Entries - Entry Category: Business and Economics

Acme Brick Company

Acme Brick Company began operation in 1891 and is now the largest American-owned brick and masonry manufacturer in the United States, with more than $175 million in sales in 2007. Although Acme operates a number of companies that produce a variety of construction materials, bricks remain its primary product, making more than one billion of them each year. The company started production in Texas, but, in 1921, Acme opened a plant in Hot Spring County. Since then, the company has expanded its presence in Arkansas to become the major producer of bricks in the state. George E. Bennett founded the company and served as its first president. A native of Ohio, Bennett arrived in Dallas, Texas, in 1876. Several years …

Adler, Simon

Simon Adler, born in Bavaria in 1832 (according to his tombstone), was one of the first Jewish immigrants to settle in Batesville (Independence County). He established a successful business career, operating a general merchandise store, working as a real estate speculator and agent, and serving as a cotton broker, as well as founding his own bank. He was a popular and respected man, for census records show that he had at least a dozen namesakes during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Simon Adler, along with three of his brothers, moved to Batesville to join yet another brother, Israel Adler, who had formed a business partnership in a general store with French immigrants Aaron and Samuel Hirsch. Simon Adler’s …

Agricultural Wheel

The Agricultural Wheel was a state farmers’ union, founded in the Arkansas Delta, which expanded into ten other states, mostly in the South but reaching as far north as Wisconsin. Although the Agricultural Wheel was short-lived as an independent farmers’ union, it influenced the future formation of other such unions in Arkansas and led, in part, to the rise of the Populist movement in the state. After the Civil War, Arkansas (and Southern) farmers returned to growing primarily cotton, in part because bankers had insisted on farmers raising a cash crop as a condition for providing them with financing. Cotton acreage therefore increased, but prices fell due to overproduction, leading farmers to compensate by planting yet more cotton, which led …

Albert Pike Hotel

The Albert Pike Hotel in downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County) opened in 1929 and was one of the state’s best-known hotels for decades. In 1971, Little Rock’s Second Baptist Church bought the hotel for $740,000 and transformed it into a residence hotel. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. It remains a residential facility for individuals aged fifty-five and older. The block on which the hotel was built had once been occupied by a house constructed in 1827 for Robert Crittenden, the secretary of the Arkansas Territory. The Crittenden House was among the first brick residences built in Little Rock. Facing financial problems, Crittenden attempted to trade the house for ten sections of undeveloped land, …

Alderson, Edwin Boyd Jr.

Edwin Alderson Jr. became a prominent lawyer, jurist, and businessman in Arkansas in the late twentieth century. A lifelong booster of his hometown of El Dorado (Union County), he was also an entrepreneur and philanthropist. Edwin Boyd Alderson Jr. was born on May 16, 1940, to Edwin Boyd Alderson and Jewell Sample Murphy Alderson. The couple’s oldest son, he was a sixth-generation resident of Union County. After graduating from El Dorado High School in 1958, Alderson earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, in 1962. He did postgraduate study in philosophy for a year at the University of Georgia before moving to the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), where …

Allens, Inc.

aka: Allen Canning Company
aka: Sager Creek Vegetable Company
Allens, Inc., began canning vegetables at Siloam Springs (Benton County) in 1926. From its inception, the Allen family owned and operated the company, which, by 2013, employed more than 1,000 people nationwide and produced canned and frozen vegetables with eleven brand names: Allens, Butterfield, Freshlike, Popeye Spinach, Princella, Royal Prince, Sugary Sam, Sunshine, Trappey’s, Veg-All, and Wagon Master. Company offices were in downtown Siloam Springs, and processing plants are located across the United States. In late 2013, the company declared bankruptcy and put itself up for sale. After its purchase by Sager Creek Acquisition Corp., it was renamed Sager Creek Vegetable Company, although brand names were retained. In 2015, the company was purchased by Del Monte. Earl and Shadye Allen established …

Alley, Gerald Byron

Gerald Byron Alley is the founder of Con-Real, LP, which is the leading black-owned construction and real estate firm in Texas, with other offices located in Arkansas and California. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2013. Gerald Alley was born in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) on September 30, 1952. He was the youngest of five children of Troy Alley, a local businessman who started the Alley ESSO Service Station, and Gladys Gray Alley, an educator who had taught at Philander Smith College before marriage. After attending local public and private schools, and working in his father’s station, Alley enrolled in the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) at the age of sixteen, majoring …

Alltel

Alltel Corporation is a wireless communications company that began as a technical service provider to small-town Arkansas telephone companies in 1943 and evolved into one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world. Before its merger with a private equity firm and the acquisition of most of its assets by Verizon Communications in 2008, Alltel operated one of the largest wireless networks in the United States and served more than 13 million customers in thirty-four states. Three generations of the founding family led the company, based in Little Rock (Pulaski County), for sixty-five years until the merger. Brothers-in-law Hugh Randolph Wilbourn Jr. and Charles Beverly Miller, both of Little Rock, went to work as construction crewmen for Southwestern Bell Telephone …

Altheimer, Benjamin Joseph, Sr.

Benjamin Joseph Altheimer Sr. was a lawyer and philanthropist who was known as a “real trailblazer” in promoting agricultural research and education in Arkansas. He created the Ben J. Altheimer Foundation, which has provided funding for civic, legal, and agricultural endeavors. Ben J. Altheimer was born on September 30, 1877, in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), the only son of Joseph and Matilda Josephat Altheimer. He had one sister. His parents were German–Jewish immigrants who were members of Pine Bluff’s Congregation Anshe Emeth. Joseph’s brother Louis had brought him to Pine Bluff, where he had established and operated a mercantile store. The two brothers became land developers and, together, founded the town of Altheimer (Jefferson County). Ben Altheimer was educated at …

American Viticultural Areas

aka: Viticultural Areas
American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) were established in 1979 and are “official” grape-growing areas in the United States. They are designated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) as recognized and defined in federal regulations. About 200 AVAs exist, with new areas approved yearly. AVAs are geographic areas defined on maps that have similar climate, geology, soils, physical features, or elevation. They are established through petition to the TTB by growers and wineries. There are no limits to an area’s size, grape cultivars grown, viticultural practices, or winemaking procedures, and one AVA may exist within another. When an AVA designation appears on a wine label, at least eighty-five percent of the juice from which the wine was produced …

American Wine Society – Arkansas Chapter

The American Wine Society–Arkansas Chapter was a non-profit organization dedicated to the dissemination of knowledge about—and the cultivation of an appreciation of—wine and its role in culture and cuisine. The American Wine Society–Arkansas Chapter was co-founded on May 16, 2005, by Robert G. Cowie and Mary Jane Cains in Ozark (Franklin County). Cowie is the founder and owner of Cowie Wine Cellars in Paris (Logan County), while Cains is from the family of the Mount Bethel Winery of Altus (Franklin County). When the national society was created in 1967, Al Wiederkehr of Wiederkehr Wine Cellars in Altus was a member of the organizing meeting. He and Justin Morris of the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) were honorary …

Ancient Order of United Workmen

In the quickly industrializing world of the late nineteenth century, so-called “friendly societies” or fraternal orders organized to provide life insurance to average workers, which helped to remedy the danger of poverty that other alternatives presented. One of these societies, the Ancient Order of United Workmen (AOUW), developed quickly in the United States in the late nineteenth century and soon established itself firmly as an Arkansas institution. In 1868, the Ancient Order of United Workmen was founded in Meadeville, Pennsylvania, by John J. Upchurch (a former Mason). Each member paid one dollar into the insurance fund to cover policies of about $500. Following the same model, AOUW lodges were formed across the United States, organized democratically by members, which allowed the …

Andrews, Glen

Glen Daniel Andrews Sr. is considered one of the all-time great professional bass anglers. Bobby Murray, two-time Bassmaster Classic champion, describes him as “the first true professional bass angler.” He mentored such fishing greats as Bill Dance, Billy and Bobby Murray, Ray Scott, and Jerry McKinnis. In addition, Andrews manufactured lures, promoted tournaments, wrote a syndicated outdoor column for the Springdale News called “Anglers World,” and wrote Techniques of Bass Fishing, a manual he used to teach fishing classes across Arkansas and throughout the Midwest. Andrews was inducted into Garry Mason’s Legends of the Outdoors National Hall of Fame in 2010. Glen Andrews was born on May 31, 1931, the third of seven children, to Earl and Ruth Andrews on …

Anthony Timberlands, Inc.

Formed by John Ed Anthony in 1974, Anthony Timberlands, Inc. (ATI) operates five mills in southern Arkansas and also provides consulting services to private timberland owners and management services to other private companies. ATI’s operating principles derive from the knowledge and experience of various branches of the Anthony family during the twentieth century. The Anthony family first settled in southern Arkansas in the 1840s. In 1907, Garland Anthony started a small sawmill near Bearden (Ouachita County). Other members of the family, along with outside partners, started similar operations in southern Arkansas, eastern Texas, and northern Louisiana. Between 1910 and 1930, Garland and his brothers Frank, William, and Oliver formed Anthony Brothers Lumber and built their first permanent mill in Hopeville …

Antimony Mining

Antimony (Sb) is a hard, brittle, silver-white metal with a relatively high specific gravity (6.69) and a relatively low melting temperature. Antimony is a constituent in some alloys. The presence of this metal hardens the alloy, lowers the melting point, and decreases contraction during solidification. The metal’s main use is to impart stiffness and hardness to lead alloys. Antimony compounds are used in medicines, paint pigments, enamelware glazes, and as fireproof coatings on clothing. They are also used in the rubber and patent-leather industries. Many minerals contain antimony; however, stibnite and antimonial lead ores are the main sources of the metal. Stibnite (Sb2S3) and its alteration oxide, stibiconite (Sb3+Sb25+O6(OH)), were the only minerals mined in Arkansas for this metal. Stibnite …

Apple Industry

Seventy-five years after their introduction in Arkansas, apples became a dominant agricultural crop and an economic engine for the northwest part of the state. However, their importance declined measurably in the last half of the twentieth century. The apple of commerce, Malus domestica, is not native to North America. It is a complex hybrid of Malus species with origins in Asia and Europe. Malus domestica was introduced to North America by sixteenth-century explorers and later by colonists. Settlers arriving in Arkansas from Tennessee, the Carolinas, and Georgia brought apple seeds and scion wood with them. The Arkansas Gazette reported in 1822 that apples were being grown on the farm of James Sevier Conway west of Little Rock (Pulaski County). While …

Aquaculture

Aquaculture—the farming of aquatic plants and animals—includes private sector, commercial fish farms, state and federal hatcheries that produce fish to stock public waters, and farm pond owners who stock ponds for recreational fishing. Overall sales place aquaculture in the top ten agricultural industries in the state. Arkansas is the birthplace of warmwater aquaculture in the United States. The first commercial fish farms were built in Arkansas in the 1940s to raise goldfish. The industry in Arkansas has diversified into production of more than twenty species of fish and crustaceans. These species supply food-fish markets, recreational fishing markets and waters, retail pet markets, gardening supply markets, and markets for aquatic weed and snail control. Arkansas ranks second in aquaculture-producing states. It …

Arkansas AFL-CIO

aka: Arkansas American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations
The Arkansas American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (Arkansas AFL-CIO) is an umbrella organization of more than 190 local unions, central labor councils, and subordinate bodies such as state associations and district councils. As of 2009, the state federation represents the interests and concerns of more than 30,000 working people in organized labor in diverse occupations around Arkansas. The Arkansas AFL-CIO is affiliated with the National AFL-CIO, which represents over 11 million union members across the country. The Arkansas AFL-CIO was chartered on March 20, 1956. It was the first in the nation to merge the AFL and CIO into one state central body. Member organizations include unions that represent the building trades industry, steelworkers, governmental and …

Arkansas and Oklahoma Western Railroad

  The Arkansas and Oklahoma Western Railroad (A&OW), based in Rogers (Benton County), was incorporated on June 25, 1907, with capital stock of $3,000,000. The standard gauge railroad, previously named the Rogers Southwestern, had twenty-one miles of track built between Rogers and Springtown (Benton County) by the Rogers Southwestern Railroad. The change in the corporate name reflected an intention to build to Siloam Springs (Benton County), as a connection to the Kansas City Southern Railway, and Pryor Creek, Oklahoma, as a connection to the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway. The A&OW also announced plans for a thirty-mile extension from Rogers to the health resort of Eureka Springs (Carroll County). The A&OW, assuming it had been built as planned, would have …

Arkansas Business Hall of Fame

The Arkansas Business Hall of Fame was created by the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) in 1999. The objectives of the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame are to honor outstanding business leaders whose accomplishments have brought lasting fame to Arkansas, to highlight the growing economy of Arkansas and its wide range of opportunities, and to preserve the legacy of Arkansas’s finest business leaders for generations to come. For many decades, Arkansas had the reputation—both within the state and nationally—of being a low-income, backward state. The Walton College saw a need to recognize publicly those Arkansas business leaders who have made enormous economic contributions to the state, the nation, and, …

Arkansas Capital Corporation

aka: First Arkansas Development Finance Corporation
Arkansas Capital Corporation (ACC) is a private, not-for-profit company that provides financing for economic development throughout the state. It is an uncommon example of cooperation among private citizens, business organizations, and government institutions. It was created under a 1957 statute authorizing development finance companies. In its early years, it made term loans for industrial projects to increase or preserve employment, but beginning in the mid-1980s, it expanded and formed affiliates that, under the ACC umbrella, provided additional types of financing. These included Small Business Administration (SBA) loans as well as working capital, fixed asset, and venture capital financing. ACC is non-political, and it cooperates with local banks and institutions rather than competing with them. Since its inception, this award-winning organization has …

Arkansas Certified Development Corporation (ACDC)

In 1989, the Small Business Administration (SBA), a Federal government agency, asked the Arkansas Capital Corporation (ACC) to manage the operations of its 504 loan program for the state. As a result, the ACC formed the nonprofit affiliate Arkansas Certified Development Corporation (ACDC) to meet this need. The ACDC, as of 2006, is a member of the Arkansas Capital Corporation Group, an association of six agencies which increase availability of capital for Arkansas businesses. They are, in addition to ACC and ACDC, the Arkansas Capital Relending Corporation, Diamond State Ventures, Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation (the educational arm of the group), and Commerce Capital Development Corporation. The parent ACC was organized to ease the shortage of capital funds available to businesses …

Arkansas Community Foundation (ARCF)

Arkansas Community Foundation (ARCF) is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to helping generous individuals, families, civic groups, and businesses financially support charitable causes throughout Arkansas. One of more than 700 community foundations nationwide, ARCF is the only foundation in Arkansas through which individuals and corporations can create endowment funds for the public benefit of the entire state and its communities. With assets of more than $250 million as of 2016, the foundation has provided millions in grants to charitable organizations since its founding. Arkansas Community Foundation was established in 1976 exclusively for charitable, benevolent, scientific, religious, and educational purposes to benefit the people of Arkansas. The fledgling organization was championed by Mary McLeod, a charitable advisor to Governor Winthrop Rockefeller, …

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the state’s largest newspaper, is based in Little Rock (Pulaski County), with a separate northwest Arkansas edition. After the Arkansas Democrat bought the assets of the Arkansas Gazette in October 1991, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette was born. It is the only statewide newspaper, offering home delivery in all parts of Arkansas. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has its roots in the Reconstruction era. A newspaper first called The Liberal became The Journal and then The Chronicle. Finally, it became The Evening Star, having passed through several owners and editors by 1875. On April 11, 1878, Colonel J. N. Smithee acquired the newspaper and renamed it the Arkansas Democrat. Smithee, who had served in the Confederate army, immediately launched an attack …

Arkansas Department of Career Education (ADCE)

The Arkansas Department of Career Education (ADCE) oversees vocational and technical education in the state. It was established to “create opportunities for strong comprehensive education regardless of the student’s ultimate career choice.” ADCE was originally created as the Arkansas Department of Workforce Education (ADWE) by Act 803 of 1997 to assume responsibility over vocational and technical education in the state. The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) had previously overseen vo-tech education since its inception in 1931. Act 803 of 1997 abolished the State Board of Vocational Education, creating in its place the State Board of Workforce Education and Career Opportunities as well as ADWE, which became responsible for vo-tech education. The new department also assumed control of Arkansas Rehabilitation Services …

Arkansas Economic Developers (AED)

In 1976, a group of professionals and volunteers involved in the economic development of Arkansas organized Arkansas Economic Developers (AED), a non-profit organization to enhance the quality of life in Arkansas by expanding employment opportunities through economic growth and community development. The constitution and bylaws were adopted on September 16, 1988. The organization is associated with the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce. AED has a board of directors and elected officers. Two directors come from each congressional district, two are at-large directors, and five are ex-officio. The members elect the officers. The board has the authority to develop, approve, and disseminate policy statements concerning economic development in the state. The organization’s activities …

Arkansas Economic Development Commission

The Arkansas Industrial Development Commission (AIDC) was created in 1955 by Act 404 of the Arkansas General Assembly to make the state more economically competitive in the post–World War II era. The AIDC was renamed the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC). Industry in the United States became more sophisticated in the postwar period, and Arkansas was largely an agricultural state with farming and related manufacturing (mostly raw foodstuff), forestry, and paper products. The Arkansas governor, Orval Faubus, the legislature, and the public realized that the state had not made strides in industrial development, so the governor proposed, prior to the 1955 legislative session, the establishment of the AIDC and the University of Arkansas Industrial Research and Extension Center. The AIDC was …

Arkansas Farmers Union

aka: Arkansas Farmers Educational Cooperative Union
The Arkansas iteration of the Farmers Union—founded as the Farmers Educational Cooperative Union of America—took root in Spring Hill (Hempstead County) in 1903, one year after the national organization’s founding in Point, Texas. Its populism mirrored earlier farmers’ movements, including the Farmers’ Alliance and the Agricultural Wheel. Focused on those who actually produced food and fiber, the union was often at odds with banks, commodity exchanges, processers, and shippers. As larger corporate farms emerged, the union aspired to speak for “family farmers,” a goal it continues to embrace in the twenty-first century. By 1907, the union’s Arkansas state convention reported 718 locals and 78,085 members. That number probably included lapsed members, as Secretary-Treasurer Ben Griffin reported no more than 42,039 dues-paying …

Arkansas Forestry Association

The Arkansas Forestry Association (AFA) is a private association of firms and individuals in the forestry industry. The focus of the association is on those who grow trees, both corporate and individual growers. The corporate growers may be integrated both upstream (a business term meaning closer to the point of manufacture or production than to the point sale) and downstream (meaning closer to the point of sale). Downstream is most common as the corporate growers are often wood processors or paper makers. Some corporate growers are integrated upstream, providing such things as management services, herbicides, insecticides, fertilizers, seedling trees, and logging machinery. The Arkansas Forestry Association Education Foundation, Inc. (AFAEF) is part of the private Arkansas Forestry Association. The primary …

Arkansas Gazette

The Arkansas Gazette, Arkansas’s first newspaper, was established in 1819, seventeen years before Arkansas became a state. Its editorial stance for law and order during the desegregation of Central High School in 1957 earned the newspaper two Pulitzer Prizes—the first time in history one newspaper won two Pulitzers in the same year. Known for its liberal editorial pages in a conservative Southern state, the Gazette closed on October 18, 1991, after a bitter newspaper war with its cross-town rival, the Arkansas Democrat. William E. Woodruff published the first edition of the Arkansas Gazette on November 20, 1819, introducing it as Republican (the name that evolved into the modern Democratic Party) in politics. Woodruff, a New Yorker who had completed a …

Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance

The Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance is a nonprofit collaborative network of more than 400 hunger relief organizations across Arkansas working to alleviate hunger in the state. Members include the Arkansas Foodbank in Little Rock (Pulaski County), Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas in Jonesboro (Craighead County), Harvest Texarkana Regional Food Bank in Texarkana (Miller County), Food Bank of North Central Arkansas in Norfork (Baxter County), Northwest Arkansas Food Bank in Bethel Heights (Benton County), and River Valley Regional Food Bank in Fort Smith (Sebastian County), as well as numerous food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters. Arkansas has one of the highest rates of food insecurity in the nation. More than twenty-eight percent of Arkansas families with children experience food insecurity on …

Arkansas Municipal League

The Arkansas Municipal League, established in 1934, has 500 members, encompassing all of the state’s incorporated municipalities. Member cities and towns have year-round services from the league, and though league membership is voluntary, all 500 incorporated cities and towns in the state have elected to become members. The league was created to assist cities by providing information and representing cities before higher levels of government, such as the state and nation. Cities pay dues based on a sliding scale and also pay fees for direct services. The impetus for forming the league came from mayors and chambers of commerce. Larger cities could afford to interact directly with higher levels of government, but smaller cities realized they needed to organize to …

Arkansas Nuclear One

The Arkansas Nuclear One (ANO) power plant, located a few miles west of Russellville (Pope County), is the state’s only operational nuclear power plant. Entergy Arkansas, Inc., owns and operates it. ANO is one of nine nuclear reactor sites owned and operated by Entergy Corporation. In the 1950s and 1960s, nuclear power was found to be a clean and efficient source of electricity, and nuclear power plants began to be constructed nationwide. Arkansas’s first nuclear reactor, ANO-Unit One (ANO-1), went online May 21, 1974, bringing Arkansas into the nuclear age of power. On September 1, 1978, ANO-1 was joined by ANO-Unit Two (ANO-2). Bechtel Power engineered both units. Both are pressurized light water reactors. The Babcock & Wilcox Company made …

Arkansas Planning And Development Districts

aka: Arkansas Economic Development Districts
Planning and Development Districts are not well recognized but are very important in the economic planning and development process at the local level. Each planning district covers six to twelve Arkansas counties which are bound together by common economic problems and opportunities. In addition to assessing the potential for economic development for the area, the district is the means by which the counties interact with economic development offices of the state and federal governments. The planning effort in Arkansas has had several beginnings. In the 1930s, under the auspices of the federal government, the Arkansas Plan was published. For its day, it was a comprehensive economic plan covering resources available, economic development needs, land use, and directions for economic development. …

Arkansas Power and Light (AP&L)

The Arkansas Power and Light Company (AP&L) was the primary electrical utility company for much of Arkansas from 1913 to 1989. It was the predecessor to Entergy Corporation, the electrical company now serving much of the state in the twenty-first century. The company was founded in 1913 as the Arkansas Power Company by Harvey Crowley Couch, a native of Columbia County and a successful railroad and telephone utility entrepreneur. In 1914, Couch bought the power plants at Arkadelphia (Clark County) and Malvern (Hot Spring County) and then built a twenty-two-mile electrical transmission line running between them. The system had problems with electrical supply and ran exclusively at night, but it served as the only electrical transmission line in the state. …

Arkansas Real Estate Bank

In 1836, the establishment of the Real Estate Bank of Arkansas became the initial act to pass the first state legislature. Momentum for a state-sponsored bank began during the territorial phase when planters and other lowland agricultural interests sought ways to enhance the availability of capital. The bank’s charter required the state to issue $2 million in five-percent bonds, the proceeds from which would serve as the bank’s capital. But the state held no authority for immediate supervision of the bank’s operations other than the appointment of a minority of the bank’s directors. From 1836 to 1855, when the state took over control, the Real Estate Bank proved to be a source of political corruption, financial mismanagement, and intense sectional …

Arkansas Science and Technology Authority (ASTA)

The Arkansas Science and Technology Authority (ASTA) was created in 1983. Its mission is to bring the benefits of science and advanced technology to Arkansas. The legislation creating the authority was based on the growing interest in replicating the technology-based economies of Boston, Massachusetts; California’s Silicon Valley; and Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. For most states, the justification for establishing mechanisms similar to Arkansas’s was faith that investment in science and technology would lead to the creation of high-tech jobs. The first programs were implemented in 1986, and more have been added. The programs are grouped into three broad categories: research and commercialization, technology and manufacturing extension, and management services. In the research programs, ASTA provides funds and technical support …

Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center

The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC) had its beginnings in 1979 as part of the former Industrial Research and Extension Center. Originally named the Arkansas Small Business Development Center, it has been a separate entity since the mid-1980s, when it was transferred to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), where it has become more comprehensive. The center is now a part of UALR’s College of Business in the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Business and Economic Development. In addition to this central office, ASBTDC has six regional offices, all linked to universities. The 2003 annual report sets out the center’s mission: to provide quality consulting, training, research, and technology services to the small-business community through …

Arkansas Soft Pine Bureau (ASPB)

Founded in 1912 by executives of a dozen prominent Arkansas timber firms, the Arkansas Soft Pine Bureau (ASPB) spent decades promoting its members’ southern pine lumber. American Lumberman ad salesman Robert H. Brooks originally conceived of the ASPB, using his previous experience with these firms to convince them to try a one-year advertising campaign funded by an assessment of five cents per 1,000 board feet of lumber manufactured in their Arkansas mills. The first ASPB advertisements appeared in October 1912 and proved successful enough that, by the spring of 1913, the ASPB principals initiated a national campaign and coined the term “Arkansas Soft Pine”—a description patented in 1921 as a registered trademark. Brooks, a Kansan with previous experience in the …

Arkansas State Bank

The Arkansas State Bank (1836–1843) was one of two banks created by the newly formed Arkansas state legislature. It provided some funding for commercial projects, though most of its funds facilitated land sales. Its greatest legacy, however, was saddling the new state government with a burdensome debt and instigating several accounts of political corruption. In the end, the bank’s failure jeopardized both public and private banking in Arkansas due to the public outcry against its operation. Banking was one of the most prominent political issues of the early nineteenth century. Waves of banking mania spread across the country as advocates sang the praises of increasing available currency and spurring on economic development. On the western frontier, demands for banks ran …

Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce

aka: Associated Industries of Arkansas (AIA)
The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and the Associated Industries of Arkansas (AIA) was founded in 1928. Almost immediately, it became the foremost private organization for the promotion of economic interests, and the state chamber established research agencies and agencies to promote its interests to public bodies. After World War II, business leaders saw the need for a coordinated effort to develop the state’s economy. Each region had unique attributes and needed local development groups. The state chamber was to be the body coordinating the efforts of the various local chambers organized along city or county lines. Associated Industries of Arkansas, the purpose of which was to provide political support to business and industrial interests, was organized at the same …

Arkansas Times

The Arkansas Times is a widely read free periodical known for its liberal political stance as well as being an early adopter of news blogging in the state. The Times has achieved acclaim for its work on such stories as the Arkansas prison blood scandal and the case of the West Memphis Three. In 2013, the paper began crowdsourcing funding for in-depth investigative pieces. In the fall of 1974, a group of five people led by Alan Leveritt set out to create an alternative media outlet for Little Rock (Pulaski County) that would offer investigative reporting and stories on local culture. Leveritt had gotten his start in the media business during his college days in the early 1970s at Little Rock …

Arkansas Water Works and Water Environment Association

Comprising the operators of water and sewer systems statewide and their affiliates, the Arkansas Water Works and Water Environment Association has met annually in all but one year since 1931 with the goal of improving water quality through high standards and professionalism in the field. With the lead of the American Water Works Association, and in harmony with efforts under way in other states, the first meeting of what was then called the Arkansas Water Works Conference took place at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) in 1931 and drew forty-seven registered members. There, a slate of officers was elected, and the group resolved to form a permanent organization that would meet annually in cooperation with the …

Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission

The Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission is a quasi-judicial agency of the executive branch of Arkansas government, charged with the responsibility of administering the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Law. Amendment No. 26 of the Arkansas Constitution, which was adopted by the people of the state in the general election held on November 8, 1938, created and gave constitutional authority for the organization and operation of the commission. The amendment provides that the Arkansas General Assembly shall have the power to enact laws prescribing the amount of compensation to be paid by employers for injuries to or death of employees; to pay restitution to the spouses and children of the deceased workers; and to provide the means, methods, and forum for adjudicating claims …

Arkansas World Trade Club

aka: Arkansas Exporters Roundtable
The Arkansas Exporters Roundtable (AER, now Arkansas World Trade Club) was organized in 1971 by Al Pollard, president of the Brooks-Pollard advertising agency of Little Rock (Pulaski County). He invited a half-dozen community leaders with an understanding of foreign trade and its importance to Arkansas commerce to meet together. The goals were a ready exchange of information and networking opportunities for exporters. From this group, AER emerged. Pollard saw that most Arkansas businesses lacked interest in international markets. At the time, there was little advisory assistance for potential exporters in the state. AER turned to the University of Arkansas, particularly the Industrial Research and Extension Center (IREC). IREC began offering workshops throughout the state and individual counseling through Armand de …

Arlington Hotel

The Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs (Garland County) was built at the dawn of the city’s golden era as a resort destination, a time before Las Vegas or Florida had been developed into tourist destinations. Always among the largest hotels in the state, the Arlington is one of the most recognizable landmarks associated with the city of Hot Springs and its bathhouse district, and has been a destination for the wealthy and famous throughout its history. Following the Civil War, the city of Hot Springs quickly began to regain its popularity as a tourist destination. In response to a shortage of hotels to accommodate the growing number of visitors arriving to enjoy the natural thermal springs in the area, Samuel …

Arnold, Mary Ann Ritter

Mary Ann Ritter Arnold became president of E. Ritter & Company, one of the most successful family-owned businesses in the state, in 1976. The company, established in the early twentieth century by Arnold’s great-grandfather Ernest Herman Ritter Jr. and based in Marked Tree (Poinsett County), distributes agricultural supplies and telecommunication services throughout northeast Arkansas and north-central Arkansas; it also includes farming and cotton-ginning operations. Arnold became the first female mayor of Marked Tree, was inducted into the Arkansas Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1998, and was an inaugural inductee into the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame in 2015. The only daughter of Louis V. Ritter Sr. and Betty Hart Ritter, Mary Ann Ritter was born on April 25, 1927, in …

Ashley, Chester

Chester Ashley was prominent in territorial and antebellum Arkansas. He was involved in the dispute over ownership of the site of Little Rock (Pulaski County), the Bowie land claims, and the ill-fated State and Real Estate Banks, as well as being the pre-eminent appellate attorney of the period. He was a member of the powerful Conway-Sevier-Johnson political faction, which controlled state politics until the Civil War. In addition, he was the third Arkansan elected to the U.S. Senate and was probably the wealthiest Arkansan for much of his life because of his land holdings. Chester Ashley was born on June 1, 1791, in Amherst, Massachusetts, to William Ashley and Nancy Pomeroy. Some sources list his birth year as 1790, but …

Atkins Pickle Company

Atkins Pickle Company was the major industry in the town of Atkins (Pope County) for more than fifty years, and its legacy survives in the annual Picklefest celebration that began in 1992. The building that housed the pickle plant now houses Atkins Prepared Foods. The new company employs more people than the pickle plant did at its end, but it does not provide the same level of recognition for the town once dubbed the “Pickle Capital of the World” and known as the home of the fried dill pickle. In 1946, a group of citizens led by Lee Cheek raised $17,000 for a loan to the Goldsmith Pickle Company of Chicago, which had agreed to invest $75,000 of its money …

August House

August House, a commercial book publisher founded and run by Arkansans, was a fixture on the national scene for its twenty-five years in the state. Originally a publisher of poetry, it moved into general fiction and eventually folklore and storytelling. In 1978, two young Arkansas poets, Ted Parkhurst and Jon Looney, started a company to publish Arkansas poetry. They called their enterprise August House Publishers. Parkhurst quit his job to run the fledgling company, even selling his poetry door-to-door. Looney soon left Little Rock (Pulaski County), but Parkhurst stayed, and August House Publishers began to grow. By 1979, it became apparent that literary publishing interested writers in Arkansas and the region, and August House published six titles, including poetry by …