The Little Rock Technology Park Authority voted this morning to hire Brent Birch, director of the web design firm FLEX360 at Arkansas Business Publishing Group and ABPG's chief information officer, to direct the tech park. The vote by the seven board members was unanimous. Chair Dr. Mary Good said there was no vote taken on a second choice.
Board members Tom Butler, vice chancellor for administrative and government affairs at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and park sponsor UAMS' representative on the board, and Jay Chesshir, president of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, will negotiate a contract with Birch. Good said the board has capped the pay at $100,000.
Birch, if he accepts the job, will work under an interim contract with UAMS, but the Tech Park will pay his salary and benefits. Good said she would like him to start work as soon as possible.
It has yet to be determined where the director's office will be housed. The Tech Park is renovating space at Markham across from the Statehouse Convention Center for its first location; the Central Arkansas Ark Challenge, the start-up competition hosted by Innovate Arkansas, will lease the space from August to December.
The director's job is to work with park sponsors UAMS and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Arkansas Children's Hospital, and economic development agencies to recruit tech companies and bring in venture capital.
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/
The final "American Encounters" collaboration of the Musee du Louvre, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Terra Foundation for American Art comes to Arkansas next year when "The Simple Pleasures of Still Life" opens May 16 at CBM in Bentonville. Its first showing is Feb. 5-April 27 at the Louvre.
The Baxter Bulletin reported today on a lawsuit filed on behalf of a Baxter County resident over the Nativity scene that has been erected on the Baxter County Courthouse lawn for decades by local lawyer Rick Spencer.
The New York Times reports that some Republicans are trending away from the lock-em-up-and-throw-away-the-key approach to criminal justice embraced by the party's old guard, in part out of a recognition that minority votes matter now more than ever. Asa Hutchinson wants to reach out to black voters — what better place to start?
National GDP grew by 5 percent in the third quarter, according to a revised figure by the U.S. Commerce Department. Arkansas Business reported yesterday that forecasters also predict a strong year of growth ahead for Arkansas. We're still waiting for Obamacare to deliver its promised economic implosion.
On Nov. 16, 1776, Gen. George Washington stood on the Jersey Palisades and peered across the Hudson River through his telescope as the British tortured American militiamen who had surrendered and then put them to the sword. Hearing the screams of his men, according to an aide, Washington turned and sobbed "with the tenderness of a child."
An independent commission appointed by the governor, legislative leaders and the chief justice began work last week to fulfill part of Issue 3, the constitutional amendment that eased term limits, banned lobbyist gifts to legislators (sort of) and provided a mechanism for pay raises.