Business Organizations

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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 …

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 Division of Career and Technical Education (ADCTE)

The Division of Career and Technical Education 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.” The Division of Career and Technical Education 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 …

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). Act 910 of 2019 placed the Arkansas Economic Development Commission under the umbrella entity of the Department of Commerce. 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 …

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 …

Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo

Founded in 1892, the Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo is a fraternal organization of lumbermen and those in trades related to the lumber industry. Hoo-Hoo is the oldest industrial fraternal organization in the United States. At the height of the organization’s popularity, membership totaled more than 13,000. The headquarters of the order and its museum are located in Gurdon (Clark County), the town where Hoo-Hoo originated. The order had more than 3,500 members in 2004, but membership had fallen to 2,500 by 2014. The order was established on January 21, 1892, when six men saw a need for an organization to promote unity and fellowship among lumbermen and to combat a possible split brought on by the lumbermen’s broad range of …

Global Ties Arkansas

aka: Arkansas Council for International Visitors
Global Ties Arkansas—formerly the Arkansas Council for International Visitors (ACIV)—is part of the national organization Global Ties U.S., which is based in Washington DC. Global Ties U.S. consists of more than ninety nonprofit organizations around the country. Both Global Ties U.S. and all the ninety-plus organizations are private nonprofits, but they receive international visitors sent to them by the U.S. Department of State. Most of the local organizations are citywide, and a few, such as Global Ties Arkansas, are statewide in coverage. The visitors brought to the United States have been identified as individuals in a position—now or in the future—likely to influence issues related to American foreign policy. Global Ties Arkansas receives international officials and leaders in the areas …