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The Northwest Arkansas Council on Thursday inducted its fifth honorary lifetime member at its winter meeting in Bentonville.

Scott Van Laningham worked on the staff of the Northwest Arkansas Council during the 1990s when developing a regional airport was front and center as one of the nonprofit organization’s goals.

The former Northwest Arkansas Times and the Arkansas Gazette journalist, who was in charge of communications for the Northwest Arkansas Council, was recognized in his time with the Council for his exceptional skill in conveying to elected officials and the public why Northwest Arkansas needed a regional airport, said Uvalde Lindsey, the Council’s executive director at the time.

After the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport opened in 1998, Van Laningham became the airport’s first president and CEO. Aaron Burkes was hired in late 2018 as the airport’s new president and CEO, and Van Laningham will retire later this year.

Van Laningham remained involved with the Council while he worked of the airport. He was the Council’s vice chairman for years.

A video about Van Laningham’s work was shared with Northwest Arkansas Council members at Thursday’s meeting.

He joins a prestigious group of honorary lifetime members.

Previous inductees are former President Bill Clinton (2010), John Paul Hammerschmidt (2012), Alice Walton (2012) and Lindsey (2015).

Pictured at the top: Alice Walton, Scott Van Laningham and Uvalde Lindsey, all honorary lifetime members of the Northwest Arkansas Council, attended the nonprofit organization’s winter meeting on Thursday. Van Laningham was inducted as the newest honorary member at the meeting.