Centennial Bank Regional President Davy Carter will be named business executive of the year at the Arkansas State University Business Homecoming alumni dinner Thursday night. Carter, who is also an attorney, sits on the company’s executive committee and serves as chairman of its regional board of directors and its trust committee.
Carter was a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives from 2009 through 2015. He served as the House Speaker from 2013-15. Prior to serving as speaker, Carter was chairman of the House Revenue and Taxation Committee.
Carter’s trek to the state capitol began in law school. The banker went to law school at night, and it was there he developed a yearning for public service, he said. He ran for a state house seat and won.
The first two years were relatively uneventful for the Republican. Democrats controlled both chambers and Democrat Mike Beebe was the governor. The political center in the state began to shift in 2010. Some across the country were unhappy with President Barack Obama’s policies, and a backlash against Democrats was felt during the November elections that year.
By 2012 the reliably blue Arkansas, at least at the state level, turned purple, and showed signs it was about to become a solidly red state. Republicans sought control of the state house and won it. For the first time in 150 years the GOP took the house, and now a Republican speaker had to be selected. Carter emerged from the fray to become the party’s first speaker since before the telephone was invented.
He earned his undergraduate degree in corporate finance from ASU and a juris doctor with honors from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s William H. Bowen School of Law where he was a member of the Law Review. Carter is involved with several civic and youth organizations in the state of Arkansas. He and his wife, Cara, have three children, Jackson, John David and Anna.
Also receiving recognition at the dinner as emerging alumni are Arkansas State graduates Samantha Kenyeri Washam and Anderson Childress. Washam is the manager of global treasury at Wal-Mart Stores in Bentonville. Childress is the treasury manager for eBay in the San Francisco Bay area.
Earlier in the day, Melvin Torres, director of Western Hemisphere Trade at the World Trade Center in Rogers, will be the featured speaker at the seventh annual “International Exhibition: Regions, Countries, Exports,” hosted by ASU’s College of Business from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. It includes trivia, entertainment and is free and open to the public. In June 2015, he led the second delegation of Arkansas leaders for the World Trade Center into Cuba for a successful mission that positioned Arkansas as the key trading partner for the emerging Cuban market.