The 2014 Chairman of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce says he wants to see the organization move forward in a positive direction this year.

"I am looking forward to serving this year as chairman and am especially proud to be serving alongside such a great board of directors," said 2014 Chairman Daniel Gray. "We are here to serve our membership"

The chamber held its annual banquet on Feb. 3 where Gray spoke as its new leader and also had as its guest speaker Dr. Tom Kimbrell, a lifelong educator. He was appointed as the Arkansas Commissioner of Education by Gov. Mike Beebe in September 2009.

He and his wife Tina live in Cabot, with their children, Kason and Gracie.

"Thanks again to Dr. Tom Kimbrell for delivering an inspirational keynote speech," Gray said.

Kimbrell began his career in public education 30 years ago. He has served as a superintendent, director of fiscal services, assistant principal, teacher and coach.

Kimbrell is recognized for his expertise in school finance, education policy, assessment, accountability and curriculum and instruction. He has been a key voice in the state’s implementation of the Common Core State Standards. He represents the state on the governing board of PARCC—the Partnership for Assessment of College and Career Readiness.

Since joining the Education Department, Kimbrell has taken on an agenda to implement the new common learning standards, a next generation assessment system, a new teacher evaluation system and a new accountability system to determine how well schools and districts are serving students.

He earned his doctorate in education and his Master of Science in Education both from Arkansas State University, and his Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Arkansas.

Gray said he appreciated everyone who attended this year’s banquet.

"Thank you to all those who attended our annual banquet, it was a tremendous evening," Gray said. "The silent auction was a huge success and a great way to kick off 2014."

The 2014 Board of Directors is as follows: Vice Chairman of the Board, Roger Sundermeier, First Arkansas Bank & Trust; Treasurer, Brad West, Gwatney Chevrolet; Past Chairman, Larry Biernacki, Arkansas Federal Credit Union; Kim Crook, First Arkansas Bank & Trust; Henal Shah, Americas Best Value Inn; Terry Vick, Arkansas Federal Credit Union; Tim Wade, Action Sign & Neon; David Copeland, First Electric Cooperative; Pat Green, Edward D. Jones Co.,/ BBQ Shack; Robi McDonald, Centennial Bank; Richard Moss, Pulaski Technical College; Matt Robinson, Leader Publishing, Inc. and Kelly Watson, Whit Davis Lumber,

Ex-Officio Directors: Col. Stephen Weaver, Little Rock Air Force Base; Barbra Merrick, Metro Little Rock Alliance, Entergy; Mayor Gary Fletcher, City of Jacksonville; Reedie Ray, A & P Chairman; Dr. Jerry Guess, Pulaski County Special School District Superintendent an d Amy Mattison, CEO of the Chamber.

Gray said following his banquet speech he did feel a bit nervous at the time and left out recognizing a few people for their important role in helping make the chamber be a success.

Two days later, he issued a letter to chamber members recognizing the efforts of several individuals who are important to the organization.