Arkansas Research Alliance Announces Board Members

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

Hugh T. McDonald, president and CEO of Entergy Arkansas, has been named chairman of the board of Arkansas Research Alliance, a public-private nonprofit organization devoted to increasing university-based research and innovation as a path to developing the state's knowledge-based economy.

The board roster also includes the chancellors of five state universities: Joel Anderson of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Lawrence Davis of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, David Gearhart of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, Dr. I. Dodd Wilson of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences at Little Rock, and Robert Potts of Arkansas State University.

Other board members are Bruce Burrow, an owner of MBC Holdings of Jonesboro; Claiborne Deming, chairman of the board of Murphy Oil Corp. of El Dorado; Ed Drilling of Little Rock, Arkansas president of AT&T; Scott Ford, CEO of Alltel Corp.; Tommy May, chairman and CEO of Simmons First National Corp. of Pine Bluff; Marla Johnson-Norris, CEO of Aristotle Inc. of Little Rock; Robert Shoptaw, CEO of Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Little Rock; and Kirk Thompson, CEO of J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. of Lowell.

Funding for the start-up of the Arkansas Research Alliance was appropriated by the General Assembly in 2007 and authorized through the Arkansas Science & Technology Authority. Jerry Adams, a former Acxiom Corp. executive, is ARA's president and CEO.

The ARA, which is modeled on the Georgia Research Alliance, has commissioned an independent study to assess current and potential university-based innovation in Arkansas. The study is being conducted by the Battelle Memorial Institute of Columbus, Ohio, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2009.

The goals of the study are to determine "core research competencies" that have the most potential for creating jobs in Arkansas and to identify strategic areas in which businesses could be incubated and launched, according to an ARA press release.



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