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Largest Aerospace Companies

Ranked by number of employees in Arkansas. Includes 2018 revenue, 2017 revenue, top executive, business description and contact information.

Rank Name City Person in charge
1 Dassault Falcon Jet Corp. Little Rock Rosanvallon, John
2 Lockheed Martin Camden Operations Camden Hewson, Marilyn A.
3 Ducommun Inc. Huntsville Oswald, Steven
4 General Dynamics Ordnance & Tactical Systems Hampton Perrin, Erik
5 American Fuel Cell & Coated Fabrics Co. Magnolia Accordino, Michael
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                            [title] => Update: Czech Gun Maker Plans $90M HQ at LR Port, 565 Jobs
                            [summary] => Czech gun-maker CZ-USA plans a $90 million gun manufacturing operation and North American headquarters that will employ 565 people at the Little Rock Port, the governor and company officials announce.
                            [content] => 

Czech gun-maker CZ-USA plans a $90 million gun manufacturing operation and North American headquarters that will employ 565 people at the Little Rock Port, the governor and company officials announced Tuesday.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson; Mike Preston, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission; U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Ark.; Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde; and Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. made the announcement at a news conference in the Governor's Conference Room at the state Capitol.

CZ-USA is the U.S. affiliate of Czech firearms manufacturer ÄŒeská zbrojovka a.s. Uherský Brod. It makes handguns, rifles, shotguns and suppressors, including handguns under the Dan Wesson brand. 

The company aims to build a new manufacturing facility on 73 acres at the Port of Little Rock, where workers will make parts, assemble weapons and process orders. In a news release, the company said it would implement a two-phase approach to create hundreds of jobs over a six-year period.

Hutchinson said Tuesday that the new jobs will pay more than $22 per hour. Construction will begin "immediately," with start-up planned for March 2020.

CZ-USA Chairman Bogdan Heczko said the new facility marks a "new chapter for our company."

"As CZ looked to increase our presence in North America, it engaged in a multi-state search for the ideal location," Heczko said. "The Arkansas workforce, culture, business climate and industry support cleared the way for us to choose Little Rock as our new home."

The company already has an office in Kansas City, Missouri, that employs 70 and functions as a warehouse and distribution site and performs small assembly, sales and marketing functions. 

Heczko said the company considered expanding there first but was introduced to Arkansas by the governor and economic development leaders attending the annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show in Las Vegas.

Hutchinson said officials had breakfast with the company's executives during the trade show. 

"It was at that breakfast that we got things moving. We really saw eye to eye, and I think they understood then the interest that Arkansas had, the commitment that we have, the relationship that you can have with our state," Hutchinson said. "From that meeting grew some very intense negotiations and competition and discussions, but through all of that and through many personal visits to our state, CZ-USA chose Arkansas."

Heczko said the selection process took more than a year and that, at first, Arkansas wasn't a serious contender. But the executives' first visit to the state was a game-changer. 

"After the first visit here, we were really astonished," he said. "We were met with a warm welcome. The big team was really closely cooperating. The big team was really dedicated and involved in the process. We were very surprised. This visit changed our mind."

Preston said Arkansas is providing an array of incentives for the project, including a forgivable loan, a grant from the governor's Quick Action Closing Fund for infrastructure and money for employee training. 

The project also qualifies for AEDC's "Create Rebate," an annual cash rebate based on the number of jobs at the plant, and "Tax Back," which reimburses the company for sales taxes it pays on building materials, machinery and equipment associated with the project.

AEDC provided a breakdown of jobs, capital investment and incentives by project phases:

Phase 1

  • 357 jobs plus a total capital investment of $60 million 
  • $11 million loan
  • $4 million infrastructure grant
  • $1.25 million for training assistance
  • Create Rebate 
  • Tax Back

Phase 2 

  • 208 jobs plus a total capital investment of $30 million
  • $7 million loan
  • $750,000 for training assistance
  • Create Rebate
  • Tax Back

The city of Little Rock and Pulaski County are providing port acreage to the company free of charge, provided it creates the 565 jobs. The city and county are also spending about $4.9 million to make a road there appropriate for industrial use. That infrastructure will be beneficial to CZ-USA and "open up other property" in the area for future industrial economic development project, according to Jay Chesshir, president and CEO of the Little Rock Regional Chamber.

"All of that is being finalized, so those numbers could move a little bit," Chesshir told Arkansas Business. "All of this has been put together in the last month. There's some additional funds we're actually working to secure that would become part of that $4.9 million for the full-road buildout."

The announcement represents the first direct foreign investment in Arkansas from the Czech Republic. The factory will be the first in North America for the company, which exports to more than 90 countries and has 2,000 employees. CZ-USA said it is already seeking applicants for jobs at the plant at LittleRockChamber.com/cz.

The announcement is marks an expansion of Arkansas firearms industry. Arkansas is already home to firearms operations by companies including SIG Sauer, Remington, Walther Arms, Umarex USA and Daisy Outdoor Products.

Watch Video of the Announcement

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Chambers Bancshares Inc. of Danville said Wednesday that has agreed to acquire Bank of Dardanelle Bankshares Inc., the parent company of River Town Bank.

Financial terms of the transaction, set to close mid-summer, were not disclosed. The deal will merge the two remaining banks chartered in Yell County and make River Town Bank a subsidiary of Chambers Bancshares. 

The companies said River Town will continue to operate as a separate bank until the banking systems are converted and the banks are merged under the Chambers Bank name, which is expected in the fourth quarter.

"Chambers Bank is a respected and financially sound community bank," Blake Tarpley, president and CEO of River Town Bank, said in a news release. "We believe that the commitment the organization has shown to its employees, customers and the communities it serves in Arkansas will be positive for River Town employees and our customers. We look forward to working with the team at Chambers to make this a successful and seamless transition for everyone involved."

Founded in 1934, River Town Bank has branches in Atkins, Conway, Danville, Dardanelle, Dover and Russellville. It had assets of $132 million at the end of 2018.

The purchase will bring Chambers Bank's total asset size to more than $950 million and add four Arkansas communities to its footprint. The company, founded in 1930, has 18 branches.

"Both banks were founded in the 1930s in Yell County and have shared values of exceptional customer service, community support and — most importantly — trust," said John E. Chambers III, chairman of Chambers Bancshares. "River Town Bank customers can be assured that we will continue to offer the hometown service and hometown values to which they've grown accustomed, but with even more locations and financial products."

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RUSSELLVILLE — A gambling company says it is partnering with the Hard Rock International brand to build a resort in Pope County, but the proposal faces legal hurdles.

Warner Gaming said Tuesday the planned Hard Rock complex would include a casino, hotel, restaurants, conference facilities and entertainment venues.

Arkansas voters legalized casinos statewide in 2018 . But in Pope County, voters simultaneously approved a measure that says a majority of registered county voters must approve a county judge's letter of support for a casino. Pope County Judge Ben Cross says that threshold is nearly impossible to reach.

Cross said Tuesday he also expects a long legal battle with another casino operator that has received a now-rescinded letter of support and that the county likely won't see a casino for months or years.

(All contents © copyright 2019 Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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Walmart Inc. President and CEO C. Douglas McMillon saw his total compensation increase 3.6% to $23.6 million for the fiscal year that ended Jan. 31 compared with the previous year.

McMillon, who has been head of the Bentonville retailer since February 2014, received stock awards of $15.6 million during the fiscal year, according to the company's annual proxy. McMillon received a $5.1 million bonus. His salary was $1.3 million, the same as it was the previous year.

The annual total compensation of Walmart's median associate was $21,952, which was up 14.5% from the previous year. The ratio of McMillon's total compensation to the median associate's was 1,076-to-1. Most of McMillon's total compensation includes the stock awards of $15.6 million, which has not yet been earned or paid but will be determined based on Walmart hitting its goals.

The company set 10:30 a.m. June 5 as the date for its annual shareholders' meeting, which will be held at the John Q. Hammons Center in Rogers. An Associates/Shareholders Celebration will be held at 8 a.m. on June 7 at the Bud Walton Arena at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

The proxy also showed that M. Brett Biggs, Walmart's chief financial officer, had total compensation of $9.4 million, an increase of 24.1% from the previous year. He had a salary of $892,948, stock awards of $5.7 million and a bonus of $2.2 million.

Gregory Foran, president and CEO of Walmart U.S., received $13.5 million in total compensation, up from $11 million the previous year. His base salary slightly increased to $1.1 million. He received stock awards valued at $8.8 million, up from $6.7 million the previous year. His bonus was $2.9 million.

John R. Furner, president and CEO of the Sam’s Club division, had a compensation package worth $9.3 million, which was down from $12.8 million the previous year. His salary was $799,425, and he received $6.3 million in stock options and a $1.8 million bonus.

Judith McKenna, president and CEO of Walmart International, had a compensation package worth $9.3 million. Her base salary was $1 million, and she had stock awards worth $9.2 million and a bonus of $2.3 million. This is the first time McKenna appeared on the list of named executives.

Board Changes

The Walmart board has nominated Cesar Conde, 45, who is chairman of NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises and NBCUniversal International Group, to become a new director.

Walmart’s board recommends that shareholders approve hiring Ernst & Young LLP as the company’s accountants for the fiscal year that ends Jan. 31. The New York accounting firm earned $28.1 million in fees in Walmart’s fiscal year, up from $24.4 million the previous year. 

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Tutor Perini Corp. of Los Angeles, a civil, building and specialty construction company, announced Tuesday that its subsidiary, Roy Anderson Corp., has been awarded a $200 million contract to add a new casino complex and hotel at Southland Gaming and Racing Park in West Memphis.

The contract was awarded by Southland owner Delaware North of Buffalo, New York. The project includes a 20-story, 300-room hotel. The 240,000-SF casino complex includes a larger buffet and steakhouse restaurants, a new food hall, a coffee shop and a player lounge.

In a news release, Tutor said work on the project would begin "immediately," with "substantial completion" expected in January 2021.

Southland officially announced expansion plans last fall after Arkansas voters approved a constitutional amendment to allow casino gambling at Southland, Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs and two other sites in Jefferson and Pope counties.

Southland, which opened in 1956 as a greyhound racetrack, aims to create “the Mid-South region’s premier casino." The expansion will add as many as 60 live table games and 400 gaming machines to the current 2,000. Lou Jacobs, co-CEO of Delaware North, said in January that the expansion “represents the largest ever investment in a casino in Arkansas and one of the largest for a hospitality project."

Oaklawn, a 114-year-old thoroughbred track that is already the state's top visitor draw, announced a $100 million casino-and-hotel expansion on Nov. 19. It said casino gaming will be "another amenity" to bolster racing.

Also Tuesday, Warner Gaming, a hospitality and entertainment company, said it has teamed up with the Hard Rock brand to propose a new resort and casino for Pope County. The partnership plans to file its application with the Arkansas Racing Commission in May, which will include more details of the project. Voters in Pope County voted against the constitutional amendment to allow gambling.

Publicly traded Tutor Perini (NYSE: TPC) offers diversified general contracting and design-build services to clients around the world.

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A look at rising traffic and revenue at the Hot Springs airport (see At HOT, High Fliers Meet High Rollers) led Whispers to the juicy history of how the airfield got its name, and the shady mayor whose name was literally chiseled off the terminal.

Hot Springs Memorial Field was dedicated on Memorial Day in 1947 to honor Arkansans who fought and died in World War II. But originally, cronies on the City Council had named the airport for Mayor Leo P. McLaughlin.

McLaughlin had run a political machine in Garland County for 20 years, cavorting with underworld figures and giving official cover to illegal gambling. But as veterans returned to Arkansas itching for change, McLaughlin’s days of power — and of seeing his name on the airport — were numbered.

Liz Robbins, executive director of the Garland County Historical Society, picks up the narrative:

“McLaughlin had done everything he could to get out of military service in World War I; he even tried to claim he was crazy,” Robbins said. “So this was a time just after the people of Garland County had sent their sons to war, and many to their deaths, so McLaughlin’s name on the airport didn’t set well with a lot of people.”

Sidney McMath, a Pacific war hero and Marine who later became governor, challenged McLaughlin’s ma-chine as part of what came to be called the GI Revolt, when war veterans came home to challenge the political status quo.

McMath won a stunning upset to become prosecuting attorney in 1947, and promptly charged McLaughlin with election fraud. Even though he was eventually acquitted, McLaughlin was forced to resign.

“McMath kicked the machine out, and the new council quickly removed McLaughlin’s name from the airport,” Robbins said. “They chiseled his name off the marble floor in the terminal.”

In 1948, at age 36, McMath was elected as the 34th governor of Arkansas.

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Tyson Foods Inc.'s venture capital arm, Tyson Ventures, has sold its stake in plant-based protein startup Beyond Meat, regulatory filings show.

The sale was first reported by Axios' Pro Rata e-newsletter

Tyson, of Springdale, had invested about $23 million in the company. It purchased a 5 percent stake for $15 million in 2016, then added another 1.5 percent stake later that year for about $8 million.

Financial terms of the sale weren't available. In a statement, the meat processor said it was pleased with its investment and "the time is right to exit."

"Beyond Meat provided an early opportunity for Tyson Ventures to invest in plant-based protein products that many consumers are seeking. We wish the leadership of Beyond Meat all the best," the company said.

In its report, Axios noted that the sale comes ahead of Beyond Meat's planned initial public offering next week. It reported the IPO could value the company at more than $1 billion.

It also said "multiple sources" reported "tensions" between the two companies, "particularly after Tyson CEO Noel White said in February that the poultry giant would develop its own plant-based protein products."

In its statement, Tyson Foods noted its plans for its own plant-based products.

"Tyson Foods continues to be committed to providing alternative protein as a choice for consumers and recently announced the creation of a new business focused on combining our creativity, scale and resources to make great tasting protein alternatives more accessible for everyone," the company said. "We plan to launch an alternative protein product soon with market testing anticipated this summer."

Beyond Meat was the first high-profile investment by Tyson Ventures. Announced in October 2016, the deal was to give the company "exposure to a fast-growing segment of the protein market," and it fit with Tyson's goal of being a key global provider of protein of all kinds

Beyond Meat products include plant-based hamburger patties and chicken strips and single-serve prepared meals.

Tyson Ventures has continued invested in other firms. Earlier this month, it invested in Clear Labs Inc. of Menlo Park, California, a food testing and safety company.

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it's both an identifier and a description: Traffic, revenue and optimism are climbing at Hot Springs Memorial Field. [content] =>

The airport code is HOT, and these days it’s both an identifier and a description: Traffic, revenue and optimism are climbing at Hot Springs Memorial Field.

Airport Director Glen Barentine was leading a tour last week when a private jet carrying racetrack and casino president Louis A. Cella roared into a cloudless cobalt sky, representing hopes for even more business.

“That’s the owner of Oaklawn Jockey Club,” Barentine said, using the old name for the top attraction in the state’s best-known tourist town. “We definitely expect Oaklawn’s expansion plans to increase our traffic.”

Barentine’s postwar-era airport is on a winning streak, and it’s gearing up as the renamed Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort plunges into a $100 million luxury hotel and gambling expansion. Casino table and card games have already begun.

The 200-room hotel and full-fledged gaming project was announced last year in the wake of Arkansas’ vote to authorize casinos at Oaklawn and Southland Gaming & Racing in West Memphis, as well as in Pine Bluff and Pope County.

“Oh, we’re excited,” said Barentine, a 10-year Air Force veteran who spent 14 years as the airport’s operations manager before taking the top job in 2016. “The planes are really stacked up in this area during big race weekends, and private pilots often come in couples and foursomes for long weekends.”

They pay to park and refuel their planes, and pour money into the local economy, said Barentine, a Texarkana native and avionics expert. “We expect the expanded casino and hotel to draw in more people and planes.”

City Manager Bill Burrough said in his 2018 State of the City report that he expects the Oaklawn expansion to bring more visitors and aid city revenue. “Based upon present-day gaming receipts, projections show an increase of $1.5 million in revenue above current levels.” Gambling brought the city about $2.15 million last year, he said.

The airport has revamped its fixed-base operator area, which caters to private aviation, and is hoping to restore the art deco terminal to its 1940s glory. “We’re working with the city finance director on finding a funding source to remodel the terminal,” Barentine said.

A $4.3 million project to provide more aircraft parking and improve intersecting taxiways is underway, a project that Burrough expects to improve operational safety.

A New, Better Airline
Commercial travel has rebounded since a new carrier, Southern Airways Express of Hernando, Mississippi, inherited the Hot Springs-Dallas route in 2017. The 3,847 commercial passengers who used the airport last year set a record.

“Southern Airways had to rebuild the trust of the flying community, following the poor performance of Seaport Airlines,” said Barentine, whose office displays memorabilia from the airport’s past — lights from a hangar, a Delta Air Lines sign from the 1950s, when it connected Hot Springs directly to Shreveport, New Orleans, Houston and Chicago. “Southern has delivered. … They have become the airline that Hot Springs expects and deserves.”

Use of the airport, which has 11 employees, began surging about four years ago and picked up appreciably with Southern’s arrival in 2017, Barentine said. The longest runway, at 6,595 feet, is large enough to accommodate “99.9% of all the people who want to come here,” he said. Lightly loaded Boeing 757s have made the flight in, including one carrying Dick Cheney, the vice president at the time.

“We have two pieces of asphalt but four approaches,” Barentine said, explaining that what looks like two runways can actually be four. “And when people land and walk into the FBO, they see the new floor, new furniture and new counter. It’s a lot different from what it was. This is the front door to the city, and it’s important to make a good first impression.”

In Barentine’s three years as airport director (salary $70,000), Memorial Field has set records in several categories, including overall revenue, which was up from $2.37 million in 2016 to $3 million last year. Fuel revenues and commercial passenger totals are also setting records.

Southern Airways offers passenger service through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Essential Air Service program (see Southern Airways Express Delivers EAS Reliability), which provides Southern a $2.7 million annual subsidy for its Hot Springs operations. Early this year, the DOT extended that EAS contract through Feb. 28, 2021.

According to figures from the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 2018’s total of 3,847 commercial passengers was Memorial Field’s highest since record-keeping began in 2002. Over 17 years, passenger counts have been as low as 89 in 2009 and as high as 3,844 in 2006, the previous record.

Southern Airways makes 18 round trips a week between Hot Springs and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in nine-passenger Cessna 208 Caravans, single-engine turbo-prop planes with two pilots. The journey takes about an hour and 45 minutes. Southern took over Hot Springs’ service in early 2017 after the bankruptcy of Seaport Airlines of Portland, Oregon.

“Southern Airways is showing load factors in line with their forecasts, indicating the community is using and trusting the Essential Air Service in Hot Springs,” Mayor Pat McCabe wrote in an October letter to the DOT’s Office of Aviation Analysis. McCabe said city leaders unanimously favored keeping Southern Airways at the airport. “Even more impressive, there are many weeks when all seats to and from Hot Springs are 100% sold out for several days in a row.”

Reliable service and affordable fares are the key, the mayor said. “Southern Airways promised us that no one-way fare would exceed $100, and they have kept that promise.”

Free Parking, No TSA Lines
One-way fares to Dallas are $39 for early birds catching discount tickets, $74 for a standard seat and $99 for last-minute fliers. “There’s no parking fees, no TSA,” Barentine said, referring to the Transportation Security Administration checkpoints that cause long lines at major airports.

McCabe said about half of travelers flying from Hot Springs go to Dallas as their final destination, with the rest making flight connections. He petitioned for the EAS program to add flights from Hot Springs to Memphis, but that proposal got little traction in Washington.

Southern Airways is also pleased with Hot Springs. “Hot Springs to Dallas has become one of our fastest-growing routes,” said Stan Little, chairman and CEO of Southern Airways. “Not only are we seeing more local residents using the air service than ever before, but we are bringing a large number of tourists to the community.”

The city-owned airport, on 840 acres about 4 miles southwest of Hot Springs’ historic downtown, is home base for about 80 aircraft. It supports itself with revenue generated from hangar rentals, parking fees, terminal space leases and, in particular, aircraft fuel sales and services.

The field has 90 acres available for development, and some hangars, building and office space up for lease. Fuel revenue has climbed steadily, from $1.2 million in 2016 to $1.98 million last year. The field sells two kinds of fuel, JetA for jet engines and turbo-props, and low-lead gasoline for propeller-driven aircraft.

While total gallons of 100-octane low-lead aviation gas have declined from 94,000 gallons three years ago to 78,000 gallons last year, sales of jet fuel have soared from 331,613 gallons in 2016 to 432,611 last year. Both fuels were selling at near $5 a gallon in the U.S. market last week.

Fuel sales also come in two categories, Barentine said, retail and contract, and both are rising. “The ‘contract’ fuel is where a customer purchases fuel from our fuel vendor [AvFuel Corp. of Ann Arbor, Michigan] and the airport is contracted to pump the fuel for a fee,” he said. “AvFuel then pays the airport for the fuel and the pumping fee.”

He credited Southern Airways for much of the improved fuel revenue. “The reason for the large jump in 2018 — from 346,744 total gallons to 434,629 total gallons — was that our commercial services operated for a full year,” Barentine said. “But in addition to their operations, the airport had an increase in traffic.”

“We’re hoping to embrace the art deco feel of the terminal, and restore that elegant, clean look that it had in 1946.” The terminal includes Southern Airways’ counter and rental car booths belonging to Hertz and Enterprise, Barentine said. “The building itself is so strong it was designated as a nuclear shelter, with walls 12 inches thick, concrete and brick.”

Suzanne Peyton, a planner specializing in aviation for Garver LLC, the North Little Rock engineering firm, helped the city with a new airport master plan, a project funded by the Federal Aviation Administration to define priorities for the next 10 to 20 years.

“On a good, busy day, you can expect 189 operations,” Peyton told the city board in October. “An operation is a takeoff or landing. On a busy day you could need to park up to 35 aircraft on the ramp, which is a lot. That’s exciting for Hot Springs. The airport collects revenue every time people buy fuel and use their services.”

Combined takeoffs and landings have topped out above 32,000 a year, with peaks coming during the Oaklawn live racing season. “Our biggest weekend this year was the Rebel Stakes,” Barentine said. The Arkansas Derby, which closes out the racing season, usually brings the biggest crowd, but storms rained on the parade the weekend of April 13. “The jets were able to make it in, but the smaller propeller planes were grounded by the weather.”

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Two major economic development projects in Arkansas are caught up in the trade fight between the United States and China, and one is now on hold, Arkansas' economic development office said Monday.

In 2017, Shandong Ruyi Technology Group announced it would revamp the old Sanyo television plant in Forrest City, turning the 1.4 million-SF plant into a cotton-yard factory and employing up to 800 people

But Mike Preston, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, told the Wall Street Journal in an interview published Sunday that the project is on hold amid uncertainty about a new trade deal between the United States and China.

The Journal reported that another project — Shandong Sun Paper Industry's $1.8 billion plan to build a plant to produce linerboard for shipping boxes near Arkadelphia — had also been postponed. But Brandi Hinkle, the AEDC's director of communications, told Arkansas Business that the project is moving ahead.

"Sun Paper is still a go," Hinkle said. As Arkansas Business reported in December, the company changed its original plans for the plant — to produce bleached dissolving pulp used to make rayon — causing it to begin the permitting process anew. Hinkle said the company is still going through the permitting process with the state Department of Environmental Quality.

In Forrest City, Ruyi Technology Group planned to refashion the former television factory into a vast yarn factory capable of consuming Arkansas' entire annual cotton crop. The $410 million project was expected to be up and running by the end of last year.

In the Journal interview, Preston blamed the delay on the trade fight between the two countries.

"This is the heart of the Mississippi Delta, an area that could really utilize the jobs," Preston said, according to the Journal article. "But the timeline has been a moving target. It's been delayed significantly…they can get cotton from other countries and I think that’s what they’ve been doing." 

Ruyi officials didn't respond to requests for comment.

Hinkle told Arkansas Business on Monday that the state is hopeful that the Forrest City project will come back online once the countries reach a new trade agreement. She noted that Ruyi still owns the property.

In all, investment between China and the U.S. has declined amid the trade fight. The Journal reported that investment flow between the countries fell to $19 billion last year, from $60 billion in 2016.

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[content] =>

Southern Airways Express LLC has seen its passenger traffic climb since it began offering flights in Arkansas in early 2017.

“We have seen either record-setting passenger traffic or near record-setting passenger traffic,” said Keith Sisson, chief marketing officer for Southern, based in Hernando, Mississippi. “The response to the service has been beyond our expectations.”

Southern was awarded the federal Essential Air Service contracts to serve El Dorado, Hot Springs and Harrison after Seaport Airlines of Portland, Oregon, landed in bankruptcy in September 2016.

Air Choice One of St. Louis is the EAS provider for the Jonesboro Municipal Airport and has weekly nonstop flights to St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL).

The EAS is the federal program that subsidizes smaller carriers so they can profitably offer a minimal level of scheduled air service to smaller communities.

In February, the U.S. Department of Transportation renewed Southern’s two-year contract to continue providing services in Arkansas. The contract for the Arkansas cities, which went into effect March 1, is worth $15.9 million.

Sisson said one reason for the passenger growth is Southern’s reliable service. It has had to cancel very few flights.

“In the three markets that we serve … we are 99.4% of completion on all of our flights for the past 10 months,” he said. “I don’t know if there’s an EAS airline in the country that can say that.”

Starting May 2, Southern will offer six weekly nonstop round trips between South Arkansas Regional Airport in El Dorado and Memphis International (MEM). While adding Memphis, Southern will cut the number of nonstop round trips between El Dorado and Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW) from 18 to 12 a week.

Sisson said Southern offered the Memphis connection as a convenience for passengers traveling east. “We’re able to open up the East Coast to El Dorado for the first time in a couple of years,” he said.

Southern also has service to Memphis through Harrison. Arrivals from El Dorado and Harrison will be almost simultaneous, and about 20 minutes later, Southern has another plane heading for Nashville.

“So we’re offering two Arkansas cities a one-stop service daily between their cities and Nashville, which we think is going to be very popular,” Sisson said. “There’s a lot of business and industry boom now in Nashville that we can take advantage of.”

Jonathan Estes, manager at South Arkansas Regional, has seen more passengers since Southern began offering flights. In the first quarter of 2019, Estes said, passenger totals are up about 5% from the same quarter in 2018.

But that trend might not continue. “I do anticipate the passenger count to drop off whenever we start the Memphis flight simply because you have to rebuild a market,” he said. Nevertheless, passenger counts on the flights to Dallas should stay steady as business and leisure travelers can get there for $89 one-way, a figure that includes taxes. Parking is also free at the airports Southern serves in Arkansas.

The Boone County Regional Airport has reported an increase in passengers in 2018 for flights to Memphis and Dallas, to 5,300, up from 4,368 the previous year.

Judy McCutcheon, the airport manager, said the flights to Dallas are almost always full, while the midday flights to Memphis are typically 40% of capacity on the planes, which seat nine passengers.

She said Southern’s reliability is the reason more passengers are flying out of Harrison. “Southern came in here and they’ve never canceled flights, which is a huge plus,” she said.

Southern’s Sisson said the airline plans to rebid for the EAS contract for the three Arkansas cities when it expires at the end of February 2021.

Essential Air Service Communities in Arkansas

  Annual Contract Subsidy Rate* Carrier Hubs Served
El Dorado /Camden $2,541,851 Southern Airways Express DFW
Harrison $2,668,665 Southern Airways Express DFW, MEM
Hot Springs $2,662,717 Southern Airways Express DFW
Jonesboro $2,040,947 Air Choice One STL

*For year starting March 1, 2019
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation

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Three weeks ago, Whispers told you that Tyler Vance had given notice that he would leave Bank OZK, where he’s worked since 2006 and been chief operating officer since 2013.

Now we can tell you what his plan is.

The info comes straight from the horse’s email:

“Beginning in June, I will start a new adventure as Discipleship Pastor for Fellowship Bible Church Cabot. This is a campus of the Fellowship Bible Church in West Little Rock.

“The Bible tells us in Proverbs 19:21 that, ‘many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.’

I want to always be about his purposes in my life, so I have great confidence that God in his perfect timing has interrupted my banking plans and placed his purpose before me.

“While in some ways it has been a difficult decision to leave a successful 23-year career in the financial services industry and my great Bank OZK teammates, I know that God’s plan is always the best plan.”

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At 59, Registered Nurse Greg Hendrix couldn’t imagine doing anything else with his life. Equipped with a chemotherapy certification, Hendrix spends his days making others’ days a little brighter within Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas.

After visiting hospitals when he was younger, Hendrix discovered that patient care was something that intrigued him. The Washburn, Missouri, native pursued his nursing degree at Crowder College in Neosho, Missouri. His passion for nursing led him to a job at Mercy Hospital in Rogers, where he’s worked for the past 12 years.

Hendrix is a charge nurse at Mercy, responsible for the 48 beds on his floor. His daily duties include keeping up with all of the discharges and assigning patients to the proper rooms. Since he is chemotherapy and midline certified, Hendrix is called to several patients across the hospital.

He’s also adept at difficult IV insertions and prides himself on being an advocate for his staff and patients.

“My challenge is being able to help the nurses, techs, patients and family members as needed,” he said. “At the end of the day, I want to know I have done everything that has been asked of me.”

4
Number of states Mercy serves — Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas and Texas
1986
Year the Sisters of Mercy Health System was formed. In 2011 it transitioned to the name Mercy.
200
Number of beds in the Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas campus

Hendrix finds the most rewarding part of his job to be working with patients and family members. He seeks to make them both as comfortable as possible during their stay.

“When patients leave the hospital, I want them to be able to say that someone made this hospital stay a lot better than it could have been otherwise,” he said.

Over the years, Hendrix has met many memorable people that he’s treated. One patient, in particular, was a young lady who had been newly diagnosed with cancer.

“I was involved in her chemotherapy,” Hendrix said. “The young lady was so sick. She was in the hospital for about two weeks. I watched her improve and then go home. Her family and I just had a special bond, and we still keep connected.”

When he’s not busy making the lives of others a little easier at Mercy, Hendrix enjoys farming and spending time with his family.

“I want to make their hospital stay as comfortable as possible. When patients leave the hospital, I want them to be able to say that someone made this hospital stay a lot better than it could have been otherwise.”

— Greg Hendrix

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[content] =>

Almost five years after it opened, the Conway Municipal Airport at Cantrell Field is living up to expectations, city and economic development officials say.

The first and most important of those was safety. The old airport, built in the 1930s, was inside the city just off Interstate 40 and was difficult to get in and out of. “There were a lot of aircraft that wouldn’t fly into our old airport because it was scary,” said Jack Bell, interim airport manager.

The new $35 million airport, which opened Sept. 1, 2014, comprises about 430 acres in an area called the Lollie Bottoms in the western part of the city near the Arkansas River.

The airport, which averages 40-50 operations per day, has two hangars for corporate aircraft, each housing two or three but has room for five more, Bell said. Among the corporate jets hangared there are those belonging to Green Bay Packaging, Home BancShares and Preferred Medical. The airport houses about 65 aircraft total.

All of the new airport’s T-hangars are full, said Mayor Bart Castleberry, with a waiting list of about 20. And fuel sales have seen a steady upward trajectory, rising from $623,000 in 2016 to $763,000 last year.

But the airport also has seen some negative publicity in the last few months, with the firings of Airport Manager Josh Zylks and Line Service Supervisor Brandy Parrott for what the city termed rules violations and dishonesty. Police have started a criminal investigation.

Jamie Gates, EVP of the Conway Development Corp., calls the airport a success, saying, “We’ve got capacity for growth, which is something we never had before. We’ve got facilities that meet and often exceed the expectations of people visiting Conway, which is something we never had.”

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As Big River Steel commences its expansion it can be sure that all the elements will be in place.

On Monday, Air Products, an industrial gas company, announced an agreement to build, own and operate a second air separation unit (ASU) that will support expansion of Big River Steel's plant in Osceola.

Air Products has supplied Big River Steel with oxygen, nitrogen and argon — elements vital to producing steel — since opening its first ASU in 2016, when Big River Steel began production.

The new unit is scheduled to begin operating in January of 2021 and will also provide oxygen, nitrogen and argon to the merchant market. Air Products and Big River Steel also extended by several years their long-term industrial gas supply contract.

Financial terms of the project were not disclosed.

In June of last year, Big River Steel announced a $1.2 billion expansion of its scrap recycling and steel production facility in Osceola. The project will double the company’s hot-rolled steel production capacity to 3.3 million tons annually and create around 500 jobs.

The new ASU will be capable of producing more than 250 tons per day of oxygen and other liquid products, which will be a plus for Air Products' liquid bulk business that caters to a growing merchant market, as well as being a plus for Big River Steel.  

"Big River Steel is pleased with Air Products' performance and I look forward to expanding our relationship as Big River Steel doubles its steel making capacity," said company CEO David Stickler in a statement.

Air Products, headquartered in Pennsylvania, has been in operation for 75 years and provides gases and equipment to industries that include refining, metals, chemicals, manufacturing, food and beverage and electronics.

With more than 300 plants in more than 40 countries, Air Products saw sales of $8.9 billion in 2018.

"One of our core company goals is to provide excellent customer service and we believe that a second ASU and contract extension with Big River is a good indication we are meeting that goal," said Marie Ffolkes, president, Americas, at Air Products.

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[content] =>

If you automatically turn first to Whispers, as a lot of readers do, you’ll need to circle back to this week's cover story on future plans for Capital Bank of Little Rock, soon to be renamed Encore Bank.

Two of its new executives, CEO Chris Roberts and COO and General Counsel Burt Hicks, came directly from Simmons Bank (or, in Hicks’ case, Simmons First Investment Group).

But theirs aren’t the only recent resignations Simmons has received. Seven others, commercial lenders and treasury management professionals, left Simmons to help Citizens Bank of Batesville beef up its Little Rock operations.

They are Vernon Scott, Anastasia Blaylock, Lisa Hendrixson, Mel Hutchins, Josh Baker, Katheryn Pannell and Dale Nash.

Phil Baldwin, CEO of Citizens Bank, confirmed the hires and hastened to add, “They approached us about the opportunity.”

Currently, Citizens has only one office in Little Rock. It’s a full-service branch, but it’s on the third floor of the Euronet Worldwide Building at 17300 Chenal Parkway, so it’s not designed to attract retail bank customers.

Baldwin, who will host Gov. Asa Hutchinson at the grand opening of Citizens’ new headquarters building in Batesville next week, said more branches in the Little Rock market are on the drawing board — “four or five over a period of time.”

Something similar happened in late 2014: Citizens hired 10 employees from Southern Bancorp Bank in Hot Springs when it was staffing for its expansion there. Citizens opened two Hot Springs branches in 2015 and a third last month at 1698 Higdon Ferry Road.

Shine On
Encore isn’t the only new bank name you need to learn.

With absolutely no fanfare, the Bank of Star City renamed itself Connect Bank as of March 25, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Connect Bank is No. 77 on this week’s list of Arkansas banks ranked by assets as of Dec. 31. It earned $1.9 million last year.

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Jefferson County needs jobs. But Pope County? [content] =>

Garland and Crittenden counties have long histories as hosts of gaming establishments. Jefferson County needs jobs. But Pope County?

Home to the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys, Arkansas Nuclear One and Lake Dardanelle, Pope County doesn’t naturally spring to the minds of most folks when considering where in the state to locate a casino.

As it turns out, Pope County voters didn’t think a casino was a natural fit either. They opposed Issue 4, which became Amendment 100 to the Arkansas Constitution, by a vote of 60.6 percent to 39.4 percent.

In addition, the county approved, with a vote of 68 percent in favor, an ordinance that requires a special election and voter approval before the county judge can issue a letter in support of a casino. Russellville voters elected as mayor a candidate who made opposition to a casino part of his platform.

On that letter of approval turns a tale that riled local residents and officials and attracted a standing-room-only crowd at a meeting of the Arkansas Racing Commission earlier this month. At the end of the year, the then-Pope County judge, Jim Ed Gibson, and the then-Russellville mayor, Randy Horton, both submitted letters to the commission backing a proposal from Gulfside Casino Partnership for a 600-room, $254 million hotel and casino in the county.

Amendment 100 requires that the casinos in Pope and Jefferson counties have support from either the county judge or the Quorum Court. And for a casino to be built within city limits in those counties, it also must have the mayor’s endorsement. But it seemed to some in Pope County that the two lame duck officials were trying to circumvent the wishes of the voters.

For his part, Ben Cross, who had no general election opposition and took office as Pope County judge on Jan. 1, told Arkansas Business he just wants to do what the voters want, and the voters don’t want a casino.

And former Russellville Alderman Richard Harris, who explicitly opposed a casino, defeated Mayor Horton Nov. 6 with 59 percent of the vote.

“One of the main reasons I ran for mayor is because I wanted to make sure that the people in Russellville had a candidate who stood firmly in opposition to the casino, no doubts in their minds where I stood,” Harris said. “And my supposition was that if they wanted the casino, then they wouldn’t elect me and I would be fine with that and I would move on and do my thing. If they did not want a casino, then I presented an option for the community.”

So, what’s wrong with a casino in Pope County?

“I just don’t think that’s who we are,” he said. “When I look at the mountains and the rivers and the lakes and the trails that we have to offer here, I just don’t think that a casino is necessarily a good fit.”

Harris, who retired as an engineer with Entergy in the nuclear operations field, added that “coming from a technical background, working in engineering services and things of that nature, I look at Arkansas Tech and I see Arkansas Tech putting out engineers and IT specialists, and those young people are graduating and leaving this area.

“And my desire is to attract the type of industry and jobs that will keep those people here. I don’t think a casino does that. A casino may offer a lot of jobs, but I don’t know that a casino offers the kind of job that an electrical engineer, a mechanical engineer would cherish.”

Cross, who had served on the Quorum Court and is now retired as an assistant troop commander with the State Police, made his position clear in a December Quorum Court meeting, as reported by the Russellville Courier. He noted that the court had adopted a resolution in unanimous opposition to a casino and added, “So I, as your incoming judge, am not going to issue a letter of support to any gaming institution. That’s as simple as I can put it.”

Casino proponents tout the jobs a gaming project would bring, not just those employed in the casino and attendant lodging and restaurants but the temporary jobs that construction would generate.

But Cross told Arkansas Business that Pope County has almost no unemployment. “You cannot go from one end of town to the other without people needing help,” he said. “And I’m talking good jobs. I’m talking ConAgra, $22-an-hour jobs. I’m talking Rockline Industries. And so we have people right now willing to pay $20-plus an hour for jobs all day long. There is no unemployment problem in Pope County. Everybody who needs to work or wants a job, there’s a job out there. And it’s open right now. If you can pass a drug screen and a background [check], you can find good work around here.”

And indeed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Pope County’s jobless rate stood at 3.9 percent in November, the latest figures available.

Why Pope County?
As for how Pope County came to be in the casino “crosshairs,” Cross told Arkansas Business there had been talk that some local businessmen were interested in bringing a casino to Pope County. He’d also learned that “out-of-state marketing groups” had conducted market analysis indicating the county might be a good spot for a casino because of its location and because it wouldn’t meet with opposition from Oaklawn Racing & Gaming, Southland Gaming & Racing or Native American groups with casino interests in Oklahoma.

But it was Nate Steel, a Little Rock lawyer and former legislator who represented Driving Arkansas Forward, the group that proposed and pushed the casino amendment, who had the answer to the question of why Pope County: The county was chosen through a process of elimination.


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Driving Arkansas Forward considered $100 million the minimum for development of a “resort-style casino because we wanted to make sure that these were going to be major tourist attractions and not some hole-in-the-wall with slot machines,” Steel said.

“With that $100 million investment, obviously you have to spread them out,” he said, meaning that the casino backers wanted to avoid opening more casinos than a location could support.

“We wanted to make sure we had a legally defensible basis, rationale, for where the locations went while at the same time spreading them out so we could clear that $100 million investment threshold,” Steel said.

Driving Arkansas Forward looked at two factors: a population sufficient to support a casino and economic need. The group also wanted to locate a casino in each quadrant of the state, and with Oaklawn occupying the southwest and Southland the northeast, that narrowed the choices.

In determining economic need, the group used the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s incentive tiers, which assign the state’s 75 counties one of four tiers, with Tier 1 counties being the most prosperous and Tier 4 counties the least prosperous. Jefferson County, in the southeast, soon came into focus.

But the northwest part of the state has few Tier 3 or Tier 4 counties, further limiting the choices. In addition, Driving Arkansas Forward didn’t want to locate a casino too near the Oklahoma border where it might compete with casinos in that state.

Eventually, “by a process of elimination, we ended up in Pope County,” Steel said.

And initially, he said, the group didn’t meet opposition there. “We heard from the mayor early on, Randy Horton, who ended up, unfortunately, losing an election over this issue,” Steel said. “But he was very interested early on.”

“I went and spoke to the Lions Club, for example, when Pope County was first named, and I don’t remember hearing any negative comments in speaking to that group,” he said. “It ended up, obviously, being poorly received, but that’s not the way it started out.”

So What Now?
So what happens now? No one appears to know. Clarksville, in Johnson County, has expressed interest in hosting a casino. And Gulfside has those two letters of support from the lame duck county judge and lame duck mayor for the casino in Pope County. A Gulfside lawyer didn’t return a call from Arkansas Business for comment.

The Arkansas Racing Commission is in the process of codifying the rules for licensing and operating the casinos and is taking public comments about them. Earlier this month, the commission proposed a rules change that would require letters of support from the quorum court, county judge or mayor in office at the time an application for a casino license is submitted.

Some observers think the Legislature, with a two-thirds vote of both houses, may be able to alter the amendment in a way that would let another Arkansas locale host a casino. And all the projections concerning the tax revenue the casinos would generate were based on the state having four casinos.

Cross, the Pope County judge, fully expects the issue to go to court. “I’m sure there will be litigation up and down the line.” But, he said, “I’ve told all groups involved, pro and against, I will follow the law.”

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Greater Little Rock is steeped in military history. Gen. Douglas MacArthur was born here. The USS Razorback is docked on the North Little Rock shore of the Arkansas River. And Little Rock Air Force Base continues to be one of the area’s top employers. Here is a quick guide to some of the area’s top military attractions:

(All phone numbers are in the (501) area code unless otherwise noted.)

Arkansas National Guard Museum
Camp Robinson
North Little Rock/212-5215
www.arngmuseum.com
The ARNG museum tells the story of the Arkansas National Guard, from its militia roots to its participation in the current global war on terror. Displays include large scale models of the post in the WWI and WWII eras, weapons, vehicles, airplane models, uniforms and photographs. In addition, the museum chronicles the story of Archibald Yell, a former governor and the first Arkansas representatiive in the U.S. House of Representatives. Open 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday.

MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History
503 E. Ninth St.
Little Rock/376-4602
www.arkmilitaryheritage.com
Housed in the historic Tower Building of the Little Rock Arsenal, the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History commemorates the state’s military history from the territorial period to the present. Permanent exhibits depict the Jeep’s impact on World War II, the history of the Little Rock Arsenal and the arsenal’s role during the Civil War. Admission is free. Open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum
120 Riverfront Park Drive
North Little Rock/371-8320
www.aimm.museum
Opened in 2005, the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum focuses on the submarine USS Razorback but also houses a research library, theater and large museum area. The museum features displays and programs on the impact of martime trade, the inland waterways system, the Arkansas River and Arkansas aquaculture. Group tours during the week can be arranged and school rates are available. Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and 1 p.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Winter hours are Friday-Sunday only.

Little Rock Air Force Base
U.S. Highway 67/167
Jacksonville/987-3601
www.littlerock.af.mil
This is the largest training and maintenance facility in the world for C-130 aircraft. Call for a tour or attend an open house. An air show is held each spring.

USS Razorback (SS 394)
120 Riverfront Park Drive
North Little Rock/ 371-8320
www.aimm.museum
Located at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum, the USS Razorback was commissioned on April 3, 1944. A tour of USS Razorback takes visitors through the seven watertight compartments, where they learn about Razorback’s wartime service, her activities during the Cold War and Vietnam and her service in the Turkish Navy as TCG Muratreis. Visitors can see firsthand how submariners lived, where they slept next to their torpedoes, where they ate and where they worked. The tour is not recommended for children younger than 5.

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Dragon Woodland Sawmill Corp. on Thursday will celebrate the grand opening of its Helena-West Helena facility. Gov. Asa Hutchinson is scheduled to attend.

The ribbon-cutting event, scheduled for 3 p.m., is expected to include details of the company's capital investment and employment plans for the former Chicago Mill & Lumber property at 129 W. Washington St.

Dragon Woodland exports lumber to China. The venture is owned by Erxin Zhou and husband Yifan Kong, a Chinese immigrant couple who live in Memphis.

Dragon Woodland bought the 119-acre complex for $500,000 last year from Delta Lumber LLC, led by Danny Wilson and Brice Slane.

In 1984, American Box Co. replaced Chicago Mill in the ownership picture followed by Barnes Lumber Co. in 1987 and Delta Lumber in 2009.

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Bill Groves, chief data and analytics officer at Walmart Inc. of Bentonville, has been named chairman of the Northwest Arkansas Technology Council.

The mission of the council, which is managed by the Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce and entering its sixth year, is to create a network of technology leaders across the region.

"Northwest Arkansas is ripe to become a hub for deep technologists and data scientists because of the diverse group of large employers — Walmart, Tyson Foods, J.B. Hunt, Arvest Bank, Mercy, Simmons Foods and multiple startups in retail, finance and supply chain tech — with operations in need of digital and analytical talent to grow their businesses," Groves said in a news release. "Along with the major employers, the NWA Council and the Greater Bentonville Area Chamber recognize both the need for tech talent across the region and the opportunity that our region’s high quality of life, low cost of living equation offers."

He earned a bachelor's degree in economics and a master's degree in business administration from the University of Delaware. Before his role at Walmart, Groves served in positions at FICO, comScore, D&B, Solera Holdings and Honeywell.

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Travel Nurse Across America in North Little Rock has promoted Tim McKenzie to president and CEO, effective May 1. He most recently served as the company's chief growth officer.

"I'm surrounded by top, industry-leading professionals and will continue empowering them to excel. I believe we have so much to offer our nurses and clients. I look forward to evaluating new ideas, markets and unique offerings to those we serve," McKenzie said in a news release.

Gene Scott, who has been president and CEO since 2008, has been promoted to executive chairman.

McKenzie joined TNAA in 2017 as chief innovation officer and chief growth officer. He has more than 30 years of executive leadership in data-driven marketing services.

"Tim McKenzie has a proven record of executive leadership over all aspects of marketing, operations, client services, and technology teams," Scott said in a news release. "He is competent, sincere, humble and driven. Tim comes with the experience of having previously grown a company to great heights. I believe in his vision."

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[content] =>

Rejuvenix of Little Rock, a graduate of the Delta Innovation Fund (Delta I-Fund) accelerator, won $10,000 for technical assistance last week at the program's 2019 Demo Day at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock.

In addition, the audience that included prospective investors chose Staley House of Helena as the crowd favorite and to receive $1,000 for technical assistance after it pitched its product, a medical device called the FreeArm.

Technical assistance funds can be used for patenting, legal costs, market research, prototype development and more.

The Delta I-Fund is funded by the Delta Regional Authority and administered by Winrock International. Its mission is to help low-to-moderate income communities throughout the DRA's territory through a 12-week, proof-of-concept accelerator. The program pairs each participating startup with a dedicated business mentor and an allowance of $5,000 for technical help.

DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Caldwell, Winrock President and CEO Rodney Ferguson and Gov. Asa Hutchinson spoke at the demo day.

"The one question that I get a lot is — and I talk about with my staff — is return on investment," Caldwell said. "What I tell, the opening weekend, all the entrepreneurs is this: 'Make no mistake, this is an investment. This is an investment we're making in the Delta. I know that this company may be able to employ one or two people three or four years from now. But, if you're here now, there's really good odds that I'm investing in you before your second or third or fourth company.' This is a very long game."

Caldwell would like to see the Delta I-Fund model duplicated across the country. Ferguson said Winrock is proud of what it's doing with this accelerator — "helping alleviate a lack of access to resources" — and he called the participating companies "inspiring."

The governor added that the Delta is "so important to the economic vitality of our state and the future of our state … The largest gain that we will have in the future will be from entrepreneurship."

In March, the Delta I-Fund began training a seventh set of participating companies, and, to date, it has supported 166 entrepreneurs.

Rejuvenix and Staley House were two of the eight program graduates that pitched their products and services at the demo day.

Rejuvenix has developed a radiation-triggered liposome that reduces chemotherapy side effects by delivering chemotherapy drugs directly to the tumor. Staley House's FreeArm holds feeding pumps and bags used for bolus feeding.

The other graduates featured at the demo day were:

  • Capture of Flowood, Mississippi, an online platform designed to simplify the process of collecting data in K-12 school districts by focusing on the core needs of educators, allowing them to adjust quickly to changing market needs.
  • Careerquo of Memphis, which has developed an online platform to connect individuals entering or re-entering the workforce with mentors for interview practice, career advice and more.
  • GSS Group of Blytheville, which has developed software that helps farmers become Good Agricultural Practices-certified.
  • Precise Curanomics of Little Rock, which has developed a patented wrist brace that allows for more flexibility, wicks moisture and permits patients to wear a watch while using the brace.
  • SchoolBox of Little Rock, which has developed a scalable, web-based virtual learning environment and management system designed for trainers, managers and instructors.
  • Talaria Antibodies of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which has developed comprehensive kits for antibody-based research within high school, community college and university labs.
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[internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 11140 [name] => Dorothy Toll [tag] => Dorothy Toll [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 78644 [name] => Dorothy Toll Nonexempt No. 1 Qtip Trust [tag] => Dorothy Toll Nonexempt No. 1 Qtip Trust [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 78645 [name] => PB General Holdings (LR Colonel Glenn) LLC [tag] => PB General Holdings (LR Colonel Glenn) LLC [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 ) [5] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 78646 [name] => Primer Pocket LLC [tag] => Primer Pocket LLC [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 ) [6] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 78647 [name] => Pabani Brothers LLC [tag] => Pabani Brothers LLC [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 ) [7] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 63572 [name] => Akbar Pabani [tag] => Akbar Pabani [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 ) [8] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 63571 [name] => Aziz Pabani [tag] => Aziz Pabani [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 ) [9] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 78648 [name] => Momma Myrtle's Headstart [tag] => Momma Myrtle's Headstart [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 ) [10] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 12138 [name] => Centennial Bank [tag] => Centennial Bank [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 ) [11] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 78649 [name] => Jodi Allgood [tag] => Jodi Allgood [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 ) [12] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 41242 [name] => PB General Holdings [tag] => PB General Holdings [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 ) [13] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 20254 [name] => Arkansas Business [tag] => Arkansas Business [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 ) [14] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33390 [name] => Industries [tag] => Industries [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 ) [15] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33421 [name] => Real Estate [tag] => Real Estate [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 ) [16] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33536 [name] => Daily Report [tag] => Daily Report [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 ) [17] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 54089 [name] => Central Arkansas [tag] => Central Arkansas [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 54088 [public] => 1 ) [18] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 54088 [name] => Regions [tag] => Regions [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 ) [19] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33413 [name] => Health Care [tag] => Health Care [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 ) [20] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33423 [name] => Retail [tag] => Retail [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 ) ) [title] => Recent Real Estate Deals Total $1.15M [summary] => HBIC LLC of Pasadena, California, purchased a 1,740-SF convenience store at 612 E. Roosevelt Road in downtown Little Rock for $680,000. [content] =>

HBIC LLC of Pasadena, California, purchased a 1,740-SF convenience store at 612 E. Roosevelt Road in downtown Little Rock for $680,000.

The seller was US Assets Inc. of Dallas.

Land Sold
The Dorothy Toll Nonexempt Share No. 1 Qtip Trust sold a 1-acre site on the north side of Colonel Glenn Road, between Holt and Elam Streets, in west Little Rock for $270,000.

The buyers were PB General Holdings (LR Colonel Glenn) LLC and Primer Pocket LLC, both led by Leonard Boen.

Day Care Purchased
Pabani Brothers LLC of Little Rock, led by Akbar and Aziz Pabani, bought the 5,580-SF Momma Myrtle’s Headstart day care center at 2501 Poplar St. in North Little Rock for $200,000.

The seller was Centennial Bank of Conway, led by Special Assets Manager Jodi Allgood. 

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