The 62nd annual meeting and business fair for the Van Buren Chamber of Commerce will be Thursday in the Commons at Van Buren High School.

This year’s event will feature the “Go Local” theme, highlighting the businesses, organizations and people that call the area home. The luncheon will begin at 11:30 a.m., with the business fair open from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Dr. Debbie Faubus-Kendrick will be recognized as the recipient of the 2017 Iverson Riggs Memorial Citizen of the Year award.

The Iverson Riggs Memorial Citizen of the Year Award was created in 1987 to honor the memory of Iverson Riggs, founder and publisher of the Crawford County Courier newspaper. This award is given to an individual who has made exemplary contributions of time, talent or resources to our community.

Faubus-Kendrick has been an educator for more than 35 years including the last nine years as director of the Crawford County Adult Education Center. She also is an adjunct psychology professor for Vincennes University.

Excellence in Business Award winners will be announced.

Members were chosen in three categories including large business (25-plus employees), small business (1-24 employees), and start-up business (open less than two years).

Large business nominees are Citizens Bank & Trust Co., Crawford Construction and SPMI - My HR Professionals. Small business nominees are Firefly Boutique and Gifts, Generations Bank and Turf-Pro USA. Start-up business nominees are Chapters on Main, Matt Bodson State Farm and Pest-Pro USA.

Jon Harrison will serve as the keynote speaker.

At the peak of a successful 25-year career at Caterpillar Inc., Harrison left corporate America to follow his calling of serving people that are often overlooked and under-appreciated. In this capacity, he now serves as executive director of Vine and Village, a new 501c3 organization spawned from Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas that is focused on returning hope and dignity to both forgotten people and a forgotten area of the city.

This transition from a career focused on “success” to one that focuses on “significance” was an easy one for Harrison as the common theme during his career at Caterpillar was his passion for people. Driven from this passion, he founded his own company, VIP2, (which stands for Values driven, Informed, Passionate People). VIP2, through several avenues, assists organizations with this critical journey, resulting in successful organizations and transformed lives.

Banquet attendees will have a chance to win $500 for ticket-holder’s charity of choice, in the Choctaw Casino annual meeting drawing.

Bekaert is the banquet’s headlining sponsor. Platinum sponsors are Arkansas Tech University - Ozark Campus, Citizens Bank & Trust Co., Jimmy Bell Real Estate Co., Strategic Realty and University of Arkansas - Fort Smith.

Gold sponsors are Crawford Construction Co., Cross Pointe Insurance Advisers LLC, Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce, Generations Bank, Hawkins-Weir Engineers Inc., Hubbs, Belcher & Co. CPAs, Jimmy Bell Real Estate Co., Lumber One, PAC Printers, Progressive Business Systems LCC, Savin, OG&E, Rhodes Chevrolet, Simmons Prepared Foods Inc., Van Buren Advertising and Promotion Commission and Williams Florist and Gifts.

Silver Sponsors are AOG, Arkansas Valley Electric Co-op, Bancorp South, Breeden Auto Group, Chance 2 Dance Studio, Cherokee Casino & Hotel - Roland, Crawford County Farm Bureau Insurance - Justin Lovett, Farmers Cooperative, Firefly Boutique and Gifts, Farmers Cooperative, Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority, Legacy Heights and Memory Lane, Mercy Crest Assisted Living, Natural Treasures, Press Argus-Courier, SPMI: My HR Professionals and Turf and Pest Pro USA.