activities and meals. Daily pricing is available and includes only those items on the designated day.



AEDCE Member Pricing


  • Early Bird: $250/per person (through August 2nd)
  • Standard: $300/per person (after August 2nd)
  • Monday Only: $150/per person
  • Tuesday Only: $150/per person


Non-Member Pricing


  • Early Bird: $350/per person (through August 2nd)
  • Standard: $400/per person (after August 2nd)
  • Monday Only: $225/per person
  • Tuesday Only: $225/per person


Registered Attendees

Connect with 197 people attending this event

IEDC Recognition


This event is recognized by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) as a professional development event that counts towards the recertification of Certified Economic Developers (CEcDs).

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