Arvest Bank is pleased to announce it has hired Jim Bates. Bates will serve as manager of credit administration for Arvest Equipment Finance (AEF), a division of the bank.

AEF division president Eric Bunnell said the addition of Bates is a result of continued growth and expansion within its vendor program.

“Jim’s duties as manager of credit administration will include enhancing AEF’s credit-scoring models and underwriting procedures to position us to triple our portfolio in the next three to five years, as well as establishing a buy/sell syndication group,” Bunnell said.

Bates most recently worked for CHG-MERIDIAN and Hancock Whitney Equipment Finance, and has formed and led credit and operations groups for multiple equipment finance companies throughout his 30-year career in the industry. Bates earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and finance at Western Illinois University.

“I am very excited to be able to add Jim to our team,” Bunnell said. “His knowledge and experience will play an important role as we continue to grow and keep credit quality top of mind. Jim will also manage the credit analyst team, which will benefit by learning from his 30 years of experience in this industry.”

AEF is headquartered in Fort Smith, and does business throughout Arvest’s four-state footprint. It has additional locations in Little Rock, Ark., Kansas City, Mo., and Tulsa.

Dr. Camille Y. Richards, MD, recently joined Baptist Health Surgical Clinic- Dodson Avenue.

As a general and trauma surgeon, Dr. Richards will perform procedures at Baptist Health-Fort Smith including hernia repair, chemotherapy port placement and removal, diagnostic laparoscopy and exploratory laparotomy and breast surgery.

Dr. Richards earned her medical degree with honors at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. While pursuing her education, Dr. Richards earned an award for technical excellence in hernia repair. She later completed post-graduate training at SUNY Update Medical University in Syracuse, New York. Dr. Richards most recently worked at for Mohawk Valley Health Systems’ Saint Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica, New York.

Growing up with a nurse as a mother and a mechanic as a father, Dr. Richards developed a passion for science and being hands-on.

“I’ve always known I wanted to pursue a career that allowed me to help people feel better and live better,” Dr. Richards said. “My parents had very different jobs, but both inspired me to take a hands-on approach to problem solving and to always put people first.”

Baptist Health Surgical Clinic-Dodson Avenue is located at 1500 Dodson Ave., Suite 285. It is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

After spending four years as a physical therapist, Dr. Bryan Smith went back to school so he could offer surgical solutions for patients.

“I really enjoy educating patients about their injuries and getting them back to their desired function,” said Dr. Smith, an orthopedic surgeon who recently joined Mercy Clinic Orthopedics – River Valley in Fort Smith. “When patients come to see me, my hope is that they feel cared for, listened to and confident that all of their questions have been answered.”

Dr. Smith received his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his doctorate in physical therapy from Washington University in St. Louis. He completed his medical school training at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in Oklahoma City and his orthopedic surgery residency at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois.

He recently completed an orthopedic surgery sports medicine fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles. During his fellowship, he served as one of the team physicians for several UCLA sports teams and was an assistant team physician for the Los Angeles Lakers.

“Through my training, I have enjoyed taking care of athletes of all levels,” he said. “Whether a high school athlete or a weekend warrior, I like caring for a wide spectrum of patients who want to be active.”

In his free time, Dr. Smith enjoys traveling, watching movies, attending sporting events and spending time outside with his wife and son.

Mercy Clinic Orthopedics – River Valley, is located at 3501 W. E. Knight Drive in Fort Smith.