Arkansas Business' 'Gone but Not Forgotten' (25th Anniversary)

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

Fay Jones, architect of the Thorncrown Chapel near Eureka Springs, died in 2004.

The company grew thanks to its flagship Isoplus brand, but Joshua and his wife, Thelma, diversified their holdings into salons and barbershops and a beauty school.

Joshua was the Small Business Administration's 1986 Arkansas Small Business Person of the Year.  He died in 2005.

19. B. Finley Vinson
One can't pass the Regions Building in downtown Little Rock without thinking of B. Finley Vinson.

Vinson started his banking career with People's Bank of Little Rock shortly after leaving the Navy. Vinson's boss told him to focus on marketing the bank, and that's what he did. People's Bank changed its name to First National Bank based on Vinson's suggestion.

The bank's growth warranted a 600,000-SF, 30-story building at Capitol and Broadway. Construction began in 1973. In 1993, First National merged with Commercial National, forming First Commercial Bank. Regions Bank bought First Commercial in 1998.

Vinson died in 2006.

20. J.B. Hunt
J.B. Hunt, sporting cowboy boots and a cowboy hat almost all the time, earned a reputation as a visionary in the trucking industry.

Hunt saw his first trucking opportunity when he noticed Arkansas farmers burning rice hulls, a good litter for poultry. Hunt began shipping the excess hulls to poultry farmers, growing into the largest rice-hull carrier in the country by the end of the 1960s. Soon Hunt had turned his company into a trucking empire.

He also set the curve among carriers by keeping costs lower than competitors and going public in 1983. In addition to introducing many innovations that created better efficiency in transportation, Hunt formed the industry's first intermodal operation, teaming with what is now BNSF. 

Hunt died in 2006.

21. Winthrop Paul Rockefeller
Forbes magazine estimated the fortune of Winthrop Paul Rockefeller, among the heirs to John D. Rockefeller, at about $1.2 billion, a number Win Paul said was too high. Whatever his worth, it was substantial.

Despite this, Rockefeller earned a reputation as a hard-working public servant. The son of Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller served two terms as Arkansas' lieutenant governor, donating his salary to charity and traveling on his own dime to recruit foreign investment in Arkansas.



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