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University Leaders Selected for Arkansas 250 – News

Five University of Arkansas at Little Rock leaders have been recognized in the 2022 edition of Arkansas 250.

They include Chancellor Christina Drale, Christian O’Neal, vice chancellor for university advancement, Theresa Beiner, dean of the William H. Bowen School of Law, Laura Fine, state director of the UA Little Rock-based Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center, and Michael Pakko, chief economist and state economic forecaster for the Arkansas Economic Development Institute at UA Little Rock.

Chancellor Drale and Christian O’Neal are both multi-year honorees of Arkansas 250, having last been recognized for their achievements in 2020.

“I am very honored to be part of the Arkansas 250 and share this recognition with ASBTDC’s statewide team of more than 40 staff who are dedicated to helping Arkansans start and grow businesses,” Fine said. “We are grateful to our clients for choosing to work with us and to our many partners for prioritizing small business success.”

Arkansas 250 is a publication by Arkansas Business Publishing Group that recognizes the state’s most influential leaders in banking and finance, construction and real estate, economic development, education and health care, government and policy, industry leaders, legal, poultry and agriculture, quality of life, and contemporary legends.

“It is an honor to be included on such a prestigious list of Arkansans,” Pakko said. “It is gratifying to know that the work I do on economic analysis and forecasting is recognized and valued by the public and the business community, and I am grateful to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock for providing a platform for me to engage in the sharing of that information.”

Arkansas 250 describes the honorees as:

Drale became the first female chancellor for UA Little Rock in 2019, at a time when the university faced unprecedented challenges. She has led an effort to rightsize the institution, balance the budget and improve efficiency, redirecting resources to institutional priorities.

O’Neal serves as the vice chancellor for university advancement at UA Little Rock, leading efforts to garner philanthropic support for the university. His leadership has resulted in multiple $20-plus million fundraising years, allowing UA Little Rock to provide students with the tools they need to succeed and make communities and the state better.

Beiner is the first permanent female dean at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law. As dean, she has helped start the law school’s Veterans Legal Services Clinic and Pro Bono Services Center and successfully sought approval and funding for the Center for Racial Justice and Criminal Justice Reform.

Fine leads a team dedicated to helping small businesses. Over the past year, the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center opened an office at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and launched the Arkansas Business Navigator Program. The team supports more than 9,000 jobs and has acquired more than $83 million in capital.

Pakko is chief economist and state economic forecaster at the Arkansas Economic Development Institute at UA Little Rock. Before coming to Arkansas in 2009, Pakko was a research economist and officer at the Federal Research Bank of St. Louis. With AEDI, he prepares forecasts and conducts research about the Arkansas economy.

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