Bob J. Nash (1947–)

Bob J. Nash is a businessman and consultant who has assisted political, corporate, and nonprofit organizations. Most notably, he served in the administration of Governor Bill Clinton in the 1980s and then was part of the administration of President Clinton in the 1990s.

Bob Nash was born on September 26, 1947, in Texarkana (Miller County). He graduated from Washington High School in Texarkana and then earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) in 1969. Nash went on to receive a master’s degree in urban studies from Howard University in Washington DC in 1972. For the next two years, Nash held jobs in municipal government in Washington and in Fairfax, Virginia.

Returning to Arkansas in 1974, Nash took a position with the Arkansas Department of Planning. He was then hired by the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, serving as a vice president of the foundation until 1983. Following Bill Clinton’s election to a second term as governor of Arkansas, he appointed Nash to be senior economic assistant for economic development in his administration. According to Nash, the governor’s charge to his assistant was “to work with me day and night to put in place the best economic development programs in the country.” Among the entities created by the governor’s office and the Arkansas General Assembly in those years were the Arkansas Development Finance Authority (ADFA), the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority, and a reorganized Arkansas Capital Corporation. Banking laws were modified to facilitate investment in economic development and housing; state pension funds were directed to invest up to five percent of their assets in state economic development projects; and business incubators were instituted on college and university campuses. Nash also helped Governor Clinton promote Arkansas products nationally and internationally.

In 1989, Clinton appointed Nash president of the Arkansas Development Finance Authority. Replacing the Arkansas Housing Development Agency in 1985, the ADFA borrows money and issues bonds to fund affordable housing, business and economic development, and capital improvements for state agencies. In this position, Nash remained closely linked to Clinton’s administration until Clinton left Arkansas to serve as president.

In 1993, President Clinton appointed Nash to serve as an undersecretary in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In 1995, Nash was named assistant to the president and director of presidential personnel. In the latter position, Nash helped the president select candidates for presidential appointments, guide appointees through the process of nomination and approval, and recruit people to work in departments and agencies of presidential staff. He was also responsible for thousands of lower-level appointments.

Sometime after 2000, Nash became vice chairman of ShoreBank Corporation of Chicago, Illinois. He also served as senior advisor to James Lee Witt Associates and was deputy campaign manager of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. In 2010, Nash returned again to Arkansas, becoming chief executive officer of Bob J. Nash & Associates in Little Rock (Pulaski County), a firm that offers assistance and advice in strategic planning, public policy advocacy, fundraising, human resources recruitment, community outreach, and marketing to state and local government agencies, foundations, private businesses, and nonprofit ventures.

Nash is married to Janis F. Kearney, an author, lecturer, and publisher. They have three children: Creshelle, Eric, and Darryl.

For additional information:
Bob J. Nash & Associates. Online at http://bobjnash.com/ (accessed July 18, 2019).

Root, Paul, ed. To the Grassroots with Bill Clinton. Arkadelphia, AR: The Pete Parks Center for Regional Studies, Ouachita Baptist University, 2002.

Steven Teske
CALS Butler Center for Arkansas Studies

Last Updated: 07/18/2019