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Sheffield Nelson: Attorney, Businessman, Politician

Sheffield Nelson

Listen to Learn:

  • How poverty instilled great work ethic
  • How working as a youth became an asset later in life
  • How privately owned utilities work and how levelized billing began
  • How Jerry Jones made his money in the gas industry
  • How volunteering can open doors into poltics

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Sheffield Nelson was born in Keevil near Brinkley in eastern Arkansas. He graduated from Brinkley High School and received his undergraduate degree in mathematics education from the University of Central Arkansas at Conway, where he was the student body president. He obtained a law degree in 1969 from the William H. Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
From 1973 through 1984, Nelson was the CEO of Arkansas Louisiana Gas Company, since known as CenterPoint Energy. Nelson has served on the United States Commission on Civil Rights and from 2000 to 2007 on the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission under appointment from Governor Mike Huckabee. From 1990 to 1992, he was chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party. From 1992 to 2000, he was the Arkansas Republican National Committeeman, a position formerly held by Winthrop Rockefeller, the father of the GOP resurgence in Arkansas who was elected governor in 1966 and 1968.
In 1990, Nelson won the Republican gubernatorial nomination in a divisive race against Tommy Robinson. Nelson lost in the fall to Clinton. In 1994, he sought the governorship again and was again defeated in the general election, 59 to 41 percent by Democratic Governor Jim Guy Tucker. Nelson had openly predicted that Tucker would be indicted before the end of his elected term. Tucker was forced to resign in 1996 after his conviction in the Whitewater investigation.
Nelson has remained a prominent part of Arkansas' political scene, promoting a proposal to raise the natural gas severance tax to fund highway improvements and openly attacking the attempts of the Game and Fish Commission to exempt itself from the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act in regard to fiscal matters.
In 2015, Nelson was named by Governor Asa Hutchinson, with whom he once served as GOP co-chair, to the University of Arkansas board of trustees.
Nelson and his wife, Mary Lynn McCastlain, an artist originally from Brinkley, reside in Little Rock. They have two daughters and thirteen grandchildren. He is currently a partner in the Little Rock law firm of Jack Nelson Jones & Bryant.



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

EPISODE 180

 

[INTRODUCTION]

 

[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.

 

And now it’s time for Kerry McCoy to get all up in your business.

 

[00:00:34] KM: Thank you, son Gray. My guest today is a name most everyone will recognize, Mr. Sheffield Nelson. Born in the Arkansas Delta, Mr. Nelson has outfoxed and outworked his meager and humble beginning to become a successful, community-minded, businessman, politician, attorney-at-law and activist. Smart, good looking and studious in school, the young Sheffield studied engineering, math, ran track and was president of the student body at State Teachers College, now the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.

 

Later, Mr. Nelson would become councilor Nelson when he received his law degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. But Councilor Nelson’s rise to success is far from a straight and mundane storyline. At just 32 years of age, Nelson became the CEO of the Arkla Gas, known today as Center Point Energy. After his 20+ years at Arkla, Nelson went on to run for the governorship of Arkansas, first against Governor Bill Clinton, and next against incumbent Jim Guy Tucker.

 

Nelson says, and I quote, “My only venture into politics was a run for the governor. It was the only office I ever wanted and the only one I’d ever run for.” Nelson’s productive work years in power and politics aligned with some of the most famous years in Arkansas history because his smart, handsome and charismatic peers were Bill Clinton, Jim Guy Tucker, David Prior, Tommy Robinson, Ray Thornton, nephew of Witt Stephens, and yes, Dallas Cowboy owner, Jerry Jones.

 

Though never elected to office, Mr. Nelson did serve Arkansas. He was on the United States Commission on Civil Rights, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, and more recently, the co-chair to the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees, and has lobbied more than once for a severance tax increase on natural gas. In 1987, Mr. Sheffield Nelson brought the Junior Achievement Organization to Arkansas. And for the last 30+ years, has been sharing his story of success. A poor, maybe I got this right, fatherless boy, almost fatherless boy.

 

[00:02:58] SN: Almost.

 

[00:02:59] KM: From the Arkansas Delta makes good. That’s his story. A poor fatherless boy from the Arkansas Delta makes good. That’s going to be the title of your book. In hopes for inspiring the next generation of Arkansans to pursue careers in business and public service. It is a pleasure to welcome to the table the smart, utility, executive, political leader, attorney and activist, Mr. Sheffield Nelson. 

 

[00:03:24] SN: Kerry, thank you for that very generous introduction. I appreciate it very much.

 

[00:03:28] KM: It got long. You’re welcome. It got longer than I wanted it to be.

 

[00:03:31] SN: It’s nice. Thank you. I’d like to carry that around with me for [inaudible 00:03:35] because you used that. That was very, very nice.

 

[00:03:40] KM: You’re welcome. Did I get everything right?

 

[00:03:42] SN: You got everything right.

 

[00:03:44] KM: Do you consider yourself an activist?

 

[00:03:46] SN: I can be an activist for the right causes. I don’t go out and look for things. I do try to do things that maybe considered an activist when I think it’ll be good for the state of Arkansas and good for the people here. Yes, I’ve taken on some causes. There were that type, and I think that they in some cases paid dividends for the people.

 

[00:04:03] KM: I said in the introduction, fatherless. I looked at you to make sure if it was okay if I said that, because I read in your bio that you were 16 years old when your dad left and said, “Bye Sheffield. You’re in charge of your mother and two sisters. Is that true?”

 

[00:04:20] SN: Pretty well, except he didn’t say anything. He just left. Yes, it was true. 

 

[00:04:24] KM: You want to borrow my couch to lie down on?

 

[00:04:26] SN: No.

 

[00:04:27] KM: Are you over it?

 

[00:04:27] SN: No. It didn’t bother me. I mean, it was part of life, and actually it made our lives better. Sad and ashamed it had to happen that way. He was an itinerant worker. So we never really had –

 

[00:04:37] KM: A what? 

 

[00:04:37] SN: An itinerant worker.

 

[00:04:39] KM: What’s that mean?

 

[00:04:39] SN: Well, in his case, he drove a dozer, a bulldozer, but he had to go from place to place to get work. He never had a steady job. It was really just kind of tough all the time that he was with our family. So we actually had hit a point in life and feared better once he decided to take off and leave us. I hate to say that, but that’s just the way it occurred, and it turned out for the better.

 

[00:05:00] KM: Did you ever see him again?

 

[00:05:01] SN: Never saw him again till the day of his funeral. That was it.

 

[00:05:05] KM: Oh, you went to his funeral.

 

[00:05:05] SN: I did.

 

[00:05:07] KM: How old was he when he died?

 

[00:05:09] SN: He had to be about 64, 65.

 

[00:05:11] KM: Well, he did pretty good.

 

[00:05:12] SN: Yeah.

 

[00:05:14] KM: Without all of that strive, do you think you’d be the person you are kind of today?

 

[00:05:20] SN: I really don’t. I think being extremely poor and growing up in the Delta was a good combination to help me grow and help me move myself and become a better person and perhaps a stronger person that I would have been otherwise. I know it gave me a great work ethic. I started working at about 10, 11 years old, picking cotton. I lived in Brinkley [inaudible 00:05:40]. All of those are in the Delta and all of them had cotton fields around them. That’s how where I started learning to work. Then when I got to the Brinkley, I was able to get a job with a great Italian guy there by the name of Johnny [inaudible 00:05:54] who I worked for. From that time, that would have been my sophomore year of high school until I went on to college, and I’d still come back to work for him. But he got the work ethic.

 

[00:06:03] KM: I’m amazed. I’m amazed how many success people I’ve interviewed have picked cotton.

 

[00:06:09] SN: It was part of the background then. I had a lot of friends that I picked with. A lot of them just good old country boys. A lot of them had farms, and that was a way of life. Before cotton, all the machinery that they use now, and it was chop cotton and then pick cotton. So I did both, and they helped me a lot in terms of just money that I wouldn’t had otherwise.

 

[00:06:27] KM: Am I right in saying that children are not allowed to work until they’re 14? I mean, would there have been some laws you would be breaking today, child labor laws if you worked at 12 today?

 

[00:06:38] SN: There may have been. There are maybe now, but there are certainly nothing then.

 

[00:06:42] KM: I know there was nothing then.

 

[00:06:43] SN: No. It was all encouragement back then and we’re trying to get workers [inaudible 00:06:46].

 

[00:06:46] KM: Do you think that hurts kids today? I mean, you don’t get to work till you’re 16 years old or –

 

[00:06:51] SN: I think if you had the right work environment and the guaranteed type of work, it could be a great asset. It helped them build themselves. If they got into the wrong environment too early where they didn’t or weren’t educated enough or grown enough to make right decisions, it could be bad. Yes, I think working at an early age is great, and you know they can still do things like be a paperboy, which many of them did up through the years. 

 

[00:07:14] KM: You can’t do that anymore.

 

[00:07:15] SN: You’ve had that change.

 

[00:07:16] KM: My husband did that. Yeah, everybody did that.

 

[00:07:17] SN: Many of my friend did it. I mean, we all talk about what we did. Well, that’s what many of them did early.

 

[00:07:23] KM: My son, who’s now 26, when he was  16 and could drive, he got a job as a bus boy at a restaurant. I said – Having worked in a restaurant myself, I said, “You absolutely cannot work in a restaurant. I know what goes on out in the back behind the restaurant. You cannot work there.” The next thing you know, he’s got a job –

 

[00:07:43] GM: It turned out fine.

 

[00:07:43] KM: It did turn out fine, but all you got to do if you want your kids to work is tell them they can’t, and they’ll go do it.

 

[00:07:49] SN: It gave him a job, and I bet it helped him turn out the way he is today.

 

[00:07:53] KM: He’s got a great work ethic. You’re exactly right. All right, let’s talk about you going to college. You got a scholarship to college to run track.

 

[00:08:02] SN: They had work scholarships back at that time. So I got a job, one of the plum jobs in the student union where you worked behind the counters, the soda counter. I got to do that for three years, and then I went to work doing some stuff for the state of Arkansas at night in my senior year. But for three years, I got to work, and that’s what really enabled me to become president and student body and all that, because [inaudible 00:08:22] in the student body working there every day. It helped me immensely. It helped me pay for my education. It was one of the better jobs you could have, and all of us in that student center at that time, all of us ran track or did something in track.

 

[00:08:37] KM: What did your mother do for a living after your father left?

 

[00:08:41] SN: My mother, [inaudible 00:08:42] my older sister and me for a living, because –

 

[00:08:46] KM: So you were sending money back to your mother?

 

[00:08:49] SN: Yeah, of course. And my older sister really did. She lived with here and really helped her through the trying times of life. We were fortunate to be able. And my other sisters got old enough, we all contributed and made sure that our mother didn’t hurt for anything the rest of her life. She didn’t live till about 66, 67.

 

[00:09:07] KM: You are not like your father, because you have been married to the same woman since – You’ve been with the same woman since junior high, or high school, or when did you meet your wife?

 

[00:09:18] SN: I started dating her when she is a junior in high school and I was a senior, and we’ve been married for 58 years.

 

[00:09:24] KM: It’s just charming, ain’t it? You’re like I’m not going to be like my dad.

 

[00:09:29] SN: Well, I think a lot goes into that. It’s certainly a two-way street. She had to give a lot and I had to give a lot, but that’s what goes into a marriage that last that long. We’ve been very blessed and very fortunate.

 

[00:09:39] KM: Well, this is a great place to take a break. When we come back, we’re going to continue our conversation with the hardworking businessman, politician, attorney and activist, Mr. Sheffield Nelson. In this next segment, we’re going to talk about him being the CEO of Arkla Gas, a fortune 500 company at the age of 32 years old. We’re going to find out that story when we come back. We’ll be right back.

 

[BREAK]

 

[00:10:05] Announcer: Here’s a message from Dreamland Ballroom inside Flag & Banner downtown Little Rock in celebration of June 19th, 2020, we’re embracing the historically black college and university experience history and relevance with a program called unburied truths. It’s the next installment in this series by social historian, Ed David. Social distancing practices will be in place at 800 West 9th Street. That’s the location of Flag & Banner, and of course the Dreamland Ballroom.

 

To promote healthy practices, this lecture at 5PM, June 19th, is going to be held outside the building. Appropriately-spaced seating will be available. Attendees are encouraged to bring some refreshments of your own seating if you’d like, and please wear facemasks.

 

For information on the soul of higher education, the unburied truth HBCUs, please go to dreamlandballroom.org/unburiedtruths. The date for the event, June 19th, 5 to 7 PM.

 

[00:11:01] GM: You’re listening to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy, a production of flagandbanner.com. Want to keep up with flag etiquette, when to fly your flag, when to lower it to half-staff? Sign up for free email notifications at flagandbanner.com. Telling American-made stories, selling American-made flags, the flagandbanner.com.

 

Back to you Kerry. 

 

[INTERVIEW CONTINUED]

 

[00:11:22] KM: You’re listening to Up in Your Business with me, Kerry McCoy, and I’m speaking today with the smart and esteemed politician and councilor, Mr. Sheffield Nelson. Before the break, we talked about you growing up in the Delta. We talked about your father leaving when you were 16. We talked about you going to college at what is now University of Central Arkansas. Yeah. Okay got it.

 

Then now you’re in college, you’re the senior, you’re the president of the student body. But somehow how you got a job at Arkla. How did that come about? 

 

[00:11:58] SN: Well, I actually got the job at Arkla the day after I finished college. In fact, I drove from Conway to Shreveport, Louisiana where I was to spend my first year in a training program. I started working for them immediately after graduating and I stayed with them for 22 years.

 

[00:12:12] KM: What did you start off as?

 

[00:12:14] SN: Started off as a management trainee, and then I got to pick the department I wanted to go into. I knew that Stephens was totally oriented towards sales. All of the management people were sales minded. So I went into direct sales. I went into air-conditioning sales my first job –

 

[00:12:29] KM: Is that door-to-door?

 

[00:12:30] SN: No. Believe it or not, you have a lot of calls. Particularly, Arkla did because of having a special type thing with the natural gas unit as supposed to electric. Gave you a lot to sell with and I just loved it. [inaudible 00:12:41] like a fish in water and moved up through the ranks real quickly, because again, Stephens liked it and he always watched the progress of a salesmen and kept up with us and I think this what helped me more than anything else.

 

[00:12:53] KM: I didn’t realize until I was getting ready for this show, I don’t know why. I’ve never thought about this, but all of our utility companies are privately owned. I think a lot of people think that they are owned by the state or the city. They act like they are. If you want energy to come out and do something, you can just forget it. They act like they’re not – So not customer service friendly. That’s why you think that they’re run by the state.

 

[00:13:20] SN: You know, they’re stockholder owned. Stock holders own them, but the Public Service Commission oversees them. If they’re falling short, any of them falling short of doing what they’re supposed to, Public Service Commission is the one that –

 

[00:13:30] KM: Who oversees Comcast? That’s the one that I’m going to rad out.

 

[00:13:34] SN: I think the city board of Little Rock oversees them. I don’t think they’re under any public service commission type control at all.

 

[00:13:42] KM: Well, my service just drives me crazy.

 

[00:13:45] SN: You can hear a lot about that.

 

[00:13:46] KM: Yeah. Now you do. You saw that woman, that nice old lady [inaudible 00:13:50]  got frustrated in another state with a hammer and went in and reached across the counter and banged on the guy’s keyboard with a hammer? She made national news. She was so frustrated. Anyway, you moved up the ranks to sales manager, I guess.

 

[00:14:03] SN: I did.

 

[00:14:04] KM: And then the vice president, I guess.

 

[00:14:05] SN: I did.

 

[00:14:06] KM: And then to chairman of the board, I guess.

 

[00:14:07] SN: Well, I moved to president and co-chief executive officer. We had a friend down in Shreveport, Louisiana, a guy by the name of Don Weir, who became chairman of the board and co-CEO. I became president and co-CEO. Then 5 years later, or 6 years later, he retired and I took all the titles at that point. But for all practical purposes, we had our own areas of the company to run. We got along great. We were best of friends and it turned out well for everybody.

 

[00:14:33] KM: Witt Stephens own the gas company, the Stephens family, and he decided to resign in 1973.

 

[00:14:40] SN: That’s right. What he did, he owned a portion of it. He owned a great portion. He owned a lot of stocks and he had been put on notice to sell some of that stock as I remember, because is ownership was so great. He decided to step out and give up – He didn’t give up his ownership. In fact, he ended up with as much stock as ever. But he did give up the presidency, and that’s when I was picked at his direction, and Don Weir was picked in his direction to become the office holders we were.

 

[00:15:06] KM: Why was he asked to resign? Because it was a conflict of interest? Because he was such a big stock holder?

 

[00:15:12] SN: No. It was a national thing, and I believe it had to do with the Securities & Exchange Commission. I just think they said, and it was basically what you said, he owned too much stocks [inaudible 00:15:20] controlling position. Because he did a lot of oil and gas drilling where he sold product to the company. He also was president CEO and had total control over. I think they just made it where he needed to go ahead and step out of that and turn it over somebody else.

 

[00:15:35] KM: Then – So you’re 32 years old. You’re the CEO of a fortune 500 company. Are you just thinking that I’m the best thing that ever happened? I mean, is your ego through the roof? I mean, what are you thinking at 32 years old?

 

[00:15:50] SN: You’re thinking you really better dig in and hold on, because you knew it wouldn’t going to be easy. No, I didn’t think – My head didn’t great at all. I hit the ground running. We worked very hard. Weir and I worked together. We started doing some things that were good for the company, and therefore good for stock holders.

 

[00:16:05] KM: Like what?

 

[00:16:06] SN: And good for the customers. I’ll tell you two or three examples. One, I instituted no cut-off for customers during the winter. That had been a sore point with a lot of people.

 

[00:16:14] KM: What do you mean?

 

[00:16:14] SN: Well, extremely poor people simply can’t pay their gas bills in the winter. So I sopped it. We’d make it up over the spring and summer and they’d be back in decent shape by the following winter.

 

[00:16:25] KM: What’s that called? Balance billing or something?

 

[00:16:27] SN: It was about the same as balanced billing today. That probably what substituted for ours, but ours [inaudible 00:16:33]. But with the understanding, making them sign that they would pay. Also, I developed a concept called replacement cost pricing. We never could get enough for the natural gas. Public Service Commissions wouldn’t give it, because I wouldn’t go against residential customers. I wanted to stay off their backs. I wanted to go with the large industries. They first told us we couldn’t do what we wanted to do and they just gave us –

 

[00:16:33] KM: What did you want to do?

 

[00:16:59] SM: Well, what I want to do is make the large industry start paying what they had to pay for an alternate fuel. In other words, we got to where we couldn’t provide gas. We didn’t have. So they didn’t get anything from us. They were behind number two and number six fuel law. I went to them first.

 

[00:17:15] KM: To the big industries.

 

[00:17:16] SN: I went to the big industries first and said, “If you all would give me a chance and let us raise the price to what your [inaudible 00:17:21] three steps. We will spend every penny of that money looking for natural gas and we’ll find you gas and start selling you gas again. We did that over a two to three-year time. I had them back when they were getting all the gas they’d ever gotten. We restored service to energy, APNL at the time. It turned out beautiful for everyone. They backed in my efforts and I came back and did what we said we’d do. 

 

[00:17:46] KM: Is that what caused you and what Stephens to have the falling out? Because that’s legendary.

 

[00:17:51] SN: Well, it was a shame that it happened. What it really was, was we had one in more for each gas than we could give him, because it was given in us anything extra. It was just, “I want to get this for my gas.” We couldn’t do that, and we told him that. Don and I visited with him, and it’s two or three main spokesman several times trying to keep it on a low key, trying to keep him happy. But it turned out, he ain’t going to do it or you shouldn’t be president of Arkla. Don, you shouldn’t be chairman.

 

[00:18:15] KM: And you’re answering to a board.

 

[00:18:16] SN: Answering to a board that he had formulated. It was all his board. Don and I were the only two on there that weren’t picked by Witt. But what happened is about that time, one of two of them died, one or two of them stepped off. 

 

[00:18:28] KM: Off the board.

 

[00:18:29] SN: Off the board, but they became followers of Don and me. They said you all are doing it right. You’re getting good reports from Public Service Commission. You’re getting along well out there and you’re taking care of customers. We can’t ask anymore. Once I knew we had their backing, we just know we couldn’t do it, and that’s when the explosion –

 

[00:18:45] KM: Witt’s going, “I selected you for that position.”

 

[00:18:49] SN: That’s right. I felt there were things being asked too that I couldn’t, in good conscience do, and in theory at least, they couldn’t have gotten at one of being legally questioned, and I didn’t want to be looking at them behind bars because I did something I shouldn’t. It was really that simple. We ain’t going to do that. We took a hard position, but a good position, and it was right for the people of the state of Arkansas and for the other customers we get. 

 

[00:19:14] KM: Is there anything you would have done different.

 

[00:19:16] SN: I tried everything I can do back then. I’d do anything not to have had that blowing up. I did not want it. Don Weir didn’t want it. But when you go as far down the path as you can and they’re still not giving you a reasonable possible solution, you just had to back away and go, “No. I don’t think I can’t think of a thing that I should have done differently and I do think that I went overboard and trying to [inaudible 00:19:36],” because he was a good guy. He had done a lot for me, and he taught me a lot into a great salesman. I just hated when it came to a close that way.

 

[00:19:46] KM: Then your friendship with Jerry jones began in college?

 

[00:19:52] SN: No. I did all my education in Conway in Little Rock.

 

[00:19:57] KM: Oh! And he’s from Fayetteville.

 

[00:20:00] SN: I didn’t meet Jerry Jones until he was in the oil and gas business after he graduated. I actually met him when he’s in insurance business. He went into insurance with his dad and they made a lot of money selling –

 

[00:20:08] KM: Where is Jerry Jones from?

 

[00:20:10] SN: Jerry is from Springfield, Missouri. But let me backtrack. That’s where his dad all ended up. He actually started at Rose City over here in North Little Rock.

 

[00:20:18] KM: That’s what I thought.

 

[00:20:19] SN: Yeah, he played football for North Little Rock and did everything. He’s a Little Rock, Arkansas boy in North Little Rock.

 

[00:20:24] KM: That’s what I thought. Yeah. 

 

[00:20:25] SN: But then Jerry came back into the insurance thing, but I didn’t really meet him well until he got in oil and gas.

 

[00:20:31] KM: Because you’re an executive of that.

 

[00:20:32] SN: Yeah, and he would come talk to us about buying gas from him or about helping him drill, being partners in drilling. I turned him over to the oil and gas people out of Shreveport, and they worked deals with him. He was one of our best friends in terms of helping us buy gas and find gas. Back at that time, Paul Greenberg pointed out in an editorial that he wrote about all of these. He said that we were doing exactly what every other company in the country was doing and trying to locate gas supplies and buy gas.

 

[00:21:00] KM: Was there a shortage of gas?

 

[00:21:02] SN: There was a real shortage, a real.

 

[00:21:04] KM: Then, gas become more expensive.

 

[00:21:09] SN: Became more expensive and became more plentiful. Once gas became more plentiful, there were more gas being discovered. Then people didn’t want to go into some of the contracts we’d gone into [inaudible 00:21:19] gas. But that was years later, a number of years later. During the time, we were behind. Everybody else was competing with us. We were having to compete in the marketplace and paid the dollars –

 

[00:21:29] KM: So when you started. Let me see if I get this right. When you started, gas was scarce.

 

[00:21:34] SN: Right.

 

[00:21:35] KM: And you would go out for long contracts at a fixed price or a year long.

 

[00:21:38] SN: Exactly. Anything had to do. Anything you had to –

 

[00:21:40] KM: To get that.

 

[00:21:42] SN: Yeah. I’ll go back to my point a minute ago. When I came in, if you remember, I was telling you about us promising to the industrial customers, that we’d go out and drill if they would get us extra money so we could develop gas. We were trying to buy gas all that time and they were losing gas. Our customers [inaudible 00:21:55]. They were falling further.

 

[00:21:57] KM: Was Arklas insolvent?

 

[00:21:59] SN: No. We still have a big base in commercial and your residential customers and you had small industrials that used a lot of gas. We were missing out on the big industry that could help the states the most and that we could do the most for if we could just get gas. That’s what we did.

 

[00:22:17] KM: Then it goes from you can’t find gas and you’re begging people to let you – You were offering, I guess to help find gas –

 

[00:22:26] SN: Anything. Any deal our people could make, we would approve. Any deal that was reasonable, and they made some awfully good deals and they made some tough deals. Tough on us, tough on other people. 

 

[00:22:34] KM: Then gas became plentiful.

 

[00:22:36] SN: That’s right.

 

[00:22:37] KM: How does that change the market?

 

[00:22:39] SN: Well, it changed the market, because then you could get gas cheaper. You didn’t like [inaudible 00:22:42] with those large, high-priced contracts, but we [inaudible 00:22:45] and we had to deal with it. We did not regret doing what we did. 

 

[00:22:51] KM: I see.

 

[00:22:51] SN:  Because everything we did, it enabled us to move forward as a company and develop. [inaudible 00:22:55] Jerry Jones, the one that I’ve most complaint with about. People were totally wrong and never understood it. Jerry put $30 million on the table and said, “If you’ll drill these wells with on a half and half basis, we’ll share the gas.”

 

[00:23:08] KM: You said I need the gas.

 

[00:23:09] SN: Oh, we did in a minute. Of course, our gas people [inaudible 00:23:11] Jerry, but they came to me and I said, “Absolutely.” I said, “Well do the same with Stephens.” They’re talking about want to step their prices. Tell them, bring something to the table. We’ll make a deal with it. Never brought a thing to us like that. 

 

[00:23:24] KM: Because they’re still mad at you. Bad blood.

 

[00:23:25] SN: Well, also, they didn’t really want to give up anything. They love their gas position. They had a lot of gas reserved. They talked to me about buying their company over at Fort Smith. We did a lot of things. It could have turned out to be good for everybody, but they just got their noses [inaudible 00:23:38] to the point they thought no need to deal with us, and they didn’t. 

 

[00:23:42] MK: Something I learned and getting ready for the show is that I think it was Stephens that used your pipelines, Arklas pipelines to transport their natural gas to other states. 

 

[00:23:53] SN: Well, they tried to. That’s another thing – That was broke the camel’s back. We were all [inaudible 00:23:58] with him over the gas, his gas and what we were paying for an that we weren’t going to raise it for nothing. But then he said, “Well, I’m just going to make you carry gas for me over here at Fort Smith over to [inaudible 00:24:08] was not on our system and he was going to make us carry gas. And I told him we weren’t going to do that. All that does is invite people to come over to your system and start making you transport their gas instead of your own gas. I said, “We’ll take care of [inaudible 00:24:23] when they need extra gas,” and we did.

 

During the winter, we would run a piece of pipeline over and feed gas into them and also [inaudible 00:24:30] to Queen, same thing. But we were not going to carry another company’s gas, let them run the price up $2 or $3 MCF, making a lot more than we were and using our capacity. I told them they couldn’t. They could not make us do it. So I hope they’d back off. They tried to beat us. We went to the legislature and we beat them hand’s down in legislature. They understood, we were trying to preserve gas for our customers and not utilizing our pipeline for others to make money. Then they talked about going to the Public Service Commission and to the Federal [inaudible 00:25:02] Commission. We told them, “Go on.” We were willing to fight it all the way to the FBC because we were right. As the law turned out, we were exactly right. They ended up backing off, because they couldn’t force us. They thought we lowered and played dead and let them do it.

 

But let me tell you the real problem, it was the taking care of one company. If you could have done it with one company –

 

[00:25:22] KM: You had to do it for everybody.

 

[00:25:23] SN: Yeah. You opened the door to everybody, and that’s what happened to them.

 

[00:25:26] KM: I say that all the time to my employees. If I do that for you, I got to do it everybody, and then we go belly-up over here.

 

[00:25:31] SN: That’s just exactly right.

 

[00:25:33] KM: Is it common practice today that everybody shares gas lines and use each other’s gas lines, pipelines?

 

[00:25:39] SN: Well, you can always have some sharing of pipelines where you could drop off gas at one place or pick up gas at one place and make a fee for carrying it. But it didn’t interfere with your business. It enabled them to get gas from point A to point B on their system. We got some companies to carry some gas for us at different times to some of our outlying areas. But it always was a workable situation that didn’t hurt anybody.

 

[00:26:01] KM: How do you do that? You turn off like one pipe and turn another pipe on?

 

[00:26:05] SN: It’s essentially that. What they do is put in gas at one location and you cut it back at your location, and it’s a transfer or swap out and all these. Yes, there are still some transporting –

 

[00:26:12] KM: What happens to the people on that pipeline when you cut it off for a minute?

 

[00:26:15] SN: No. You don’t cut it off. What you do is you keep feeding other customers. That’s just using part of it. Most pipelines had then and have now extra capacity.

 

[00:26:24] KM: Oh, they got couple of pipelines in there. I get you.

 

[00:26:25] SN: Yeah. Pipelines or extra-large pipelines to carry a lot more gas.

 

[00:26:29] KM: That are all in the same track and the same ditch.

 

[00:26:32] SN: Yeah, that’s exactly right. Now, are close enough that they can feed over to one pipeline and carry it south. Then they’ll feed you back up here and pay you back the gas or to pay you for transport.

 

[00:26:41] KM: I’m learning so much. All right. This must be how Jerry Jones got to buy the Dallas Cowboys, because he got to – And that when you were trying to find people that would drill with you to find gas, to meet the needs, to get the large industrial customers, he was part of the team that helped to find extra gas.

 

[00:27:03] SN: He did that a lot, and he sold gas to other people. He didn’t have to sell to us. We didn’t take everything that Jerry had. We got the gas that was close to our system, but he had drilling going down out in California that we didn’t have an interest in.

 

[00:27:16] KM: How did he know where all the gas was?

 

[00:27:19] SN: He’s smart. Smart and put up – And then he had the courage to put up money. He just had the guts.

 

[00:27:22] KM: It’s always the courage. Ain’t it?

 

[00:27:23] SN: Let me tell you. On ours, the way Jerry and our class separated, it was after I’d gone. Mack McLarty was president. He had the chance to buy him out of interest in Arkla [inaudible 00:27:34]. They dealt back and forth on the price forever. They valued Jerry’s gas. Got it down to a level where it was affordable and reasonable. And Mack bought them out. That’s where he got the initial money –

 

[00:27:45] KM: Mack McLarty replaced you. Did you appoint Mack McLarty?

 

[00:27:50] SN: He my choice and still is.

 

[00:27:51] KM: He was your choice. Was he on the board at the time?

 

[00:27:53] SN: Yeah. I got him on the board. About two years of board. First of all, telling him in want him on the board. But in the last year, I was trying to sell him on following me, because I knew he had the background. He’d do a great job, which he did do.

 

[00:28:04] KM: How long?

 

[00:28:06] SN: Mack was there until Clinton went to the presidency and he took off to become his chief of staff.

 

[00:28:10] KM: How long were you there?

 

[00:28:11] SN: He’s there about 6 years, 5 or 6 years.

 

[00:28:12] KM: How long were you there?

 

[00:28:13] SN: I was there 22 years.

 

[00:28:14] KM: Were you just exhausted?

 

[00:28:14] SN: I was president of Arkla for 12 years. No. I was so young. I wasn’t very exhausted at that stage. I found it challenging and a lot of fun, but of course there were times when you’re tired and times when you’re pressed to the wall. But you deal with Jerry Jones. Was above board who was looked at by everybody and his dog [inaudible 00:28:32] and we didn’t do a thing wrong.

 

[00:28:34] KM: That was good.

 

[00:28:35] SN: That was all people whose sitting around barking [inaudible 00:28:36] and you can imagine who some of those were.

 

[00:28:41] KM: Plus, jealousy. I wanted to hit a well some ay in my life. Don’t everybody?

 

[00:28:47] SN: I think there’s one other thing [inaudible 00:28:48]. When we took over the gas company, it was about 220 or 225 million dollar company. We got these things going with hitting large industrial customers back online, and we built that company into a billion dollar company.

 

[00:29:01] KM: And it was what when you took it over?

 

[00:29:03] SN: About 250 million, 225. About ¼ of the size.

 

[00:29:05] KM: You took it to a billion.

 

[00:29:06] SN: We built it up and we did mostly through large customers paying their fair share and buying the large quantities we made available. That’s where we built the system and built the company. But I’m sure that hurt feelings, because Arkla had an un-precedent type growth and earnings and the things from Wall Street, they loved us, loved our company, loved the management team. That paid dividends, and I’m sure that hurt some feelings. But the main thing –

 

[00:29:31] KM: Why would that hurt feelings? Paying dividends.

 

[00:29:34] SN: Well, that was part of it. But also [inaudible 00:29:35] “Why can’t you all that? [inaudible 00:29:37] came in and did this.” And they did the best they could under circumstances. It just wasn’t available at that time, but we hit when we needed a gas. We had the customers and we got them involved, and that paid dividends, [inaudible 00:29:50] dividends for everybody.

 

 

[00:29:51] KM: Yeah, I like it. All right. When we come back, we’ll continue our conversation with the hardworking businessman and very smart entrepreneur, I guess, executive for Arkla gas, politician. I guess you stopped and you’ve become an attorney now. And somewhere in there, you decide that you’re going to run for the governorship. So when we come back, we’re going to talk about Sheffield’s run in politics. We’ll be back after the break.

 

[BREAK]

 

[00:30:17] Announcer: Help celebrate Arkansas’ birthday. Did you know that each year, the Old State House Museum invites the public to celebrate the state’s birthday? From now till June 15th, Flag & Banner is donating 5% of every purchase from the show room floor to the Old State House Museum. Stop by, help celebrate Arkansas’ 184th birthday. Flat & Banner, 800 West 9th Street downtown Little Rock, and online, flagandbanner.com

 

[INTERVIEW CONTINUED]

 

[00:30:43] KM: You’re listening to Up in Your Business with me, Kerry McCoy, and I’m speaking today with the smart and esteemed politician and councilor, Mr. Sheffield Nelson. First, we talked about Sheffield and how hardworking he was. Growing up in the Delta and going to college at the University of Central Arkansas. Then we talked about him becoming the CEO of Arkla gas, a fortune 500 company at the age of 32. People, wrap your mind around that. Gray, you’re 31.

 

[00:31:13] GM: 32.

 

[00:31:13] KM: You’re 32?

 

[00:31:14] GM: I know. It’s mind-blowing. 

 

[00:31:16] KM: Can you imagine?

 

[00:31:17] GM: No, I can’t. 

 

[00:31:18] KM: I can’t either. But you have to realize, if you listened earlier in the show, that Sheffield became a man at 16 when his dad left. His 32 is exponentially older, right?

 

[00:31:32] GM: By a longshot. 

 

[00:31:33] KM: Yeah. If everybody became a grown up at 16 today, you don’t really become a grown up till you’re 30 years old.

 

[00:31:38] GM: Sure.

 

[00:31:39] KM: Anyway, now we’re going to talk about the second part of his life. It’s a whole new episode that’s starting now. Sheffield, you’ve retired from Arkla as our youngest CEO. Your successor is Mack McLarty, who’s 5 or 6 years before he goes off with President Clinton to be his chief of staff. Now, you’re in private law practice, I guess. What’s the name of the firm? Or did you have your own firm or did you join a firm?

 

[00:32:08] SN: I joined, House, Wallace & Jewell, and they’ve added my name to it. It would became House, Wallace, Nelson and Jewell. What I did in getting that law degree, I did that first three years, I was back in Little Rock. I had to be in Shreveport for a year. I went to [inaudible 00:32:21] Law School and got my degree. That helped immensely with public [inaudible 00:32:25] commission with the legislature. It helped me every place I had to go and speak something about Arkla. The law degree helped me.

 

[00:32:36] KM: Almost to be a politician, you had to have a law degree.

 

[00:32:39] SN: It helped.

 

[00:32:40] KM: It used to be a very reputable profession. I don’t know that it’s so reputable anymore.

 

[00:32:46] SN: I think [inaudible 00:32:46] bad apples or had some. 

 

[00:32:48] KM: How long was it before you decided after leaving Arkla, going into the law profession, how long was it before you said, “You know, I think I’m going to try politics.”

 

[00:32:58] SN: Actually, I’ve been involved in politics during my Arkla years. You had to be. You had to get along with legislature. You had to get along with the sitting governor [inaudible 00:33:05] United States Center congressman. I had a good base of friendships there that I always knew that when I wanted to do something else, I would run for governor. Never wanted to be anything else. I would not have run for anything that took me to Washington. I would not have run for a state senate or anything else, and the people would elect me or not for the governorship.

 

[00:33:26] KM: Well, you had children, didn’t you?

 

[00:33:28] SN: I did.

 

[00:33:29] KM: How old were they probably about then?

 

[00:33:31] SN: Oldest one at the time was about 16, 17.

 

[00:33:35] KM: Yeah, that’s not a good time [inaudible 00:33:36].

 

[00:33:36] SN: Yeah, it’d have been terrible. What I did was I worked hard at Arkla during the day, but also did a lot of hard work in the other part of the day when I went at Arkla and at night. I did a lot of fundraising for a lot of good causes. My wife was very good at that and helped me from different levels of that. We tied in with various groups that are awfully good and later in life it became [inaudible 00:34:01] and Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and something like that I’ve raised a lot of money for. But we did that sort of thing in addition to our other. It was very natural for me. I left Arkla December 31st of 1984. Joined the law firm the next day or two days later.

 

Then I started –

 

[00:34:20] KM: I don’t want to rest.

 

[00:34:21] SN: Started building toward running for governor. I mean, that was on my mind, the lawyers knew it when I went into the firm. I just started openly. Just started making speeches around the state. Started continuing to work for good causes. Doing things that would just get my name a little more out there. That’s what I did.

 

[00:34:36] KM: Well, it’s out there.

 

[00:34:36] SN: Till the time I ran in 1990. [inaudible 00:34:40].

 

[00:34:42] KM: Oh yeah, right.

 

[00:34:43] SN: Bill Clinton and Jim Guy Tucker, two of the best ever in State of Arkansas and really among the best in the country. The timing was not right. When you think about it, today is exactly the opposite of what it was back then. Back then, the democrats owned everything. They owned just about every office. Now, the republicans own that. We had that turnaround and I think [inaudible 00:35:03] contributed to the turnaround, because after we both got beaten in 1990, we decided to grow a republican party in Arkansas and it kind of fallen back.

 

[00:35:12] KM: Let’s tell the listeners though that you are a democrat.

 

[00:35:15] SN: That’s right.

 

[00:35:16] KM: When you decided that you wanted to run for the governorship, the slot was filled by Bill Clinton.

 

[00:35:22] SN: Well, that wasn’t the reason though. Let me tell you [inaudible 00:35:23] little further back that. I actually started converting when Ronald Reagan ran for president. That had to be 1980. Jimmy Carter had gotten the country in bad shape. I just felt we had to have a chance and I thought Reagan was a great answer to that. I started changing, because at that time I never had to say what I really was. The only time I’d ever declared what I was, it was when I was about 21, 22 years old and ran for president of the young democrat. That didn’t make any difference.

 

[00:35:52] KM: Were you the president of the young democrats.

 

[00:35:53] SN: No. We got beaten. I got beaten in a deal involving Jim McDougal and [inaudible 00:35:57].

 

[00:35:58] KM: Oh Lord! All those names. Man! You are in everywhere.

 

[00:36:01] SN: Let me correct the young democrats, exactly state democrat party at the time. But I was in my early 20s. From that time forward, the only time I ever to raise my hand about what party I was in was when I ran for office. It had nothing to do with being afraid of Clinton, because I knew that I had to face him either directly or indirectly. That didn’t make [inaudible 00:36:20].

 

[00:36:21] KM: But you could have beat him in the primary. He was already governor. He was going to run again. Now you’ve changed parties and you’re going to run again. Who did you run against?

 

[00:36:29] SN: Tommy Robinson. Remember, I didn’t have – Or Clinton faced me when I announced for governor. Clinton said he wasn’t ready. He’d already announced he was not be running for governor.

 

[00:36:41] KM: Really?

 

[00:36:40] SN: Oh yeah. And I got in. That didn’t have a thing to do with [inaudible 00:36:44] of anything. I felt that he would run. His reason for coming back is he wanted to save the state from Tommy Robinson. That was the reason he announced that he’d go again as a democrat.

 

[00:36:55] KM: For people that don’t know. Tommy Robinson was the Donald Trump of Arkansas. Wouldn’t you say? He gun-totin’, straight-shootin’, straight talking. I mean, for people that don’t remember who Tommy Robinson, do you think that’s a pretty good description of kind of – People loved him. He was so popular.

 

[00:37:12] SN: He really was. That’s who I had to face. So I had announced [inaudible 00:37:15] who’d been announced by the president in the Rose Garden that he’s going to come back here run for governor of Arkansas. That’s what I had to face when I went into the republican primary. I don’t know that I went up [inaudible 00:37:28]. I really would have been better staying on the democrat side.

 

[00:37:31] KM: It would have been.

 

[00:37:32] SN: But where I belong was republican. That’s where my thoughts were. That’s where my heart was and that’s what –

 

[00:37:36] KM: How did you beat Tommy Robinson who was so hugely popular? I mean, I remember, my dad loved him.

 

[00:37:45] SN: People [inaudible 00:37:45] for different ideas. Some will say, “Well, I picked a lot of democrat votes.” I don’t think I picked up any democrats. They stayed over in their own primary. I think I’ve beaten him in the basis of getting in and working hard. I think that a lot of people didn’t know Tommy as well as he’s known here in [inaudible 00:37:58] County. And I beat him out in the state. I still beat him here in this county too. But it was a close race. We were in a good race, 4 or 5 points difference. I think I beat him maybe 54 for 46. 

 

[00:38:11] KM: I just realized, we have talked for 45 minutes. So we’ve got so much to cover. I had no idea that I’ve – I just looked at the clock. We’ve got to get going here.

 

[00:38:21] SN: I’m sorry. I probably can’t be talking on to something –

 

[00:38:21] KM: No. It’s just fascinating. I could talk to you for two hours. Okay. Bill Clinton, you’ve lost to Bill Clinton. Then Bill Clinton gets elected president. He resigns from being governor. Jim Guy Tucker I think is the attorney general.

 

[00:38:39] SN: No. He’s the lieutenant governor.

 

[00:38:39] KM: Lieutenant governor. That’s right. And he gets into – He becomes the governor. You decide to run again. 

 

[00:38:45] SN: Well [inaudible 00:38:45]. I didn’t have intention to run again that time. But things that shaped up where it’s very clear from the outside special council that Jim Guy was going to indicted. I mean, I had no question, and that was just the way it was going to be because of what they had [inaudible 00:39:00] with. I said at the time, that’s why I was running –

 

[00:39:03] KM: You knew?

 

[00:39:04] SN: Oh yeah. I did not want to have run the first time and fought somebody like Clinton and come back and let somebody else come in and inherited the office. It was going to be vacated. Had they stuck with that prosecutors at that time, Jim guy would have to leave the office earlier than he did. They changed special prosecutors. That guy came in and started it over from zero and then Tucker of course is re-elected easily and Tucker then [inaudible 00:39:27] having to leave the office, which happened.

 

[00:39:29] KM: You should have run for lieutenant governor on the democratic party.

 

[00:39:34] SN: I’ll tell you what. I wouldn’t have done it for anything, because a good friend of mine was running overall on those side, and that was Mike Huckabee. Mike was running for lieutenant governor as a republican, and a good friend of mine. I mean, we had been years, I’d backed him strongly –

 

[00:39:45] KM: Who did become the governor after Jim Guy?

 

[00:39:48] SN: Mike Huckabee did.

 

[00:39:50] KM: Was he the lieutenant governor? When Jim Guy resigned, he became –

 

[00:39:55] SN: When he resigned, they had a special election. Mike Huckabee took on the state center [inaudible 00:39:59] and he won the election and then Huckabee did not lose an election from then on. He won the governorship and re-won it. Great candidate.

 

[00:40:07] KM: And Huckabee appointed you to the Arkansas Game and Fish?

 

[00:40:13] SN: He appointed me to the Game and Fish, and I think he may have given my first appointment to the board of higher education. That was on both, and I knew that I was appointed through the years by various ones that Huckabee [inaudible 00:40:22].

 

[00:40:23] KM: Even though you were elected, you were appointed to lots of positions.

 

[00:40:26] SN: I was very fortunate. I had good friends as governors and good friends –

 

[00:40:29] KM: You were recently by Asa Hutchinson, appointed to something.

 

[00:40:31] SN: He put me on the board of the University of Arkansas.

 

[00:40:34] KM: One of your things that I think is really interesting since your utility executive in the gas and oil business is you want to raise the severance tax for natural gas.

 

[00:40:46] SN: We did. You may remember, I started it off and Mike Beebe came in. Like I said, yes, we need to increase it. I backed him, and what he is proposing, we got it through. The second time was several years later, and I felt we needed another one, and we did to be truthful back at the time. Because money was rolling [inaudible 00:41:04] over here in Arkansas.

 

[00:41:06] KM: You’re talking about fracking?

 

[00:41:08] SN: Yeah. Fracking had developed the gas and most of was being transported out to the state.

 

[00:41:11] KM: And ruining the highways.

 

[00:41:13] SN: That’s just exactly right. Anyhow, I felt we should have – Beebe did not favor that. The oil and gas people were totally against it. We got beaten that. But it still helped run. Now looking back with 20/20 hindsight, it was good that we didn’t get that increase.

 

[00:41:27] KM: Why?

 

[00:41:27] SN: Well, because oil and gas business fell on its – Really, they had hard times and they really have had hard times today to be truthful.

 

[00:41:33] KM: Are we still fracking?

 

[00:41:35] SN: There’s still fracking going on. Not the way it was. A lot of oil and gas has been cut back. A lot of them aren’t drilling, because they can afford to fro the money get for it. They’re on hard times. I guess if I had to say was it best that we didn’t win that one? I’d say yes, because [inaudible 00:41:49].

 

[00:41:35] KM: Severance tax, when I was looking at this, I had to go look up why is it called a severance tax. It’s because it’s severed from the earth. 

 

[00:41:58] SN: That’s exactly right. That’s tax you pay to pay to take that out of the earth.

 

[00:42:03] KM: To sever it from the earth and not to come back. I think that’s really interesting. I never knew that, why it was called that. 

 

[00:42:10] SN: Very important. [inaudible 00:42:12] pricing on natural gas for the large business, I started off with the idea of replacement cost as a reason to look at driving up the other. That you had to start moving that price up or you had to sell all your gas that you had. You’d take everything that you had that was natural like that and it would be gone when you woke up [inaudible 00:42:33].

 

[00:42:34] KM: Yeah. I read that you’d consider running for the governorship in like 2014 or something?

 

[00:42:40] SN: I did not. Anybody said that was just speculating. No, I had no intention. I ran two times. That was all I’d ever run and it’s the only thing I’d ever run for. I stuck with my plan.

 

[00:42:48] KM: I thought this is pretty admirable of you. The Game and Fish Commission, you oppose the attempts to exempt itself. They wanted to exempt themselves from the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act on fiscal matters. You’re on the commission, the Game and Fish Commission and you’re not going along with the boys. Are you in trouble for that? 

 

[00:43:10] SN: Not really. In fact, we had a great team together on that. Not only remember how that happened, but usually we were together. You didn’t see many battles. I just felt strongly about the freedom of information. I felt that existed for a reason. It was developed for a reason as you continue existing from now into the future.

 

[00:43:27] KM: I want to tell everybody that you’re listening to Up in Your Business with me, Kerry McCoy, and I’m speaking today with the smart, esteemed politician and councilor, Mr. Sheffield Nelson. You also brought the Junior Achievement Organization here in 1978. I believe you were probably at Arkla at the time.

 

[00:43:45] SN: You’re right. I was still there, because I didn’t leave until ’84. I did bring it into the state. We had some great back, Jerry Jones, Mack McLarty, Walter Husman. You can go down the list of business people in Central Arkansas. We started with a great board, and that board have to develop. We’re able to find it and get it operating, and that’s where most things fail, is on the frontend. We didn’t let it fail and it’s still going strong today 

 

[00:44:09] KM: Why did you pick the Junior Achievement Organization?

 

[00:44:11] SN: I thought it was one thing lacking. I know I had no business background at all coming out of high school. Very little was available in college, unless you went specifically for that. I felt that high school students needed to be – Have the opportunity to address business, business concepts at a young age, because then it would – I encourage more of them to go into business, and that’s what we need, is more people going out and becoming entrepreneurs and [inaudible 00:44:35] state of Arkansas. It’s done a wonderful job by the way. A lot of people come in to me today and say, “I was in your first group of junior achievers.” That’s going back a long way, but they remember it and they all say it applied to their life and it helped them.

 

[00:44:51] KM: If you wanted to get involved with it today, how would somebody go about doing that?

 

[00:44:55] SN: Well, they can call me, because I’m still involved. I have to raise money every year and try to help go and stay down a good strong path and they have a junior achievement central office here in Little Rock. They’ll call me. I’ll give them the number. I’d introduce them to the people.

 

[00:45:08] KM: What do you do? What do they do? What does a volunteer do?

 

[00:45:10] SN: Well, a volunteer right now would help them build a program. Now, in school, the young ones need to know to try to participate in junior achievement, but I think all of them are. I hear that they slowed the classes up in school. What we have –

 

[00:45:24] KM: You mean there’s actually a class in school?

 

[00:45:26] SN: That’s how junior achiever works. It goes into the high schools, and really some lower than that. But the real –

 

[00:45:32] KM: They probably think it’s an easy A. Let’s just be honest.

 

[00:45:35] SN: Believe it or not, I don’t even think they get a grade on it. I think it’s a class that they go. If they do, it’s not an easy one I can tell you. They go to try to get a background in business enough to see if that’s something they have an interest in. We’ve developed it now, the ones that came in after us, built it. We were Central Arkansas strong. Now it goes all over through Northwest Arkansas and some in other places. It’s just a well-organized big organization.

 

[00:45:59] KM: Do they learn about financial statements?

 

[00:46:02] SN: They learn general concept of business. They learn – They go into the financial statement so much, but they learn which got to have to run a business. How you develop it? How you’d handle your cost and then [inaudible 00:46:13].

 

[00:46:13] KM: How do to a business plan.

 

[00:46:14] SN: Exactly. They learn all these good things. Depend on how a teacher they have, they have some very good instructors tied up in school systems.

 

[00:46:22] KM: We’ve talked all day about how hard working and smart you are, and you’ve absolutely shown us that. I know you’ve got an opinion about this. What’s Arkansas doing right and what could Arkansas improve on right now? 

 

[00:46:34] SN: My opinion is that Asa Hutchinson is one of the best governors we’ve had.

 

[00:46:39] KM: Boy! Sure did good with COVID, didn’t he?

 

[00:46:40] SN: I think he’s driving us right down the road right. He did it with COVID and he stayed right on top of it [inaudible 00:46:45] immense amount of time. I think he’s done a great job for the state. But I think he’s been an equally good governor if you take that out of the equation. I think he’s handled virtually everything about as well as a governor can handle. I’m real please for him and proud of him and I’m just pleased that he’s had the chance to show Arkansas 5 years now and has 3 more years to show what he can do.

 

[00:47:05] KM: Is Sarah Huckabee going to run next year, next time?

 

[00:47:06] SN: I don’t know. I think Sara will look at it. She’s got the attorney general who will look at it very carefully. She’s got the lieutenant governor who will look at it very careful.

 

[00:47:17] KM: [inaudible 00:47:16] is like a politician, don’t he?

 

[00:47:18] SN: I think in theory, that all three of them could be in the race. I do think if they’re really, really smart, they make some kind of deal to get one run for one something else and get it down to two and have a good full-fledged fight, because you’d have a good governor, any of those three.

 

[00:47:31] KM: I’m excited to see what that race is going to be.

 

[00:47:33] SN: Me too. I think it’ll be a lot of fun.

 

[00:47:35] KM: Thank you so much for coming on today. Gosh! I’ve enjoyed talking to you. You and I could talk a long time I think. We have a lot to say. Your gift for coming on is a desk set of the US Flag and the Arkansas Flag. Do you have a desk set?

 

[00:47:46] SN: It’s going to go right behind my seat on my desk behind me.

 

[00:47:49] KM: I bet you don’t even have one, do you?

 

[00:47:50] SN: I don’t.

 

[00:47:50] KM: I’m amazed –

 

[00:47:52] SN: You just took care of me. I’ve had an Arkansas flag. I’ve had a US flag.

 

[00:47:55] KM: Probably a big one.

 

[00:47:56] SN: Yeah. We fly the US flag at home in holidays and all that. But no, I’ve never had anything right behind me that will be.

 

[00:48:02] KM: Yup. You’ll like it.

 

[00:48:03] SN: Kerry, thank you. I’ve enjoyed this. I look forward to getting to visit with you and admire your background and you’ve been a great entrepreneur.

 

[00:48:10] KM: Thank you. Thank you very much.

 

[00:48:11] SN: Glad that you’re around.

 

[00:48:11] KM: Gray, who’s coming up next week? We’ve got kind of a cool guest next week too.

 

[00:48:15] GM: We do. Actress and can I say movie star?

 

[00:48:18] KM: Yeah, you can.

 

[00:48:18] GM: Movie star, Joey Lauren Adams. She’ll be on next week.

 

[00:48:21] KM: I’ve been trying to get her on for two years. She’s sheltering-in-place in Arkansas right now, because she’s from North Little Rock. So she’ll be here next week. I’m really excited about that.

 

To our listeners, I’d like to say in closing, 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.

 

[OUTRO]

 

[00:48:51] 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 G-R-A-Y@flagandbanner.com. All interviews are recorded and posted the following week. Stay informed of exciting upcoming guests by subscribing to our YouTube channel or podcast wherever you’d like to listen. Kerry’s goal is simple, to help you live the American dream.

 

[END]

 

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