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ULead class surveys community’s pressing needs

Posted on September 16, 2021

Following a meeting of the El Dorado-Union County Chambers ULead Class X at the South Arkansas Historical Preservation Society on Wednesday, class members met with members of the state Chamber’s Leadership Arkansas class. (Matt Hutcheson/News-Times)

By Matt Hutcheson
Staff Writer/El Dorado News-Times

The Union County-El Dorado Chamber of Commerce's tenth Leadership Union County (ULEAD) class met at the South Arkansas Historical Preservation Society on Wednesday.

According to ULEAD Class X Co-Chairman Steve Biernacki, the class met to share results of a months-long project to determine the most pressing needs in El Dorado.

Leadership Union County is a ten-month program with focuses on networking and educating the class members about varying issues within the community.

"We split the class into four groups for each of the four wards in El Dorado, and each one researched one ward," Biernacki said.

Biernacki continued that he asked the groups for "energetic and original" presentations rather than dry Power Point slideshows, and received just that on Wednesday.

The teams presented their ideas based on tours of each ward and time spent speaking to residents and council members as well as community and business leaders.

The project initially began in July, so the teams have had several months to familiarize themselves with the ward they were assigned to.

The class will next vote on the idea they most want to pursue in the overall community.

Biernacki said three of the four groups returned with youth mentoring as the most pressing need in the ward they surveyed and that he expects the eventual project to relate to that.

Many class members began the project, Biernacki said, unsure of their own home ward, although that quickly changed.

"Everybody walked away with a better understanding of their community," Biernacki said.

Following the presentations, ULEAD class members met with members of the state Chamber's Leadership Arkansas class, who were touring El Dorado locations on Wednesday including the Murphy Arts District and the Historical Preservation Society.

We want to hear from you. Visit to tell us about what needs you see in your ward.

ULEAD Class X members:

Steve Biernacki – Chairman

Doug Stanton – Chairman

Gaven Ballinger – Murphy USA

Joanna Benson – Murphy Arts District

Sara Coffman – South Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

Brandi Cotterman – South Arkansas Community College

Lori DeWese – Medical Center of South Arkansas

Randy Hendricks – Restore It Restoration & Cleaning

Toni Holderfield – Timberlane Health & Rehab

Kent Jobe – College Avenue Church of Christ

Brandy Kyle – El Dorado Printing

Taylor May – Noalmark Broadcasting

Jeremy Morgan – First Financial Bank

Gabby Pitard – Pitard Animal Clinic

Darrin Riley – South Arkansas Historical Preservation Society

Brooks Walthall – South Arkansas Community College

Elizabeth Young – Sponsored by Entergy Arkansas, Inc.

Victoria Young – Edward Jones & Co. – Victoria Young