BENTONVILLE — Members of the Bentonville/Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce gathered at the Hilton Garden Inn for its annual Business After Hours and to say farewell to its chamber chief of change.
After 11 productive years as president and CEO of the Bentonville/Bella Vista, Ed Clifford is leaving Friday (June 29) to start a new job as head of the Jones Trust in Springdale on Monday (July 2).
Thursday’s well-attended Business After Hours affair was without fanfare, mostly without tears and utterly flattering to Clifford and what he’s accomplished in more than a decade of immense growth and cultural growth.
Speakers at the event included Chad Evans, the chambers board president; Bentonville Mayor Bob McCaslin; and several members of the chamber staff, such as Tammy Thurow, Tom Ginn and Jayne Lowe. Evans called Clifford “the right man, at the right place and the right time.”
McCaslin recalled meeting Clifford 14 years ago.
“Neither of us had a clue to the close relationship we would have,” the mayor said.
When it was Clifford’s turn to speak, he nodded to retired Fayetteville chamber chief Bill Ramsay and said, “He’s the only one here who knows how I feel.
“I’ll miss every day that I am not at this chamber of commerce,” he said.