UA names former Joplin chamber CEO to direct Bentonville expansion

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 1,587 views 

The University of Arkansas announced Wednesday (July 14) that Toby Teeter would be the first director of a new initiative in Bentonville called the Collaborative.

In a news release, the Collaborative is described as an education and research presence and catalyst to propel the state’s innovation ecosystem in Bentonville. It’s part of the university’s planned Institute for Integrative and Innovative Research (I3R). One year ago, the UA announced plans for the institute, part of a $197.4 million grant from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation to support research.

According to the UA, I3R is envisioned “to co-locate certain key functions to meet current and future community needs as well as plan for future outreach expansion.” Information about I3R programs and project support, and a more detailed funding breakdown are available in a PDF at this link.

“Toby is a leader, a connector, a communicator and an experienced entrepreneur,” said David Snow, the UA’s interim vice chancellor for economic development. “I am delighted to have him join the leadership team in the Division of Economic Development in a role that celebrates his skillsets and experience, and in a fast-paced ‘startup’ environment where innovation and flexibility are expected.”

The Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce hired Teeter as CEO in December 2018. He resigned last month. According to the UA, his appointment with the Collaborative started July 6.

Before his work with the Joplin Chamber, he founded Omni Brands LLC, a portfolio of e-commerce outdoor apparel brands. He also was the founder and president of Litmus Media, an online advertising network acquired by Little Rock-based Inuvo in 2006. He also has held leadership positions in corporate law and private equity investing.

Teeter is a Missouri State graduate. He also graduated from the Missouri School of Law.

“I look forward to connecting Bentonville business leaders and economic development stakeholders with the university to establish strategic partnerships and champion innovation culture,” Teeter said in a statement. “The Collaborative will be a catalyst for Bentonville innovations, bringing together special people in a special place to solve 21st century challenges.”

The UA said in Wednesday’s release that the Collaborative would be situated in Bentonville’s Greenway Office Park on Fifth Street, near the Momentary and 8th Street Market. It will also house the UA Global Campus operations in Bentonville, which provides educational and enrichment opportunities, professional development, computer and technology training from university faculty, industry experts or experienced instructors, certification programs and customized training. Entrepreneurship and commercialization instruction, diversity training and meeting spaces are also available. In addition to managing the Bentonville location, the UA said Teeter would support regional entrepreneurship and facilitate industry partnerships and the commercialization of discovery.

The I3R will be built at the southeast corner of Dickson and Duncan streets on the southeast side of the UA campus. The building’s projected size is between 125,000 and 130,000 square feet. Groundbreaking is likely for January 2022, with building occupancy in January 2024.