Powerful Men 2012



Powerful: having influence; making a difference for and serving others. The 2012 class of Powerful Men — nominated by their peers — do this and much more. While they work in various fields, they each effect change and possess a dedication that warrants recognition.

 

 

 

 

 

Reese Cameron Rowland, AIA, Architect / Principal at Polk Stanley WilcoxARCHITECTURE

Reese Cameron Rowland, AIA

Architect / Principal, Polk Stanley Wilcox

Reese Rowland is a principal for Design at Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects in Little Rock, Arkansas. His work has been rewarded with more than 40 national, regional and state design awards in the last ten years. His Heifer International World Headquarters design received the nation’s highest honor for architecture, the 2008 American Institute of Architects (AIA) National Institute Honor Award, one of only 13 awarded, honoring what is considered to be the best work around the world by an American architect. Rowland was just the second Arkansas-based designer after Fay Jones to receive this recognition at the time of the award. Recently, his design for the Arkansas Studies Institute received a National AIA/ALA (American Library Association) Award of Excellence, one of only five awarded in the biennial competition, honoring the best in library architecture from around the world.

Rowland was reared in Paris, Arkansas. He has spent his entire career in the Natural State, which heavily influences his designs. He and wife Kami live in Little Rock with their two young sons, whom Rowland considers "his greatest designs.”

Q & A

One Word that Describes You: Dreamer.

Hobby: Playing basketball with my kids. My free time is devoted to family; with two sons, I am the author of action figure adventures, wrestling matches and grand hiking expeditions.

Childhood Nickname: Reese’s Pieces.

Hometown: Paris, Arkansas.

What was your first job? At a grocery store, sacking groceries in tenth grade. What do you love about what you do? I love the process of taking someone’s dreams and creating a building that responds to their unique needs and becomes a place where they actually want to be. Good architecture is good business.

Who is your mentor, and what philosophy guides you daily? My faith guides and challenges me daily. God has a plan for each of us, and I do my best to follow His lead. Professionally, Joe Stanley and Tommy Polk have been great mentors; both are men of immense talent and strong character.

What is your dream profession? Architecture — I have desired no other profession, but if I had to choose, a movie critic. They get to watch movies all day and get paid for it! Bring on the popcorn.

What one accomplishment are you most proud of? My relationship with my sons — they make it easy. Professionally, winning the AIA Award for Heifer — it brought worldwide attention to Heifer’s mission. I am most proud of the response from their employees, who are truly grateful for our efforts to make their work environment special.

What goal do you have that you have yet to achieve? I would like to design my own home someday.  Homes are so personal … it is difficult to narrow down the possibilities, especially for an architect/dreamer!

 

 

 

Don Bacigalupi, Executive Director, Crystal Bridges Museum of American ArtART

Don Bacigalupi

Executive Director, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Don Bacigalupi was responsible for the planning, organization, construction and inauguration of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Since the Museum’s opening, he has overseen the key areas of strategic planning and implementation, collections, exhibitions, education programs and professional staffing.

Prior to joining Crystal Bridges, Bacigalupi served as president, director and CEO of the Toledo Museum of Art. There he oversaw the construction and 2006 opening of the renowned Glass Pavilion, designed by the Pritzker Architecture Prize-winning firm SANAA, which was named “Best Museum” design in the world by Travel and Leisure magazine in 2007. He previously served as executive director of the San Diego Museum of Art; director and chief curator of the Blaffer Art Museum; and the Brown Curator of Contemporary Art at the San Antonio Museum of Art.

He has served on the boards of organizations, such as the Association of Art Museum Directors and the national committee of the International Council of Museums. He has also been active in the American Association of Museums and is the recipient of numerous honors and awards.

Bacigalupi received his master’s and doctorate degrees in art history from the University of Texas at Austin, and his bachelor’s degree in art history from the University of Houston, where he was honored as valedictorian. He was a 1996 Museum Management Institute (MMI) fellow at the Getty Trust.

Q & A

One Word that Describes You: Driven.

Hobbies: Swimming and music.

Childhood Nickname: “Donald E. Dooley” — given by a favorite aunt.

Hometown: New York and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

What was your first job? Curator of Contemporary Art, San Antonio Museum of Art.

When you knew you'd made it: When I realized that my passion for art and education had led to a career where I get to work in that arena every day.

What is No. 1 on your bucket list? Producing a great art exhibition, a great music album and a great film — probably not in the same year — or scuba diving in every ocean of the world.

What do you love about what you do? I enjoy bringing great art and people together for extraordinary experiences of inspiration, education and contemplation.

Who is your mentor and what philosophy guides you daily? I’ve been fortunate to have many mentors, and a simple philosophy that guides me: Do the best you can do.

What is your dream profession? Exactly what I’m doing; runner up: music producer.

What one accomplishment are you most proud of? My 6 1/2 year-old son, Guston, who is inquisitive, energetic and kind.

What goal do you have that you have yet to achieve? Becoming a parent to an inquisitive, energetic and kind adult.

 

 

 

Pete M. Yuan, President, Arkansas Region at IBERIABANKBANKING

Pete M. Yuan

President, Arkansas Region, IBERIABANK

As president of the Arkansas Region for IBERIABANK, Pete Yuan is responsible for banking operations and activities throughout the state as well as the bank’s title business, operated under Lender’s Title, United Title and American Abstract. He has 24 years of experience in the financial services industry.

Yuan began his professional career in 1987 with NationsBank in Dallas. In 1993, he was recruited by First Commerce Corporation, based in New Orleans, La., where he held various positions, including commercial group division manager, strategic planning segment manager, and head of the bank’s commercial banking office in Shreveport. First Commerce merged with Bank One in 1998, and in 2002, after Bank One merged with JP Morgan Chase, Yuan assumed a senior vice president role with JP Morgan Chase in Austin, Texas. In 2005, he joined IBERIABANK as president of its headquarters market in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Yuan is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, with a BBA in Finance. He was the recipient of the 1989 Outstanding Alumni Award, given by the school’s Finance Society.

Since moving to Little Rock in 2010, he has joined a number of boards, including the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce; Easter Seals of Arkansas; Baptist Health Foundation; and University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Foundation.
Yuan and wife Tracy have two daughters, Brooke, 16, and Alyssa, 14.

Q & A

One Word that Describes You: Hard-working.

Hobby: Tennis.

Hometown: Taipei, Taiwan. 

What was your first job? Shoveling snow and picking up trash when I was 14.

What is No. 1 on your bucket list? To have no lists. 

What do you love about what you do? The diversity of clients and businesses that I come in contact with, and understanding their successes and challenges. At heart, I am still a "deal guy" who loves the action in the trenches. 

What philosophy guides you daily? To strive to be better today than I was yesterday. 

What is your dream profession? Doing anything where I feel a passion — passion is the fuel for achieving excellence. 

What one accomplishment are you most proud of? Taking care of my family. 

What goal do you have that you have yet to achieve? To beat my daughters in a race to swim across our pool.

 

 

 

Sam K. Alley, Chairman and CEO, VCCBUSINESS

Sam K. Alley

Chairman and CEO, VCC

Beginning his career as a project manager and working up the ranks, Sam K. Alley has managed all levels of project development and completion. He is currently responsible for the overall guidance and vision of VCC, a leading contractor in the country named in the top three companies in retail and top 150 by Engineering News-Record.

Alley attended the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (UAF) and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering and is a registered professional engineer. He has more than 30 years of experience in the development and construction of dozens of widely-varied projects for both the private and commercial sectors.

He currently sits on the Board of Advisors at UAF and on the Baptist Health Care Foundation Board, as well as the board of trustees for Mount St. Mary Academy. He also serves as a member of the Fifty for the Future in Arkansas and the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce. He is a life member of the board of directors of Youth Home, Inc. and was awarded Youth Home’s Board Member of the Year in 1994. He has numerous affiliations including: Little Rock Rotary Club 99; National Society of Engineers; American Society of Civil Engineers; International Council of Shopping Centers; Arkansas Academy of Civil Engineers; and the Arkansas Alumni Association. His additional community involvement has included service on the advisory board for the Ronald McDonald House of Arkansas.

Q & A

One Word that Describes You: Dedicated.

Hobby: Golf, golf, golf — easiest one to answer.

Hometown: Jerusalem.

What was your first job? Cashier at my father's grocery store.

What is No. 1 on your bucket list? Travel to all seven continents.

What do you love about what you do? Every day brings new experiences, and I have the opportunity to work with the best team in our industry.

Who is your mentor? My father; he taught me so many important lessons about life and business.

What is your dream profession? Professional golfer.

What one accomplishment are you most proud of? Raising three successful children.

What goal do you have that you have yet to achieve? To go back to my hometown overseas and give young people there the opportunity to accomplish their dreams like I did.

 

 

 

Fitzgerald Hill, President at Arkansas Baptist CollegeEDUCATION

Fitzgerald Hill

President, Arkansas Baptist College

Fitzgerald Hill, a former football coach, is president of the 127 year-old Arkansas Baptist College (ABC). He also serves as a guest lecturer and research associate at the University of Central Florida’s Institute of Diversity and Ethics. He is co-founder of Life CHAMPS Youth Sports, which uses sports for the positive development of young men.

Hill began his coaching career at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La., where he served as a graduate assistant football coach in 1988. He served on the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (UAF) Razorback football coaching staff for 12 years and as head football coach for the San Jose State Spartans.    

In 1997, Hill was awarded the doctorate of education degree from UAF. His dissertation has been featured on many national news television programs, and he has been profiled in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Hill is writing his first book titled CrackBack, which examines how race influences employment opportunities for African American football coaches at division I-A colleges and universities.

Since assuming the president position at ABC, the college has been reaccredited by North Central; received the largest private gift from an individual in the college’s history; and launched a $30-million capital campaign that includes a community redevelopment component.

Hill received the Bronze Star and Commendation Medal for services in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He and wife Dr. Cynthia Hill have two daughters, Destiny and Faith, and a son, Justice.

Q & A

One Word that Describes You: Vision.

Hobbies: Reading and writing.

Childhood Nickname: Fitz.

Hometown: Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

What was your first job? Assistant football coach.

When you knew you'd made it: I have never felt as though I’ve made it.

What is No. 1 on your bucket list? Taking care of my family.

What do you love about what you do? Empowering others to independence.

Who is your mentor, and what philosophy guides you daily? Jesus and biblical principles.

What is your dream profession? To be in God’s will.

What one accomplishment are you most proud of? My family.

What goal do you have that you have yet to achieve? Learning to be happy with my current blessings.

 

 

 

Steve Landers, Sr., President of RLJ-McLarty-Landers Automotive GroupENTREPRENEUR

Steve Landers, Sr.

President, RLJ-McLarty-Landers Automotive Group

Steve Landers, Sr. entered the automotive industry as a salesman immediately after he graduated high school. He went on to open a used car lot in Benton, Ark., with his father and after several successful years, entered the realm of new car sales. In 1989, he purchased the Jeep, GMC and Oldsmobile dealerships in Benton, and within two years he took over management of the local Chrysler and Dodge franchises. Under his management, the stores flourished and his Chrysler dealership became the world’s largest for several consecutive years and earned the Gold Level Recognition for customer satisfaction from Chrysler.  In 1995, Landers sold his dealerships to publicly-traded United Auto Group (UAG), the second largest automotive retailer in the United States.

UAG hired Landers as president of their South Central Region where he was responsible for all of UAG’s operations in Arkansas, Texas, Tennessee, Louisiana and Mississippi. Under his leadership the South Central Region became UAG’s most profitable, earning in excess of $40 million annually.

In 2003, he left UAG and re-entered the independent dealership business, purchasing a Toyota franchise in Little Rock with his two sons, Steve Landers, Jr. and Scott Landers. In 2004, he formed McLarty-Landers Automotive Group with Mack McLarty.

Landers lives in Little Rock with his wife Sandy. They are active members of Immanuel Baptist Church and are involved in several charitable organizations, including the American Heart Association, Juvenile Diabetes Association and the American Cancer Society.

Q & A

One Word that Describes You: Determined.

Hobby: I enjoy all sports — especially watching my grandkids play.

Childhood Nickname: Slab.

Hometown: Benton, Arkansas.

What was your first job? Selling Benton Courier newspapers on a street corner.

What is No. 1 on your bucket list? Travel to Israel.

What do you love about what you do? Swapping and trading!

Who is your mentor? My mentor was my father Bob Landers.

What is your dream profession? I am very fortunate to work in my dream profession!

What one accomplishment are you most proud of? Personally, my family; professionally, being the No.1 Chrysler Dealer in the world.

What goal do you have that you have yet to achieve? That is a tough question … while I have achieved most of the goals I have set for myself, I always look forward to new challenges.

 

 

 

Carlton D. Jones, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, 8th Judicial District-SouthLAW

Carlton D. Jones

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, 8th Judicial District-South

Carlton Jones obtained a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and went on to attend the University of Arkansas School of Law where he became involved with the Black Law Student’s Association (BLSA). He participated in negotiation competitions and the BLSA Regional Moot Court Competition. While in law school, Jones served as a law clerk and performed independent legal research for law firms.  Jones passed the Arkansas Bar in August 1988. Shortly after, he began his employment as an attorney with East Arkansas Legal Services (EALS) in Helena. The experience gave Jones a great appreciation for the good an attorney in public service can accomplish. In 1989, Jones left EALS and accepted the position of Deputy Prosecuting Attorney - Eighth Judicial District. Since 1990, Jones has participated in the prosecution of thousands of criminal cases ranging in severity and scope from a traffic ticket to capital murder.

Since returning home in 1990, Jones has been actively involved in his community and state.  He currently serves Lonoke Baptist Church; on the Department of Human Services State Institutional Systems Board of Directors; on the Christus St. Michael Hospital Board of Directors; and with the Texarkana Volunteer Center. He has previously served on the board of directors for 50 Men Plus; the office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Programs; The Arkansas Supreme Court Committee on Automation of the Courts; and the Governor’s Task Force on Racial Profiling.

Q & A

One word that describes you: Inquisitive — Why? or How? are two of the greatest questions in the world.

Childhood Nickname: The Professor, among other nicknames not fit for print!

Hometown: Texarkana, Arkansas.

What was your first job? I was employed as a dishwasher in a hotel restaurant.

What do you love about what you do? The opportunity to serve the community in which I grew up — my occupation affords me the chance to help and protect those who oftentimes are least capable of defending themselves.

Who is your mentor or what philosophy guides you daily? The philosophy that should guide all of us who undertake this career is to be fair and just: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

What is your dream profession? You mean other than the one I currently have? OK, astronaut! My position is one of the most rewarding an attorney can have. Everyday, there is a new challenge, and we do work that is important to our community and society.

What one accomplishment are you most proud of? My election to this office. With the assistance and support of a lot of good people, we accomplished what many believed was impossible.

What goal do you have that you have yet to achieve? To become an astronaut — but now I am too old, so I will have to choose another goal!

 

 

 

Russell D. Harrington, Jr., President and CEO, Baptist HealthMEDICAL

Russell D. Harrington, Jr.

President and CEO, Baptist Health

Russell Harrington serves as president and CEO of Baptist Health, which is comprised of seven hospitals. Prior to his present position, Harrington has carried on a long and successful career in the heath industry serving as: associate executive director of Baptist Health; administrator of Baptist Health Medical Center — Little Rock; executive director of Baptist Memorial Hospital in Kansas City; assistant administrator of Baptist Health Medical Center — Little Rock; and administrative assistant at the University Hospital in Little Rock. Harrington received a bachelor’s of science degree from Arkansas State University (ASU) in Jonesboro, and a master’s degree in Health Services Management from the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Harrington serves his profession and community in a number of ways including: as a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives; member of the Arkansas Hospital Association; member of the American Hospital Association; board member of Parkway Village, Inc.; board member of Baptist Health Foundation; member of Fifty for the Future; member of Pulaski County United Way; and many more.

Harrington has been named a Distinguished Alumnus by ASU; Arkansas’ Philanthropic Person in 2000 by the Muscular Dystrophy Association; an honorary colonel by the Arkansas State Police; Arkansan of the Year in 2002 by Easter Seals; and more. He and wife, Donna, have two children, Stephanie and Brooks; two grandsons, Cole and Patrick; and are members of Immanuel Baptist Church.

Q & A

One Word that Describes You: Resilient.

Hobby: Spending time at our river cottage on the Little Red River.

Hometown: Jonesboro.

What was your first job? Grocery sacker at Lynn Green’s Lucky Supermarket at age 13.

What was your first big break? Being assigned as an officer in the Army Medical Service Corp. It was my introduction to healthcare and showed me how it could be a healing ministry.

What do you love about what you do? Working daily with co-workers who are committed to our Christian-based healthcare ministry of saving lives and improving the quality of life for those we serve.

Who is your mentor, and what philosophy guides you daily? My mentor was my predecessor the late John A. Gilbreath. He was a model Christian gentleman and a healthcare visionary; my philosophy: in all you do, give your best and treat others the way you would wish to be treated.

What is your dream profession? I am living it every day. However, in my early college experience, I focused on becoming a radio/TV news journalist.

What one accomplishment are you most proud of? Expanding Baptist Health from a single hospital to a seven-hospital network with a large physician service organization, a comprehensive retirement community, and more than 175 points of access to services across our state.

 

 

 

Pierre Ferrari, President and CEO, Heifer International NON-PROFIT

Pierre Ferrari

President and CEO, Heifer International

After leaving the corporate world for a series of humanitarian ventures, Pierre Ferrari is now president and CEO of Heifer International. Ferrari was named the nonprofit’s CEO in October 2010, and the organization’s president in July 2011. He brought with him a vision for the organization including changes that will help feed millions of additional hungry families worldwide.

Since 1944, Heifer has provided gifts of livestock and training that supply nutrition and income for participating families. Thus far, during his tenure at Heifer International, Ferrari has implemented three important strategies, the most ambitious of which is significant expansion of Heifer’s projects in developing countries.

Prior to his work at Heifer, Ferrari served as a board member and former chair, Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream; director of Small Enterprise Assistance Fund (SEAF); Oglethorpe University Advisory trustee; Tula Communications co-founder; The Coca-Cola Co., senior vice president of marketing; and more.

Ferrari was born in The Belgian Congo, and raised in Congo, Kenya and England. He received his master’s degree in economics from The University of Cambridge and his master's of business administration degree from Harvard University. He has raised two sons and is raising two stepdaughters with his wife Kimberly.

Q & A

One Word that Describes You: Passionate.

Hobby: Golf.

Childhood Nickname: Pierot.

Hometown: Lubumbashi, Congo.

What was your first job? Driving a truck for Coca-Cola.

What is No. 1 on your bucket list? Playing The Master’s Golf Tournament with a woman golfer.

What do you love about what you do? Working with a great team to help others escape the plagues of hunger and poverty.

What philosophy guides you daily? The path to deep happiness is working to end the suffering of others. 

What is your dream profession? My current job.

What one accomplishment are you most proud of? I’m still working on it.

What goal do you have that you have yet to achieve? Ending extreme hunger.      

 

 

 

Herren C. Hickingbotham, Principal, Hickingbotham Investments, Inc.PHILANTHROPY

Herren C. Hickingbotham

Principal, Hickingbotham Investments, Inc.

Herren Hickingbotham is owner in his family business, Hickingbotham Family Limited Partnership (HFLP), which owns several automobile franchises including Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Porsche, Mercedes, BMW and others; operates five Harley-Davidson motorcycle locations; and AIMCO, a regional restaurant equipment distribution company.
Hickingbotham is also one of the owners of Big Orange, a gourmet hamburgers, salads and shakes restaurant in Little Rock.

He is former president and COO of TCBY Enterprises, Inc., a New York Stock Exchange company, and served on the board of directors of TCBY. The family divested TCBY in 2000, at that time the company operated more than 3,000 locations in 70 countries.

In addition to being a member of the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Foundation Board of Directors, Hickingbotham is a member of the Baptist Health Board of Trustees; Ouachita Baptist University Hickingbotham School of Business Executive Advisory Board; and a past member of the Board of Directors for Fifty for the Future. He recently served as chairman of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce and currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors and the Executive Board of the Chamber.

He has worked closely with the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Arkansas affiliate since its beginning in 1993. He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville with a degree in Business Administration and a major in Finance and Banking. He and his wife Susan have two children, Hayden and Christian.

Q & A

One Word that Describes You: Blessed.

Hobby: Spending time with my family; traveling; playing the piano; and playing golf when time permits.

Hometown: McGehee, Arkansas.

What was your first job? Working at AQ Chicken when I was 12 years old.

What is No. 1 on your bucket list? To plan a month-long trip to Bangkok and Thailand.

What do you love about what you do? Making a difference in the lives of others.

Who is your mentor, and what philosophy guides you daily? My father, Frank Hickingbotham, and to walk closer each day with Jesus Christ.

What is your dream profession? I am living it.

What one accomplishment are you most proud of? Being the husband of Susan and father of Hayden and Christian.

What goal do you have that you have yet to achieve? To play more golf.

 

 

 

Darrin L. Williams, Sr., State Representative, District 36 / Attorney at Carney Williams Bates Pulliam & Bowman, PLLCPOLITICAL

Darrin L. Williams, Sr.

State Representative, District 36 / Attorney, Carney Williams Bates Pulliam & Bowman, PLLC

Rep. Darrin Williams of Little Rock is serving in his second term in the Arkansas General Assembly, representing District 36. At the conclusion of this year’s Fiscal Session, the members of the Arkansas House of Representatives, elected Williams to serve as Speaker-Designate. When the 89th General Assembly convenes in January 2013, Williams is slated to serve as the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Currently, Williams serves as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and in the most recent regular legislative session he led the passage of the Public Safety Improvement Act. Recently, Governing Magazine, a national publication on government policy and politics, named Williams as one of the 12 State Legislators to Watch for 2012.

Williams graduated from Hendrix College in Conway, Ark., received his law degree from Vanderbilt University School of Law in Nashville, Tenn., and his master's of law from Georgetown Law Center in Washington, DC.

He is a partner at Carney Williams Bates Pulliam & Bowman law firm and is actively involved with several community and civic organizations, including the board of directors for CARTI Foundation; Our House, Inc.; and as a life member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He and wife Nicole Sippial have two children, Darrin Jr. and Payton. The family attends Central Church of Christ, where Williams serves as a Sunday school teacher and a deacon.

Q & A

One Word that describes you: Blessed.

Hobby: Golf.

Childhood Nickname: Big D.

Hometown: Little Rock, Arkansas.

What was your first job? Concrete finishing with my dad.

What is No. 1 on your bucket list? I do not have a bucket list, but I am hopeful that I still have much more to do in life.

What do you love about what you do? I enjoy the opportunity to help people and to make a positive difference in their lives.

Who is your mentor, and what philosophy guides you daily? My parents were my biggest mentors; both are now deceased. I try to live by the Golden Rule: do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.

What is your dream profession? Public service and philanthropy.

What one accomplishment are you most proud of? I have been blessed to do several things and it is difficult to pick just one thing I am most proud of, but being Student Body President at Little Rock Central High School, 1985-86, would be high on the list.

What goal do you have that you have yet to achieve? Continue to raise my two children to be God-fearing, respectful young adults and to see them graduate from high school, college and graduate school.

 

 

 

Joe David Rice, Tourism Director, Arkansas Department of Parks & TourismTOURISM

Joe David Rice

Tourism Director, Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism

Joe David Rice serves as Arkansas’ Tourism Director, a position he’s held since 1987. He and his team of 65 employees have two major responsibilities: enhancing the state’s image and enticing more visitors.

Prior to his transfer to the Tourism Division, Rice was employed by the Arkansas State Parks system where he worked on the Arkansas Wilderness Act of 1983; the Cossatot River State Park and Natural Area; and the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Trust Fund. He wrote the department’s award-winning community park handbook, edited its festival manual, and produced the “Arkansas Floater’s Kit.”

Rice graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and obtained a master’s degree from the University of Illinois. He’s received commendations from both the National Recreation & Parks Association and the National Park Service for his work.

In 2003, his peers selected him as the country’s State Tourism Director of the Year. He recently served two terms as chair of the National Council of State Tourism Directors. In 2008, Rice was inducted into the Arkansas Hospitality Association Hall of Fame and is a long-time board member of the both Arkansas Hospitality Association (AHA) and Travel South USA. In addition, Rice is former board member of the US Travel Association.

Rice has two sons, Henry Rice and Weston Rice. He and his wife Tracey live in Little Rock.

Q & A

One Word that Describes You: Adventuresome.

Hobby: Outdoor activities — canoeing, hiking, photography — and writing.

Childhood Nickname: None, although my father occasionally called me “Knucklehead,” which I accepted as a term of endearment.

Hometown: Jonesboro, Arkansas.

What was your first job? Picking cucumbers for my grandfather on his farm near Corning — I suspect I was the best-paid cucumber picker in America!

What is No. 1 on your bucket list? Visiting Italian hill towns with my wife Tracey.

What do you love about what you do? Introducing Arkansas to infidels — then watching their attitudes change as they experience the state and get acquainted with its people.

Who is your mentor? My mentor is my father Clarence Rice. He’s a kind and generous self-made man who, at 86, still gets up every morning with a positive attitude and eagerly goes to work purchasing, renovating and renting homes.

What is your dream profession? I’m doing it!

What one accomplishment are you most proud of? Helping raise two fine young men, Henry Rice and Weston Rice.

What goal do you have that you have yet to achieve? Getting a book published.

 

 

Reader Comments:
Jul 7, 2012 11:23 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Loved Don's profile. Can't wait to visit Crystal Bridges

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