Arkansas Business' 25 Minority Trailblazers (25th Anniversary)

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

Charles Stewart, executive vice president at Regions Bank

Of 117 individuals who were profiled by Arkansas Business during its first five years of publication, only seven were racial minorities. Arkansas' population is still more than 78 percent white, but Arkansans of color have certainly made their mark during the last quarter-century. Here are 25 of those trailblazers, in alphabetical order:

1. Al Bell
Brinkley native Al Bell was a veteran of the Stax record label in Memphis when, in the 1980s, he became president of the most storied name in African-American music: Motown. He helped negotiate its 1989 sale to MCA/Boston Ventures Group.

After that, Bell established Bellmark Records, through which he discovered Tag Team, whose hit single "Whoomp! (There It Is)" swept the market in 1993. Bell also produced Prince's single "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World."

2. Charles Cervantes
Charles Cervantes, who owns and operates Crates Inc., is also in his fourth year as state director of the League of United Latin American Citizens. He spends much of his time educating Hispanics about voting rights.

As director of LULAC, Cervantes is working with Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas to put a medical clinic in the old K-Mart at the southwest corner of Asher and University avenues.

A Texas native, Cervantes, after some time in the military, joined a paper company. While on a work-related trip to Arkansas, Cervantes decided to remain in the state, and in 1991, he opened Crates.

Crates sells packaging and recycling equipment and rebuilds old equipment.

Cervantes is a member of the Arkansas Friendship Coalition and a board member of Just Communities of Central Arkansas, Stamp Out Smoking and Arkansans Against Abusive Payday Lending.

3. Dexter Doyne
After graduating from college in San Francisco, Dexter Doyne returned to Little Rock to look after his ailing father and the family business. The upkeep of the family's rental properties led Doyne to open his own contracting firm in 1983.

Projects by Doyne Construction Co. of North Little Rock include the Clinton School of Public Service and the Clinton Presidential Library's water feature.

Doyne participates in the Minority-owned Business Enterprise Construction Mentoring Program, in which he mentors a minority-owned construction company for a year.

Doyne has received numerous awards, including the Martin Luther King Jr. Salute to Greatness Business Award in 2006, Minority Contractor of the Year in 2004 from Minority Enterprise Development Week and the U.S. Small Business Administration's Prime Contractor of the Year in 1995.



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