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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

  • VW Might Compensate Owners of Diesel Cars for Loss of Value

    DETROIT — Volkswagen could compensate owners of diesel-powered cars that emit high levels of pollutants, possibly by paying them for the lost value of their vehicles, the company's top U.S. executive said.

    Speaking to lawmakers investigating the emissions cheating, U.S. CEO Michael Horn also said fixing most of the 500,000 affected cars in the U.S. could take one to two years, possibly more. The fix, he said, would not hurt fuel mileage, but it could hinder the cars' performance, knocking one or two miles-per-hour off the top speed.

    "There might be a slight impact on performance," Horn said Thursday to a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

    Horn told the committee that VW hasn't calculated how much value the scandal has cost owners of the affected cars. But earlier this week Kelley Blue Book said the value of VWs with 2-liter diesel engines had fallen 13 percent since mid-September. Used car values often drop in the fall, but the VW diesel drop was unusually large.

    VW has admitted to installing so-called defeat devices on Volkswagen and Audi cars with four-cylinder diesel engines dating to the 2009 model year. The devices — actually software code — switch on pollution controls when the cars are being tested, but turn off the controls when the software determines that the cars are back on real roads. Affected models include the Jetta, Golf, Beetle, Passat and Audi A3. VW has said a total of 11 million cars worldwide have the software worldwide.

    Under questioning from Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., Horn said VW isn't considering offering owners loaner cars because the U.S. government says the diesels equipped with the defeat devices are safe to drive. The cars, though, emit 10 to 40 times the nitrogen oxide pollution that's allowed under federal law.

    Horn said software changes alone will work to fix newer models, but 430,000 cars dating to 2009 will need mechanical repairs that are still being developed. Horn said engineers are working on either a larger catalytic converter that would treat nitrogen oxide, or a system that injects a chemical called urea into the exhaust.

    Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., asked if the urea system would require an extra storage tank that would take space from the cars' trunks. That also could affect the cars' value.

    EPA Director of Transportation and Air Quality Christopher Grundler said the answer depends on the remedies VW offers to the agency. "We're going to take a very careful look at what impact this is going to have on owners," Grundler said.

    Software alone will repair some newer Passat models, but they may need an additional sensor, Horn said. He didn't have an exact timeline on when the repairs might take place, but said it could take multiple years to develop the fix, get government approval and distribute parts to the company's U.S. dealers. The fixes may take five to 10 hours per car for dealership mechanics to complete, he said.

    Horn conceded that the $7.3 billion (6.5 billion euros) VW has set aside so far to pay for the scandal may not be enough. Ultimately, the total cost will depend on fines from government agencies, how much it costs to fix the cars and the price tag for any compensation to customers.

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

  • Appeals Court Puts Hold on Regulation Protecting Waterways

    TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — A federal appeals court has blocked an Obama administration rule that attempts to clarify which small streams, wetlands and other waterways the government can shield from pollution and development.

    In a 2-1 ruling Friday, a panel of the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati put the regulations on hold until the court decides whether it has jurisdiction to hear challenges to the rules by 18 states.

    The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued the regulations in May after two Supreme Court rulings left uncertain which waterways can be protected under the Clean Water Act.

    Arkansas was among several states that challenged the rule, saying they go too far and could be costly to landowners. The government says the rules would safeguard drinking water for 117 million Americans.

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

  • Donald Bobbitt Wants Karla Hughes as UAM Chancellor

    University of Arkansas System President Donald Bobbitt announced Friday that he will recommend Karla Hughes, Ph.D., to the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas System as chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

    Hughes, 64, is the executive vice president and provost of the University of Louisiana System and will begin at UAM on Jan. 15, 2016. She would receive a salary of $250,000 at UAM.

    "Our campus in Monticello is uniquely intertwined with its regional economic and community needs, and after a thorough search I am confident that Dr. Hughes’ skillset is an excellent fit and I know she will help lead the university toward an exciting future," Bobbitt said in a news release. "She brings a wealth of experience operating in leadership roles and understands the benefits and challenges of operating within a large statewide university system for the betterment of the students and communities it serves."

    In her current position as executive vice president and provost of the largest university system in Louisiana, Hughes worked to support nine regional, comprehensive state universities that serve nearly 90,000 students with an annual budget of $750 million.

    During her career, Hughes has held academic appointments at the University of Missouri, Virginia Polytechnic and State (Virginia Tech), East Carolina, Kansas State, Middle Tennessee State and Morehead State Universities, including three as a tenured professor, and has also developed professional relationships with faculty and administrators at six historically black universities.

    In the 15 years that Hughes held statewide outreach appointments in Kansas and Missouri, she developed the first computerized programs for the Missouri Cooperative Extension, and her alternative agriculture enterprise was recognized by the University of Missouri System president as among the state’s 10-best economic development programs.

    She has been recognized for her outreach and coalition-building skills when the Intergenerational Community Center that she organized in 2004 through a partnership between a community college, city government and her college at East Carolina University earned the national Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ C. Peter Magrath University/Community Engagement Award.

    Hughes holds a doctor of philosophy degree in agriculture (animal science/food safety) from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, as well as master and bachelor of science degrees in nutrition and food science from Kansas State University. She has also completed postgraduate work at the University of Missouri-Columbia in personnel administration. When she left East Carolina University, she was granted professor emerita status.

    A search committee at UAM has been working with a national search firm, Witt-Kieffer, to identify candidates since Jack Lassiter announced he was stepping down last fall and ultimately retired Jan. 5. Lassiter became UAM’s 11th chief executive officer on July 1, 2004. Jay Jones, vice chancellor for finance and administration at UAM, has been serving as interim chancellor.