Gov. Asa Hutchinson will be the keynote speaker on Friday (May 19) when Simmons Bank sponsors a conference on the future of the Arkansas Delta.
The conference will run from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Pine Bluff Convention Center.
Also scheduled to address the conference is former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater, a Marianna native.
The conference, titled “The Arkansas Delta: Why It Still Matters,” is designed to help Delta leaders network with each other and discuss how to deal with a declining population base. A catfish lunch will be served prior to the governor’s address. All 135 state legislators, city officials and county officials have been invited to attend.
There’s no registration fee, attendees are asked to register in advance at this link. The registration desk on the day of the event will open at 8:30 a.m. at the Pine Bluff Convention Center.
The co-chairmen for the conference are Raymond Abramson of Holly Grove and Ritter Arnold of Marked Tree.
In addition to Slater, morning speakers will be Simmons Bank Chairman George Makris Jr., Randy Zook of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, Mike Preston of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Dr. Laurence Alexander of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Dr. Shane Speights of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University and Dr. Fitzgerald Hill of the Scott Ford Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Development.
Afternoon speakers will be Chris Masingill of the Delta Regional Authority, Robert Moore Jr. of the Arkansas Highway Commission, Doug Friedlander of Friends of the Historic White River Bridge at Clarendon, Dr. Ruth Hawkins of Arkansas State University and Scott Simon of the Nature Conservancy.