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Arkansas Best Corp.

Arkansas Best Corp. of Fort Smith is the holding company for motor carrier and intermodal transportation subsidiaries, including ABF Freight System Inc. It sold its Clipper Exxpress Co. subsidiary in 2006.

Born in 1935 as Arkansas Motor Freight, the company has about 15,000 employees and annual revenue of about $1.8 billion. In 1988, Arkansas Best was the subject of a hostile takeover attempt. It survived by allowing Kelso & Co. to conduct a leveraged buyout, making Arkansas Best a private company.

In the years after the buyout, Arkansas Best repaid all its debt. Among its money-raising methods: selling subsidiary USA Truck of Van Buren, which spun off as its own company in 1989. Arkansas Best bought back shares owned by Kelso & Co. in 1992 and went public, trading on the Nasdaq.

In 2006, Robert A. Davidson took over as CEO after the retirement of Robert A. Young III. In early 2007 Davidson unrolled the Regional Performance Model, a new initiative that he said could lead to annual revenues of about $3 billion for the company. In spring 2008, Arkansas Best Corp. was ranked No. 934 in the Fortune 1000 by Fortune magazine.

The recession has challenged the firm, as it has other trucking companies. Since the end of 2008, it has reduced its workforce by more than 600 and it has cut the size of its tractor-trailer fleet.

In 2009, Arkansas Best announced that Judy McReynolds would succeed Robert A. Davidson as the company's CEO when Davidson retired at the end of the year. Since taking over, she's faced the company's -- and the trucking industry's -- challenges head-on, beginning a turnaround of the firm that continues.

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Jim Keenan to Retire from Arkansas Best Corp.

Jim Keenan, senior vice president of enterprise customer solutions at Arkansas Best Corp. of Fort Smith, has announced his retirement, effective March 31. read more >

Arkansas Best Execs Enjoy Fruit of Profitable 2013

A cash incentive of nearly $600,000 bumped Judy McReynolds total compensation as CEO of Arkansas Best Corp. above $1.54 million in 2013, according to company's annual proxy statement. read more >

Arkansas Best Opens Health Clinic for Employees

Arkansas Best Corp. of Fort Smith is opening a primary care clinic to serve its employees and their dependent family members. read more >

USA Truck Founder Robert Powell Sells Company Stake

Former USA Truck founder and CEO Robert Powell sold his stake of nearly 1 million shares in the Van Buren company. read more >

Arkansas Best Rebounds From Full-Year, Quarterly Losses

Arkansas Best Corp. of Fort Smith on Thursday reported results showing the trucking and logistics services company back in the black for the fourth quarter and the full year. read more >

Banner Year in Arkansas: The Top 10 Business Stories of 2013

Readers were kept on their toes in 2013: Bank companies blurred lines by merging, Democrats felt the hangover of the 2012 elections while the GOP continued dancing with the stars. Some developers got lucky with new business while others felt the pull of gravity in the courtroom after breaking bad. read more >

Closings Proposal a Reminder of Union Role at ABF

Arkansas Best Corp.'s Dec. 4 announcement that it hoped to close 22 more terminals did not come as a surprise to industry analysts, who were expecting just such cost-cutting moves by the less-than-truckload carrier based in Fort Smith. read more >

Teamsters Deal Brings Flexibility, Value to ABF

While analysts say it will take awhile for ABF Freight System Inc. to fully realize the benefits of its five-year labor agreement with the Teamsters, the deal is already going over well on Wall Street. read more >

Arkansas Best to Close 30 Service Terminals

Arkansas Best Corp. of Fort Smith is working to close 30 service facilities for its ABF Freight System Inc. subsidiary, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday. read more >

Arkansas Best 3Q Profit, Revenue Beat Expectations

Arkansas Best Corp. of Fort Smith reports third-quarter net income of $14 million, up 115 percent from the $6.5 million it reported in the same quarter last year. read more >

ABF Freight, Teamsters Ratify 5-Year Labor Agreement

After months of negotiations, ABF Freight System Inc. and the Teamsters ratify a five-year labor agreement that will go into effect Sunday. The contract, which runs through 2018, calls for 7 percent wage reduction, along with other benefit cuts. The wage reductions begin Sunday. read more >

Arkansas Best Records 2Q Profit But Says High Labor Costs Still Hurt

Arkansas Best Corp. of Fort Smith reported a profitable second quarter but said it continued to sustain losses in the first six months of the year on rising costs at its largest subsidiary, ABF Freight System Inc. read more >

Teamsters Approve New ABFS Deal

Employees from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters have approved a five-year contract with a subsidiary of Arkansas Best Corp. of Fort Smith. Included in the contract is a 7 percent wage reduction. read more >

Eight 40 Under 40 Honorees Who Became CEO

Arkansas Business is proud to have featured a number of 40 Under 40 honorees who have gone on to the corner offices of publicly traded companies. Let's count them. read more >

Judy McReynolds Negotiates Path as Head of Arkansas Best

Once a pioneering female executive at Arkansas Best Corp., Judy McReynolds, a member of the Arkansas Business 40 Under 40 Class of 1999, is now CEO of the trucking company, headquartered in Fort Smith. read more >

Arkansas Best, Teamsters Extend Contract, Await Approval Of New Deal

ABF Freight System Inc. and the Teamsters have extended their current labor contract through the end of June while waiting on union workers to approve a new deal between the two parties. read more >

YRC CEO is Done Talking About That ABF Freight Takeover Offer

James Welch, CEO of YRC Worldwide Inc., is done talking about his firm's offer to take over ABF Freight Inc., the largest subsidiary of Arkansas Best Corp. of Fort Smith. read more >

Arkansas Best CEO Says Agreement With Teamsters Will Help 'Restore Profitability'

Arkansas Best Corp. has seen a 68 percent increase in its share price since reaching a tentative agreement with the Teamsters, President and CEO Judy R. McReynolds tells shareholders during the company's annual meeting. read more >

In Filing, Arkansas Best Says It Rebuffed Takeover Offer by YRC

Arkansas Best Corp. of Fort Smith says it has rebuffed a takeover offer by rival YRC Worldwide Inc., which was interested in an acqusition of ABF Frieght System Inc. read more >

Teamsters, ABF Reach Tenatative Contract Agreement

Arkansas Best Freight and the Teamsters have reached a tentative agreement on a five-year contract. read more >