Director of Governmental Affairs, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/Associated Industries of Arkansas[dropcap]S[/dropcap]ince 2012, Andrew Parker has focused his efforts on promoting and advocating for a constructive business climate for the state organizations’ roughly 1,400 business and manufacturing members located across Arkansas. In addition to his legal and lobbying responsibilities, Andrew is the architect of the State Chamber Foundation’s Be Pro Be Proud initiative and also the director of the Chamber’s Leadership Arkansas program. Before joining the State Chamber/AIA, Parker served as regulatory counsel at the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission and spent more than 10 years working directly with Gov. Mike Beebe.
In July 2014, Andrew was appointed to a seven-year term on the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, and he is an advocate for the protection and enhancement of the state’s natural areas for the benefit of the state and its hunting and fishing enthusiasts. Parker received a law degree from the UALR Bowen School of Law and a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Arkansas State University. He is actively involved with both community and professional organizations and is married with one son.
Hometown: Little Rock
First job: “Maintenance Man,” Oak Forest Cleaners, Little Rock (I was 13).
What’s an interesting fact about you that would surprise others? I’m working toward becoming a PADI Divemaster.
What are you passionate about? My family and the time we spend together outdoors, exploring new places and the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) program. I want to pass along the lessons I was taught as a kid: how to be self-reliant, deal with adversity and think through problems to find the solutions.
Favorite place in the world: Belize, but really anywhere there’s clear water.
One word that describes you: Tenacious
Favorite food: Cotham’s in the City’s catfish (cold, leftover Cotham’s catfish, actually).
What is the accomplishment you’re most proud of?
I helped create and launch Be Pro Be Proud (beprobeproud.org), a project designed to change perceptions of skilled professions in Arkansas — specifically in the trucking, construction and manufacturing industries. Skilled professions are the jobs our parents call “middle-skill or vo-tech” jobs, but in today’s world — not to mention tomorrow’s — there’s nothing middle-skill about any of them. The demands, the responsibilities, the technology and the skills needed are on par with traditional professional occupations. And in many cases, so is the income and advancement potential.
What’s left on your bucket list? Preparing my son to do great things and have the best life possible.
Photo by Jamison Mosley