AEDCE Member Spotlight

Travis Stephens

Economic Development Director
City of Bella Vista

Travis is the Economic Development Director for the city of Bella Vista, Arkansas, where his primary focus is to recruit more restaurants and retail activity in order to grow the city’s sales tax base. He also created and leads the city’s new tourism agency, Discover Bella Vista. Travis has been with the City of Bella Vista for a little more than 2 years. Prior to that he served as the President of the Clarksville-Johnson County Chamber of Commerce and the Clarksville Regional Economic Development Organization. Additionally, he just completed the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Organization Management this past June.

  1. Where were you born? Where do you live today?  I was born in Fort Smith and live today in Bella Vista.
  2. What do you love most about Arkansas? I love that it’s a small state which provides more opportunities to interact and get to know people from every corner.
  3. Very few people know that I… Graduated high school from a boarding school in the DC metro – Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia.
  4. Favorite vacation spot outside of Arkansas? Hawaii
  5. Children and/or pets? 4 daughters, a Golden Doodle, a rabbit, and a turtle.
  6. The greatest risk I ever took was…? Quitting my job at a bank to pursue a master’s Degree in Community & Economic Development.
  7. Best place in Arkansas to spend the weekend? Camping at DeGray Lake State Park
  8. Who would you most like to swap places with for the day and why? My wife so I could truly see things from her perspective for a day.
  9. How long have you been in the chamber/economic development profession, and what do you like most about your job? I have been in the profession for around 8 years.  The best part of my job is playing a role in making positive things happen in my little corner of the universe.
  10. Best career advice I would give someone in the Economic Development or Chamber profession?This is truly a relationship business.  No Chamber President or Economic Development professional can accomplish anything on their own.  We may be the tip of the spear, but we are entirely dependent on the elected officials, our co-workers and employees, the school administrators, local business leaders and various other stakeholders that have a role to play. Without having and maintaining those relationships, you won’t have their collaboration and resources at the time you need them the most.”

Nacole Sweeney

Director of Operations
Harrisburg Area Chamber of Commerce

Executive Director of Economic Development
City of Harrisburg

Nacole is the director of operations for the Harrisburg Area Chamber of Commerce and executive director of Economic Development for the City of Harrisburg.  She is responsible for community development, business retention & expansion, workforce, grant writing & oversight and daily operation of the chamber. 

 

  1. Where were you born?  Where do you live today? Born in Jonesboro and live today in Harrisburg.
  2. What do you love most about Arkansas? The natural beauty and laid-back atmosphere.
  3. Very few people know that … I race a 5-second drag car.
  4. Favorite vacation spot outside of Arkansas? George Island
  5. Children and/or pets? Kellan – age 7.
  6. The greatest risk I ever took was…? Signing a crop loan!
  7. Best place in Arkansas to spend the weekend?  Greers Ferry Lake
  8. Who would you most like to swap places with for the day and why? Brittany Force, I would like to experience what 10,000+horsepower Top Fuel Dragster feels like.
  9. How long have you been in the chamber/economic development profession, and what do you like most about your job? I am in my third year and enjoy that no tow days are the same.
  10. Best career advice I would give someone in the Economic Development or Chamber profession. “You cannot have Economic Development before you have Community Development.”