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Our 30 for the '90s - an update.

Our 30 For The |90s -- An Update

Name: Kay Kelley Arnold Age: 37 Title: VP/Communications of Arkansas Power & Light Co.

Five months ago, Kay Kelley Arnold gave up her jet-setting commute between Little Rock and Washington, where she was a Capitol Hill lobbyist for Arkansas Power & Light Co.

Arnold can now drive to work, having been promoted to vice president of communications for AP&L. She replaced Charles Kelly, who first hired her to work at AP&L in 1988.

Her Little Rock-based job will allow Arnold to spend more time in Arkansas pursuing job assignments and other interests.

"Mostly, I'm getting to fish some," Arnold says with a laugh.

Fish stories aside, don't get the idea she is slowing down. In fact, Arnold watchers continue to believe she will one day run for office. Arnold dismisses the notion that she has political aspirations.

For now, she is excited about becoming a member of the Riverfest board. Her work on the annual Little Rock festival adds to a growing roster of civic activity.

A partial list of Arnold's organizational affiliations include the state board of the Arkansas League of Women Voters, the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission, the Quapaw Quarter Association, the Delta Environmental Land Trust Association and the Committee of 100, which raises funds for the Ozark Folk Center at Mountain View.

Name: Robert Birch Jr. Age: 41 Title: EVP of Twin City Bank

The leadership picture at North Little Rock's Twin City Bank was in a state of flux last year when Arkansas Business first listed its 30 leaders for the |90s.

Terry Renaud, longtime chairman and chief executive officer, was recovering from brain surgery. Executive Vice President Kenneth Pennebaker died suddenly. Ed Penick Jr. moved from president to vice chairman and then left the bank entirely.

Robert Birch Jr., a tough executive vice president, became the interim chief operating officer in the midst of the executive turmoil.

Renaud is back at TCB. But Birch's emergence during the chaos solidified his position as the heir apparent to Renaud.

There have been no reports that the Frank Lyon family is thinking of selling the bank since Worthen Banking Corp. took a serious look last year. In fact, the deal was announced publicly but then fell through.

TCB continues to open new branches outside North Little Rock and retains its position as the state's third-largest bank with almost $600 million in assets.

The trio of Birch, Executive Vice President Margaret Eldridge and Senior Vice President Ken Hammonds has helped bring about TCB's success.

Away from the bank, Birch is active in organizations such as the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Advisory Council and the North Little Rock School District Baseball Committee.

Name: Curt Bradbury Age: 42 Title: Chairman, President and CEO of Worthen Banking Corp.

Worthen Banking Corp. of Little Rock continues to prosper, as does its leader, Curt Bradbury.

Even the usually conservative Bradbury now agrees the turnaround is complete.

After several years directing a comeback effort, Bradbury now is leading an aggressive acquisition campaign to push Worthen further beyond the $2-billion asset mark.

Bradbury is making up for lost time in competing with Little Rock's First Commercial Corp. to become the largest bank holding company in Arkansas.

Worthen bought the insolvent Independence Federal Savings Bank of Batesville last year and also made a run at Twin City Bank of North Little Rock, the third-largest bank in the state.

Worthen's string of acquisitions includes One National Bank's North Little Rock branches and First State Savings Bank of Mountain Home.

The next deal will involve Worthen repurchasing First National Bank of Fayetteville from trucking magnate J.B. Hunt.

Jack Fleischauer is now presiding over Worthen's flagship bank in Little Rock after leading the company's Hot Springs bank back to profitability.

That move will free Bradbury to pursue his vision of creating an Arkansas banking empire with the name recognition of a Tyson or a Wal-Mart.

And don't forget Bradbury is the incoming president of the Greater Little Rock Chamber of Commerce.

Name: Graham Catlett Age: 39 Title: Partner in the Catlett & Stubblefield law firm

Name: Meredith Catlett Age: 39 Title: Partner in the Friday Eldredge & Clark law firm

The Catletts share a love for the legal profession and politics -- local, state, national and international.

Economic and political reforms in the Soviet Union have kept Graham Catlett busy pursuing business opportunities in the USSR.

Quality Products International, a Little Rock food brokerage company led by Catlett, is hopping with activity as the Soviet demand for American goods grows.

Catlett also is representing other companies thinking about entering the Soviet market.

Change has come to Graham Catlett's law firm as well.

Partners Barbara Bonds and Vic Fleming have left the firm that last year was Catlett Stubblefield Bonds & Fleming.

Meredith Catlett remains at the Little Rock law firm Friday Eldredge & Clark, where she became the first woman partner in 1982.

Meredith Catlett's star is still rising, as witnessed by her selection to the Little Rock Board of Directors. Catlett was selected by other board members to fill a position left vacant when Floyd G. "Buddy" Villines was elected Pulaski County judge.

Will Catlett run for a full term next year or be content to serve out the two years left on Villines' term?

She's keeping her options open.

Name: Mark Abernathy Age: 41 Title: Owner of Juanita's Mexican Cafe & Bar and Blue Mesa

Yearly updates are necessary to keep track of Mark Abernathy.

In addition to owning and operating two successful Little Rock restaurants, Juanita's and Blue Mesa, Abernathy is involved with a number of organizations.

Last year, it was reported that Abernathy was looking into a trolley-bus operation to serve the local convention and tourism trade.

"We're wrapping up the business plan," Abernathy says. "And it appears it is going to tell us that, yes, there's a good market for a trolley system. But it would be difficult to do it without federal or local assistance."

That doesn't mean Abernathy is going to give up. But he's involved in other projects.

"We're working on a major event for August of |92," says Abernathy, who isn't ready to give details about the event.

He does say, "It's not a secret that we're working on a festival."

The festival was scheduled for this year but grew too large to handle.

"We need more time to do it right," Abernathy says.

Time seems to be just what Abernathy needs. He has a full schedule.

Name: Dennis Davis Age: 45 Title: President and CEO of Arkansas Aerospace Inc.

Dennis Davis has been flying with the big boys since British Aerospace Inc. bought his Arkansas Modification Center Inc. at Little Rock and renamed it Arkansas Aerospace Inc.

Davis is staying busy directing the company's growth. Arkansas Aerospace is large enough now that the pace occasionally tests even Davis' vast supply of energy.

"This year has been taxing, trying to get this new [$20-million] facility built and pursuing new business opportunities," Davis says.

The move to new quarters at the Little Rock Regional Airport will effectively triple the size of the operation. For now, Arkansas Aerospace will employ 450 people, but the new facility will be capable of supporting 600 to 700 employees.

Davis signed an employment contract with British Aerospace when he sold Arkansas Modification. His company historically built custom interiors for aircraft. Now, he will lead the company into new territory -- manufacturing aircraft parts, doing assembly work, and taking on military contracts and commercial aviation jobs.

Once his employment contract expires, what will Davis' next step be? His career path reflects a desire to build, sell and move onto a new challenge.

Name: John Flake Age: 43 Title: Partner in Flake Tabor Tucker Wells And Kelley Inc.

If he were to leave the commercial real estate business, John Flake has the makings of a chamber of commerce leader.

His glad-handing style and civic activities are well known.

"In the '90s, I'm going to concentrate on the growth of my company and continued commitment to community development in projects like the expansion out at the [Little Rock Regional] airport," Flake says.

Flake seems to have survived a real estate shakeout that pushed some risk-taking developers over the financial brink.

He endured some bruises from deeds forfeited in lieu of foreclosure and unplanned cash calls to keep other deals afloat.

Flake rid himself of a public relations thorn by reworking the debt on Little Rock's tallest building, the 40-story TCBY Tower.

The real estate slump could prompt Flake to shift his attention from visionary developments to more conservative efforts such as the addition to the Proctor & Gamble Building at Fayetteville.

He can still capture a headline, though, such as his $4.62-million land purchase at the Megamarket Shopping Center in west Little Rock.

Name: Don Jack Age: 49 Title: Partner in the Jack Lyon & Jones law firm

Don Jack says he's a little embarrassed he hasn't been more active on the civic front. But he has kept busy maintaining the growth of the Jack Lyon & Jones law firm of Little Rock.

"We're having a whole lot of fun and making a little money," Jack says.

An office in Nashville, Tenn. -- partner Philip Lyon's brainchild and labor of love -- has prospered since opening in 1989.

Attorneys Richard and Horton Frank have joined the Nashville office. The two well-known Nashville lawyers should help the office's entertainment business to flourish.

Things also are going well in Little Rock.

Does any other Arkansas law firm have two former CEOs plying their legal skills under one roof?

Tom Prince, formerly of what is now Worthen National Bank of Arkansas, has worked as a partner for 18 months. Sheffield Nelson, once head of Arkla Inc., also calls Jack Lyon & Jones home.

The connections provided by Prince and Nelson add to the firm's aura of power. The client list already includes First Commercial Corp., Arkansas Power & Light Co. and St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center.

Name: Barnett Grace Age: 47 Title: Chairman, President and CEO of First Commercial Corp.

Last year, Barnett Grace took over from Bill Bowen at Little Rock's First Commercial Corp., which has assets of more than $2.3 billion.

The most striking aspect in this changing of the corporate guard was the difference in personalities. Grace's reserved personality stands in stark contrast to Bowen's charisma.

But Grace knows how to press forward with an aggressive acquisition policy. First Commercial has purchased millions in loans and core deposits from First Savings of Arkansas in Little Rock, Landmark Savings Bank of Hot Springs and First America Federal Savings Bank of Fort Smith.

And First Commercial isn't through taking advantage of opportunities presented by failed Arkansas thrifts.

A $12.15-million deal should close later this year to buy Farmers and Merchants Bank of Rogers, which has assets of $87.7 million.

First Commercial also added $20 million to its war chest through an equities offering.

Grace's profile grew when he became chairman of the Greater Little Rock Chamber of Commerce. He soon will relinquish that title to his main competitor, Curt Bradbury of Worthen Banking Corp.

Name: Max Brantley Age: 41 Title: Columnist for the Arkansas Gazette

Until recently, Max Brantley was assistant managing editor at the Arkansas Gazette.

When the 30 leaders first were profiled in November, Brantley was stepping into John Brummett's old job as the Gazette's lead political columnist.

Brantley said at the time, "I think I'll be, to a certain degree, gentler than my predecessor, though not too gentle."

"Not too gentle" turned out to be an understatement.

A year later, Brantley says, "Trying to be objective about it, I guess I've been kind of a jerk ... Maybe I just turned out to be more mean spirited than I was ever willing to admit."

He was busier than he thought he would be, too.

Brantley say he has "shucked the management duties" he held as assistant managing editor. There was an understanding when he became a columnist that he might not remain a columnist or that he might not keep his assistant managing editor's job.

It's not a demotion but a relief, according to Brantley, who says he loves being a columnist, giving civic club speeches and making television appearances.

What will he do if the Gazette is sold?

"Honestly, I can't contemplate my life, or Arkansas' life, without the Arkansas Gazette," he says.

Name: Dick Holbert Age: 48 Title: President of Central Flying Service

Little Rock Regional Airport's new runway already is handling air traffic. Suddenly, the growth opportunities at the airport seem limitless.

Dick Holbert has been doing his part to keep the momentum going as chairman of the Arkansas Aviation Historical Society. That organization kicked off a capital drive in April to develop an air museum, which is to join the Aerospace Technology High School as part of the planned 19.8-acre Aerospace Education Center.

A fund-raising drive for the museum has topped $3.5 million. There's a goal of $6.5 million. The Little Rock School District already has budgeted $6 million for the school.

"It has been another year of working on the Aerospace Center," Holbert says.

The school district applied for a $4-million federal grant last year, but the grant was not approved.

Holbert also is chairman of a newly formed industry advisory group. The unnamed local organization is an informal coalition that promotes airport operations and provides marketing, lobbying and information services.

Meanwhile, Central Flying Service continues to do well, employing 160 people and generating revenues of $18 million.

Name: Millie Ward Age: 37 Title: Principal of Resneck Stone Ward & Associates

Let's run through the list -- again -- of the many activities of Millie Ward, principal in the Little Rock advertising agency Resneck Stone Ward & Associates.

First, there were the 30 Addys and 49 merit awards, not to mention the prestigious "Best of Show" award the agency won at this year's Addy competition.

There were the four national Clio awards.

And there was the Adweek profile on the agency, touting it as one of the hottest small shops in the country.

What's most important to Ward, though, is the "Advertising Persons of the Year" honor she shared with partner Larry Stone at this year's Arkansas Advertising Federation banquet. Ward says the award was special because it came from her peers.

It's hard for Ward to separate her personal life from her professional life. But that's how she likes it. She says her job has given her more opportunities this year to be involved with the Little Rock business community and civic organizations.

Ward recently was inducted into the Greater Little Rock Chamber of Commerce's "Leadership Greater Little Rock" program.

Name: Steve Barnes Age: 41 Title: News Anchor at KARK-TV, Channel 4

Some people are more interested in reading the news than in making it.

Steve Barnes seems to be one of those people.

You would think the highly visible Barnes, an anchor for KARK-TV, Channel 4, and moderator of "Arkansas Week" on the Arkansas Educational Television Network, would enjoy the attention.

Not Barnes.

You're likely to see him slumped in a box seat at Ray Winder Field, quietly enjoying a sport he loves, minor league baseball.

Ask Barnes what's new, and he pauses, seemingly struggling to think back on what he has done. Then, he announces that he's a new father.

The father of six puppies, that is. He gave them all away.

Barnes is a voracious reader and says his taste is eclectic, especially on Sundays when he reads newspapers from Los Angeles, New York and Washington. He also continues to write a weekly column for small daily and weekly newspapers across Arkansas.

Barnes is conservative when it comes to reporting the news and wasn't comfortable with the way local stations reported the rumors regarding a possible sale of the Arkansas Gazette to the Arkansas Democrat.

But Barnes appears to be fairly comfortable with the aging process. He jokes, "My weight is holding steady, but my hairline is still on the march -- in retreat."

Name: Walter E. Hussman Jr. Age: 44 Title: Publisher of the Arkansas Democrat

Rumors are rampant that Arkansas Democrat Publisher Walter E. Hussman Jr. is buying the rival Arkansas Gazette.

Hussman's other media holdings -- including cable television franchises, radio stations, television stations, two weekly newspapers and five daily newspapers other than the Democrat -- are worth more than $200 million. In other words, he shouldn't have a problem coming up with the funds to buy the oldest newspaper west of the Mississippi if he's really serious about it.

Hussman has attained a reputation for openness. Reporters are anxious to see if he'll maintain that policy if he becomes the only daily newspaper publisher in town.

Recently, Hussman returned a reporter's calls, using a pay phone at a remote Wyoming vacation spot.

Name: Ron W. Strother Age: 42 Title: President/COO of First Commercial Bank

Much has happened since Ron Strother was listed in November among our 30 emerging leaders for the 1990s.

At the time, he was chairman and chief executive officer of First Commercial Mortgage Co. of Little Rock

Since then, First Commercial Corp.'s chief executive officer, Bill Bowen, has retired and resurfaced as Gov. Bill Clinton's chief of staff. He was replaced

by Barnett Grace.

Joe Hatcher is coming from Hendrix College as First Commercial Bank's vice chairman.

And Strother has been named president and chief operating officer of First Commercial Bank.

"We continue to see consolidation within the financial community at a rate unlike anything we have seen before," Strother says. "We're extremely pleased ... to be a major player in this change."

Strother emerged as a major player himself by working his way up. He entered banking in 1973 as a branch manager trainee at Commercial National Bank. Commercial National merged with First National Bank in 1983 to form First Commercial.

A Hot Springs native and a resident of North Little Rock, Strother is an adjunct professor of finance at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and teaches real estate courses for the Arkansas Bankers Association.

He serves on the board of the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, the Northside YMCA and the UALR Business Advisory Council. He also is on the Chenal Country Club Board of Governors.

Name: Winthrop Paul Rockefeller Age: 42 Title: Investor

Investor Winthrop Paul Rockefeller added to his Miami-based boating business this year. He purchased a Fort Lauderdale Hatteras dealership with 1990 sales of $50 million.

A new job for Rockefeller is the chairmanship of the President's Council on Rural America.

His interest are varied. He and his wife recently hosted an event to raise funds for wetlands preservation.

On the political front, Rockefeller, son of the late Republican governor, was mentioned as a possible 1992 challenger to Sen. Dale Bumpers, D-Ark. He also was urged last November by former political associates of his father to become chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party.

He decided to take on neither task, preferring to remain in the background and simply donate funds to the party.

Name: William Scholl Age: 44 Title: EVP of Worthen National Bank of Arkansas

There have been big changes for Bill Scholl since we last checked with him in November.

"I'm over here at Worthen now," he says nonchalantly.

Scholl was president and chief executive officer of One National Bank of North Little Rock at this time a year ago. Since then, the bank's North Little Rock locations have been purchased by Worthen Banking Corp., and Scholl is back at the bank where he began his career in 1973.

Scholl is executive vice president for Worthen's commercial banking group, which means he oversees most lending and mortgage activities.

Scholl is chairman of Junior Achievement of Arkansas, a group that has experienced dramatic growth in recent years. The program is now in 75 schools and has 120 consultants.

Scholl also is a supporter of Little Rock 2000 and says "anyone who does not support it is shortsighted."

Names: Jim Moses, Wally Allen, Mark Grobmyer Ages: 42, 41 and 40, respectively Titles: Moses is a principal at Allison Moses Redden, Allen is a general partner of Holiday Inn West and Grobmyer is a partner of the Arnold Grobmyer & Haley law firm.

The three dreamers behind Little Rock 2000 haven't had time for much else the past 10 months.

Attorney Mark Grobmyer admits he'll "be glad when Oct. 8 [the special election date] is over."

Grobmyer has found time, however, to attempt to attract one of the 1992 presidential debates to Little Rock.

Hotel magnate Wally Allen says of Little Rock 2000, "We've spent an immense amount of time on this thing."

Allen had six speaking engagements scheduled last week. Somehow, he still stays on top of things at his Holiday Inn West along with several other hotels he manages.

Jim Moses says things are "going great" on the ambitious project. Moses has been called a "supersalesman" by the plan's opponents.

If the two half-cent sales tax increases are approved by Little Rock voters next month, these three men will get most of the credit.

Name: Stephen Stoltz Age: 39 Title: Chairman/CEO of Polyvend Inc.

When we caught up with Stephen Stoltz of Conway, he was juggling his time between meetings and telephone calls.

"Let me call you back in 30 minutes," says Stoltz, an aggressive Notre Dame graduate.

Meanwhile, his secretary filled us in on Stoltz's background: He once sold bubble gum.

"Prior to this, he was the regional sales manager for the Donruss Co.," the secretary says.

Stoltz left Donruss, a confectionery company owned by General Mills, to work as national sales manager for Polyvend Inc. in 1975.

Three years later, he was president of the vending machine manufacturing company.

Polyvend places vending machines across the country and throughout Europe. The demand for its services is great. Does that make Stoltz a hot property?

"I'm going to stay put working my butt off," he says. "As CEO and chairman, I'm intimately involved in all aspects. But as the company grows, I become less involved in the day-to-day operations and more involved in strategic planning.

"I tell you what, we had a fantastic past 18 months."

So good that Polyvend began Polymold, a branch that makes plastic components for other companies.

Stoltz, who graduated from Notre Dame in 1974 and can still talk Irish football with the best of them, is active outside the office. He is a member of the board of the First National Bank of Conway, chairman of the National Automatic Merchandising Association and chairman of the Arkansas Young Presidents Organization.

Name: Jim Dailey Age: 49 Title: President of Dailey's Office Furniture Co.

Does Jim Dailey still intend to be mayor of Little Rock?

You bet he does.

As vice mayor, he is well on his way to achieving that goal. Although Dailey is pushing for direct election of the city's mayor, he says his focus during the past 10 months has been the Little Rock 2000 project.

Dailey feels the Diamond Center could become a Little Rock landmark.

"We have to decide whether we are a city caught in the past or a progressive city of the future," he says.

Dailey also has been working on changing the identity of his office products business. The refurbishment of used office furniture and equipment now represents 30 percent of his business. Dailey sees tremendous potential in the "recycling" business.

Dailey is involved with the National League of Cities. He serves on the League's Community and Economic Development Committee and plans to "put his name in the hopper" for a spot on its board.

Dailey says, "The more you get involved at the national level, the more you have to bring back to your community."

Name: James L. "Skip" Rutherford Age: 41 Title: VP/Public & Governmental Affairs of Arkla Inc.

A commitment to better education is the thread that ties together many of Skip Rutherford's activities.

This month, he's wrapping up a demanding but successful four-year term on the Little Rock School Board. Rutherford has accomplished his goals -- a stable student assignment plan, financial integrity, an end to litigation.

Not one to rest, Rutherford already has signed on as chairman of the advisory board for the Arkansas School for Math and Science. The proposed residential high school will be the first of its kind in the state. A site should be selected by July and the school is scheduled to open in the fall of 1993.

"Every time I visit a city, I sneak off to look at the schools," Rutherford says.

Rutherford is working with Little Rock 2000 proponents and says as the 1992 elections approach, he will volunteer for candidates and causes he believes in.

He serves on the boards of Arkansas Children's Hospital and Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church.

Look for Rutherford at some sports events, also.

"I have three kids I haven't seen near enough of," he says.

Name: Barbara Graves Age: 43 Title: President of Barbara Graves Intimate Fashions

Any change in Barbara Graves' professional life is on hold, at least for the next year.

With her youngest son a senior in high school and with an Italian exchange student visiting for the next 10 months, Graves has put career changes on the back burner.

But not too far back.

"In a year, I'll be an empty nest, and I'll begin seriously considering other avenues," she says.

Although Graves won't say more about her plans, she concedes her "middle-age planning" could lead her away from retailing.

For now, Barbara Graves Intimate Fashions continues to post quarterly gains.

Name: Bill Clark Age: 48 Title: CEO of CDI Contractors Inc.

"We made it," Chief Executive Officer Bill Clark says of CDI Contractors Inc. of Little Rock.

Ten months ago, Clark predicted the firm, ranked No. 265 among the nation's commercial construction contractors, would break into the top 200.

CDI hit No. 165 with revenues of $141 million. That compares with revenues of $88 million the previous fiscal year.

Current projects include an $18-million mall in Florida, a headquarters expansion for Alltel Corp. in Little Rock and another facility for Dillard Department Stores Inc. in Las Vegas, Nev.

Clark continues to serve on the board of Little Rock's Union National Bank of Arkansas. In January, he was appointed to the board of the Little Rock Boys Club.

Name: John R. Marshall Age: 41 Title: VP/Customer Services of Arkansas Power & Light Co.

Although John Marshall's title as vice president of customer services at Arkansas Power & Light Co. has not changed, his responsibilities have broadened.

AP&L's parent firm, Entergy Corp., has restructured, and AP&L has instituted a quality management program.

Marshall says he is optimistic about the company's future.

Does that optimism carry over to his climb up the utility's career ladder?

Marshall says he simply believes in "staying focused and doing your best."

He still serves as a member of the boards of Big Brothers-Big Sisters of Pulaski County Inc. and the American Red Cross.

Hall McAdams Age: 45 Title: Chairman of Union National Bank of Arkansas

Hall McAdams remains a mystery.

The chairman of Little Rock's Union National Bank of Arkansas likes it that way.

Union has a reputation for keeping a low profile. Because the bank is privately held, there are no annual reports or stockholders' meetings. There also are no press releases.

After numerous telephone calls and messages that were never returned, McAdams' secretary finally said, "Well, it doesn't look like he plans to [return our call], now does it?"

No, it doesn't.

At least we found out his age this year. McAdams is 45.

What has McAdams been doing since we checked on him 10 months ago?

His secretary says, "He's still the same. Nothing has changed."

True enough.

McAdams is still a private person in a very public business world.

Name: Jim Keet Age: 42 Title: President of Keet Management Co.

Jim Keet is no longer in the state's political limelight.

He is enjoying the extra time, devoting the majority of it to family and civic activities.

Through his involvement with the Literacy Council, the Red Ribbon Campaign and the Arkansas Easter Seal Society, Keet contributes to education, drug awareness and medical research.

Keet also has launched an investment banking project with Max Hooper, president of Little Rock's Equity Services Corp., that is addressing the need for low-income housing in rural Arkansas.

Asked if there's another political race in his future -- Republican Keet lost to Democrat Ray Thornton in the race for the 2nd Congressional District seat last year -- he admits he is considering running for the Arkansas Senate.

"I have work I began as a state representative that I would like to continue," he says. "There's some unfinished business there."

Other business is keeping Keet busy for now. His Keet Management Co. has helped oversee the merger of Maxie's of America Inc. with the Rally's fast-food chain. His JK Building Specialties Inc. has acquired exclusive distributorship of several building and engineering products.

Name: Gus Vratsinas Age: 47 Title: Chairman/CEO of Vratsinas Construction Co.

When we last checked with Little Rock's Vratsinas Construction Co., it was growing quickly.

Not much has changed during the past 10 months, according to the company's chairman and chief executive officer.

"We've continued our growth -- moderate growth," says Gus Vratsinas.

Most of that growth has come outside the state.

About 70 percent of Vratsinas' projects are in states other than Arkansas. So far, the company has found success in Florida, Alabama, Virginia, Nebraska, Montana and Ohio.

Vratsinas adds, "Oregon as we speak."

Vratsinas' company is 5 years old.

Vratsinas is on the board of the American Red Cross, the Visiting Nurses Association and the CARTI Foundation.

"Other than that, I'm just down here working away," he says.

Name: Sherman E. Tate Age: 45 Title: VP/Customer Relations of Arkansas Louisiana Gas Co.

An assistant in the office of Sherman Tate is asked for a brief biographical sketch of a man some believe to be the most influential black leader in Little Rock.

"Do you want his resume?" she asks. "It will take awhile."

Fifteen minutes later, out comes four pages from the facsimile machine.

Arkansas Louisiana Gas Co.'s vice president for customer relations, a Marvell native, has gotten around.

The past chairman of the Greater Little Rock Chamber of Commerce is still a member of the chamber board as well as belonging to the boards of Centers for Youth & Families and Philander Smith College.

Some believe Tate will run for statewide office.

He laughs when that subject comes up.

"I don't have any political ambitions for the near future," he says diplomatically. "Right now, I am totally immersed in my career at Arkla. That's my priority."

That and preparing himself for the empty-nest syndrome.

His daughter, Amber Nicole, will be leaving for college next year.

"My job and my family are all that's on my mind," he says. "That's enough right now."

Name: Warren Stephens Age: 33 Title: President and CEO of Stephens Inc.

When Warren Stephens announced Aug. 22 that his family would donate $2 million worth of land for the proposed Diamond Center, Little Rock 2000 supporters breathed a sigh of relief.

Both the Arkansas Gazette and Arkansas Democrat ran stories about the announcement on their front pages.

It was the kind of political move that showed Warren Stephens' potential to shape the future of central Arkansas.

"That's a tangible private commitment," says Little Rock attorney Mark Grobmyer, one of the Little Rock 2000 fathers. "That may be the largest donation to the city that any family has ever made."

Stephens must get used to running his family's affairs. Both his father, Jack, and his uncle, Witt, are past retirement age, although they still report to work at Stephens Inc. each day.

Jack and Witt have amassed what is conservatively estimated to be a $1.7-billion fortune.

Warren Stephens appears to be making a difference as president and chief executive officer of Stephens Inc. Besides the highly publicized gift of land to Little Rock 2000, Stephens has made regular contributions to the Arkansas Repertory Theatre and other Arkansas organizations.

What's next?

Most think it's an even more active role in shaping Little Rock's future.

Name: Randall L. O'Donnell Age: 40 Title: CEO of Arkansas Children's Hospital

Randall O'Donnell has been at the helm of Arkansas Children's Hospital, one of the nation's best medical facilities for children, since 1983.

O'Donnell says the hospital continues to expand its services and facilities. With O'Donnell's guidance, Children's Hospital's reputation as a research facility is growing and its outreach programs are becoming international in nature.

The hospital recently signed an affiliation agreement with a children's hospital in London. Next month, O'Donnell travels to Romania on behalf of ACH and the Children's Miracle Network.

Also in October, O'Donnell begins a term on the board of the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions.

"All I have to do is walk down the hall from my office, see a child in a red wagon, have him smile at me and it just makes my day," says the immediate past chairman of the Osmond Foundation. "I like to be busy, and the work is very rewarding."

The husband and father of three is working on a book tentatively titled "Nurturing Leadership." He hopes to publish the book next year.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Journal Publishing, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:top 30 executives of Arkansas
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Sep 16, 1991
Previous Article:Walter on the air.
Next Article:Curt Bradbury.

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