Mike Smith Jr.

Associate in Corporate Finance

Stephens Inc.

Little Rock

Mike Smith Jr.

Mike Smith Jr. grew up starring in tennis, a sport considered individual in nature. However, he found that doubles competition played more to his strength, particularly when he tried the professional circuit.

That team concept has spilled over into his work in the corporate finance department at Stephens Inc., he says. Smith, 34, has been with Stephens for seven years and focuses on the staffing service industry and assisting with public offerings.

Smith and Dumas Garrett handled Stephens' part in the initial public offering for StaffMark Inc., the Fayetteville-based temporary staffing company.

"Their IPO was an extremely unique transaction," Smith says, "I here were some skeptics because it wasn't an easy thing to put together and it was something many people didn't believe would work with six entrepreneurs running six companies. But they formed a unique group that had a common goal that they could grow this business and create something bigger than they could do separately. And they've done it in a big way."

StaffMark has been one of the great stock market success stories in 1997, doubling in value as the company makes acquisition after acquisition.

The Duke University grad grew up with the Stephens mentality "seeping through my blood," he says. His father has worked there for 36 years.

"We try to sell ourselves on relationships in investment banking. It works well for me," the soft-spoken Smith says. "I try to quietly do my job, I don't think I'm quite where I want to be after seven years, but I'm inching closer."