Keating Smith, North West, North West Arkansas Business Journal discussed on I am Northwest Arkansas


Northwest arkansas. I'm your host. Randy will burn. And i'm excited to be with you day. I've got a great guest joining me. Keating smith well he is i would say he's a man about town. He's a man of many hats. He does a lot of things in the community. And i ran across him. We've got a bunch of mutual friends. But i i ran across him after reading a really great article. In the north west arkansas business journal by jeff dolorosa who wrote about the issue of housing in our area and and how housing in the rapid growth of north west arkansas. It's kind of on a collision course. And i think the worst but we're still at a point if you read the article where it's like we can come up with some solutions now for smart growth and i said you know. I really wanna talk with keaton about this. I really wanna learn more about his skill set and background and just for him to kinda share with our audience. Some of his concerns about the the housing sector. Here north arkansas. And since we deal with so many people that are coming here to relocate to work for the big three or already live here and you know they call north west. Arkansas home in this is a really important place to them. I think this was an important episode to have for the podcast and without further keaton smith. Man how are you doing. I'm hanging in there. Thanks for having me. Yeah no absolutely. It is certainly my pleasure. Man i I appreciate you taking time out of your schedule. I would love for you just to kinda give the audience. A glimpse into who. You are as as i alluded to you. Work with partners for better housing. You're a senior leader at an ida berea bank. She also are on the fayetteville school board. I mean what else do you do. Mandy work at slim chickens. Part time. I mean what's the deal also. Yeah thank you so. I'll go with the hats analogy that you use earlier. I sort of sort of think about four different hats on on the work professional side of life first of all has been to two meg in bothered a four year old cora we live in fayetteville and and then as my day job. I'm a commercial banker with iberia bank in there for twelve years and in the housing space. My role is the board chair of partnership better housing which is a nonprofit housing developer and then served on the school board for three years and then you know The driving passion or the vocation for me for ten plus years has been an interest in sustainability issues environmental sustainability climate and energy issues. And so. that's been sort of the driving passion and and the why for for for getting involved in a number of of different issues but you know once you take a deep dive on one issue you see how interconnected it is with every other issue and when you see that interconnectedness you can't unsee so trying to take a systems approach to to help in the region flourish in drive and become more resilient and welcome whole bunch of new neighbors over the next twenty years. Yeah no i mean it's you're right. There is a lot that goes into that. And i know i was looking on your profile and you had four words that actually really resonate with but those words curiosity patients empathy in action. And you know it's it record. All of those words fall in line directly with everything that you do both in your public life in your professional life with the bank on the school board. what you're doing with partners for housing. There's a lot of patients that's involved in this process among other things. But what are your. What are the things that you're you're really focusing on. And i mean that article came out but obviously that was an issue for you prior to jeff villarosa writing about it. But what did that article cement for you in terms of where we are right now with housing issues in north west arkansas. There's been really impressed by the the quantity and the quality of the local cover. John housing recently in the media. You know jeff's article the democrat. That had a four part series on on housing. It's it's such a multifaceted issue so interconnected with with other issues. It can be tough to to cover up to communicate about tough to write about. But i think folks are doing a great job with it and i think what. This influx of media coverage signifies is a real recognition. Housing is a key issue for the region. It's key to our quality of life. It's key to managing the population growth. That we're seeing now. That will continue to see key to talent retention key to growing in a smart inclusive way. And you know i think. Et as regional stakeholders align around housing. Is this as a key. Regional issue that will take a lot of collaboration. Continued collaboration to tackle. I think there's some some some exciting exciting times ahead for for stakeholders across the space. Certainly a lot of work to be done. Yeah no it is. And i mean if i backed up a little bit just to kind of think about you know you coming here. You're originally from michigan. Is that correct. Yeah and traverse city is at area. Yeah i know that the there's a there's a beautiful resort. there the lied. Be the i can't think of the name of it but i went up there. One time in Is it the great bear lodge. Or there's that grand travers orange adverse resort. Yes golf course called the bear. Jack nicklaus course yup right right yeah beautiful beautiful area up there people. I always tell folks. And that's that's below the the up but it's it's north of the detroit area. Do the hands pinky that's right. Yeah absolutely so. I'm curious i mean just before we get to all of the stuff that you're into. How did you get down the university of arkansas. Did you did you just see favillas. I've got to come or was there something else that just drew you to this area. Yeah it was pretty random. So i came for college came for school and stuck around so two thousand and three. I was already thinking about going out of state for college. I definitely wanted to go.

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