Arkansas DEC Members & Associates

Each Member and Associate has special expertise in international trade and is dedicated to helping businesses in our state to begin and expand their global sales.

Request DEC Engagement

FOR SECURITY REASONS, PLEASE EMAIL COORDINATOR@EXPORTARKANSAS.ORG TO REACH OUT TO OUR INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS and ASSOCIATES.


EXECUTIVE TEAM

CHAIR

Jonathan Bricker
Vice President, Commercial Banking
ARVEST Bank
Export Service Provider
Jonathan manages commercial banking relationships consisting of secured or asset-based credit loans throughout Benton County, Arkansas. He assists with working capital lines of credit, equipment financing and treasury opportunities with a background and focus on International Trade Finance.


VICE-CHAIR

Ken Gaines
President
The Steco Corporation
Exporter
Mr. Gaines’ areas of experience include working with freight forwarders, creating international shipping documents, and using EXIM bank to provide insurance on shipments, as well as exhibiting at Trade Shows internationally and using the US Commercial Services to market our business.


VICE-CHAIR

Max Avery
Director of Business Development
Guardian Payment Systems
Export Service Provider


TREASURER

Larry Walther
Secretary & Chief Fiscal Officer
AR Dept of Finance and Admin.
Export Service Provider
Following his extensive career with SBC, now AT&T, Walther has served in the administrations of two Arkansas Governors along with appointments from two U.S. Presidents. President George W. Bush nominated him to serve as Director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), and President Obama to serve on the Board of Directors for the Export-Import Bank of the United States. Walther received U.S. Senate confirmation for both appointments. Governor Asa Hutchinson appointed Walther to lead the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration in 2015.


EXECUTIVE SECRETARY

Richard Duda
International Trade Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service
Export Service Provider


ADMINISTRATIVE COORDINATOR

Heidi Whitman
Coordinator@exportarkansas.org

Mrs. Whitman formerly worked for Global Ties Arkansas, a branch of the U.S. Department of State. She supports the work of the Members and Associates, keeping everyone informed through emails and social media postings. She also maintains the ArDEC website, as well as producing our webinars. She is proud to contribute to Arkansas’ efforts for economic development with her extensive skill sets.  


Members

Phil Brandon
ArDEC Member
President
Rock Town Distillery, Inc.
Exporter


William Burgess
ArDEC Member, Past Chair

Owner & VP of Operations
Power Technology, Inc.
Exporter

Mr. Burgess is the Owner and Vice President of Operations for Power Technology, Inc. He was Chairman of the Arkansas District Export Council, 2016 SBA “Exporter of the Year”, 2016 SBA Region VI “Exporter of the Year”, and a recipient of the President’s “E-Award for Exports”. Mr. Burgess exports to 30+ countries per year and has experience in EAR \ ITAR export control regulations.


S. Graham Catlett
ArDEC Member, Past Chair

Managing Partner
Catlett Law Firm, PLC
Export Service Provider
Mr. Catlett assists select private companies in developing commercial, legal and political strategies for their growth into domestic and international markets. He has been a goods and service exporter for 30 years, owned several business companies in US and Europe and is Managing Partner of his Law Firm.


Robert Coon
ArDEC Member
Partner
Impact Management Group
Export Service Provider


Bryan Day

ArDEC Member

Executive Director

Port of Little Rock

Export Service Provider

Bryan was appointed Executive Director of the Little Rock Port Authority in June 2014. The Little Rock Port Authority’s mission is to “drive economic development by providing a world-class transportation hub that connects Arkansas to the global economy”. Bryan works closely with industry located within the 4,000-acre industrial park and oversees the Port Authority Railroad, which is served daily by the Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Railroads. Additionally, Bryan oversees the Industrial and Slackwater Harbors, which can handle up to 200 inbound and 300 outbound tons of freight per hour and Foreign Trade Zone 14 located at the Port of Little Rock.


Rush Deacon
ArDEC Member, Past Chair

Chief Executive Officer
Arkansas Capital Corporation
Export Service Provider


Mihir Desai
Senior Manager Supply Chain
Welspun Tubular LLC
Exporter

In his current role, Mr. Desai oversees nearly all of the company’s purchasing decisions – including $500 million in annual purchasing requirements – as well as inbound and outbound logistics. His leadership has helped gain Welspun the reputation of delivering products before time and above quality. From Section 232 duties to transportation challenges, Mr. Desai guides Welspun through seamless transitions. 


Heather Dumas
ArDEC Member
Founder, President
HD Customs Brokers
Export Service Provider
heatherd@hdcustomsbrokers.com

Ms. Dumas focuses on helping small to mid-sized companies successfully import their goods and products into the United States. Heather is a Certified Customs Specialist and holds a Customs Broker license. She understands how to quickly navigate through time sensitive red tape, legal jargon and tight fiscal parameters.


Chuck Fiske

ArDEC Member

Global Trade Compliance Specialist

Valvoline, Inc

Exporter


Terry Henderson
ArDEC Member

Marketing Manager
POM Incorporated
Exporter


Lenka Hořáková
ArDEC Member, Past Chair

Consultant
Export Service Provider

As a consultant, Ms. Hořáková focuses on helping international companies succeed in the global marketplace. She has more than ten years of experience in economic development, foreign direct investment (FDI) and trade, at the Arkansas Capital Corporation where she worked primarily with Asian investors and at the Arkansas Economic Development Commission assisting European companies to expand in Arkansas. Lenka served as the ArDEC Chair from 2018-2019.


Stefan Johansson
ArDEC Member
Founder, CEO
ECOJOHN
Exporter
Mr. Johansson is highly involved in the global trade aspect of ECOJOHN, working closely with their international partners and distributors to ensure a very effective supply chain. He has developed efficiency in exports by understanding different international cultures as well as regulations, contracts, economics, and logistics. In 2018, ECOJOHN won the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Global Trade.


Edward King
Director
Grapette International
Exporter

Mr. King serves Grapette International by developing and maintaining their customer base for soft-drink flavors in China and Southeast Asia. He is their primary liaison with freight forwarders and ocean carriers in booking and arranging export shipments to Asia, the Caribbean, South and Central America.

Clint Lazenby
ArDEC Member

Founder and CEO
Legacy Retail
Export Service Provider

Mr. Lazenby helps companies succeed in their global retail ambitions in both ecommerce and brick & mortar. He brings creative solutions to complex business challenges by finding new solutions to known issues by finding powerful insights contained in data and leveraging them to empower and drive productivity and results. Legacy supports clients with key retailers like Walmart, Target, Costco and Amazon around the world.


Beatrice Maingi
ArDEC Member

Senior Manager, Regulatory Affairs 
Safe Foods Corporation
Exporter

Ms. Maingi is responsible for registration of Safe Food’s technologies with various regulatory bodies. She builds relationships with industry regulators, commercial service personnel and internal stakeholders in Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador, Columbia, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Safe Foods won the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Global Trade in 2018.

Doug McKenzie

Business Leader International Division
Earth Science Labs

Exporter

Doug currently serves as an Executive Leader for Earth Science Laboratories, responsible for International development. He is concurrently the General Manager of Recreational Water Solutions, an ESL owned company. In 2020 he established a new subsidiary business based out of Australia called Earth Science Labs Global, which is a sales and marketing company responsible for product adoption throughout Southeast Asia. He serves as the Executive Leader and Board Member. The development of Earth Science Labs Global was done during COVID and relied heavily on experience and resource accessed through advisement and assistance from the members of ArDEC.


Rudy Ortiz

ArDEC Member, Past Chair

Management Consultant

Strategic Business Services, LLC

Export Service Provider

Rudy assists companies in a wide variety of business-related areas as well as their International Business/Exporting needs and training. He teaches various export-related classes for the ARDEC as well as the AEDC’s ExporTech training program. He is a Certified Global Business Professional as well as a U.S. Department of Commerce Certified Export and Trade Counselor and is fluent in Spanish.


Jason Risner
ArDEC Member
VP, Sales and Marketing
Alliance Rubber Company
Exporter
Mr. Risner oversees a holistic marketing approach and brand strategy for Alliance in seven distinct industries in 55 countries. His department is responsible for positioning Alliance’s growth strategy, cultivating opportunities in new and existing markets, and growing demand for Alliance products. He also serves on the leadership team responsible for setting the corporate strategy, goals, and annual targets for the company.


Samuel M. Rothschild
ArDEC Member

Chief Operating Officer
Slim Chickens Development Company
Exporter

Mr. Rothschild is a senior level executive with more than 25 years of international experience. 


John A. Sinclair
ArDEC Member

Owner & CEO
Lycus Ltd., LLC
Exporter
Mr. Sinclair serves at Lycus Ltd., LLC, a manufacturer of ultraviolet absorbers with an international market located in El Dorado.  A strong finance professional, he also served as the Chief Financial Officer and Marketing Director when Lycus won the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Global Trade in 2017.

Keith Smith
Vice President of Sales
Keith Smith Company, Inc.
Exporter

Keith Smith Company is the leading independent producer of broiler hatching eggs and day-old chicks in North America, with operations in Arkansas, Texas, and Mexico. Mr. Smith is bilingual and has lived and worked in Central America. As VP of Sales, he leads the company to excel in solving problems, meeting difficult challenges and serving clients to create mutual success.


Phil Stark
ArDEC Member
Sales Manager

Garreco, LLC
Exporter
Mr. Stark serves as Sales Manager for Garreco, LLC in Heber Springs, a manufacturer of high-quality dental lab products. He was a member of the 2017 class of ExporTech, which provided extensive exposure to all aspects of export business relations. He won the 2017 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Global Trade for their superior work in exporting to Germany, Canada, Ecuador, Nicaragua and the United Kingdom.


Melvin Torres
ArDEC Member

Export Control Officer
University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
Export Service Provider

Currently serving as Export Control Officer for the University of Arkansas, Melvin’s experience has been in the international arena for nearly 30 years. He was previously the Director of Western Hemisphere Trade at the World Trade Center Arkansas for the University of Arkansas. In that role, he led many delegations on successful trade and commercial diplomacy missions. He has served as vice president, director, and general manager at international companies including Citigroup, General Electric, and Commerce Bank. Melvin has written multiple articles on trade for state and national publications. He is completely fluent in Spanish and understands several other languages.

Dennis R. Truelove
ArDEC Member

Program Manager International Programs & Launcher Modernization
Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control
Exporter


Dr. Ashvin P. Vibhakar
ArDEC Member

Joe T. Ford Chair of Finance
University of Arkansas – Little Rock
Export Service Provider
Dr. Vibhakar currently serves as Joe T. Ford Professor of Finance in the Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance at the University of Arkansas Little Rock. Prior to his current position, Dr. Vibhakar served as Managing Director of Asia Pacific for CFA Institute residing in Hong Kong from 2007-12. He was responsible for developing the Asia Pacific market and providing member services in the region. During 2012-2015 he was responsible for developing strategies to restore trust in the financial markets, a global initiative of CFA Institute covering over 80 countries.



Associates

Brittany Carwell

ArDEC Associate

Chief Executive Officer/Owner

Smart Reproduction Services

Delta Livestock Diagnostics

Exporter

SMART Reproduction is the first and only EU and Multi-country sheep and goat semen and embryo collection and export center in the United States. Smart Repro embodies the spirit of international trade with caprine genetics being provided to customers in the European Union, Australia, South and Central America, and Asia. The company has partnered with a variety of buyers that include private individuals to governments purchasing sizable lots for country wide breed up programs aimed to reduce childhood hunger and alleviate poverty through increased economic viabilities of small holder herds. Delta Livestock Diagnostics offers several new IDEXX disease testing services for multiple species and serves customers nationwide.


Edward Haddock

ArDEC Associate

District Director

Arkansas District Office, U.S. Small Business Administration

Export Service Provider

As District Director, Edward is responsible for the oversight and delivery of SBA programs and services across Arkansas. SBA programs include the SBA loan guarantee, government contracting assistance, export assistance, and entrepreneurship training across Arkansas.

Roberto Ortega

ArDEC Associate

LatAm Business Manager

Keith Smith Company

Exporter

Roberto Ortega currently serves as LatAm Business Manager for Keith Smith Company, an independent poultry producer, where he has been employed for 10 years.  Roberto manages Keith Smith Company’s customer portfolio in LatAm as well as Keith Smith Company’s Mexican business unit (Keith Smith de México)


Michelle Rock

ArDEC Associate

International Business Development Advisor, AVP

Arvest Bank 

Export Service Provider

Michelle provides sales leadership and support for International Trade Finance, International Treasury Management, Foreign Payment Solutions, International Trade Services, and Letters of Credit. In this position, she leverages shared expertise with international trade agreements and trade issues as it relates to banking and oversees business development in the state of Arkansas.


Denise Thomas

ArDEC Associate

Chief Executive Officer

Arkansas World Trade Center
Export Service Provider

A respected business strategist both in Arkansas and across the globe, Denise Thomas has more than 25 years of experience in international trade. She has built a career connecting people and products through bilateral partnerships that focus on ethical sourcing and sustainability.

Denise is passionate about helping small businesses grow and access the global marketplace, and she uses her expansive network to empower professionals with the tools they need to increase clientele and connect with the right partners.



Martial Trigeaud
ArDEC Associate

Co-Chief Executive Officer
Time Bicycles

Exporter