Danny Ford of Glen Sain Motor Sales Inc. of Paragould and Todd Herman of the Arkansas Arts Center of Little Rock won executive of the year awards Thursday at the 30th annual Arkansas Business of the Year Awards at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock.
Arkansas Business Publishing Group of Little Rock presents the awards each year to honor businesses, nonprofits and executives in Arkansas. Arkansas Business readers nominate executives and organizations for the awards, and an independent panel of judges determines the winners.
(Video: Watch videos of the winners and read more about all the winners and finalists here.)
Ford won business executive of the year for his work as owner of Glen Sain Motor Sales, which has dealerships in Paragould, Rector and Kennett, Missouri. Ford, who purchased the dealership from his father-in-law in 1983, said he isn't as hands-on as he was in his younger days but has no plans to retire. He said the secret to his company's success is hiring good people.
"I've never claimed to be a real smart businessman, but I do a really good job of choosing people," Ford said. "Most of my family is involved in the business. Surround yourself with really good people and then you can grow."
Herman won nonprofit executive of the year for his work as executive director of the Arkansas Arts Center, a position he's held since July 2011. Since Herman has been in charge, the nonprofit has erased a $2.1 million deficit, increased its operating budget by 20 percent and seen Little Rock voters approve a bond package to help pay for the renovation and expansion.
Herman said he finds inspiration and hope in the arts. Humans are "incredibly inventive and creative and we're chameleons and we're always looking for something new. And you see that all the time when you look at the arts. And it's uplifting."
Other winners at Thursday night's event:
- Swift Travel Deals in Category I (1-30 employees) | Video
- Chenal Family Therapy PLC in Category II (31-55 employees) | Video
- CapSpire Inc. in Category III (56-100 employees) | Video
- Tacos 4 Life in Category IV (101-499 employees) | Video
- EAST Initiative, named Nonprofit Organization of the Year | Video
The Arkansas Community Foundation also presented its Smart Corporate Giving Awards to three businesses:
Arkansas Business is accepting nominations now for the 31st Arkansas Business of the Year awards. You can nominate businesses, executives and nonprofits here.