Justin Courtney, a managing director of investment banking at Stephens Inc., is a newcomer to Northwest Arkansas, having just relocated to the area from Dallas earlier this year.
Growing up in the small town of Blackwell, Oklahoma, (population 7,000) Courtney dreamed of larger horizons. In fact, it was partially a determination to leave small-town life behind that propelled him forward into a successful career in investment banking.
And during his two decades as an investment banker, he undoubtedly got his taste of big-city life — first in Dallas then onto Charlotte, North Carolina, then to New York City and back to Dallas, which is where he was prior to his move to NWA and where he got his start with the Little Rock-based financial services firm.
These days, as a father of three young boys, Courtney readily admits that his hunger for the hustle and bustle of the big city has dissipated. In its stead is a desire to reclaim some of the small-town qualities of life he left behind.
“Life sort of brings you full circle,” he said. “As I look back, that small town was very special to me and my wife and I want our kids to have the same ‘safe’ experiences we had growing up.”
While what drew him to NWA was similar to what draws so many to the region, in at least one way, Courtney is a standout: As far as he knows, he’s the only investment banker in town.
For Stephens’ investment banking arm, he leads two specialty coverage areas: the retail energy and applied technology sectors.
Because his clients are spread throughout the globe, for Courtney, having NWA as a home base hasn’t brought about any changes to the continuity of his job.
For the NWA region, however, having an investment banker in the mix could change things up a bit. “The trump card in our business is relationships,” Courtney said. “We offer the same services across multiple industries. NWA is certainly a growth region and is home to many growth businesses. If I can help develop relationships with those companies, it’s highly likely that we have an industry banker that can help them.”