February 21, 2024 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm Statehouse Convention Center Little Rock
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Jeff Amerine

Jeff Amerine
Business Executive of the Year

Jeff Amerine has had a hand in nine startup businesses in his career, and those experiences prepared him for his current work at Startup Junkie Consulting.

Amerine, a former U.S. Air Force officer, founded Startup Junkie in 2008 and now serves as managing director. Startup Junkie supports and advises startup entrepreneurs as they face the challenges of beginning a business.

“I have been through it a bunch through a long career and have always enjoyed the challenge,” Amerine said. “I learned the good, bad and the ugly examples of how to feel when things go right and how to react when they don’t.

“I cannot imagine trying to do what we do had I not walked the road that I walked. It would be impossible to understand what entrepreneurs are going through without having experienced it myself.”

Amerine’s startup experience taught him valuable lessons, the most important of which may have been one that has made Startup Junkie so successful. Amerine’s best experiences were not with businesses that sold products or developed software but with businesses that played to his personal strengths and allowed him to interact with different businesses in different industries; at Startup Junkie he does that full time.

“It is the ups and downs of all of it that have put me in position to advise others,” Amerine said. “I’m much better at teaching and coaching and mentoring than being an operator of a business that builds a product. I get bored with the same old thing day after day.

“That intellectual stimulation has been key the last 13 years to always being excited about what we get to do.”

Amerine graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1984 and said the military idea of “improvise, adapt and overcome” is a great philosophy to have with startups, but he is not a micromanager.

“You empower people to have the authority and the responsibility and you hold them accountable,” Amerine said. “You let them do their thing.”

Previous Arkansas Business of the Year Honorees