For more than 20 years, Terry Benham has made a career in politics and communications. He is a founding partner of Impact Management Group (IMG), a public affairs, political strategy and government relations firm with offices in Little Rock and Baton Rouge, La. He has served as a consultant to Fortune 500 corporations, non-profit organizations and high-profile individuals on variety of issues, including energy, economic development, foreign affairs, defense and transportation, and led the communications effort to rebuild the brand of Ford Motor Company in 38 media markets across six southern states.
He has advised hundreds of political campaigns and worked as a consultant for the Republican National Committee, the Republican Governor’s Association and the NRCC. In 2008, he served as the Southern Regional Political Director for Fred Thompson’s Presidential campaign and, in previous years, had enormous success as a party operative in Arkansas and Louisiana.
Benham served six years in the United States Army, is a graduate of the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School and attended the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He and his wife, Paula, have two children and live in his hometown of Benton, where he is currently a candidate for mayor.
How did you get into this line of work? Although I’ve been a consultant for over 20 years, I started working political campaigns in 1988 as a volunteer to Bob Dole’s presidential campaign. Later, I worked for the Republican Party as the political director in Arkansas and executive director in Louisiana. That led to a strong group of relationships and a good understanding of public policy and the politics that typically shapes those policies.
Who do you represent? My firm has one of the largest client lists in the State of Arkansas. We represent corporations, trade associations, non-profits, international businesses and private individuals.
Biggest career accomplishment? Leading public initiatives in my hometown of Benton. In three separate public initiative campaigns, the citizens of Benton chose to invest tax dollars into renovating our public schools, building the Benton Event Center and building the Riverside Park development. Riverside Park included a new Boys & Girls Club, a Senior Adult Center, a renovated dog park, softball and soccer fields, and of course, the 5,000 seat River Center. All of those developments are a big part of our economic future.
What do you enjoy most about what you do? Working toward solutions. Public policy is challenging, with so many different ideas from so many different stakeholders. Success usually happens when you can get all sides to come together.
Are there any particular agencies you work more closely with? I have very good relationships within the Department(s) of Education, Department of Finance and Administration, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, the Arkansas Department of Transportation and the Department of Workforce Education.
Are there any particular issues you focus on more than others? Typically, our issues are client driven, however, my particular strengths are energy, education, economic development, transportation and foreign affairs.
What do you want people to know about you and your firm? We’ve been in business for almost 20 years and have worked closely with governors and legislators from both political parties. We have a great reputation because we treat everyone with respect. No one has a monopoly on good ideas. Finding those good ideas and communicating them is our job.