James Faulkner, Thomas “Mack” McLarty, Stanley Reed and Mark Simmons have been named as 2014 inductees to the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame. They will join 62 other members during a Feb. 7, 2014, event.
The Arkansas Business Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock. The Arkansas Business Hall of Fame is permanently housed in the atrium of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Enterprise Development at the Sam M. Walton College on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville.
“We are pleased to welcome these four outstanding business leaders to the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame,” Walton College Dean Eli Jones said in a statement. “They are being recognized among the best and brightest in Arkansas business, joining the distinguished list of members of the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame. All the hall of fame’s members continue to inspire the future global business leaders with their outstanding achievements.”
Greg Lee, a Walton College alumnus and the retired chief administrative officer and international president of Tyson Foods Inc., chaired the selection process. A nominating committee of 20 business leaders encouraged people throughout the state and beyond to make nominations.
A selection committee of nine business and community leaders reviewed the nominations and chose the inductees. Criteria for selection included: the significance of the impact made as a business leader, the concern demonstrated for improving the community and the display of ethics in all business dealings. In addition, living inductees must be over the age of 60.
• James H. Faulkner
Born in Malvern and now living in Little Rock, James H. Faulkner established Faulkner and Associates as a one-man advertising-public relations firm in 1957. The organization grew to become a leader in the mid-South region. While representing a number of Arkansas’ top companies, the firm was honored with national, regional and state awards.
In 1985 Faulkner founded Falcon Publications, a company that produced Take One, a video entertainment magazine that was the first of its type in the nation with a circulation in excess of 1.5 million monthly. He also started several other companies that were unique to Arkansas, including Falcon Productions, the state’s first video production company, and Jimco Inc., a firm that created and sold bank premiums nationally.
Today he is a director of First Security Bancshares and First Security Bank of Mountain Home. He also is a partner in central Arkansas real estate developments with the Lindsey Companies. He is a director of the University of Arkansas Foundation and has served on the University of Arkansas Board of Advisors from 2006 to the present. He served as a member of the steering committee for the university’s Campaign for the Twenty-First Century, is a founding member of the Towers of Old Main and was the university’s volunteer of the year in 2004. He and his wife Joyce are the lead sponsors for the new performing arts center being developed on the Fayetteville campus.
• Thomas F. "Mack" McLarty
Thomas F. "Mack" McLarty is chairman of McLarty Associates, an international strategic advisory firm he co-founded with Henry Kissinger in 1998 following a distinguished record of business leadership and public service, including advising three U.S. Presidents: Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter.
During the Clinton administration McLarty served as White House chief of staff and later as special envoy to the Americas. He was a member of the cabinet during his entire time in the White House.
Prior to his government service, McLarty was chairman and chief executive officer of Arkla, a Fortune 500 natural gas company located in Little Rock. During his tenure, Arkla grew into the nation's largest natural gas distributor, with customers in 11 states. He served on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in 1989-1992.
Today, he is chairman of McLarty Companies, a fourth-generation family transportation company. He is a director of the automotive businesses in Mexico and Brazil founded by his oldest son Mark, who also led the McLarty auto operations in China. He is vice chairman of RML Automotive, an Arkansas-based automotive company, where his younger son Franklin serves as chief executive officer. In addition to his leadership at McLarty Associates, he is an active member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Born in Hope, McLarty graduated summa cum laude from the University of Arkansas with a degree in business administration. He was awarded an honorary degree from the university in 2000. In 2007 he was inducted into the Arkansas chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma, the most prestigious national academic honor society for business students. He is a past recipient of the J. William Fulbright Sigma Chi Award. Together with his wife Donna, McLarty founded McLarty Global Fellows, a program to support international study for college and graduate students.
• Stanley E. Reed
Stanley E. Reed had an exceptional career in farming, the legal profession and in business. He established his law practice in Marianna in the mid-1970s, but the lure of the farm drew him back to the land, where he started farming with his father.
His farming operation expanded, came to focus almost exclusively on cotton, and would eventually include his son. Reed served on the Arkansas Farm Bureau board of directors 1987-2008, being elected its president 2003-2008. His position as president placed him on the board of directors for Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance of Arkansas, Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company and the Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company, serving as its vice chairman 2006-2009. He served five years on the American Farm Bureau board of directors, beginning in 2004.
Reed also served on the board of directors for Simmons National Bank, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the Arkansas World Trade Center Board of Advisors, and Baptist Health Systems.
He earned a degree in agricultural engineering from the University of Arkansas in 1973 and a law degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 1976. He was a member of the University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees 1998-2008, serving as its chairman from 2006-2008. He was co-chairman of the university’s Campaign for the Twenty-First Century. He was honored in 2005 with a distinguished alumni award from the College of Engineering. Reed passed away in 2011.
• Mark C. Simmons
Mark C. Simmons has grown Simmons Foods from a company with less than $25 million in sales and 350 employees in 1974 to $1.4 billion in sales and more than 6,000 employees in more than 20 facilities in North America.
Simmons joined the family company in 1968 after graduating from the University of Arkansas with a degree in business administration. He worked in the field for the company, gaining hands-on experience in the poultry industry and handling special projects for his father, M.H. “Bill” Simmons, president and co-founder of Simmons Foods.
Following the death of his father in 1974, Mark Simmons became president of the company at the age of 26. In 1987, he was named chairman of the board. He is a founding member of the Northwest Arkansas Council and is the current presiding co-chair. Simmons has served as a member of the John Brown University board for 28 years. He was a board member for the Care/Endeavor Foundations for 12 years.
Mark was a board member and officer of the Nature Conservancy for nearly 10 years. He was named Man of the Year in 1990 by the Arkansas Poultry Federation and is a past president and past director of The Poultry Federation.
Mark is one of the founding board members of the Illinois River Watershed Partnership. He was the second chairman of the Airport Authority and a major driver to establish the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport. He also received the Siloam Springs Civic Leadership Award in 2011.