Marlon Weems

President and CEO

MSW International

Little Rock

Marlon Weems

Marlon Weems was selling advertisements over the telephone for a Little Rock publishing company when a friend steered him into selling bonds.

"He said, 'If you can sell that stuff, you ought to try doing what I'm doing,'" Weems says.

That eventually led him to a job at Stephens Inc., a 10-year stint he ended in 1994 to start his own firm, MSW International. That company is a registered investment firm that does some dabbling in international trade.

In March 1996, MSW bought Security Investments in Conway, a subsidiary of Security Rank in that city that was acquired by Mercantile Bancorporation. That subsidiary became Weems & Co., a broker dealership that Weems moved to Little Rock.

"We're new kids on the block, so a lot of folks don't really know about us," he says. "Our focus is on institutional-type clients, state agencies and that sort of thing."

Weems has been active with Pulaski Heights parent teacher association as treasurer and on several boards in the YMCA system. Gov. Mike Huckabee also recently appointed. Weems to the Tuition Trust Authority, a system that will eventually lee parents prepay for a child's college education.

Of course, being a business owner leaves little time for more than that.

"Since I started this company, it's become my organization and my club altogether."

The 39-year-old admits the securities business is not for the timid.

"I try to work smart and be ready when the opportunities come along," he says. "When the opportunity's there, I try to have my name in the hat."