The 83rd Annual Newport Area Chamber of Commerce Banquet will be held Thursday, January 31 at the Newport Country Club. The event will begin with a social hour at 5 p.m. Dinner starts at 6 p.m. Back by popular demand, a short auction will feature bids for the Christmas parade grand marshal as well as street sign naming at Newport Lake. This is a great way to honor someone from your business or organization! Annual awards will be given following dinner including recognition for small business, large business and Jackson County’s outstanding citizen. This year’s featured speaker will be Skip Rutherford, Dean of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock, the nation’s first to offer a Master of Public Service (MPS) degree. The Clinton School differs from more traditional graduate programs in public administration, public affairs and public policy because a significant portion of its academic program is project-based learning. Clinton School students have worked on a variety of projects in Newport and are currently working on an education initiative in Tuckerman. The school’s curriculum is enhanced with a nationally recognized speaker series, recognized as one of the best in the country. A graduate of the University of Arkansas, Rutherford received the Journalism Department’s first Distinguished Alumnus Award. He has an extensive private sector background in communications and public relations and has served as a visiting professor at Lyon College, the University of Arkansas, the University of the Ozarks and the University of Central Arkansas. and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from Hendrix College. He serves on the Board of Trustees at Lyon College, the Board of Directors of the Foundation for the Mid-South in Jackson, MS; the Board of Directors of the Arkansas Cinema Society, the Advisory Board of the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement and the Board of Directors of the Arkansas Children’s Hospital System where he has promoted statewide children’s health advocacy through the formation of the Natural Wonders Partnership Council. He has been named Headliner of the Year by the Arkansas Press Association; Arkansan of the Year by the Arkansas Broadcasters Association; Arkansan of the Year by the Arkansas Times; and was recognized as Tourism Person of the Year at the Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism. In 2018 he received the Friend of Children Award from Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families. A native of Batesville, he and his wife, Billie, are the parents of three adult children and one grandchild. They are members of Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church where he co-teaches a young adult Sunday School class; is a past chairman of the Board of Stewards and co-chaired the church’s centennial celebration. He also co-owns and manages two family farms in Jackson and Independence counties. Cost to attend the banquet is $30 per person and is open to the public. Tickets will not be given, however pre-payment is mandatory in order to reserve your seat. RSVP at the Chamber office at (870) 523-3618 or email firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday, January 24.
Cathy Drew is a lifelong resident of the region that she loves to promote. As a matter of fact, she was born in downtown Batesville in the late ’60s, which is in one of the eight counties she now enjoys encouraging people to visit.
Jeff Drew is her husband of almost 29 years. They have a son, Jonathon (Jon) Drew, his wife Devyn Stewart. Drew is also grandmother to Jon and Devyn’ s son, Jase Drew.
However, Drew can’t skip the other part of her family: the pets! Lady Bird (a stray dog welcomed into their home in June 2012) and of course, Howard – – a puppy compliments of Lady Bird shortly after arriving at the Drew home. They also have Kasha whom Drew inherited when her mother passed in 2016, and they adopted Bullet, a stray in November of 2016.
Drew, became associated with the Ozark Gateway Region in 1990 while working at the ad agency (The Media Market Inc.). The agency handled marketing for the regional association where she along with her co-workers produced an annual tabloid publication. She began work as the director of the Ozark Gateway Region In June 2000.
After Drew became director, she took the region to the next level by helping the tourism organization create a new website and moved it from the old newspaper paper tabloid publication to a color magazine format.
Over the years Drew has helped the organization meet new marketing goals, such as in- and out-of-state marketing, assuring that all 105,000 copies of their magazines are distributed each year.
Drew also helped the region create a heritage trail map that is still on posters in many establishments across the region and Arkansas. She oversaw development of a motorcycle route map that folds into a credit card format for riders, as well as those seeking scenic routes to enjoy the beautiful Ozark Mountains.
She has attended several AARP Shows across the U.S., representing Arkansas. She helped open a visitor center for the Ozark Gateway, allowing visitors to pick up information from across the entire state 24/7.
In 2016, she assisted creating the first Ozark Gateway Region Golf Classic and the tournament continues to grow each year, allowing the organization to grow its co-op program, helping each county have dedicated promotion. Drew stays busy at Ozark Gateway as the ad sales manager, magazine editor, day-to-day office operations, trade show representative, as well as magazine distribution representative all while making sure that the region is represented all over Arkansas and southern Missouri.
Drew has been featured in several local and statewide publications over the years as well as the 1997 cover of the Ozark Gateway Region tabloid along with her then 4-year-old son, Jon. She has received several awards such as the Batesville Rotarian of the Year in 2010 as well as a three-time Paul Harris Fellow.
She also has served as an Independence County election commissioner for several years and now serves as their co-election coordinator, helping with behind-the-scenes management of voting equipment, day-to-day election deadlines as well as poll worker training.
Drew serves on the Arkansas Travel Council Board of Directors, Ozark Foothills Film Fest Board of Directors, Batesville Rotary Club Past President and is the Rotary Clubs current publicity chair.
In March of 2018, Drew was honored with induction into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame for her many years of dedicated service to the tourism industry.