New Position: Ryan Watley has been named chief executive officer-elect of Go Forward Pine Bluff.
In this new position, he will be responsible for coordinating with city officials and representatives of other organizations to ensure the proper execution of a plan developed to combat the city’s declining population and tax base.
“Dr. Watley is the perfect person to oversee our efforts,” said Tommy May, the chairman and CEO of the Simmons First Foundation. “This is Pine Bluff’s best opportunity to attract businesses and ensure a promising future for our young people.”
Background: Watley is a native of Pine Bluff and founded Community Christmas Potluck, which feeds hundreds of people every year. He has served as fundraising liaison between the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Southeast Arkansas United Way and will be the chairman of the 2018 United Way campaign.
In 2015, he served as the assistant to the athletic director for community outreach at Rose State College in Midwest City, Oklahoma, and later returned to Pine Bluff to work in the Department of Chemistry & Physics and the Athletic Department at UAPB.
Education: Watley graduated with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from UAPB and received his doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of Oklahoma. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and a research associate in the Organic Chemistry Division.