Roby Brock

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Roby Brock of TalkBusiness.net covers business and political news happening in Arkansas.

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Three technology companies announced plans to locate new facilities in downtown Conway, investing $2.5 million and adding 140 new jobs.

Talk Business and Politics report Metova Inc., a mobile app development company; Big Cloud Analytics, a predictive analytics software company; and Eyenalyze, a Conway-based company that has developed innovative software for use in the food service sector; will invest a combined $2.5 million and create 140 new jobs.

iron yard
theironyard.com

The Iron Yard, a coding school with a national reputation, is opening shop in Central Arkansas. The Ark Challenge, Gravity Ventures and Innovate Arkansas are supporting the Little Rock launch.

The Iron Yard originated in Greenville, South Carolina, and specializes in advanced education in software application development, web design, coding and engineering. They partner with accelerators and co-working spaces to assist with people and their ideas.

Arkansas’ unemployment rate fell two-tenths of a percent to 5.7% in December as the number of the employed rose and the universe of unemployed decreased.

In the separate monthly nonfarm payroll jobs report, big gains were seen in the construction, leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, and education/health sectors.

  AT&T said it will hire 120 new workers across that state for primarily technician and retail sales jobs. AT&T said the jobs can be full-time and part-time and will include “competitive wages and benefits.” The company currently employs more than 2,300 employees throughout the state and it hired 350 workers in Arkansas last year. AT&T noted it is committed to diversity and veteran recruiting.

The Little Rock Technology Park announced that Darrin Williams was appointed to the Authority’s Board effective immediately. Williams is the CEO of Arkadelphia-based Southern Bancorp and is a former State Representative from Little Rock.

Williams will complete the term of Bob Johnson, who resigned from the Board on November 12, 2014.

UALR Chancellor Joel Anderson said the appointment of Darrin Williams was based on his outstanding leadership in the Little Rock community and his distinguished record in public service.

Asa Hutchinson
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Arkansas lawmakers had plenty of positive comments after Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s speech to the 90th General Assembly. Hutchinson, who was sworn in as Arkansas’ 46th Governor on Tuesday, delivered a direct speech to a joint session of the legislature, touching on key issues that will be debated at the state Capitol for the next three months.

Those issues include tax cuts, education, health care, prisons, and much more.

Arkansas growers set or tied state records for yields in six crops in 2014, exceeding the national average in per-acre yield in four categories.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2014 Crop Production Annual Survey released Monday, Arkansas growers set state records for cotton, corn for grain, all rice and long grain rice, soybeans and sweet potatoes. Average yields for corn, cotton, long grain rice and soybeans all exceeded national averages.

David Gearhart
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

University of Arkansas chancellor G. David Gearheart said he will step down from his position and return to the classroom on July 31, 2015.

Citing his desire to spend more time with his family, Gearheart who has served as chancellor since 2008, said he planned to return to the classroom.

Mike Beebe
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Mike Beebe discussed his accomplishments and challenges in his next-to-last radio address last week. In his farewell address released Friday, Beebe reminisced on the social aspects and the more emotional sides of the job.

Here is his address in its entirety:

Governor-elect Asa Hutchinson has announced Larry Walther as the new Director of the Department of Finance and Administration, Jami Cook as the new Director of the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards, and State Senator Bruce Holland as the new Director of Livestock and Poultry. 

In addition, Hutchinson said he will keep Joe Fox as State Forester at the Arkansas Forestry Commission.

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