Kelly Damphousse became the 13th chancellor of Arkansas State University in July 2017. A native of Canada, he holds an associate’s degree in Law Enforcement, a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a Ph.D. in Sociology, all from Texas A&M University. His personal experience as a first-generation college student has created in him a passion for young people who are making the sometimes-difficult transition into college.
A Hope native, Pam Griffin has been a key player in the formation of El Dorado Festivals and Events, Inc. (Murphy Arts District) since joining the organization four years ago. She was recently promoted to president and chief operating officer, previously serving three years as treasurer and chief financial officer of the organization.
After graduating from Louisiana Tech University, she earned her CPA and spent 11 years in public accounting based in Little Rock. Several private company positions later, she decided to apply her unique mix of passions for business and entertainment to help revitalize the South Arkansas region she calls home.
Born in Mexico City, Octavio Logo began drawing at an early age, creating his first mural in high school. He focused on classical studies in college while working as a bookbinder, restoring antique books.
Today, he has created murals across Mexico and the United States, and participated in numerous collective expositions in both countries. Logo’s first large individual exposition in Arkansas at the Arts Center of the Ozarks in 2018 was EXODUS, for which he was awarded an Artists 360° grant for 2019.
Arkansas Municipal League Executive Director Mark Hayes moved to Arkansas with his family at 16. He graduated from Arkansas State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in business with an emphasis in human resources, then attended law school at the U.A. Little Rock William H. Bowen School.
Scott Thomas McGehee was born in Fayetteville, and raised in Little Rock. As a boy, he was inspired to be a cook by both his great-grandmother Ruby Thomas, (of the Red Apple Inn), and his father, Frank McGehee, (Blue Mesa Grill, Juanita’s). After attending the University of Arkansas, Scott was an honors graduate of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, followed by a position as line chef at Alice Waters’s famed Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California.
Kevin A. Smith is a former state senator and a co-owner of Smith Insurance Agency who was elected mayor of Helena-West Helena in November 2018 and took office January 1, 2019.
Smith represented nine counties in the Arkansas Senate, including Phillips County, leaving office due to term limits after 10 years. He was chairman of the Legislative Joint Audit Committee and chaired the subcommittee overseeing city government financial audits and reports. Smith worked for then-Gov. Bill Clinton (D-Ark.) at the staff level on issues facing the Delta region and served more than four years on the staff of then-U.S. Sen. Dale Bumpers (D-Ark.) in Washington, D.C.
The first African American to run for the position of mayor in Fort Smith, George McGill was elected to the position in 2018. A former small business owner of McGill Insurance & Financial Services, McGill holds a B.S. in Education and an M.B.A. from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.
Danielle Housenick is best described as a servant leader, happiest when contributing to the community. An associate member of Junior Auxiliary of Russellville and current board member of the River Valley Adult Learning Alliance, Housenick has spent hours working with children and leaders to benefit the community. She was inspired to become a downtown leader after working at Dog Ear Books on West Main Street.
Jennifer Keith has more than 19 years of experience in electrical engineering design with extensive experience in new construction, renovations and additions. She is particularly focused on providing clients with an excellent lighting and lighting control design as part of an integrated building electrical distribution system. Her projects have ranged from repeat site adapt retail and restaurant work to more complex multi-disciplinary collaborative designs.
Pine Bluff Mayor Shirley Washington earned a master’s degree from the University Of Arkansas at Fayetteville. After 38 years of service as a teacher and working in administration in the public schools of Jefferson County, she retired and became heavily involved in her community, serving as president of the Pine Bluff Education Association, a member of the Southeast Arkansas Arts and Science Center Board of Directors, the Pine Bluff Beautification Facilities Board, the Jefferson County Board of Governors, and a life member of the NAACP where she serves on the Education Committee of the Pine Bluff Branch.
Paul Esterer serves as Northwest Arkansas President of Newmark Moses Tucker Partners and is one of Arkansas’s leading commercial brokers in the state with a combined 28 years of experience in commercial real estate and banking. Esterer uses his background developing urban living, retail, dining and office space to help clients bring to life large-scale economic development efforts.
Jimmy Cunningham Jr., a native of Pine Bluff and current resident of Nashville, is a grant-writer, voiceover artist, author, community program consultant and executive director of the Delta Rhythm & Bayous Alliance. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees respectively from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Grambling State University.
Monica Kumar and Jayme Brandt are co-founders at Kinship, a socially driven design firm in Bentonville that offers products, projects and workshops to ignite community change. Jayme is an artist and illustrator who works to make social and cultural issues feel authentic and relevant. Monica is a human rights/commercial lawyer who now works in community development.
Jonathan Shively is the co-founder and president of Central Construction Group and Southland Building Materials. Prior to joining CCG, Shively was a managing director at Stephens Inc., a financial services firm, where Shively was the head of the institutional equity sales teams for both Europe and the Southwest United States.
Stitches is an artist and community activist collective in Springdale. In 2015, co-founder Samuel Lopez asked several friends interested in art and the community to join him at a downtown master planning initiative meeting in Springdale. The group’s participation had a profound and positive effect on the master plan vision.
Adam Rutledge, a third-generation banker, began his career as a teenager at First Security Bank in Searcy. Rutledge is fortunate to have had ideal role models in his grandfather and father, who instilled in him a love for business and banking, and the belief that community banking is about improving the lives of local families and businesses, regardless of their financial situation.
Epiphany "Big Piph" Morrow is a Stanford-educated emcee and community builder from Pine Bluff. He performs regularly with his seven-piece band, Tomorrow Maybe, and has worked with major acts including TI, Big Sean, Snoop and Ne-Yo. He is lead coordinator of Global Kids-Arkansas, which sends stellar high school students in underserved communities abroad for social service projects.
Kane Webb was appointed as the Executive Director of the Department in 2015 by Governor Asa Hutchinson. As executive director Webb oversees all development and operations of the State Parks, grants and technical assistance to communities for parks, the promotion of the state through the Tourism Division and the fight against litter with the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission.