The chairman of Simmons Foods will be inducted into the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame during a ceremony on Friday, recognizing him for his years leading one of Northwest Arkansas' top companies.
Siloam Springs resident Mark Simmons, whose father M.H. Bill Simmons and business partner Frank Pluss co-founded Simmons Foods in 1949, is among four new inductees who are scheduled to be honored Friday night. The induction ceremony will be at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock.
"Mark may be one of our competitors, but he’s also someone we admire," said Donnie Smith, president and CEO of Tyson Foods. "He and his family have built a strong, well-run and well-respected poultry business that has many of the same values as our company. We appreciate the leadership he’s shown in the poultry industry as well as the benefits his family’s business bring to the Arkansas economy."
Friday’s other three honorees will be James H. Faulkner of Little Rock, Thomas F. “Mack” McLarty of Little Rock and the late Stanley E. Reed of Marianna.
Simmons, who is the presiding co-chairman of the Northwest Arkansas Council, is one of several Hall of Fame honorees who played huge roles in the success and growth of the nation’s poultry industry. Previous Northwest Arkansas honorees include Don Tyson, who grew his father’s Tyson Foods into one of the world’s largest food companies; Gene George, whose family started George’s Inc. of Springdale; James T. “Red” Hudson, who founded Hudson Foods in Rogers in 1972; and Leland E. Tollett, a former chairman and CEO of Springdale’s Tyson Foods.
Northwest Arkansans with backgrounds in retail, logistics, food processing and real estate are also Arkansas hall of famers. Past Northwest Arkansas inductees include:
- Sam Walton, who founded Walmart Stores, the world’s largest company
- Harvey Jones, who founded Springdale-based Jones Truck Lines, once a large regional company
- Johnelle and J.B. Hunt, who founded Lowell-based J.B. Hunt Transport Services, one of three Fortune 500 companies in Northwest Arkansas
- Delbert E. Allen, Sr., who built Siloam Springs-based Allen Canning into a national company
- Willis Shaw, who founded Willis Shaw Express Inc. in Elm Springs
- David Glass, who led Walmart during the 1990s and now owns the Kansas City Royals
- Jack C. Shewmaker, a former Walmart president and chief operating officer
- Donald G. Soderquist, a driving force in Walmart’s rise to becoming one of the world’s largest companies
- Jim Lindsey, who started large real estate and apartment companies in Fayetteville that now operate in seven states
- John A. Cooper Sr., who founded Rogers-based Cooper Communities Inc., a company that established the planned communities of Bella Vista, Cherokee Village and Hot Springs Village.
The Arkansas Business Hall of Fame maintains a full list and descriptions of all past inductees.