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Arkansas Economic Developers (AED) is an association of professional and volunteer economic developers in the state of Arkansas. AED was organized in 1976 with a constitution and by-laws formally adopted on September 27, 1977.

According to its constitution, AED is organized for the purpose of advancing, through professional and educational efforts, the quality of life in Arkansas by the development of employment opportunities through economic growth and community development. Article III of the constitution states that any reputable person engaged in activities directed toward the economic and community development of Arkansas shall be eligible for membership in AED when elected in accordance with provisions set forth in the by-laws.

map_ar_lgArkansas Economic Developers is governed by a board of directors and elected officers. Two directors from each Arkansas congressional district are elected by the General Membership. Elected officers are the President, First Vice-President, Second Vice-President, and Secretary/Treasurer. Article IV, Section 9 provides the authority for the Board of Directors to develop and/or approve policy statements concerning matters affecting Arkansas economic development and to disseminate them in the name of the association.

Activities of the Arkansas Economic Developers have been concentrated in educational programs for our membership and others seeking a better understanding of economic/community development techniques. In November 1979, AED organized and conducted the first privately sponsored Basic Industrial Development Course (BIDC) in Arkansas for local officials and other persons interested in bringing more industrial/economic jobs to their communities. In 1982, the first advanced program was offered for professionals and others who had previously attended the basic course. Several years ago, AED partnered with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to implement a new program known as the Basic Economic Development Course (BEDC) Program, the program was later named the Mid-South Basic Course.

Membership in AED provides an opportunity to participate in numerous activities that center around efforts to educate the economic developer in a rapidly changing field. The AED annual conference features development experts that address key issues of our business that affect our daily activities. Seminars are also conducted during the year to address a specific issue of economic development. In addition, AED serves as a co-sponsor with other development groups for regional meetings around Arkansas.

Economic development, as it is practiced today, is an extremely competitive situation, especially between the states. A state's ability to compete rests heavily on the legislative and regulatory climate it can project. Collectively, this is referred to as the "Business Climate." As a professional association, Arkansas Economic Developers is obligated to keep its membership knowledgeable in this area. Furthermore, when legislation or regulatory law is found to be prejudicing the ability to attract or expand job opportunities in Arkansas, we feel a professional responsibility to make our own opinions known. On this basis, we have an active legislative program at the federal and state level.


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Arkansas Business

  • ATBI Shows Bentonville with Strong Construction, Real Estate

    A strong August has pushed Bentonville back to the top of the Arkansas Tech Business Index, with an index rating of 107.98, an increase of 2.41 points over July.

    The ATBI is a project created by the Arkansas Tech University College of Business and sponsored by Arvest Bank.

    This marks the third time in the last four rankings and the fifth time in the 20-month history of the ATBI that Bentonville has held the No. 1 position.            

    The index is a comprehensive measure that provides a snapshot of economic activity around the Arkansas. It encompasses a labor index, housing market index, construction index and retail sales index. The index is based around 100 and a city rating above 100 indicates that the city is currently doing better than the state average from 2009 to the present.

    Bentonville stood out in construction and housing/retail, with 112.99 and 112.69 indexes respectively. 

    Pine Bluff suffered the biggest loss from July to August, with a -2.08 change in its index.

    The complete ATBI rankings are:

    • Springdale, 106.20
    • Rogers, 105.76
    • Fayetteville, 105.10
    • Fort Smithm, 102.03
    • Mountain Home, 100.68
    • Hot Springs, 100.41
    • Conway, 100.15
    • Van Buren, 99.87
    • Searcy, 98.58
    • Russellville, 98.34
    • El Dorado, 97.67
    • Jonesboro, 97.41
    • North Little Rock, 96.01
    • West Memphis, 95.70
    • Texarkana, 95.49
    • Pine Bluff, 92.76
    • Little Rock, 92.57

    Marc Fusaro, associate professor of economics at Arkansas Tech, is the developer of the Arkansas Tech Business Index. 

  • Arkansas House Candidate Fined for Failing to File Report

    LITTLE ROCK - The Arkansas Ethics Commission has fined and issued a letter of caution to a Libertarian candidate for the state House after investigating a complaint that he did not file a closing campaign finance report with the state.

    The commission entered an order against Rodger Paxton on Tuesday that requires him to file the report within 10 days. It also fined him $250 and issued him a letter of caution.

    Paxton did not immediately return a phone message Wednesday. A search of the secretary of state's website shows Paxton did not file any campaign finance reports for the 2014 election. He lost to incumbent Democratic Rep. Deborah Ferguson.

    The commission's letter says Paxton failed to respond to several notices about the reporting and did not attend a hearing held last Friday.

    (Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • RPD Catalyst Buys 46 Units at Chenal Woods in Little Rock

    RPD Catalyst LLC of Los Angeles, a privately owned real estate investment company, said this week that it had purchased 46 units at Chenal Woods, a luxury condominium project in west Little Rock.

    The company did not disclose a purchase price. It bought the units from the project's original developer, a local partnership called Sixth Hole Condos at Chenal LLC, led by Henry Jordan Jr. First Security Bank, which financed the project's development, also financed the sale.

    "I think everyone would agree that Chenal Woods is an A+ property in an A+ location; the nicest piece of residential real estate in Arkansas," RPD President Scott Dew said in a news release. "We call this location Main and Main in west Little Rock."

    Opened in 2009, Chenal Woods sits on 4.7 acres between the Promenade at Chenal and Chenal Country Club. The gated, six-building project is connected to the golf course by a cart path and overlooks the club's sixth hole. 

    Chenal Woods has 72 units, 27 of which are owned by individual homeowners. The three-story condos range in size from 1,200 to 2,000 SF, with one-, two- and three-bedroom floorpans. Unit prices have ranged anywhere from 300,000 to more than $500,000.

    Work on the condos began in 2007, when Jordan's company bought the acreage for $2.8 million from Deltic Timber Corp. of El Dorado. Other investors in the project included Jordan's father, Henry Jordan Sr., Willis Smith and Bek Kaiser.

    In a news release, Jordan said he was proud of the project but ready to move to other things.

    "The four partners came together to develop this property," he said. "We are extremely pleased with the product that we have delivered. However, some of the partners have decided to pursue some other investments, so the decision was made to solicit an offer to purchase our interests."

    Founded in 1994, RPD Catalyst has a $300 million real estate portfolio with properties in Arkansas and Texas. In Arkansas, it owns condos in Springdale and Rogers.