Arkansas Economic Development Commission


Hutchinson announces formation of commission to study Arkansas’ computing and data analytics sector

Leaders from throughout the state to address opportunities and obstacles for this sector

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (March 17, 2017) – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced the formation of the Blue Ribbon Commission to Report on the Economic Competitiveness of Computing and Data Analytics in Arkansas. The Commission has been asked to study opportunities to grow the sector of Arkansas’ economy associated with computer science and data analytics. The Commission will produce a report, due in Fall 2017, that addresses three issues: business challenges in computing and data analytics, potential application niche areas for Arkansas to build excellence/depth in computing and data analytics and skill needs and challenges of Arkansas’ talent pipeline.

Noted Arkansas entrepreneur Charles Morgan will co-chair the Commission along with Mike Preston, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. Commission members include: 

•    Jerry Adams, Arkansas Research Alliance
•    Dr. Donald Bobbitt, University of Arkansas System
•    Dr. Charles Welch, Arkansas State University System
•    Maria Markham, Arkansas Department of Higher Education
•    Andrew Clyde,  Murphy USA
•    Ed Drilling, AT&T Arkansas
•    John Haley, Circumference Group
•    Walter Smiley, formerly with Systematics
•    Todd Hillman, MISO
•    Rich Howe, Inuvo
•    Sonja Hubbard, E-Z Mart
•    Gaylon Lawrence, The Lawrence Group
•    John Roberts, J.B. Hunt
•    Jerry Jones, Acxiom
•    Monica McGurk, Tyson Foods
•    Warren Stephens, Stephens, Inc.
•    Clay Johnson, Walmart

“This esteemed group of Arkansans, through their expertise and guidance, will allow the state to address the opportunities and obstacles we must address to create an environment in which our technology sector can thrive,” said Governor Hutchinson. “This is the next step in growing the computer coding initiative as it will allow our higher education institutions and workforce development agencies to address the specific needs of Arkansas companies in the computer science and data analytics sector.”

The Commission is scheduled to begin meeting in late March. Meeting locations and times will be announced by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and posted to the public meetings section of

Download the 2017 Arkansas Economic Overview

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