New job for Chamber head | Arkansas Blog

New job for Chamber head


The Arkadelphia Daily Siftings Herald reported today that Paul Harvel has been picked to be CEO of the Clark County Economic Development Corp. Harvel, former head of the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, is currently head of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce. I understand there' ll be no change in that job for the time being and that the Clark County job won't begin until summer. He'll depart the chamber by July 1.


After two years as the leader of the state¹s leading business advocacy organization, Paul Harvel will depart the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/Associated Industries of Arkansas later this summer.  Harvel will assume leadership duties as the new president and chief executive officer of the Economic Development Corp. of Clark County in Arkadelphia, Ark. no earlier than July 1.

³Paul Harvel came at a pivotal time for our organization,² said Hugh McDonald, Chairman of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, ³and has provided us with the highest level of leadership and demonstrated results that have turned this organization around in only two short years.²

 ³I greatly appreciate the opportunity given to me by the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors to accomplish what we have done together over the previous two years,² said Harvel, upon his announcement. ³Our partnership has been the most satisfying work in my entire 40-year professional career.²

Some of Harvel¹s many accomplishments include:  the increase of the organization¹s annual income by 75%, the increase of chamber memberships by 55%, the creation of a statewide leadership program that will soon be accepting applications for its third class, the re-establishment of a formal relationship with the Arkansas Chamber of Commerce Executives Association, the re-establishment of a formal relationship with the Arkansas Economic Developers Association, the opening of a Northwest Arkansas membership office and the increase in member participation in committee activities, annual meetings and the organization¹s annual trip to Washington, D.C.

³One of my proudest accomplishments has been the creation of the Leadership Arkansas program,² said Harvel.  ³This program will play a leading role in the future development of leaders throughout the state of Arkansas.²

³Paul has deep roots here in Arkansas and his many relationships with business leaders across our state have worked well for our organization,² said Benny Baker, Chairman of Associated Industries of Arkansas. ³He has put the chamber back on solid footing in a very short period of time.  For this, we will always be grateful.²

³When we hired Paul for this position, we knew that we would only have his leadership for a short amount of time,² said McDonald. ³In fact, part of his work with the chamber has also been to help us develop a plan of succession. With Paul now accepting the Arkadelphia position, now is the time for us to find our long-term leader.  We wish Paul and Barbara many years of happiness as they make new plans in Arkadelphia.²

The Executive Committee of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce will immediately put a process in place to find Harvel¹s successor.

Prior to his tenure at the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, Harvel served as president and chief executive officer of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce for more than twenty years.  In addition to his position with the chamber, he served as executive director of Fifty For The Future.  He was selected in 2005 as the recipient of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives prestigious Chairman¹s Award.

He is a native of Fort Worth, Texas, and is a graduate of East Texas State University in Commerce, Texas, with a master's degree in economics.  Harvel also completed the six-year U.S. Chamber Institute for Organization Management at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/AIA represents approximately 300,000 employees and 1,200 businesses and business interest organizations.  For over 80 years, the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/AIA has been the leading advocate for continually enhancing the business climate of Arkansas.

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