AEDCE Member Spotlight
Director of Economic Development
Conway Area Chamber of Commerce
Conway Development Corporation
Corey Parks is the Director of Economic Development for the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce and Conway Development Corporation. Corey is responsible for responding to requests for information, managing workforce development initiatives, providing statistical analysis of the local and regional economy, and assisting with government affairs. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Insurance & Risk Management and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Central Arkansas. He is a graduate of the Community Development Institute (CDI) Central and is currently attending the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute (EDI).
- Where were you born? Where do you live today? I was born in the River Valley but now call Central Arkansas home.
- What do you love most about Arkansas? We have more to offer than people generally expect. Including a low cost of living, natural amenities, educated workforce, and some of the most welcoming/caring people you will ever meet.
- Very few people know that I… spend countless hours binge-watching Netflix.
- How would you describe Arkansas to someone that has never been here? Beautiful, affordable, and convenient.
- What advice would you give to your 21-year old self? Believe it or not, you do not have to figure everything out in your twenties.
- The greatest risk I ever took was…? Professionally it would be accepting my current role because although I had worked with chambers and economic development organizations, I was not sure what to expect. Going skydiving is the greatest personal risk I have ever taken.
- What issue facing Arkansas, or your local community keeps you up at night? The need for financial literacy programs and career pathways in our communities.
- Who would you most like to swap places with for the day and why? A big cat keeper because I would be trained to work with some of the most majestic but dangerous animals.
- How long have you been in the chamber/economic development profession? What do you like most about your job? I have worked in community and economic development for 3 1/2 years. What I like most about my job is knowing we are improving the community’s quality of life and adding regional employment opportunities.
- Best career advice I would give someone in the Economic Development or Chamber profession? Build meaningful relationships and never stop learning.
Greater Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce
Betsy Atkins is the Vice President at the Greater Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce which is the voice of business and the visionary organization in the greater Hot Springs area. Betsy provides management and oversight to all Chamber programs including Chamber events, revenue generation, personnel and membership. She also provides advice and insight to the management team on all issues encompassing the Chamber and the successful design and implementation of Chamber mission of economic and community development, government relations, education and workforce development.
- Where were you born? Where do you live today? I was born in Alexander City, Alabama. I now live in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
- What do you love most about Arkansas? I love the different landscapes and cultures that you can find in different parts of the State….I feel like I’m in a new part of the country with every town I visit.
- Very few people know that I… moved to Park City, Utah after college to explore and found an Arkansas boy with a similar accent…here I am now!
- How would you describe Arkansas to someone that has never been here? Arkansas is rich in quirky Southern culture and also is vast landscape of lush mountains and rivers and lots of recreation
- What advice would you give to your 21-year old self? Your 20s are not about making money but about making relationships. Focus on people, build relationships and create a network.
- The greatest risk I ever took was…? Moving back across the country to Arkansas with no job opportunity in place. But the greatest reward came from that risk because I was hired at the Chamber 2 months later!
- What issue facing Arkansas, or your local community keeps you up at night? The opioid crisis in all our communities. I absolutely hate to see the devastation that it has on families in our communities and state!
- Who would you most like to swap places with for the day and why? I would have loved to swapped places with the late Anthony Bourdain…I loved his show and it truly inspired me to travel more and go see places that are unfamiliar! I would love to have my own travel blog and go see this big world.
- How long have you been in the chamber/economic development profession? What do you like most about your job? Twelve years and I love that it keeps me on the pulse of our community.
- Best career advice I would give someone in the Economic Development or Chamber profession? Treat every day like a new challenge because it will be one!