Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe was honored Tuesday by a statewide economic development group for his career in public service.
The Maria Haley Lifetime Leadership for Economic Development award was given to Beebe during a meeting of Arkansas Economic Developers at the Marriott Little Rock.
The group thanked Beebe for his support of several economic development related projects while serving in the state legislature for nearly 20 years and as governor.
“Governor Beebe’s interest in, and passion for, the issues pertaining to economic development in Arkansas has been evident since the beginning of his career as a state Senator representing Searcy and Stuttgart in the General Assembly,” officials said in a press release.
”The single largest impact that he made in those years was in the area of university research. His insistence that Arkansas earmark the lion’s share of the windfall from the national tobacco lawsuit settlement for investment into basic and applied research on our college campuses has directly resulted in the formation of new companies in Arkansas, enterprises that today employ highly skilled, well paid individuals in the fields that include pharmaceuticals, medical devices, biomedical data, information technology and others.”
The group also credited Beebe with his work on cutting taxes as well as creating a Quick Action Closing Fund for economic development projects.
The Arkansas Economic Developers also honored Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Mark Young.
Young, who has served as chamber president and CEO since 2006, received the Outstanding Economic Developer award.
Young was thanked for his work to bring nearly 1,500 jobs to Jonesboro in the past eight years, as well as his work on statewide and regional issues.
New companies, such as Nice-Pak Products, Inc. and Alberto Culver (Unilever), and most recently, TrinityRail Maintenance Services, Inc., and Teletech represent organizations that have located in Jonesboro.
In addition, existing businesses have made significant investments in Jonesboro during the last several years – Frito-Lay, Nestle USA, Spirit Fitness Products, Aspen Transportation, among others.
Young also serves on several regional and state boards and has chaired the Arkansas Economic Developers organization.
Also, Maumelle Mayor Mike Watson was recognized as the group’s 2014 Volunteer of the Year.
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