Bill Adkisson, Jeff Standridge receive Distinguished Service Award
William C. “Bill” Adkisson, founder of Faulkner County Title Company and longtime law partner at Graddy & Adkisson LLP, together with Conductor founding director and former Acxiom executive Jeff Standridge, Ed.D., are the 2020 recipients of the Guy W. Murphy Distinguished Service Award. Established in 1957, this award is the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce’s highest form of recognition and is presented annually to an individual or group who has rendered special service for the benefit of the community and has taken an active leadership role in business, civic, and social service organizations.
The award is part of the Chamber’s Annual Meeting, billed as the largest business event in Conway with approximately 1,100 business and community leaders attending. The 2020 event is underwritten by First Security Bank and presented by the University of Central Arkansas, Crafton Tull, Acxiom, and Conway Regional Health System. Log Cabin Democrat and Northwestern Mutual are the sponsors of the Annual Meeting awards, which will be presented in the following categories:
- Guy W. Murphy Distinguished Service Award: Bill Adkisson and Jeff Standridge
- Lloyd Westbrook Good Neighbor Award: MM "Twig" Satterfield
- Business Executive of the Year: Drew Gainor
- Young Business Leader of the Year: Paul Bradley
- Business of the Year – Outstanding Nonprofit: Women’s Shelter of Central Arkansas
- Business of the Year – Outstanding Hospitality: Bulgogi Korean BBQ
- Business of the Year – Outstanding Retailer: Francis M. Fine Jewelry
- Business of the Year – Outstanding Large Employer: Virco Manufacturing Corporation
- Business of the Year – Outstanding Small Business: Hounds’ Hideaway
The nomination period for the Annual Meeting awards was in January. Chamber of commerce professionals from South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas selected the finalists. Originally scheduled for April 2, the event was postponed to safeguard against COVID-19 and the spread of the coronavirus that causes the disease. The Conway Area Chamber will announce the new date at a later time.
Guy W. Murphy Distinguished Service Award
Bill Adkisson’s background and professional interests have uniquely prepared him to be of service to the Conway community. Adkisson was a longtime partner in Graddy & Adkisson, LLP and formed the Faulkner County Title Company. His lifelong connection in central Arkansas, knowledge of strategies for contract and collaboration, and interest in land management and title law have been critical to the evolution of the Conway Development Corporation and economic development in Conway. Those who have worked with Adkisson agree that he has a collaborative competence that brings people together. His service speaks to the value of knowledgeable counsel, dependable support, timely suggestion, and a love of the community. Adkisson is the CDC’s longest-serving board member, starting his position in 1989. He was active in the development of the new Conway Municipal Airport, serving as chair of the Conway Airport Advisory Committee. His dedication and service to the CDC and Conway Airport Advisory Committee have been integral to attracting, locating, and retaining business and industry in Conway.
In addition to his service to the economic development of Conway, Adkisson has extended his talents to a variety of local nonprofits. He participated in the formation of the Conway Symphony Orchestra and its nonprofit incorporation. His is also a past chair and board member emeritus of the Symphony. He previously served as chair of the Conway Corporation board, past chair of the Boys and Girls Club of Faulkner County, and a past board member of My House and United Way of Central Arkansas.
Guy W. Murphy Distinguished Service Award
Dr. Jeff Standridge
Dr. Jeff Standridge is a catalyst behind many initiatives and organizations in Conway. He is an advocate for the community and a driver of the economy. In his role at the Conductor, Standridge works to propel innovation and entrepreneurship in Conway and central Arkansas. He is an innovator at his core, but his true talents lie in his ability to connect and inspire those around him and to help others develop and perform as highly as possible.
In 2012, Standridge launched a steering committee called “Startup Conway” to explore and investigate how Conway might begin to build an entrepreneurial ecosystem focused on leveraging the talent from local colleges and universities. He co-founded Cadron Creek Capital in 2016, which during the next two years, invested in 16 startup companies, all with business ties and operations to Conway. In 2016, Standridge left a two-decades long career at Acxiom to launch and serve as founding director of the Conductor, an entrepreneurial support organization focused on innovation, entrepreneurship, talent development, and economic empowerment in Conway and across central Arkansas. Through the Conductor, he has helped coach, mentor, and train almost 7,000 participants a year and provided more than 400 individual coaching session to entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners. Additionally, Standridge is an adjunct professor at the University of Central Arkansas where he teaches Innovation Leadership and Entrepreneurial Finance.
Standridge has received numerous awards and special recognition, including being named the Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser in 2017 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. In 2016, he was recognized by United Way of Central Arkansas with the “President’s Award.” He is a 2004 Arkansas Business 40 Under 40 honoree, which recognizes intriguing business and political leaders across the state who are under the age of 40. He has also been named one of Arkansas’s Top Business Influencers by Arkansas Business for the past two years.
Standridge is retired from the U.S. Army, Arkansas Army National Guard, where he was recognized in 2000 as Soldier of the Year by the 87th Troop Command. He is the author of The Innovator’s Field Guide: Accelerators for Entrepreneurs, Innovators and Change Agents, The Top Performer’s Field Guide: Catalysts for Leaders, Superstars and All Who Aspire to Be, and co-author of the award-winning book The Abundance Principle: Five Keys to Extraordinary Living.
Standridge is active in a variety of community service and nonprofit organizations. He serves on the boards for the Boys and Girls Club of Faulkner County and Conway Regional Health System and is a former board member for the Conway Regional Health Foundation and the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce. He was the 2013 chairman of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce board and a former member of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce board. Standridge has served on the Conway Regional Duck Derby organizing committee, Real Men Wear Pink campaign fundraiser, and has emceed the Deliver Hope Dare to Dream event. He and his wife, Lori, have served on the K-Life board, chaired the United Methodist Church capital campaign, and served as co-chairs of the Laurels & Stripes scholarship fundraiser for UCA.
MM "Twig" Satterfield
Twig Satterfield is the 2020 recipient of the Lloyd Westbrook Good Neighbor Award for his contributions in managing the the Lollie Levee for more than 20 years. Since 1973, this award has been given to an individual who exemplifies outstanding service to the Conway area, going above and beyond to help others.
Satterfield has spent nearly 50 years in the oil and gas industry, first with his father, MM “Bush” Satterfield Sr., and then his son, MM “Branch” Satterfield III. The company, MM Satterfield Oil, started as a consignee for Lion Oil Co. before becoming an independent petroleum jobber. Satterfield Oil brought the first locally owned convenience store to Conway and later one of the first CNG fueling stations to central Arkansas. With the addition of MM Satterfield Aviation Fuels, the company expanded into five states, supplying agricultural aviation, charter services, and mid-sized airlines. In 1986, Satterfield and two other partners purchased the Conway Municipal Airport from Dennis Cantrell. The group owned and operated the facility for a short time, helping to provide private funds and grants. During this time, the group was able to extend and widen the runway, which allowed for more air traffic and growth.
Satterfield has served as the chairman, and at times, the only member of the Faulkner County Levee District #1, otherwise known as the Lollie Levee for more than 20 years. In 2018, he worked with the board of the Tupelo Water District to combine it with the Levee District to create the Tupelo Bayou Irrigation, Drainage, and Watershed District. Satterfield became chairman of this new organization. As chair of both organizations, he has managed the levee, working with multiple government agencies and making sure it meets compliance guidelines. His work with the Lollie Levee not only ensured that it held last summer during the historic flooding along the Arkansas River, but also ensured that all repairs to the levee would be paid for by the federal government.
Besides his work with the Lollie Levee, Satterfield is a past member of the Conway Planning Commission and the Faulkner County Quorum Court. He is a longtime member of the Arkansas Oil Marketers and a past president of its board. As an active member of First Presbyterian Church, Satterfield has served multiple times as both a deacon and an elder and has been the president of the Vera Lloyd Presbyterian Family Service board. More recently, he raises local, hormone-free, grass-fed beef with his son. Satterfield also has become interested in wildlife conservation and has recently been recognized for conservation efforts by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the Quails Forever Organization.
Drew Gainor, managing director at Northwestern Mutual, has been named the 2020 Business Executive of the Year. This award recognizes the top leader at a business who is a driving force behind his or her company and works to maintain an enriched business climate and enhanced quality of life in Conway.
Gainor’s leadership within Northwestern Mutual has been instrumental at a local, regional, and national level. He was one of the youngest appointed managing directors in the organization’s 162-year history and has been the top managing director for multiple years. He has been internationally recognized as a top one percent Wealth Management Advisor since 2013. Since the opening of the Conway office, Gainor has helped other advisors develop their craft and flourish in the community. He does this by casting a vision for others and helping them build the roadmap to achieve success. His vision and leadership extend well beyond the Conway location, where he consults and participates in joint partner work with advisors nationally to help them better serve their clients. He also serves on the Hispanic Advisory Board for Northwestern Mutual.
Gainor gives of this time and talents to his alma mater, the University of Central Arkansas, as well as the broader community. He regularly shares his business experiences with students through class talks in the College of Business. He is past president of UCA Young Alumni Conway Chapter and serves on the UCA Capital Campaign committee. In the community, Gainor serves on the executive committee for the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors and is a member of the Conway Planning Commission board. He supports various organizations, including Alex’s Lemonade Stand and Childhood Cancer, Deliver Hope, CASA, UCA Foundation, and more.
The 2020 Young Business Leader of the Year award goes to Paul Bradley, director of marketing at Conway Regional Health System. This award recognizes a community business leader under the age of 40 who has helped create a more vibrant business and social environment in Conway.
Bradley has what he would classify as a dream job, helping to educate the public and be a cheerleader for the hospital and the community of Conway. With a background in data marketing and technology, Bradley started his career with Acxiom before being recruited by Edafio Technology Partners to open a new Conway office in 2016. While at Edafio, he focused on building relationships within the community, which helped Edafio grow exponentially. This relationship building is what Bradley does best by looking for opportunities to encourage, empower, and engage with others. It is this success in relationship building that brought him to Conway Regional Health System, where he has brought innovation and creativity to the organization. He has developed strong peer relationships and has been effective in building and empowering a new marketing team.
Bradley is a graduate of the Conway Area Leadership Institute, on the board of the Conway Regional Health Foundation, and on the advisory board of The CALL in Conway and Faulkner Counties. He is a pianist and is the accompanist for the Conway Men’s Chorus. He and his wife, Meredith, are involved with the Koinonia Cooperative Academy, a local home school co-op, where he teaches physics, as well as character building to a group of high school boys. He is also an active member of Fellowship Bible Church, where he has been a worship leader, led young adult ministries, and served as a small group leader.
Business of the Year
The Business of the Year Awards recognize businesses for their continued growth, innovation, and community involvement. It is the premier honor to the best overall business in Conway and is presented in the following categories: Outstanding Nonprofit, Outstanding Hospitality, Outstanding Retailer, Outstanding Large Employer (100 employees or more), and Outstanding Small Business (99 employees or fewer).
Outstanding Nonprofit: Women’s Shelter of Central Arkansas
The mission of the Women’s Shelter of Central Arkansas is to provide a safe place for people experiencing domestic violence and sexual assault. Their goal is to help equip people to find their independence, build confidence, and feel empowered to live the type of life they choose. As the only domestic violence shelter in Faulkner County, the Women’s Shelter provides multiple services to its residents, including financial planning, mental health development, and workforce education. Staff and volunteers know that by teaching and supporting residents in these areas, they will be empowered and have the confidence to be independent. In addition to helping their residents, they provide a 24-hour hotline for domestic violence and sexual assault as well as community support groups. Additionally, the Women’s Shelter provides education programs to local public schools and colleges on the warning signs of domestic violence, how to have healthy relationships, and how to speak out against violence.
Outstanding Hospitality: Bulgogi Korean BBQ
Owners Jenny and David Lee’s vision for Bulgogi Korean BBQ was to provide quality Korean food and awareness of Korean culture. Additionally, they wanted to create a business with love and simple kindness for their neighbors and the community of Conway. They take pride in treating both their employees and customers like family and are genuinely caring as they develop a sense of connectedness within the community. Jenny and David believe that leadership is shown by example and help to mentor employees in professional development in hopes that they can reach their goals. Jenny and David believe in community above self and help fulfill this commitment through the retail side of Bulgogi. Proceeds from the sale of T-shirts, hats, and other Bulgogi merchandise is solely dedicated to local and global missions, including Freezin’ for a Reason supporting Arkansas Children’s Hospital and the Michael J. Fox Foundation in memory of a close friend who recently passed away.
Outstanding Retailer: Francis M. Fine Jewelry
Located in downtown Conway, Francis M. Fine Jewelry has more than 75 years of combined experience in the fine jewelry industry offering unique jewelry as well as custom design services, appraisals, and in-house repair. Owner Cindy Webb takes pride in providing excellent customer service, going as far as hand delivering merchandise to customers who can’t make it to the store. She is a GIA Certified Gemologist and a A.N.A Numismatist. Recognizing the importance of empowering and educating employees, all members of the Francis M. sales staff have either completed or are enrolled in jewelry education courses. Additionally, Cindy recognizes the importance of community involvement and encourages all employees to work with local nonprofit and community service groups. The store donates to a variety of programs, including Alzheimer’s Arkansas, United Way, Haven House, Boys and Girls Club of Faulkner County, Renewal Ranch, Dazzle Daze, and more.
Outstanding Large Employer: Virco Manufacturing Corporation
Virco Manufacturing Corporation is America’s leading manufacturer and supplier of furniture and equipment for K-12 schools. The company maintains a nationwide direct sales team, supports a growing dealer network, and has a complete spectrum of support services. Virco sources all raw materials from U.S. suppliers, eliminating the need to ship from overseas, and its own commitment to recycling ensures the manufacturing processes are sound and contribute to a cleaner environment for all. Locally, Virco was one of the first industries to call Conway home in the early 1950s and is the longest operating industry in town. Since that opening, Virco has grown to employ approximately 400 people in its 1,750,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution center in town. Its employees participate in a multitude of nonprofits and activities, and as a corporation, Virco supports many schools and nonprofits through sponsorship.
Outstanding Small Business: Hounds’ Hideaway
Hounds’ Hideaway owner Lacey Vance saw a need for high-end doggie daycare in Conway and created a facility that went far above what local pet owners could imagine. Providing dog boarding, doggie daycare, grooming, and other services, Hounds’ Hideaway has given pet owners in the community a better option for their loved ones. With first-rate amenities and friendly staff, customers have rallied around the business and created a community of those with common interests. Hounds’ Hideaway offers a variety of programming and events designed to bring pets and pet owners together while shining a light on animal welfare issues, such as the need for a county animal shelter, pet adoption and rescue, and animal control services. Hounds’ Hideaway hosts multiple fundraisers throughout the year for the Humane Society of Faulkner County and donates daycare and boarding to pets in need of temporary housing. In 2019, the business formed Beagle Basecamp – a nonprofit that specifically rescues beagles – and has already placed more than 120 beagles into loving homes.