What is an influencer? Simply put, it is one who wields influence, no social media account needed. They are the people, be they civil leaders, CEOs, or media personalities, who see something they want to do and have the skills, reputation, and willpower to make sure it gets done. They are the movers and shakers, the leaders who shape the future of our state.
Arkansas Money and Politics is proud to honor this year’s influencers.
2023 AMP Influencer: Austin Booth, AGFC Director
What’s your secret to success?
My time at AGFC so far has been about focus, accountability and taking initiative on some of the state’s most pressing conservation challenges. Also, the team I have is second to none. If I get hit by a bus tomorrow, I’m confident we have the team and the relationship within the agency to do well without me.
How did your education prepare you for your career?
The strength of writing and reasoning is something I’ve always been drawn to. During my time in the Marine Corps, it was my goal to use my position and legal expertise in a way that would have an impact on the people on the ground. It made me think about what I wanted the rest of my career to look like: I wanted to have an effect, no matter what I did.
What’s an alternate path you could have taken, had things worked out differently?
My dad has been an engine builder since the 1970’s, so I could have joined the family business. I also studied tax and probate law, but after seeing so many of my peers from college going into the military, I joined the Marine Corps.
What is your leadership style?
Going into combat recalibrates what stress looks like. The Marine Corps ethos, about leadership existing to serve the boots on the ground, has also impacted me in a lot of ways.
What has been the most challenging part of your work? The most rewarding?
One of the things I love about this job is that I get to advocate for something that I love dearly, and that’s the outdoors. When it comes to challenges, the thing weighing most heavily on me right now is resources. Growth in Arkansas cities is a good thing, and we should celebrate it. But we’re also losing the total amount of habitat that we have, and what’s left is increasingly more fragmented. We have a unique opportunity to do something about it and the time is now.