SSTI Digest

Geography: Arkansas


Joey Dean was named vice president of economic development for the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce and as executive director of the Metro Little Rock Alliance. Dean succeeds Jay Chesshir, the chamber's newly named president and CEO, in both positions.

Arkansas Universities Plan to Move Ahead, Despite Failure of Bond Issue

Last month, voters in Arkansas narrowly rejected a major bond proposal targeting technology and capital upgrades in higher education and actively supported by Gov. Mike Huckabee, leaving many to wonder what went wrong.

State Tobacco Settlement Funds & TBED: Where Are They Now?

Following the 1998 Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement, states across the country set out to dedicate significant amounts of funding from their share of the settlement to support research and other TBED programs.

EAST Initiative Seeks President/CEO

The Board of Directors of the EAST (Environmental And Spatial Technology) Initiative invites applications for the position of President/Chief Executive Officer. The EAST model, a result of a collaboration between business and education, is intended to provide K-16 students with access to resources not available in the traditional educational setting. The board seeks a proven leader whose vision and passion for education and technology is demonstrated by a successful track record of innovation, strong management and fiscal integrity. Someone with 10 years of executive management experience is desired. A full description is available through the SSTI Job Corner,

Arkansas Nanotech Alliance Formed

The source of eadership on specific state tech-based economic development activities greatly influences the design and effectiveness of the effort. It remains to be seen then how the recently launched Arkansas Nanotechnology Alliance evolves locally as its direction originates from the nation's capital.

Arkansas House Passes Bill to Allocate 12-Year Funding Base for R&D, Seed Capital

The perennial or biennial efforts to secure funding from state legislatures to support tech-based economic development (TBED) programs can create significant limitations on the design and execution of programs targeting research or early-stage, seed capital investments. Fixed endowments such as the one created by Wyoming and the Permanent Big Sky Economic Development Fund proposed in Montana (see both stories above) are ideal, but getting the initial payment approved by a legislature can be difficult.

Tech-based ED Roundup

Arkansas Biotech Research Threatened With 20% Cut

In order to meet the higher priority needs of the state, the Arkansas Tobacco Settlement Commission should reduce its medical research funding by 20 percent, according to an independent report from the RAND Corp. Although the report praised the Arkansas Biosciences Institute for its success in attracting nearly $3 for every dollar of tobacco settlement money spent, it recommends that the commission reallocate 20 percent of its funding to programs aimed at reducing obesity, physical inactivity and cancer.


The Fayetteville Economic Development Council named Steven Rust as its new executive director, beginning Aug. 15.

Useful Stats: 2003 DoD Phase I SBIR Proposals and Awards

The Department of Defense (DoD) distributed $152.9 million in awards under its fiscal year 2003 Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program competitions. A total of 1,882 awards were selected from a pool of more than 15,000 proposals across all states and the District of Columbia.


Larry Walther has replaced Jim Pickens as director of the Arkansas Department of Economic Development. Pickens retired earlier this month.

Tech Council News Briefs

Arkansas Tech Council in Formative Stages

The nucleus of a new regional technology council is taking structure in Central Arkansas. The Arkansas Capital Corp. has launched Techpreneur, a new forum for the area's biotech and information technology entrepreneurs to be modeled after Washington, D.C.-based Netpreneur. The fledgling group initially will allow people to share ideas and network, but additional activities such as mentoring and educational services may be added in the future.


The director of the Arkansas Department of Economic Development has announced his retirement. Jim Pickens will remain in the position until his replacement is named, according to local news reports.