Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced Thursday that she will name Clint O’Neal of Conway as the executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, a division of the state Department of Commerce.
"I am ready to unleash my vision to make Arkansas the best place in the nation to start and grow a business alongside Clint O’Neal, who will serve as Executive Director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission," Sanders said in a news release. "His nearly two decades of experience in this field will be invaluable as we work together with Secretary Hugh McDonald to foster a pro-business, pro-worker environment, attracting companies across the nation — and world — to bring thousands of high-paying jobs to Arkansas."
In a statement, O’Neal said he is excited to lead the organization where he started his economic development career more than 15 years ago.
"It is a privilege to be entrusted to serve as Executive Director of AEDC at a time when Arkansas is gaining momentum and notoriety on the national and international stage," he said. "Arkansas has an outstanding business community and the tools companies need to succeed."
McDonald, the former Entergy Arkansas CEO who Sanders chose last month to lead the Commerce Department, called O'Neal "a natural fit" to lead AEDC.
"Clint has a proven record of reliable leadership, and he has demonstrated that he knows what it takes to bring new capital investment into our state and win new jobs for Arkansans," McDonald said. "I have full confidence that AEDC will thrive under Clint's leadership and, by extension, so will Arkansas."
O’Neal has been deputy director of global business at AEDC since 2018. He began his economic development career as a project manager at AEDC. He then served as vice president of business recruitment for the Missouri Partnership, Missouri's business recruitment and marketing organization. There, he played a role in attracting companies including Nucor Corp., American Outdoor Brands, CVS, Dollar Tree Distribution, Amazon, Blue Buffalo and U.S. Farathane, before rejoining AEDC as deputy director.