Economic development has been defined as the creation of wealth from which community benefits are realized. Such benefits came fewer and further between in the pandemic year of 2020, but local and state officials worked hard to make sure Arkansas remained as vibrant a place to live and work as possible. From the Arkansas Department of Commerce and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission to local chambers and visitors’ bureaus, these economic developers are helping Arkansas business owners endure.
In this special section, we’ll hear from Arkansas Commerce Secretary Mike Preston, highlight some of the ways the state was able to help keep the economy stable and profile some of the state’s economic developers in both the public and private sectors. Plus, we’ll look at tourism in Arkansas, how it held up in 2020 and prospects for the year ahead.
A Word from Mike Preston
At this beginning of a new year, I want to thank all of those who helped in far too many ways to mention.
I want to thank Gov. Asa Hutchinson and all the legislators who worked tirelessly to find solutions. The CARES Act steering committee, made up of a blue-ribbon panel of Arkansans, stood together to make the tough decisions on how to distribute the federal dollars received.
I want to thank Arkansans for their trust and patience as we worked with complex new ways to distribute relief and help companies of all kinds survive. And it continues. It’s not over, but we will continue to stay the course.
Arkansas Secretary of Commerce