Joe Quinn of Rogers, who spent more than a decade working in public affairs for Walmart Inc., has been hired as executive director of Little Rock-based nonprofit Arkansas Good Roads Foundation (AGRF).
In a statement sent Wednesday (July 11), AGRF Executive Board Vice President D.B. Hill said Quinn’s “deep understanding” of the state made him a good candidate for the job.
Quinn, a member of the Bentonville School Board since 2015, said he and his wife will remain in Northwest Arkansas. They have two children who both attend the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
“We are very pleased Joe is joining our ongoing effort to help all Arkansans better understand how good roads play a major role in the quality of life in our state,” Hill said. “We have searched for months to find the right voice to lead this grassroots work.”
AGRF has been in existence in some form since 1896. The organization advocates for ways to fund road maintenance and development “in a way that best serves residents in all regions of the state,” according to a news release.
Arkansas has 16,000 miles of roads, according to the AGRF, with the construction and maintenance of roads supporting more than 35,000 jobs. Arkansas has the 12th largest highway system in the U.S. but ranks only 43rd nationally in revenue available to maintain and improve roads.
“At no point in Arkansas history has there been a wider gap between the funding available for roads and what funds are actually needed to maintain our roads,” Quinn said in a statement. “This is a discussion that impacts all of us and very much matters to the economic well-being of the state. It not only affects large companies, it’s a critical issue for the thousands of small businesses with vehicles on the road every day.”
Quinn has held high-profile jobs in Arkansas for more than 30 years.He began his career in Little Rock as an anchor and political reporter at the CBS affiliate KTHV. He was later director of policy for Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.
He moved to Northwest Arkansas in 2006 to work for Walmart. Quinn left the retail giant earlier this year to start his own company, Quinn and Associates Consulting.
Quinn said in the release highway funding is not just about pavement. It’s also critical in helping citizens avoid congestion when traveling to visit families, shopping or vacationing.
“It’s also critical in providing safe and efficient roadways for our children when they are traveling to school in urban or rural areas,” he said. “We are living in a complex and fully integrated world where adequate transportation funding creates jobs, drives tourism, and helps economic development and education.”