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Luke Ballard

Luke Ballard, 35

VP & Commercial Lender

Partners Bank

Little Rock

Professional achievements
• Facilitated more than 200 Paycheck Protection Program loans, which provided much needed financial support for small-business owners in Little Rock.
• Provided financing for two locally owned small businesses to facilitate the buildout of fiber networks covering areas from Russellville all the way to the Mississippi River.

Community involvement
Board member and treasurer of the Arkansas Zoological Foundation; member of the Hat Club of Little Rock, which has raised $700,000-plus for local charities since 2010.

How you define success
“Success runs side by side with fulfillment, and that is the achievement of something desired. I desire to be better today than I was yesterday. If I can do that, then that sounds pretty good to me.”

Advice for future 40 Under 40 honorees
“Find a mentor, learn everything you can and never sacrifice your integrity for anything.”

Advice for future 40 Under 40 honorees
“Find a mentor, learn everything you can and never sacrifice your integrity for anything.”

Top challenge facing Arkansas
“The lack of reliable and capable internet services in the rural parts of the state is a problem. With our schools becoming more dependent on remote learning access for children, it is vital to the future of the next generation that these services are available for every child.”

One word to describe you
“Charismatic.”

Professional inspiration
“In a word, family. If you focus on what really matters, then that personal inspiration pushes through to your professional life.”

Learning from a mentor
“My Dad taught me more than I can summarize in a paragraph. He taught me to go out of your way to help someone if it is within your power to do so. He taught me that at the end of the day, the two things you should always keep in the top of your mind are God and family. That is what it is all about.”

Most valuable lesson
“Failure is a requirement for success.”

Professional “aha” moment?
“I have always been a very straightforward, candid person, and it has lost me a bit of business over the years. One day, I received a call from a new potential customer and was advised they had been referred by one of those ‘lost customers.’ It was at that moment that I realized that if I hold true to my belief that everyone’s time is precious and that honesty is always appreciated, then the projects will come.”

Career dream as a child
“A fighter pilot.”

Most fulfilling career moment
“During my short career in insurance, I delivered a death benefit to a widow who had lost her husband to cancer. The check covered all the medical expenses and paid off her mortgage. That was a special moment.”

Making Arkansas more attractive to young professionals
“I am from Mississippi and believe me, Arkansas is pretty nice just the way it is. Having said that, a diverse offering of attractive, high-paying jobs is the driver for new labor in any market.”

Advice for your 18-year-old self
“Take your time and enjoy the ride.”

Where you see yourself in 10 years
“Trying to keep up with my two teenage daughters. Conerly and Caroline will be 15 and 13 by then.”

First job and lesson learned
“My first job was on my family farm back in Mississippi. This had me working on and operating heavy equipment and planting fields. My favorite part of the job was what we called beaver damage control. This involved exploratory missions to identify beaver habitats responsible for flooding on the property, trapping, and playing with a little bit of dynamite from time to time. I believe this is where my love for the outdoors is rooted. I learned that if you aren’t out there making a few mistakes, then you aren’t learning anything. We all make mistakes; it is how you react and grow that makes all the difference. I try to treat all mistakes as a learning experience.”

Best thing about Arkansas
The parks system, and the Buffalo River is a very special place.”

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40 Under 40

June 10, 2025

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