As of March 5th, 2020 ArDEC has welcomed six new members, in addition to 14 existing members who were reappointed, as well as a new administrative coordinator and intern. Get to know our new members here!
Heather Dumas is the founder and president of HD Custom Brokers, a client centric business focused 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. Her trailblazing attitude, attention to detail, dexterity and ability to pull off “long shots” are exactly why clients come to her for customized service plans and solutions for their individual importing needs. Furthermore, Heather's ability to hone and combine these traits plus her extensive knowledge of the import and compliance process has created a business model for success: Analyze the situation, customize for specific needs, systematize for maximum functionality and finalize, offering “after care” capabilities.
Beatrice Maingi is a Regulatory Affairs and QA/QC professional at Safe Foods Corporation, a food safety company whose mission is to reduce food borne illnesses around the world. As a food safety professional, Beatrice is responsible for registration of the company’s technologies with various regulatory bodies. She enjoys building relationships with industry regulators, commercial service personnel and internal stakeholders and has found these key relationships instrumental for successful registrations. Beatrice was a member of the 2019 class of ExporTech and gained valuable insights into strategic planning and financial risk mitigation for exporting companies such as Safe Foods. Safe Foods won the 2018 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Global Trade and received the President’s “E” Award for Exports in recognition for making significant contributions to U.S. exports and job creation. Safe Foods’ international markets include Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador, Columbia, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Beatrice is a native of Kenya and enjoys travelling, reading, learning new languages and spending time with her family.
Phil Stark is the sales manager for Garreco, LLC in Heber Springs, a manufacturer of high quality dental lab products. Phil has been in sales for the past 25 years with the last 10 years with Garreco. Prior to that, Phil spent 17 years in banking. He was a member of the 2017 class of ExporTech, which provided extensive exposure to all aspects of export business relations. Garreco won the 2017 Governor's Award for Excellence in Global Trade at the Small Manufacturer Exporter level for their superior work in exporting to Germany, Canada, Ecuador, Nicaragua and the United Kingdom. Phil is a native of Heber Springs and resides there with his wife.
Jason Risner is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Alliance Rubber Company. Jason 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. At Alliance, Jason serves on the leadership team responsible for setting the corporate strategy, goals, and annual targets for the company. Prior to joining Alliance, Jason held several roles in in the franchising industry, most notably working for Candy Bouquet. As Chief Operating Officer, Jason was credited with “guiding Candy Bouquet from 491 units to a high of 880 units in 32 countries on every continent (except Antarctica), making it easily Arkansas' leading franchisor,” by President and C.E.O. Margaret McEntire. Risner received his B.B.A. in Finance from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He was also the first in the state of Arkansas to earn the designation of Certified Franchise Executive from the International Franchise Association.
Jonathan Bricker is the Vice President of International Development at Arvest Bank. His responsibilities at Arvest Bank include: providing general sales support for all products offered by the International Banking Department including International Trade Finance, International Treasury Management (FX Payment Solutions), International Trade Services, and Standby Letters of Credit. He is familiar with international trade agreements and trade issues as it relates to banking. Keeping current with international trade regulations, and ensuring proper compliance with the International Chamber of Commerce governing rules is a priority; as well as monitoring industry trends and current political and cultural conditions worldwide. He is thrilled about being a part of Arvest’s International Department and now ArDEC, so that he can use his networking and brokerage skills here in the state of Arkansas. “I am fortunate enough to be in the position where I get to meet the great companies and amazingly smart people from every corner of Arkansas and help them mitigate their risk when dealing with overseas companies.”
Stefan Johansson is the Founder and CEO of ECOJOHN in Sherwood. He is involved in many different areas of the business, and has contributed to a big part of its trade. ECOJOHN supply their products globally as it is critical for the company to have a very effective supply chain and work closely with its international partners and distributors. To be efficient in export, it is imperative to understand different international cultures as well as regulations, contracts, economics, and logistics. In 2018, ECOJOHN won the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Global Trade. Stefan looks forward to being a part of ArDEC and bringing some of his personal experience to the table.
Heidi Whitman is the new Administrative Coordinator. She is originally from Oklahoma, but moved to Arkansas from Wichita KS in 2015 for her husband’s position at UA Little Rock. She's had a variety of work experiences, but most recently worked at Global Ties Arkansas where she wrote proposals and set up itineraries for the professional training of international delegates. Through that position, she was privileged to meet many local business leaders and always was impressed by the strong effort for economic development in Arkansas. "I am proud to have had a chance to contribute directly to this effort and look forward to developing closer working relationships with the Council members and associates."
Astoneia is the new ArDEC Intern. She is an international student from the beautiful island of The Bahamas currently in her junior year at The University of Central Arkansas. She is a double-major in Finance and Economics with concentration in International Trade. Upon graduating from UCA, she plans to attend law school as she is an aspiring maritime lawyer. She plans to practice law for about ten years internationally and then return back home with the hopes of becoming the first female Prime Minister of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas. " I am excited to be apart of the ArDEC team, expand my knowledge on global trade, and continue to network and build relationships with council members, business professionals, and firms within the state of Arkansas.