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COB Alumni, Advisory Board Member Win Chamber Awards

Two UCA College of Business alumni and an advisory board member are among the honorees for the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting awards.

Jeff Standridge, Ed.D., adjunct professor of finance and COB Advisory Board member, received the Guy W. Murphy Distinguished Service Award. The award is the highest honor given each year to an individual or group for special service for the benefit of the community who has taken a leadership role in business, civic and social service organizations.

“Dr. Jeff Standridge is a catalyst behind many initiatives and organizations in Conway,” said the chamber in its release announcing this year’s honorees. “He is an advocate for the community and a driver of the economy.”

Standridge’s work as managing director at Conductor, a public-private between the University of Central Arkansas and Startup Junkie, which provides assistance, mentorship and coaching to entrepreneurs, innovators and small businesses in Arkansas.

“Standridge works to propel innovation and entrepreneurship in Conway and central Arkansas,” said the chamber’s release. “He is an innovator at his core, but his true talents lie in his ability to connect and inspire those around him and to help others develop and perform as highly as possible.”

Standridge and his wife, Lori, established the Dr. Jeff and Lori Standridge Innovation & Entrepreneurship Scholarship in 2019. The award benefits an upperclassman majoring in innovation and entrepreneurship in the College of Business. The scholarship was the first endowed scholarship in innovation and entrepreneurship at UCA.

Drew Gainor (BBA ’10) was named Business Executive of the Year. The award recognizes the top leader at a business who is a driving force and works to maintain an enriched business climate and enhanced quality of life in Conway.

Gainor is managing director at Northwestern Mutual.

“Gainor’s leadership within Northwestern Mutual has been instrumental at a local, regional, and national level,” said the chamber, which also commended Gainor’s development of other advisors to “flourish in the community.”

READ MORE: Up Close with Drew Gainor

“He does this by casting a vison for others and helping them build the roadmap to achieve success.” said the chamber. “His vison and leadership extend well beyond the Conway location, where he consults and participates in joint partner work with advisors nationally to help them better serve their clients.”

Gainor and his wife, Lauren, established the Drew Marshall Gainor Scholarship in the College of Business on UCA Day of Giving in 2018. The scholarship benefits minority Hispanic students who are studying economics, finance, insurance and risk management, or innovation and entrepreneurship.

Paul Bradley (BBA ’06, MBA ’10) was named Young Business Leader of the Year. The award recognizes a community business leader under 40 who has helped create a more vibrant business and social environment in Conway.

READ MORE: ‘COB Gave Me Advantage in Career’

Bradley is the director of marketing at Conway Regional Health System.

“He has brought innovation and creativity to the organization,” said the chamber. “He has developed strong peer relationships and has been effective in building and empowering a new marketing team.”

For a full list of Chamber award winners, click here.