Employing a Superior Workforce in Little Rock

by Capital Assets Staff  on Monday, Mar. 18, 2013 12:00 am  

The sustained strength of the Little Rock region’s nationally recognized economy and its ability to weather national or global economic downturns is directly attributable to a regional approach to development and the diversity of its business community.

In fact, Moody’s Investors Service has ranked Little Rock the nation’s second-most diverse economy — less than a tenth of a point behind Chicago. “The Little Rock community has helped us establish a strong foundation along with a talented workforce at a facility which produces motor graders for the entire world,” said Caterpillar’s Paul Rivera. Little Rockers make things — smartly and efficiently. With targeted workforce development from the region’s community colleges and universities, aircraft interiors, road graders, windmill blades, steel pipes and processed food make advanced manufacturing one of the region’s top employers.

Advanced Manufacturing

In 2011, machinery was Arkansas’ largest export. The sector accounted for 12 percent of Arkansas’ total export value ($680 million). The top three destinations for machinery from Arkansas were Canada, Australia and Mexico.

  • Caterpillar, in its first year in the region, built over 1,000 Motor Graders which were sold throughout the world.
  • Sage V Foods produces frozen and instant rice from its state-of-the-art cooking and freezing plant at the Little Rock Port.
  • Saint Gobain (France), one of the world’s largest industrial companies, made the glass for Louis XIV’s Palace at Versailles and makes ceramic proppants at its new 100,000-SF facility on 68 acres.
  • Welspun Tubular, LLC, based in India, manufactures steel pipes for the oil and gas industry from its soon-to-be twice-expanded, $280 million, 800-employee, 700-acre Little Rock Port location.
  • Dassault Falcon Jet, the region’s top manufacturing employer and the French company’s largest facility in the world, recently renewed its lease at Little Rock National Airport through at least 2040.


  • B.A.S.S. – JM Associates develops content for ESPNOutdoors.com and produces multiple television series and specials, including ESPN’s Bassmaster Classic.
  • P. Allen Smith, is an award-winning designer, gardening and lifestyle expert. He is the host of two public television programs and the syndicated 30-minute show.

    Smith is one of America’s most recognized and respected design experts, providing ideas and inspiration through multiple media venues. He is the author of the best-selling “Garden Home” series of books published by Clarkson Potter/Random House. Smith is a regular contributor on The Weather Channel and hosts his own radio program the “P. Allen Smith Show.” His design and lifestyle advice is featured in several national magazines.


  • HP, one of the world’s largest IT companies, employs highly skilled people in its state-of-the-art customer service and technical support center.
  • Acxiom, a publicly traded company (NASDAQ: ACXM), is the developer of some of the largest and most sophisticated business intelligence and marketing databases in the world.
  • Little Rock Technology Park Authority, after years of planning, is actively studying sites to locate the development. The seven members of the authority represent the initiative of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, City of Little Rock, University of Arkansas at Little Rock and University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. The region’s first technology park is anticipated to be a major economic driver for the next 30 years.
  • UAMS BioVentures, with commercial successes such as Safe Foods, Omnibalm and eDoc America, translates University of Arkansas for Medical Science research into products that benefit human health.
  • UALR Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology, founded by internationally renowned scientist Dr. Mary L. Good and led by dean Dr. Eric Sandgren, EIT, as it’s known, is also home to eight cutting-edge graduate programs including doctoral degrees, masters of science degrees and graduate certificates — all focused on strategic areas of commerce and research directly relevant to 21st-century success.


Strong national and Arkansas-chartered financial institutions and public finance spur the region’s economic development.



Little Rock, for the first time in its history, funded performance-based incentives over the next 10 years to complement business.

North Little Rock, along with its creative and vibrant Argenta downtown redevelopment, boasts The Old Mill at T. R. Pugh Memorial Park, believed to be the last surviving structure seen in “Gone With the Wind,” and the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum’s USS Razorback SS 394, the longest serving and one of the most decorated submarines in the world.


Pulaski County

Arkansas is among a small number of states that has maintained a balanced budget and it views economic development and education as inseparable.

Metroplan has responsibility for the area’s transportation planning process under federal law.

Richard Sheppard Arnold United States Courthouse

Mexican Consulate – Consulado de Carrera de México, serving Arkansas, western Tennessee and eastern Oklahoma, is the only one of its kind between Dallas and Atlanta.



With an annual economic impact of more than $830 million, the region boasts the world’s premier C-130 Air Force base and an Arkansas National Guard facility providing facilities and weapons ranges for all branches of the U.S. armed forces and civil law enforcement agencies.

  • Little Rock Air Force Base, winner of the Abilene Trophy for Outstanding Community Support for an Air Mobility Command Base, consists of more than 6,000 acres and more than 5,000 active-duty military and civilian members, with 5,500 family members living and working on and around the base.
  • Camp Joseph T. Robinson, on 32,800 acres, is the home of the country’s premier professional development training center and the 189th, the highest decorated Air National Guard Airlift Wing in the nation’s history. 


With the world’s only master’s degree in public service, strong foreign direct capital investment, and institutions like Arkansas Children’s Hospital and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences bringing in world-class talent, Little Rock has become a hub for the location of global nonprofit headquarters.

  • William J. Clinton Foundation, building on President Clinton’s lifetime of public service, established separate initiatives to alleviate poverty, improve global health, strengthen economies and protect the environment.
  • Heifer International, from its LEED Platinum world headquarters and restored wetlands, has as its strategy to “pass on the gift” so people will share their animals’ offspring with others — along with their knowledge, resources and skills — in an expanding network of hope, dignity and self-reliance that reaches around the globe.
  • World Services For The Blind educates adults from all 50 states and 58 foreign countries who are blind or visually impaired for careers and independent lives.
  • Oxford American, which according to the New York Times “may be the liveliest literary magazine in America,” has won three National Magazine Awards — the highest recognition in the industry.
  • Winrock International, from its LEED Gold headquarters, links individuals and communities with new ideas and technology to increase long-term productivity, equity and responsible resource management to benefit the poor and disadvantaged of the world.



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