Dickson Flake co-founded Barnes, Quinn, Flake & Anderson Inc. in 1971. The firm is now Colliers International¦Arkansas, the largest commercial real estate firm in the state. It is also engaged in projects in neighboring states. As a long-time real estate counselor to many prominent organizations, Flake pioneered the concept of development management in Arkansas and set the standard in commercial real estate through strong leadership and a high level of integrity. Throughout his career, he developed more than two million square feet of real estate. Projects include, among many, J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. headquarters; Systematics (now Fidelity and Windstream) headquarters; Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield; and downtown offices for the Arkansas Department of Human Services.
Flake was elected to the exclusive American Society of Real Estate Counselors, serving as the national president in 1989. He was a director for Little Rock branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. As a champion of education, Flake served on the University of Arkansas Little Rock Board of Visitors; as a trustee for Lyon College; and as an advisory board member for Mount Saint Mary Academy.
Wallace W. Fowler’s 50-year plus career took off in 1965 when he started buying Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises with several business partners. He built Fowler Foods to 93 KFC outlets over a seven-state region, growing his franchises to the fourth largest number in the country. He was chairman of the National Franchisee Association and the “go-to” guy between franchisees and the parent company. During this time, Fowler met the KFC Colonel and still owns his Cadillac limousine today. When he and partners sold most of the franchises in 1985, he was offered the chairmanship of Mercantile Bank in Jonesboro and began investing in banking. Today he is chair and CEO of Liberty Bank of Arkansas and continues as chair and CEO of Fowler Foods. One of Fowler’s greatest assets is his passion for success in each of the fields he has entered.
Former Governor Bill Clinton appointed Fowler to the Arkansas Industrial Development Commission. The Fowlers gave $5 million for the Fowler Center for the Performing Arts at Arkansas State University and $1.75 million for the Wallace and Jama Fowler House, the University of Arkansas chancellor’s residence.
Donald G. Soderquist was vice president of data processing for Ben Franklin stores in Chicago when he first met Sam Walton in 1963. He went on to become president and CEO in 1973. Soderquist joined Walmart as executive vice president when Walton finally won him over in 1980. He served in several executive positions before his appointment to vice chairman and chief operating officer. In January 1999, he was promoted to senior vice chairman. Soderquist was a driving force behind Walmart’s rise to become the largest company in the world. After Walton passed away, he became known as the “keeper of the culture,” preserving the company’s unique blend of hard work, respect for others, and customer focus. He was people-oriented and believed that staff development at every level was critical to the success of Walmart. Soderquist retired in 2000, but served on the Walmart board until 2002.
In 1998, John Brown University created the Soderquist Center for Business Leadership and Ethics in his honor. In 2005, Soderquist published the book, The Wal-Mart Way, and in 2006, he completed a second book Live, Learn, Lead—To Make a Difference.
Leland E. Tollett began his career with Tyson Feed and Hatchery Inc. in 1959 as director of research and nutrition. At the time, the company consisted of a small office, a hatchery and a feed mill. Tollett, along with Don Tyson and Donald “Buddy” Wray, formed a leadership team that was responsible for the growth and development of Tyson Foods Inc. Tollett was general manager of the broiler division in 1965 and rose through the ranks, eventually becoming CEO in 1991 and chairman of the board in 1995. During his 50-plus year association with Tyson, Tollett established key industry standards in research and nutrition; his leadership helped make Tyson Foods one of the world’s largest leading producers of chicken, beef and pork.
Alumnus Tollett was a major fund raiser for the university’s Center for Excellence in Poultry Science. He served on the boards of J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc.; Worthen Banking Corp.; Arkansas Poultry Federation; and the National Chicken Council. In 2010, the Leland and Betty Tollett Center for Retinal and Ophthalmic Genetics Disorders was established with a $3 million gift to the UAMS Jones Eye Institute.