501 Life Magazine | Chamber announces award recipients
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Chamber announces award recipients

by Sonja J. Keith

The contributions that businessman Robert H. “Bunny” Adcock and pastor Quentin Washispack have made to the Conway community have not gone unnoticed.

An awards ceremony recognizing individuals and businesses that have made a difference in Conway over the past year is one of the highlights of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting scheduled Thursday, March 20, at the Conway Expo Center and Fairgrounds.

Adcock was selected to receive the chamber’s highest recognition – the Distinguished Service Award. Washispack was selected to receive the prestigious Good Neighbor Award.

“As Conway’s largest business event, our annual meeting gives us a chance to take time to appreciate the individuals and businesses that make Conway an even better place to live,” said Brad Lacy, president and CEO at the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce. “Our city continues to flourish in large part because of them.”

In addition to the awards, the annual meeting features a CEO-level speaker. This year’s speaker is Steve Mueller, president and CEO of Southwestern Energy Company. Mueller serves on the boards of America’s Natural Gas Alliance, the American Exploration and Production Council and the Independent Petroleum Association of America.

Individual tickets are $75, and tables and sponsorships begin at $600. Reserve a space by contacting Mary Margaret Satterfield at Mary@ConwayArkansas.org or 501.932.5412.

501 LIFE is the awards sponsor for the chamber’s annual meeting.

Quentin Washispack
Good Neighbor Award

Quentin Washispack is the 2014 recipient of the Good Neighbor Award.

As mission and outreach pastor for New Life Church, Washispack organizes hundreds of volunteers to tackle a number of community projects. His most recent endeavors range from landscaping, painting and cleaning 12 schools in the Conway School District as part of the Volunteer Conway Day to delivering a Thanksgiving meal provided by Centennial Bank to 1,150 people in Conway.

Washispack serves on the boards for the Conway Public Schools, Ministry Center and Human Services Coalition. He is also a member of the Ministerial Alliance, a graduate and curriculum member of the Faulkner County Leadership Institute, and part of the Toad Suck Continuum of Care.

Established in 1973, the Good Neighbor Award is annually presented to an individual who has given of his or her time and talents. Candidates are known for going beyond the call of duty to help others. The nominee shall exemplify outstanding public service to the Conway area.

Businesses of the Year

The Business of the Year Award recognizes businesses for continued growth, innovation and community involvement. Recognition is presented in five categories based on industry and number of employees.

ILS Executive Director Jackie Fliss (front) with Lum Kramer (back), Jerome Riley and Bart McCuin.

Independent Living Services
Outstanding Nonprofit

Independent Living Services (ILS) is the 2014 recipient of the Business of the Year: Outstanding Nonprofit Award.

The organization provides services for more than 250 developmental and intellectual disabled individuals in Faulkner County.

These services – which include therapy, transportation, residential services, health and wellness, and an adult development day program – offer ILS consumers a more fulfilling life that may not have been possible otherwise.

ILS was incorporated in 1970 as a group home for eight men from the Conway Human Development Center. It has since grown to operate three group homes, two residential homes, three apartment complexes and one intermediate care facility. Along with increasing services and the number of people receiving services, ILS employs 375 people in Faulkner County and has an annual budget of $7.5 million, making it one of the largest nonprofit organizations in Central Arkansas.

Co-owners Marcus Bobbitt and Dustin Botsford of Kings Live Music, recognized as Business of the Year: Outstanding Hospitality.

Kings Live Music
Outstanding Hospitality

Kings Live Music is the 2014 recipient of the Business of the Year: Outstanding Hospitality Award.

The entertainment venue – located in a beautifully restored, historic, downtown building – offers live music in a trendy environment.

Co-owners Dustin Botsford and Marcus Bobbitt wanted to provide a “cool, classy escape” for Conway residents and breathe life into an underutilized part of downtown.

In addition to providing high-quality musical entertainment from local artists, Kings Live Music supports the community in other ways.

The venue has hosted numerous charity and community events for organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club of Fau
lkner County, United Way, Conway Cares, the Women’s Shelter of Central Arkansas, The Blue Crew Police Fund and Conway Institute of Music.

Jeanne Smyers, owner of The Kitchen Store, recognized as Business of the Year: Outstanding Retailer.

The Kitchen Store
Outstanding Retailer

The Kitchen Store is the 2014 recipient of the Business of the Year: Outstanding Retailer Award.

Since Jeanne and the late Mike Smyers purchased the store in 1999, its volume has quadrupled, and the staff has grown from three part-time employees to 12 who work up to full-time. The Kitchen Store is known for its high-quality kitchen, gift and home décor merchandise and excellent customer service. The Smyers family made the first donation to establish the Conway Regional Perinatal Bereavement Program to help families, like theirs, who have experienced the loss of a pregnancy. They pledged support of the program through The Kitchen Store by hosting the Annual Holiday Preview event. Since 2009, the event has donated 100 percent of its gross proceeds to the program, totaling more than $72,500.

Greg Strickland of CenterPoint Energy Inc., recognized as the Business of the Year: Large Employer.

CenterPoint Energy
Outstanding Large Employer

CenterPoint Energy Inc., a domestic energy delivery company, is the 2014 recipient of the Business of the Year: Large Employer Award.

CenterPoint Energy is the largest natural gas distribution company in Arkansas. It serves more than 5 million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 135 years. The company focuses on safety and education, community development, and health and human services in the places where its 8,700 employees live and work. CenterPoint Energy invests hundreds of millions of dollars each year on system modernization and safety-related infrastructure and technology to ensure its system is safe and reliable.

Scott and Elsie Rose Wright of Sonshine Academy, recognized as the Business of the Year: Outstanding Small Business.

Sonshine Academy
Outstanding Small Business

Sonshine Academy is the 2014 recipient of the Business of the Year: Outstanding Small Business Award.

Since 1991, the business has provided quality instruction in gymnastics, dance, cheer, tumbling and related physical activities to children. Sonshine Academy’s recently expanded, 52,000-square-foot training facility features the latest equipment and training tools and is designed to maximize training in a fun and safe environment. Certified judges in gymnastics, dance, all-star cheerleading, tumbling and trampoline along with award-winning cheer and dance faculty are on staff. Children also develop desirable character traits such as confidence, discipline and sportsmanship. In addition to its day-to-day operations, Sonshine Academy hosts regional boys’ and girls’ gymnastics meets and cheer competitions each year.

Business Executive of the Year/Young Business Leader of the Year

Brad Hegeman was named the 2014 Business Executive of the Year.

Brad Hegeman
Business Executive of the Year

Brad Hegeman, president of south-central operations for Nabholz Construction, is the 2014 recipient of the Business Executive of the Year Award.

As an executive for the accomplished, multi-service construction company, Hegeman has demonstrated leadership in the building industry and the community as a whole since he began working for Nabholz in 1996.

His community service ranges from the public sector and nonprofits to industry-specific organizations. Hegeman served on the Conway City Council for two terms and was chairman of the finance committee and the parks and recreation committee. He currently serves as secretary of the Conway Corporation board of directors; president of the Little Rock Air Force Base Community Council; and is a member of the board of directors for the Air Force Chief of Staff Civic Leader Group, ARVets and Conway Development Corporation.

The Business Executive of the Year Award recognizes the owner, executive or president of a business who has displayed outstanding performance in either an individual or collaborative endeavor. The nominee is a driving force behind the company and works to maintain an enriched business climate and an enhanced quality of life in Conway.

Umang Patel was named the Young Business Leader of the Year.

Umang Patel
Young Business Leader of the Year

Umang Patel, owner of Conway Management Inc., is the 2014 recipient of the Young Business Leader of the Year Award.

Four local hotels – Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Comfort Suites, Candlewood Suites and Comfort Inn & Suites – comprise Conway Management Inc. Patel will soon add restaurant proprietor to his list of accomplishments. He plans to open a new establishment in The Village at Hendrix, where he will also relocate his corporate office.

Patel has been involved in the community since he was a child; his family owned and managed hotels in Conway for several years. Now that he has taken on the main role in the family business, he continues to invest time and money into the local economy.

The Young Business Leader Award recognizes a community business leader, age 40 or younger, who has helped create a more vibrant business and social environment for all of Conway’s residents.

Distinguished Service Award

Robert H. “Bunny” Adcock was named the recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Service Award.

Robert H. “Bunny” Adcock
Vice Chairman of the Board, Centennial Bank

Robert H. “Bunny” Adcock is the 2014 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award, the Chamber’s highest form of recognition.

Adcock serves as vice chairman of the board for Centennial Bank and Home BancShares.

Throughout his career in the banking and finance sector, Adcock has devoted himself to improving the overall business climate of Conway and the state of Arkansas. He has led two state agencies – the Arkansas Development Finance Authority and the Arkansas State Bank Department – and has served in various capacities at the University of Central Arkansas.

Since 2012, he has been a member of the UCA Board of Trustees. He also has served as vice president for advancement as well as vice president for finance and administration at the institution.

From 1981 to 1983, Adcock was an administrative assistant to Gov. Frank White, serving as liaison to the House of Representatives.

Since 1985, he has been the general manager of Balloue Family Farms & A. M. Island Farm, managing a 2,500-acre row crop farm engaged in the production of rice, cotton, soybeans and corn.

A 1966 graduate of McGehee High School in Desha County, Adcock is a 1970 graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. He and his wife, Carol, have two children, Hillary and Ashton. They attend New Life Church.

His civic activities include serving as president of the Arkansas Jaycees, vice president of the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce and president of the Conway Kiwanis Club. He also served on the Conway City Council and has been active in state banking associations. A member of the Conway Community band, he has also served on the boards of Toad Suck Daze, United Way and the Boys and Girls Club. He also has been active in Boy Scouts.

Established in 1957, the Distinguished Service Award is presented annually to an individual or group who has rendered special service for the benefit of the community. Candidates have demonstrated an active leadership role for the betterment of the community through their involvement in business, civic and social service organizations.