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Paul Harvel: Mission Accomplished (Editorial)

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As we’ve noted more than once, happy are the people who enjoy what they do and happier still if they’re good at it. Paul Harvel was one such person.

Harvel, who died Jan. 12 in Hot Springs, headed a number of chambers of commerce in Arkansas, including the Little Rock Regional Chamber and, later, the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce.

Harvel led construction of the Little Rock Chamber’s headquarters downtown and helped guide efforts to win passage of a sales tax whose proceeds went toward expanding the Statehouse Convention Center and building what is now Simmons Bank Arena. During his tenure at the Little Rock Chamber, the board established what is now Leadership Greater Little Rock, a nine-month community leadership program for leaders from businesses, nonprofits and government. He also created the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame in 1987.

Harvel, a native Texan from a line of teachers, later worked for the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Russellville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce.

“He always wanted to leave a place better than he found it …,” Jay Chesshir, CEO of the Little Rock chamber, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Mission accomplished, Mr. Harvel.

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