Jerry Adams, of the Arkansas Research Alliance, was recently recognized as the 2010 Volunteer of the year at an Arkansas Economic Developers Annual Conference luncheon at the Hot Springs Convention Center.

The AED, a statewide organization of economic development professionals and community leaders, presented the 2010 Volunteer of the Year, Outstanding Economic Developer and the Lifetime Leadership awards.

"Volunteers are a significant and vital part of the economic development efforts in every community across our state," said Susie Marks, senior vice president of programs for the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce. "Adams spearheaded the development and initiated Acxiom’s collaborative support to create UALR’s School of Engineering. Serving in a leadership role on the board of directors for Accelerate Arkansas, a statewide volunteer network of business and education leaders working to promote knowledge-based job growth and close the gap in per capita income between Arkansas and the rest of the United States, Adams was helping create, organize and lead the way when Accelerate Arkansas received two grants from the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation. 

"The 2004 award allowed them to hire the Milken Institute, an independent economic think tank in California, to produce a study about building a knowledge-based economy in Arkansas."

A second grant in 2007 was used to create a strategic plan to accomplish the organization’s mission. The alliance then took that strategic plan to the state Legislature and Act 563 birthed the Arkansas Research Alliance, a newly formed public-private partnership seeking to create greater economic opportunities in Arkansas by increasing innovation from university-based research. The legislature embraced the organization and granted them a half million dollars for startup capital.