By Caleb Talley
The Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas and the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame Board will add four iconic business leaders to the state’s prestigious Hall of Fame this month.
The four men represent the best of their communities, their industries and the time in which they built or expanded their companies. Their influence spans decades, and for those who have passed on, has left behind an immeasurable legacy.
This year’s class includes the late John W. Tyson, founder and former chief executive officer, Tyson Foods; the late Joe M. Steele, founder, Steele Canning Company and the Springdale Canning Company; Claiborne P. Deming, retired president and chief executive officer and current chairman of the board, Murphy Oil Corporation; and Warren A. Stephens, chairman, president and chief executive officer, Stephens Inc.
“All in this group have made a positive impact on their industries and communities that changed lives through creating opportunities for Arkansans and making our state a better place to live,” says Walton College of Business Dean Matt Waller, ex-officio on the Business Hall of Fame selection committee. “This group fundamentally changed the way business is done in Arkansas through their business practices and through involvement in their communities.
“Some of the core aspects of our state’s business ecosystem – agriculture, finance, petroleum, retail – have all been reshaped by this group,” he adds. “A good example is the development of an abundant, secure and clean source of water in Northwest Arkansas through the efforts of leaders such as Steele and Tyson. The Northwest Arkansas we know today would not exist without the clean, abundant water we enjoy from Beaver Lake and the water district. That’s just one example of how this group has reshaped business and life in Arkansas.”
The 2019 inductees into the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame serve as the 21st class. Four individuals have been inducted into the Hall of Fame every year since the event’s 1999 inception.
“The Arkansas Business Hall of Fame and its honorees are important to remind Arkansans the role that business has played in making Arkansas a great place to live, work and play,” says Waller. “Each inductee has made a success of his or her business, but they also have been leaders in making their communities strong and vibrant. The existence of the Hall of Fame on our campus – in the atrium of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Enterprise Development at the Walton College – makes it easy for us as educators to point to the specific people and industries that have made Arkansas business such a success.”
Business people, past and present, are considered for this honor by the selection committee through a nomination process. Professionals from every area of business are asked.
“The selection committee – chaired this year by Ann Bordelon of Fayetteville – asks people from all walks of life and areas of business to nominate worthy candidates,” says Waller. “That initial process actually is open to anyone who has a candidate to nominate. A committee of business and community leaders then reviews those nominations and chooses inductees each year.
“The committee looks for the significance of impact made as a business leader and concern demonstrated for improving the community and the display of ethics in all business dealings. Of course, living inductees must be over the age of 60.”
The Arkansas Business Hall of Fame induction ceremony is held at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock on Friday, Feb. 8. Tickets to the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame induction ceremony, a black-tie optional event, are $150 per person. For more information about tickets, contact the Walton College Office of External Relations at Donald W. Reynolds Center for Enterprise Development by phone at 479-575-6146 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet the 2019 Arkansas Business Hall of Fame Inductees: