Careers often hit a sweet spot a decade or two down a certain path. You’re settled in, comfortable, feel as though you’ve mastered your craft… But you’ve got more, maybe even much more, to contribute.
For the first time ever, Arkansas Money & Politics is recognizing those business leaders in Arkansas who’ve hit that sweet spot, who fill that gap between young bucks and a gold watch. Our list of “40 in Their Forties” shines a light on those professionals at a midpoint in their careers — who have achieved a certain amount of success — and are positioned for more.
President of Arkansas Market,
Bank of America
Heather Albright serves as President of Bank of America Arkansas. As the senior executive for the State of Arkansas, she is responsible for connecting clients, teammates and communities to the full power of the franchise. In addition to being President of Arkansas, Albright is a senior vice president and senior relationship manager in middle market at BoA. Albright joined BoA in 2005 as a Senior Credit Products Analyst. Prior to that move, she was a portfolio account administrator in the Brokerage Accounting group at Stephens, Inc in Little Rock.
Having earned her undergraduate degree in Economics and Finance from Arkansas Tech University, she later pursued her Master of Business Administration (MBA) from University of Central Arkansas. She also holds FINRA certifications for Series 7 and Series 63 securities licenses.
In 2018, Albright was named the market integration executive for the Arkansas market, supporting the company’s Business Integration referral efforts. An active member of the Arkansas Leadership Team and of the Bank of America Leadership, Education, Advocacy & Development for Women, she also co-leads the Little Rock Power of 10 group. She also volunteers with several local organizations, including Junior Achievement, Arkansas Foodbank and Economics Arkansas and Our House.
Chief Legal Officer,
Little Rock Water Reclamation Authority
Jean Block is chief legal officer at the Little Rock Water Reclamation Authority (LRWRA), where she is responsible for all legal issues including contracts, personnel matters and legislation. Block also oversees the Human Resources and Environmental Affairs departments of LRWRA and is a member of its senior management team, which handles policy-making and strategic planning for the utility.
Block obtained her undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley and her law degree from the University of Kansas School of Law. She serves on many boards including CHI St. Vincent Hospital and is an Advisory Council member for the UA Little Rock College of Business.
Partner & Creative Director,
Beginning as a graphic designer and web developer in Los Angeles, Aaron Buckley quickly worked his way into a position in the creative department at D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles. There, he worked on campaigns for Australia Tourism, Dockers and Coca-Cola. After 16 years of honing his ability to craft versatile marketing campaigns and websites in L.A., Buckley longed to return to his roots in Hot Springs. He quickly found work as a creative director at a digital marketing agency in Little Rock, where he developed branding and websites for businesses like Hounds Lounge and Flake & Kelley Commercial Real Estate.
In 2018, Buckley was named partner and creative director at SixtyOne Celsius, a full-service marketing and advertising agency located in Hot Springs. Over the last four years, Buckley has spearheaded creative projects and website design for clients like Stone Bank, Mid-America Science Museum, Visit Hot Springs and the ALICE Project.
Vice President of Operations,
Power Technology, Inc.
William Burgess is Co-CEO of Power Technology, Inc., and a SPIE Senior Member. Power Technology manufactures laser light engines for the Department of Defense, life sciences and semiconductor inspection applications. Burgess holds a Master in Business Administration and has responsibilities that include financing and operations. He formerly served as the Geschäftsführer (CEO) of the company’s German division and has over 25 years of experience in the Photonics industry. Burgess was appointed to the Arkansas District Export Council by the Secretary of Commerce and has previously served two terms as Chairman of the Arkansas District Export Council. In 2016, he was honored by the US Small Business Administration as Exporter of the Year for the state of Arkansas. He went on to win the SBA Region VI Exporter of the Year which includes Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.
Summer Campbell is an organizer, activist and hairstylist. She has worked as a hairstylist since 2003 and is currently at Bloom Salon in the Hillcrest neighborhood of Little Rock. In 2017, she became a full member of Pulaski County Democrats, then became Membership Chair, served on the State Committee and was subsequently elected First Vice Chair. Campbell is an alumni of The LGBTQ Victory Institute Candidate & Campaign training. She later served as Pulaski County Clerk Terri Hollingsworth’s campaign manager in Hollingsworth’s successful election bids in 2018 and 2022. Campbell also ran for Justice of the Peace, District 2, in the 2022 May primary. Heavily involved in her community, Campbell has served on Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr.’s advisory subcommittee and is a recent graduate of Class XXXVII of Leadership, Greater Little Rock, with the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce. She is a weekly volunteer at Jericho Way, which is her top priority: to help citizens that are living unsheltered. She currently collaborates with other nonprofits such as Seis Puentes in North Little Rock. Campbell recently passed the state exam to receive her life insurance license and is working on her securities license to serve the community better still. “I am honored to be in this list of 40. My passion for our city, communities and neighborhoods will always be my motivation.”
& Group Exercise Coordinator,
Conway Regional Health & Fitness Center
Amanda Castillo is a health and fitness professional with more than 26 years of industry experience. She has coached dozens of women in their 40s and 50s, helping them become stronger, leaner and more confident. For Castillo, age is not a barrier for living your best life and looking amazing. She is an advocate for women pushing themselves, lifting heavy weights and celebrating incredible accomplishments. Her passion is to ignite a fire in others by motivating, educating and inspiring them to move more and live better.
Along with her role as marketing coordinator and group exercise coordinator for the medical-fitness-based Conway Regional Health & Fitness Center, Castillo also instructs group exercise classes and offers personal training services. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with a minor in Marketing and Public Relations from Arkansas Tech University. She is also an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, ACE Certified Group Exercise Instructor, Yogafit® Instructor, Schwinn® Certified Indoor Cycling Instructor, RRCA Certified Running Coach and Barre Above® Certified Instructor.
Director of Human Resources and DEI,
Rock Region METRO
Adrienne Collins serves as director of Human Resources and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) at Rock Region METRO, the Central Arkansas public transit system that serves three million passengers per year. Collins began her human resources career in the US Army and the US Air Force. She led the military HR department overseeing recruitment, training, DEI, performance management, employee relations and benefits. As a disabled and decorated veteran, Collins has since worked in manufacturing, nonprofits and telecommunications. She also owns AC Productions LLC, a consulting firm that specializes in HR, DEIBA and IT.
Collins holds five degrees: a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology, a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from Arkansas State University; and a Master of Business Administration in Information Technology Management and in Business Administration from Webster University. She also holds certifications in Diversity and Inclusion from Essec School of Business and Inclusive Leadership from edX. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Business Management with an emphasis in Leadership.
Collins enjoys spending her limited free time performing charity work and community service including memberships on several boards and professional organizations such as CAHRA, ARSHRM, National Diversity Council and AR Public Employers Human Resources Association. She is also a member of the Little Rock Junior League, Argenta Downtown Council, and serves on the Board for the Little Rock Zoo, Real Images, NLR Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals, the Center for Cultural Community and the Historic Arkansas Museum.
Ferstl Valuation Services
J.T. Ferstl grew up in Little Rock and, aside from relocating during undergraduate studies, has lived here all his life. Ferstl is a licensed attorney, real estate broker and real estate appraiser. He owns and operates Ferstl Valuation Services, a real estate consulting and appraisal business in Little Rock. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Appraisal Institute as well as the Real Estate Industry Council of the Federal Reserve in St. Louis. Ferstl has a variety of experience serving in the community, including serving on the Little Rock Planning Commission for six years, where he was Chairman for two of those years. He is a past chair of the LGLR Advisory Board, member of Class 24, vice chair of Class 29 and Chair of Class 30. He is also a past president of the Rotary Club of Little Rock and has been involved with several nonprofits over the years. Ferstl currently serves on the Little Rock Parks and Recreation Commission.
The Full Moon
Casey Finch has been the owner and operator of The Full Moon gift shop for nine years. The Full Moon, located in the Historic Hillcrest District of Little Rock, has been serving the shopping needs of Central Arkansas for almost 40 years. Finch was raised in Little Rock and graduated from Central High School, and received her undergraduate degree from Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. Prior to owning The Full Moon, Finch was in retail management for both Neiman Marcus and Harold’s department stores.
The Full Moon has been perennially recognized by various publications as Little Rock’s best gift shop. In service to the community, The Full Moon is a regular auction donor to various causes and events. Finch has also served on the Methodist Family Health board of Southern Silks where she served as Co-Chairman, and is active in supporting Centers for Youth and Families as well as her local chapter of PEO International.
President, Shareholder & Director
Gill Ragon Owen PA
Matthew Finch is a shareholder and director with Gill Ragon Owen, P.A., a law firm where he has served as President since 2013. Finch joined the Arkansas Bar in 2001, with his practice focusing on general commercial litigation and specialization in construction, title claim defense, construction litigation, creditor’s rights and corporate contract disputes. He has been recognized as a “Mid-South Rising Star” by Super Lawyers, as one of Arkansas’ “Most Influential Lawyers” and “Best Lawyers” by multiple statewide publishing groups. Finch serves on the Alumni Board of the UALR William H. Bowen School of Law and on the Centers for Youth and Families Board of Directors.
Network Services Group, Inc.
Ryan Flynn was named President of Network Services Group in late 2013. Network Services Group provides IT support and voice-over IP telephone solutions for many businesses across Arkansas. Under Flynn’s leadership, NSG has grown from 11 employees and a single location in North Little Rock to more than 65 employees and three locations in Arkansas. Flynn also has served as president of the Cabot Rotary Club, two terms on the city council of Cabot, on the Cabot Parks and Recreation Commission and on the Lonoke County Election Commission.
Cromwell Architects Engineers
Dan Fowler joined Cromwell Architects Engineers as an intern at 19 years old, and now holds the position of President, managing financial and business operations for the company. He is an accomplished design architect and master planner with a personal interest in urban and campus projects. Fowler has been actively involved in the development of Little Rock’s East Village, several projects on the University of Arkansas Fayetteville campus and Lyon College’s forthcoming veterinary and dental schools. Cromwell has experienced tremendous growth during Fowler’s tenure, including expanding the Northwest Arkansas and Europe offices, expansion of service lines and the recruitment and retention of top design talent.
President & CEO,
Elizabeth Glasbrenner is the co-founder of Smiley Technologies Inc., where she has served as President and CEO since 2015. Glasbrenner founded the company in 2002 with her brother, Vance Smiley, after seeing a need for better software and superior customer service. Her father, Walter Smiley, founded Systematics in 1968, which eventually merged with Alltel Information Systems, and today forms part of FIS. Smiley Technologies is a core systems provider for community banks and financial institutions with clients across eight states, including Arkansas, California, Oregon, Washington, South Carolina, Mississippi, Texas and Missouri.
Her experience prior to Smiley Technologies includes both development and special events roles at Carolinas Healthcare Foundation, Children’s Miracle Network and National Sports Center for the Disabled in Winter Park, Colorado. Glasbrenner earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a double major in Marketing and Management from Washington University in St. Louis.
Clayton “Clay” M. Gordon
Clay Gordon is vice president of Kinco Constructors, a general contracting and construction management firm, with offices in Little Rock and Springdale. Gordon serves as a member of the company’s management team, developing and implementing the company’s strategic plan, business development and project executive roles.
Gordon graduated with honors from University of Arkansas at Little Rock with a BS in Construction Management in 2000. He is the current Chair of the UALR Construction Management Advisory Program, a member of the UALR Engineering Information Technology College Leadership Council and an active member of the Arkansas Chapter of Associated General Contractors. He also is a past board member and member of the legislative committee. He further serves on the Arkansas State Chamber, Associated Industries Board of Directors, the Methodist Family Health Foundation Board and as a Trustee of First United Methodist of Conway.
Senior VP of Operations,
Today’s Power, Inc.
Matt Irving, vice president of operations for Today’s Power Inc. has over 20 years of experience in the utility industry. Before joining TPI, Irving served as facilities manager for the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas. Since Irving joined the ranks of leadership at TPI, he has overseen the successful development of over 50 utility-scale solar arrays. Today’s Power was created by Arkansas Electric Cooperatives in 2014 to serve its members who had a desire to offer community solar to their customers. As an integral part of the electric cooperatives, TPI has access to a wide range of expertise and resources and is an essential part of helping the electric cooperative and public power sector serve members interested in solar and emerging technologies.
Advanced Electrical Supply &
At eight years old, Paul James was “helping” his electrician father rewire an outlet when he closed the circuit between two wires and was knocked flat. He got up, wiped away the tears and promised himself he’d learn everything he could so it would never happen again. Over the next 35 years, James worked in the family electrical business while earning degrees in History and Construction Management, led the Energy Services division at Curtis Stout, and helped Seyller Electric Supply open and run the central Arkansas office – which he eventually purchased and renamed Advanced Electrical Supply. The growth was substantial, and James was offered the opportunity to sell the company to Wholesale Electric Supply, one of the region’s leading electrical supply companies. As area sales manager for Wholesale Electric, you could say that James did what he set out to do –– make the right connections. He is now assisting in the growth of Wholesale, serving customers in Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi.
Founder & Principal,
Insight Engineering, PLLC
Kim Koch is the founding principal of Insight Engineering, a female owned and operated engineering firm in Arkansas. Established in 2018, Insight offers mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering design, with the purpose of providing a high level of service to architects and building owners with a specific focus on Arkansas communities. Koch is a graduate of the University of Arkansas Fayetteville with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and has over 20 years of experience providing engineering solutions to facilities across Arkansas.
Koch’s personal passion is to support the communities of Arkansas through helping to grow the future leaders of the STEM community. She is actively involved in the Arkansas STEM Coalition, studioMAIN, Arkansas ASHRAE, Leadership Greater Little Rock and multiple other community-focused programs.
Brian Kutsch’s passion for helping others has been the driving force throughout his career. That passion led him to his marketing operations position at Apptegy, a company based in Little Rock that empowers school leaders to solve some of their biggest challenges. Outside of work, Kutsch serves as a member of the Finest program with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, on the Soup Sunday event committee for Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, as the Informal Science Division director for the National Science Teaching Association and as the education advisor for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA), Orangutan Species Survival Plan, and the Saving Animals From Extinction program for orangutans. Some of Kutsch’s previous efforts include serving as Chair of Create Little Rock, on the board of the Arkansas STEM Coalition, as co-chair for Soup Sunday and as a business mentor for SCORE.
Ben Kutylo joined ForwARd Arkansas in July 2020, leading the organization’s work to support innovative solutions to improve learning, career and life outcomes for every Arkansas student.
Prior to joining Forward, Kutylo served as co-founder and executive director of Fremont Street, a national nonprofit philanthropy focused on catalyzing locally led innovation in schools and communities across the country.
Previously, Kutylo served as vice president of Strategic Partnerships at eSpark Learning, a digital learning software company, and spent more than five years as director of Program Investments at The Chicago Public Education Fund, a nonprofit philanthropy dedicated to improving Chicago’s public schools. Before transitioning into education, he spent almost 10 years in customer-focused roles at various technology companies. Kutylo earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s in Education Policy from Harvard University.
VP & Senior Project Manager,
Stephen Lane has been with Clark Contractors since 2011, starting as the firm’s project administration manager and working his way up to vice president at age 39. He has been involved in almost $800 million worth of construction projects throughout his 18-year career, with a strong emphasis on health care projects.
As vice president, Lane serves as project executive on building projects and is involved with training and developing Clark’s future leaders. One of his greatest accomplishments has been his impact in cultivating the next generation of young professionals at Clark, including superintendents and project managers. Lane is highly regarded for his ability to engage individuals at all levels of the business, share best practices and promote company strategic development. Committed to community involvement, Lane has volunteered his time and talents for numerous local causes, including the Arkansas Association for Health Care Engineering and the UAMS Consortium Board.
Director of Business Development,
C.R. Crawford Construction
Jordan Ligon brings more than 20 years of experience and a deep understanding of the commercial real estate industry to C.R. Crawford Construction. He joined the company in 2016 and serves as the company’s director of business development. With additional experience in commercial real estate development, brokerage and property management, Ligon has the knowledge and expertise to help clients navigate the construction process and achieve their goals. An innovative thinker, Ligon’s ability to absorb, analyze and clearly communicate the data and details of a project and give insightful guidance results in positive outcomes and lasting relationships with C.R. Crawford clients.
Ligon earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and Real Estate from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. He is a licensed real estate agent and graduate of Leadership Fayetteville and Leadership Arkansas. His time outside of work is spent volunteer coaching, participating in church-related activities, golfing, hunting or at Razorback sporting events.
Founder & CEO,
Carter Malloy, founder and CEO of AcreTrader, has led the company to exponential growth throughout the past year. AcreTrader has successfully raised over $60 million in Series B funding, grown from 20 employees to 130 employees, and launched two sister companies, AcrePro and Acres, to realize the company’s vision of making buying and selling land common, transparent and easy. AcreTrader has been featured in The New York Times, Fortune and Barron’s, and named as one of 13 Financial Fintechs to Watch by Business Insider.
Chief Marketing Officer,
Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates, LLC
As the Chief Marketing Officer and Realtor® at Capital Sotheby’s International Realty, Chris Marsh is responsible for developing and strengthening the brokerage’s strategic mission for elevated real estate marketing and communication, as well as implementing the marketing services and brand technology platforms that are only available through Sotheby’s International Realty. Marsh strives to ensure that every property evokes a story and is artfully syndicated across global publications. When representing buyers and sellers, he places his client’s interests at the forefront while bringing creative solutions to the table to ensure that their real estate goals are met. As a native Arkansan, Marsh leverages his strong working relationships and network across the state and region to share the unique stories of each property and uncover buyers.
He has served in numerous volunteer positions with many notable community organizations that serve Central Arkansas. In 2022, Marsh will begin his second term as commissioner of the Little Rock Water Reclamation Authority.
Chief Operating Officer,
Arkansas Heart Hospital
Andrea Nelson’s career at Arkansas Heart Hospital began 22 years ago as a nursing care partner while in nursing school. She went on to graduate from AHH’s new graduate residency program before joining the clinical nursing team. Nelson transitioned to the administration side, becoming the vice president of clinical operations, chief clinical officer and ultimately COO. As chief operating officer, she leads the statewide cardiac care providers’ daily operations and initiatives in patient experience, employee relations and culture. Throughout her career at AHH, Nelson has been instrumental in developing the state’s first freestanding cardiac categorization laboratory.
She is a member of HealthTech Arkansas’s Strategic Advisory Board and UA Little Rock School of Nursing’s Advisory Board. She received a Master of Science in Nursing Administration from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock.
Storm Nolan is a founding partner at CSK Hotels, a diversified real estate investment company located in Fort Smith, with assets including hotels, a variety of commercial and industrial real estate and a powersports dealership. Nolan also holds one of the eight Arkansas medical cannabis cultivation licenses and, along with his brother, Kane Whitt, founded River Valley Relief Cultivation based in Fort Smith. Nolan obtained his Bachelor of Science in Real Estate Finance from Cornell University in only five semesters and graduated fifth in his class. During his time at Cornell, he started and sold his first ecommerce company and was assistant to the Dean. Nolan obtained his Master of Business Administration in Real Estate Development from Columbia University.
His passions include aviation, as a licensed multi-engine pilot, and scuba diving, as a certified rescue diver. He currently resides in Fort Smith with his partner of 18 years, Brandon Weeks.
Paul Nony, PhD, CIH, CSP
Senior VP & Principal Toxicologist,
Dr. Paul Nony is senior vice president and principal toxicologist at CTEH. Nony has over 20 years training and professional experience in the fields of chemical emergency response, human and environmental toxicology and risk assessment, cell biology, physiology and cancer research. He received his Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Toxicology from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and spent two years in a postdoc¬toral fellowship at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Upon completion of his fellowship in 2003, Nony accepted a position as a toxicologist at CTEH in Little Rock. Nony is a Board-Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) through the American Board of Industrial Hygiene, a Board-Certified Safety Professional (CSP) through the Board of Certified Safety Professionals and a member of the American Industrial Hygiene Association, the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists and the Society of Toxicology.
Nony is also a guest lecturer in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, College of Public Health at UAMS, where he lectures on the subjects of toxicology and environmental health. He has written numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and reviews, serves as a reviewer for book chapters and peer-reviewed journals and is a US patent holder.
Jeremy S. Owoh, EdD
Jacksonville North Pulaski School District
Dr. Jeremy S. Owoh has served as an English teacher, dean of students, assistant principal, middle school principal and high school principal before becoming the assistant superintendent of curriculum/instruction and desegregation at Jacksonville North Pulaski School District. In 2017, he was named assistant commissioner of Educator Effectiveness and Licensure. He has served as an adjunct instructor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and UA Pine Bluff. Currently, Owoh serves as the Superintendent of Schools for the Jacksonville North Pulaski School District.
Owoh holds a Bachelor of Science in English Education with a concentration in Secondary Education from the University of Central Arkansas; a Master of Science in Secondary Education with concentrations in Reading and Writing – an Educational Specialist degree in Educational Leadership; and a Doctor of Education in Educational Administration and Supervision from UA Little Rock. He also completed the Urban Superintendents Academy from the University of Southern California and the Bob Thompson’s Superintendent Academy.
Owoh is a member of the Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators, ASCD Board of Directors, Children’s Protection Center Board of Directors, UALR’s CHASSE Leadership Council, UCA’s College of Education Dean’s Council and UCA’s Alumni Association Board of Directors. He is also a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. for which he currently serves as Southwestern Regional executive director.
Nathan Oliver is a regional director for International Workplace Group (IWG), a workspace solutions company. Oliver, an experienced sales professional, earned a Bachelor of Business Administration focused in Economics from Arkansas Tech University. He is also on the Board of Directors for All the Lost Girls, a nonprofit organization dedicated to finding justice for female strangulation cold cases in the United States.
Eldercare Insurance Services, Inc.
Jeremie Pielemeier, based in Hot Springs, serves as the executive vice president of Eldercare Insurance Services Inc., a national insurance marketing organization. Since joining Eldercare, he has personally recruited over 4,000 agents. Pielemeier has over 20 years of experience in his industry and started his business in August of 2001. He has always had a passion for sales, taking his first sales job at the age of 13. Pielemeier is a graduate of Lake Hamilton High School in Hot Springs.
Chief Executive Officer,
Brandon Pinkerton is a proud member of the Cherokee Nation and the CEO of HP Engineering. He grew up asking the question, “why?” He sought answers to everyday problems and was fascinated by the stories those answers provided. A love of technology and being naturally curious pushed him towards engineering. By eighth grade, Pinkerton knew he would be an electrical engineer, even though he did not know precisely what that meant.
He graduated from the University of Arkansas and became a licensed Professional Engineer (PE), with licensure in 49 states and Puerto Rico. In 2007, Pinkerton and his business partner opened HP Engineering with two employees. Fifteen years later, HP Engineering has grown to be one of the largest engineering design firms in the region, with almost 100 employees and five different offices in Rogers, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Dallas and Phoenix. In addition to his role as CEO, Pinkerton leads strategic planning and business development efforts for HP Engineering. He has served as managing principal for HP Engineer’s tribal work, electrical design teams and alternative energy source designs. He loves knowing that the projects he undertakes add value to the world. With a passion for helping others, he has focused his energy working on facilities that make a difference for underserved communities. These contributions immediately benefit people’s lives and provide opportunities for future generations. In the spring of 2022, Mr. Pinkerton was inducted into the Arkansas Academy of Electrical Engineering for his achievements in the engineering industry.
Julia Ponder, APRN
Arkansas Heart Hospital
Being a nurse practitioner in the emergency department at Arkansas Heart Hospital has allowed Julia Ponder to live each day doing what she loves. Her career has also taught her to live by her motto and “turn lemons into lemonade.” In her free time, Ponder enjoys immersing herself in the great outdoors or spending time with family. Her nursing experience spans over 25 years, including five years of Critical Care and 20 years of Emergency Medicine. Today, Ponder works in the Emergency Room at Arkansas Heart Hospital as a Nurse Practitioner. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and her Doctor of Nursing Practice from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, with a double major in Family Nurse Practitioner and Adult-Geriatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner.
Superior Senior Care
Nicole Hurst-Puckett has served as the administrator for Superior Senior Care in Conway since 2014. She is a graduate of Conway High School and has been in the health care management field since 1998. Superior Senior Care is a statewide caregiver registry specializing in non-medical home care services since 1985, with 26 offices throughout the state of Arkansas.
She attributes her success to many different factors, with honesty being the main one. She believes being honest with her employees and clients is top priority, as it sets the tone for business, provides consistency at the workplace and builds loyalty and trust with clients. The Conway office just celebrated being open for 10 years, and Hurst-Puckett says she is excited to see what the future holds, as the industry is always changing.
Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas
Elizabeth Pulley is the executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas. Under Pulley’s leadership, the Children’s Advocacy Centers has increased services to provide free direct assistances to more than 11,000 child abuse victims. In 2021, she worked on a transformational legislation that brought Arkansas laws up to date with other states, created best practices and developed a collaborative response to child abuse. Pulley is committed to working with and training others. Her involvement includes: Adjunct professor for Northwest Arkansas Community College; Board President for Brookhill Children’s Fund; Brookhill Ranch Camp Advisory Board member; Arkansas Building Effective Services for Trauma with UAMS Advisory Board member; Department of Human Services; and Division of Children and Family Services.
Pulley is a native of Arkansas and grew up in Benton. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and a Master of Arts from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She spent over 14 years working in higher education, but made a career change in 2017 as she entered the nonprofit field.
Molly Collier Rawn
Chief Executive Officer,
Molly Collier Rawn is the CEO of Experience Fayetteville, the city’s destination marketing organization. She is responsible for the organization’s $4.8 million budget and 18 full-time employees. During her tenure, the city has seen unprecedented tourism growth, including its highest HMR tax collection month on record. Rawn led the team responsible for planning and executing the 2022 Walmart UCI Cyclo-cross World Championship – the second time in 72 years the event is to be held on U.S. soil. She has been a member of the leadership staff that opened the Scott Family Amazeum, an interactive museum in Bentonville, where she served as director of Development and Communications, overseeing the completion of the museum’s $28.5 million capital campaign. After growing up in Paragould and Little Rock, Rawn relocated to Fayetteville to attend the University of Arkansas. She and her husband decided to make it their permanent home, where they now live with their three children. She is passionate about civic engagement, expanding opportunities for women in leadership and promoting Fayetteville.
Senior Director of Organizational
Development, University of Arkansas
for Medical Sciences (UAMS)
Sheridan Richards is the senior director of Organizational Development at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Richards is responsible for leading the design and implementation of high-impact talent and organizational development programs. She oversees the assessment of the learning and change management needs of the organization, the development of strong collaborative partnerships across the UAMS system and identifies opportunities for enhancing organizational effectiveness. Richards has extensive leadership experience in the private, corporate and government sectors in leadership development, change management, employee engagement, performance management and organizational design. Her leadership has led to measurable improvements in culture, finances and accountability within those organizations.
Richards graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, a Master of Divinity, a Master of Arts in Public Policy and Public Administration, and completed certifications as a change practitioner and human resources professional. This month, she will complete her certification as a physician development coach.
President & CEO,
Since becoming President and CEO in 2020, Patrick Schueck has led Lexicon Inc. through a period of intentional growth, acquiring Steel Fabricators of Monroe, Louisiana, and Universal Limited Inc. of Trussville, Alabama, as well as working with some of the leading brands in electric vehicles and ecommerce. Schueck has been instrumental in many of Lexicon’s largest steel fabrication and erection contracts and transformed it into a global leader in automated robotic fabrication.
He is a board member of Arkansas Children’s Hospital, American Institute of Steel Construction, Boys & Girls Club of Central Arkansas, Fifty for the Future and U.S. Bank. He serves on the American Contractors Insurance Group Executive Committee; National Steel Bridge Alliance Executive Committee; University of Arkansas College of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Council, where he received his bachelor’s degree; and Arkansas Academy of Civil Engineering.
Principal Broker & Co-Owner,
Engel & Völkers
John Selva is the principal broker and co-owner of Engel & Völkers Real Estate in Little Rock. Since founding his own real estate brokerage in 2007, Selva has been dedicated to delivering a professional, unmatched portfolio of service to all his clients and the Realtors® who partner with him. While serving all of Central Arkansas, Selva has become the number one selling real estate agent in Little Rock’s Hillcrest neighborhood – through his passionate involvement in protecting and advancing the historic district’s spirit of community and his extensive knowledge of the local real estate market. He has received numerous awards, including the Little Rock Realtors® Association Diamond Level Award of Distinction and Certified Residential Specialist. He is a founding board member of West Little Rock Kiwanis, Little Rock Realtors® Association Board member, active in supporting the Little Rock Air Force Base Community Council and Honorary Commander program, the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce and Holy Souls Church. Selva is a graduate of the Arkansas School for Mathematics and Science, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and a veteran of the United States Navy.
Douglas Shackelford, APR
Director of PR and Communications,
Central Arkansas Water
Doug Shackelford loves to talk about water. He has that opportunity daily in his role as director of public affairs and communications at Central Arkansas Water. Shackelford serves as the spokesperson for the utility and oversees all media relations, brand management, education and community outreach programs. An award-winning journalist, he has spent more than 20 years in the communications and public affairs industry.
Shackelford is a native of Hot Springs. He attended Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, where he graduated in 1998 with a degree in Journalism/Mass Communications. He holds Accreditation in Public Relations from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), is a 2005 graduate of Leadership Hot Springs, a 2008 graduate of the inaugural Jeff Faris Rotary Leadership Academy and a 2017 graduate of Leadership Arkansas. Shackelford is a member of the Museum of Discovery Board of Directors, Arkansas Chapter of PRSA, Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus Council 10167, past president of the West Little Rock Rotary Club, Cub and Boy Scout leader and Eagle Scout.
President & Founder,
DJT Business Brokers and Diamond Team Utah Real Estate
Jared Thompson is the owner and founder of DJT Business Brokers and the more recent addition, Diamond Team Utah Real Estate. DJT helps business owners sell their businesses, helps buyers find a good business to buy and consults with business owners regarding potential opportunities for improvement and exit strategy planning. Diamond Team Utah is an emerging real estate sales company servicing the state of Utah. Prior to founding DJT, Thompson served as an area developer for one of the nation’s largest window cleaning franchises. There, he was in charge of recruiting franchisees to run their own territories in his markets of responsibility, as well as providing them with startup training and ongoing operational support. Thompson has also been a multi-unit franchisee with two other national franchises. He entered the entrepreneurial world in 2012 from his corporate career as director of Sales with Nestlé Nutrition.
VP of Supply Chain and Contracting,
Kenneth Usery serves as vice president of Supply Chain and Contracting at CARTI, a network of 18 cancer centers across the state of Arkansas. A key component of his job is to negotiate the best prices from vendors and contractors so that savings on equipment and infrastructure can be put back into the fight against cancer. Usery has been with CARTI for more than a decade and received one of the highest peer ratings during a recent blind Gallup Poll conducted by CARTI’s Human Resources Department. A native of Searcy, Usery received his bachelor’s degree in Clinical Laboratory Sciences from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He currently lives in Beebe with his high school sweetheart of 23 years, Brandy, and has two children, Morgan and Blake. When not at the office, he will most likely be enjoying the beauty of The Natural State in the great outdoors.