Lundy Kiger, board chair for the Fort Smith Regional Alliance, will be the guest speaker at the Alma Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet Jan. 23 at the Alma High School student union.

Alma’s chamber banquet will be at 6 p.m. and will include a guest speaker and dinner catered by the high school.

Kiger is expected to speak on economic development in the region and Alma’s role in that development, said Lisa Norris, director for the Alma Area Chamber of Commerce.

"I think Lundy’s going to do a great job," Norris said. "He’s really into regionalism, which is what has helped make Alma successful."

Kiger will be expanding on topics explored by the 2013 guest speaker, Paul Harvel, who was the president and chief executive officer of the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce at the time, Norris said. Harvel retired from his position with the Fort Smith Chamber Dec. 31.

At the 2013 banquet, Harvel spoke on Alma’s auspicious location and economic potential. He noted the city’s proximity to the Arkansas River and Interstate 40, and to the larger regions of Fort Smith and Northwest Arkansas.

Also part of this year’s banquet, the chamber will give out its annual Community Leader of the Year and Business of the Year awards for area individuals and businesses that are considered leaders in community involvement.

"I think it will be a great event; we had a great turnout last year and a lot of positive feedback," Norris said. "We just hope to build on that this year."

Tickets for the banquet are $23 each, or a table of six can be reserved for $150.

A sponsorship can be purchased for a minimum of $150. Sponsorship benefits include having a business’ name or logo displayed at the banquet, on the menu and in the Press Argus-Courier banquet insert in the Jan. 18 paper.

Sponsorships and nominations for Community Leader of the Year and Business of the Year will be accepted until Friday.

Norris can be contacted at (479) 632-4127 or Nominations can be made via email and the business or individual’s name and the reason for nomination must be included.