Arkansas Business introduced “The Power List” in 2006 and last updated it in 2014. It’s a chore that inspires a certain amount of dread in the staff because there are so many people and so many industries and so many opportunities to overlook someone important and to make some sort of error.
But we keep doing it because there is value, for our readers and for us, in having just a little bit of insight into the people who are leading the largest companies and institutions in the state. And while many of the same names and faces show up list after list, there are always dozens of new ones as well. Nowhere are there more new faces than in the Government category, since the power concentrated there changed radically at the beginning of 2015.
I have given up hope that we’ll ever get this list “just right,” but I do want to make this clear: No attempt was made to ensure women and minorities were well represented or that the breadth of the state’s geography was covered. Instead, we simply profiled the people running Arkansas’ leading business, professional and nonprofit entities.
The vast majority of the biggest businesses are still being run by white males, although the number of women has grown, and most are in the population centers of Pulaski, Benton and Washington counties. While the leaders range in age from 30-something to 70-something, most of those on our Power List are in their 40s and 50s.
The total number on our list this time is 179, but our goal has never been a particular number. Our goal is to give readers a resource to help navigate the leadership of the largest companies or institutions in the individual industries. And some industries have broader bases than others.
I am taking a vacation next week, but I do want to hear from you — complaints, suggestions and, most importantly, any corrections. You can reach me at GMoritz@ABPG.com.