Posted 6/17/2013 12:00 am
Updated 2 years ago
Arkansas Business 20th Annual 40 Under Forty
• The original Class of 1994 profiles
• 2013 Updates from this week's digital edition of Arkansas Business.
Clete Brewer doesn’t claim to be a “green guy.”
While he supports enterprises and technologies that embrace sustainability and renewable energy, Brewer is first and foremost about the business side.
“I’m interested in economic value, economic payback, return on investment,” said Brewer, president and CEO of Fayetteville-based BlueInGreen LLC.
“That’s what drove it,” he said. “I wish I was this guy who could tell you all about sustainability and being green.”
So while he heads a company that provides efficient and affordable water quality technology, Brewer prefers to leave most of that side to the experts while he focuses on the economics.
“Green is great if it’s able to be financed and implemented. It’s just a dream otherwise,” said Brewer, a member of the first Arkansas Business 40 Under 40 class, that of 1994.
But don’t mistake Brewer, 48, for a cynic who focuses strictly on the bottom line. He has a healthy enthusiasm for startups with emerging technologies that aim to make the world a better place, especially if those innovations are rooted in Arkansas.
“I’m a very loyal Arkansan,” Brewer said. “And I love to see our venture capital and early-stage developments grow.”
When Brewer was a member of Arkansas Business’ inaugural 40 Under 40 class, he was vice president of his family’s Brewer Personnel Services Inc. That was the foundation upon which was built Staffmark Inc., where Brewer was president and CEO from 1996-2002. He was also president of Texas-based Sports Clips from 2002-10, a stretch in which the company grew from 42 franchises to 675 with revenue close to $250 million.
Brewer has been at BlueInGreen (a client firm of Innovate Arkansas and the Arkansas Science & Technology Authority) since March 2010. The company, part of the VIC Technology Venture Development portfolio, was formed in 2004 with the goal of providing innovations to improve water quality at high efficiency and low cost.
Brewer was also chairman, CEO and co-founder of Edgewater Technology, a publicly traded spinoff of Staffmark, and continues to serve on the Sports Clips board of directors and the executive advisory board at the Sam Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. He is also a board member on various private companies, including VIC, which is a for-profit, technology venture development firm.
“There’s quite a few exciting companies and there’s room for more,” Brewer said.