Arkansas Business Power List 2016: Media & Marketing

Arkansas Business Power List 2016: Media & Marketing

Michael Caplan, 47

President and General Manager
KTHV-TV, Channel 11, Little Rock
Michael Caplan took the reins as president and general manager of KTHV in 2011, but you might also find him with a golf club or a fishing pole in his hands. Since overseeing the rebranding of the CBS affiliate as THV 11, he has found some time for golfing, bicycling and hiking Arkansas’ mountains. Caplan is a graduate of Louisiana State University in Alexandria, and before joining Channel 11 he spent nine years in South Carolina overseeing WBTW-TV, the Morning News daily newspaper in Florence and four weekly publications. In a prelude to his career in broadcasting, Caplan worked in marketing and PR for the Alexandria Aces, a Louisiana minor league baseball team. He is currently on the board of Little Rock’s Museum of Discovery.

Van Comer, 56

President and General Manager
KFSM-TV, Channel 5, and KXNW-TV, Channel 34, Fort Smith
Van Comer, who grew up on a farm north of St. Louis, heard his calling when he was young and impressionable: Be a part of the exciting world of broadcasting. Now he oversees a leader in the northwest Arkansas TV market, and he’s still excited. A graduate of Southwest Missouri State University (now Missouri State), he got his start in radio in 1981 at KAMO in Rogers, and broke into TV at KFSM in 1993. Based now in Fayetteville, he notes that the market is growing and that Fayetteville was recently ranked No. 3 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of America’s best places to live.

Olivia Farrell, 60

Chairman and CEO
Arkansas Business Publishing Group
Olivia Farrell has been recognized for excellence in publishing and community service since breaking into the business in 1978. Her group produces some of the state’s top publications, including Arkansas Business, which made its debut in 1984, and two monthly magazines — Little Rock Soirée, featuring city culture, and Little Rock Family — along with more than 20 other niche publications and websites. After growing up in Paragould, Farrell graduated magna cum laude from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She launched ABPG in 1995 after being executive vice president at the Arkansas Writers Project, where Arkansas Business originated. Farrell was recognized as an Arkansas Woman of Influence in 2010, and honored by then-Gov. Mike Beebe with a Distinguished Citizen Award for community service in 2012. She has served on the boards of the Arkansas Arts Center and the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas, among many other philanthropic and community organizations.

Darin Gray, 51

Chairman and CEO
CJRW, Little Rock
Darin Gray is a high flier, and not just as the top executive of one of the state’s oldest and largest advertising and public relations firms. Over the past decade, he has developed a “love for flying different kinds of aircraft.” Gray, a Bryant native, took the controls at CJRW in July 2015 after serving as the firm’s president since early 2014. Before joining the firm, he was owner of Gray Matters, publisher of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal and several niche publications. A former governor of Boys State and student body president at the University of Arkansas, Gray began his career with the Arkansas Industrial Development Commission and later worked with the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce.

Richard K. Howe

Chairman and CEO
Inuvo Inc., Little Rock
Rich Howe says he’s determined to “keep smart people in the state,” and employees at his digital publishing and advertising technology company don’t even have to dress up to stay put. Inuvo, which moved from Conway to Little Rock’s River Market District at the end of 2105, promotes a casual work atmosphere, and Howe appears tieless in the company’s promotional material. A member of Inuvo’s board since 2009, Howe has been chairman and CEO since 2012. Before Inuvo, he was chief marketing and business strategy officer at Acxiom Corp. of Little Rock. He was general manager of global marketing at Fair Isaac & Co. from 2001 to 2004. Howe studied as an engineer at Concordia University and McGill University, both in Montreal.

Walter E. Hussman Jr., 69

CEO and President
Wehco Media Inc., Little Rock
Walter Hussman, a third-generation newspaperman, owns publications in Arkansas, Texas, Tennessee and Missouri. After his father founded Wehco Media, Hussman became publisher of the Arkansas Democrat at age 27 and soon declared a newspaper war on Little Rock’s dominant morning paper, the Arkansas Gazette. After a 12-year battle, the Democrat triumphed in 1991 and was transformed into the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Editor & Publisher named Hussman its publisher of the year in 2008. A Texarkana native who grew up in Camden, Hussman graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received an MBA from Columbia University in New York. He is a former chairman of the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association and a member of the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame.

Alan Leveritt, 63

Arkansas Times, Little Rock
Alan Leveritt was a 22-year-old weekend obituary writer for the Arkansas Gazette when he decided to start a magazine. In 1974, he and a few friends took $200 in capital and launched what would become the Arkansas Times, a monthly featuring political and cultural news, and eventually a weekly newspaper with the same mission. A North Little Rock native, Leveritt was committed to giving Arkansas a liberal media voice, particularly after the Gazette was subsumed by the Arkansas Democrat in 1991. His company also publishes El Latino, a weekly Spanish-language newspaper; Arkansas Food & Farm, focusing on locally grown products; and Savvy Kids, a monthly magazine for central Arkansas families.

Elise Mitchell, 54

Founder and CEO
Mitchell Communications Group, Fayetteville
Elise Mitchell knows something about speed and balance: A favorite hobby is riding motorcycles, and her 25-year career in communications has been an exhilarating ride. In 2012, she sold her company to Dentsu Network of Tokyo, but she stayed at the helm. She was honored in 2013 as Agency PR Professional of the Year by PRWeek, and chosen as 2011 Outstanding Entrepreneur of the Year by the National Association of Female Executives. Mitchell Communications was named an Arkansas Business of the Year in 2010, with a client list that reads like a who’s who of northwest Arkansas businesses — Wal-Mart, Tyson Foods and J.B. Hunt Transport, just to name a few. Mitchell is a graduate of Abilene Christian University and earned a master’s in PR from the University of Memphis. She is also a writer and speaker on strategic communications and leadership in complex times.

David Rainwater, 56

Principal and CEO
Mangan Holcomb Partners, Little Rock
David Rainwater is a principal owner of Mangan Holcomb and its sister company, Team SI, a digital marketing firm that was a finalist for Arkansas Business of the Year in 2016. As chief executive, Rainwater oversees much of the firm’s day-to-day operations, applying more than 30 years of experience to several areas of expertise, including marketing analysis, account planning, and media research and negotiation. A native of Arkansas and graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, he serves clients in many industry categories, from tourism to agriculture to higher education and health care. He has served on the boards of the Arkansas Repertory Theatre and Argenta Community Theater, and is a Leadership Greater Little Rock graduate.

Mark Rose, 52

President and General Manager
KATV-TV, Channel 7, Little Rock
One colleague jokes that Mark Rose began working at KATV when he was 9 years old. That may be a stretch, but he did break into television at KAIT in Jonesboro when he was still a student at Arkansas State University. He has been with KATV, Little Rock’s ABC affiliate, for over 28 years, rising from part-time account executive to the station’s leadership. He became general manager in 2009 and president in 2012. Rose, who received his degree from A-State in 1986, has been chairman of the Better Business Bureau Board and a board member for the Downtown Partnership, the Arkansas Broadcasters Association and the Arkansas Advertising Federation.

Mike Vaughn, 47

Vice President and General Manager
Nexstar Broadcasting, Little Rock
Mike Vaughn, a Greenwood native who describes himself as Arkansas through and through, directs operations of Little Rock Nexstar Broadcasting stations KARK and KARZ and also provides services for Mission Broadcasting stations KLRT and KASN through an outsourcing agreement. The facility also provides services for an additional 22 stations across four states. Vaughn attended Southwest Baptist University and the University of Kansas. He began his broadcasting career in Springfield, Missouri, before returning to Arkansas. Vaughn served as director of sales for Nexstar’s Arkansas stations and was vice president and general manager of KNWA/KFTA in northwest Arkansas before taking his current position in 2011.

Sharon Tallach Vogelpohl, 42

Mangan Holcomb Partners, Little Rock
When Sharon Vogelpohl started as an intern at Mangan Holcomb in 1994, she asked Steve Holcomb, president of the advertising and public relations firm, how she might someday inherit his job. She was named president in 2010, fueling her rise with award-winning work for groups like Verizon Wireless, J.B. Hunt and Stephens Inc. She helped launch the agency’s sister company, Team SI, an Arkansas Business of the Year finalist in 2016, and was a 40 Under 40 honoree in 2005 and Executive of the Year finalist in 2014. Vogelpohl, a graduate of Centenary College of Louisiana, has been a guest speaker at the business schools of Centenary, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, and was president of the Rotary Club of Little Rock in its centennial year.

Millie Ward, 61

Stone Ward, Little Rock
Millie Ward joined the Walton College of Business’ Arkansas Business Hall of Fame on Friday the 13th last year, but she considers herself anything but unlucky. Over 40 years in advertising, she says she was blessed to help start a company at 28 and “blessed to have some early successes.” Ward, a Missouri native and Arkansas State University graduate, became a partner in Resnick Stone Ward in the mid-1980s. By 1991, the agency was Stone Ward, and her partner Larry Stone became her husband in 1999. Her agency, which had more than $47 million in capitalized billings in 2014, represents national clients like Terminix and Sport Clips and state brands like Baptist Health and Simmons Bank. She also leads the Building Good initiative, in which Stone Ward helps nonprofits like the American Heart Association with marketing. She was among AdWeek’s Women to Watch and Arkansas Business’ “Top 100 Women,” and was named Woman Business Owner of the Year by the National Association of Women Business Owners.

The Power List


Agriculture & Timber

Architecture & Engineering

Banking & Finance


Economic Development


Energy & Utilities


Health Care





Real Estate & Development


Technology & Telecom