Arkansas Business' 25 for the Future (25th Anniversary)

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Mar. 23, 2009 12:00 am  

Cliff Beckham, President and CEO of USA Truck, Inc. of Van Buren

More than 25 people will shape Arkansas over the coming decades. It's hard to narrow down the names of those changers of the future. But that doesn't mean we can't try.

This list contains names of both established and lesser-known Arkansans who will likely make headlines in years to come. Of course, more are out there.

These, however, are likely to impact the state based on their family wealth and position, and others have just exhibited a spark of potential.

1. Eddie Armstrong
Eddie Armstrong of North Little Rock has no trouble dreaming big. At 30, he already has his name on a nonprofit, the Eddie Armstrong Scholarship Foundation. He also has a consulting firm, Armstrong & Davis, and lobbies and has lobbied the state government for several companies, including Tyson Foods Inc. and Alltel Arena.

Armstrong formerly was state government affairs manager for Tyson and monitored state legislative and regulatory issues for almost 20 states. Armstrong has said his goal is to become mayor of his hometown, North Little Rock. He was elected student government president at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, only the second African-American to hold the office.

2. Curtis Arnold
He began educating the public on credit cards in 1998. As a man formerly hobbled by credit card debt, Curtis Arnold knows what he's talking about. Almost every major media organization has used him a source on the matter.

The author of several books and proprietor of, Arnold educates people on how to benefit from credit cards without falling into personal debt. His site offers reports on credit cards and methods for rebuilding credit and getting out of debt. Too bad he doesn't counsel the banking industry.

3. Ben Beaumont
Only in his late 20s, Ben Beaumont already holds the title of communications director for both the University of Arkansas System and the Clinton School of Public Service.

He has handled such high-profile projects as coordinating the travel media's coverage of the Clinton Presidential Library while he worked for the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau. At the UA System, Beaumont successfully helped coordinate the statewide campaign for a $250 million higher education bond initiative in 2006.

Beaumont was named 2008 Community Big Brother of the Year by the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas.

4. Cliff Beckham
Clifton Beckham has a history of getting quick results. His career at USA Truck Inc. of Van Buren has seen him rise from a lowly accountant in 1994 to president and CEO in 2007. For fiscal 2007, the company posted a profit of only $140,000. In 2008, he put a 3 in front of that number: $3.140 million.

5. William Clark
In 1987, Bill Clark formed CDI Contractors LLC, a joint venture with Dillard's Inc. By 2008, CDI was among the state's largest contractors, and his son, William, was heading the operation.

Now it's William Clark's turn to start his own venture, Clark Contractors LLC of Little Rock. It'll be interesting to see if it also ranks among the state's largest contractors in a few years.



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