Business Briefs (Aug. 31, 2009)

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Aug. 31, 2009 12:00 am  

● Former President George W. Bush will speak at Harding University at Searcy on April 22, 2010, as part of the 2009-10 Distinguished Lecture Series sponsored by the American Studies Institute. The event will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Benson Auditorium. Although it will be a ticketed event, it is free and open to the public. For more information, call (501) 279-4497.

● Consensus Biolabs LLC of Little Rock has agreed to buy the Redfield preclinical laboratory from Charles River Laboratories Inc. of Wilmington, Mass. Charles River had planned to close the pharmaceutical research lab by the end of the year, putting about 120 out of work, but Consensus said it plans to retain about 50 employees. The deal includes the lab's research equipment, buildings and land. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

● Farmers Insurance Group of Cos. has teamed with The Arkansas Grocers & Retail Merchants Association and revised its members' benefits, including a business insurance program that offers AGRMA members an up-front discount and reduced rates on their insurance, regardless of company size.

● Arkansas' Tourism Division has launched a new Web site,, that simplifies the process for anyone looking to move to the state. The site provides visitors with everything from cost of living, health and educational resources to photo and video galleries, lodging and dining information, and even the "Top 10 Reasons to Love Arkansas."

● The Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, for the third year in a row, has placed in a tie for 24th among the nation's top public undergraduate business schools, according to the U.S. News & World Report 2010 America's Best Colleges. The college's supply chain management/logistics specialty was ranked No. 9 among the public undergraduate schools offering that specialty, up from 11th place in the 2009 ranking.

The Small Business Administration and the Arkansas Small Business & Technology Development Center will present four free "Leveraging the Recovery Act for Your Bank and Community" workshops for lenders and community leaders in September, followed by free seminars for small business owners in October. Tax preparers, Chamber of Commerce leaders and economic development leaders as well as lenders are encouraged to attend the September workshops. The half-day events are Sept. 2 in Fayetteville, Sept. 22 in El Dorado, Sept. 24 in Jonesboro and Sept. 30 in North Little Rock. The registration fee is $25 per person. Visit or call (800) 862-2040 to register. Small-business owner seminars will be offered at Arkadelphia, Oct. 5; Jonesboro, Oct. 6; Little Rock, Oct. 8; Magnolia, Oct. 13; Monticello, Oct. 7; and Springdale, Oct. 14

● Harding University's interior design program in the department of art and design has received accreditation for six years from the Council for Interior Design Accreditation. The accreditation indicates Harding's interior design students receive a high level of education that prepares them for the competitive work force.

● Beaver Water District has approved a fiscal 2010 operating and maintenance budget of $10.1 million, which is 3.3 percent less than the 2009 budget. CEO Alan Fortenberry said trimming expenses is especially important considering the lower water production demands the district has experienced over the past two years.

● Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor said the United States Senate Youth Program is accepting applications for 2010. The deadline for applications is Oct. 5. Two Arkansas students will be selected to join 102 other delegates March 6-13, 2010, for the program's 48th Annual Washington Week. Interested students should contact their high school principals or Maggie A. Herrick at (501) 683-0894 or e-mail

● Batesville and Benton have joined the Certified Local Government program, which recognizes a concentrated local effort to protect the city's historic resources. In Arkansas, city or county governments are eligible for CLG status if they have a historic district commission with design review authority over a designated historic district. The program is jointly administered by the National Park Service and the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. For more information call (501) 324-9880 or visit

● Anthony Forest Products Co. of El Dorado has won the first ever "Safest Company Award" in its category of three or fewer APA- The Engineered Wood Association member mills for 2008, one of only two awarded. Anthony Forest's Arkansas Laminating Plant at El Dorado and Georgia Laminating Plant in Washington, Ga., were also recognized in the "Incident Free Honor Society."

● Cadena Contracting of North Little Rock has been named to Inc. magazine's annual ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in America. Cadena ranked No. 3,791 on the 2009 Inc. 5,000 list.



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