Transformation Is in the Air


Transformation Is in the Air
The state's first dental and veterinary schools will reside in the Heifer International headquarters in Little Rock. (Jason Burt)

It’s spring, so we’re focusing on transformative news.

► Arkansas Business’ Lara Farrar reports that Lyon College’s new dental and veterinary schools in downtown Little Rock are expected to have a $94 million economic impact from 2023-2025, according to project leaders. Already, they say, discussions are taking place about new business and real estate developments in the area.

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“We are hoping this could be a catalyst for some development in the rest of the area,” said Merritt Dake, CEO of OneHealth Education of Little Rock, which is working with Lyon on the project.  

► Walmart’s plan to install electric vehicle fast charging stations at its thousands of Walmart and Sam’s Club locations across the country is likely to supercharge — pun intended — the electric vehicle industry. As Kitty Hoksbergen, executive director of Adopt a Charger Inc. of Palos Verdes, California, a nonprofit that promotes widespread adoption of plug-in vehicles, said: “It’s transformational.” 

If the world’s largest retailer is willing to make such a bet on the future of EVs, others are bound to follow.

► The workforce recruiting campaign unveiled by Little Rock Regional Chamber last week is intriguing. The campaign, dubbed the Little Rock Love Connection, offers former residents and out-of-state workers with Arkansas ties $10,000 in cash incentives to relocate to the city.

More than 30 employers have teamed with the chamber on the campaign, including heavy hitters like Stephens Inc., Simmons Bank, Arvest, Central Arkansas Water, Lexicon Inc., Baptist Health and Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield. 

The labor market is tight, and this campaign provides a custom job match based on a worker’s skills and the needs of the employers involved in the initiative. We wish them well.