At the Top of AHA, Montine McNulty Called Tireless, Hardworking

by Robert Bell  on Monday, Mar. 7, 2011 12:00 am  

Montine McNulty, executive director of the Arkansas Hospitality Association, has also served for 24 years on the Arkansas Parks & Tourism Department board.

Over the course of nearly 25 years, Montine McNulty, executive director of the Arkansas Hospitality Association, has served as an unflagging advocate for tourism and hospitality all over the state.

"I have the best job in the state," she said recently.

It means keeping up with not only hotels, resorts, restaurants and attractions, but with economic factors, legislation and a host of other forces that affect a $5.4 billion industry that employs more than 100,000 people.

Steve Arrison, CEO of the Hot Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau, has known McNulty for many years, he said, and has often wondered how she juggles so many different issues.

"I guess the question I've had over the years is: when does she sleep? It's incredible," Arrison said. "She has a great love for the hospitality industry, and boy, she does a great job of keeping an eye on everything for us."

It would be impossible to put a value on all that McNulty has done for the hospitality industry in the state over the years, Arrison said. "And she's tireless. She seems to be everywhere," he said.

Others in the state who've worked with McNulty described her in similar terms.

"Persistent," "loyal," "hardworking," said Richard Davies, executive director of the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism.

"Topnotch," "crackerjack," "pro," said Randy Zook, president and CEO of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce.

As an example of McNulty's loyalty to her colleagues and her industry, Davies cited an instance of her managing to be in two places at once. The Arkansas Hospitality Association's annual Stars of the Industry Gala was held at the Clinton Presidential Library on Feb. 22, the same night the 2010 Arkansas Business of the Year Awards were held at the Statehouse Convention Center. Jim Gaston, owner of White River Resort and a commissioner emeritus with the Arkansas State Parks, Recreation & Travel Commission, was nominated for Business Executive of the Year (and ultimately won the title).

"She had her big banquet the same night as the Arkansas Business deal. I mean the big star of industry where you reward hospitality employees, and she runs and goes to Gaston's thing for Jim, stays through the reception and then hauls ass back over to the other one," Davies said.

"She knows the industry better than the back of her hand and understands how it fits in with the rest of the economy," Zook said. "And she's always stepping up to make sure that the tourism sector of the economy is considered in any decisions or policy considerations regarding the overall economic environment."



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