Former Arkansas Secretary of Commerce and Arkansas Economic Development Commission director Mike Preston is joining Stephens Inc. to start a new Site & Incentive Advisory (SIA) practice, the Little Rock-based investment firm said Wednesday (Jan. 18).
Preston served eight years as AEDC director for former Gov. Asa Hutchinson. After government reorganization in 2019, Preston served as Commerce Secretary. He will be based in Little Rock.
The new Stephens SIA group will advise businesses on their growth strategies by helping them understand the opportunities and challenges with site selection. This will include navigating complex incentive plans and assistance with negotiations in order to produce optimal solutions for their shareholders, the company said.
“Mike has built considerable expertise in understanding what is important to a company seeking to expand geographically,” said Brad Eichler, executive vice president and head of Investment Banking. “This expertise includes not only site selection but a thorough understanding of the workforce and incentive programs. We believe this expertise will be beneficial to clients throughout the country. We are excited to have someone of Mike’s caliber and reputation join our team, and to offer his skillset for the benefit of our corporate clients.”
Prior to his work in Arkansas, Preston served as vice president of Government Relations with Enterprise Florida, Inc. He also served as chief of staff for Sen. Steve Oelrich of Florida.
Preston earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Florida in 2005.