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Governor Appoints 5 to State’s Economic Development Council

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Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday that she will appoint Shash Goyal, Annemarie Dillard Jazic, Glen Johnson, John Schmelzle and Jon Wickliffe to the Arkansas Economic Development Council.

The appointments expire on Jan. 14, 2027, and most of them replace members whose four-year terms are expiring. Goyal will replace Mike Carroll; Jazic will replace William Brewer; Johnson will replace Gina Radke; and Schmelzle will replace Richard Barrows. Wickliffe will be reappointed. 

In a news release, Sanders said the group’s expertise will help her administration foster a “pro-worker, pro-business environment that will unleash our full economic potential.”

“Together, we will make Arkansas the best place to start and grow a business, attracting companies across the nation and the world to make their home here in Arkansas,” she said.

The council is composed of 16 members appointed to four-year terms by the governor. At least three members must be from each of the state’s four congressional districts; four members are appointed at large. The state Senate must approve the appointments.

Goyal is CEO and founder of I Square Management of Little Rock, which owns hotels and develops commercial properties in Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas, California, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Alabama. 

He was chairman of the State Parks and Tourism Commission in 2017. That same year, he was named to Arkansas Business’ 40 Under 40 class, and in 2018 he was listed among the Arkansas 200, Arkansas Business Publishing Group’s annual publication of the state’s most influential leaders. 

Jazic is the vice president of e-commerce and digital marketing for publicly traded department store chain Dillard’s Inc. of Little Rock. She has held board positions on technology startups including Sapho, which was acquired by Citrix for $200 million in 2019, and Venku, an app that helps people book outdoor experiences across the country.

She has served on the boards of the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Arkansas State Fair, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and was a committee member for the Economic Recovery Task Force during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Johnson is president of Blue Flame Minerals and co-CEO of Dyne Hospitality Group and Dyne Development, all of Little Rock. 

Blue Flame Minerals is an oil and gas company that invests in mineral rights throughout the country, including the Fayetteville Shale Play in Arkansas. Dyne Hospitality Group is the largest Tropical Smoothie Café franchisee, with more than 100 cafes in six states and more than 2,000 employees. Dyne Development is a real estate development company focused on building real estate for Tropical Smoothie Café franchisees.

Johnson was named to Arkansas Business’ 2019 40 Under 40 class.

Schmelzle operates Schmelzle & Associates of Rogers, a commercial real estate development and investment company. The company’s hospitality investments include Walk On’s Restaurant and Sports Bistreaux, Slim Chickens and Freddy’s.

Schmelzle is chairman of the Rogers Planning Commission and is on the board of directors for the U.S. Marshals Museum Foundation of Fort Smith, as well as the Law Enforcement Assistance Program in Benton County. 

Wickliffe handles business development for Vantage Health Plan in Arkansas. Before that, he spent 20 years in executive sales roles at pharmaceutical companies. 

In 1999, he was appointed by the Little Rock mayor to the Little Rock Port Authority, serving for 19 years, including two years as chairman. In 2019, Gov. Asa Hutchinson appointed him to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.

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