AEDCE Member Spotlight

Mandy White

Executive Director
Crossett Area Chamber of Commerce

Mandy White serves as Executive Director of the Crossett Area Chamber of Commerce providing leadership and resources to the chamber membership and the local community.  Mandy manages the day-to-day activities of the chamber as well as visioning for the future of Crossett. 

  1. Where were you born?  Where do you live today? West Monroe, Louisiana and live currently in Crossett, Arkansas.
  2. What do you love most about Arkansas? The Southern Hospitality, the quirky southern culture and beautiful bodies of water that offers great fishing and last but not least…the Arkansas Razorbacks!
  3. Very few people know that I… lived in New York at one time.
  4. How would you describe Arkansas to someone that has never been here?  We ARE “The Natural State.” We are blessed with beautiful scenic byways, that make perfect road trips, hidden wonders, great wildlife lots of great fishing holes.  There’s nothing better than Arkansas’ stunning beauty.
  5. What advice would you give to your 21-year old self? Humble yourself, always. Pray before every decision. Know that the world doesn’t owe you anything, and life is about doing, being and becoming!
  6. The greatest risk I ever took was…? Recently becoming a small business owner with my spouse. Small business owners are the backbone of our economy. Even though there is a high amount of risk involved, I believe that owning a business gives you the opportunity to take a calculated risk on a passion. The biggest risk in life is not taking risks!   
  7. What issue facing Arkansas, or your local community keeps you up at night? Recent community announcements that could possibly have major impacts on our citizens and community.  Also, making sure I take advantage of every opportunity to help my community grow and prosper.
  8. Who would you most like to swap places with for the day and why? Melania Trump…she’s the First Lady, she’s beautiful, and has the potential to make a significant impact in the organizations that she serves. Most importantly, she’s married to the President!
  9. How long have you been in the chamber/economic development profession?  What do you like most about your job? On and off for the past fourteen years. I have worked at the Little Rock, Hot Springs and Morrilton Chambers, with the Crossett Area Chamber of Commerce being my fourth.
  10. Best career advice I would give someone in the Economic Development or Chamber profession? Focus on developing relationships with your members.  Always be true to what you stand for and last but not least, always accept help from your board, members and volunteers…you can’t do it all by yourself!

Dr. Ken Warden

Dean, College of Applied Science & Technology
University of Arkansas – Fort Smith (UAFS)

Dr. Ken Warden is the dean of the College of Applied Science and Technology at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith (UAFS), overseeing four bachelor’s degree programs as well as multiple associate degrees and technical certificate programs.  He leads the charge of workforce development for UAFS and western Arkansas. 

  1. Where were you born? Where do you live today? Born in Tulsa, OK.  Raised in Ozark, AR and still reside there. Commute to Fort Smith for work at UA-Fort Smith.
  2. What do you love most about Arkansas? I love that I can have rewarding work in a small city that has all the amenities while enjoying the natural beauty and lifestyle of living in a rural community.
  3. Very few people know that I have a backyard flock of chickens and an “award-winning” chicken coup.
  4. How would you describe Arkansas to someone that has never been here? Naturally beautiful and a great place to enjoy the outdoors. Arkansans are generally very friendly and welcoming.
  5. What advice would you give to your 21-year old self? Focus…
  6. The greatest risk I ever took was…? Leaving a known reliable position with long term security and potential job growth to take a position with another institution.
  7. What issue facing Arkansas, or your local community keeps you up at night? The issue of ensuring that our next generation has the skills necessary to contribute to the workforce and economically thrive in a highly automated society, without socialism.
  8. Who would you most like to swap places with for the day and why? Bill Gates – in order to see how many people I could help with his amount of money/influence/resources.
  9. How long have you been in the chamber/economic development profession? What do you like most about your job? I’ve actually been in the education business for over 20 years, but I have always known that education and economic development are inseparably linked. So, I guess I could say that I’ve been in the business for over 20 years. What I love most is helping people improve their lives through the empowerment of education.
  10. Best career advice I would give someone in the Economic Development or Chamber profession? Network, network, network!