The Arkansas Festivals and Events Association is proud to officially announce the 4 newest members of the AFEA Board of Directors! The association and its members are very fortunate to add these individuals to our already existing board, completing a team of experienced professionals to help serve and support the festival & event industry of our state. Congratulations and a big thanks to them all!
Heber Springs Area Chamber of Commerce
Julie has served as the Executive Director of the Heber Springs Area Chamber of Commerce since June 2014. During her tenure, the Chamber has rebranded and updated its logo, published several new tourism brochures to promote the Heber Springs community, upgraded its membership software to provide numerous new promotional tools for its members, established the Heber Springs Area Chamber Foundation, and renovated and moved into a new and highly visible office building. The Chamber also hosts the annual Springfest Festival, Fireworks Extravaganza on Greers Ferry Lake, and the 2015 AFEA Event of the Year, World Championship Cardboard Boat Races.
Julie is an active member of the Arkansas Festivals and Events Association, Arkansas Economic Developers/Arkansas Chamber of Commerce Executives and the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. She serves on the board of Downtown Heber Springs, Arkansas State University-Beebe Development Council, and the Sugarloaf Heritage Council.
Daniel Paul Smith
Operations, Business Development & Entrepreneurial Executive at El Dorado Festivals & Events
Dan is a widely recognized industry leader in the Food & Beverage, Hospitality and Entertainment fields.
He has proven a track of successful leadership in all venues from "hotdogs and beer" to "fine dining", the guest's Total Experience is his foremost ideal. From Crowne Plaza Resorts to House of Blues, to the Cleveland Indians Baseball Club to Hospitality Consultant to his current role at El Dorado F & E. Some of his areas of expertise are: budget approvals, cost control, leadership development, marketing & promotion and public relations.
Specialties: *Restaurant Operations
*Night Club Operations
*Food & Beverage Concessions
*Hospitality Marketing: (promotions development)
*Art of Convivial Service
*Purchasing/Receiving Controls & Inventory Protocol
*Menu Development and Menu Engineering
*TIPS and TEAM (responsible vendor training)
*Fiscal Acumen/P&L Accountability
Downtown Little Rock Partnership
Chellie Longstreth came to Downtown Little Rock Partnership in the summer of 2012 upon her return to Arkansas from Cozumel, Mexico where she owned and operated a successful dive, travel and tourism company for 22 years, frequently mentioned in Fodor’s, Travel and Leisure and Cruising publications. She is a certified PADI dive master. In Cozumel she also managed the island’s largest vacation home rental company for international visitors and provided bi-lingual concierge services to guests. While living in Mexico she researched homes for HGTV in several cities including: Mexico City, Cuernavaca, Isla Mujeres, Cozumel, Cancun and San Miguel de Allende. She aided in the production of several Extreme Homes episodes and provided simultaneous translation during filming for HGTV. She studied at both University of Central Arkansas and University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
She brings to DLRP her experience in business management and event planning. She oversees many events, including the sponsorship development and logistic operations of the DLRP Annual Meeting, the MacArthur Park 5K and the nationally recognized Main Street Food Truck Festival. Chellie coordinates the volunteers for DLRP including the summer Downtown Navigator program. She also represents the DLRP as a member of the Riverfest Board of Directors.
She volunteers for her church serving on the Future Planning Committee, Preteen Think Tank Committee and Mission Board. She is bi-lingual in English and Spanish.
Local First Arkansas
Susie Cowan was born and raised in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. As a young adult, Cowan spent over eight years as a radio DJ and held every officer position in the Pine Bluff Jaycees. It was through these years that she discovered her love for community development through local events.
In 2013, Cowan led the conversations that developed into the all-Arkansas music and craft festival, Legends of Arkansas. This event encompassed everything Cowan had ever dreamed of for a local event; all local everything, and people loved it. So after directing every aspect of the festival for the last four years, Cowan has passed on the helm to Aaron Reddin in it's fifth year of planning of the annual celebration of all things Arkansas.
Through the years with Legends of Arkansas, Cowan discovered that the connections are the meaningful value behind the events.The connections between fellow business owners and consumers are what continues even after the events are done. So in 2014, Cowan began the conversations to develop Local First Arkansas, a statewide independent business alliance to promote the 'buy local' movement here in Arkansas. Local First Arkansas officially launched in April and went public in June of 2016, and already has over 100 Business members and Localists.
"I believe that if we help educate the general public how important it is to keep their money in their own community, that we can strengthen our own local economy." Susie Cowan