The presiding co-chair of the Northwest Arkansas Council is one of four people who've been selected for induction into the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame next year.
Mark C. Simmons, chairman of Siloam Springs-based Simmons Foods Inc. and a founding member of the Northwest Arkansas Council, will be joined by James H. Faulkner of Little Rock, Thomas F. “Mack” McLarty of Little Rock and Stanley E. Reed of Marianna as 2014 inductees.
“We are pleased to welcome these four outstanding business leaders to the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame,” said Eli Jones, dean of the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. “They are being recognized among the best and brightest in Arkansas business, joining the distinguished list of members of the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame. All the hall of fame’s members continue to inspire the future global business leaders with their outstanding achievements.”
The Arkansas Business Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held Feb. 7 at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock. The Arkansas Business Hall of Fame is permanently housed in the atrium of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Enterprise Development at the Walton College on the University of Arkansas campus.
Mark C. Simmons helped Simmons Foods grow from a company with less than $25 million in sales and 350 employees in 1974 to $1.4 billion in sales and more than 6,000 employees in more than 20 facilities in North America.
Simmons joined the family company in 1968 after graduating from the University of Arkansas with a degree in business administration. He worked in the field for the company, gaining hands-on experience in the poultry industry and handling special projects for his father, M.H. “Bill” Simmons, president and co-founder of Simmons Foods. Mark Simmons became president of the company at age 26. In 1987, he was named chairman of the board.
He also has stayed involved with civic activities in Siloam Springs and throughout Northwest Arkansas. He served as a member of the John Brown University board for 28 years and as a board member for the Care/Endeavor Foundations for 12 years. He also served as a board member and officer of the Nature Conservancy for nearly 10 years. He was named Man of the Year in 1990 by the Arkansas Poultry Federation and is a past president and past director of The Poultry Federation.
Simmons is a founding board member of the Illinois River Watershed Partnership. He was the second chairman of the Airport Authority and a major driver to establish the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport. He received the Siloam Springs Civic Leadership Award in 2011.
James H. Faulkner of established Faulkner and Associates in 1957 as a one-man public relations and advertising firm that grew to be a leader in the mid-South region and in Falcon Publications, a company that in June 1981 produced Take One, the first video entertainment magazine in the nation.
Thomas F. “Mack” McLarty is chairman of McLarty Associates and chairman of McLarty Companies and he has a distinguished record of business leadership and public service, including serving as advisor to three U.S. Presidents: Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter.
Stanley E. Reed of Marianna was an attorney and farmer and member of the Arkansas Farm Bureau board of directors from 1987 to 2008, serving as its president from 2003 to 2008. He was also a member, and later chairman of the University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees from 1998 to 2008. Reed died in 2011.
Greg Lee, a Walton College alumnus and the retired chief administrative officer and international president of Tyson Foods Inc., chaired the selection process. A nominating committee of 20 business leaders encouraged people throughout the state and beyond to make nominations. A selection committee of nine business and community leaders reviewed the nominations and chose the inductees. Criteria for selection included: the significance of the impact made as a business leader, the concern demonstrated for improving the community and the display of ethics in all business dealings. In addition, living inductees must be over the age of 60.
A list of previous inductees into the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame is available at this link.