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Work for the Wealthiest Arkansas Families

Follow the Money

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Arkansas Business occasionally does profiles of the wealthiest Arkansans.  But, why would you want to read about them when you can work for them? Here are some links to work for the richest people in Arkansas. Chances are, you'll only make them richer, but some of that wealth may rub off on you.

Check out the Arkansas Business article for more wealthy Arkansans and their history. 

1. The Walton Influence

With Sam and Helen Walton gone, their four children are consistently ranked the wealthiest family in Arkansas. In 2009, Forbes 400 richest Americans contained Waltons in spots 4-7.  According to Forbes, each of the "kids" is worth about 20 billion dollars.  Wal-Mart itself has $401 billion in annual sales.

Sam Walton helped make many people wealthy in Arkansas.  Don Soderquist, Jack Shewmaker, Frank Lyon and Frank Fletcher all partly owe their wealth to Wal-Mart or Sam Walton.  It is hard to hate Wal-Mart in Arkansas.

You can work for Wal-Mart at their coporate offices in Bentonville, in their stores or almost anywhere in the world. You can even feasibly get rich working for Wal-mart.  I doubt you will get Walton rich, but you never know.

2. The Stephens

Warren Stephens also made the Forbes top 400 in 2009 at #97. He inherited Stephens Inc from his uncle Witt Stephens and his father Jackson T. Stephens.  We in Little Rock know Stephens family well.  Their name is on Dickey-Stephens Park, where the Arkansas Travelers play, and our downtown nature center is dubbed the Witt Stephens Nature Center. Warren Stephens is worth $3,000 million.

Stephens Inc is a brokerage firm and investment bank.  They are famous for underwriting Wal-Mart's initial public offering back in the 70s.  They employ over 600 people in Little Rock.

3. Johnelle Hunt

Hunt is the last Arkansan to appear on the Forbes 400.  She ranks 347, with a net worth of $1,100 million.  She is, of course, the co-founder of J.B. Hunt Transport Services located here in Arkansas. 

J.B. Hunt provides transportation services throughout the continental United States, Canada and Mexico.

4. The Murphy Family

Just because you're not on the Forbes 400, doesn't mean you're not rich!  A Murphy is not CEO of Murphy Oil, but R. Madison Murphy is on the board and on the Board of Directors of BancorpSouth, Inc. and Deltic Timber too.  It was the grandson of Charles H. Murphy (the founder of Murphy Oil) who made "the Eldorado Promise."  Murphy Oil promised to set aside money to ensure every student graduating from El Dorado schools would get a scholarship for college.

Due to the slump in oil prices, the Murphy family isn't worth as much as they used to be, and they've started to sell refineries.  There are still Murphy Oil jobs available in Arkansas.

5. The Rockefellers

According to the Arkansas Business, Winthrop Paul Rockefeller left an estimated fortune of $1.2 billion to his wife, Lisenne, when he died in 2006.  He was an heir to the Rockefeller oil fortune and inherited Winrock Farms from his father.  In 2005, he ranked #283 on Forbe's top 400.

The Rockefeller family is full of philanthropy.  The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation has awarded million of dollars to Arkansas (you can work for them).  Winthrop Paul died of a rare bone marrow disease.  In his honor, the family donated $12 million to help to build one of the best cancer research centers in the state.  Winthrop Paul also founded the Billfish Foundation, which strives to promote the conservation of billfish (like swordfish) and their habitats.

6. The Tysons & Poultry Families

John Tyson started the company, but his son, Don Tyson, probably brought it to greatness.  Don Tyson started out a chicken catcher for his dad in the 1940s.  After his father's death, he took over the company and served as the company's CEO and chairman from 1967 to 1991, as its chairman from 1991 to 1995 and as its senior chairman from 1995 until his retirement in 2001.  Forbes estimates Tyson Foods to be worth about a billion dollars.

Tyson has many different job opportunities. Along with chicken, they produce beef, pork and prepared foods.

Many Arkansans have gotten rich in chicken: Ronald Cameron with Mountaineer Farms, Collier Wenderoth with O.K. Foods Inc. and the Simmons family with Simmons Foods Inc.

7. The Hussmans

Walter E. Hussman, Jr. is chief executive officer of WEHCO Media, Inc.  It's a media conglomerate that runs much of the media in Arkansas, publishing the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette among others.  The group also has cable TV and radio outlets.  Hussman has been an opponent to providing free, online content saying that even limited content will discourage readers from subscribing.  Not surprisingly, much of Democrat-Gazette content is only available to subscribers.

Hussman has some wealth tied to Wal-Mart too, through the Community Publishers Inc. in northwest Arkansas.

You can work for the Dem-Gaz or WEHCO Media.

8. Stephen L. LaFrance

LaFrance made his fortune in drugs. In 1968, he founded Stephen L. LaFrance Pharmacy Inc. in Pine Bluff.  This was to be the parent company of USA Drug. USA Drug now operates more than 160 stores in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. Their national headquarters are still in Pine Bluff. LaFrance is no longer CEO, but he still sits on the board.

You can work for USA Drug on the corporate level or at any of their stores.

9. Frank Fletcher

Frank Fletcher made his wealth in auto sales, but also owns hotels, restaurants and stores all over Arkansas.

The Fletcher empire offers everything from selling cars to operating a hibachi grill.

10. The Allens

Delbert Allen founded Allen Canning, which is headquartered in Alma, AR. The town is famous for their Popeye brand Spinach, but they also package frozen foods and "complete meal" products.

Allen Canning (now Allen, Inc.) has plants in Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, New York and Wisconsin.

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