FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 4 JANUARY 2019
De Queen, Arkansas - It’s been an exciting year in Sevier County, Arkansas! Our county has experienced job growth and an increase in resident participation. In 2018, experienced leaders emerged, a few businesses have opened or expanded, and we are on the path to achieving greatness in 2019.
• In January, 2018, Lisa Taylor was hired for the position of Economic Development Director for Sevier County. Ms. Taylor has nearly twenty years of experience in community and economic development. In her capacity as the Economic Development Director for the county, Ms. Taylor has also been designated by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission as the Community Editor and Property Manager for economic development activity in Sevier County. During her first year, Ms. Taylor coordinated a county-wide planning effort that resulted in the creation of community goals and related committees.
• Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson appointed Jay Bunyard, President of Bunyard Broadcasting, Inc., to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) in February 2018. Bunyard is the first Sevier County resident to ever be appointed to the AEDC. The Commission works to create economic opportunity by attracting higher paying jobs, expanding and diversifying our state and local economies, increasing incomes and investment, and generating positive growth throughout Arkansas. Bunyard will serve a four year term.
• Suzanne Babb is the new Executive Director for the De Queen Sevier County Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Babb, a long time business owner, is well organized, and truly understands the purpose of the Chamber of Commerce. Since her hiring at the end of September, the Chamber has experienced growth in new memberships, and the organization has refocused on developing opportunities and resources for local businesses.
• AMS Global Inc. relocated to De Queen, AR from Texas in April 2018. The company has approximately twenty full-time skilled employees, and expects more growth in 2019. AMS Global has over 25 years of experience in manufacturing, marketing, selling, and the distribution of restroom trailers, shower trailers and a wide array of products designed to provide unique solutions to sanitation challenges across multiple industries and applications. They also have an automatic livestock feeder division that has shown a steady increase in sales since starting production in 2013. Their products are shipped worldwide, and they do not depend upon the local economy for sales. Since moving the operation to Arkansas, AMS Global Inc. has experienced substantial growth, and according to their vice president, they have experienced their best year in manufacturing since their inception. AMS Global Inc. currently has custom orders that will keep them busy well into 2019, and they expect additional growth in 2020.
• Conquest Industrial Services was a new startup in spring 2018 that provides maintenance and repair to lumber mills. Their services include welding, millwright and equipment installation. Since opening in April 2018, Conquest Industrial Services has already grown to twenty-two employees, and currently has work lined up throughout the United States.
• Dr. Randy D. Walker, MD, PLLC, in De Queen, AR is currently undergoing an expansion. This expansion will add two additional providers to meet health and behavioral needs, six new employees, 2,000 square feet, five additional exam rooms, and additional medical services and equipment. At this time, Dr. Randy Walker employs thirty-six skilled workers.
• UA Cossatot in 2018 officially opened the Lockesburg Industrial Maintenance Institute in the Historic 1952 Lockesburg High School building. This institute now serves over 80 high school and college students each semester. These students come from all over the four-county UA Cossatot service area. UA Cossatot and their industry, state and local partners have invested over $600,000 in the Lockesburg community.
• Small Business is equally important in our community, and has also seen some growth in 2018. During the past twelve months, our county has added several new restaurants, a few retail stores, and sixteen new chicken houses.
• As one of the 85 Census Tracts in Arkansas designated as an Opportunity Zone by Governor Hutchinson in 2018, De Queen will be in a better position to recruit potential investors to Sevier County. Established by Congress in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones provide tax incentives for private investment in low-income communities nationwide.
• The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Extension Community and Economic Development announced the selection of our tri-county region (Little River, Howard and Sevier Counties) for participation in CREATE BRIDGES (Celebrating Retail, Accommodations, Tourism, and Entertainment by Building Rural Innovations and Developing Growth Economies), a program designed to build up rural economies. Ours was one of only two regions selected to participate in the State of Arkansas.
• Healthcare Express purchased property in De Queen, AR during the summer, where they are currently building a new urgent care facility. Healthcare Express is expected to open January 7, 2019, and will provide skilled jobs for ten people upon opening, with plans for future growth.
For the first time in a very long time, residents of the county are involved in discussions about the future, and they are taking action by serving on committees, attending public meetings, and engaging with elected officials. 2018 saw Sevier county elected officials, local boards, and citizens come together to solve ongoing concerns within the community. This has led to no fewer than 20 new leaders who have emerged to spearhead the latest economic development efforts of the county. “Our county will prosper as one community, in ways that we could not succeed should we try to do so individually,” said Lisa Taylor. “It’s a great time to be working together!”
For more information about how you can get involved in community and economic development efforts, please feel free to contact Lisa Taylor, Sevier County Economic Development Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or (870) 279-5937.