Arkansas Business' 25 Entrepreneurs & Innovators (25th Anniversary)

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

John A. McFarland, CEO of Baldor Electric Co. of Fort Smith.

14. Haeng Ung Lee
His title, eternal grand master, referred to his prowess in the martial art of Taekwondo, which he began studying as a youth in Seoul, but H.U.Lee also proved to be master marketer.

Lee founded the American Taekwondo Association – a for-profit business despite its name – in Omaha, Neb., in 1969 and relocated its headquarters to Little Rock in 1977. By the time of his death in 2000, ATA was (and still is) the largest martial arts organization in the world. It currently claims more than 1,500 franchises and 350,000 students on five continents. 

15. Margo Low & Dorcas Prince
Why would a store in Brinkley, population 3,200, be the go-to place for brides-to-be from all over the South? The success of Low's Bridal & Formal can't be merely luck or location or timing.

In 1977, Margo Low ordered six wedding dresses to supplement the china registry for brides that her husband's Main Street drugstore offered. In the three decades since, Low's – now 25,000 SF and operated by Low's daughter, Dorcas Prince – has built its reputation on its vast selection, personal service and a firm belief in regional advertising.

16. Justin Roy Morris
In 2002, the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville patented the Morris-Oldridge system of vineyard mechanization. The brainchild of Professor Justin Morris incorporates more than 40 different machines to enhance the productivity of a vineyard.

Total mechanization has been a concept in the making at the UA for more than 35 years. Studies show that vineyards using the Morris-Oldridge system can produce a more consistent annual crop without compromising the integrity of the fruit. Grape growers can save thousands of manhours once spent pruning, managing canopies and thinning fruit by hand.

17. Jimmy Moses
Jimmy Moses isn't the only booster with a vision for revitalizing downtown Little Rock through a combination of redeveloping old properties and building new ones. But his status grew to new heights during the past eight years with the construction of the seven-story Capital Commerce Center, 14-story First Security Center, 18-story 300 Third Tower and 20-story River Market Tower.

Each succeeding project featured a mix of more commercial and residential space that added to the Little Rock skyline. The new downtown buildings developed with partner Rett Tucker broaden a résumé of renovation projects with other partners that go back more than a quarter century.

18. Donald W. Reynolds
Donald W. Reynolds began what would become Donrey Media Group before World War II, when he bought the Okmulgee Daily Times in Oklahoma and the Southwest Times Record in Fort Smith. The company eventually encompassed more than 100 businesses in the newspaper, radio, television, cable and outdoor advertising industries.

On Reynolds' death in 1993, the Stephens Group Inc. of Little Rock bought Donrey, and it is now Stephens Media. The proceeds of the sale created the endowment for the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, which, though located in Las Vegas, has provided funding for multiple projects at colleges and cities throughout Arkansas.

19. Reese Rowland
Reese Rowland, a partner in Polk Stanley Rowland Curzon Porter Architects Ltd., led the design of several of the most recognizable structures built in downtown Little Rock in the past decade, including the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce building and the headquarters of Acxiom Corp. and Heifer International.

Rowland's innovative work incorporates many curves, adding a sleek and modern look to the area. Rowland told Arkansas Business in 2003 that the curve of the Acxiom building allows it to maximize the use of natural light. Similar techniques appear in the Heifer building.



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