Mullenix Team Member, Austin Grinder, selected for Leadership Arkansas Class XII


Mullenix & Associates LLC is pleased to announce that Austin Grinder, an attorney with our firm, is one of the fifty-seven individuals recently selected by the State Chamber of Commerce for Leadership Arkansas Class XII. Class members are selected based on leadership skills they have exhibited and are provided an opportunity to gain a broad exposure to social, political geographic and environmental issues and all the things that make our state unique.
Leadership Arkansas was founded with a mission of challenging, informing, inspiring and engaging current and future business and civic leaders. Over the course of nine months, the member leaders hear from experienced leaders in the areas of workforce development, government, military, agriculture, outdoor life, natural resources, industrial and economic development, infrastructure, education, tourism, Arkansas history, revitalization, and regional development. 

Austin works with clients at Mullenix & Associates on regulatory and policy matters. He also assists clients with strategic planning, research and drafting legislation. Austin works with the Mullenix & Associates legislative team to lobby the Arkansas Legislature on issues of specific interest to our clients.

ANC Providing 'Opportunity' For Local Students

Arkansas Northeastern College received approval to purchase a disabled-accessible, 24-seat bus that will be used to provide transportation services to lower-income students in Mississippi County, who may have trouble getting to class. The college's president, Dr. James Shemwell hopes that, "when (people) see the opportunity bus and they see people who live in their neighborhood, people who they know that are bettering their lives...they (will be) more optimistic about their future. They may decide that they want to ride the bus too".

For the full story, click here.

Big River Steel Leading The Way in Steel Mill Innovation

The world’s first Flex Mill™ is only a few months into production and already shaping a new industrial economy for Northeast Arkansas. Dave Stickler, Big River Steel’s CEO, is no stranger to innovation and with the 1,300-acre site, he is pushing the boundaries of what steel can do. Embracing the use of automation and technology sets BRS apart in the steel industry by combining big data, software, and the latest equipment to create a steel mill capable of identifying and correcting production problems with minimal manual intervention.

“People ask me, ‘Dave, why do you keep doing these projects? They’re hard. They’re time-consuming.’ Well, they’re also fun, any time you take a farm field and, within 20 to 24 months, turn it into a thriving business with highly motivated, well-compensated employees, that’s worth it right there.”

Check out the full article on Big River Steel here.

Sun Paper Executive Addresses Capacity Crowd in Arkadelphia

Sun Bio Products was well represented with Andrzej Bednarski as the keynote speaker for the 24th Annual Business Administration Day Luncheon at Ouachita Baptist University. He is the international project manager for Shandong Sun Paper, the largest privately owned papermaking enterprise in China, assisting in the implementation of Sun Bio Products, the $1.3 billion bio products mill soon to call Arkadelphia, Arkansas home. 

Bednarski, spoke at the annual community and campus partnered event in front of an audience of over 350. Bednarski, who joined Sun Paper in 2011, provided an in-depth history of Sun Paper since its inception in 1982, outlined the humble origins of Sun Paper’s founder, Chairman Li, and transitioned through the evolution of Sun Paper today. Bednarski noted the search, from Mozambique to Australia, for a prime location for the venture, stating the company’s excitement for the partnership and continued efforts in Arkadelphia. 

Sun Paper was established in 1982 and is headquartered in Yanzhou City, Shandong Province. The business of Sun Paper covers many fields from papermaking, foreign trade, power, scientific research, and forestry. After 30 years of development, Sun Paper is a globally advanced transactional papermaking group. Not only is Sun Paper the largest privately owned papermaking enterprise in China, it is also one of China’s top 500 enterprises and has been named one of the world’s top 100 papermaking companies. 

As Sun Bio Products transitions to Arkadelphia, Arkansas, Shandong Sun Paper has developed a team to assist them in navigating the development of their first investment in the United States. The team includes, Poyry Engineering Consultants of Finland; Mullenix & Associates LLC of Little Rock; and Quattlebaum, Grooms & Tull, PLLC of Little Rock. 


Arkansas REALTORS® Visit State Capitol

Governor Hutchinson speaking to members of the Arkansas REALTORS® Association in the Old Supreme Court.

Governor Hutchinson speaking to members of the Arkansas REALTORS® Association in the Old Supreme Court.

Over 100 Arkansas REALTORS® visited the State Capitol during the 91st General Session for Arkansas REALTORS® Day at the Capitol, sponsored by the Arkansas REALTORS® Association (ARA). REALTORS® had the opportunity to speak with their Congressional District state House and Senate leaders. This was followed by a visit to the Old Supreme Court where attendees heard from Governor Asa Hutchinson, who spoke on the importance of their industry to Arkansas' economy; President of the Senate, Senator Jonathan Dismang; Senator Bill Sample and Representative Laurie Rushing.

The festivities continued as the ARA was recognized in both the Senate and House chambers - the latter which passed House Resolution 1026 which supports the creation of the Beverly Carter Foundation.

Mullenix and Associates LLC is proud to represent the Arkansas REALTORS® Association as they continue to promote professionalism throughout the industry and contribute to a stronger Arkansas economy!

Representative Laurie Rushing recognizing the ARA in the House chamber of the Capitol.

Representative Laurie Rushing recognizing the ARA in the House chamber of the Capitol.

Members of the ARA in the House gallery.

Members of the ARA in the House gallery.

Senator Trent Garner speaking to attendees.

Senator Trent Garner speaking to attendees.

Big River Steel Sets New Production Record

Mullenix and Associates LLC Client Big River Steel in Osceola, Arkansas is starting 2017 strong. The advanced Flex Mill™ - the first of its kind world-wide - began production in December and has already established a new production record.

For more on this story, click the link below.

ANC President Earns Local Recognition

Mullenix and Associates, LLC is proud to work with such an innovative institution like Arkansas Northeastern College. ANC's President, Dr. James Shemwell, was recently awarded the Courier News Headliner of the Year award. Those on campus can easily see the positive difference Dr. Shemwell is making since taking the position. Shemwell's focus is not on the number of students sitting in classes, but the completion of those students' goals.

Big River Steel Set To Begin Full Production

The world's first flex mill is about to begin full production. Big River Steel (BRS) will be fully operational in early 2017, but they're melt shop and hot mill are currently operational - having produced its first hot roll coil tube. One of the largest industrial development projects in Arkansas history, BRS is expected to hire over 500 employees at an annual average salary of $75,000.

BRS has also been working closely with Arkansas Northeastern College as the hiring and training process has taken place. To read more, click on the link below.




Progress Continues For Shandong Sun Paper Permit Application

"A year ago on Nov. 22, 2015, Gov. Asa Hutchinson and state economic officials signed a 'letter of investment cooperation' that led to the Sun Paper project, which aims to create 250 new jobs at an annual average salary of $52,000."

"(Becky) Keogh, director of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, said she believes Sun Paper will be able to submit permit applications for the paper mill by January."

Read the full story below.

Ronald McDonald House Opens Its Doors

Ted Mullenix (third from left) and Austin Grinder (second from left) of Mullenix & Associates LLC celebrated the grand opening of the new Ronald McDonald House in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Ted Mullenix (third from left) and Austin Grinder (second from left) of Mullenix & Associates LLC celebrated the grand opening of the new Ronald McDonald House in Little Rock, Arkansas.

It’s finally here. The new Ronald McDonald House facility opened it’s doors at the corner of 10th and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive in Little Rock on Wednesday, November 16. It replaces the old facility at 10th and Wolfe Street. 

The old facility was restricted by a lack of bathrooms. A problem that is now resolved, plus some extra bonuses.

"Our current facility has served us well by allowing us to provide a 'home away from home' for 30,000 families over the past 36 years, but it has always had limitations on providing all the comforts of home," says Janell Mason, RMHCA Executive Director. "Our new House was designed specifically with families in mind, so the facility will have everything families need to feel at home while remaining close to their child in the hospital. It's three times larger, much brighter and allows for more social interaction than our old facility, so children and adults can get a respite from the daily stressors they are facing."

Some of the new features of the house include a treehouse, library and media room, outdoor playground, an 80-person dining room and on-site volunteer hair stylists. The house can accommodate 32 families at once.

Construction for the new house was funded by the generosity of nearly 400 donors who gave over $9 million to build the facility.


Le Bonheur: Testimony To A Miracle

Every day, you make miracles happen at Le Bonheur. Because of you, we can offer hope to any child, at any time, no matter where they were born, or what circumstances bring them to us.

Every one of these stories that happen at Le Bonheur is a testament to your generosity. I’d like to tell you the story of two very special little girls who are celebrating their 1st birthday today.

Miracle and Testimony Ayeni came to Le Bonheur six months ago seeking help. The girls were born conjoined. They shared large intestines, bladders and a pelvis. Connected, these girls would never be able to walk or ride a bike or even grow up to have families of their own.

Last week, because of your generosity, a team of Le Bonheur surgeons successfully separated Miracle and Testimony. The complex, 18-hour surgery – which required dozens of surgeons, physicians, nurses and technicians – was the result of months of planning.

Before the surgery, our Chaplain Jack Conrad prayed for the medical team. He said, “May these two beautiful girls be separate but never apart.” He reminded them to use their individual gifts to collectively change these girls’ lives. You have done the same. Your gifts allow us to build a world-class hospital and surgical team that could care for these girls.

You will always be connected to them. You are a part of their story. Your gifts gave them hope and allowed their parents to hold them separately this week.


Meri Armour
President and CEO
Le Bonheur Children's Hospital

911 Dispatchers Receive Smart911 Certifications

Crittenden County citizens are a little safer today after local 911 dispatchers became Smart911-certified. All 11 dispatchers successfully completed the Smart911 training. Sheriff Mike Allen, 911 Center Director Ronnie Sturch and Arkansas Director for Smart911 J.P. French were on-hand to present the certificates of completion.

Smart911 was created by mobile safety technology company, Rave Mobile Safety. Smart911 is a free service where citizens provide valuable information to 911 and first responders. Pets, floor plans, medical conditions and other valuable information can be listed on a profile to enable a faster and more efficient response from first responders during an emergency.

To register for your free Smart911 account, go to

Ronald McDonald House Charities Helping Millions Get The Treatment And Care They Need

"Most people don't see the good that comes from their donation to Ronald McDonald House Charities, but now they can. This 2:00 minute video highlights the impact McDonald's® customers have on RMHC families when they donate their spare change at participating restaurants every day."

We are proud to represent clients who continue to make a difference in our community and nation. Watch the video below for a quick look at the great work being performed by Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Legislative Committees Updated On Success of Rave Panic Button In Arkansas

Richard Atwill, Superintendent of the Blytheville School District, addressed two state legislative committees at Arkansas Northeastern College in Blytheville this week. Members of the Local 911 Systems Blue Ribbon Committee and the Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee heard from Dr. Atwill about how his school district was the first in the state to test the effectiveness of the statewide K-12 Panic Button, shortly after it was implemented in every Arkansas K-12 school last year. The superintendent said Rave's Panic Button saved the life of a Blytheville High School teacher when she experienced a serious medical emergency. The school nurse used the Panic Button mobile app and within seconds an ambulance was on its way.

After the passage of Act 950, the 2015 School Safety Act, Arkansas became the first state in the nation to implement the Panic Button system statewide. In the second year following implementation, the system covers over 1,050 schools, including 259 school districts and charter schools, and protects over 476,000 Arkansas students and over 39,000 school faculty and staff. The Panic Button System also provides more than 3,900 floor plans and emergency documents to first responders and covers 108 different 9-1-1 centers. When the mobile app is activated, the teacher or other user has an option to choose to indicate to emergency responders whether the emergency is an active shooter, fire, medical, police or other 9-1-1 emergency. Designated on-site school personnel and local 9-1-1 personnel are notified simultaneously. School floor plans are a component of the Panic Button system to enable emergency responders to immediately pinpoint the exact location of the emergency.

Ted Mullenix, a spokesman for Rave Mobile Safety, told committee members that Rave has developed an Arkansas K-12 Panic Button certification for emergency responders through partnerships with the Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training, Arkansas Department of Health, and the Arkansas Fire Training Academy. To date, enrollees include 445 fire department personnel, 181 police department personal, 161 telecommunications personnel and 16 EMS first responders.

Rave Mobile Safety Adds Two New Features To Rave Platform

"Rave Mobile Safety (Rave) added two innovative new features of the Rave Platform, Rave Command Videw and Rave 911 Analytics. Rave Command View gives 9-1-1 managers and dispatchers interactive, map-based views of critical information, such as 9-1-1 call patterns and critical facility data during active emergencies. Additionally, Rave 911 Analytics provides easy, anytime web-based access to historical call reporting and analytics.

Click here for more on this story.

Arkansas REALTORS® Association Votes To Oppose Marijuana Initiatives

At a statewide meeting of the Arkansas REALTORS Association (ARA) this week in Northwest Arkansas, the organization voted to oppose the two marijuana initiatives that are approved to appear on the ballot in November. ARA represents over 7,500 REALTORS from across the state. The two ballot initiatives are Issue 6, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2016 and Issue 7, the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act. 

The members of ARA are focused on the detrimental effects the law would have for Arkansas property owners. According to REALTORS in states that have legalized marijuana, the negative effects of residential growing include structural damage, mold, non-permitted additions and even fires due to improperly stored chemicals or unlicensed electrical upgrades. These issues not only cause added expense when the resident moves out, but also affect property values and the favorability of the neighborhood in which residential growing of marijuana takes place.

Members of the ARA Legislative Committee reviewed information, from other REALTOR organizations in states where marijuana has been legalized, that detailed numerous incidences in which property owners were unable to lease to new tenants because of the smell left behind after tenants who had been growing marijuana vacated the property. The process to rehabilitate a property is costly for property owners. The Arkansas ballot initiatives specifically prohibit a property owner from refusing to lease to a tenant on the basis that the tenant is a medical marijuana patient. Issue 6 outlines more than a dozen conditions that would allow for the medical use of marijuana. In excess of 60 conditions for the medical use of marijuana are listed in Issue 7. 

When a tenant grows marijuana and damages a residence, there is no legal protection for property owners. Marijuana is still illegal federally; therefore, if a tenant damages the property, even if there is a fire resulting from grow lights or an unlicensed electrical upgrade, a property owner’s insurance is likely to deny the claim.  

The REALTORS chose to oppose Issues 6 and 7, the ballot initiatives that would legalize marijuana in Arkansas, because the organization does not see any up-side for Arkansas property owners, but plenty of downside. “Our fear is, we don’t know all of the downside that property owners in Arkansas might experience if these ballot initiatives pass,” explained Edward Loveless, ARA Legislative Chair.

ANC President Argues Against Proposed University System Approach

"Shemwell said employment rates and salaries in 2015 were better for 2014 independent community college graduates than system ones. Two-year graduates in 2014 of Arkansas Northeastern College and Malvern-based College of the Ouachitas had higher 2015 average incomes than graduates with bachelor's degrees from all four-year schools except the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, he said."

Read the full article here.

Arkadelphia Bioproducts Mill Gets The Ball Rolling

Shandong Sun Paper Industry Joint Stock Co., Ltd., a leader in the international paper industry, and Pöyry Engineering have completed contract negotiations as plans get underway for the state-of-the-art bio-products mill project in Arkadelphia. 

Shandong Sun Paper will be investing more than 1 billion dollars in the bio-products mill. The mill will create 250 positions with an average annual salary of $52,000. In addition, 1,000 indirect jobs will be created as a result of the project.

Shandong Sun Paper has been named one of the Top 500 Enterprises in China as well as named one of the Top 100 Paper-Making Enterprises in the world. The continual unity between environment, society and enterprise is vital to Shandong Sun Paper’s purpose. Sun Paper as a whole has invested 2.9 billion RMB to pollution control and environmental protection. Through those efforts, the pulp wastewater has reached zero emissions and water consumption for every one ton of paper has been reduced. Both of these have set the precedent for the lowest international level in the industry. Shandong Sun Paper strives to continually contribute to society with actions in order to live and develop better standards for the industry.

With more than 50 years in the pulp & paper industry, Pöyry Engineering is the ideal partner for Shandong Sun Paper’s first mill in North America. Pöyry has an in-depth knowledge of the industry from raw materials and production through to end products. As the Shandong Sun Paper project continues, Pöyry will bring helpful insight due to being involved in 90% of the world’s major pulp mill designs.

Arkansas firms will work with Pöyry in the pre-engineering and environmental permitting phases of the project.