P.O. Box 3447
Little Rock, AR 72203

2016 Excellence in Free Enterprise Award Presented to Gov. Asa Hutchinson

Jim Walton, center, presents the 2016 Excellence in Free Enterprise Award, created by Abigail Castagna, right, to Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Governor Asa Hutchinson, who founded his first business in elementary school, was honored for his long-standing commitment to free enterprise during a gala luncheon hosted by Economics Arkansas on Oct. 27, 2016, at the John Q. Hammonds Center in Rogers.

Those early experiences of running a paper route and a shoe-shine stand taught the young student that anybody can thrive in a free market economy, Master of Ceremony Bob Boehmler said in his introduction of the governor. As a public servant, Hutchinson has succeeded as Arkansas’s “top sales person” to recruit national and international businesses to the state and help export its goods and services around the globe, Boehmler added.

Hutchinson received the Excellence in Free Enterprise award, an original work of art created by Abigail Castagna, an 8th-grade student at Fulbright Junior High School in Bentonville.

We invite you to view photos and videos from the event.

A group of fourth-graders from Grace Hill Elementary School, Rogers School District, and their teacher Amy Mileham described how economics lessons in the classroom taught them important insights of how the world works. Their 2015-16 project, “Baseball Economics,” illustrated key economics concepts such as decision-making, human capital, goods and services, supply and demand, scarcity, global trade and more. They learned how to earn money and what to do with it: spend some, invest some, save some and give some. “Economics is the glue that holds everything together,” Mileham concluded, adding that her students would use these lessons for the rest of their lives. 

Senator Phil Gramm of Texas delivered the keynote address. 

More than 525 guests attended the event, including teachers and students from nine school districts in northwest Arkansas. 


Special Thanks

We are grateful to the generous sponsors and contributors who made this event possible along with our Northwest Arkansas Event Committee:

•    Bob Boehmler, executive vice president (retired) of ARVEST Benton County; NWA Campaign committee chair, and Economics Arkansas board member, who served as emcee 
•    Ray Hobbs, president/CEO of Hart Tackle Company, and Economics Arkansas Foundation president, and Economics Arkansas board member, who welcomed the guests and recognized the sponsors
•    Jim Walton, chairman and CEO of ARVEST Bank Group, Economics Arkansas Lifetime Board Member, who welcomed Governor Asa Hutchinson,
•    Northwest Arkansas Event Committee – Bob Boehmler, Michelle Fittro, Ray Hobbs, Roger Holroyd, Randy Lawson, Dr. Rita Littrell, Lisa Ray, Craig Rivaldo, Stacey Roberts, Greg Stanfill, Donny Story, Jim Walton, Mike Willard and Richard Winesburg
•    The many volunteers who helped with set-up and registration
•    Donors and sponsors
•    Embassy Suites Northwest Arkansas
•    Flowerama
•    Gabe Gentry Films
•    Bessie B. Moore Center for Economic Education.


Thank You Donors

  • ABA logo 200 x 86
  • AR Capital Corporation logo
    AR Capital Corporation logo
  • ADA logo 200 x 56
  • ASD 2022 logo
  • ARVEST logo
    ARVEST logo
  • Bank of America logo
    Bank of America logo
  • First Security Bank
  • Debbie & Ray Hobbs
  • Murphy Foundation 200 x
  • R.E. Lee Wilson Trust
    R.E. Lee Wilson Trust
  • Stephens
  • Walton Family Foundation 200 x 86
P.O. Box 3447
Little Rock, AR 72203

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