Business Briefs for Sept. 25, 2006

• The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville has agreed to join the World Trade Centers Association, a move the school says will improve foreign trade opportunities for state businesses. The association offers a variety of services and facilities to help businesses conduct export and import trade.

• Pine Bluff now is home to the Arkansas River Catz of the American Basketball Association. The professional basketball team will play its home games in the 6,500-seat arena of the Pine Bluff Convention Center. The season is scheduled to begin on Nov. 10, with 18 home games and the Elite 8 championship games to be played at Pine Bluff. Tickets will be for sale at the convention center or online at

• The Hanover Insurance Group Inc. of Worcester, Mass., has made its Connections Auto product available in Arkansas through independent agents. Connections Auto offers 15 rating and pricing tiers that accommodate more than 90 percent of auto insurance applicants through various stages of life. Hanover's local office is 10818 Executive Center Drive in Little Rock.

• Tim Suther, retail industry executive at Acxiom Corp., has been named to the executive board of directors for the Sam M. Walton College of Business Center for Retailing Excellence at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Board members advise the center on timely trends, changes and developments in business so the Walton College can more quickly incorporate real-world issues into the curriculum.

• John Stanton has been elected to the board of directors of Alltel Corp. Stanton, 51, was chairman and CEO of Western Wireless Corp. of Bellevue, Wash., and its predecessors from 1989 until it was acquired by Alltel in August 2005. He also served as chairman and CEO of T-Mobile USA from 1995-2003.

• Ray Lincoln, a long-time radio personality in central Arkansas, died Sept. 18 at the age of 64. He had undergone a heart transplant in 2003. He had worked at several Little Rock radio stations from the mid-1970s until he retired in 2000.

• The Memphis Regional Economic Development Council is launching a new Web site that offers a one-stop work force data system for employers in its 52-county region of west Tennessee, east Arkansas and north Mississippi. The site is The system takes data about the area work force and allows users to tailor it to their needs.

n Valet parking is now available at Little Rock National Airport beginning Sept. 18. Valet Solutions of Little Rock was chosen in a competitive bid process by the Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission to provide the service. The service will be available from 4:30 a.m. to the last arriving flight, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The daily charge is $12 for surface parking and $15 a day for covered parking.

• ERC Land Development LLC has unveiled a new neighborhood on the east side of Fort Smith called BrightonPlace. It has 85 homes sites around a seven-acre lake. It also includes a walking and jogging trail around the lake, decorative bridges, a community pavilion and common areas with green space. Builders, Realtors and the general public will have an equal opportunity to buy a new home site at BrightonPlace beginning Oct. 2. For more information, visit

• Central Baptist College at Conway, for the first time in its history, has exceeded 500 students. Final enrollment indicates 304 enrolled in the traditional program (a 9 percent increase) and 200 in the PACE Adult Degree Completion Program (a 74 percent increase) for a total of 504 students (a 28 percent increase overall). Another private religious school, Harding University at Searcy, said its total enrollment had reached 6,108, a 2.2 percent increase over last year's total of 5,975. Undergraduate enrollment is 4,048, with 1,101 of those being new students.

• The Benham Cos. of Lowell has been awarded the 2006 Excellence in Concrete Pavement Award by the Okla-homa/Arkansas Chapter of the American Concrete Paving Association for its design and engineering work on Kelly Highway at Fort Smith. Kelly Highway is one of Fort Smith's major east-west arterials. The project consisted of expanding the existing two-lane asphalt road into a five-lane concrete highway.

• Eight thousand motorcycle enthusiasts from 21 states attended the first-ever Hot Springs Rally Sept. 15-17, and organizers voted to hold the second annual Hot Springs Rally in September 2007. The three-day event was headquartered at the Hot Springs Conven-tion Center and featured three major music concerts, exhibits, a motorcycle show, seminars, a miles-long parade through the city and other events.

• Hot Springs attorneys Steve DeMott and Jonathan J. Martin have announced the formation of DeMott & Martin PA, a law firm. DeMott is one of the owners of Garland County Title Co.