Lalit Verma Elected President of American Society of Agricultural & Biological Engineers (Movers & Shakers)


Justin Wisdom has been promoted to vice president of business development at SSi Design-Build Constructors in Fort Smith. Prior to his promotion, Wisdom served as senior project manager. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Texas A&M University.


Lalit Verma, head of the Department of Biological & Agricultural Engineering at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, has been elected president of the American Society of Agricultural & Biological Engineers. Verma served as the head of the department of biological engineering at Louisiana State University before relocating to the University of Arkansas in 2000. He has gained international recognition through his research in post-harvest engineering and technology.

Michael Hunter Schwartz has been named the new dean of the William H. Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. In addition to serving as associate dean for faculty and academic development at the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kan., he was also employed as a professor of law in Charleston, S.C., and earned his doctorate from the University of California Hastings College of Law. Schwartz will succeed Paula Casey, who was named interim dean upon John DiPippa’s resignation as dean in July 2012.

Risa Dickson has been named the provost and vice president of academic affairs at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia. She will join Henderson in July after fulfilling her final duties as associate provost for academic personnel at California State University in San Bernardino, where she was associate dean of the College of Arts & Letters from 2004-06.


Rodney Abston has been promoted to senior vice president with Regions Bank in Little Rock. Abston has been with the company for six years and has held various positions, including commercial and industrial relationship manager and credit process manager. His recent clients include public, institutional and nonprofit organizations.

Tammy Whitley has been named vice president and mortgage market manager of Bank of the Ozarks in Benton. Whitley has 22 years of financial experience and owned Union Equity Mortgage from 2001-08.

Andrew Brock has been promoted to president of Citizens State Bank of Bald Knob by Chairman and CEO Larry Kerchner. Previously a lending manager and marketing director, Brock, who joined the bank in 2004, was also elected to the company’s board of directors as of Oct. 4.

Jason Culpepper of Sherwood has been promoted to city president for Conway by Regions Bank. He has been with the company for five years and previously served as a business banking relationship manager from 2007-12.


Dr. John A. Baldridge, an endocrinologist and associate professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, has joined the hospital’s Weight Loss & Metabolic Program as medical director. After completing his residency at UAMS, Baldridge also practiced medicine at Baptist Hospital and the Geriatric Research Education Clinical Center, which is part of the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System.


Rita Price has been hired as the human resource manager for Schulze & Burch Biscuit Co., a food production company in Searcy. Price, a native Arkansan with more than 20 years of experience in HR, was previously employed by National Wallcovering/Colour & Design, Molex and Heifer International and is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management.


Angele Forrest, a public relations coordinator for IberiaBank in Little Rock, has been named president of the Arkansas chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators for 2013. Before joining IberiaBank in 2010, Forrest served as a marketing director at Transamerica Worksite Marketing and oversaw completion of the World of the Pharaohs exhibit at the Arkansas Arts Center.


Travis Roe has joined the Rogers branch of national realty chain Crye-Leike. Roe has been a licensed real estate agent in northwest Arkansas since 2005 and works to assist residents in Benton and Washington counties. In addition to his realty career, Roe was also the co-owner of Northwest Arkansas Lawns, a landscaping company in Springdale.