Our goal is to highlight Central Arkansas resources for economic development and entrepreneurship, and connect those resources with entrepreneurs and small businesses – all over lunch! Whether you are an entrepreneur, business leader, investor, or just an interested community member, come connect and learn from our featured speakers about topics like starting a business, building strategic relationships, growth hacking, and more.
This month, Lift the Rock features Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce's CEO, Jay Chesshir and Yellow Rocket Concept's Founder and CEO, Scott McGehee.
Enjoy learning about resources available through the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce over lunch at the Venture Center and get ready to be inspired by the startup story of Yellow Rocket Concepts!
About Jay Chesshir
On May 19, 2006, Jay Chesshir became the 15th President and CEO of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce in its 143-year history. He began his career at the Little Rock Regional Chamber in February 2005, serving as Economic Development Vice President, Senior Staff Executive for Fifty for the Future, and Executive Director of the Metro Little Rock Alliance, an eleven county economic development marketing coalition dedicated to central Arkansas becoming recognized as the premier location for new and expanding business within the mid-south.
Under his leadership, the chamber has directly worked projects accounting for over $2.1 billion in new and expanded capital investment for the region, more than 15,000 jobs and $489 million in new annual payroll.
Governor Mike Huckabee appointed him to the Arkansas Task Force on Non-Baccalaureate Postsecondary Education to study workforce development issues facing the state. He is a former chairman of the Arkansas Economic Developers and continues to serve as their Legislative Committee chair. The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Arkansas recognized him for his outstanding representation of the Arkansas business and economic development community during the 83rd Legislative General Assembly. Governor Huckabee also appointed him to the Arkansas Blue Ribbon Committee on Higher Education.
Jay served as Amendment 2 Campaign Committee Secretary for the statewide campaign which successfully led a constitutional amendment voter approval to create a “super project” incentive for Arkansas. He has since been instrumental in helping lead two additional statewide election campaigns to maintain the competitiveness of Arkansas’ incentive program. Jay is a former Arkansas Economic Developer of the Year recipient from the Arkansas Economic Developers Association.
In 2016, he was elected chairman of the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) Board of Directors, representing more than 7500 chamber professionals from over 1300 chambers of commerce across the United States and Canada. In August 2017, he became the only person in ACCE’s 103-year history elected to serve a second term as chairman. Jay currently serves on the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) College of Business Advisory Board, UALR College of Engineering & Information Technology Leadership Council, Little Rock Technology Park Authority, The Venture Center Board and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100. He is also a Ford Foundation Fellow of the ACCE Regionalism and Sustainable Development Program.
Jay received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Arkansas. He has been designated as a Certified Chamber Executive (CCE) by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives and is a graduate of both the Institute for Organization Management and Economic Development Institute.
About Scott McGehee
Scott McGehee was born in Fayetteville and raised in Little Rock. As a boy, he was inspired to be a cook by both his great-grandmother Ruby Thomas (of the Red Apple Inn) and his father, Frank McGehee (Blue Mesa Grill, Juanita’s).
After attending the University of Arkansas, McGehee was an honors graduate of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, followed by a position as line chef at Alice Waters’s famed Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, California.
In 1999, he returned to Little Rock and opened Boulevard Bread Company. McGehee opened ZaZa Fine Salad & Wood Oven Pizza Company in Little Rock in 2008; then ZaZa Conway; Big Orange; Local Lime Tacos and Margaritas; Lost 40 Brewing; and Heights Taco and Tamale.
With his exceptional partners and team, McGehee aspires to continue to develop and open new and exciting restaurants, and to be a small part of the success of all the people around him.