by Arkansas Business Staff on Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 12:00 am
Caterpillar Facility (Photo by Michael Pirnique)
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.
Little Rock is home to some of the biggest names in American business – yet everyone is on a first-name basis.
- Jim Karrh, Ph.D, Karrh & Associates
Caterpillar in its first year in the region, built over 1,000 motor graders which were sold throughout the world.
Dassault Falcon Jet, the region’s top manufacturing employer and the French company’s largest facility in the world, recently announced a $60 million expansion at the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport to accommodate the completions of its new, 5X aircraft.
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 one of the world’s largest industrial companies, made the glass for Louis XIV’s Palace at Versailles makes ceramic proppants at its 100,000-SF facility on 68 acres in Saline County.
Welspun Tubular, LLC, based in India, manufactures steel pipes for the oil and gas industry from its twice-expanded, $280 million, 800-employee, 700-acre Little Rock Port location.
In 2012, aircraft/spacecraft was Arkansas’ largest export. The sector accounted for 24 percent of Arkansas’ total export value ($1,863,859,093). The top three destinations for aircraft/spacecraft from Arkansas were France, China and Brazil.
P. Allen Smith is an award-winning designer, gardening and lifestyle expert. He is the host of two public television programs and a 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 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.
INNOVATION AND KNOWLEDGE
HP, one of the world’s largest IT companies, employs over 1,200 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 at the state and local levels, 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 & 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.
- Allied Bank
- Bank of America
- Bank of England
- Bank of the Ozarks
- The Capital Bank
- Centennial Bank
- Central Bank
- Delta Trust & Bank
- Federal Reserve Bank
- First National Bank
- First National Bankers Bank
- First Security Bank
- Heartland Bank
- HomeBank of Arkansas
- Metropolitan National Bank
- National Bank of Arkansas
- Regions Bank
- Simmons First National Bank
- Southern Bancorp
- Summit Bank
- U.S. Bank
Partnering of the public and private sectors among all levels of government has put the region at a competitive advantage with its unified, team-oriented approach to economic development.
Little Rock, for the first time in its history, funded performance-based incentives over the next ten years to complement business.
Little Rock is a city within a park.
- Bryan Day, City of Little Rock
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.
In today’s global economy, communities are stronger when supported by regional partnerships. Communities like Maumelle have added strength and additional benefits that come from being a member of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Metro Little Rock Alliance – everyone working together to make the region a better place to live and work.
- Judy Keller, City of Maumelle
Pulaski County is the largest county in the state by population, with 382,748 at the time of the 2010 U.S. Census, with Little Rock serving as both the county seat and state capital.
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 is the courthouse for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. Completed in 1932, it was renamed in 2003 for Court of Appeals Judge Richard S. Arnold.
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.
- Arkansas Children’s Hospital is one of the leading children’s hospitals in the world.
- Arkansas Heart Hospital is one of only four specialty hospitals nationwide to receive NRC Picker Path to Excellence top five rankings in two of three categories — Overall Patient Experience and Nurse Communication.
- Arkansas Surgical Hospital is an innovative, physician-owned surgical hospital specializing in orthopedic and spine surgery.
- Baptist Health, with more than 175 points of access — including seven Arkansas hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, family clinics, therapy and wellness centers, has delivered quality health care for over 80 years.
- The BridgeWay Hospital, Inc.
- Methodist Family Health
- Rivendell of Arkansas
- University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, the state’s only academic medical center, treats more multiple myeloma cancer patients than any facility in the world.
- St. Vincent Health System, Little Rock’s first hospital and part of the Catholic Health Initiatives, features a number of points of access throughout central Arkansas, including the world-renowned Longevity Center and recently opened St. Vincent West.
- Pinnacle Pointe Hospital
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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