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mcheiss

Future Job Market for NWA

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Okay, we've all discussed the extreme slight possibility of Wal-Mart either leaving NWA or going belly under and how devistating it would be to Northwest Arkansas, particularly Benton County.

With that being said, NWA needs to diversify it's job market. What can people see coming to the area?

I myself am seeing a Large Increase in Banking jobs in the next 10+ years with the huge amount of construction and population surge here, I think it's high tide we have some large corporate bank here. Healthcare, which has already been mentioned before, will continue to increase, as we move from a generalized healthcare area to more specialized. I think more Tech jobs will come here, but I think the majority of them will be associated with Wal-Mart (i.e. RFID Technology).

What about you guys? What industries are going to come to NWA that aren't reliant on Wal-Mart that will help diversify the economy?

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I think more Tech jobs will come here, but I think the majority of them will be associated with Wal-Mart (i.e. RFID Technology).

Couldn't this end up being quite good itself?

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It's too reliant on Wally World.

What if something did end up hapening to the company, than these vendors and tech guys would be stuck up here for no reason.

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It's too reliant on Wally World.

What if something did end up hapening to the company, than these vendors and tech guys would be stuck up here for no reason.

Interesting...I guess (apart from moving to D/FW, where W-M would be just another billion dollar company) I still have a difficult time believing something will happen to W-M here where they are Bentonville (and that counts for many things). It is interesting to read about some of the tech companies being incubated by the U of A. I also recall an operation (someone help me here because I forget their name) in Rogers making sighting technology for the U.S. military...stories like that are quite intriguing.

There are a lot of intelligent minds coming in down here...let's see what they come up with in the next few years/decades.

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The possibilities for RFID are so great that even if Walmart went belly up it would still be a huge industry. Even if Walmart didnt survive SOMEONE will have to fill those shoes. People will not stop being consumers simply because its "Al's Super Shop" instead of Walmart they shop at. Al's will be using RFID also. All Walmart is doing for RFID is pushing to make it cheaper. So Walmart goes belly up. Then someone steps up to fill theyre shoes. The RFID companies, already placed here in NWA for strategic reasons (Walmart) will remain for strategic reasons (Location, Location, Location. Center of the country). We are real close to center making it a good place to be at to support and sell your product to both coasts. Because of our central location, I see our next big thing being just an increase in something already big here, trucking. Now, if I am right (which is a big maybe, who knows what tommorow holds) the RFID possibilities in trucking are also huge...

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All right, mcheiss, I'd like to suggest a response combined with a response good for the other thread "What does NW Arkansas need?".

It would be WAY cool to see a stronger ad agency and design studio presence in NWA. (And we're working on that now with firms such as New Creature and Saatchi & Saatchi X). And we could use, IMO, a nice design school that teaches people all facets of print, web, video, animation and packaging design. Right now NWACC has a better reputation up in Benton County for their art curricula than the U of A does...though I'm sure the latter is working on changing that.

Sure, Dallas has some nice art schools...but they're several hours away. I don't think there's any such school in the big area between Kansas City, D/FW, New Orleans, Memphis and St. Louis...certainly not in the incredibly diverse and growing "Spri-Tul-Nwa" (Springfield/Tulsa/NWA) area.

Besides financial and tech, why should this area NOT become an advertising/creative/applied artistry hub? We're certainly making a statement to the other side of the arts community with Crystal Bridges museum.

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Okay, we've all discussed the extreme slight possibility of Wal-Mart either leaving NWA or going belly under and how devistating it would be to Northwest Arkansas, particularly Benton County.

With that being said, NWA needs to diversify it's job market. What can people see coming to the area?

I myself am seeing a Large Increase in Banking jobs in the next 10+ years with the huge amount of construction and population surge here, I think it's high tide we have some large corporate bank here. Healthcare, which has already been mentioned before, will continue to increase, as we move from a generalized healthcare area to more specialized. I think more Tech jobs will come here, but I think the majority of them will be associated with Wal-Mart (i.e. RFID Technology).

What about you guys? What industries are going to come to NWA that aren't reliant on Wal-Mart that will help diversify the economy?

First, I'd like to just avoid the whole Wal-Mart going belly-up or moving out of Northwest Arkansas. All that would do is send me spiralling into one of my ultra-negative tangents about doomsday and all that. :lol:

With that being said I'd like to respond to this thread as if Wal-Mart and all it's Vendors have reached their maximum potential for job growth in NWA.

All Walmart is doing for RFID is pushing to make it cheaper.

No major corporation will even touch RFID technology unless Wal-Mart goes full force with it. Right now each RFID tag costs about 12 cents each. Wal-Marts goal is to get it down to 5 cents or less each before forcing every vendor to be 100% RFID compliant. When that happens the face of retailing and the way people shop will change forever. I won't go into RFID technology too much, but I am excited that the company I work for is heavily involved in the technology.

It would be WAY cool to see a stronger ad agency and design studio presence in NWA. (And we're working on that now with firms such as New Creature and Saatchi & Saatchi X). And we could use, IMO, a nice design school that teaches people all facets of print, web, video, animation and packaging design. Right now NWACC has a better reputation up in Benton County for their art curricula than the U of A does...though I'm sure the latter is working on changing that.

Even though the advertising and design business in NWA is growing rapidly mainly due to Wal-Mart and all it's Vendors opening thousands of marketing offices in the area, I do like your idea about this area building a large advertising industry.

I myself would like to see NWA start moving away from "white collar" jobs and start building larger "blue collar" industries. I recently got stopped while at Wal-Mart and was asked to sign a petition to build a new quarry in NWA. I excitedly signed the petition and told the guy "it's about time we get some more "blue collar" jobs up here."

So anyway, my list of industries I would like to see up and believe are possible for this area are:

Mining Operations (Stone Quarries, Underground Cold Storage)

Semiconductor Manufacturing (Microchips, Processors, PCB Assembly)

Aircraft Manufacturing (Jet Propulsion Labs, Full Aircraft Assembly)

Prefabrication Manufacturing (Modular Homes)

Northwest Arkansas already has large Distribution and Food Processing industries thanks to Wal-Mart and Tyson/Georges.

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The service industry in NWA is still well behind the population. I think healthcare, law, and banking are going to grow exponentially over the next two decades. Retail and restaurants are already catching up.

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I am not certain your #s are correct on the RFID's My understanding is that they started at 12 cents, are around a nickel now, and Walmarts end game, theyre target before implementation at the store level is below a cent. Thats what was told to me at the store level. Maybe your contacts know more than mine though...

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I am not certain your #s are correct on the RFID's My understanding is that they started at 12 cents, are around a nickel now, and Walmarts end game, theyre target before implementation at the store level is below a cent. Thats what was told to me at the store level. Maybe your contacts know more than mine though...

The actual RFID technology has been around for decades. RFID tags were 25 cents each about a year ago. Wal-Mart has been implementing RFID tags at the pallet level in the distribution chain. Wal-Mart is still a few years from implementing RFID tags at the store level. As the cost of the tags come down more suppliers will have to comply with Wal-Mart.

"Since January, 2005, Wal-Mart has required its top 100 suppliers to apply RFID labels to all shipments. To meet this requirement, vendors use RFID printer/encoders to label cases and pallets that require EPC tags for Wal-Mart. These smart labels are produced by embedding RFID inlays inside the label material, and then printing bar code and other visible information on the surface of the label." - Wikipedia.com

There's a ton of public knowledge on the web about RFID.

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All right, mcheiss, I'd like to suggest a response combined with a response good for the other thread "What does NW Arkansas need?".

It would be WAY cool to see a stronger ad agency and design studio presence in NWA. (And we're working on that now with firms such as New Creature and Saatchi & Saatchi X). And we could use, IMO, a nice design school that teaches people all facets of print, web, video, animation and packaging design. Right now NWACC has a better reputation up in Benton County for their art curricula than the U of A does...though I'm sure the latter is working on changing that.

Sure, Dallas has some nice art schools...but they're several hours away. I don't think there's any such school in the big area between Kansas City, D/FW, New Orleans, Memphis and St. Louis...certainly not in the incredibly diverse and growing "Spri-Tul-Nwa" (Springfield/Tulsa/NWA) area.

Besides financial and tech, why should this area NOT become an advertising/creative/applied artistry hub? We're certainly making a statement to the other side of the arts community with Crystal Bridges museum.

Missrouri State actually has an awsome Art and Design School and has graduated many fine artists.

The Missouri State Art and Design Department is the largest and one of the most varied publicly-funded departments of Art and Design in Missouri and one of the finest in the entire region. The Department is dedicated to providing appropriate curricular and extra-curricular experiences to prepare individuals for professional careers in art and design, to prepare art teachers and to enhance understanding of, and critical engagement with, the visual aspects of culture for the university and the broader community. The faculty is composed of outstanding artists, designers, art historians and art educators, many of whom have received national and even international recognition for their creative work and scholarship. Our graduates have a highly successful track record of gaining professional employment, or of pursuing graduate study in their fields. The Art and Design Department supports Missouri State University

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I don't think RFID will impact us too much from a technology standpoint. Maybe an RFID manufacturing plant might come nearby, but mostly vendors and Wal-mart will just implement a standard. I toured the RFID facilities of Wal-mart last summer while working there for the Information Systems department. Like most of Wal-mart's headquarters it was unassuming. It was a small area in the very back of an old distribution center next to the hazardous chemicals section. It was literally fenced off by a chain link fence. Anyways, here at the peak of Wal-mart's push for RFID they had about 4 or 5 Wal-mart employees working on it and maybe 4 or 5 RFID vendors. When asking one of the lead guys why this seemingly huge deal for Wal-mart only required so few people in such an obscure and small office he replied, "I've been asking that everyday since I've been here."

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I don't think RFID will impact us too much from a technology standpoint. Maybe an RFID manufacturing plant might come nearby, but mostly vendors and Wal-mart will just implement a standard. I toured the RFID facilities of Wal-mart last summer while working there for the Information Systems department. Like most of Wal-mart's headquarters it was unassuming. It was a small area in the very back of an old distribution center next to the hazardous chemicals section. It was literally fenced off by a chain link fence. Anyways, here at the peak of Wal-mart's push for RFID they had about 4 or 5 Wal-mart employees working on it and maybe 4 or 5 RFID vendors. When asking one of the lead guys why this seemingly huge deal for Wal-mart only required so few people in such an obscure and small office he replied, "I've been asking that everyday since I've been here."

The only real jobs to be created by RFID technology is at certain Wal-Mart Vendors who will be selling and supporting the RFID scanners and equipment. I seriously doubt that there will be an RFID manufacturing plant anywhere in the US when they can make them much cheaper in China or elsewhere.

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The area could definitely use more tech jobs. After graduating, I realized I had my pick of about 5 companies. Wal-Mart has a reputation for overworking and underpaying it's tech people, JB Hunt and Tysons both don't really hire a lot of high tech jobs (I'm talking development or engineering). Axiom has a branch in Fayetteville. They're the only employer I'd consider working for.

But when it came down to it, I didn't like my choices. I really hated to leave the area. I plan on moving back some day. But the thing is, people don't usually work at tech jobs for a long time (it depends). Several people only do contact work, etc. If I rooted myself in NWA and lost my job or wanted a new one, it would probably mean moving. On the other hand, where I live now there are thousands of companies that could hire me.

The other day I was reading Slashdot (slashdot.org) and there was a story about how tech jobs in smaller places (ie NWA) actually paid the same or more due to the lower cost of living. But in the article discussion, many people cited a lack of employer options as a reason they hesitated relocating.

EDIT (Here's the article)

http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/08/03/0115214

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How big is the Axiom branch in Fayetteville.

BTW, it's good to hear from you Lefty, it's been forever.

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How big is the Axiom branch in Fayetteville.

Not very big. I want to say it's less than 20 people (a guess). But I know they are expanding it.

A friend of mine that graduated with me works there. I'll try to remember to ask him.

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This doesn't help you now but I keep hearing about things going on over at the Arkansas Research and Technology Park. Hopefully not too far into the future there will be some options for you there if you want to come back. But I do agree with you, this area really does need to go after more tech jobs. It makes sense because of the university here. Keep some of our graduates here instead of sending them out of state. It also helps diversify the job market. And it also brings in some nice higher paying jobs into the area. Like I said hopefully things are already starting to change and will look better in the near future.

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