Brian Aiken (Founder/Director of Neon Cloud Productions)

Brian Aiken

Founder/Director of Neon Cloud Productions

Brian Aiken is the Founder and Director of Neon Cloud Productions; a video production firm with over 9 years of experience specializing solely in the creation of Economic Development Community video content. He has created 1000+ Economic Development videos over the years and every project is customized to his client's needs. His main goal is to find and master cutting-edge technology to promote his clients' communities in engaging, creative, and impactful ways. Brian is an Industry Leader who is known and appreciated for his ground-breaking concepts and unequaled video production quality.

Julie Allen, PCED (Director of Newport Area Chamber of Commerce)

Julie Allen, PCED

Director of Newport Area Chamber of Commerce

Julie Allen, Professional Community and Economic Developer, is executive director of Newport Area Chamber of Commerce where she has served the community since 2002. She is a 1994 graduate of Arkansas State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications - Radio/Television. Prior to her position at the Chamber, she worked as a radio DJ in Jacksonville, Florida and Jonesboro, Arkansas.

Mrs. Allen is an active volunteer. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Downtown Revitalization & Volunteer Improvement Effort, Newport School District Charitable Foundation, the Jackson County Humane Society, Newport Country Club, Jackson County Community Foundation, the Newport Rotary Club and is a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow.

Her work at the Chamber of Commerce also makes her the lead contact and organizer for the Depot Days Festival, Arkansas Scholars Program, Retail Merchants Committee, Business After Hours, New Vision Newport leadership development course, Chamber Scholarship Program and the Newport Christmas Parade.

She has lived in Newport since 1998, the year she married her husband, Michael. The couple has two children - Jessica, age 1 and Meagan, age 15.

Katherine Andrews (Director, Office of Outdoor Recreation at Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism)

Katherine Andrews

Director, Office of Outdoor Recreation at Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism

Katherine is the Director of the newly created Office of Outdoor Recreation within the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. She is currently responsible for leading the state’s efforts to grow the outdoor recreation economy in Arkansas. This includes the promotion and connection of the outdoor recreation industry, the creation and progress of collaborative relationships between outdoor industry stakeholders in Arkansas, fostering the growth of outdoor companies, and the support and advocacy of conservation in The Natural State.

Katherine previously worked for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission as Director of the newly created Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development Division. She was responsible for the progress and collaboration of small business and entrepreneurial partnerships statewide. Katherine worked to create relationships and synergies between state agencies and Entrepreneurial Service Organizations across Arkansas, ensuring a more streamlined effort of advancing their efforts. Before stepping into that role, Katherine worked as a Project Manager on the Business Development team. Prior to AEDC, she worked as a Commercial Real Estate Sales Associate for the Hathaway Group in Little Rock.

Katherine attended the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville where she received a B.S.B.A. in Finance. She currently lives in Little Rock and is heavily involved in making her home state and city a better place to live. Katherine is a graduate of Leadership Arkansas Class XIII and Leadership Little Rock Class XXXV, as well as a graduate of the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute program. She is an Honorary Commander at the Little Rock Airforce Base, is a recipient of Arkansas Business’ 2019 20 in their 20s award, has served on the Mount St. Mary Academy Alumnae Board and as President of the Rotaract Club of Little Rock. She volunteers for Our House, Women and Children First, and for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Katherine is an avid outdoorswoman and enjoys hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, running, and spending time in nature with family and friends.

Kristi Barr (Director, HR & Talent Initiatives of Little Rock Regional Chamber)

Kristi Barr

Director, HR & Talent Initiatives of Little Rock Regional Chamber

Kristi Barr serves as the Director of HR & Talent Initiatives for the Little Rock Regional Chamber. Kristi leads the chamber’s work to support the advancement of public schools, monitor and increase the talent pipeline for employers and increase the labor force participation rate in Little Rock and Central Arkansas. In her time at the chamber, she has helped to spearhead initiatives to align current curriculum offerings in both K-12 and post-secondary to industry demand, facilitated hiring events for new and expanding companies to meet their hiring needs and partnered with local business and education leaders in the creation of a career-themed “center of excellence” at North Little Rock High School and the Little Rock School District Excel Program. Over the past several years, Kristi has built a coalition among all four school districts in Pulaski County to implement the Academies of Central Arkansas, a systemic high school redesign through Ford Next Generation Learning’s (NGL) proven framework.

Kristi came to Little Rock 18 years ago from the Carmel-Clay Chamber of Commerce in Carmel, Indiana, a northern suburb of Indianapolis. She received her bachelor’s degree from Purdue University, is a graduate of Oklahoma University’s Economic Development Institute, has been awarded the Mid-South Economic Development Professional designation and is an Education Attainment Fellow with the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE). In 2019, she was named Outstanding Economic Developer by the Arkansas Economic Developers & Chamber Executives. She has previously served as chair of the Little Rock Workforce Development Board and still resides on that board. She has served on numerous business advisory boards for the Little Rock School District, the North Little Rock School District and University of Arkansas – Pulaski Technical College and is a former board member of Arkansas Economic Developers.

Kristi is married to Jason Barr and resides in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Justin Archer Burch (National Director of Workforce & Small Business at Local Initiatives Support Corporation)

Justin Archer Burch

National Director of Workforce & Small Business at Local Initiatives Support Corporation

Justin Archer Burch is the National Director of Workforce & Small Business at Rural Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). He works to build equitable rural work and entrepreneurial ecosystems across the country in 45 states and 2 U.S. territories. Justin has built a career at the intersection of economic development and philanthropy. Prior to joining the Rural LISC team, Justin was previously the Director of Programs for the Delta Regional Authority, which is a Federal Economic Development Commission that serves the eight state Delta region. Justin was instrumental in planning, implementing, and directing key programs around workforce development, rural entrepreneurship, infrastructure investment, placemaking/creative economies, and tourism for the Delta region.

Justin was also the former lead of community development at the Foundation for the Mid-South which serves Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Justin directed the Delta Workforce Funding Collaborative at the Foundation for the Mid-South and spearheaded key investments in “Get-On-The-Grid” and the Mississippi Reentry Guide, which won him the national systems change award from the National Fund for Workforce Solutions.
Justin’s passion is to help rural marginalized populations. He is a former fellow with W.K. Kellogg Foundation; a former Delta Entrepreneurship Network Fellow; was named one of the top men doing good work in Jackson, Mississippi; was named a top twenty nonprofit professional in Little Rock, Arkansas; serves as an advisor to the Mississippi Reentry Council, the racial equity learning committee for Appalachia Funders Network, and the steering committee to the Delta Philanthropic Network; has been published by both the Southeastern Council on Foundations and SHERM; and leads the Aspen Opportunity Youth Network efforts in the Mississippi Delta.

Justin has a B.A. in political science from the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), and an M.S.S. in social science from Mississippi College. Justin has also earned certificates in leadership management from the Kennedy School at Harvard and nonprofit leadership from the Lily School of Philanthropy. Justin lives in Little Rock, Arkansas with his wife Cameryn Miller Burch and daughter Catherine Lawrence where they are active within the community and the Methodist Church.

Kurt Castleberry (Director of Resource Planning & Market Operations at Entergy Arkansas)

Kurt Castleberry

Director of Resource Planning & Market Operations at Entergy Arkansas

Kurt has been employed by Entergy Corporation since 1983. During this time he has held a variety of positions in customer service, major account management, substation management, distribution and transmission performance management, wholesale power marketing and resource planning. In his current role as EAI’s Director, Resource Planning and Market Operations, Kurt is responsible for the management and administration of EAI’s resource planning activities. His duties involve conducting planning activities to identify all available supply-side and demand-side resource options, performing analyses to assess these resource options, and ultimately developing and implementing EAI’s integrated resource plan for meeting the load and energy requirements of EAI’s retail customers.
He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in General Engineering
from Arkansas Tech University and a Masters Degree in International Business from Webster University. Kurt has also completed additional studies at Columbia University Business School, the University of Michigan Business School, the Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania) and the Southeastern Electric Exchange Middle Management School.

Kurt and his wife, Donna, reside in Little Rock; have two daughters, one who is a doctor of pharmacy and works at St. Vincent Hospital in Little Rock; one is an attorney employed by the Skadden Law Firm in Atlanta, and a son who works in information technology for Entergy Services in Little Rock. They also are proud grandparents to three granddaughters and a grandson.

Jon Chadwell, CEcD (Director of Newport Economic Development Commission)

Jon Chadwell, CEcD

Director of Newport Economic Development Commission

As Executive Director for the Newport Economic Development Commission, Jon Chadwell is actively involved in helping develop a rural Arkansas community. Through trial and error (plenty of errors) Jon has learned some things that work well and many that don’t. His personal goal is to keep in mind that the end result of developing any community is to improve the quality of life for the people who live there.

Jon received his bachelor’s degree from Harding University in 1985. In 1997 he graduated from Community Development Institute at the University of Central Arkansas. His Master of Divinities degree was completed in 1999 from Harding Graduate School of Religion. Jon is a graduate of LeadAR Class 10. In 2003, he became a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) through the International Economic Development Council.

Additional experience comes from Jon’s diverse job background. He has worked in a number of different economic development settings. A grant-writing job required that he lead 18 grassroots community groups through a comprehensive strategic planning process, which allowed the community to receive a major grant. Jon has also worked as a Main Street director, a Chamber Director, facilitator of three adult leadership programs and facilitator of a youth leadership program. The Newport Economic Development Commission is the third economic development group he has guided.

Jon is married to Sheridan Chadwell and together they also own a small business in Newport, Purdy’s Flowers and Gifts. He has two children, Calli Chadwell, an independent insurance agent, and Jordan Chadwell, a computer specialist for Bass Pro Stores.

Rush Deacon (Sr. VP, Special Projects at Arkansas Capital Corporation)

Rush Deacon

Sr. VP, Special Projects at Arkansas Capital Corporation

Mr. Deacon has served in a variety of senior executive roles in his career, including CEO of Arkansas Capital and two other successful ventures. He also has past experience in the private practice of corporate law and as a tax accountant with an international accounting firm in Houston and London.

Derek Dyson (President & CEO of Today's Power)

Derek Dyson

President & CEO of Today's Power

Derek A. Dyson is the CEO/President of Today’s Power, Inc. (TPI). A former shareholder for over 20 years with the law firm of Duncan, Weinberg, Genzer & Pembroke, P.C., he has worked closely in developing and implementing energy solutions for cooperatives, municipalities, tribal communities, and independent developers. He has worked on the financing, development, construction, operation and decommissioning of numerous energy projects across the United States and Internationally. He has been a contracting officer with both the Department of Navy and the White House Situation Support Staff, as well as a law clerk with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Jennifer Emerson, EDFP (Deputy Director & Executive Vice President of Operations at Arkansas Economic Development Commission)

Jennifer Emerson, EDFP

Deputy Director & Executive Vice President of Operations at Arkansas Economic Development Commission

Jennifer Emerson, EDFP is the Deputy Director and Executive Vice President of Operations at the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. Jennifer has 12 years of experience working for the State of Arkansas, including over seven years with the AEDC.

Jennifer provides leadership for the following AEDC divisions: Business Finance, Grants, Rural Services, Community Development, and Human Resources. Jennifer also oversees the bond guaranty program and works closely with the Arkansas Economic Development Commissioners to strategize effective deployment of those funds.

Prior to joining public service, Jennifer began her career in finance with Nuvell Financial Services. Her various roles at Nuvell included legal, bankruptcy, and – one of her most prized career moments – a member of the Hurricane Katrina Relief Team.

Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in Marketing from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She is a certified Economic Development Finance Professional through the National Development Council, a member of Leadership Arkansas Class XIV, a graduate of the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute, and a member of the International Economic Development Council.

Jennifer and her husband, Matt, live in Sherwood with their beloved Labradors, Ice, Boss, Penny, Fancy and Roux.

Danny Games, CEcD, EDFP (Director of Business & Economic Development at Entergy Arkansas)

Danny Games, CEcD, EDFP

Director of Business & Economic Development at Entergy Arkansas

Danny Games is the Director of Business & Economic Development for Entergy Arkansas. Based in Little Rock, Entergy’s team of economic development professionals focuses on assisting the state and local communities in becoming more competitive for attracting new businesses and supporting existing businesses throughout the Entergy Arkansas service territory.

Games came to Entergy from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) where he served as the Executive Vice President of Global Business under Governor Asa Hutchinson. He directed the Business Development, Business Finance, Community Development, Existing Business, Military Affairs, and Women & Minority Business divisions at the AEDC.

Games has almost 20 years of economic development experience at state and local levels, including management positions with BHP, Chesapeake Energy, AEDC and Entergy Arkansas.

He holds a Master of Science degree in Economic Development from the University of Southern Mississippi and earned his Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) certification from the International Economic Development Council and Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) certification from the National Development Council. Games currently serves as a board member for Goodwill Industries of Arkansas.

Tonya Hallett (Vice President, People eXperience Technology (PXT) at Amazon)

Tonya Hallett

Vice President, People eXperience Technology (PXT) at Amazon

Tonya Hallett is a human capital professional with more than 25 years of broad ranging experience in Human Resources. Tonya is currently Vice President, People eXperience Technology (PXT) at Amazon, where she leads the PXT teams for WW Consumer Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), WW Consumer and G&A.

Tonya began her career with General Motors in 1996 and progressed through several different assignments in Labor Relations and field HR leadership positions. Her unique roles comprise an international assignment in Germany leading the EU purchasing & supply chain talent strategy, as the Global Director Human Resources for the iconic Cadillac vehicle brand and in her role prior to joining Amazon, as the Executive Director Human Resources for the Global Manufacturing function, responsible for over 100,000 employees.

From 2012 through 2014, Tonya assumed the position, Vice President of Human Resources for TouchTunes Interactive Networks, the largest digital out-of-home interactive entertainment, advertising and music-related commerce network in North America. During this time, she elevated the HR processes and partnered with the leadership to establish new business verticals and a European footprint.

She holds a Master of Science in Manufacturing Management from Kettering University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial & Labor Relations from Cornell University.

Tonya is married and a proud mom of 3 vibrant and thriving young men. She is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, The Links, Incorporated and Jack & Jill of America, Incorporated. She enjoys supporting initiatives for enhancing educational opportunities for at risk youth, the arts, and cancer research.

The Honorable Asa Hutchinson (Governor at State of Arkansas)

The Honorable Asa Hutchinson

Governor at State of Arkansas

Asa Hutchinson is the 46th governor of the State of Arkansas. In 2018, he was re-elected with 65% of the vote, having received more votes than any other candidate for governor in the state's history.

He has won recognition for the state as a leader in computer science education, cut taxes by over $250 million, and signed a law that exempts the retirement pay of veterans from state income tax.

President Ronald Reagan appointed Governor Hutchinson as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas. In 1996, he won the first of three successive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. During his third term in Congress, President George W. Bush appointed him director of the Drug Enforcement Administration and later as an undersecretary in the newly created Department of Homeland Security.

His experience has established him as a national resource for his expertise on trade, energy, national security, and education. The governor has been invited to the White House several times to join discussions about health care, Medicaid, and education issues.

The Governor is the current Chair of the National Governors Association. He is the former co-chair of the Council of Governors and the former chairman of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC), Southern States Energy Board (SSEB), and the Southern Regional Education Board.

Governor Hutchinson grew up on a small farm in Gravette. He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas law school. He and his wife, Susan, have been married 48 years. They have four children and seven grandchildren.

Dr. Chris Jones (2022 Candidate for Governor (D) at Chris for Governor)

Dr. Chris Jones

2022 Candidate for Governor (D) at Chris for Governor

Dr. Chris Jones was born and raised in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. His parents, both ministers, raised Chris with a strong sense of faith. For Chris, his faith never collided with his love for science -- in fact, it only made it grow stronger. He attended Morehouse College on a NASA Scholarship, for physics and math, then went on to study at MIT earning a master’s degree in nuclear engineering and a Ph.D. in urban planning. After becoming ordained as a minister himself, Chris returned home to Arkansas and led the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub. Through this work, he has seen firsthand how disparities within Arkansas have gotten worse, not better.

He believes there is much room for growth, including improving public education opportunities in every community, strengthening infrastructure from roads to broadband access, protecting and securing our right to vote, and bridging the rural and urban divide. Chris has faith in Arkansas’s potential, and he’s running for governor to ensure every person in Arkansas has an opportunity to succeed.

Dr. Jones is the proud spouse of Air Force veteran and ER physician Dr. Jerrilyn Jones and they have three beautiful girls.

Scott Kuttenkuler (Assistant Vice Chancellor at Saline County Career Technical Campus - ASU Three Rivers)

Scott Kuttenkuler

Assistant Vice Chancellor at Saline County Career Technical Campus - ASU Three Rivers

Scott Kuttenkuler is currently the Assistant Vice Chancellor for the Saline County Career Technical Campus (SCCTC). In the role, Scott will be charged with managing the day-to-day operations of the facility including but not limited to providing administrative supervision of Campus team members, preparing/maintaining the Campus budget, promoting student recruitment, and serving as a communication link between the center, participating high schools, community partners. SCCTC is a 134,000 sqft career and technical education training facility that enrolls between 600-700 students in Benton Arkansas. The facility opened in August 2021 and is preparing to welcome students for year 2 in August 2022. SCCTC is dedicated to the development of a skilled workforce that is prepared for the industry of today and position to be leaders in the future. The facility is under the day to day management of Arkansas State University Three Rivers .

Originally from Missouri, Scott has spent the past 20 years in a variety of roles in higher education throughout the state of Arkansas. Previous to his current position he served as the Vice President for Student Affairs at SEARK College in Pine Bluff for nearly 5 years and spent 13 years in a variety of roles at the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

Scott is a high-energy, goal-driven individual that is committed to developing educational environments that challenge existing frameworks and are dedicated to the growth of individual students in the preparation of their next chapters. He is a woodworking hobbyist, active outdoorsman, and foody.

His wife of 20 years, Amanda Kuttenkuler (he truly married up), is a grants manager for the Arkansas Rural Health Alliance. He is the father of Beau (19) a sophomore baseball player at SouthArk College and Gabe (17) a senior baseball player at Sheridan High School.

Michele Linch, PhD (State Director of AR Career Awareness and Preparation System (AR CAPS))

Michele Linch, PhD

State Director of AR Career Awareness and Preparation System (AR CAPS)

Dr. Michele Linch serves as the State Director of AR Career Awareness and Preparation System (AR CAPS): Learning Blade, Career Blade and Ready for Industy, which is focused on building the high-demand workforce pipeline for Arkansas. She took this role after having served as the Arkansas State Teacher Association’s Executive Director for over ten years. She has worked in education for over three decades, from teaching science in a high-performing inner-city school to providing teacher and leadership training in the poorest province in China. She has served in higher education as a Dean, professor and Director of the Arkansas Teacher Leadership Institute.

JD Lowery (Manager - Community and Economic Development at Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation)

JD Lowery

Manager - Community and Economic Development at Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation

JD Lowery is the Manager of the Community and Economic Development for the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas. He previously served in various roles for Governor Mike Beebe, which culminated as Director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission's Energy Office. JD holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Arkansas. He also has a Master in Public Service from the Clinton School of Public Service and holds MBA from Harding University.

Sarah McBroom (Sr. Manager for Regional Engagement at Project Equity)

Sarah McBroom

Sr. Manager for Regional Engagement at Project Equity

Sarah is driven by a commitment to building thriving local economies and a more prosperous Arkansas. She began her career at the Arkansas Economic Development Commission focused on business development and retention. She was then an officer at the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation building strategies to leverage philanthropy to catalyze systemic change and build statewide property.

Currently, Sarah is Senior Manager for Regional Engagement at Project Equity. In this role, she collaborates with city and county governments, economic development organizations, foundations, and other regional partners across the U.S. to unlock the power of employee ownership to build stronger local economies. She has a joint Master of Business and Public Service from the University of Arkansas Walton College of Business and Clinton School of Public Service. Outside of work, she loves canoeing, camping, and enjoying the Natural State with her family.

Kim Moore, CEcD, EDFP, MEDP (Executive Managing Director of Newmark)

Kim Moore, CEcD, EDFP, MEDP

Executive Managing Director of Newmark

Kim L. Moore joined Newmark in 2014 as a part of the firm’s Global Strategy and Consulting Team, a practice within the firm’s Global Corporate Services (GCS). Kim leads the Economic Incentives Advisory and the Economic Development Consulting Services practices. With a diverse background in economic development, incentive negotiation, site selection and strategic planning, Kim leads marketing efforts and strategic planning for both the private and public sectors. Kim is based in Dallas.

Kim has managed multiple projects securing almost 11.2M SF of new and redeveloped space, increasing the tax base with committed investments of more than $1.5 billion, creating over 19,900 new jobs and negotiating over $5.2 billion in incentives.

Kim has developed economic development strategic plans, target industry studies and labor surveys for communities, counties and utilities in California, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Tennessee and Texas. She is often a featured speaker/panelist at multiple economic development and site selection focused conferences.

Secretary Mike Preston (Secretary at Arkansas Department of Commerce)

Secretary Mike Preston

Secretary at Arkansas Department of Commerce

Gov. Asa Hutchinson appointed Michael “Mike” Preston executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) in March 2015 and Secretary of Commerce in July 2019. Preston is highly regarded as a leading advocate in economic development.

Over the years, Preston has made successful business recruitment trips to Japan, China, France, Germany, Israel, Cuba, Mexico, Italy, United Kingdom, New York City, and Silicon Valley. The trips continue to play an important role in the state’s economic development efforts and have led to more than 451 projects with companies signing agreements with AEDC to locate or expand in Arkansas. These companies are investing $9.24 billion and creating more than 19,794 new jobs.

Before joining AEDC, he served six and a half years as the Vice President of Government Relations for Enterprise Florida, the state’s primary economic development organization. During his tenure at Enterprise Florida, he was part of the team that helped create more than 147,000 jobs, paying an average wage of $56,437, and generating $10.07 billion in capital investment.

In 2018, Preston was selected to join The Wall Street Journal’s prestigious CEO Council. It is an invitation-only group that connects some of the world’s most ambitious and influential leaders to discuss the issues shaping the future. The members lead companies that collectively employ more than eight million people, generate $2.9 trillion in annual revenue, and represent 20 countries in a wide cross-section of industries.

A 2005 graduate of the University of Florida, Mike and his wife Anne – along with their young son Pierce – are proud to call Arkansas home. They both volunteer in the community in a variety of ways, including the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Andrew Ratchford (Senior Consultant at Global Location Strategies)

Andrew Ratchford

Senior Consultant at Global Location Strategies

Andrew has worked in real estate his entire career. With experience in non-profit housing development, county government planning, development services, and economic development as well as asset management for a private equity multi-family housing developer, Andrew brings a diverse perspective to the site selection process.

Prior to joining GLS in 2019, Andrew worked for Graycliff Capital Partners. During his time there he supported $300 million in equity deployment by providing market insights, managing daily asset operations, and by overseeing capital project deployment. Andrew’s projects resulted in over $87 million in additional capitalized value across 11 communities in the eastern United States. He also actively supported managerial decisions, budgeting, investment underwriting, capital project deployment/coordination, and make/buy decisions in his role.

Before joining Graycliff, Andrew worked with Greenville County, SC as a Principal Planner. He oversaw major projects such as area/city master plan developments, grant administration, and ordinance development for select county and municipal projects. He also assisted in entitlement and development services, public input, and stakeholder coordination.

Andrew enjoys supporting community growth by siting investment opportunities and helping communities better compete for new investments. He also serves his local community as a board member with several non-profits and the Clemson University MBA board.

Andrew is a graduate of both North Greenville University where he received his undergraduate in American Studies, and Clemson University, where he received a Master of Business Administration focused in real estate. He and his wife Sarah have one daughter, Adelyn. He enjoys hiking, playing music, and watching Clemson football.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders (2022 Candidate for Governor (R) at Sarah for Governor)

Sarah Huckabee Sanders

2022 Candidate for Governor (R) at Sarah for Governor

Sarah Huckabee Sanders served as White House Press Secretary for President Donald J. Trump from 2017 to 2019. A trusted confidant of the President, Sarah advised him on everything from press and communications strategy to personnel and policy. For two and a half years, Sarah worked closely with the president, battling with the media, working with lawmakers and CEOs, and accompanying the president on every foreign trip, including dozens of meetings with foreign leaders. Sarah is only the third woman – and the very first mom – to ever hold the job of White House Press Secretary.

Upon her departure from the administration, President Trump described Sarah as “irreplaceable,” a “warrior” and “very special person with extraordinary talents, who has done an incredible job.”

Sarah joined the Trump campaign as a senior advisor in February 2016 during the Republican primary, and continued in that role through the President’s historic defeat of Hillary Clinton.

Sarah has previously worked in leadership roles for U.S. Senators, Governors, and presidential campaigns. In Arkansas, Sarah was a senior advisor to Senator Tom Cotton in 2014 when he defeated incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Pryor, and was campaign manager for Senator John Boozman in 2010 when he defeated incumbent Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln. In 2007 and 2008, Sarah helped lead her father, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, to victory in the Iowa Caucuses and seven other states as his national political director. Sarah served in the Department of Education during President George W. Bush‘s administration, and was campaign manager of the ONE campaign, a global non-profit founded by U2’s Bono to take action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa.

Sarah has been recognized in Fortune and TIME Magazine “40 under 40.” She is the author of the New York Times bestseller “Speaking for Myself,” a former Fox News contributor, and serves on the Fulbright board.

Sarah grew up in Pine Bluff and Texarkana, and is a proud graduate of Little Rock Central High and Ouachita Baptist University. She lives in Little Rock with her husband, Bryan, their children Scarlett, Huck, and George, and their golden retriever, Traveler.

Bentley Story, CEcD (Director, Business Development of Arkansas Economic Development Commission)

Bentley Story, CEcD

Director, Business Development of Arkansas Economic Development Commission

Bentley Story is the Director of the Business Development Division of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC). A native of Forrest City, Arkansas, Bentley began working at AEDC in 2007 as a Project Manager working with companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Dillard’s, and Windstream. In 2012 he was promoted to Division Director, where he oversees the work of a professional team of project managers and international representatives who are responsible for recruiting new business to Arkansas, helping existing businesses grow, and preparing communities to take advantage of economic development opportunities.

Under Bentley’s leadership, the Business Development Division has seen project announcements resulting in more than 25,000 jobs statewide, and more than $13 billion in investment in the state of Arkansas. In 2013, Bentley and the AEDC team oversaw the state’s first Amendment 82 project, resulting in the completion of a $1.3 billion steel mill in Mississippi County that employs more than 500 people who earn an average salary of $75,000 per year. This project remains the largest investment to date in Arkansas. Other companies that have located or expanded in Arkansas since 2012 include Sprint, Sig Sauer, J.B. Hunt, HanesBrands, TrinityRail, MISO, Simmons Foods and Lockheed Martin.

Prior to coming to AEDC, Bentley worked as a budget analyst with the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, where he analyzed and reconciled state budgets totaling over $4 billion. He has also worked in Tyson Foods’ Corporate Strategy Division and served as a consultant to the Northwest Arkansas Museum Foundation.

Bentley has served as a member of the Arkansas Economic Developers Board, is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute and is a Certified Economic Developer. In 2015 and 2017, he was selected by Consultant Connect as one of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers. Bentley has served as a member of the Baptist Health Foundation Associate Board, has been a frequent volunteer for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and has served as a judge for the Governor’s Cup Business Plan Competition.

Bentley is a graduate of the Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration. He and his wife, Amanda, live in Little Rock with their two children.

Kevin Tipton (President at Dreamline Manufacturing)

Kevin Tipton

President at Dreamline Manufacturing

Kevin Tipton is President of Dreamline Manufacturing. A graduate of Cabot High School and Ouachita Baptist University, Mr. Tipton is a current Cabot School Board Member. Most recently he was appointed by Governor Hutchinson to the Career Education and Workforce Development Board. He also serves on the board of directors for Roberts-McNutt Inc. and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He is married to Rilee Tipton and they have two children.

Dr. Corey Wiggins (Federal Co-Chairman at Delta Regional Authority)

Dr. Corey Wiggins

Federal Co-Chairman at Delta Regional Authority

Dr. Corey Wiggins was confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate on March 10, 2022 to serve as Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman. Nominated by President Biden on December 15, 2021, Wiggins became the fifth DRA Federal Co-Chairman to serve in the position.

A native of Hazlehurst, Mississippi, Chairman Wiggins most recently served as the Executive Director of the Mississippi State Conference NAACP. Previously, he served as Senior Vice President of Policy at Hope Enterprise Corporation and Hope Credit Union. He also served as Executive Director of the Mississippi Economic Policy Center and as Director of the Hope Policy Institute, where he focused on strengthening communities, building assets, and improving lives in economically distressed parts of the MidSouth.

In addition, Wiggins served as a Barbara Jordan Health Policy Fellow in the United States Senate and as a policy analyst for the Mississippi Legislature Joint Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review (PEER) Committee. Wiggins also held the rank of Visiting Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management at Jackson State University.

Chairman Wiggins completed his undergraduate studies with a B.S. in Biology from Alcorn State University. He received a M.S. in Public Health with an emphasis in Health Policy and a Ph.D. in Health Promotion and Health Education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Additionally, he has a certificate of nonprofit leadership from Boston College and has furthered his training through fellowships with the Kaiser Family Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Benjamin Worrell (Consultant, Credit & Incentive Services at McGuire Sponsel)

Benjamin Worrell

Consultant, Credit & Incentive Services at McGuire Sponsel

As a consultant for McGuire Sponsel’s Credits and Incentives practice, Ben Worrell will foster client relationships by guiding clients through the intricate compliance requirements associated with credits and incentives benefits.

Ben builds confidence in the McGuire Sponsel client relationship by working with clients throughout the duration of their project – not just in a one-off transaction. Ben built his relationship management experience through his time as a small business advocate and advisor in management and economic development roles. Ben graduated from Hanover College with a political science degree and Cedarville University with an MBA.