Business Briefs for July, 31, 2006

• Arkansas Development Finance Authority has committed $4 million in venture capital to Memphis Biomed Ventures II LP. Cimarron Capital Partners LLC is the designated investor group for the finance authority. The agreement calls for MBV to consider "credible deals coming out of Arkansas that fit within its investment parameters." MBV will organize an annual screening of University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences at Little Rock technologies and provide training for researchers interested in commercializing medical technology.

• U.S. Renal Care Inc. of Jonesboro, a provider of outpatient kidney dialysis services, has opened an outpatient dialysis facility in Stuttgart. The new facility is part of USRC SE Arkansas LLC, a joint venture company with additional clinics in Pine Bluff and McGehee. The Stuttgart center, developed in coordination with Stuttgart Regional Medical Center, is capable of serving up to 75 patients. U.S. Renal Care will operate 32 dialysis clinics in Texas and Arkansas.

• Main Street Arkansas is sponsoring a conference on downtown revitalization Sept. 11-13 at The Peabody Little Rock. Dan Carmody of the Downtown Fort Wayne, Ind., Business Improvement District and Kennedy Lawson Smith of the Land Use Economic Group will be the keynote speakers. The cost is $90 through Aug. 18, and $120 after. For more information, call (501) 324-9880 or register online at www.destinationdowntown.org.

• Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville has hired Leslie Dach, 52, to be the company's executive vice president of corporate affairs and government relations. He has been vice chairman of Edelman, a large public relations firm, and is a former adviser to Bill Clinton. He will join Wal-Mart in late August and will report directly to Lee Scott, president and CEO of the retail giant.

• Jim Phelan has been promoted to president and CEO of ERC Construc-tion Group LLC of Barling. Phelan has more than 20 years of experience in the construction industry and ERC Proper-ties Inc. During his tenure, ERC has been ranked in Builder magazine's top 50 multifamily builders.

• Arkansas Children's Hospital, for the second year in a row, has been ranked among the top 25 hospitals in the U.S. for pediatric care by U.S. News & World Report. Arkansas Children's Hospital is recognized for its reputation in pediatrics.

• Henderson State University at Arkadelphia plans to offer its executive MBA program online next spring, allowing students who work in the day to study anytime. The online curriculum is identical to the program offered on campus, and students will use e-mail to communicate with their professors. The program is designed to be completed in about 20 months. For more information, call (870) 230-5377.

• The National Council for Interior Design Qualification has announced the Arkansas State Board of Interior Design as its 21st member board. NCIDQ's members are U.S. state and Canadian provincial regulatory boards that regulate the interior design profession. The Arkansas board protects the title of "Registered Interior Designer." Interior designers who wish to use this title must meet the board's eligibility criteria, including passage of the NCIDQ examination.

• The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville raised nearly $92.5 million in private donations during its fundraising year, exceeding its goal of $75 million. The donations include both cash and in-kind gifts. The largest amount, $33 million, will go to the Sam M. Walton College of Business; $13.9 million will go to the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food & Life Sciences and Division of Agriculture; and $11 million goes to the Razorback Foundation.

• EagleOne Logistics of Fort Smith has introduced a new extranet Web site designed specifically for the pharmaceutical industry that will allow customers to use new proprietary tools for daily reporting of delivery information, return information and customer concerns. Privately held EagleOne currently serves clients in a wide variety of fields ranging from office supplies and freight to health care and pharmaceuticals.

• Stephens Inc. will open a new public finance office at Jackson, Miss. Ken Oilschlager and Terri Hudson will serve as public finance bankers for the office. Oilschlager was a senior developer for the Mississippi Department of Economic Development (Mississippi Development Authority). Hudson was deputy director and CFO of the Mississippi Development Authority.

• The U.S. Senate has confirmed Bobby E. Shepherd to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit. Shepherd was nominated by President Bush to replace Morris Sheppard Arnold, who is taking senior status. Shepherd has served as a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas for the past 13 years.