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They Said It in 1999.

Some of the More Notable Quotes Appearing in the Pages of Arkansas Business During the Past Year

"THERE ARE NO DELAYS. We're making it up and resequencing things. And this damn job is going to be done on Aug. 11. We're going to give a certificate of occupancy on Aug. 11."

Art Hunkele, senior project manager on the Alltel Arena's construction management team of Vratsinas Construction Co. of Little Rock and Turner Construction Co. of New York. Hunkele declared the arena "substantially complete" on Aug. 11, but several scheduled events were canceled before it opened for business in late October.

"The rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated."

Debbie Hagan-Sherwin, owner of The Hagan Agency insurance firm of Little Rock, before she was pressured into selling her business and suspended by the Arkansas Insurance Department.

"They call me a pit bull. Of course, I wear that with pride."

Nora Harris, 66-year-old grandmother and activist in leading the fight to eliminate real and personal property taxes.

"The Legislature realizes it has a tiger by the tail. Whether or not they can turn loose before he bites, we'll see."

Oscar Stilley, the Fort Smith lawyer and leader of the property tax reform movement, before the legislative session got under way.

"They think they'll just throw us a bone and we'll go away. That isn't going to happen."

Oscar Stilley, on legislative plans that fell short of eliminating property taxes.

"If this goes and it's shown that nothing was wrong with this, why do any of us need a real estate license?"

Keith Montgomery, president of National Real Estate School Inc. in North Little Rock, on the $330,000 in "referral fees" real estate broker John Flake paid to state Sen. Nick Wilson, who is not a licensed real estate agent. As the year ended, the Arkansas Real Estate Commission decided not to pursue any action against Flake.

"I'm a 60-year-old guy, and what I know about the Internet you could write on the head of a pin and have room left over for the Gettysburg Address."

Jack Rosenzweig, chief executive officer of Humboldt Industries, the mail-order pet supply house in Pennsylvania purchased by Lonoke-based

"There are inspectors, construction companies, architects, engineers and several insurance companies. The preliminary discussions are just to see whether we're going to play in the same sandbox together, or are we going to play in the litigation sandbox?"

Jeff Arnold, vice president, of risk management for Baker Concrete Construction Inc., on a meeting planned for contractors, engineers, architects and lawyers involved in the plagued Alltel Arena construction project.

"People drive more recklessly, because they believe they can. We've paid hundreds if not thousands of dollars of claims from pulling people out of snowbanks because they thought they could make it."

Robert P. Hartwig, vice president and chief economist for Insurance Information Institute, on the insurance industry's experience with drivers of sport-utility vehicles.

"We're planting the seeds for the future of Arkansas knowledge-base companies. We decided it was the right thing to do..."

Jim Wells, vice president of Wellsco Graphic Solutions, on his company's involvement with the Greenbrier High School EAST program that has drawn national attention with its innovative project-oriented learning.

"Put the Wal-Mart name on a Supercenter and the automatic assumption is they're going to be cheaper than anybody else, and that's not true."

Barry Cooksey, owner of Barry's IGA in Bentonville, before closing the store early in 1999 after operating it since 1985.

"On the face, it raised concerns that it was a sweetheart deal. I'm pretty satisfied there was no monkey business."

Frank "Jay" Wills Jr., staff attorney for Department of Human Services, on a lease dispute between developers and state government over a Cracker Barrel project at Conway.

"I can find little difference between what they're doing and what loan sharks do."

R. Christopher Lawson, lawyer with the Friday Eldredge & Clark firm of Little Rock, on payday lender firms cropping up in state.

"This is all about change, and some people simply don't want to change, even if it's for the better."

Insider over the resistance to Cooperative Arkansas Realtors Multiple Listing Services' computer system centers in northwest Arkansas.

"We have graders we call grinches, and we have graders we call Santa Claus."

Blair Arnold, a Batesville lawyer and chairman of the Arkansas Board of Bar Examiners, on the lack of uniform standards on the bar exam as a possible reason for a decline in the pass rate.

"All I want is a level playing field and you don't have that when you are competing with the government."

Jack Whitmore, president of Pendleton Warehouse Inc. of Dumas, on Arkansas Waterways Commission proposal to use state money to develop publicly owned ports along the Arkansas River.

"Work hard."

Don Tyson's advice to students at the University of Arkansas Sam. M. Walton College of Business Administration.

"Trout live in beautiful places, and that's where I want to be."

Steve Mangan, chairman of the Mangan/Holcomb & Partners advertising firm of Little Rock, on the joys of fly-fishing.

"Sometimes we look a lot smarter than we are, and sometimes we look a lot dumber than we are. If anybody has a big ego in this business, you need to stay away from them. It's a humbling, humbling business."

Alex Leiblong, president of Lieblong & Associates of Little Rock, on the startup of Key Colony Fund Ltd, a hedge fund.

"We're waiting for somebody else to file suit, because we don't want to be first. Once the first suit is filed, it's going to go nuclear."

Officer of one of the companies that stands to lose millions over construction flaws at Alltel Arena.

"This is the future, and we've got to create it."

Jerry Damerow, associate director for business development at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences' incubator business program in the Biomedical Biotechnological Center.

"This is a business that deals in pennies. It's not like we were going to make a lot of money on [the additional Wal-Mart business]."

Dean Cannon, president and founder of Cannon Express Inc., after his company lost about $41 million a year in Wal-Mart business.

"It is probably the most important piece of legislation for the Arkansas economy and the benefit of the Arkansas consumers. It's one of the best bills in the country on this subject."

Ted Wagnon, director of public affairs for the Arkansas operations of Potlatch Corp., talking about the electric deregulation measure that was passed and is now law.

"Life is a contest, and it's not always a popularity contest."

Steven "Gene" Cauley, the Little Rock lawyer who likes to take on lawsuits filed by angry investors.

"I believe this will be the biggest non-event we've ever managed."

Jeff Dale, Fed assistant vice president for the Eighth District, commenting on Y2K and the bank's preparations.

"It depends on how much nerves of steel you have. You learn to deal with it."

Jason Lieblong, on the high pressure stakes of being a daytrader on the stock market.

"The whole thing is just a nightmare, from what I can gather. Perhaps the best we could say about it is it's a noble idea that's not working."

Richard Davies, director of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, on a new federal government-backed campsite reservation system.

"We are getting our ducks lined up and ready to go."

Martin Belz, chairman of the Peabody Hotel Group, on finalizing plans for taking over Arkansas' Excelsior Hotel in Little Rock. Peabody Hotels are noted for their marching ducks.

"The cash from the sale of the seafood division would put us in position to be dangerous again and go get somebody."

John Tyson, chairman of Tyson Foods Inc., on the new generation taking over the 64-year-old poultry giant.

"The question is, are we going to take three or four buckets and really fill them up so we can do something, or are we going to take a thousand buckets and just put a teaspoon in them?"

Dr. Fay Boozman, director of the Arkansas Health Department, on how to best spend the tobacco-settlement windfall.

"It fell like a house of cards."

Jacksonville lawyer John Ogles on the demise of Pulaski County Construction Co. after its dealings with Southwest Factors Inc.

"He's either off-plumb, or he's lost all sense of reasoning with this. He has a snowball's chance in hell. ... Nothing he told me made any business sense. If he pulls it off, I'll stand in line to applaud for him."

Would-be investor in G. W. Johnson's plan to build a 1,000-acre, $200 million theme park in Arkansas Delta region.

"A person kind of hates to say it, but a natural disaster is the quickest way out."

Frank Skarda, Hazen farmer, on the low prices of farm commodities.
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Article Details
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Publication:Arkansas Business
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 27, 1999
Previous Article:The Best & Worst of 1999.
Next Article:Politics and Business Mix in Top Stories of 1999.

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