Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce President Randy Zook spoke about legislative activity affecting businesses during the Carlisle Chamber of Commerce Business Appreciation Dinner on April 29 at the Civic Center.

According to Zook, a Chamber of Commerce is an intersection of business and politics. He said he is working to not only empower Arkansas businesses, but to help create better ones.

Zook said the Carlisle select site has potential for future manufactures for the community and the state.

"You have one of the most attractive industrial sites in the state," Zook said.

Zook said the site will appeal to many upcoming manufactures as well as manufacturers who have already established a name. He said while the idea to manufacture products overseas was initially due to reduce cost, he said it has taken away from our country’s economy. Zook said everyone needs to work as a country to bring those manufacturers back to the United States.

With "baby boomers" reaching the age of retirement, Zook said there is an estimated 10,000 people per day retiring nationally, which averages about 100 people retiring in Arkansas daily. He said while there are positions opening, the skills set in Arkansas are lacking.

Zook said the younger generation needs to be made aware that a four year degree is not always necessary to fill the higher salary jobs in areas such as welding. He said for many jobs, post secondary education, training or apprenticeship is needed.

Other legislative topics Zook spoke about were tax reform, house and senate term limits and highway maintenance funding.

Also during the event, Carlisle Chamber of Commerce President Judie Bariola presented awards for the 2014 Volunteer and Business of the Year.

Volunteer of the Year went to Melodie Hardke for her work with the Carlisle Animal Shelter. Since working with the shelter, Hardke has successfully helped adopt out and relocate over 100 dogs and cats. She used social media as well as contacts in other states to help find animals new homes. Hardke said no healthy animal has been put down since she began working with the Shelter.

The 2014 Business of the Year was presented to Carlisle branch president Cody Snider of BancorpSouth for its continued support to the Community. BancorpSouth sponsors community events, charity drives and contributes to the community through monetary donations. One of the most recent donations was the purchase of the awning for the new police and court building.

Four Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) seniors were presented with Rose Mary Buffalo Scholarships. Recipients included Austin Reed, Cody Bowlan, Braden Reed and Makenzie Bennett.