Forty Under 40: Robert Kelly Carlson

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,842 views 

Class of 2017 Forty Under 40 Robert Kelly Carlson Vice President, Commercial Banking Team Lead-Downtown Bentonville Arvest Bank

Kelly Carlson has worn a variety of hats working for nearly a decade at Arvest Bank.

He joined the Walton-owned banking concern in 2008 as a commercial loan assistant. He earned a promotion to credit analyst two years later, became a commercial lender two years after that and was appointed vice president in 2014.

Earlier this summer, he was promoted again to the commercial banking team lead for downtown Bentonville. He and his team oversee a loan portfolio of about $225 million.

Carlson, who moved to Bentonville from Phoenix as a teenager in 1996, claims the area as his hometown and is passionate about its growth.

“It’s fun to work with small to mid-sized businesses as they expand and hire more people and deploy more assets to the area,” he said.

Carlson earned a marketing degree (2004) and an MBA (2012) both from Harding University. He went to work for an executive recruiter in Dallas in 2004, married his high school sweetheart in 2006 and moved back to Northwest Arkansas the following year.

He lists Chad Evans, Joe Thompson and Bob Boehmler as mentors. In his new role, Carlson said he hopes to give his team the same opportunities that he was afforded the past few years.

“My success in life has come from others,” he said. “I’ve just provided the effort.”

Married with two children, Carlson belongs to two boards: Scott Family Amazeum (he is the group’s treasurer) and Downtown Bentonville Inc. He also leverages his business relationships to help raise money for Arkansas Children’s Northwest in Springdale.

“We have a great community that loves to give, and the hospital is going to be a tremendous value for Northwest Arkansas,” he said.