College of Engineering Hall of Fame Alumnus and Arkansas Academy of Industrial Engineering Member Honored

University of Arkansas Announces 2013 Arkansas Business Hall of Fame Inductees including William L. Cravens

Business leaders from areas ranging from the dairy industry to banking to sales and document imaging and management of a diversified holding company have been selected to join the 58 other distinguished members of the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame.

Established in 1999 by the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame recognizes the exceptional business success its honorees have achieved in Arkansas and beyond. Selections are made by the Hall of Fame’s board of directors based on nominations it receives each year.

Among the honorees announced by the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame board is Mr. William L. Cravens of Little Rock, a certified public accountant and professional engineer who retired after a long career in banking and telecommunications management. He continues to serve as a director of the Oaklawn Jockey Club.

 Mr. Cravens’ business and professional career spans many years and a variety of endeavors. He has served as a leader for companies in manufacturing, public accounting, banking, information services and thoroughbred racing. After graduating from the University of Arkansas with a bachelor of science degree in industrial engineering, he worked for General Electric in a job that took him to Kentucky, Massachusetts, Illinois and back to Arkansas. He moved to Little Rock to become a partner in the Russell Brown & Co. firm as a certified public accountant. In 1976, he moved to the First National Bank in Little Rock, becoming its president and chief executive officer. At the same time, he became a director of the Oaklawn Jockey Club, a position he still holds. He was instrumental in the merger of the First National Bank and Commercial National Bank, forming First Commercial Bank. He later joined Worthen Banking Corp., guiding it to a successful recovery and sale. After a brief retirement, Cravens returned as vice-chair and later chair of Alltel Information Systems. He also later helped establish Pinnacle Bank, where he served as chair. He is a long-time supporter of the University of Arkansas, supporting the Department of Industrial Engineering through the Arkansas Academy of Industrial Engineering. He was honored in 2006 by induction into the College of Engineering Hall of Fame.

“This year’s inductees represent the breadth of accomplishment by business leaders from Arkansas,” Walton College Dean Eli Jones said. “These individuals join the distinguished list of members of the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame who continue to inspire the future leaders of our state and of the nation with their outstanding achievements in a wide variety of business endeavors.”

The Arkansas Business Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock. The Arkansas Business Hall of Fame is permanently housed in the atrium of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Enterprise Development at the Walton College on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville.

The selection process was chaired by Walton College alumnus Larry T. Wilson, chairman and chief executive officer of First Arkansas Bank & Trust, Jacksonville, Ark. A nominating committee of 20 business leaders encouraged people throughout the state and beyond to make nominations, and then a selection committee of 12 business and community leaders reviewed the nominations and chose the inductees. Criteria for selection included: the significance of the impact made as a business leader, the concern demonstrated for improving the community and the display of ethics in all business dealings.

Release date: 9/25/2012