The UA Walton College’s annual Arkansas Business Hall of Fame ceremony was held Friday (Feb. 9) in Little Rock to induct four new members into the prestigious circle of honor.
The 2018 inductees included:
· James “Jim” A. Bottin, founder and chairman of the software company ABC Financial Services, tailored to the fitness industry
· the late John D. Correnti, former chairman and chief executive officer, Big River Steel
· the late Herbert H. McAdams II, former chairman and chief executive officer, Citizens Bank of Jonesboro and Union National Bank of Little Rock
· James “Kirk” Thompson, chairman, J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc.
Bottin started his entrepreneurial career in 1974 when he opened his own martial arts studios, which soon expanded to a successful chain of 13 fitness centers. Today, he is founder and chairman of Sherwood-based ABC Financial Services, Inc., a software company that manages a host of data, billing and accounting services for fitness industry clients.
Correnti was the co-founder of the $1.3 billion Big River Steel project, one of the most advanced steel manufacturing facilities in the world located in Mississippi County in northeast Arkansas. It was the state of Arkansas’ first official economic superproject. His career in the steel industry began in 1969 with U.S. Steel where he served in construction management activities until 1980. He’s also done stints at the helm of SeverCorr, SteelCorr and Birmingham Steel. When he was the President of Nucor Corp. from 1991 to 1999 and CEO from 1996 to 1999, he moved to Blytheville in northeast Arkansas and maintained a residence there. He died unexpectedly in 2015 at the age of 68.
McAdams, a prominent banker and lawyer, died at the age of 86 in 2001. The Jonesboro native served as CEO of Citizens Bank of Jonesboro for 32 years, CEO of Union National Bank for 18 years, and was a director for Worthen Banking Corporation during his distinguished career. He also served as chairman and president of the Home Federal Savings and Loan Association and was a director of the Little Rock branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis from 1974-1977.
Thompson rose through the ranks at J.B. Hunt, one of the largest transportation companies in the world. He started his career in the accounting department in 1973 and advanced eventually to CEO. Thompson retired from that role in 2010, but continues to serve as chairman of the board of directors for J.B. Hunt. During his 23 years at the helm, he helped grow J.B. Hunt from a $286 million company to a $3.8 billion enterprise.
With these four new inductees, there are 82 members of the business hall of fame.
“Arkansas is more productive and stronger today because of these outstanding business leaders,” UA Walton College Dean Matthew Waller said. “They transformed our state’s steel, banking, transportation and fitness industries. Each created jobs, built successful businesses and made Arkansas shine.”
The Arkansas Business Hall of Fame induction ceremony was held at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock. The Arkansas Business Hall of Fame is permanently housed in the atrium of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Enterprise Development at the Walton College on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville.