Arkansas Business

Former Arkansas Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller (R) joins William Dillard II, Dr. George Mitchell and Patricia Upton to be inducted into the 2016 class of the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame. The four join 70 men and women in the Hall of Fame, with the induction ceremony set for Feb. 12, 2016.

The Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas and the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame Board announced on Wednesday (Oct. 14) the inductees.

news.walmart.com

Walmart Stores, Inc. has laid off 450 workers at its headquarters as the world's largest retailer attempts to become more nimble to compete with the likes of Amazon.com.

There are more than 18,000 people who work at the headquarters Bentonville, Arkansas. The cuts were across all areas, from finance to global e-commerce. The company says that the employees were spoken to individually early on Friday.

The announcement follows months of rumors about headquarters cuts and arrived a month and a half after Walmart trimmed its annual earnings outlook as profits fell.

Arkansas Opposition To Expanded Federal Fiduciary Rule

Sep 28, 2015
Rep. Steve Womack, R-Arkansas (far right), at a Labor, Health and Human Services Subcommittee hearing on February 25, 2015. (U.S. House)
arkansasbusiness.com

The US Department of Labor is pushing forward a proposed rule to standardize fiduciary responsibility among those who give retirement and financial advice and Arkansas’s congressional delegation is providing resistance.

Gwen Mortiz with Arkansas Business reports in this week’s edition that advisors aren’t always required by law to act in a client’s best interest.

Gov. Radio Address: Career Centers

Sep 19, 2015
Asa Hutchinson unveiling his thoughts on Medicaid expansion in early 2015.
Arkansas Times

The following is a transcript of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's radio address for the weekend of Sept. 18, 2015:

This year, we worked hard to fund four new Career Centers in Ashdown, Clarksville, Mountain Home and Paris, Arkansas. This gives us more than 32 Career Centers in Arkansas. These are vital programs and an important part of our workforce training.

Why? It’s simple. They help our graduates land good jobs.

In turn, a better-educated workforce attracts more businesses and industries. That’s a cycle we want to see repeated again and again.

A view of the Jefferson County Courthouse in Pine Bluff from inside the historic, but crumbling Hotel Pines.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

As officials try to turn Little Rock’s Main Street into a vibrant Creative Corridor other central Arkansas towns are sorting through their own urban plans. Both Hot Springs and Pine Bluff have recently sought solutions to clear debris from collapsed structures with cash strapped owners. 

Mark Friedman has been reporting on the issue with Arkansas Business.

David Monteith / KUAR

Revitalizing the downtown Main Street area by making it a hub for arts organizations is a project first conceived by Mayor Mark Stodola in 2007. Eight years in the making, he looks forward to announcing the completion of the first phase.

  A groundbreaking ceremony has been held for the expansion of Aerojet Rocketdyne's plant in Camden in south Arkansas.

The California-based company was joined by Gov. Asa Hutchinson and state and local officials for Thursday's ceremony.

The project includes new buildings and renovations on the 1,200-acre site and 85 new jobs. The cost of the project was not released, however it is supported with incentives that include funding, tax exemptions, real estate tax grants and reimbursement for training.

The plant produces solid rocket motors used in the defense industry.

The Little Rock Technology Park Authority on Wednesday unanimously approved a measure giving Executive Director Brent Birch the power to negotiate a deal to hire East Harding Inc. as the construction manager for the first phase of the $30 million downtown tech park development.

Fayetteville's City Council in an August meeting on an anti-discrimination ordinance.
Jacqueline Froelich / KUAF

A state judge has ruled a northwest Arkansas city can vote next week on a proposal to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Washington County Circuit Judge Doug Martin on Thursday denied a motion to block next week's special election on the Fayetteville anti-discrimination ordinance.

Opponents of the ordinance had sought a temporary restraining order and had argued, among other things, that the ordinance violated a state law aimed at preventing local anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The University of Central Arkansas Board of Trustees has approved a lease for an on-campus restaurant that plans to sell alcohol.

The lease with Mosaique Bistro and Grill was approved Friday on a 6-1 vote with board member Kay Hinkle voting against it. Retired minister James Davis of Conway also spoke against allowing alcohol sales on campus.

The restaurant will be in Donaghey Hall. The hall is a four-story, two-building development that is under construction with completion expected by fall 2016.

Natural Gas Drilling Mt. Vernon in Faulkner County
Arkansas Times

Arkansas severance tax collections tumbled nearly 59% in the first month of state’s fiscal year 2016 as Fayetteville Shale drillers were unable to sustain production levels due to continued weak natural gas prices, spending cuts and fewer operating rigs.

According to monthly tax data compiled by the Revenue Division of the Arkansas Department of Finance & Administration, state tax revenue for natural gas production in July (the first month of fiscal 2016) came in at $3.48 million, compared to $8.4 million a year ago.

Arkansas River
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The long rain-induced nightmare for port, barge and other operators on the Arkansas River may soon be over, but the impact of heavy rains earlier this year pushed river tonnage down more than 25% in July.

Tonnage shipped on the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System between January and July totaled 5.135 million in July, down 23% compared to the same period in 2014, according to a monthly report from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

John Correnti Big River Steel
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The CEO of the state’s first superproject, Big River Steel CEO John Correnti, was found dead on an out-of-state business trip Tuesday morning, Talk Business & Politics has confirmed.

Correnti, 68, was the driving force for the $1.3 billion steel mill superproject, which is being built near Osceola (Mississippi Co.). As a former CEO of rival Nucor Steel, Correnti was a big fan of Arkansas where he once headed Nucor’s operations in the 1990’s.

Fayetteville-based Sage Partners announced Monday that it has leased 55,882 square feet of space at the former Hawker facility at Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport to Mountain Home aviation services firm Fly Arkansas LLC.

Fly Arkansas plans to begin operations at the airport facility in October 2015, offering aircraft leasing, rental, management and other aviation services. This is the company’s third Fixed Based Operator (FBO) facility, and it’s first in Little Rock, company officials said.

'Impasse' on Main Street

Aug 3, 2015
Scott Reed at the relaunch of K Lofts in 2013.
Mauren Kennedy / Arkansas Business

Private developers and the city of Little Rock have been investing in recent years to revive a stretch of Main Street but not all projects in the so-called Creative Corridor are taking off. George Waldon, with Arkansas Business, reports that two mixed-use commercial and residential properties being developed by Scott Reed – K Lofts and Main Street Lofts – are behind schedule and owe contractors more than a million dollars.

The Walmart visitors center in downtown Bentonville.
bentonville.org

The Walton Family Foundation is developing what it is calling an “independent” school in Bentonville for the Northwest Arkansas region, the foundation announced in a press release Thursday.

The release said the school “will also offer a challenging curriculum, small classes, a diverse student body and distinctive architecture.”

ArkansasBusiness.com has details on the arrest of North Little Rock businessman John Rogers. He became known for buying the photo archives of major newspapers across the country and dealing in sports memorabilia like rare baseball cards. But Rogers has been dogged by a series of fraud allegations by banks, business associates, clients and investors.

More International Recognition For Little Rock’s Creative Corridor

Jul 22, 2015
Main Street Little Rock creative corridor
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

The architecture plan to transform Main Street Little Rock into the Creative Corridor has been recognized again.

The University of Arkansas Community Design Center and Marlon Blackwell Architect’s plan, “The Creative Corridor: A Main Street Revitalization for Little Rock,” won Honorable Mention in Urban Design (Concept) of the International Awards 2015 sponsored by Architecture Podium.

Two of Arkansas’ largest publicly traded concerns bounced off yearly lows in Monday’s week-opening session as U.S. stocks endured another day of Wall Street downgrades and uneasy trading following news that Europe had offered Greece a $96 billion bailout deal.

Overall, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 217.27, or 1.2%, to 17977.68. The S&P 500 added 22.98, or 1.1%, to 2099.60, while the technology friendly Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 73.82, or 1.5%, to 5071.51.

JBS USA Pork has agreed to a $1.45 billion deal with Cargill to acquire the company’s U.S.-based pork business, which includes part of the agriculture and food giant’s pork operations in Arkansas.

A May survey of business contacts in the Little Rock Zone of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis shows a little more than half of respondents expect economic conditions in 2015 will be better than in 2014. That’s down from three months earlier, when a little more than 80% were optimistic about the near-term outlook.

Arkansas Women's Hall of Fame Board President Nan Snow introducing the inaugural class.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton, civil rights leader Daisy Bates, and the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate, Hattie Caraway, are among 11 inductees in the first class of the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame. One organization, the Central High School desegregation-era Women’s Emergency Committee to Open Our Schools, also received the honor.

Governor Hutchinson office
Office of the Governor

The following is a transcript of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's radio address for the weekend of June 19, 2015:

In 2009, a 21-year-old interior design major at the University of Arkansas took a risk, trusted her gut, and started her own business on just $100. Today, that business — a clothing boutique called Riffraff — is a million-dollar operation with storefront locations in Fayetteville and Dallas and a strong online presence.

Gov. Radio Address: Promoting Arkansas In Europe

Jun 13, 2015
Office of the Governor

  The following is a transcript of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's Radio Address and Column for the weekend of June 12, 2015:

A few weeks ago, I was in Silicon Valley in California. Last week, I was in Newport and Batesville. Saturday, I leave for Paris and Germany.

The locations change but the business remains the same — economic development for Arkansas.

Jobs.

In 2015, we have to be a national and global competitor. And to compete on a national and global level, we have to market Arkansas at every opportunity. That means being there.

Southwest Steel Processing announced Monday it plans to invest $18 million in its Newport plant, adding a second forging line and creating 100 new jobs over the next two years. The state will contribute an additional $11 million to the project. Scott Hardin, from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, says the company chose to expand in Arkansas due to the capability of the existing workforce and community.

Acxiom To Sell Its Core IT Business For $190 Million, Releases Q4 Earnings In Advance

May 20, 2015
Adam Bartlett / flickr.com

Acxiom Corp. announced that it is getting out of the IT services business as the Little Rock technology company continues to streamline its operations to focus on its core marketing and data services business.

At the same time, Acxiom fourth quarter earnings improved year-over-year although it reported net losses of eight cents per share from continuing operations on revenue of $257 million. That compares with losses of 33 cents year share on sales of $269 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014.

Arkansas-Based Walmart Misses Forecast As Profits Slide In Q1

May 19, 2015
walmart wal-mart
Walmart

Walmart saw its first quarter revenues slide 0.1% but profits fell further as the strong dollar and changes in consumer spending impacted the retail giant’s bottom line.

Charles Zook, son of Arkansas Chamber of Commerce CEO, opposing chamber's role in LRSD state takeover.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

A smattering of protestors lined the plaza of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce Wednesday at noon to denounce its support of the state takeover of Little Rock schools. Charles Zook said his family embodies what he characterizes as a suspect network of influence in the state’s 5-4 decision in late January to dissolve the locally elected school board.

One Million Cups Hits One Year Old, Ready To Move To Next Level

May 12, 2015

Just a year after the first One Million Cups forum landed in Little Rock, local officials are encouraged by the emergence of the program as a key player in the state and region’s flourishing startup community – yet they’re hopeful for an even bigger payoff in the future.

Windstream Q1 Profits Drop 67%

May 7, 2015

Shares in Windstream Holdings Inc. were moving lower in trading Thursday after the Little Rock telecom reported that first quarter earnings fell nearly 67% following the recent spin off its real estate assets more than a week ago.

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