Building the Future of NW Arkansas

Economic Development: Generating Entrepreneurs (EDGE)

Invitation to Attend NW Arkansas EDGE Dialogue Sessions II and III

A series of Dialogue Sessions are being conducted as part of a project to help move NW Arkansas toward regional integration and enhance its entrepreneurial ecosystem. Dialogue Sessions II and III of the EDGE project will focus on enhancing cooperation and collaboration between the University of Arkansas and local businesses, and identifying particular innovation clusters in which such a collaboration might take root and yield measurable impact on existing companies and startups. Sessions II and III are being developed by key organizations within NW Arkansas and by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin’s IC² Institute.

Date: Thursday, November 1, 2018, 8:00 AM – 12:15 PM
Location: World Trade Center – Arkansas (in Rogers)

Planned Agenda

8:00 AM: Greg Pogue, Director, IC² Institute, “Initial Observations and Findings from EDGE”

Dialogue Session II, University-Industry Engagement, 8:30-9:45 AM
One distinguishing element of the NW Arkansas region is the presence of a disproportionate number of Fortune 1000 headquarters and localization of vendor/sales centers from leading companies in the region. A stronger connection between the University of Arkansas and these businesses can help retain University of Arkansas graduates in the regional economy, improve startup rates, and enhance the region’s reputation as a destination for young professionals. Key issues and challenges to be discussed include:

  • What are the right catalysts for encouraging more beneficial research engagements between the University of Arkansas and regional firms, including the Big Three?
  • Are the catalysts similar for engaging with the large presence of suppliers and vendors in the region, and the rotational staffing of these firms?
  • What are business community needs around innovation related to university graduates and what is the University doing to prepare its graduates to respond to those needs?

Keynote Speaker: 10:00 AM: Anupam Srivastava, Managing Director (Intel Capital Treasury), Intel Corporation

Dialogue Session III, 10:30 AM – 12:00 noon: Regional Innovation Clusters
Existing companies in NW Arkansas face challenges to improve their corporate innovation profiles to compete with the disruptive influence of technology-based enterprises in a rapidly evolving retail and logistics global market. Challenges often bring opportunities, as well, if appropriate strategies and resources are deployed. This session will focus on questions such as:

  • What are the most promising emerging industry clusters in NW Arkansas in the near- and longer-term?
  • Are there overlooked clusters or sub-clusters that could emerge from NW Arkansas’ unique profile of businesses and university strengths?
  • How can university faculty and students assist in creating emerging clusters and supporting current clusters?

You are invited to attend either or both of the Sessions. For more information and to RSVP, please email Margaret Cotrofeld (

Detailed (draft) Agenda for NW Arkansas EDGE Dialogue Sessions II and III

Date: Thursday, November 1
Location: World Trade Center – Arkansas (Rogers)

8:00 AM Welcome: Stacy Leeds, Vice Chancellor for Economic Development

8:15 Overview: IC² Institute EDGE Study, Greg Pogue

(Please note that all panelists are tentative at this time.)

8:45 Dialogue Session II: “University-Industry Engagement”

University Panelists:

  • Cynthia Sides, Office of Industry Engagement
  • Daniel Sui, Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation
  • Lisa Childs, Assistant Vice President for Technology Commercialization
  • Bob Beitle, Associate Vice Provost for Research and Innovation

Industry Panelists:

  • Nelson Peacock, NWA Council
  • Stuart Scott, CIO and EVP, JB Hunt Transport
  • Regional vendor representative
  • Kevin Clark, CEO, NowDiagnostics

9:45 Break

10:15 Keynote Speaker: Anupam Srivastava, Intel Capital

10:45 Dialogue Session III: “Regional Innovation Clusters”

University Panelists:

  • Dean Deacue Fields, Bumpers College of Agriculture, Food and Life Sciences
  • Brent Williams, Associate Dean for Executive Education and Outreach, Garrison Endowed Chair in Supply Chain Management

Industry Panelists:

  • Tyson Foods representative
  • Walmart representative
  • Steve Clark, President and CEO, Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce

11:45 Q&A/Discussion of Conclusions regarding:

  • Dialogue Sessions II and III
  • Action Points
  • Introduction of Dialogue Session IV in December, “Workforce Development”

12:15 PM Finish (no lunch planned)

If you are a supplier working in the NW Arkansas area and would to attend, please email Margaret Cotrofeld to reserve a spot (