Arkansas Money & Politics is proud to showcase its Future 50 for 2021. The Future 50 represents those Arkansans — business, political, cultural leaders — recognized by AMP readers as poised to do big things in their fields.
They could be up-and-comers, business leaders already established or industry veterans who have switched fields. But they all share one thing in common — from them, big things are expected. Highlighted by the subject of this month’s cover, Rock Dental Brands CEO Kristi Crum, this year’s Future 50 installment runs the gamut of Arkansas industry, from tech startups to government service.
These 50 exceptional Arkansans and what they do are highlighted below.
Stone Creek Solar/Universal Power, Little Rock
Jordon Addison is director of marketing and sales for Stone Creek Solar and Universal Power, both renewable energy companies based in northeast Arkansas. Addison oversees all communications, promotional efforts, media relations, trade association management, event planning, marketing and sales strategies for both companies.
Previously, she worked in marketing for several industries including corporate retail, health care, agriculture and finance for companies such as Dillard’s (at its corporate headquarters), Stone Ward and Rabo AgriFinance. She also owns Rosemary Way Creative, a fine art and graphic design studio for commissioned artwork and freelance graphic design.
Markham & Fitz, Bentonville
Lauren Blanco is the co-founder and CEO of Markham & Fitz, a small-batch chocolate manufacturing business and dessert bar in Bentonville. After graduating from the University of Arkansas, and before founding the chocolate company in her early 20s, Blanco spent five years working in grassroots economic development in war-torn countries, where she witnessed business as a force of good and encountered her first cacao farm.
Driven to make a positive difference in the cacao supply chain, she leads the company to achieve higher environmental and social impact goals, while receiving national recognition for her products in Oprah Magazine and on The Today Show.
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Little Rock
At 34 years of age, Booth is the youngest director chosen to lead the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. The former United States Marine Corps captain most recently served as chief of staff and chief financial officer for the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs. Born in Little Rock and raised in Scott, Booth received his Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina and served his country in many capacities from 2011-2019, including a 2015-16 deployment to Afghanistan.
His passion for promoting “common man and common woman conservation” promises to increase the AGFC’s efforts to recruit, retain and reactivate the next generation of Arkansas’ outdoors enthusiasts.
Northwest Arkansas National Airport, Bentonville
Andrew Branch joined Northwest Arkansas National Airport in 2019 as chief business development officer after working for the state of Arkansas in a variety of roles. Branch previously served as CFO for the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs, vice president of housing for the Arkansas Development Finance Authority and director of finance for the Arkansas Department of Human Services.
An attorney, Branch also worked as an accountant, project manager and account manager for Caterpillar Global Mining. He received a degree in accounting from LeTourneau University, an MBA from Texas A&M University and his law degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Wilson Real Estate Auctioneers, Hot Springs
Before being named president earlier this year, David Brewer did it all for Wilson Real Estate Auctioneers. A licensed broker and auctioneer since 2011, Brewer served as the firm’s vice president of operations, and prior to that, was responsible for implementing several new systems and technologies, including a new auction-day clerking, inventory and customer system.
Brewer has sold farms, ranches, cropland, estates, lake properties and commercial properties in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. Prior to joining Wilson, he was a field industrial engineer for Sears Holdings, responsible for systems integration and work-methods development for the western U.S. distribution centers. He also interned for Walmart’s industrial engineer department.
Crews and Associates, Little Rock
Luke Brown joined Crews and Associates in 2010 as an analyst for the public finance group and was later named a senior analyst for the group. He currently leads a team of 15 analysts and developers.
His team supports Crews’ public finance division in municipal bond underwriting, assists sales brokers and traders in secondary market transactions, and it provides company-wide reporting and analysis. Brown has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Central Arkansas along with a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Oklahoma.
Rock Dental Brands, Little Rock
As CEO of Rock Dental Brands, Kristi Crum leads more than 600 employees and 85 affiliate dental clinics across Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee.
Prior to joining Rock Dental Brands in 2019, Crum spent 17 years successfully climbing the ranks at Verizon, the largest telecom company in the United States, ultimately holding numerous executive-level positions, including region president and vice president of marketing and distribution strategy. Crum is a North Little Rock native and earned a bachelor’s in biology from Hendrix College in Conway.
Fort Thompson Sporting Goods, Sherwood
Taylor Denniston joined Sherwood’s venerable Fort Thompson Sporting Goods as vice president in 2014 and has helped the company maintain its status as one of Arkansas’ premier outlets for firearms and outdoors sporting equipment. Under his leadership, the company launched its own line of clothing and gear.
Prior to joining the Fort Thompson team, Denniston was a regional sales manager in Central Arkansas for Sig Sauer. He received his BBA in finance from the University of Arkansas Walton Business College in 2010 and his MBA from UA Little Rock in 2011.
Welspun Tubular, Little Rock
Mihir Desai is the director of supply chain management at Welspun Tubular, where he manages the company’s logistics, procurement, planning and contract management and inventory management. Known for his versatility in project management, Desai is a team builder who believes leadership succeeds when a team is motivated.
Desai’s leadership has helped Welspun earn a reputation for delivering a product before time and above quality. He supports the Harmony Health Clinic, which serves the health needs of the underserved in Arkansas, and is serving as vice chair of Arkansas District Export Council. Desai holds a mechanical engineering degree from Bhavnagar University and a master’s degree from Syracuse University.
Me Mentor, Little Rock
Connor Donovan graduated from Little Rock Central High School in 2013, earned his BBA in international business and Chinese from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock as the university’s “Top Graduating Senior” in 2017, and then went on to earn his MPS from the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service in 2019. He has worked on various international relations, education and business development projects in Arkansas, France and China.
Connor is the founder and CEO of the social enterprise startup, Me Mentor, which provides an online platform where students and young adults can connect with mentors for education and career support.
Ducks Unlimited, Little Rock
Corey Dunn, a native Arkansan and alumni of Southern Arkansas University, developed a passion for the outdoors at an early age that led to a 16-year career in conservation. As director of development for DU in Arkansas, Dunn aligns donors with projects that benefit wildlife, habitat, and people.
Partnering with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and AGFC Foundation to restore quality habitat on public green-tree reservoirs has been a primary focus for Dunn. Driven by the collaboration of Corey, his co-workers, volunteers and supporters, Arkansas Ducks Unlimited is recognized nationally as a leader in wetlands conservation.
Empowered Creativity, Little Rock
Stephanie Ferrara is a business coach and the host of the streamed The Empowered Creativity Show. As a Christ-centered business coach, she helps women entrepreneurs in the early stages of their coaching practice who are feeling stuck, frustrated and overwhelmed with lack of business growth. She helps them develop strong foundations for a healthy, thriving, God-driven business as they create group-coaching programs and online courses.
Empowered Creativity Inc. exists to empower women to break through barriers so they can achieve success in life and business. Ferrara is also a certified project management professional who spent the last 20 years in the financial services industry as a business analyst and project/program manager.
Conway Regional Health System
As chief administrative officer, Rebekah Fincher is responsible for strategy, growth and business development for Conway Regional Health System.
Since Fincher was named CAO, Conway Regional has seen a net-revenue increase of roughly 60 percent. Fincher also recruited more than 45 physicians to the hospital and initiated residency programs that created 33 residency slots. In her role, Rebekah provides executive oversight of the organization’s physician enterprise including 21 clinic sites, medical staff affairs, physician relations and recruitment, corporate health services and marketing and public relations. Fincher received her undergraduate degrees in political science and public relations from the University of Central Arkansas and holds a master’s degree from University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Network Services Group, North Little Rock
Ryan Flynn was named president of Network Services Group in late 2013. Network Services Group provides IT support and voice-over IP telephony solutions for many businesses across the state. Under his leadership, NSG has grown from 11 employees and a single location in North Little Rock to 65 employees and three locations in Arkansas.
Flynn also has served in many civic and volunteer roles including former 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.
ArcBest, Fort Smith
Nick is a Registered Professional Civil Engineer and worked as a consulting engineer for 12 years prior to joining ArcBest in 2016. The largest project he managed as a consultant was the Lake Fort Smith 48” water transmission line.
At ArcBest, Nick applies his skills and experience to help manage the ArcBest real estate portfolio of more than 250 freight dock, warehouse and general office facilities across the United States and Canada. He also serves on the company’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Committee, bringing a unique perspective to the team. Nick holds an MBA from Harding University and is an alumnus of the 2018-2019 ArcBest Leadership Academy.
Goff Group, Hot Springs
Born and raised in Hot Springs, David Hall is the principal broker for Goff Group. Hall graduated from the University of Arkansas and worked in the corporate world for Walmart, but his hometown roots led him to a career in Hot Springs real estate. The move allowed him to directly impact his community.
Hall’s passion for real estate is evident in the work that he does and the relationships he builds with his clients. Hall enjoys getting to connect with clients and making their dreams a reality.
A California transplant, Hazel Hernandez, moved to Northwest Arkansas in 2013 to accept a convention sales position for the Fayetteville Convention & Visitors Bureau, which has since been rebranded to Experience Fayetteville. Hernandez was charged with Experience Fayetteville’s rebranding — launched in 2017 — and marketing campaign “Find Away.” Since the rebrand, website traffic increased 35 percent in 2019, and Advertising & Promotion tax collections rose to a record of $3.7 million.
She was promoted to her current role of director of marketing and communications in 2016. She oversees the marketing team, manages the marketing plan and ad buys and ensures the organization remains on brand.
Xpress Boats, Hot Springs
Rory Herndon took over the reins of the family business, Xpress Boats, from his father, Rodney, in 2015. The company was founded as Aluma-Weld in 1966 by his granddad, Kermit, and Herndon has grown Xpress Boats and its sister company, Veranda Luxury Pontoons, into one of the state’s big players in the manufacturing sector. In 2019, Herndon opened a new 40,000-square-foot manufacturing plant for the Veranda line. Herndon, who succeeded his father as company president in 2016, knew he would eventually lead the family business from a young age, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. Herndon plans to keep Xpress in the family, handing over the reins to his two young sons one day.
Entegrity Energy Partners, Little Rock
As the regional director of energy services, Parker Higgs plays a fundamental role in the development and execution of energy savings and sustainability contracts for Entegrity Energy Partners. Primarily, his responsibility is to work with Entegrity engineers and facility owners to efficiently guide projects from opportunity to reality.
These projects allow clients to fund facility improvements while reducing their environmental impact. Higgs is a licensed Professional Engineer, Certified Energy Manager and graduate of the University of Arkansas College of Engineering, where he received a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering. Locally, he is involved in many community organizations and is a graduate of Leadership Greater Little Rock.
Anna Kay Hilburn
The Razorback Foundation, Fayetteville
A native of Kennett, Mo., Anna Kay Hilburn is a graduate of the University of Arkansas with a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in higher education. Throughout her undergraduate and graduate career, she was involved in campus activities and with Razorback athletics. Hired by the Razorback Foundation in 2018, Hilburn oversees all parking for the Foundation and manages the seat selection processes for football, men’s basketball and baseball. She oversees the RF Collegiate Board and Young Alumni membership and serves as the sport liaison for women’s basketball and softball. Hilburn says she is passionate about doing all she can to help Razorback student-athletes and coaches succeed.
Southwest Power Pool, Little Rock
Kandi Hughes is an attorney at Southwest Power Pool, where she oversees vendor contracts, provides legal support on human resources matters, serves as liaison to state regulators across SPP’s footprint and on groups related to SPP’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
Prior to joining SPP, Hughes served as associate general counsel at the University of Central Arkansas and as assistant city attorney for the city of Little Rock.
Hughes recently was appointed to a four-year term to the Arkansas Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and is the immediate past chair of the Central Arkansas Water Board of Commissioners. She is the 2018 recipient of the Irma Hunter Brown Women’s Leadership Award.
Mercy Health Northwest Arkansas, Rogers
Kelli Huntley serves her community as vice president of finance for Mercy Hospital and Mercy Clinic in Northwest Arkansas. During her time at Mercy, Huntley has helped lead strategic planning for Mercy’s $277 million expansion including the addition of seven clinics around the region and a seven-story tower to Mercy Hospital.
Huntley has 15 years of financial management experience spanning manufacturing, nonprofit ministry and health care. She earned an accounting degree from the University of Arkansas and an MBA from Texas A&M University.
LTD Connect/TracTru, Little Rock
Wes Hymer is the president and principal at LTD Connect and TracTru in Little Rock. He is a leader in tech and innovation in the automotive and agriculture marketing spaces. Hymer increased his digital footprint in 2019 by starting both LTD Connect and TracTru, and he oversees all sales and operations for both companies. He is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia and has served as a musician at Fellowship Bible Church for more than a decade.
Dr. John Jayroe
Little Rock Family Practice Clinic
Dr. John Jayroe launched his family medicine practice at Little Rock Family Practice Clinic after completing his residency in 2019 at the University of Missouri. He earned his medical degree, as well as a master’s in physiology, from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in 2016, and his undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Central Arkansas.
Jayroe is board-certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Pulaski County Medical Society.
Sowell Management, North Little Rock
After graduating from the University of Texas in 2004 with a degree in economics and philosophy, it didn’t take Thomas Knight, CFP®, long to hop the fast track. He joined NFP Securities in Austin as a newly minted college graduate, and within six years had risen from financial planning analyst to assistant vice president for recruiting. In 2012, he began his journey to Little Rock, where he continued to fine-tune his craft and rose quickly in several Arkansas wealth management firms, serving as vice president for strategic growth and as well as COO.
In 2017, Knight joined Sowell Management, overseeing its strategic data and technology initiatives. As managing director of data and technology, Knight is responsible for all of Sowell’s data, technology and automation strategies.
Stone Bank, Little Rock
Cara Lank was born in Louisiana but has spent most of her life in Arkansas. She is a graduate of Newport Public Schools, Harding University and the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Colorado in Boulder. As senior vice president and chief credit officer, Lank oversees all aspects of credit and lending for Stone Bank.
She began her 21-year banking career as a safety and soundness examiner and later as a financial analyst with the Arkansas State Bank Department. Lank has been essential to Stone Bank’s rise as a regional powerhouse in the government guaranteed lending area.
George Makris III
Simmons First National Corp./Simmons Bank, Little Rock
George Makris III joined his father at Simmons in 2015 and now serves as executive vice president, general counsel and secretary for the Pine Bluff-based bank and its holding company. Before ascending to his current position, he served as senior vice president, assistant general counsel and assistant secretary. Before joining Simmons, he was an attorney in private practice and with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Makris received his undergraduate degree from Columbia University in New York, his juris doctor from Vanderbilt and his master of laws from Georgetown.
Newmark Moses Tucker, Little Rock
John Martin, CCIM, is a principal and vice president of brokerage with Newmark Moses Tucker Partners. Martin is responsible for oversight of the firm’s brokerage activities and currently serves as the project leasing agent for more than 1 million square feet of office space.
Martin has 19 years of commercial brokerage experience and has worked at Moses Tucker Real Estate for 16 years.
He focuses primarily on landlord and tenant representation and has closed more than $250 million in lease and sale transactions. He has been responsible for more than 4.2 million square feet in transactions in Arkansas and has represented Fortune 500 companies. Martin currently serves as the real estate advisor for two nonprofits and a charter school.
Travel Nurses Across America, North Little Rock
A Greenbrier native and University of Central Arkansas graduate, Sam May has established a notable career in social media marketing by connecting people online. May turned a tragic childhood experience into an opportunity to share and teach safe online practices. Her experience includes overseeing online profiles for nonprofits, TV personalities and national brands, and traveling the country as a speaker to educate audiences on the potential dangers of social media.
As social media creative manager at Travel Nurses Across America, May works to create results-driven social media strategies through relatable content, relevant conversations and engaging graphics.
Flake & Company, Little Rock
Kevin McCollum is the senior property manager and a licensed agent for Flake & Company. His primary focus is commercial property management and leasing. McCollum is a native of Little Rock and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock with a degree in marketing.
Prior to joining Flake & Company, he managed more than 925,000 square feet with a mixed use of retail, office and medical for the firm previously known as Flake & Kelley Commercial. He has managed and negotiated leases for tenants such as Regal Cinemas, AT&T, GNC, UAMS, MedExpress and Tropical Smoothie.
Arkansas Children’s Northwest, Springdale
Diana McDaniel, MPA, FACMPE, is board-certified as a Fellow of the American College of Medical Practice Executives, and currently is serving as vice president of Arkansas Children’s Northwest. She is responsible for oversight of the facility, business operations and ancillary services.
McDaniel recently served as president of the Arkansas Medical Group Management Association, and is currently serving as vice chair of the Springdale Chamber of Commerce. McDaniel’s leadership focuses on growing young leaders, inspiring health care careers and health care workforce development. She attended the University of Arkansas and obtained MPA from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Apptegy, Little Rock
Fort Smith native Casey Mikula found a home at Apptegy, which builds mobile apps and websites for schools. After graduating with distinguished honors from the University of Central Arkansas in 2012 with a degree in economics and international trade, and then earning his MBA from Auburn University the following year, he worked with a nursing home community in China.
Mikula was a graduate research assistant at Auburn and a consultant for a software firm in California before returning home to Arkansas to work as director of sales for Apptegy. He was promoted to chief sales officer in 2018.
Wellons Real Estate, Clarendon
Jeremiah Moore is a resident of Clarendon and works as a land real-estate agent and consultant with Wellons Real Estate. Coming from a Monroe County farm family dating back to the 1850s, Moore’s personal and professional experience has led him to help clients buy and sell millions of dollars in land transactions annually and oversee multiple agricultural and recreational development projects in the Arkansas Delta.
He also serves as a commissioner on the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, is a member of the board of trustees for the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas and is an active member in the Stuttgart Rotary Club.
Marco’s Pizza/Jersey Mike’s franchises, Northwest Arkansas
Nick Morgan owns and operates three Marco’s Pizza and three Jersey Mike’s restaurants in the Northwest Arkansas region, employing 90 people at six locations.
He spurred the fast-paced growth of his company by partnering strategic financial planning with a people focused approach that values personal growth over profit at all costs. He holds an MBA from John Brown University, a BBA from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and an associate degree from UA-Pulaski Technical College. Morgan serves as a board member for Junior Achievement of Northwest Arkansas.
Luncher/Rejoicy, Little Rock
Born in Mexico City but an Arkansan at heart, Edwin Ortiz started working in the family’s small public-transport business at age 12, where he pioneered a process that increased efficiencies and cut costs by streamlining trips. Ortiz is a graduate of Brigham Young University’s Idaho campus and has worked with several Fortune 500 companies in eight countries in the areas of supply chain, technology and retail.
These experiences led Ortiz to start his own companies, Luncher and then Rejoicy, after recognizing that technology and efficiency allow goods and services to be democratized and benefit both businesses and their customers.
USAble Life, Little Rock
Matt Paulus leads the marketing efforts of USAble Life’s dental insurance business, which serves more than 1 million members across three states — Arkansas, Florida and Hawaii. He works closely with USAble Life’s health plan partners to create and implement joint marketing strategies and campaigns that promote Blue Cross Blue Shield-branded dental plans. Before joining USAble Life, Paulus was a consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton, and he served as an officer in the U.S. Navy. A Little Rock native, Paulus attended Vanderbilt University, where he majored in history, and he earned an MBA at New York University.
Dr. Courtney Phaup/Angel Warren
The BridgeWay, North Little Rock
As director of education at The BridgeWay, a mental health hospital and drug addiction treatment center in North Little Rock, Courtney Phaup, Ph.D., helps children and adolescents with emotional problems. Under her leadership, The BridgeWay incorporates educational programs through teachers certified in special education at an on-site school accredited by the Pulaski County Special School District.
As director of utilization review education at The BridgeWay, Angel Warren, L.C.S.W., works with insurance companies to ensure that patients receive the appropriate level of care. Angel is a graduate of the University of Arkansas and joined The BridgeWay in 2019.
Wright Lindsey Jennings, Little Rock
An attorney with the Wright Lindsey Jennings firm, Antwan Phillips is an alumnus of the Arkansas Commitment program and is the past board president of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas. He is also president of the Public Education Foundation of Little Rock and a member of the Little Rock Area Public Education Stakeholders Group, as appointed by the state board of education. Phillips previously served as an adjunct professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law, where he taught a course on sports law.
In 2020, Phillips was elected as a city director for the city of Little Rock. As an at-large member of the city board, Phillips represents constituents across the entire city.
Gabe W. Roberts
First Community Bank, Jonesboro
A Jonesboro native, Gabe Roberts always knew he wanted to pursue a banking career. He accepted his first banking job in Paragould while pursuing his degree from Arkansas State in 2012. During his senior year, he took an internship in the loan department which led to his being hired as loan officer after graduation in 2014.
In 2016, Roberts joined First Community Bank, a move he called a “perfect fit.” He is now the bank’s Vice President Loan Officer. Roberts was a member of Leadership Jonesboro 2017 and graduated from Barret Graduate School of Banking in Memphis earlier this year. Roberts currently serves on numerous local boards including two committees for the city of Jonesboro and the advisory board for Jonesboro High School.
Simmons Bank, Pine Bluff
Daniel Robinson serves as regional community president for Simmons Bank’s South-Central Arkansas region, leading the company’s Pine Bluff, Hot Springs and Saline County communities. He previously served as Simmons Bank’s Pine Bluff community president, overseeing strategy, operations and client relationships for Simmons’ market headquarters.
A University of Arkansas alumnus, Robinson serves as a board member for United Way of Southeast Arkansas (where he was campaign chair in fall 2019), Jefferson Regional Medical Center, Pine Bluff Downtown Development and Southeast Arkansas College Foundation. Robinson also serves on Jefferson County Hospital’s Board of Governors.
Lile Real Estate, Little Rock
Brandon Stafford came to work for Lile Real Estate in the spring of 2004 and quickly made a name for himself originating and selling agriculture, recreational and timberland properties. Stafford holds a degree in marketing from the University of Arkansas at Monticello and is no stranger to the rural real-estate business.
He grew up on a farm that has been in his family for more than 162 years with the original deed dating back to July 1, 1859. In the fall of 2006, Stafford purchased his first farm. This initial purchase led to multiple transactions with his personal land-ownership portfolio consisting of row crop farmland, timberland and lands enrolled in conservation programs.
Winrock International, Little Rock
Jen Snow has more than two decades of experience in management and leadership roles, including 17 years at Winrock in both the New Business Services Unit and the Agriculture & Volunteer Programs team. Snow oversees more than $80 million in projects in Asia and Africa – including the Farmer-to-Farmer Program, which engages experts from Arkansas and other states to share their expertise as volunteers on enriching short-term assignments worldwide.
Snow is passionate about helping farmers, women and youth adopt sustainable, innovative practices to improve their livelihoods through knowledge exchange, improved access to education and training and market systems development.
C.C. Jones Trucking, North Little Rock
Gabe Stephens graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in transportation. He immediately went to work for C.C. Jones Trucking, founded by his grandfather, and worked in different departments filling in as needed.
When a dispatcher had emergency surgery, he was moved to dispatch and was hooked. In January 1996, he bought out his mother’s business partner, bringing the company back to 100 percent family ownership. His grandfather, C.C. “Shorty” Jones, lived long enough to see his daughter and grandson run the business that he had spent his life building. Stephens serves on the boards of the Arkansas Trucking Association, the North Little Rock Wastewater Commission, the NLR Wildcat Foundation and NLR Young Life.
AEDC, Little Rock
Bentley Story is the director of the Business Development Division for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC). A native of Forrest City, Story began working at AEDC in 2007 as a project manager working with companies such as Hewlett-Packard (now DXC), Dillard’s and Windstream. In 2012, he was promoted to division director, where he oversaw the work of a professional team of project managers and international representatives.
Under Story’s leadership, the Business Development Division has seen immense success with an increase in in-state jobs and the expansion of companies into Arkansas. Story is a graduate of the Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas with a degree in business administration and an MBA.
Nabholz Construction, Fayetteville
In the almost 20 years John Strack has worked for Conway-based Nabholz Construction, he has worked his way up the ladder from project manager to senior project manager to project executive.
Based in Nabholz’s Northwest Arkansas office, Strack has been involved with some of the state’s most prominent construction projects including Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the Scott Family Amazeum in Bentonville, the ArcBest corporate headquarters in Fort Smith and the Stadium Drive residence halls on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville. Strack graduated from UA Little Rock in 2003 with a degree in construction management.
Signature Bank, Fayetteville
Crandall Streett is the executive vice president and loan manager for Signature Bank of Arkansas in Fayetteville. She was born and raised in Yellville and attended the University of Central Arkansas, where she graduated with honors. Streett joined Signature Bank in 2007 and worked her way through the Loan Operations and Risk Management departments before becoming a lender. She currently manages the largest lending team at Signature’s flagship branch in Fayetteville while simultaneously carrying one of the bank’s largest loan portfolios, comprising of one third of total branch lending activity.
Colliers Arkansas, Little Rock
A principal and vice president of brokerage in the Little Rock office of Colliers Arkansas, Lee Strother is active in retail, industrial, office and investment brokerage. He also handles consulting assignments for individual and corporate clients. A former banker, Strother coordinates with local and regional banking institutions for financing a large volume of investment properties.
After receiving his BBA in finance with a concentration in commercial banking from the University of Arkansas, he joined Signature Bank in Northwest Arkansas in a lending capacity. In early 2008, Strother joined Colliers’ brokerage staff. He was named principal in 2015. Strother is a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) and a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).
Quattlebaum, Grooms & Tull, Little Rock
Mary-Tipton Thalheimer, an associate with the Quattlebaum, Grooms & Tull firm, practices law in the areas of debtor and creditor rights and bankruptcy. She earned a degree in business administration from Washington & Lee University in 2007 and her J.D., with high honors, from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law in 2011.
While attending Bowen, Thalheimer served as an assistant editor for the Law Review. After obtaining her law degree, she attended St. John’s University, where she earned an LL.M. in bankruptcy and served on the Duberstein Moot Court Planning Committee.
Unity Health, Searcy
After more than 11 years of experience in health-care administration, Webb joined Unity Health as president and chief executive officer in 2018. In this role, Webb drives Unity’s mission to improve the quality of health and well-being for the communities Unity Health serves through compassionate care.
Under his leadership, Unity Health has grown into additional counties and now has four hospital locations and 47 total locations in an eight-county area in north-central Arkansas. Webb is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE).
WDD Architects, Little Rock
Chad Young of WDD Architects is the sixth president in the firm’s 102-year history. During his tenure with the firm, he has served as designer for signature projects including Arkansas Heart Hospital: Encore, Bryant; ATA World Headquarters, Little Rock; First National Bank, Jonesboro; Ronald McDonald House, Little Rock; and Mid-America Science Museum, Hot Springs.
A graduate of the University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture + Design, he is a member of the American Institute of Architects and U.S. Green Building Council LEED Accredited Professional. He is a member of the Fay Jones School of Architecture + Design Dean’s Circle, Downtown Little Rock Partnership, Little Rock Air Force Base Community Council and Cabot Panther Foundation.
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