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John Burkhalter, Burkhalter Technologies

Lance Turner of Arkansas Business

Listen to Learn:

  • How Burkhalter got the name "Metro Express" ...
  • The secrets inside old toys
  • The commitment required to achieve a patent
  • Amazon's "last mile" distribution definition
  • How Little Rock is positioned for boom-town growth

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John Burkhalter was born in Branson, Missouri, but his family moved to Sherwood, Arkansas, when Burkhalter was six months old. Burkhalter graduated from Sylvan Hills High School before completing his undergraduate program with a pre-medical degree at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. He also graduated in 1980 from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville with a degree in civil engineering. Burkhalter and his wife have two daughters.

Burkhalter owned U-Liner Mid-America until 1998, when he sold the company to CSR Pipeline Systems. Following the sale, Burkhalter became a real estate developer. Burkhalter served as chairman of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission from 2007 to 2011. Burkhalter served as an Arkansas Highway Commissioner from 2011 to 2013. Burkhalter ran for Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas in 2014 but lost to Republican U.S. Representative Tim Griffin.

Burkhalter currently serves as president of Burkhalter Technologies, a construction business. In 2018, Burkhalter did business with the City of Little Rock Arkansas and started the Kanis Road Construction Site. That was to widen the main road. Burkhalter’s newest project is Rock City Marina, a state of the art multi boat full-service dock with surrounding amenities such as dock store and deli, full-service restaurant and luxury riverside apartments.

Burkhalter has served on the boards of the University of Arkansas and Pathfinder Inc, a nonprofit dedicated to helping those with developmental disabilities.

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Up In Your Business is a Radio Show by FlagandBanner.com



[00:00:08] GM: Welcome to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy, a production of flagandbanner.com. Through storytelling and conversational interviews, this weekly radio show and podcast offers listeners an insider’s view into the commonalities of successful people and the ups and downs of risk-taking. Connect with Kerry through her candid, funny, informative and always encouraging weekly blog.

Now, it's time for Kerry McCoy to get all up in your business.


[00:00:32] KM: Thank you, son Gray. The cost of social distancing, we’ve been absent from the studio for almost 10 weeks. It’s a real treat to be back in the studio with my special guest, visionary, inventor, entrepreneur, democratic candidate for lieutenant governor and real estate developer, Mr. John Burkhalter.

John epitomizes the American dream. He is a living testament to what hard work, creativity and ambition can do for one's life. I think everyone in Little Rock, if not all of Arkansas, has heard about, or has seen the new, very large apartment and marina development being constructed in Downtown Little Rock on the Arkansas River, and aptly named Rock City Yacht Club.

Well, my guest today is the man with that vision. Mr. John Burkhalter has rolled the bones to build his dream project with a price tag of over 100 million dollars. It is a pleasure to welcome to the table, inventor, civil engineer, real estate developer, community activist and father of two beautiful girls, Mr. John Burkhalter.

[00:01:39] JB: Thank you so much, Kerry. It's great to be here with your sons. I found when you told me that Anne and Grady McCoy were your in-laws, they are just wonderful, wonderful people.

[00:01:50] KM: I hope they're listening.

[00:01:51] JB: They're great people. I’ll never forget one time in the White House, how Anne, she had her eyes on me. She wanted to make sure that I –

[00:02:00] KM: Was behaving?

[00:02:01] JB: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I think you might not always behave, John. You and I are high school rivals from North Little Rock. Did you know that?

[00:02:09] JB: No. Did you go to Ole Main?

[00:02:10] KM: I went to Northeast.

[00:02:12] JB: Oh. That was a rich school. I was –

[00:02:14] KM: Sylvan Hills.

[00:02:15] JB: I came from a more blue-collar community, which was a wonderful – I lived the American dream with my family and my four sisters. Y'all were considered a more wealthy area at that time.

[00:02:24] KM: I know. I love that.

[00:02:26] JB: Yeah, I started in Rose City. Do you know where Rose City is?

[00:02:27] KM: Oh, yeah. I had a lot of friends in Rose City. We're about the same age. What year did you graduate? ’72.

[00:02:32] JB: ’74.

[00:02:33] KM: Yes. That makes me think that you and I probably went to clubs together about the same time? I mean, back then people went clubbing.

[00:02:40] JB: Possibly. Yes.

[00:02:41] KM: I mean, they don't do that anymore, but you went clubbing back then. You went to Cajun’s. You went –

[00:02:47] JB: Studebaker’s.

[00:02:49] KM: Studebaker’s. Yeah. LA had the troubadour and Studio 50. I can't remember which number though.

[00:02:58] JB: I went to the Bobby Socks many times. I remember when they closed, the holiday and I, my wife, she goes, “Don't go to another auction.” When they closed that down, I bought so many things. When I die someday, it'll be a huge auction because of all of the different things I’ve bought throughout my life.

[00:03:16] KM: You have to keep a warehouse with all the –

[00:03:17] JB: They're in 18 wheelers, or things are everywhere. I’m a collector. I love to collect.

[00:03:23] KM: You're unabashedly about this, but chances are we've probably met each other in a club before.

[00:03:30] JB: Probably so. Because I did in my 20s, I –

[00:03:34] KM: It could be popular. I could have maybe seen you without your clothes.

[00:03:42] JB: Well, for a short time, yes, I always loved writing myself that I would never condemn anything anybody does to make a living. Yes, I was fortunate that I made money in many different ways and I literally was buying cows to sell barn. That's another story. Because I didn't know a thing about a cow.

[00:04:03] KM: You're not going to tell everybody what I’m talking about, are you? You're over there grinning from ear to ear. I love this about you. You are unabashedly honest about it. Tell it. Say it.

[00:04:14] JB: I had a great time.

[00:04:14] KM: What is it?

[00:04:15] JB: I had a stage name called The Metro Express.

[00:04:18] KM: You were a Chip and Dale dancer. You're just not going to say it.

[00:04:21] GM: I love that name.

[00:04:23] KM: What was it?

[00:04:24] JB: Metro Express. Then the song was The Party Train by the Gap Band. Remember the Gap Band?

[00:04:29] KM: Yes. If this room was bigger, you would have to get up and show us some of your moves.

[00:04:33] GM: Oh, my Lord.

[00:04:34] JB: I think women would probably pay me to put my clothes on, versus taking off at this point.

[00:04:39] KM: Used to be a jock though and a bodybuilder.

[00:04:43] JB: Yeah, I enjoyed sports. I enjoyed working out.

[00:04:47] KM: That really speaks to what I talked about in the beginning. You're a testament to a hard worker. The reason that that endears you to me is because that just shows you're willing to do anything. You're a scrapper. You're hard-working. You take risks and you do things. That's a great testament to what an entrepreneur is. Is somebody who takes a lot of risk and just keeps pushing forward, trying new things all the time.

[00:05:15] JB: I remember when I was real young, if I wanted something my parents taught me, well, you're going to have to earn it. I remember, I was patrol boy in the fifth and sixth grade.

[00:05:24] KM: What's that mean?

[00:05:25] JB: You stood at the street crossings with the flags and you had the orange belt with the badge. Then I ended up walking home, because the buses had run and everyone had gone home. I learned to pick up Coke bottles and stick them in Culver's. Then once a month or whenever my stockpile got so large, we had one car and I’d have my mother and my father drive the car and I would fill the trunk up with Coke bottles and take them down to the store.

[00:05:49] KM: How old were you?

[00:05:51] JB: I was fifth and sixth grade. Of course, I’ll never forget my first check. I think everyone wants the opportunity to get their name on their check. I started mowing lawns. Once in a while, I would get cash. Usually, they'd write the check. Seeing your name on the front of a check always inspired me to want to work hard and do better.

[00:06:09] KM: You're exactly right. My father went and got me a checkbook when I was in middle school. I guess, it was junior high back then. I carried that checkbook around everywhere, just because it had my name on it.

[00:06:19] JB: Oh, yeah. You balanced it. You knew how to balance depending on what you have.

[00:06:21] KM: Well, [inaudible 00:06:21].

[00:06:23] JB: Well. I thought I wouldn’t much have in here.

[00:06:26] KM: You were actually born in Missouri, but moved to North Little Rock, Arkansas when you were just six-months-old. Did your parents get a job? Why did you moved it? Why did you move?

[00:06:33] JB: My dad's an engineer.
[00:06:34] KM: Oh, like you.

[00:06:35] JB: I’d love to tell my parents’ story. I have the most wonderful parents in the world. My dad, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, he was too young to be assigned, and so my grandmother, he kept honor and signed him and he went to the Philippines. He was too young didn't have a lot of skill set, so he built Quonset huts during the day and then he would run over the PT fleets when he got off work and he said, “I’d shine shells. I’d swab decks.”

[00:06:59] KM: What's the PT fleets?

[00:07:00] JB: It's the PT boats, the plywood boats that were used. President Kennedy, that PT109. A young lieutenant put him on his boat. My dad got home and he had a chance to get the chat, to the GI bill. He went to Arkansas Tech and in Fayetteville where he met my mom. He was an engineer and he was working on when they were building Table Rock Dam. I came into the world a celebrity. They had a brand-new hospital there called Skaggs Hospital. They were going to have a bunch of wards, a key to the city for the thousandth child born.

Since my dad was up there and my mom, they thought what is Table Rock going to do to this little town? They lived on Lake Taneycomo. I was the thousandth child born. I was on the front page. I don't remember it, of course.

[00:07:54] KM: Oh, you don't.

[00:07:56] JB: Close, but not that close.

[00:07:57] KM: You were going to go to school to be a doctor.

[00:08:00] JB: Yeah, my Methodist minister, my dad took me to Hendricks and said –

[00:08:04] KM: Your dad was a Methodist minister too?

[00:08:05] JB: No. Brother Jim Keith. He was my minister into this day. We're still very close. Great, great guy. They took me to Hendricks and said, “You're going to be a doctor.” My sister skipped her senior year she. Sas really smart. We were both at Hendricks together. I remember that after two years, we went home and told mom and dad at the same time that she was going to be an architect, which he is today and I wanted to be an engineer.

I had a chance. I’d taken every math course Hendricks had to offer. I remember the head of the math department said, “John, you'll make a great doctor, but we don't have anything left here for you. You need to go to Columbia.” At the time, I didn't know what Columbia was. I had no idea. I went and got a great engineering degree from the University of [inaudible 00:08:46].

[00:08:48] KM: When you got out of school, did you get an engineering degree? I mean, an engineering job?

[00:08:53] JB: Yes. I went to the high bidder.

[00:08:56] KM: The person that offered you the most money?

[00:08:58] JB: I went to the high bidder, which is not a bad thing.

[00:09:00] KM: No.

[00:09:02] JB: I really went using my engineering degree. I went to work for Halliburton College. I was working in the [inaudible 00:09:07] and I was a big guy. I enjoyed it. I went to engineering school to use my mind and not my back. One of the shortest jobs I’ve ever had and I came to Little Rock to work for a small engineering company. Jim [inaudible 00:09:22] who's still like a dad to me, and that he had just gotten a job from the Highway Department, Highway 82 bridge over the Ouachita River and they were looking for young design engineers to work on that project. I was one of the design engineers.

That's when I also met my first highway commissioner. Patsy Thomason came in. I don't know if you remember Patsy, but she was appointed by Governor Beebe. I was later a highway commissioner and I’d love to tell you that story some day, about how I got on the highway commission. I wanted to use my mind. I wanted to design and build things.

[00:09:56] KM: Engineering's a great degree for people to do right now. There's not enough people going into the engineering field. I hear that there's a shortage of engineers.
[00:10:03] JB: I’ve mentored quite a few young people that were trying to make a decision when they go off to college. You can do so much with an engineering degree. It prepares you for life. It prepares you to solve problems. Every day, we're confronted with problems and how to work through those. Yeah, I would recommend an engineering degree to any man or woman that would so desire. It's a great profession.

[00:10:26] KM: When I looked at your list of inventions that you've patented, it looked like they're all – they look like they're all engineering, they look like they were all solving an engineering problem. I think that when we come back, we need to talk about – This is a great place to take a break. When we come back, I want to talk about some of your inventions and some of the problems you solved with them. You can tell us the story about the very first thing you invented. When did you decide you wanted – that being an inventor was a real career? I mean, you're going to be an engineer and now all of a sudden, you're –

[00:11:02] JB: I never thought of myself as an inventor.

[00:11:04] KM: You didn't.

[00:11:05] JB: My parents, since if I wanted – I remember when I wanted the go-kart. There was no such thing as – is buying a go-kart. I was in scouting, and to this day I’m an Eagle Scout, because of my father and mother. When I wanted something they said, “You've got to go earn it. You've got to go get it.” I went to the dump. Found a frame. One of the things I think we're missing today is shop at school and homec. We used to call it homec. I know how to sew, because my mother taught me how to sew.

[00:11:37] KM: I agree.

[00:11:38] JB: To get what I wanted, I had to think outside the box.

[00:11:43] KM: Learning to use tools is incredible.

[00:11:46] JB: Yeah, I grew up running a planer, a table saw. I knew how the right way to use a skill saw, a nail gun. My father taught me. He was a very good carpenter.

[00:11:58] KM: Yeah, that's great. All right, this is a great place to take a break. When we come back, we'll continue our conversation with inventor, real estate mogul and community activist, Mr. John Burkhalter. Still to come, an inventor's life, how to apply for a patent and the story behind his newest 100 million dollar commercial development on the Arkansas River Rock City Yacht Club, what is his vision and can I rent a boat slip and an apartment today? We'll be right back.


[00:12:29] GM: You're listening to Up In Your Business with Kerry McCoy, a production of flagandbanner.com. Over 40 years ago with only $400, Kerry founded Arkansas Flag and Banner. During the last four decades, the business has grown and changed, along with Kerry's experience and leadership knowledge.

In 1995, she embraced the Internet and rebranded her company as simply flagandbanner.com. In 2004, she became an early blogger. Since then, she has founded the non-profit Friends of Dreamland Ballroom; began publishing her magazine, Brave; and in 2016, branched out into this very radio show, YouTube channel and podcasts. Today in 2020, Kerry McCoy Enterprises acquired ourcornermarket.com, an online company specializing in American-made plaques, signage and memorials for over 20 years.

If you'd like to sponsor this show or get involved with any of Kerry McCoy's enterprises, send an e-mail to me, gray@flagandbanner.com. That's gray@flagandbanner.com. Telling American-made stories, selling American-made flags, the flagandbanner.com. Back to you, Kerry.


[00:13:40] KM: Thanks, Gray. You're listening to Up In Your Business with me, Kerry McCoy. I’m speaking today with inventor, civil engineer and real estate developer of rock City Yacht Club, I like to say and Marina. Do you ever say that?

[00:13:52] JB: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Some people don't quite understand what you mean when you say a yacht club.

[00:13:57] KM: I know. It's scary. It's intimidating.

[00:13:59] JB: Well, I started out with a canoe in the Arkansas River. I stayed against the banks, because I knew that probably didn't need to be out in the middle of the canoe.

[00:14:06] KM: Well, you never do in a canoe.

[00:14:07] JB: Correct. Yeah, it's for any size boat that you want to bring up that river or down that river. Party barges, runabouts, ski boats, [inaudible 00:14:19].

[00:14:20] KM: I can’t wait to talk about your marina. I am in love with it. I have been on the river. I’ve looked at it from both sides. I am in love with. I’m actually jealous, because I wish I could do something big like that. It's awesome. It's going to be great for Arkansas and I think you probably figured it out, because you worked for the AIDC so long, you probably saw what these needs for Little Rock. Let's not talk about that yet. We're going to talk about your career as an inventor. As a child, were you always taking stuff apart at your mother's house and driving her crazy?

[00:14:48] JB: Yes. I remember small toys, I would end up taking them apart. Of course, I have four sisters and they didn't enjoy that part.

[00:14:55] KM: Tear their heads off their dolls. What's making their neck turn?

[00:15:01] JB: Yes. What's so interesting when you would open up in a toy, it was the inside of a spam can or something, because so many things were coming from Japan.

[00:15:09] KM: What?

[00:15:10] JB: Yes. After the war, we sent a lot of our – They bought a lot of our scrap metal. Those toys, you would open up in the inside, it still would have the label of the type of vegetable, or company that actually utilizes that can.

[00:15:24] KM: The original recycling. We should still be doing that. Tell us the first thing you patented. Or actually, maybe the first thing you invented and then the first thing you patented.
[00:15:32] JB: I’ll talk about the first thing I invented. What's interesting on patents, just because a man's name is not – or a woman's name is not on the patent, a lot of times the person that really did the work didn't get their name on the patent. We could talk all day long about patent, but I know a lot about patents and the patent attorneys. I call them building attorneys out of New York City. I had a lot of those working for me. The first thing I invented after I left Hendricks College two years, I went to Fayetteville to be a civil engineer. You take an introductory to engineering course, as a drafting course. You had to come up with a design of something.

I saw a need of aluminum can smasher. I actually built that aluminum can smasher. It was a prototype, completely made out of wood. I did it in my dad's shop. I figured all the moment connections, the design, the size of the bolts. Didn't do anything with it. Made an A in the class. Then probably about eight years later in a lumber yard, I saw that aluminum can smasher.

[00:16:28] KM: You're like, “I made that.”

[00:16:29] JB: Yeah. I thought, “Well, why didn't I do something with that?”

[00:16:32] KM: Is that when you first started thinking, “I need to start patenting my ideas”?

[00:16:35] JB: No. I never about patenting things. I’m always the guy you got to get from A to Z and how do you get there, and you figure out along the way how to do that. If you didn't come from money, or influence, or power, you've got to figure out how to get to see. It wasn't about ever chasing a patent. I’ve had a lot of young people come to me and said, “I’ve got a patent. I’m working on a patent.” They said, “We hear you're the guy.” I said, “Have you got a good life?”

[00:17:04] KM: Have you a good what?

[00:17:05] JB: I said, “Do you have a good life? Do you have a family?”

[00:17:10] KM: Why?

[00:17:10] JB: Did you have a good job?” Because making it in the arena is very difficult.
[00:17:16] KM: But you did, didn't you?

[00:17:17] JB: I did it and I believe anybody – That's what's great about this country. You have got to have guts. You got to be someone that will never stop once you go down that road. Most people, if they've got a good life and they got a good job and they've got a family – See, I didn't have a family yet. I just met Penny when I got ready to come out of the shoot. I’d been to most every bank in Central Arkansas. Even to this day, some of the bankers say, “I didn't see you coming, John.” Now, bankers have helped me get where I am. My professionals have helped me. My employees have helped me get where I am today. I’m a guy that didn't – I didn't have access to capital. Once I –

[00:17:58] KM: Do you have to have access to capital to get a patent? Can you write it yourself? File it yourself? Do you recommend that?

[00:18:05] JB: Well, to make sure it holds up, you're going to have to hire a lawyer. There's so many patents that are never worth the lawyer fees that it took to get there.

[00:18:13] KM: You had 14?

[00:18:14] JB: No.

[00:18:15] KM: That's how many I saw online. How many you really have?

[00:18:17] JB: No. Like I told you, my name's not on those patents. I’m the guy, and I guess you're probably alluding to the first company that I got highly involved in. I was the guy that basically, a company came and got and said, “John, you're the guy that can develop this product.” I moved to west Texas where I began the R&D process to –

[00:18:39] KM: For what company?

[00:18:40] JB: It was called Uline. It was a product, trenchless technology, where you reline underground sewer pipes. There was only one other company in the world at the time did that. It was a publicly traded company. I knew that if this would work, I would become publicly traded. Still, when I got turned down by all the banks, I said, “How am I going to get there?” Long story short, I finally remortgaged my home, because if you're going to remortgage your home, you got to do it while you've got a job.

[00:19:07] KM: That's right.

[00:19:07] JB: I remortgaged my home. Pulled capital out. With Penny as my new girlfriend, I walked away from my engineering job and started my first company, without a single customer.

[00:19:20] KM: I thought you said you went to Texas and worked for a publicly traded company, where you –

[00:19:24] JB: It wasn't publicly traded. I had gone to develop this product.

[00:19:28] KM: They said you can do it, but you have to start your own company to do it for us.

[00:19:32] JB: Well, what happened is and I’ve learned in life, my parents taught me if you shake someone's hand and you've got a deal, you've got a deal.

[00:19:38] KM: Absolutely.

[00:19:40] JB: Well, you can't do that in corporate America. I did the deal on a handshake for an X percent of this company in one year. In a year, that's why everybody's listening out there, you get a lot of experience in life. Basically, I didn't get the stock. I was terminated.

[00:20:01] KM: You moved to west Texas, you did your job, you got them what they wanted and they stole your idea.

[00:20:08] JB: When I asked for the stock – Well, it wasn't my idea, that I was the one that was perfecting it. When they let me go, I got my job back. Always know, don't burn your bridges behind you. I came back and got my old job back.

[00:20:20] KM: In Little Rock.

[00:20:21] JB: Yeah. Then they came to me months later –
[00:20:23] KM: Who’s they? The people in Texas?

[00:20:25] JB: I don't really want to give them a whole lot of them.

[00:20:27] KM: The people in Texas came back to you.

[00:20:28] JB: They said, “Hey, we need you. Mainly, we couldn't make it work properly.”

[00:20:34] KM: You need to come back and finish the job?

[00:20:37] JB: I basically said, “I’m not going to work for you guys. This is what I want.” Basically, I ended up before it was over, the biggest installer in the United States of this patented product.

[00:20:48] KM: When you said, “This is what I want,” what did you want?

[00:20:50] JB: I wanted territory. Just like if you get a McDonald’s franchise for Little Rock or the State of Arkansas.

[00:20:55] KM: You said, “I’m not going to come to work for you, but I’m going to start my own company. I want a territory and I’m going to perfect this in my territory and I’ll own my own.”

[00:21:05] JB: I’m going to deliver the technology, so that everyone can prosper. I knew that –

[00:21:10] KM: This area is mine.

[00:21:11] JB: Yeah. Before it was over, I was in 27 states before I actually got out of the business. I was on the road constantly. It was the American dream. It was unbelievable ride.

[00:21:20] KM: How many years?

[00:21:22] JB: I actually incorporated my company in ’91 with no loan. I earned an SBA loan in 1993. I remember I went to Terry Renault, over Twin City Bank, just kept going and seeing him. He's sitting there with that cigar in his hand and –
[00:21:34] KM: How many years is that?

[00:21:35] JB: Well, I started ’91, earned the SBA. You earn them. They don't give them to you. I started in 1991, earned the SBA loan in 1993 and sold my company to the public markets in 1998.

[00:21:49] KM: Oh, what a ride.

[00:21:51] JB: It was a ride.

[00:21:53] KM: Gray, you look pale.

[00:21:55] GM: Yeah, that all happened real fast.

[00:21:57] JB: It was quick. It was one job at a time, just like you have one customer at a time. You sell one flag at a time. You sell quality at a time. I would build one job and –

[00:22:08] KM: One state at a time.

[00:22:09] JB: One job at a time. One municipality. One engineer at a time.

[00:22:12] KM: When I’m reading about the patents, is that the one with the projectile – what did it do? Is that the one that I read? Where is this one that –

[00:22:21] JB: Well, I’m not privileged to see what you have in your hand.

[00:22:23] KM: Oh, let me see. I’m going to tell you. It's the dual combustible missile system. Is that in a pipe?

[00:22:29] JB: No. You've got probably the wrong guy, possibly.

[00:22:32] KM: No, I don’t. It's got your name all over it.

[00:22:37] JB: I was involved in originally, was a theoretical patent.
[00:22:41] KM: What does this patent do? Because I’ve asked everybody. What does his patent do that he first got his first break that he's parlayed into all these other things? What does it do? Nobody knows.

[00:22:52] JB: Let's just talk about a vein or artery in your body. You know what a stent is?

[00:22:57] KM: Yes.

[00:22:57] JB: They actually go in there and they put a new section in the artery, or the vein. Imagine a polyethylene pipe, a material that when you go to the grocery store and you buy a gallon of milk, that milk jug is made out of polyethylene. We would manufacture polyethylene pipe round in a gas plant. You've probably seen the orange or yellow pipe that lays out on the ground when they're putting in the ground, that designates this. It's a gas pipe. We use the version material, which is white because we need to be able to see – it's probably too much to tell in an hour.

We would make a pipe round and then we would deform it and coil it. Then we would pull that deformed pipe inside an old pipe and then close the ends, create a pressure vessel, superheat water and reform the pipe.

[00:23:50] KM: It would unfold like a balloon.

[00:23:52] JB: Yeah. Imagine a piece of macaroni. It’s hot. It gets so –

[00:23:56] KM: Oh, I see.

[00:23:58] JB: When you take the polyethylene to temperature, to a certain temperature – See, a lot of people thought they could shortcut what I had worked on. There's a reason you got to get from A to Z when you read, or you build something. People thought that they could just pull it in there and pop it out with air, or heat it with some heat. That wouldn't perfect –

[00:24:20] KM: It patches holes in the pipes.

[00:24:21] JB: Well, from manhole to manhole.
[00:24:22] KM: What problem does it solve? Patches holes?

[00:24:24] JB: It puts a brand-new pipe in the ground without excavating. One of my first big jobs was in Oklahoma City. I remember the AT&T building set there and this pipe was 20 something feet in the ground and had holes in it. I put a brand new pipe in the ground that gave it probably another 50-year life without excavating, without digging the surface of the ground. Because if you dug down by the AT&T building in Oklahoma City, you're going to hit fiber, you're going to hit gas, water.

[00:24:50] KM: That's your legacy. I know you think that this new marina is your legacy, but that's pretty awesome. That's pretty incredible. You invented a clothes hanger, adjustable desktop, cardiac replacing pump, aerial cedar. Is that some farming thing? What?

[00:25:07] JB: Some of those things, you can't credit me with.

[00:25:09] KM: Well, your name's on – Okay, forget it. Tell us the story –

[00:25:12] JB: I lived the American dream and I remember Bob Ferguson, my CPA, who may be enlist in the day, who was my mentor and my big brother. I remember he said – he goes, “What are we going to do next?” He said, “You’re going to be done.” I said, “No, I’ve just begun.” My mother always taught me, “John, don't you ever stop dreaming.” That’s one of the things I hope the viewers pick up from this conversation is, you got to pay a price. No matter what mistakes you’ve made, you can be anything you want to in this country. You got to pay a price. You’re going to need a little luck, but the main thing you got to do is you got to be able to work and work a lot of hours.

[00:25:46] KM: That’s right.

[00:25:48] JB: I took off early, becomes a year now [inaudible 00:25:49].

[00:25:50] KM: Oh, thank you. Like you were saying, it's creative. You find business creative. It is in a creative outlet for you to keep building ideas and businesses. I mean, what would you do if you weren't?

[00:26:03] JB: Yeah, when I got ready to build this yacht club, when I fathomed that the cost it was going, because I’d run some estimates on doing building it. Because one, I had to tame that river's edge. I had to build a river wall. I wanted to build something to a core of engineer standard; something to a high-end standard. I had to figure out a way to skin that cat in a different way. I did come up with some marvelous designs that I think are fascinating.

[00:26:31] KM: All right, I want to just do a reminder. I don't think we're going to take a break, because we've got to talk about the – we've got to talk about the yacht club, because I’m in love with it, as I’ve said 20 times. I do want to remind everybody, you're listening to Up In Your Business with me, Kerry McCoy. Then I’m speaking today with inventor and real estate developer of Rock City Yacht Club in Marina, Mr. John Burkhalter. When did you think – it's ’99, you've sold your business, you're like, “I think I’ll become a real estate developer.” Or when did you join the AIDC? Did they come hand in hand?

[00:27:04] JB: No. They came at a different time. When I was building my business, I never had capital. I didn't have money.

[00:27:10] KM: Because you're reinvesting it into your business all the time.

[00:27:12] JB: You always do. I did become –

[00:27:14] KM: That’s what small business people do.

[00:27:14] JB: I didn't come from money. I would read a lot. I love to read. If you come to my home, you're going to see on my nightstand, it's covered up with periodicals and books on history that I love to read. I learned that how do you build wealth? How do you build companies and you need to own real estate, banking, and many, many other. Since I designed a lot of projects for developers when I was a young engineer, I saw them do great things, but I also saw them make mistakes.

One thing people should take away, stick to what you know in life. Stick to what you know. I said, I know how to design subdivisions and apartments and warehouses. I said, “All right. I’m going to get in there.” I just don't want to have someone build it for me. I want to buy the land, design it, find the funding, build it, own it and operate it.
[00:28:10] KM: Do you own a construction company? Or did you sub it out?

[00:28:12] JB: No, no, no. I own several construction companies. Yes. If anybody's been down Kanis, the Kanis expansion there in West Little Rock, all that heavy work, road work, I’ve got two of those big sections that I’m doing. First one starts here at Shackleford. We're almost finished with that. We do a lot of road construction.

[00:28:29] KM: That’s your civil engineer.

[00:28:31] JB: Yes. Yes.

[00:28:33] KM: That's what everybody needs to know what a civil engineer is. It's road construction.

[00:28:37] JB: Well, that's one of the aspects. Yes.

[00:28:38] KM: And water and gas.

[00:28:40] JB: Yeah. You're a pretty good salesperson. Yes, that's pretty close. Yes.

[00:28:43] KM: Because there's lots of engineers.

[00:28:45] JB: Yes. I remember when I first went to Fayetteville, I got up there and my advisor said, “Well, what do you want to do?” I said, “Which type of engineering makes the most money?”

[00:28:54] KM: Is that right?

[00:28:54] JB: Yeah, and they said chemical. I said, “Well, sign me up for chemical.” Well, I learned real quick. Chemistry, you cannot really see it. I love civil engineering, because every day, whether it was a piece of lumber going up, or a pipe going underground, or dirt moving, I got to see it. My whole life, I’ve felt that I need to do something for others or myself every day to really feel good about myself. I learned this from my parents. My mother was the brownie leader and the girl scout leader and she – all my sisters were top scouts.
I remember my dad took the cub scout troop before I was even old enough. Then after I became an Eagle Scout and went off to college, he still had the Boy Scout Troop, because he wanted to make sure he found the right individuals to take that troop over. I’ve been blessed. I grew up middle-class. My mom and dad loved one another. I mean, lived the American dream and I was made before I left my home to go to college.

[00:29:52] KM: That's the missing link in everything, I think, is being made before you leave to college. Your first development was what?

[00:30:02] JB: I started buying raw land. I looked at it, Colonel Glenn, and then –

[00:30:08] KM: Oh, you already had your money from your invention. All right, go ahead.

[00:30:10] JB: Well, it was the first time in my life I had any money in my pocket.

[00:30:13] KM: You bought raw land. Where was it? Maumelle?

[00:30:15] JB: What I did is I went to Northwest Arkansas, Boomtown USA. I started to ask realtors. I said, “Well, you can buy this corner and this company owns it, or this sister, or this family.” It was some a lot of the wealthy families in Northwest Arkansas and I go, “The price is so high. What am I going to do with it? If they want to sell it to me, why aren't they doing something with it?” I looked in Central Arkansas and then I finally realized, Maumelle Boulevard was the right price, things hadn't been inflated yet. I began to buy land in the Maumelle area.

[00:30:51] KM: What year was that? 2000?

[00:30:53] JB: Well, I went public in ’98, and so that was about 2000-2001.

[00:30:59] KM: Did I just see you sold all that Maumelle land in the paper?

[00:31:04] JB: Not Maumelle, but I sold some other developments.

[00:31:07] KM: People in Maumelle?

[00:31:09] JB: Oh, I did sell one over there.

[00:31:10] KM: Oh, my gosh. How many do you have?

[00:31:11] JB: Yes, I did sell a really nice development over there.

[00:31:14] KM: Yeah, it was just in the paper this week.

[00:31:17] JB: No. That was probably the Amazon transaction.

[00:31:20] KM: No, it was not, because I didn't know you got – let's just bust you out right here. I was wondering if I could say anything about it. You got the Amazon trains. What do you call it?

[00:31:30] JB: Well, I should say there's a guy. I’m going to shout out to Pete Hornibrook. He is like a dad to me. I knew nothing about real estate, so I went to people I trusted and Pete always taught me, too much non-income producing dirt will break you. Because I started buying a lot of dirt. He said, “John, you got money, but let's slow down on just the raw dirt. We got to figure out something to do with this dirt.”

[00:31:51] KM: Great advice.

[00:31:53] JB: Pete told me. He said, “John.” Because I had this great piece of property in Maumelle and he said, “What do you want to do with that?” I said, “I think I want to build a commercial park.” I didn't want to call it industrial park, because back – AIDC used to be the Arkansas Industrial.

[00:32:09] KM: Development.

[00:32:09] JB: Now we've changed the name and hopefully, I get to talk about being on that commission and being the chairman. Pete said, “Build big boy buildings. Build buildings for big companies.” He said, “Mom and pops come and go.” He said, “There's nothing wrong with a mom and pop.” I grew up with mom and pop. My grandparents owned a little fabric center in Pike Plaza, where I learned to sew and my mother was a manager there. She didn't get the chance to go to college, so she made sure that we were all going to go to college. My parents made sure that we went to college. I was right in there with my sisters. I learned to sew. I learned to do whatever it took.

[00:32:43] KM: In Pike Plaza, on Pike Avenue?

[00:32:45] JB: Yes. I met a dear friend of mine, Rick Ashley. I know we ran into each other, because his father owned the strip mall. He always had a young child in tote. That's how I learned my first business opportunity. Pete said, “Build big boy warehouses.” That meant tilt wall concrete, rubber roofs and high stacking heights. In other words, you can put tall racks in there. He was absolutely right. I built the first 100,000 and then I built another 60,000.

[00:33:16] KM: A 100,000 what?

[00:33:17] JB: Square feet of space. Also, I have a complete commercial park, where I’ve got Medline industries in there, which is all the disposables of the hospital.

[00:33:25] KM: You built them and they did come, just like the movie. Build them in there with –

[00:33:28] JB: Yes, but not as quick as I – That's the other thing. You have to be patient with your investments, whatever you do. It's always as you know from being in business, it takes longer than you would hope. I didn't get Amazon, because of any inside connections, or knowing anything was going on.

[00:33:46] KM: No, but because you're a guru and they're like, “Oh, Burkhalter can get it done.”

[00:33:49] JB: Well, I got great buildings.

[00:33:52] KM: Oh, that's exactly why you got it.

[00:33:55] JB: It's because I got the – I fill the best buildings with warehouses.

[00:33:59] KM: Let's tell everybody what we're talking about.

[00:34:01] JB: Well, we're talking about a new –
[00:34:03] KM: Distribution center for Amazon that went up for bid and everybody had to go online and apply for it.

[00:34:08] JB: Well, no. First of all –

[00:34:09] KM: Is that what we're talking about?

[00:34:10] JB: Well, the Amazon is building a big development of the port and also, out on I30. I got, it's called the last mile, pretty much. Odd-shaped items, like whether you buy a fishing pole, or a TV or something.

[00:34:23] KM: Oh, you got those.

[00:34:24] JB: Those hit this warehouse and then they go out in bob trucks.

[00:34:28] KM: When are you going to start doing that?

[00:34:29] JB: They're doing all their own and finish out with their own contractor inside.

[00:34:34] KM: Who's doing the regular deliveries around town for Amazon? I wondered who did that.

[00:34:37] JB: I don't know anything about the Amazon model at all. I just know that –

[00:34:43] KM: You just know what you got.

[00:34:44] JB: Yes. I think it's because we got great warehouses. What's really interesting is that there's a game out right now. I got to bring this game up. My CFO brought it to me and he said, “Hey, take this and play this with the girls when you go on vacation.” It's called Ticket to Ride. You open this game up called Ticket to Ride and it shows the railroads that were built, let's say around the turn of the century. It shows all these cities. When I opened it up, what dawned on me, I wasn't really interested in the game. It's a game of some skill. It has to do with monopoly, somewhat like that game.

What I noticed was all the major cities and Little Rock is poised for growth. We have two major interstates, [inaudible 00:35:26] and heavy rail. When you look at that game and you look at how large those other cities have grown, I mean, I think Amazon has looked at the country and decided where they want to build –

[00:35:39] KM: Has played Ticket to Ride.

[00:35:41] JB: Yes. Anybody who gets a chance to look at Ticket to Ride, I think. Little Rock is going to be a major hub. When I say hub, I mean, a big city. It's going to grow.

[00:35:51] KM: That's how come you decided to invent – Let's tell everybody you're listening to Up In Your Business with me, Kerry McCoy and I’m speaking today with inventor, real estate developer of Rock City Yacht Club and Marina, Mr. John Burkhalter. Had you already decided to do the yacht club when you played Ticket to Ride, or what was the thing that –

[00:36:12] JB: Ticket to Ride is a new game.

[00:36:14] KM: Or did you just –

[00:36:16] JB: That was just something I’ve seen here in the last six months.

[00:36:18] KM: What was the catalyst that – working for the AEDC, you were like –

[00:36:23] JB: Well, when Beebe became governor, I love telling this story. I wanted to be a highway commissioner, because it's a 10 on a 10 –

[00:36:31] KM: Well, you were.

[00:36:32] JB: Well, but I wasn't yet a highway commissioner. Dan Flowers who was the head of the department out there, I had a good friend Jim McClellan and I said, “Jim. Take me.” I said, “I want to be a highway commissioner.” He said, “Well, let's go talk to Dan Fowler.” We go out and we're talking to Dan. I said, “I want to be a highway commissioner.” He said, “John.” He goes, “You need to understand, I don't make that decision.” Because he ran the department. You're appointed by the governor. Long story short –
[00:37:02] KM: Why did you want to be a highway commissioner?

[00:37:04] JB: Because I’m an engineer. I remember, I mentioned earlier, I met Patsy Thompson as a young engineer.

[00:37:10] KM: I thought it was just a fluff job.

[00:37:12] JB: No. It can be all you want.

[00:37:14] KM: Okay. Go ahead.

[00:37:15] JB: I remember, the governor said, “What do you want to do?” He said, “You got a lot to offer the state.” I said, “Well, I want to be highway commissioner.” He goes, “You don't want to be highway commissioner.”

[00:37:24] KM: How old were you?

[00:37:25] JB: I wasn’t that young.

[00:37:27] KM: See, it’s a retired person’s job. It’s a fluff job.

[00:37:30] JB: He said, “No.” He said, “John, I want you to go to the economic development commission and become chairman.” I did that and I thoroughly enjoyed it. We made loans, real loans for people in Arkansas bringing their companies, hearing for Arkansas. I really enjoyed. After that, that's when I got a shot and the governor appointed me the highway commission.

[00:37:50] KM: Oh, when you were working for the AEDC, is that when you decided Little Rock needed a yacht club, or how did this vision, or dream begin to grow and when did you decide it's now or never?

[00:38:01] JB: I had a friend who's – Remember years ago when the American Airlines crashed on the –

[00:38:07] KM: Runway?
[00:38:07] JB: Runway.

[00:38:08] KM: Skidded to the end?

[00:38:09] JB: This friend of mine said that his father had gotten a call and said, “Hey, I’ve got some land down there by the airport. Go see if that plane's on my property.” My friend, Greg and his father go down there and see this land. They thought, “Well, we can do something with this.” They bought it, because it is a jewel. He had owned it for a while and he calls and said, “John, you got a few minutes? Let's go to lunch. I’d like to bounce something off of you.” He said, “You just seem to know how to get to the end.” He said, “This would be a great place for marina, apartments.” Well, he said condos.

We drove out there, it was completely covered with cane, debris. He said, “The river's over here and you couldn't –” I said, “Greg, I don't like water moccasins.” I’ve been hunting my whole life, but I said I don't like moccasins.

[00:39:00] KM: I don't have them boots today.

[00:39:01] JB: No. He said, “John, just follow me.” I went to the river. He goes, how do we get this done?” I said, “This thing has got hair all over it.”

[00:39:12] KM: What does that mean?

[00:39:14] JB: It means it's got warts, it's got –

[00:39:18] KM: Need a lot of cleanup.

[00:39:19] JB: It had a sewer line. It had a –

[00:39:21] KM: Gas line, probably.

[00:39:22] JB: - levy. It had a power line. It had a flowage easement. It was going to take all sorts of local state and federal permit.

[00:39:30] KM: But he's in love with it.

[00:39:32] JB: He bought it. Then he called me. He said, “I got to get out of this thing.” I said, “What do you got in it?” I said, “How long have you carried it and what you've spent?” I agreed to pay him that.

[00:39:44] KM: You bought it.

[00:39:44] JB: Yes.

[00:39:45] KM: Was it just out of the kindness of your heart?

[00:39:47] JB: No. I knew what it could be. I had a vision –

[00:39:50] KM: You said it had hair and warts all over it and easements and it was a mess.

[00:39:53] JB: But I’m a guy that I put my – I’m just an old plow. You put that harness on me, I’m going to keep moving.

[00:40:00] KM: How many acres is it?

[00:40:02] JB: Well, what's interesting, it's a public private venture. The original purchase I had was about 12 acres, as I recall. There's a piece of property right beside it that was owned by the city parks department. It had been designated, possibly donated years ago, set up to be a public park. Really, it was pretty much a dump. I encouraged the city to, “Hey, put out an RFP.”

[00:40:32] KM: What’s an RFP?

[00:40:33] JB: Request for Qualifications. Let me build a park here for you and it won't be a normal park. We don't just need another park with grass. Yeah, we need a park in the river. They thought it was a good idea. Then a good friend of mine, Wayne Woods, who I didn't know at the time, he was on the little selection committee. I’d met him at a later date when I was on the economic development commission and he was working with state parks and tourism. I got selected to build a park. I was the only respondent, of course.
I remember as we worked through a 99-year lease with the city, I was questioned about, “John, why are you going to do this and why are you going to do that?” I go, “What do you mean why am I going to do this and why am I going to do that?” “Well, that's not going to make you any money.” I go, “Well, this is not all about making money. This is about doing the right thing in the capital city and the State of Arkansas. We don't have a facility like this and I want to make it world-class.”

[00:41:33] KM: You already were thinking yacht club or marina.

[00:41:36] JB: I was thinking big.

[00:41:37] KM: You were keeping it under your hat.

[00:41:39] JB: Well, no. I redrew this development many, many times. The permits, it's very difficult when you're working with so many federal and state agencies and county agencies and you've got to be extremely patient. It can be so wonderful once you get to the finish line. It was a very long deliberate process. I got to reach out to everyone that helped me, the corps of engineers, City of Little Rock, Pulaski County, City of North Little Rock, everybody in the end. Vision is very difficult for people.

[00:42:12] KM: Yes. Tell us your vision for that. My vision from the very beginning, just like when I started that company, I said, I’m going to go the stock exchange with that company, because I really felt what I had. I knew that this would be world-class and I knew there would be a lot of obstacles. Of course, I’ve had several banks throughout time. I remember the first bank that went out back, it was NBA, which is now owned by Arvest. I remember I met with the board out there. I remember one of the guys on the board said, “Hey, if anybody –” That's why I said hair. He said, “If anybody can get the hair off this deal is John.”

[00:42:45] KM: I’ve got to use that.

[00:42:47] JB: It took eight years approximately to get the permit.

[00:42:50] KM: No. You've been working on this for eight years?

[00:42:53] JB: This thing, I bought this property over 13 years ago.

[00:42:57] KM: Eight years to get the permit, a year or two to get the bids right. You've been in construction three years, you think?

[00:43:05] JB: We've been under construction down there for three years. We are so close to the finish line.

[00:43:10] KM: Can you rent apartments now?

[00:43:12] JB: Oh, they'll open at the end of September. The view is unbelievable, not just downtown, but to the river.

[00:43:17] KM: The river is beautiful. Then you can see the sunset from, I noticed. It's right at the end of the river. I sat right out there in the little John boat. Right where if you were on that dock, what it would look like before the show, because I wanted to know exactly and I’ve got a picture. It was gorgeous.

[00:43:37] JB: It is. The marina is open now. I welcome anybody to go down there in the evening.

[00:43:41] KM: Can you go down there?

[00:43:42] JB: Oh, yeah. There's a big dock out there.

[00:43:44] KM: I thought it was gated.

[00:43:45] JB: No, it's not gated. No, this is public access to everyone. Now the departments will be gated.

[00:43:51] KM: The marina is going to be public access to everyone?

[00:43:53] JB: It's totally public.

[00:43:56] KM: There are also big ocean-going boats down there. I’m not sure I’d want my big ocean-going boat to be sitting down there publicly accessible. There are million-dollar boats sitting down there.

[00:44:08] JB: Look at the crime. We have no crime down there. We're not having –

[00:44:12] KM: There’s nobody down there.

[00:44:14] JB: No, you're wrong. Go over there right now and you'd be amazed at the people that are over there, the bicyclers, the joggers, the people are down there now. Another great thing that's coming is metro plan approved a grant to extend the southwest trail all the way up the Clinton lot.

[00:44:29] KM: What's the southwest trail? The bike trail?

[00:44:31] JB: A bike trail that goes all along the levee along my property and goes all the way out to the Clinton Library, a long time in the planning. There are so many cool, cool aspects of this project. My project, we're finishing up the rollout ramp. A rollout ramp is where you roll a travel lift out. It can pick up large boats, houseboats, anything larger than you can trailer.

[00:44:52] KM: Is it public access?

[00:44:54] JB: Well this, we would have to perform that service for you, because it's –

[00:44:59] KM: There is a ramp public access.

[00:45:00] JB: There's a public grant that's funded partially by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. It will be open, hopefully six to eight weeks. We're that close on it. The marina is open. The flagship of the whole development will be a floating restaurant. The roof is already on it. It has a copper colored roof on it.

[00:45:20] KM: Great lighting.

[00:45:20] JB: It's going to be 8,000 square feet. I’m going to have a tiki bar that I think is going to be so cool. I bought a plane out of Washington State, an old Cessna. Remember years ago, we had this restaurant called Diego’s here. Well, there used to be a restaurant down in Riverdale and had a plane crashed in the roof. I’m going to crash this plane into the – and paint it up like a drug plane and it's going to be called – the wheels of the Cessna are going to be hanging down in the barn. It's going to be called The Wheels Up Bar.

[00:45:49] KM: The what bar?

[00:45:50] JB: The Wheels Up Bar.

[00:45:51] KM: Wheels Up. It's going to be like after the Tom Cruise movie down there in Mena, Arkansas that was flying in all the drugs. What was that movie called? American –

[00:46:00] JB: American-Made.

[00:46:01] KM: American-Made. Oh, that's what you need to name it, American-Made.

[00:46:05] JB: Yes. It's going to have a full-service restaurant, a dock store and fuel islands. It has definitely been a labor of love, but it's – I mean, it's going to be a legacy property for me. It was to do the right thing. A lot of money has been spent for the public use down there. I encourage anybody, if you're willing to stay the course, try to do a public-private – you're doing one right now.

[00:46:29] KM: I know. It is a labor of love, because it is not easy.

[00:46:34] JB: Oh, but as you know, to be successful, nothing's easy.

[00:46:36] KM: It's your legacy. You feel like you're doing something.

[00:46:40] JB: Yes. It's going to be wonderful. You know how difficult it is to deal with through those agencies and to get – I know, you got a grant of some type.

[00:46:47] KM: Yeah. Everybody, it's the Dreamland Ballroom he's talking about, because you and I know what we're talking about. Yeah, the Dreamland Ballroom.

[00:46:53] JB: I remember when I first met you and you took me up there, I said, “God, why didn't I buy this place?” Because –

[00:46:58] KM: I hear that all the time.

[00:46:59] JB: The vision.

[00:47:00] KM: Well, you would have had the vision for it. Most people said, you have gone insane to buy this place, but it's fabulous. The restaurant's going to open when? Because I would love to be able to pull my boat. You've got docks where you can pull your boat up on the river. You're out at lunchtime. I always thought Cajun's Wharf was missing the boat by not doing this. You can just pull your boat right up there and go into the restaurant.

[00:47:22] JB: Because I actually built the restaurant floats. When you're in there, the water's flowing under you.

[00:47:28] KM: When's that going to be ready?

[00:47:29] JB: The first apartment building opens here at the end of September. They'll all be open probably by Christmas. I’m actually taking an apartment for my family too down there.

[00:47:39] KM: Good. I was going to say –

[00:47:40] KM: Because that's how much I think it's so wonderful. Then we're going to complete the village. We're going to finish the village, get all the apartments done.

[00:47:48] KM: It is a village.

[00:47:49] JB: I’ve got a great consultant I’m working with on the restaurant. Then you'll see us frame it out.

[00:47:56] KM: We're running out of time. Apartments, boat slips, restaurant, restrooms, outdoor entertainment areas, mechanics, shop, marine, marina and store, which will be summer jobs for kids. I think it'll be awesome. If you've ever been to Lake Ouachita, it's one of the things I love about it. Boat rental. Can you rent a boat right now?

[00:48:14] JB: Not right now, but you will be next spring.

[00:48:16] KM: I’ll be the first one. I don't want to own a boat, but I love renting them. Been there, done that own boat thing. I’m done with all that.

[00:48:22] JB: A lot of people say, the best days of boat owners when you buy it and sell it. I got a lot of boats and I love them. I encourage anybody, boats are awesome.

[00:48:30] KM: Well, when my husband saw your marina, he's like, “Maybe we should get another boat.” I was like, “Ooh, here we go again.” All right. Thank you, John. Here's your gift.

[00:48:36] JB: Thank you.

[00:48:37] KM: We're out of time. You've got to come back. We're going to start doing the show from the Dreamland Ballroom and you'll have to come. That is a yacht instant flag.

[00:48:44] JB: Yes, absolutely.

[00:48:45] KM: For the people that are listening, he's getting a desk set with a US Arkansas and a yacht instant.

[00:48:49] JB: This will be on my desk tomorrow.

[00:48:50] KM: Anchors away. All right, in closing to our listeners, thank you for spending time with us. We hope you've heard, or learned something that's been inspiring, or enlightening and that it, whatever it is, will help you up your business, your independence, or your life. I’m Kerry McCoy and I’ll see you next time on Up In Your Business. Until then, be brave and keep it up.

[00:49:10] Announcer: Long before Beyoncé sang this song to the Obamas at the inaugural ball, Etta James sang it on the Dreamland Ballroom stage. Located on the top floor of the flagandbanner.com building in Downtown Little Rock, there lies a historical treasure called the Dreamland Ballroom, where musical greats like Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Etta James once played.

30 years ago, this magnificent venue is destined for the wrecking ball. Since 2009, the non-profit Friends of Dreamland has worked to restore this piece of Arkansas heritage. They've made it their mission to bring back its history and culture by providing tours, artistic performances, musical education and cultural outreach.

As you walk to the entrance of Dreamland, you'll notice the paver bricks that are engraved with commemorative names and phrases chosen by donors to Dreamland. The Pave the Way Fundraiser is an ongoing project of the non-profit Friends of Dreamland. Paver bricks are available for you to be a part of this restoration project, visit dreamlandballroom.org to find out how you can contribute.

[00:50:22] GM: You've been listening to Up In Your Business with Kerry McCoy. For links to resources you heard discussed on today's show, go to flagandbanner.com, select radio and choose today's guest. If you'd like to sponsor this show or any show, contact me, Gray. That's gray@flagandbanner.com.

All interviews are recorded and posted the following week. Stay informed of exciting and upcoming guests by subscribing to our YouTube channel or podcast wherever you like to listen. Kerry’s goal is simple, to help you live the American dream.


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