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VB chamber plans membership event

The Van Buren Chamber of Commerce is planning a membership event that is like none other.

For two and-a-half days, more than 100 volunteers will work against the clock and against each other to sign up new chamber members and create a greater community awareness of the important role of the chamber of commerce, according to Jackie Krutsch, executive director of the chamber.

The Nov. 12-14 membership event is being organized by Jimmy Cusano and a group called Your Chamber Connection.

“Their special is high energy membership campaigns that allow volunteers to conduct out of the box membership fun while building the membership case,” said Lisa Huckelbury, chamber vice chairman and membership vice president.

Membership event chairmen are:

• Jimmy Bell, president and owner of Jimmy Bell Real Estate Co.

• Anthony Brooks, administrator and chief financial officer for Summit Medical Center.

• Debbie Foliart, owner of The Destiny Group and account executive for Press Argus-Courier.

• Keith Hefner, president and chief executive officer of Citizens Bank and Trust Co.

• Ken Kilgore, owner of Crawford Health and Rehabilitation.

• Dr. Phillip Morton, dentist and owner of Morton Family Dentistry.

• Rusty Myers, formerly of Western Arkansas Planning and Development District.

• Jim Petty, president of Strategic Realty Companies.

• Marty Shell, president of Five Rivers Distribution.

• Cindy Williams, president of Time Striping.

• Dr. Ray Wallace, provost and senior vice chancellor of the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith.

• Donna Young, certified financial planner and president of Delta Investments.

The membership event runners’ chairman will be Gailene Park, indirect services, United Federal Credit Union.

Krutsch said the chamber staff began more than a year ago researching top consulting companies that had worked successfully with chambers.

“Lisa Huckelbury, 2012 Board Chairman Cathy Gifford and I traveled to Russellville to meet with their staff and discuss their success with Your Chamber Connection,” Krutsch said. “YCC has an excellent reputation, conducting this type of event in cities across the country.”

She said it was a natural fit for Huckelbury to head up the membership efforts in 2013 and has put in numerous hours over the past year to insure the membership event’s success.

“I could not be more proud of the group of chairmen that have agreed to serve the Van Buren Chamber of Commerce,” Krutsch said. “They know and understand the importance of a vibrant chamber for both the retention of existing businesses and the recruitment of new ones. The 13 chairmen represent a wide variety of member businesses that participate actively with the chamber.”

Event guru Jimmy Cusano said the membership event is about business.

“The chamber of commerce is the building community,” he said. “This brings everyone together to build our chamber. It’s a membership-based organization and most people don’t like membership drives.”

But, he said, the upcoming event will bring people together in a competitive, fun setting while telling the chamber’s story.

“When others hear about everything the chamber does, all of a sudden you have a great deal of enthusiasm for the chamber and a great deal of support,” Cusano said.

For more information, contact the chamber at (479) 474-2761.

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