Hawker Beechcraft announced a $1.79 billion agreement with Superior Aviation Beijing Co., Ltd. that could preserve aerospace jobs in Little Rock and Wichita. Hawker announced in May that it would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a move to reorganize its assets. At the time, the status of jobs at the company’s Little Rock manufacturing center were unknown. On Monday, Hawker said the deal with Beijing-based Superior would result in maintaining Hawker Beechcraft’s existing operations "while also investing substantial capital in the company and its business and general aviation product line, saving thousands of American jobs, including in Wichita, Kan. and Little Rock, Ark."

Southwest Power Pool opens new $62 million headquarters

Electricity transmission coordinator, Southwest Power Pool (SPP), opened its new $62 million headquarters in west Little Rock on Friday. The utility nonprofit employs more than 600 workers with an average pay in excess of $80,000 annually. SPP says it is expanding by adding 50 high-paying positions over the next year. "Certainly college degrees for probably 98-percent of all of the positions that we have. Engineering, IT, accounting, legal," said SPP CEO Nick Brown.

Manufacturer to add 58 new jobs in Fayetteville

American Air Filter Co., Inc. (AAF), a manufacturer of air filtration products, will expand its Fayetteville manufacturing facility adding 58 new jobs to its existing workforce of 112. AAF’s Fayetteville facility manufactures panel and pleated air filters for a wide variety of end users. AAF International, based in Louisville, Kentucky, has more than 3,000 employees, 22 manufacturing facilities, and five research-and-development centers worldwide.

One-time gains from year ago skew Bank of the Ozarks profits

Bank of the Ozarks saw its second quarter profits decline substantially from a year ago due to one-time charges from two FDIC transactions. The Little Rock-based bank reported net income of $19.1 million in the second quarter of 2012 versus $50.2 million one year ago. During the second quarter of 2011, Bank of the Ozarks made two FDIC-assisted acquisitions which resulted in a gain of approximately $36.4 million after taxes.

Wasserman casino proposal disqualified

Texas businessman Michael Wasserman’s latest effort to qualify a casino amendment for Arkansas voters to consider has failed again. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Mark Martin’s office informed Wasserman that his proposed amendment was invalid. The amendment sought to allow Arkansas Hotels and Entertainment, Inc., to own and operate seven casino gambling establishments, one each in Sebastian, Pulaski, Garland, Miller, Crittenden, Boone, and Jefferson counties. Martin said Wasserman "submitted an insufficient number of signatures, from fifteen separate counties, prior to the deadline." Wasserman has made previous attempts to gain ballot access for a casino proposal for several years.

Electronic gambling wagers top $1.3 billion

Casino-style gambling wagers at Oaklawn and Southland topped $1.3 billion during the first 6 months of 2012. The electronic games of skill (EGS) figures were provided by the Arkansas Racing Commission on Wednesday. EGS includes video blackjack, poker, slot machines and other casino-style games.

For the first half of the year, EGS wagers at Hot Springs-based Oaklawn cleared $468.77 million, up 48 percent compared to the first 6 months of 2011. At West Memphis-based Southland, EGS wagers totaled $889.1 million, an increase of 49 percent from the same period one year ago. Combined the two racetracks reported EGS gambling wagers of $1.35 billion, putting them on course to easily surpass $2.5 billion in full-year wagers if current trends continue.

Lottery scholarship total boosted by vendor payment

The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery says it should produce about $97.58 million for scholarships from its net revenues for the fiscal year that ended June 30. Two million dollars of the increase can be attributed to a contract renegotiation with lottery vendor Scientific Games. The $97,582,527 unaudited total for scholarships in FY 2012 compares to $82,799,809 in FY2010 and $94,229,349 in FY2011.

Karen Flake named president of Mount St. Mary’s Academy

Little Rock businesswoman Karen Flake has been named the new president and CEO for Mount St. Mary Academy effective Aug. 1. Mount St. Mary Academy is an all-girls’ private school in Little Rock. Flake was managing partner of Flake-Wilkerson Market Insights for 11 years and has guided her own research firm, Karen Flake & Associates, since 2009. A graduate of Mount St. Mary Academy, Flake also taught at the school from 1972 to 1977.

Former Alltel building gets a new tenant

Clearesult Consulting, an Austin based energy-efficiency company, is occupying space in a former Alltel building in the Little Rock Riverdale area. Clearesult, which started in 2007, is a partner with electricity provider Entergy Arkansas and gas utility CenterPoint Energy. Clearesult works with the two utilities to implement energy-efficiency programs in residences as well as industrial and commercial clients. The company employs 38 and plans to add six more positions this year. Further expansion is planned for 2013, the company said.


Roby Brock, a freelance journalist based in Little Rock, writes weekly for the Arkansas News Bureau. His weekly television program airs at 10 p.m. Sundays in Central and Northwest Arkansas. His e-mail address is roby@talkbusiness.net; his Web site address is www.talkbusiness.net.