The UA Fort Smith Alumni Association will feature young alumni and what their life after graduation has been like. If you would like to be featured, please e-mail

Friday, March 26, 2010

Rachel Solley '06

I graduated from the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith in May of 2006 with a Bachelor's of Science in Business Administration. Attending the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith was a wonderful experience for me. I learned many skills from the College of Business that I currently use in my job as a Branch Manager for ABF Freight System, Inc. I made lasting friendships from the being in the inaugural Chancellor's Leadership Council Scholar program. Living at Sebastian Commons was a blast and being a part of the many on-campus organizations such as: University Ambassadors, Student Senate, Student Activities, and Baptist Collegiate Ministry.

After graduation I was ready to leave my hometown for Fort Smith and move to a "Big City", so I relocated to Chicago two weeks after graduation. I have been working for ABF Freight System, Inc. in Chicago since June of 2006. I began my career as a Management Trainee. Then I was promoted to a field Account Manager in October 2006. The most recent change was my promotion to Branch Manger of our La Salle, IL terminal in February of this year. My life the past 4 years has been remarkable. I love working for an Arkansas based business in Chicago. I have the challenging joy of growing retained accounts and bringing on new business.  With my new position as Branch Manager I am also managing the operational side of the business.  

Outside of my career, I have fully adapted to the city life. During my free time I go to the Chicago Theater district to attend the Broadway shows. Then I have to make the tough decision of which Chicago Deep Dish pizza or a Famous Chicago Hot Dog I should have for dinner! I spend my spring and summers at Wrigley Field cheering on my Cubbies

(me on left)

 hanging out at North Avenue Beach on Lake Michigan,

playing sand volleyball, and going to a wide arrange of concerts. Fall and winter are spent at Solider Field with "Da Bears",

(me on left)
the United Center rooting the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks, shoveling a lot of snow, and trying to stay warm!

I still invest a large amount of time volunteering and working with my local church, Willow Creek. I am part of the Generation Axis ministry. A group of 20-25 people gather at my condo every Tuesday to share a meal and to share our life. We also serve at the local food pantry called Bright Hope. Through Willow Creek I became aware of an organization called World Vision. This has become one of my biggest passions. I ran the 2009 Chicago Marathon as charity runner for World Vision.

Life has been wonderful living in Chicago, but I still enjoy coming back home to Fort Smith and spending time with all my friends and family there. I firmly agree with the saying, "There is no place like home."

Thank you University of Arkansas-Fort Smith for the education, guidance, and life experiences to allow me to pursue my dreams.

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