Mike Preston was appointed executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) by Gov. Asa Hutchinson in March 2015, and named Secretary of Commerce July 2019. Preston is highly regarded as a leading advocate in economic development. He has made successful business recruitment trips to Japan, China, France, Germany, Israel, Cuba, Mexico, Italy, United Kingdom, New York City and Silicon Valley. These visits play an important role in the state’s economic development efforts and have led to more than 451 projects with companies signing agreements with AEDC to locate or expand in Arkansas. These companies are investing $9.24 billion and creating more than 19,794 new jobs.
In 2018, Preston was selected to join The Wall Street Journal’s prestigious CEO Council. It is an invitation-only group that connects some of the world’s most ambitious and influential leaders to discuss the issues shaping the future. The members lead companies that collectively employ more than eight million people, generate $2.9 trillion in annual revenue and represent 20 countries in a wide cross section of industries. Preston graduated from the University of Florida in 2005. He volunteers in the community through organizations such as the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.