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Monday, Aug 28, 2023

Arkansas Economic Developers & Chamber Executives Honor Four Outstanding Leaders During their annual awards luncheon

For Immediate Release: August 28, 2023

Contact: Candice Lawrence, Executive Director

Arkansas Economic Developers & Chamber Executives 501-650-0038 or

Little Rock, AR: During the awards luncheon at their 2023 Annual Conference in Little Rock, the Arkansas Economic Developers & Chamber Executives (AEDCE) on Monday, August 28, honored four individuals. Steve Jones PCED, received the Maria Haley Lifetime Leadership for Economic Development award. Also receiving awards are Tonya Fletcher, PCED as the Outstanding Chamber Executive, Ellie Baker, PCED as the Outstanding Economic Developer, and Wesley Kluck, MD as the Volunteer of the Year.

"I am humbled by this recognition from AEDCE," said Dr. Wesley Kluck, Alliance Board Chairman. "Volunteering in economic development and chamber initiatives has been a rewarding journey, and I am excited to continue contributing to the growth and success of Arkansas."

AEDCE awards recognize volunteer and professional economic developers and chamber executives for outstanding achievement demonstrated by significant achievements in his/her community, region and state over the course of his/her career to include professionalism, experience, training and education, service to AEDCE and the profession.

“Arkadelphia and Clark County continue to experience growth and opportunity due in large part to Dr. Kluck’s volunteer leadership, passion, and vision for our community,” said Shelley Short, president and CEO of the Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance and Area Chamber of Commerce.  “He is a stellar example of active leadership and service above self.”

“We are thrilled to recognize these exceptional leaders for their contributions to their communities and the great state of Arkansas,” said Nancy Lee McNew, board president for Arkansas Economic Developers and Chamber Executives. “They have exemplified innovation in community and economic development strategies to stay competitive for projects and improve the business climate and quality of life for Arkansans. Each award recipient has done an outstanding job of advancing development and making a positive impact in their respective areas. Congratulations to this year’s award winners!”

“The individuals being honored this year have made an immeasurable impact on their community and the State of Arkansas that will be felt for many years to come. Each of them serves as an important example of professionalism and selfless leadership to those within their wide circles of influence,” said Sec. of Commerce Hugh McDonald. “Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition and thank you for your dedication, passion and commitment!”

Award Recipients:

Wesley Kluck, MD

Arkadelphia, AR

Ellie Baker, PCED

Magnolia Economic Development Commission

Tonya Fletcher, PCED

Paris Area Chamber of Commerce

Steve Jones, PCED

Arkansas Economic Development Commission

About AEDCE: Arkansas Economic Developers & Chamber Executives is the state’s premier association representing professional and volunteer economic developers and chamber executives in Arkansas. AEDCE’s mission is to enhance the professional development of our membership and to advocate for community and economic development benefiting the citizens of Arkansas.

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