Upcoming Economic Development Summit to focus on innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship

Upcoming Economic Development Summit to focus on innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship

Mon Oct 11, 2021 at 10:55 AM

Speakers Steuart Walton, Jeff Amerine and Grace Rains

Steuart Walton will be the opening keynote speaker at the 2021 Economic Development Summit presented by North Arkansas College on Thursday, October 28, 2021, in the Durand Center located at Crockett Tower in downtown Harrison. Walton is the co-founder of Runway Group, a Bentonville holding company that invests in real estate, hospitality, and other businesses in Northwest Arkansas. He is the founder and chairman of Bentonville-based Game Composites, a company that designs and builds small composite aircraft. He serves on the board of directors of Walmart, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. He was appointed by Governor Asa Hutchinson in 2020 to lead the state’s economic recovery strategy.  Walton is the grandson of Walmart founders Helen and Sam Walton, and a member of the Walmart board of directors.

“This event adds another layer to the work of the Chamber’s programs and initiatives to foster economic development in our region,” Bob Largent, president and CEO of the Harrison Regional Chamber of Commerce noted. “We’re extremely pleased to have these exceptional business innovators and change agents with us in Harrison.”

The Summit kicks off with a breakfast buffet at 8:15 A.M. and will conclude at 11:30 A.M.  This is an invitation-only event and attendance is limited. Invitations will be distributed by email on Monday, Oct. 11.  Individuals are asked to R.S.V.P. to the Harrison Regional Chamber of Commerce by Oct. 21 to ensure attendance. 

The closing keynote session features Jeff Amerine and Grace Rains. A former U.S. Air Force officer, Amerine founded Startup Junkie in 2008 and now serves as managing director.  Startup Junkie supports entrepreneurs, equipping them with advice and innovative solutions at no cost. Extending outside of the Ozarks region, Startup Junkie Consulting is also boosting emerging entrepreneurial communities spanning from Canada to South America.

Grace Rains is the executive director of The Conductor, a public-private partnership with the University of Central Arkansas and Startup Junkie that drives innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic empowerment in central Arkansas through high-impact programming, one-on-one consulting, talent development, collaboration, and rapid prototyping in UCA’s Makerspace, powered by the Conductor, which is free-of-charge to students and the community.

After the session featuring Mr. Amerine and Ms. Rains, attendees will split into topic-specific small groups for a deeper dive and personal interaction with these subject matter experts.  These groups are intended to provide important business tips designed to inspire business growth for the future.

Northark President Rick Massengale said the College is proud to present this event. “We’ve seen a lot of positive momentum in the last year. Northark is committed to growing the workforce and attracting new businesses while supporting our existing industry partners who have made this region one of the premier locations for businesses to thrive.”

North Arkansas College is committed to providing an educational and work environment for its students, faculty, and staff that is free from sexual discrimination including sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual violence. No form of sexual discrimination will be tolerated. See the full North Arkansas College Title IX Policy and Procedures for the specific definitions of sexual harassment and sexual violence, including examples of such conduct.