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Date ArticleType
11/7/2018 Chamber

Little Rock Regional Chamber Holds Annual Meeting

The Little Rock Regional Chamber held its 153rd annual meeting presented by Arvest Bank on Monday, Nov. 5, in the Wally Allen Ballroom of the Statehouse Convention Center. The lunch, which is the Chamber’s largest and most prestigious event of the year, featured Warren A. Stephens, chairman, president and chief executive of Stephens Inc., and Ken Langone, founder and chairman of Invemed Associates and co-founder of Home Depot.
More than 1,000 attendees gathered to hear the present and future case for capitalism by Warren A. Stephens and Ken Langone. The annual meeting celebrated the past year’s accomplishments with a “Year in Review” video by 2018 Chair Cathy Tuggle and announced bold priorities for the coming year with speeches by President & CEO Jay Chesshir and incoming Chair Kevin Crass. Said Jay Chesshir, “I can tell you that nothing will hold greater importance for our team in the coming years than relentless partnership with our friends in the four Pulaski county schools districts, pursuing excellence for each student.”

The featured discussion centered on the present and future case for capitalism. Stephens and Langone believe there is an urgent need to elevate the opinions and understanding of capitalism among Generations Y and Z. Stephens and his firm, Stephens Inc., are closing the perception gap through education and outreach with the award-winning “This is Capitalism” multimedia campaign and Langone, with his book, “I Love Capitalism,” an account of his journey from hungry kid to iconoclastic entrepreneur and co-founder of Home Depot.

They share a view that free markets empower all, not just the few and the select. The sustainability of which stems from allowing capital – the lifeblood the American economy – to flow freely to ensure the economy’s vitality and health.

During the discussion Langone shared the story behind the incredible rise of Home Depot and the importance that capitalism played in the company’s success. In 1978, Langone and Bernie Marcus met shortly after Marcus’ firing from his job running the home improvement chain, Handy Dan. Marcus was unhappy with the experience and with how top executives had treated him. Langone had an idea he was sure Marcus would like: why not start their own home-improvement company? Three years later, Home Depot went public at $12 a share and hit $51.5 million in sales in fiscal 1982. Today, Home Depot has more than 2,200 stores and 400,000 associates. Along the way, more than 1,000 Home Depot employees, from managers to cashiers to cart pushers, have become millionaires. 

About Warren A. Stephens
Warren A. Stephens began his investment banking career as an associate in the Corporate Finance Department at Stephens Inc., later, he was Senior Vice President of the Capital Markets Group and was named President and Chief Executive Officer in 1986.

About Ken Langone
Ken Langone is a co-founder of Home Depot and the founder and chairman of Invemed Associates LLC. He received a B.A. from Bucknell University and an M.B.A. from New York University's Stern School of Business. He serves on the Board of Overseers of the Stern School and on the Board of Trustees of New York University, as well as serving as chairman of the Board of Trustees of New York University Medical Center. In addition, he serves on the boards of St. Patrick's Cathedral, the Ronald McDonald House of NY, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Horatio Alger Society Foundation, and the Harlem Children's Zone and its charter school, the Promise Academy. He is also a Knight of Malta and a Knight of St. Gregory.