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August 11, 2015, Hot Springs, AR – The Hot Springs Metro Partnership was honored to welcome the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s new Executive Director, Mike Preston, to its August monthly Board meeting. 

During Preston’s visit he spoke of the similarities and differences of his former agency, Enterprise Florida and AEDC.  He said Enterprise Florida is a public/private agency that is able to provide quick response and operate more like a business because of the private investments.  One of his goals as Executive Director is to change the culture at AEDC where it will be more responsive like a public/private entity, while remaining a state agency.

As far as local and state economic development, Preston feels that Hot Springs and Arkansas need to play to their individual strengths instead of trying to reinvent the wheel. 

Preston is recognized as a leading advocate for economic development. For the last six and a half years he’s served as the Vice President of Government Relations for Enterprise Florida. He secured hundreds of millions of dollars for the organization, the state’s economic development toolkit, international trade initiatives and capital programs. He also worked closely with state legislators to advance economic development projects through the legislative approval process. During his tenure at Enterprise Florida he was part of the team that helped create more than 147,000 jobs paying an average wage of $56,437 and generating $10.07 billion in capital investment.

 “We are looking forward to working with Mike in his new role to bring new job and new capital investment to the Hot Springs region”, stated Jim Fram, CEO of the Hot Springs Metro Partnership. He continued, “We are excited that Governor Hutchinson has appointed a professional economic director to direct our State’s economic development effort.”

The Hot Springs Metro Partnership is the area’s public/private economic development organization, serving all of the Hot Springs region. The Partnership’s main goals include 1) Hot Springs Downtown, 2) Business Retention and Expansion throughout the region, 3) Talent, with its implication for the workforce generally and technical skills in particular; and 4) Quality of Place, emphasizing the amenities of the area and their economic potential. 

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