Mike Preston

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”
— Winston S. Churchill

Secretary, Arkansas Department of Commerce

B.A., Political Science, University of Florida

Fort White, Florida; moved to Arkansas in April 2015

Kemuri

Whiskey on the rocks

Gov. Asa Hutchinson appointed Mike Preston as executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission in 2015 and Secretary of Commerce in 2019. He has traveled to Japan, China, France, Germany, Israel, Cuba, Mexico, Italy, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Czech Republic, UAE, India, New York City and Silicon Valley for business recruitment, resulting in more than 500 companies locating or expanding in Arkansas, creating more than 23,000 new jobs and more than $10 billion in direct capital investment. Under the leadership of Preston and Hutchinson, Arkansas’ unemployment rate has stayed below or has mirrored the national average, even throughout the pandemic. Preston was selected to join The Wall Street Journal’s invitation-only CEO Council in 2018 for the opportunity to connect with some of the most influential leaders in the world. Preston is also an active volunteer in the community with the Easterseals Arkansas and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Mike Preston

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”
— Winston S. Churchill

Secretary, Arkansas Department of Commerce

B.A., Political Science, University of Florida

Fort White, Florida; moved to Arkansas in April 2015

Kemuri

Whiskey on the rocks

Gov. Asa Hutchinson appointed Mike Preston as executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission in 2015 and Secretary of Commerce in 2019. He has traveled to Japan, China, France, Germany, Israel, Cuba, Mexico, Italy, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Czech Republic, UAE, India, New York City and Silicon Valley for business recruitment, resulting in more than 500 companies locating or expanding in Arkansas, creating more than 23,000 new jobs and more than $10 billion in direct capital investment. Under the leadership of Preston and Hutchinson, Arkansas’ unemployment rate has stayed below or has mirrored the national average, even throughout the pandemic. Preston was selected to join The Wall Street Journal’s invitation-only CEO Council in 2018 for the opportunity to connect with some of the most influential leaders in the world. Preston is also an active volunteer in the community with the Easterseals Arkansas and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT:

I’m most proud of being a father to our son, Pierce, and husband to my wife, Anne.

FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB:

I love that I get to sell Arkansas as a business destination around the world.

LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE PANDEMIC:

The pandemic taught us a lot. Looking back, I would say it prepared me better on always being ready to adjust to changing data and circumstances, and to do so quickly.

PERSON YOU MOST ADMIRE:

I strongly admire President Abraham Lincoln for all that he endured throughout his life and was ultimately able to preserve. Then upon becoming president, he led in the most difficult years of our country’s history, and ultimately saved the nation.

FAVORITE HOBBIES:

My hobbies are basketball, weightlifting and water skiing.

PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT:

I’m most proud of being a father to our son, Pierce, and husband to my wife, Anne.

FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB:

I love that I get to sell Arkansas as a business destination around the world.

LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE PANDEMIC:

The pandemic taught us a lot. Looking back, I would say it prepared me better on always being ready to adjust to changing data and circumstances, and to do so quickly.

PERSON YOU MOST ADMIRE:

I strongly admire President Abraham Lincoln for all that he endured throughout his life and was ultimately able to preserve. Then upon becoming president, he led in the most difficult years of our country’s history, and ultimately saved the nation.

FAVORITE HOBBIES:

My hobbies are basketball, weightlifting and water skiing.

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