Stronger Together: Expedition NWA

The Greater Topeka Partnership and the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce are partnering to host an inter-city visit to Northwest Arkansas (NWA), a regional collective of Rogers, Springdale, Bentonville and Fayetteville. Titled “Stronger Together: Expedition NWA,” the visit will allow community leaders from the public, private, educational and nonprofit sectors from Topeka and Lawrence to gain knowledge about innovative ideas and programs from Northwest Arkansas. The visit also provides an opportunity for interaction among city leaders and facilitates the exchange of best practices and lessons learned between the visiting cities and the destination cities. Stronger Together: Expedition NWA will take place on April 26-29.

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Be a part of this collaborative effort between Topeka and Lawrence.

“This was a perfect opportunity for our two organizations to collaborate to learn and grow together. Focusing on a community as uniquely collaborative as NWA allows us to learn how to better partner as neighboring communities.”

Matt Pivarnik, CEO, Greater Topeka Partnership

“As economic development continues to take on a more regional approach, it’s more important than ever for Chambers and cities to work together. This is an outstanding way for our two cities – with our Chambers and leaders from government, education, and the business community – to learn about a nearby region, share best practices, and strengthen connections.”​

Bonnie Lowe, President & CEO, Lawrence Chamber

“The communities of Lawrence and Topeka are uniquely positioned to benefit from a joint inter-city visit. Selecting Northwest Arkansas as our first joint visit will be an opportunity for all of us to learn from a university community, areas of innovation and collaboration, as well as larger industry partners and how they interact with each other. I am excited to be a part of growing stronger together.”

Kirsten Flory, chair, Lawrence Chamber Board of Directors

“The Partnership will definitely want to focus on key areas of growth, such as economic development, entrepreneurial resources, community strategy, Plug and Play innovation efforts, DEI initiatives and community discussions, tourism, education, local government and more. What we are able to glean from this excursion will better aid us in the future development of both our communities.”

Keith Warta, chair, Greater Topeka Partnership's Chair Council

"Elected officials will absolutely benefit from this inter-city visit,” said Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla. “New ideas don’t happen in a vacuum. We need as many community leaders on board to learn what other communities like ours are doing to address challenges, find creative solutions and collaborate on a larger scale. I’m thrilled to be able to partner with our neighboring community, Lawrence, on this impactful learning experience.”

Michelle De La Isla, Topeka Mayor

"Cooperation between cities, especially university cities, is more important than ever. I look forward to partnering with Topeka to explore how the cities of Northwest Arkansas collaborate to be stronger together, and then using those ideas to increase our cooperation with Topeka going forward.”

Bradley R. Finkeldei, Lawrence Mayor

Tuesday – April 26, 2022
Travel Day

  • 1:00 PM – Transportation leaves Topeka / Lawrence
  • 6:00 PM –  Transportation arrives at The Graduate Hotel, Fayettville, AR.
  • 7:00 – 9:00 PM – Cocktail Reception at the Graduate Hotel

Day 1: Wednesday – April 27, 2022

  • 8:00 AM – Breakfast at the Graduate Hotel Ballroom, Fayetteville, AR.
  • 8:30 AM –  Welcome Panel, Northwest Arkansas Chamber Leadership
  • 9:45 AM –  Northwest Arkansas Council Panel
  • 11:00 AM – Load Bus Transportation for Lunch in Bentonville, AR.
  • 11:30 AM –  Lunch at 8th Street Market, Bentonville, AR.
  • 12:00 PM – Local Entrepreneur Shares Business Journey
  • 1:00 PM – Group Separates for Specialized Interest Tracks
  • 1:30 PM – Track 1, Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Corporate Engagement (Bentonville, AR)
  • 1:30 PM – Track 2, Arts and Placemaking (Rogers, AR)
  • 3:00 PM – All Groups leave for premium networking reception
  • 3:30 – 5:30 PM – Premium Networking Reception
  • 5:30 PM – Transportation leaves for Downtown Bentonville
  • 6:00 PM – Free Time in Downtown Bentonville
  • 7:00 PM –  Dinner Provided at Premium Bentonville Restaurants
  • 8:30 PM – First Bus Returns to Hotel
  • 9:30 PM – Second Bus Returns to Hotel
  • 10:30 PM – Final Bus Returns to Hotel

Day 2: Thursday – April 28, 2022

  • 7:00 – 8:00 AM – Buffet Breakfast at the Graduate Hotel Ballroom, Fayetteville, AR
  • 8:30 AM – Transportation Departs for Springdale, AR.
  • 9:00 AM – Elected Leadership Panel
  • 10:00 AM – Community Revitalization / Diversity and Inclusion
  • 11:30 AM – Transportation Departs to Fayetteville, AR for Lunch.
  • 12:00 PM – Catered Lunch, Fayetteville, AR.
  • 1:30 PM – Transportation Departs for University of Arkansas
  • 2:00 – 3:15 PM – University Panel
  • 3:15 PM – Optional Campus Tour
  • 3:30 PM – First Bus Returns to the Graduate Hotel
  • 4:30 PM – Final Bus Returns to the Graduate Hotel
  • 4:30 – 5:30 PM – Cocktail Hour at the Graduate Hotel
  • 5:30 PM Shuttle Service to Dickson Street Entertainment District, Fayetteville, AR

*Dinner Not Included

Day 3 – Friday, April 29th

  • 7:30 – 8:30 AM – Buffet Breakfast at the Graduate Hotel Ballroom, Fayetteville, AR
  • 8:30 AM – Group Separates for Specialized Interest Tracks
  • 9:00 AM – Track 1, Outdoor Lifestyle and Trail Systems – Kessler Mountain Regional Park
  • 9:00 AM – Track 2, Community Strategy and Health Network Panels – Fayetteville Library
  • 11:00 AM – Transportation Returns to Hotel
  • 11:30 AM – Light Lunch Provided at The Graduate Hotel Ballroom
  • 12:30 PM – Transportation Arrives for Return to Topeka/Lawrence