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Arkansas in the Fortune 500 "Hot Nine"


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Mith and friends,


I think this deserves its own thread.  This really is what's behind this board likely being one of Urban Planet's "hottest" ones.  Fortune magazine has ranked Arkansas in the "Hot Nine" states (essentially drivers to the American economy: the others being Texas, California, Washington, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Tennessee, North Carolina).  Pretty amazing.  Here's the ArDemGaz story on this, with an interesting note on how the Arkansas Economic Development Corporation is currently marketing an "Arkansas favors the bold" campaign:


"On list, state in the big leagues"


as well as the original Fortune article (which says that "the Fortune 500's center of gravity has utterly shifted") which inspired the ADG story, including the quote below.  Note that the article was written before Tyson's acquisition of Hillshire Farms and the latter's brands which essentially makes Tyson the "Procter & Gamble" of meat companies.  Puts a lot of things in perspective:



"Then there’s tiny Arkansas, with population a hair shy of 3 million. Its ascent over the past generation has been faster than any other state’s. Arkansas added $450 billion in revenues over the past two decades, expanding at 9.4% a year, four points better than the 500 average. The Natural State’s 500 members created an incredible 1.6 million jobs in 20 years. That’s 76% more than No. 2, California. Yes, Fortune readers will recognize this as mainly a Wal-Mart story: The discounter accounts for almost $400 billion of the state’s revenue gains and a boatload of jobs both in and out of state. But Arkansas also gained from the fast rise of Tyson Foods (leaping to No. 93 in this year’s list, from 225 in 1995), and the arrival of Murphy Oil (470) and its spinoff, Murphy USA (175)."




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One thing, though.  Arkansas really isn't that "tiny". :huh:   A smaller medium-sized state is a better descriptor.  It only has 1,300 square miles less than New York State, 4,800 square miles less than Illinois, neither of which Fortune would call "tiny".

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One thing, though.  Arkansas really isn't that "tiny". :huh:   A smaller medium-sized state is a better descriptor.  It only has 1,300 square miles less than New York State, 4,800 square miles less than Illinois, neither of which Fortune would call "tiny".


It appears to be in reference to the population size of near 3M, not land size.

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It's nice to be mentioned in the same sentence as Austin & Raleigh.  What I'd give to have the technology sectors those two cities have.  Kind of a shame we don't have any tech or pharma big names in this area.


Tech, in its own way, is starting to make a presence here though likely never the same as Silicon Valley.  But bubba72704, you hit it on the head for the day...congratulations!


Remember when we were told a month back that things would start happening when we crossed that "half million" threshold?  (500,598 today as a matter of fact, if one goes with the lower "23 new people to NWA per day" estimate.)  Well, this is the first "thing".


Wonder what will be next?  (I still believe "transportation" will be the catagory of perhaps the biggest developments in this category.)

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Burnz, that's what they're saying about (west) Fort Smith, too, with the heavy hitters coming in to lobby for the Arkansas I-49 bridge (in the "I-49" thread).  Here's ANOTHER article, just dropping today, in the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal (and what they think needs to happen)...one bit of cold water...now one man is saying we need to crack the "top 100 metros mark".  But it's all good still:



“There’s a large creative community and people just don’t know it,” Baker said. “Our contact list is 300, but it could be 5,000.”

James Eldridge, a former partner with James + James furniture who sold his interest in the company and now works as a business consultant, agreed with Baker, his friend and fellow entrepreneur, that Northwest Arkansas is the place to be. 
Eldridge, 26, said part of what’s taking place here is a cross-generational effort to make things happen. People like Matt Crafton, president and CEO of engineering powerhouse Crafton Tull, along with others are investing in business models hatched by Millennials. Experience is teaming up with youthful energy, Eldridge said, and in the process real possibilities are being created.
A former resident of Denver, the 22nd largest city in the country, Eldridge said the 500,000 population mark doesn’t sound like much.
But it is.
“Suddenly you’re shaking hands with someone you didn’t know existed,” Eldridge said. “If you’re looking for a fair playing field to get a business off the ground, this is the place to do it.”
One Million?
At his office on Pinnacle Hills Parkway in Rogers, recruiting honcho Cameron Smith has a front-row seat at the ongoing event that is the growth of Northwest Arkansas.
A key figure in the talent search for the more than 1,300 suppliers associated with Walmart, Smith is oftentimes the point man for the retail executives arriving here to do their time in what he calls Vendorville.
While Vendorville used to be a temporary stop on the corporate trail, it’s increasingly become a destination, and if the past is any indication of what will happen in the future, Northwest Arkansas will do what it does best — grow. 
“It means we’re headed to 600,000 a lot quicker than we got from 400,000 to 500,000,” Smith said. “Every day I get an email from someone saying, ‘My company wants me to move and I don’t want to move and my wife doesn’t want to move.’ It’s a good place to land.”

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From the NWA article immediately above, a final pull quote to bring this back to a "What's coming in to NWA or what NWA needs" type of thread:



Looking ahead, the region needs to prepare itself for competition at the highest level. A 30,000-SF tech hub, perhaps in the Pinnacle Hills area and powered by Google Fiber and meaningful tax incentives by the state of Arkansas, would give the region a powerful talking point, West said. It would also protect the tech community, which is under immense pressure to relocate to Silicon Valley in Santa Clara, California, or to Silicon Hills in Austin, Texas.

“If you want to play with the big boys, there’s things you’ve got to do,” West said.  

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I've always found it peculiar that central Arkansas has a stronger tech scene (e.g. Axciom, HP, Alltel, etc...) while NWA has a few startups, but no real major players.  Every year the U of A Fayetteville graduates a TON of strong tech employees (CSEG majors, Comp Sci majors, IT Management majors, etc...) who have to go out of our MSA to find work.  Really wish our economic leaders could solve this problem.

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