The board of directors for Little Rock Technology Park chose six applicants for the park director's job from the 16 submitted and will seek to meet with the finalists starting next week.
They are Brent Birch, director of the FLEX360 Web Development Firm and the chief information officer for Arkansas Business Publishing Group; Thomas Chilton, technology development director for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission; Elizabeth Hood, a senior faculty member in agricultural biotechnology and Lipscomb Distinguished Professor of Agriculture at Arkansas State University; Brian Rogers, also from ASU, the director for intellectual property and of the CATALYST Innovation Accelerator; Scott Shellabarger, director of IT at NovaSys, and John Kincaid, chief operating officer of Whisenhunt Investment Group. Kincaid's resume was submitted after last week's meeting of the board where 15 applicants were discussed. Because board member C.J. Duvall was not present, no action was taken. He was present today. Bob Johnson could not attend. Other board members are chair Dr. Mary Good, Kevin Zaffaroni, Tom Butler, Dickson Flake and Jay Chesshir.
Duties of the director, as put forth in the board's request for applications:
The Director will be the lead staff person for LRTPA. He/she will report to the Board of Directors of seven members, appointed by the three sponsors of LRTPA. The Director will market the Center to prospective tenants and start-up support activities, as well as manage all operations of the Center. As the first Director, he/she will tend to define the public image of the Center, working with its various partners and participants. The Director will be the public face of LRTPA and the Center during hearings and meetings, and will represent LRTPA to partners in government and non-profit sectors. Specific responsibilities and duties include:
Develop an environment that fosters business incubation and start-up companies in close partnership with UALR, UAMS, ACH and economic development agencies.
Coordinate with economic development organizations and real estate practitioners to recruit emerging and established technology-related companies.
Establish and stimulate productive relationships among the Center’s tenants and research faculty, staff and students.
Establish and manage venture capital relationships in partnership with related Central Arkansas and statewide organizations.
Participate in the coordination of site development and building construction with developers, research organizations and community to assure implementation of the Board-approved master plan with its adopted covenants and guidelines.
Provide assistance in obtaining financing and provide administrative and financial oversight of the office.
Maintain effective working relationships with local and state economic development and government leaders.
At the meeting today, the board agreed to sublease the tech park's temporary space on the first floor of the Block Two Lofts building on Markham to Winrock International's Ark Challenge program. The lease is for seven months; rent will be $6,428 a month. The Ark Challenge accelerator competition will move in July 1, after improvements to the space.The board also approved the terms of its own lease of the building, 8,000 square feet, from building owner Monarch Investment & Management Group of Franktown, Colo. The city of Little Rock is picking up the first year's rent $95,616 for the park; UALR, UAMS, the city and Children's Hospital will pick up operating costs.
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Sketch of tech park leased space on Markham shows capability for 160 PC stations.
The Little Rock Technology Park plans to close Friday on its first purchases of real estate: 5 Main Place at Fifth and Main streets, the Annex Building at 417 Main, the Mays Building at 415 Main St., the parking lot between the Mays Building and the KATV-Ch. 7 building (referred to as the Center Theater lot, because that is where the theater stood before Stephens interests had it demolished), the parking lot on the west side of Main between Fourth and Fifth, the old Stephens Inc. offices on Fifth Street, and the Keith parking at Scott and Fifth Street. /more/
Tech Park executive director Brent Birch reported to the board that in response to several inquiries from various companies about the park and when it will be open, he's been saying November or December. Construction is to begin in March. The work is to begin on the top, sixth, floor of the building, known as the Annex. Leasing will begin before the work on the building is complete. /more/
The Arkansas Federal Credit Union, having gotten nowhere with complaints to the publicly financed Little Rock Technology Park Authority, has complained to the city board of directors that they were unfairly cut out of a lending consortium for financing of construction in the downtown project because banks don't like credit unions.They are correct. /more/
Though the original idea was to get the Little Rock Technology Park off the ground without debt, the park authority today heard from board member Dickson Flake that it will need to get financing to buy the properties it wants on Main Street. The park expects to borrow some $30 million, putting up $6.8 million in equity from city sales receipts. /more/
Brent Birch, the director of the Little Rock Technology Park, will address the City Board of Directors soon after the meeting starts at 4 p.m. today. If you are interested in a summary of what the Tech Park Authority has been doing of late and the timeline for development of the park, you can watch at the link on the littlerock.org home page. /more/
The Little Rock Technology Park Authority board on Wednesday night heard from park Director Brent Birch that two large tech companies and several small ones are eager to move into space on Main Street that the park is negotiating to buy. However, the buiilding, the annex to the Exchange Building at the northeast corner of Fifth and Main, probably won't be ready for occupation until the last quarter of 2015, Birch said. /more/
The Arkansas Venture Center will be the Little Rock Technology Park's tenant in its temporary space in the Block 2 Building on Markham, where it will offer its pre-accelerator and incubation programs for early-stage businesses and its coding classes. Brent Birch, director of the park, said the arrangement will sustain the current momentum of interest in tech startups while the Tech Park works toward a permanent home and "show the tech park is happening." /more/
That bomb you heard going off around noon at the Lafayette Building at Louisiana and Sixth Street was dropped by the Little Rock Downtown Partnership, in the form of a proposed design overlay district for Main Street and its neighbors. /more/
Eight mixed-media works by Andrew Blanchard, a South Carolina artist whose work has appeared in the Oxford American magazine and the International Painting Annual No. 4! and is in the collection of the Ogden Museum Museum of Southern Art, are on exhibit through Saturday, Feb. 6, at Drawl Southern Contemporary Art gallery at 5208 Kavanaugh Blvd.
A Southern town A Southern town that has just renovated its theater, arts center and science center downtown; created an Uptown Entertainment District, and more development is proposed. But its state highway department plans to widen the interstate that cuts through downtown from six to 10 lanes and rearrange access and exit points. Sound familiar?
There's a large crowd at the Willie Hinton Neighborhood Center tonight for a community forum titled "Protect Our Little Rock Schools." It's in advance of Wednesday's big meeting before the State Board of Education, which is contemplating a takeover of the Little Rock School District.
The Arkansas Education Department trumpets a ranking putting Arkansas No. 5 in the nation in the Quality Counts education survey and state Rep. Clark Hall of Marvell, a candidate for 1st District Congress, coincidentally weighs in moments later with a news release trumpeting the good work, no thanks to those no-goodniks in Washington that he seeks to join.
Erica Suskie, a substitute teacher at Catholic High School for Boys, has turned herself in after the North Little Rock Police Department issue a warrant for her arrest for sexual assault in the first degree, according to KATV.
Leila Janah, the CEO of a buzzy nonprofit that helps poor people find tech jobs, has a post on Medium about her experience with systemic racism and the lack of access to high-speed broadband in Dumas. The nonprofit she founded and heads as CEO, Samasource, hires low-income people around the world to perform digital tasks for companies like Google, Walmart and Getty Images.
Prior to the appearance of Donald Trump last night in Little Rock after a nearly two-hour delay, Barton Coliseum general manager Ralph Shoptaw came before the crowd to say that attendance for the Trump event, at 11,500, had broken a record at Barton set all the way back in 1974 during a show by the blues-rock band ZZ Top. Trump would later brag on the turnout from the stage, bumping the number up to 12,000 while saying he'd been setting similar records all over the country. Photos and video from the event, however, would seem to tell a different story.
Prosecutors in Arkansas County have filed charges against three Georgia men in a case in which, authorities say, one of them was caught on video beating a live whitetail deer with an accounting textbook as the animal lay injured in the backseat of a car.