Tuesday Kudos: Steele To Lead DYS, McKeown Returns To CJRW

by Stephanie Baker ([email protected]) 88 views 

Two men return to familiar territory, others are promoted at CJRW, and the University of Arkansas announces a $1 million gift.

Former State Senator and State Rep. Tracy Steele (D) has been tapped to lead the Arkansas Department of Human Services Division of Youth Services (DYS). He will start his new role on Aug. 5.

DYS oversees a system of programs, both community and facility-based, designed to address the needs of youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system. It is responsible for eight facilities and contracts with a number of community programs across the state.

“Tracy’s familiarity with DYS and his passion for working with Arkansas youth make him a great fit for the director position,” said DHS Director John Selig. “He also has the support of the provider community and the ability to work with legislators from both sides of the aisle, which will be needed as we continue our work to improve the juvenile justice system.”

Steele, who chaired the committees that oversee DYS spent more than a decade in state office. He also worked on the staffs of Govs. Bill Clinton and Jim Guy Tucker and is the former executive director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission.

Steele earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science degree from Rice University in 1985. He also completed Duke University’s Strategic Leadership for State Executives training in 1995, which focuses on a broad range of management skills.

Little Rock-based advertising, marketing, and public relations firm Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods named Richard McKeown senior vice president and chief public relations officer, effective immediately.

McKeown was previously associated with CJRW from 1985-1999, before establishing his own communications consulting firm.

“We are extremely pleased to announce that Richard is rejoining CJRW,” said Wayne Woods, agency chairman and CEO. “He has a wealth of communications experience not only here in Arkansas, but with clients throughout the United States and internationally. Having him as part of our leadership team will even further strengthen the agency and expand our range of client services.”

McKeown will lead CJRW’s public relations division and serve as a member of the agency’s leadership group. He will be actively involved in client service, new business development, and staff development. He will also continue to provide executive communications coaching and training to clients including media training, crisis communications counsel, and leadership coaching.

As part of the announcement, Woods said Stacy Sells will continue in her leadership role as senior vice president of strategic planning; as senior vice presidents, Jordan Johnson and Denver Peacock will lead the agency’s public affairs division; Pam Jones has been promoted to vice president and will remain assistant director of public relations; and Carrie McKnight has been promoted to vice president of public relations.

The legacy of William R. “Bill” Toller is being memorialized with a $1 million gift to the University of Arkansas from his wife, Jo Ella, and children, Bob Toller, Michelle Augustini and Greg Toller. The contribution, which is being made through a charitable lead trust, will provide $750,000 toward the Jim and Joyce Faulkner Performing Arts Center, and the remaining $250,000 will establish a scholarship for the benefit of the Arkansas Alumni Association.

Bill Toller, a 1955 graduate of the Sam M. Walton College of Business, passed away in December 2011. The former chairman and CEO of Witco Chemical Company Inc. was an active volunteer and advocate of the University of Arkansas and served on the Walton College Dean’s Executive Advisory Board, the Campaign for the Twenty-First Century Steering Committee and the Board of Advisors.

“Bill and Jo Ella have been outstanding supporters of the university over the years,” said Chancellor G. David Gearhart. “This gift is an excellent tribute to Bill’s legacy of service to our campus and his stellar reputation as a benefactor and volunteer. We are humbled by the Toller family’s commitment to higher education.”

The $250,000 allocated to the Arkansas Alumni Association will establish the William R. Toller Alumni Legacy Endowed Scholarship. Recipients of the scholarship will be selected from the pool of applicants for Arkansas Alumni Association freshman scholarships. Full-time enrolled undergraduate students will also be eligible, as long as they meet the minimum academic requirements.

Bill Toller was recognized as a distinguished alumnus of the university in 1997 and received the Walton College lifetime achievement award in 1999. In 2001, he and Jo Ella were inducted into the Towers of Old Main, a recognition society for the university’s most generous benefactors. The Tollers were recognized for their gifts to the Toller Honors College Fellowships and the Bill and Jo Ella Toller Celebration Bell at the Janelle Y. Hembree Alumni House.