Lawson to lead search for new NWACC president

NorthWest Arkansas Community College Board of Trustees Chairman Alex Vasquez has named Randy Lawson, a former chairman of the Arkansas State Board of Education, to lead the search committee seeking a new president for the college.

In April Dr. Becky Paneitz, NWACC president since 2003, announced her retirement from the post effective June 2013.

“I have total confidence that Randy will provide the leadership required for the committee to fulfill its role as the board moves toward the goal of selecting the next president for the college,” Vasquez said. “Randy brings a wealth of expertise from his leadership positions in business, civic, nonprofit and educational realms.”

Trustees plan to have a hiring decision made by the end of this year. A caveat to that process is that all of the trustees, including Lawson, will have to rerun for their board positions in the November general election because of mandatory rezoning as a result of the 2010 U.S. Census

The college also will work with a consulting firm throughout the process to recommend and develop recruitment strategies, to assist with the review and screenings of applicants and to coordinate interviews and site visits. The cost for the consulting firm will be paid with unrestricted, un-designated funds from the NWACC Foundation. Trustees reviewed four consultation proposals and decided June 11 to pursue negotiations with the Association of Community College Trustees to conduct the nationwide search. Those discussions continue.

Lawson has served as a board trustee for the NWACC since 2011. He also was part of the committee for the NWACC Foundation’s $16 million capital campaign from 2005 to 2009. He previously served on the Bentonville Board of Education, including a two-year term as president. He was appointed to the Arkansas State Board of Education by former Gov. Mike Huckabee for a six-year term that ended in 2009. He served two years as chairman.

Lawson also serves on the Arvest Bank, Benton County Board of Directors, and is the former chairman of the Endeavor Foundation Inc.

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In 1985 he founded Lawco Exploration Inc., an oil and gas exploration company, and he serves as its chairman and CEO. Lawco and its multiple affiliates own interests in more than 140 producing oil and gas properties, both operated and non-operated, in the Gulf of Mexico, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma in the United States. A Lawco affiliate, Concorde Energy Inc., owns significant international acreage concessions located in France and Germany in proven oil and gas basins.

Lawson is a graduate of the University of Arkansas and a former Razorback football player. He and his wife, Valorie, reside in Bentonville, and have two children and two grandchildren.

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