Arkansas Economic Development Commission

About Us

The mission of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission is to create economic opportunity by attracting higher paying jobs, expanding and diversifying our state and local economies, increasing incomes and investment, and generating positive growth throughout Arkansas. Arkansas is a pro-business environment operating leaner, faster and more focused through a streamlined state government designed to act on corporate interests quickly and decisively. Come join us in this amazing business venture we call Arkansas Inc. With six homegrown Fortune 500 companies and countless other business success stories, you’ll be in good company.

Our Core Values

Leadership
We create vision, inspire others, and strive for excellence.

Accountability
We deliver quality work with transparency and efficiency.

Integrity
We conduct ourselves professionally with honesty and mutual respect.

Fiscal Responsibility
We are stewards of our citizens’ money and time.

Teamwork
We work together internally and externally to exceed expectations.

Results
We strive for superior performance and measurable outcomes to achieve our mission.

Council

The Arkansas Economic Development Council is composed of sixteen (16) members appointed to four-year terms by the governor. These appointments are made with the advice and consent of the Arkansas Senate. At least three members are from each of the four congressional districts, and four members are appointed at large.

Rick Barrows

Business Experience

Rick Barrows is an accomplished business leader in Northwest Arkansas. He is President of Multi-Craft Contractors Inc., a leading supplier of mechanical and electrical contracting services, as well as provider of metal fabrication and specialized engineering and design capabilities. Multi-Craft employs more than 700 people and supplies products and services to companies around the world. Mr. Barrows began his career as a mechanical tradesman in 1970 and became president of Multi-Craft Contractors Inc. in 1989. Since that time, Multi-Craft Contractors has grown from $7 million per year to $110 million per year in revenue and is now one of the largest mechanical and second largest electrical contractor in Arkansas. Mr. Barrows presently serves as a director for Arvest Bank and has been involved in the numerous civic and community activities, including Chairman of the Planning Commission, President of the local chapter of Rotary International, Chairman of Springdale Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the Northwest Arkansas Council.

Committees

Vice Chairman, Bond Guaranty Committee
Executive Committee

Congressional District Appointment

At Large - Springdale, AR

Jay Bunyard

Business Experience

Jay Bunyard is the President of Bunyard Media Group, which owns and operates 24 radio stations in six Arkansas communities: Berryville, Camden, De Queen, Mena, Nashville, and Springdale. Bunyard is also President of Arklahoma Broadcast & Communication Towers, which leases 36 towers to wireless cell carriers in Arkansas and Oklahoma. A Past President of the Arkansas Broadcasters Association, Bunyard is a recipient of the Silver Microphone Award for contributions to the broadcast industry. He currently serves the ABA as co-chairman of the Legislative Liaison Committee.

Committees

Bond Guaranty Committee

Congressional District Appointment

4th Congressional District - DeQueen, AR

Wayne Callahan

Business Experience

Wayne Callahan owns the Source Management Company, a business advisor and board service company. He was President Global Walmart Business of H.J. Heinz leading high-performing teams serving Walmart worldwide with focus on organizational design, business planning, team development, and overall growth.  Additionally, he was on the H.J. Heinz joint venture board in South Africa. Wayne is a customer-centered champion and owns the “Student of the Customer” trademark. He now serves as senior advisor for Vestar Capital Partners and on the board of Arvest Benton County; Delta Dental of Arkansas; Woodstream Products, Lititz, Pa. and Springfield Underground, Springfield, Mo. (Previous boards include; Del Monte Food, Big Heart Pet and Sun Products).

Committees

Bond Guaranty Committee

Congressional District Appointment

3rd Congressional District - Rogers, AR

Mike Carroll

Business Experience

Mike Carroll is a certified public accountant and partner of Beall Barclay & Company, CPAs. The firm has offices in Fort Smith, Rogers and Russellville. He is also a partner with Beall Barclay Wealth Management, a financial planning and securities firm affiliated with the CPA firm. He is a member of the Arkansas Society of Certified Public Accountants and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He also has served on the Board of Directors of Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Fort Smith, Mercy Medical Center Board of Advisors (chair), Ouachita Baptist University, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, First Baptist Church of Fort Smith (chairman of the deacons and treasurer).

Committees

Chairman, Arkansas Economic Development Commission
Executive Committee (voting member)
Bond Guaranty Committee

Congressional District Appointment

At Large - Fort Smith, AR

James Freeman

Business Experience

James Freeman is former Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Dillard’s, Inc.  He was with Dillard’s from 1988 to 2015 and was the longest serving CFO of a Fortune 500 company.  He remains a member of the company’s board of directors.  Mr. Freeman is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and a lifetime member of the Arkansas Society of Certified Public Accountants.  He has served on the Dean’s Advisory Board for the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas as well as on the Board of Trustees of Southern Arkansas University.  

Committees

Bond Guaranty Committee

Congressional District Appointment

4th Congressional District - Texarkana, AR

Al Heringer III

Business Experience

Al Heringer is president of Star Transportation LLC and Lone Star Co. Inc., which specialize in the trucking of, and wholesale distribution of, petroleum products. He is devoted to his family and his home of Jonesboro. He serves as a board member of East Arkansas Good Roads, North Arkansas Industrial Development Commission and the Jonesboro Economic Development Commission and is a member of Jonesboro Unlimited.

Committees

Vice Chairman, Executive Committee
Bond Guaranty Committee

Congressional District Appointment

1st Congressional District - Jonesboro, AR

Steve Lux

Business Experience

Steve Lux retired from Central Moloney, Inc. in Pine Bluff in 2012.  He was the Vice President of Operations.  He is a member of the Benton and Bryant Chambers of Commerce.  Lux was a member and former Chairman of the Arkansas Workforce Investment Board.

Committees

Chairman, Executive Committee
Bond Guaranty Committee

Congressional District Appointment

At Large - Hot Springs Village, AR

Deana Osment

Business Experience

Deana Osment serves as Division President of Northeast Arkansas for Centennial Bank.  She has held positions in management and lending in the banking industry for 26 years.  She is very involved in her community of Jonesboro, AR and serves on the board of directors for City, Water and Light, Jonesboro Economic Development Corporation and the United Way of NEA.  She is also a former board member of the Jonesboro Chamber of Commerce and served 10 years on the East Arkansas Planning and Development District loan committee.

Committees

Executive Committee
Chairman, Bond Guaranty Committee

Congressional District Appointment

At Large - Jonesboro, AR

Tracey Rancifer

Tracey Rancifer is Principal Broker of Ausum Realty, Inc. Her experience encompasses real estate management/sales, asset disposition, government relations and economic development. Rancifer is a member of the National Association of Realtors (Strategic Planning, Business Issues Policy and Global Business Alliances Committees), Arkansas Realtors Association (Risk Reduction and Professional Standards Committee Member), Council of Residential Specialists, and Arkansas Auctioneers Association. Additionally, she serves on the Arkansas Real Estate Foundation Board (chairman and treasurer), Women’s Business Enterprise National Council and Women’s Business Council Southwest Site Certification Review Committee. 

Committees

Bond Guaranty Committee
Technology Growth Committee

Congressional District Appointment

At Large - Little Rock, AR

Mike Roberts

Business Experience

Mike Roberts, president and managing partner of Roberts Law Firm, P.A., brings important legal advisory to the Commission. His experience reaches far beyond Arkansas. Mr. Roberts is licensed to practice law in Arkansas, Florida, New York, Tennessee, and Texas and also admitted before the United States Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. Additionally, he is a member of the American Bar Association and the Arkansas Bar Association.

Committees

Arkansas Economic Development Commission
Executive Committee
Bond Guaranty Committee
Technology Growth Committee

Congressional District Appointment

2nd Congressional District - Little Rock, AR

Gary W. Sewell

Business Experience

Gary Sewell is the owner of Sewell Oil Company, one of the most successful wholesale petroleum distributors in South Arkansas. Gary is president of Sewell Drilling, LLC, an oil well drilling company with operations in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. He is also the president of Sewell Operating, Inc., an oil and gas producing company with properties located in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas; and he is the vice president of SAL Timber, LLC, a timberland holding company.

Committees

Bond Guaranty Committee
Executive Committee

Congressional District Appointment

4th Congressional District - El Dorado, AR

Ken Shollmier

Business Experience

Ken Shollmier began his business career in Little Rock working with Witt Stephens and Frank Lyon, Sr. In 1986, he moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, and formed various companies including SDI, a Carrier HVAC Distributor covering Louisiana, Mississippi and parts of Texas, and SFI, a finance company. While in New Orleans, he was on the boards of Doctors Hospital, Operation Smile, and Carrier Corp. In 2004, he sold his companies and moved back to Arkansas where he founded Shollmier Family Partnership and Shollmier LLC. Both companies are involved in the purchase of real estate and development of properties in Arkansas. He is also on the Board of Advisory at the University of Arkansas.

Committees

Executive Committee
Bond Guaranty Committee
Chairman, Technology Growth Committee

Congressional District Appointment

2nd Congressional District - Little Rock

Jim Smith

Business Experience

Jim Smith is a partner of Smith Hurst, PLC, a regional business and private wealth law firm based in Rogers, Arkansas. For over 20 years, he has focused his practice on business and corporate law and governance, with a primary emphasis on mergers and acquisitions, private equity and venture capital and securities law, advising corporate boards of directors and executives and business contract law. He is also a Certified Public Accountant (registered inactive). He is currently the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce and Secretary of the University of Arkansas Technology Development Foundation, which is responsible for operating the Arkansas Research and Technology Park.

Committees

Bond Guaranty Committee

Congressional District Appointment

3rd Congressional District - Fayetteville, AR

Lang Zimmerman

Business Experience

Lang Zimmerman is vice president of Yelcot, a communications company based in Mountain Home, Arkansas. He also co-founded and is the managing partner of Big Creek Golf & Country Club. He is a member and past president of the Arkansas Telecommunications Association and a former board member of the Mountain Home Area Chamber of Commerce and the North Central Arkansas Regional Economic Development. Finally, Mr. Zimmerman is an active member and past president of the Mountain Home Rotary Club.

Committees

Bond Guaranty Committee

Congressional District Appointment

1st Congressional District - Mountain Home, AR