Arkansas Economy

Cuba Governor
Governor's Office

Gov. Asa Hutchinson and a delegation of nearly 50 Arkansas business leaders and state officials are in Cuba for a series of meetings with government officials.

The communist island nation and its 11 million residents have for years been eyed as an untapped marketplace for Arkansas products, especially agriculture. With diplomatic relations being restored between the U.S. and Cuba, Hutchinson said this was an ideal time to begin building a relationship. The visit is the first by an American governor since the U.S. re-opened its embassy there in July.

Manufacturing and farming giant Caterpillar Inc., which operates a large motor grader plant in North Little Rock with several hundred workers, announced a major across-the-board restructuring and cost reduction Thursday (Sept. 24) that could possibly affect more than 10,000 employees across the company’s expansive U.S. and international operations.

Governor asa hutchinson military
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A month after an Arkansas factory lost a bid for a $6.75 billion contract to assemble military tactical vehicles, the governor has formed a group to help grow the state's military economy.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the Governor's Military Affairs Committee on Monday. The organization of public and private leaders will advocate for the state's military installations and their economic development interests.

Hutchinson is spending $400,000 from discretionary funds to start the group and for an economic impact study.

The Fab Four from Liverpool – who made a trip through Northeast Arkansas more than 50 years ago – were big fans of the music from the region, an author of a new book about The Beatles said Thursday.

Ivor Davis, who wrote the book, “The Beatles and Me on Tour,” will visit Walnut Ridge Friday and Saturday as part of the Beatles at the Ridge Festival.

rocket lockheed martin
Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin announced that it had received a $227 million contract from the U.S. Army for the first order of the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System alternative warhead, which will be produced at the defense contractor’s missile production facility in Camden.

“GMLRS is a combat proven precision-strike system,” said Ken Musculus, vice president of Tactical Missiles for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “We are confident that the new GMLRS Alternative Warhead will also provide reliable, highly accurate capability for our domestic and international customers.”

Sister Simone Campbell in Fayetteville.

Coinciding with Pope Francis’s visit to the U.S. this month a busload of social justice-minded nuns is touring the country, with three stops in Arkansas.

Sister Simone Campbell, of the lobbying group NETWORK, said she supports the Pope’s message of an inclusive economy.

  A groundbreaking ceremony has been held for the expansion of Aerojet Rocketdyne's plant in Camden in south Arkansas.

The California-based company was joined by Gov. Asa Hutchinson and state and local officials for Thursday's ceremony.

The project includes new buildings and renovations on the 1,200-acre site and 85 new jobs. The cost of the project was not released, however it is supported with incentives that include funding, tax exemptions, real estate tax grants and reimbursement for training.

The plant produces solid rocket motors used in the defense industry.

The Little Rock Technology Park Authority on Wednesday unanimously approved a measure giving Executive Director Brent Birch the power to negotiate a deal to hire East Harding Inc. as the construction manager for the first phase of the $30 million downtown tech park development.

Joint Light Tactical Vehicle JLTV
Lance Turner / Arkansas Business

Lockheed Martin says it's protesting the contract for a military vehicle it had hoped to assemble in south Arkansas being awarded to another company.

The Maryland-based company on Tuesday said it had filed a protest of the Army's decision last month to award a $6.7 billion contract to develop the joint light tactical vehicle to Wisconsin-based Oshkosh. Lockheed Martin was among three companies competing for the project, which it intended to build at its Camden facility in southern Arkansas.

Big River Steel
Johnathan Reaves / KASU News

Big River Steel has pre-sold nearly a quarter of the steel it is expected to produce over the next seven years, the company’s CEO told a legislative committee Wednesday.