Archives for May 2014

Eight Towns Gain Ground on Business Index

Eight of the 16 municipalities listed on the Arkansas Tech Business Index saw their index value increase over the previous month following the compilation of data for February 2014.

The largest increase from January 2014 to February 2014 was made by Texarkana, which saw its index rating increase by 1.21 points from 95.26 to 96.47.

Created and maintained by the Arkansas Tech University College of Business, the Arkansas Tech Business Index (ATBI) is a comprehensive measure that provides a snapshot of economic activity around the Natural State. The ATBI encompasses a labor index, housing market index, construction index and retail sales index.

Arvest Bank is the presenting sponsor of the Arkansas Tech Business Index.

The index is based around 100. A city reading above 100 indicates that the city is currently doing better than the state average from 2009 to the present. Among the 16 municipalities in the ATBI, 10 have an index rating above 100 for February 2014.

Bentonville sets the pace on the latest Arkansas Tech Business Index with a rating of 106.24. Rogers (105.16), Fayetteville (104.99), Springdale (104.47), Fort Smith (102.35), Conway (101.62), Hot Springs (101.41), North Little Rock (101.29), Jonesboro (101.20) and Russellville (100.04) also have an index rating that indicates their economies have performed better than the state average since 2009.

In addition to Texarkana, other municipalities that had an increase in their index rating for February 2014 included Fort Smith, Jonesboro, Pine Bluff, Russellville, Searcy, Springdale and West Memphis.

Dr. Marc Fusaro, associate professor of economics at Arkansas Tech, developed the instrument for the Arkansas Tech Business Index.

Visit www.atu.edu/atbi to access the data used to develop the ATBI. The index will be updated on a monthly basis and analysis will be provided each quarter.

Tech Students Impact Local Economy

Arkansas Tech University students have helped local businesses obtain more than $1.5 million in funding for capital projects through a partnership between the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center and the College of Business.

Over the past two years, students enrolled in Dr. Marc Fusaro’s money and banking course have researched financing options for new and existing businesses that are ASBTDC clients.

The center facilitates projects each semester where Arkansas Tech students obtain real-life experience working with area small businesses.

“The partnership was a positive one for all involved, as it gave students the opportunity to put what they have learned into practice, and it provided a useful service to small businesses in the community,” said Dr. Fusaro, assistant professor of economics.

Ronda Hawkins, training coordinator for the ASBTDC, said the partnership helped small businesses understand the variety of available options.

“Many times small business owners wear many hats, and they may not have the time to fully research funding options,” said Hawkins. “By partnering with students, we were able to assist several small business owners by providing customized financing information that was suited to their specific needs.”

At the conclusion of the course each semester, the students present the findings to the business owners, explain options available and offer a funding recommendation.

“The ASBTDC clients have been impressed and thankful for the work of the students,” said Hawkins. “The students have really taken ownership of this opportunity and it shows in the quality results they have produced.”

Dusty George with George Termite and Pest Control was one of the business owners who worked with the students. He was seeking to build a larger facility for his business.

“The students did the work and showed me that I could afford to make the expansion happen,” said George. “I went to the bank with the report that the students provided and did exactly what the plan recommended.”

Utilizing the research, George obtained a loan for more than $100,000 to construct a new building.

In all, the students’ research, coupled with ASBTDC consulting, has helped local businesses obtain $1,530,000 in funding.

“This ongoing project is beneficial for the students and the small businesses,” said Hawkins. “The students gain experience in their career field, and in doing so, they are helping to create economic impact in their local community.”

Hawkins said the skills learned will benefit the students throughout their business careers.

“Whether these students start their own business or work for a company, they will have a firm grasp on what is required to get financing to grow a business,” said Hawkins.

Community support is part of the project’s success, and Hawkins said she is grateful to community members who have donated their time.

“The students are visiting and calling area banks and other businesses to learn more about financing options,” said Hawkins. “Those contacted have been gracious in giving their time to help the students acquire the information.”

The regional office of the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center at Arkansas Tech serves Conway, Crawford, Franklin, Johnson, Logan, Pope, Scott, Sebastian and Yell counties.

For more information about the services offered by the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center regional office at Arkansas Tech, call (479) 356-2067 or visit www.atu.edu/asbtdc.

For more information about the Arkansas Tech University College of Business, call (479) 968-0233 or visit www.atu.edu/business.

Summer Courses Begin Monday

Students will return to Arkansas Tech University Monday to begin courses for the first summer term.

Courses offered during the first summer term will run through Thursday, July 3.

Students needing to enroll in classes should contact their advisor to schedule an appointment to register. Those students who have not earned 60 hours or are entering freshmen should contact the Academic Advising Center to register.

Any first-time Arkansas Tech students seeking information about enrolling in summer courses may contact the Arkansas Tech Office of Admissions at (479) 968-0343.

Access a complete list of important dates from the Office of the Registrar.

ADHE Scholarship Deadline Approaching

Many students needing financial assistance for the 2014-15 academic year have through midnight Saturday to apply for scholarships through the Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE).

Due to severe storms in the spring, students from Faulkner, Independence, Pulaski, Randolph and White counties have through Tuesday, July 1 to apply.

In order to apply for the scholarships, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application and submit an online application through the YOUniversal Arkansas financial aid system.

Several scholarships are available through ADHE include the Academic Challenge Scholarship.

According to the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, “the Academic Challenge Program provides scholarships to Arkansas residents pursuing a higher education. Funded in large part by the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, the Academic Challenge Scholarship is available to students regardless of their academic status, whether just graduating from high school, currently enrolled in college, enrolling in college for the first time, or re-enrolling after a period of time out of college.”

Access the ADHE website for more information about scholarship opportunities throughout the state.

View the eligibility requirements for the Academic Challenge Scholarship.

Move-In Crew Nominations Being Accepted

Hundreds of freshmen will converge on Arkansas Tech in August to move into the residence halls.

They will be greeted by representatives of Tech’s Registered Student Organizations (RSO) who will assist the students in moving into the halls.

Registration is now open for RSO’s wishing to volunteer to be part of the 2014 Move-In Crew.

Student organizations may nominate up to 15 members to volunteer. Nominated members must be enrolled in fall courses and be in good standing with the university.

Selected volunteers must attend an orientation session on 2 p.m. Friday, August 22 and will assist freshmen from 6 a.m. – noon on Saturday, August 23.

In addition to helping move items into the halls, RSO’s will have the opportunity to meet and connect with freshmen and their families.

“This program provides a great opportunity for RSOs to assist in making all new students feel welcome and experience the excitement of joining the Tech family,” said Kevin Solomon, associate dean for campus life.

In exchange for assisting students with moving in, the volunteers will have the opportunity to move into their residence hall on Friday, August 22.

The deadline for student organizations to apply to take part is noon on Tuesday, July 8.