By Joel Phelps
Shelley Short is no stranger to the constant hum of traffic on Interstate 30. The newly hired CEO of the Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance spent her childhood as a neighbor of the I-30 Speedway, hearing the race cars as they zoomed around in circles at the Alexander arena.
At a meet and greet held Thursday at the Fairfield Inn & Suites, Short doted on Clark County residents for their commitment to growth and success. “There’s so much positive energy and enthusiasm in the community, and that has been overwhelmingly apparent,” Short told the 20 or so business leaders in attendance. “I’m excited about the opportunities that exist and to build on what’s already been done in Clark County into the next few years.”
Short was one of 38 candidates across the country who applied to be the Alliance CEO, a position that oversees the day-to-day operations of the county’s economic development operations. Short will be responsible for the recruitment of business and industry to Clark County, and will report monthly to the Economic Development Corp. of Clark County.
A native Arkansan, Short has 16 years of experience in her field, having started as a part-time administrative assistant at the state’s Economic Development Commission and working her way up to director of marketing. She is currently the vice president of Programs & Partnerships at the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce.
“I promise to work like heck to bring jobs and growth to this community,” Short said. “We’re gonna have some great wins, and we may have some times that things are not as great, but we’re going to weather all that together.”
The Alliance used the Dallas-based PACE Group to aid in the hiring process for the CEO. Once the number of applicants was whittled down to four, a seven-member CEO search committee comprised of Wesley Kluck, JL Griffin, Kevin Jester, Wilma Gill, Stacy Marlar, Lori Ross and Matt Johnson conducted “multiple” interviews with the remaining candidates. The committee recommended Short to the Alliance board, which voted unanimously in favor of that recommendation.
Short said she is a person of faith, and thanked the Lord for his role in her life and career. Short’s daughter is enrolled as a sophomore at Ouachita Baptist University.
Replacing outgoing CEO JL Griffin, Short will take the helm of the Alliance beginning Sept. 6.
“There’s great things ahead and I can’t wait to get started,” Short said.