Visit El Dorado
Live Here
Do Business Here
Chamber of Commerce
« View All News

ULEAD introduces new class in orientation

Posted on May 20, 2021

ULEAD Class X from left: Jeremy Morgan, Darrin Riley, Doug Stanton, Lori DeWese, Elizabeth Young, Joanna Benson, Brandy Kyle, Sara Coffman, Steve Biernacki, Gabby Pitard, Victoria Young, Toni Holderfield, Brandi Cotterman, Kent Jobe, Gaven Ballinger, Randy Hendricks and Brooks Walthall. Not pictured: Taylor May. (Marvin Richards/News-Times)

The El Dorado-Union County Chamber of Commerce held orientation for its new Leadership Union County (ULEAD) Class on Tuesday.

This is the tenth class to come through the program.

The orientation was held at the Chamber building and attendees were greeted by Steve Biernacki, co-chairman of ULEAD and ULEAD Class IX graduate. He talked about the importance of the program and what he hopes this class will take away from their participation.

“ULEAD is an opportunity for leaders in the community to learn more about the community and the way our city runs and operates,”

Biernacki said. “For me, being a newcomer, this was life changing both personally and professionally.

You get to meet 10-15 new people that you may or may not know. You get to build a network… This is truly about strengthening the fabric of our community.”

One of the new class inductees is Brandy Kyle, of El Dorado Printing.

She talked about how excited she was for the opportunity and what she is hoping to get out of the program.

“I’m good friends with Steve Biernacki and I used to work at the Chamber a long time ago and I’ve never been a part of the ULEAD class,” Kyle said. “I thought it would be a great chance to do something for the community and get to know people that I don’t know and just network.”

Kyle, along with her new classmates, chatted and got to know each other while enjoying an assortment of food that was provided.

After a few minutes of introductions, Kaitlyn Rigdon, communications director for the Chamber and graduate of ULEAD Class IX shared some thoughts on the new class.

“I’m really excited about this class,” Rigdon said. “This is one of the largest classes we’ve had in a really long time. There are 17 of you and just for reference, we had 13 last class. But it is not just about the size of the class, but the quality as well. I have read all of your applications and I really believe that you all can do some great things for El Dorado.”

To help close out the orientation, ULEAD co-chairman Doug Stanton, of Douglas Stanton Architecture and Landscape Design and class ix graduate, addressed the incoming class.

“This is a way to really learn how Union County and El Dorado functions from a business point of view and developing community spirit and getting to know people,” Stanton said. “I think you all will enjoy it. I loved it.”


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

At the end of the orientation, the new class gathered for their first class picture and got to know each other a little more for the remainder of the evening.