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Tim Allen, Chamber President & CEO, joined the Chamber staff in November 2011. Prior to becoming Chamber President in 2013, Tim served as the Chief Operating Officer. He is responsible for economic development for the Fort Smith MSA, overseeing Chamber staff and functions, and working with community leaders to improve the regional quality of place.

Exciting things continue to happen every day in the Fort Smith Region and the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce is pleased to be a part of the dynamic growth. It’s an energizing time to live in Fort Smith and economic progress can be seen in virtually every facet of the community.

Five years ago, unemployment in Fort Smith was the headline at nearly 10 percent. Today, the area is enjoying an unemployment rate just below 4 percent; but we’ve still got work to do. The driving force for the growth is the three bedrock pillars of our economy: manufacturing, health care and information technology. Each facet is helping to expand our economy and shape our future. In fact, Fort Smith is proud to be the home of eight internationally owned corporations as well as dozens of nationally recognized businesses.

Since 1887, the Chamber’s mission has been to grow the economy by being a catalyst for economic development. We operate fully by the support of our members via annual dues and revenue generated from events. Why is that important? That support is essential to retaining business and the recruitment of new business that will bring more jobs to our area. Investing in the Chamber gives our community key advantages in the economic development and a global voice that we’re open for business.

More than 5,852 new jobs have been added in our region since 2012. During this same time, the Chamber has spearheaded more than 120 economic development projects that have resulted in an estimated $1 billion in capital investments.

During this same time, new commercial/retail business permits in Fort Smith were up a staggering 1,131 with capital investment of more than $5-6 million. The Chamber consistently leads the state in economic development announcements and Fort Smith plays a very visible role in the state when it comes to governmental affairs and economic development. We take on tough issues and are an advocate for businesses of all sizes.

Decisions that are made by our legislators can have a direct impact on the livelihood of area entrepreneurs and business people. We strive to help protect the principles of free enterprise and help ensure that businesses are being treated fairly at every level.

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all the 1,200 members that support the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce. If you want to know how to join the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce or if you are already a member and want to become more involved, contact the office at (479) 783-3111.