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I Am Northwest Arkansas

The I am Northwest Arkansas Podcast covers the intersection of Business, Culture, Entrepreneurship, and Life in Benton and Washington County Arkansas. If you are thinking about moving here or already live here, we've got great inspiring stories, ideas, things to do, places to see, people to meet, and food to eat. Learn why we are one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas of the US.

I Am Northwest Arkansas Episodes
  • About the Show:"We have a great community. We have so much to offer and we are offering more and more every single day. But as we continue to try to attract and retain top-level talent, having things like professional sports is a great additive element to that community.” - Chris MartinovicIn the latest episode of the I am Northwest Arkansas podcast, host Randy Wilburn sits down with Chris Martinovic and Wes Harris to unpack the ambitious plans of USL Arkansas. The franchise aims to change the landscape of soccer in Northwest Arkansas and serve as a launchpad for young, emerging talent. Chris, the principal owner and CEO, discusses how USL Arkansas is set to not only introduce professional soccer to the community but also catapult it into national prominence.Wes Harris, the Chief of Staff, complements this vision by diving into the logistical aspects. He talks about the crucial need for finding top-tier practice facilities for the team. The discussion also touches on the potential of expanding the franchise’s footprint with satellite locations across the region.This episode isn't just a story about soccer; it's an exploration of economic opportunity, community impact, and the limitless potential that entrepreneurs in Northwest Arkansas can tap into. Don't miss out on this engaging conversation to discover how USL Arkansas aims to kickstart a new era of growth and excitement for the region."What you will learn in this episode:Identify mounting interests propelling soccer into the mainstream of American sports.Chronicle the significant breakthroughs and milestones in American soccer history.Uncover the unique possibilities that the USL offers to non-MLS markets and their potential impact.Understand the unique dynamics at play, making Northwest Arkansas fertile ground for the growth of soccer.Apprehend the vision and ambitions propelling USL Arkansas in establishing a thriving soccer program. All this and more on this episode of the I am Northwest Arkansas podcast. Important Links and Mentions on the Show*Email Christopher MartinovicEmail Wes HarrisUSL Arkansas WebsiteUSL Arkansas on InstagramUSL Arkansas Supporters Group on FacebookChris Martinovic on LinkedInWes Harris on LinkedInUSL Soccer League WebsiteUSL Arkansas is live on the website. Click on the link below:
  • About the Show:"Electric vehicles and electric bikes are not only a mode of transportation, but also a way to benefit our environment. By embracing these green alternatives, we can make a positive impact on our planet and create a more sustainable future.” - Rob SmithIn this compelling episode of the I Am Northwest Arkansas podcast, host Randy Wilburn is joined by Rob Smith, Gary Berger, and Kris Williams to explore the electric vehicle (EV) movement taking shape in Northwest Arkansas—an initiative of the NWA Council. The group delves into the readiness of local electric utilities and emphasizes the need for robust charging infrastructure, crucial for the growth of EVs in the region.The episode also highlights the Drive Electric NWA event and underscores the importance of collaboration among various community stakeholders, including builders, hoteliers, and utility companies, to facilitate a smooth transition to EVs. Alongside the discussion of EV infrastructure, the panel explores the decreasing costs of EVs, making them increasingly accessible to a broader audience.Special attention is given to the role of hybrid vehicles in the transition to full EVs and the significance of renewable energy sources for charging. Offering valuable insights and actionable advice, this episode is a comprehensive guide for anyone interested in sustainable transportation in Northwest Arkansas."What you will learn in this episode:Discover how Northwest Arkansas is pioneering the incorporation of electric vehicles (EVs).Learn about the innovative Drive Electric NWA program and its influential events.Uncover the myriad advantages and benefits of opting for electric vehicles (EVs).Explore the growth and development of charging infrastructure in Northwest Arkansas.Understand the importance of hybrid vehicles in easing the transition to a fully electric vehicle-dependent sector.All this and more on this episode of the I am Northwest Arkansas podcast. Important Links and Mentions on the Show*Website for Ozarks ElectricWebsite for Tesla Owners Club of ArkansasTelsa Owners Club of Arkansas on InstagramTelsa Owners Club of Arkansas on FacebookTelsa Owners Club of Arkansas on YouTubeEmail for Rob SmithEmail for Gary BergerTune in to KUAF 91.3 FM to listen...
  • About the Show:"Just be patient. It's coming. We are building that field of dreams that we've been talking about when it comes to healthcare, and it's coming slowly but surely.” - Ryan CorkGet ready for an enlightening episode as we collaborate with the Northwest Arkansas Council to bring you face-to-face with healthcare game-changers Ryan Cork and Walter Harris. We dive into the innovative ways Northwest Arkansas is revolutionizing healthcare.Unpacking Healthcare Innovation with Ryan Cork Get the inside scoop on healthcare in Northwest Arkansas from Ryan Cork, Vice President of Healthcare & Education at the Northwest Arkansas Council. Learn how they're tackling the critical issues of talent retention and stakeholder engagement to build a thriving healthcare community.Wellness as an Art: A Chat with Walter HarrisWalter Harris, CEO of the Art and Wellness Enterprise, sheds light on the trifecta of arts, policy, and healthcare. Find out how Bentonville is becoming a canvas for healthcare transformation, nurtured by collaborations and visionary ambitions.Stakeholder Synergy: The Heart of Transformation Experience the ripple effect that occurs when stakeholders, policy experts, and healthcare leaders come together. Harris and Cork reveal grassroots strategies—like enlisting community healthcare workers and military veterans—that are turning Northwest Arkansas into a healthcare epicenter.Holding Onto Talent: Policies that WorkEver wondered what Northwest Arkansas' secret to keeping healthcare talent is? Cork delves into tactical policy changes, including the expansion of Graduate Medical Education slots, that are helping the region hang onto its skilled professionals. A New Vision for Healthcare in Northwest Arkansas Northwest Arkansas is more than just a scenic treasure; it's a catalyst for healthcare innovation. Learn how Cork and Harris are advocating for a healthcare curriculum makeover, placing self-care as a cornerstone to prevent burnout and elevate healthcare standards.Final Takeaway: Collective Power, Collective Impact As we wrap up, we emphasize the transformative power of collaboration. This episode is more than just a conversation; it's a call to action for sustainable, impactful changes in healthcare.What you will learn in this episode:Gain insight into unique partnerships addressing local healthcare challenges.Understand the innovative integration of arts and therapy in healthcare, specific to Northwest Arkansas.Discover the emphasized importance of self-care and compassion within the medical education sphere.Uncover efforts to increase diversity and promote equal representation in the medical field.All this and more on this episode of the I am Northwest Arkansas podcast. Important Links and Mentions on the Show*
  • About the Show:"When we can bust through the glass walls that society tells us to keep up, we can discover the sweetness and depth that comes from connecting with people who are different from us.” - Melinda WilliamsIn today's episode, we talk to Melinda Williams, a remarkable woman who shifted from being a physical therapist to a stay-at-home mom navigating her way through an identity transition. This is a story about faith, friendship, and the compelling need to make a meaningful impact in the community—even when you're not a trained chef. While pounding the pavement during a routine run with her friends Jennifer Christophero and Meredith Chappie, Melinda had an epiphany. As the trio tackled uphill challenges and conversed about the sweeping changes brought on by the pandemic, a radical idea surfaced: a food truck offering free meals to bring people together and break down societal walls.Sure, they weren't culinary experts, but they were driven by a shared vision—to combat poverty and build a stronger community. Far from being just another food truck, their mission transcended serving food; it was an ambitious project to unite diverse groups of people over shared meals, even in an era marked by social isolation. Despite their initial concerns, they found their community not just supportive, but enthusiastic about their endeavor. The result? A thriving project that turned their collective dream into reality. Tune in to hear Melinda's inspiring story, a shining example of what can happen when faith, community, and a bit of audacity come together."What you will learn in this episode:Discover how the For The Love Food Truck ignites changes within NWA communities by using food as a symbol of love while addressing poverty issues.Gain insights into the value of empathy and understanding in fostering strong, meaningful relationships.Be moved by powerful anecdotes of life-changing encounters and heartfelt bonds formed at the food truck.Learn the transformative potential of exploring beyond one's comfort zone in order to build connections with others.Peek into the future with plans for expanding the positive impact of Neighbor Nights into more communities.All this and more on this episode of the I am Northwest Arkansas podcast. Important Links and Mentions on the Show*Email Melinda WilliamsFor The Love Food Truck on InstagramFor The Love Food Truck on FacebookFor The Love Food Truck WebsiteFor The Love Food Truck on LinkedInDonate to For The Love Food TruckThis episode is sponsored by*Signature Bank of Arkansas "Community Banking at its Best!" Northwest Arkansas Council - "Life Works Here!" *Note: Some of the resources mentioned may be...
  • About the Show:"Recognize good people that are going to do the right thing, give them what they need to do the right thing, and then provide some vision and direction.” - Stuart CollierMeet Stuart Collier, a man who saw untapped potential in the people around him. Fresh out of college with a real estate license Stuart was full of rebellious energy. But despite his initial enthusiasm, he couldn’t make a significant impact in the real estate industry. That's when life led him to a steady 9-5 job as a nursing home administrator.Balancing work and family life, Stuart stumbled upon unexpected success in the healthcare field. He pioneered a revolutionary management style that put frontline caregivers in the driver’s seat. This shift in approach propelled the nursing home to the rank of Arkansas' number one facility. Stuart was on a roll, but then life threw him a curveball.His addiction derailed his career and personal life, pulling him off his successful path. Hitting rock bottom became the wake-up call Stuart desperately needed. It was this challenging period that reshaped his perspective and instilled in him a newfound sense of gratitude.This gratitude didn’t just transform Stuart personally; it also fueled his comeback into the real estate business. Armed with lessons from his nursing home days, he founded a real estate firm centered around people, not just profits. Stuart knew that the secret sauce to a successful business was empowering those interacting directly with customers.Today, his real estate firm is the fastest-growing in Arkansas. Stuart’s journey serves as an inspiring testament to the powers of perseverance, gratitude, and recognizing the value in others. Join us as we delve into his compelling story, full of highs, lows, and valuable life lessons.What you will learn in this episode:Navigate through the intricacies of the real estate landscape in Northwest Arkansas.Unearth the complications encircling housing affordability and the limited stock.Identify the power of relationships in shaping the real estate industry's workings.Learn about collective initiatives aiming to better the housing affordability condition.Understand how owning homes triggers economic development and community enhancement.All this and more on this episode of the I am Northwest Arkansas podcast. Important Links and Mentions on the Show*Email Collier & AssociateWebsite for Collier & AssociateCollier & Associate on FacebookCollier & Associate on InstagramCollier & Associate on YouTubeTune in to KUAF 91.3 FM to listen to the I Am Northwest Arkansas podcast on Ozarks at Large.This episode is sponsored by*
  • About the Show:"Restaurants have a hard time telling their story, and I want to help them do that..” - Joseph NguyenJoseph Nguyen, fondly known as the Hangry Pedaler NWA, traces his culinary journey back to his family roots. Born to first-generation immigrants who ran a nail salon, Joseph was exposed to a vibrant mix of cultures growing up. His wife Nina played a significant role in broadening his culinary horizons, introducing him to a world beyond the usual comfort foods. With her encouragement, Joseph began exploring the food scene in Northwest Arkansas, setting off on a culinary adventure that would change his life.In 2019, he started documenting his food experiences on Instagram. Through his engaging content, Joseph quickly became a beacon of information for food enthusiasts looking for fresh culinary experiences in the region. Joseph doesn't think of himself as a food critic; rather, he's a passionate food lover. He enjoys sharing his discoveries and experiences with an ever-growing audience, transforming into a trusted guide for anyone seeking new food experiences in the region. His journey is a testament to the power of shared experiences and the joy of discovering new cuisines. The Hangry Peddler NWA's story is a vivid illustration of the pleasure of culinary exploration and the connection that can be found through the shared love of food.What you will learn in this episode:Discover the best culinary delights tucked away in the corners of Northwest Arkansas.Get the inside scoop on restaurant favorites that have made a deep impression.Uncover the most raved-about wings and why they top the charts.Learn about a goldmine of delectable options recommended by fellow food enthusiasts.Understand the importance and ways of rallying behind local restaurants.All this and more on this episode of the I am Northwest Arkansas podcast.Important Links and Mentions on the Show*Email Joseph NguyenFollow Joseph Nguyen on Instagram - Find and follow Joseph on Instagram Hangrypedalernwa to stay up to date with his food recommendations and discoveries in Northwest Arkansas.Check out Gloss Nail Lounge - If you're in the Northwest Arkansas area and in need of a manicure or pedicure, visit Gloss Nail Lounge, owned by Joseph's sisters, Maya and Mimi. They are located in the same plaza as Whole Foods on North College in Fayetteville.Explore the Northwest Arkansas food scene - Take advantage of the growing food scene in Northwest Arkansas by trying out new restaurants and food trucks. Keep an eye on Joseph's Instagram for recommendations and inspiration.Tune in to KUAF 91.3 FM to listen to the I Am Northwest Arkansas podcast on Ozarks at Large.This episode is sponsored by*Signature Bank of Arkansas...
  • About the Show:Do you want to ensure that your community remains affordable and accessible for all residents? Our guest speakers will share the solution to preventing displacement and promoting equal opportunities so that you can achieve a more inclusive and equitable community. They are part of the Northwest Arkansas Council’s Future is Now Speaker Series. "We need to be willing to remold our plans based on feedback and truly listen to the needs and desires of the community we're serving.”Scott KratzIn this episode of the "I am Northwest Arkansas" podcast, featuring another installment of the NWA Council Future is Now Speaker Series, host Randy Wilburn brings together Kymone Freeman, Vaughn Perry, Scott Kratz, and independent journalist Megan Kimble. Together, they delve into the vital role of Community Land Trusts in preserving equality and preventing displacement in rapidly gentrifying areas. The challenges of gentrification are explored, and the need for intentional community development is emphasized.Megan provides her insights on successful highway removal projects, positioning infrastructure as vital social and community assets. Scott elaborates on the 11th Street Bridge Park project, aiming to connect segregated neighborhoods and foster community-driven initiatives.The conversation expands on the concept of a Community Land Trust, rooted in the civil rights movement, and highlights the necessity of affordable housing. The guests underline the importance of community engagement and equitable strategies in urban planning projects.This episode offers invaluable perspectives for community activists and urban planners. It inspires a focus on community involvement, challenges market forces, and empowers local residents in the decision-making process. It's a compelling call to action for creating spaces that resonate with and genuinely benefit the community.In this episode, you will learn the following:Unearth the power of collaborative efforts in transforming community landscapes in Anacostia.Find out how prioritizing resident needs and their participation can bring a paradigm shift in urban planning.Acknowledge the reality of displacement due to gentrification and the promise of affordable housing in conflict resolution.Enlighten yourself on the concept of Community Land Trusts and their importance in fostering communal harmony.Appreciate the vital task of nurturing meaningful interaction with authors and the ripple effect it has on idea generation.All this and more on this episode of I am Northwest Arkansas.Important Links and Mentions on the Show*Megan Kimble on LinkedInScott Kratz on LinkedInKymone Tecumsah Freeman on LinkedInVaughn Perry on LinkedIn
  • About the Show:"I'm always saying about your generation, right? You're part of Gen Z and you can take direction, and you also are willing to ideate and try new things.” - Randy WilburnIn this episode, we chat with Noah Washington, a rising sophomore at the University of Arkansas with a passion that sets him apart. Noah's unique vision has led him to embark on a journey to tell the stories of his university's accomplished athletes through his YouTube show, 'The Ridin' Around Show.' By combining the art of conversation with carpool karaoke, he creates an engaging platform that resonates with his audience. Inspired by James Corden's Late Late Night Show, Noah's innovation has turned him into a local sensation, showcasing his broadcasting prowess.As a student in the broadcast journalism program, Noah has found his niche in a special intersection between entertainment and storytelling. He masterfully turns routine interviews into a delightful mix of amusing banter, serious discussions, and singing sessions, providing an experience that leaves viewers eagerly anticipating the next episode. Join us as we explore the unique blend of creativity and talent that Noah brings to the table, making his 'Ridin’ Around Show' a refreshing and relatable way to highlight the accomplished athletes of the University of Arkansas.What you will learn in this episode:Dive into diverse narratives that highlight our common humanity.Get a glimpse into charitable endeavors transforming the face of Northwest Arkansas.Unravel the relentless determination that fuels Noah Washington's captivating interviews.All this and more on this episode of the I am Northwest Arkansas podcast. Important Links and Mentions on the Show*Email Noah WashingtonWebsite for The Ridin’ Around ShowThe Ridin' Around Show on YouTubeThe Ridin' Around Show on InstagramThe Ridin' Around Show on TwitterNoah Washington on LinkedInTune in to KUAF 91.3 FM to listen to the I Am Northwest Arkansas podcast on Ozarks at Large. This episode is sponsored by*Signature Bank of Arkansas "Community Banking at its Best!" Northwest Arkansas Council - "Life Works Here!" *Note: some of the resources mentioned may be affiliate links. This means we get paid a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you use that link to make a purchase.Connect more with I am Northwest Arkansas:Grab our
  • About the Show:"Encouraging participation in this census is crucial for creating awareness and understanding the needs of our diverse community. It's the only way we can work towards a more inclusive and thriving Northwest Arkansas.” - Lindsey Leverett-HigginsIntroductionIn this episode of the I Am Northwest Arkansas podcast, Randy Wilburn sits down with guests Chris Seawood and Lindsey Leverett-Higgins from the Northwest Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr Council. They discuss the State of Black Northwest Arkansas Census, aiming to gather data on the experiences and needs of the Black community in the region to promote inclusivity and inform strategic decision-making.Historical ReflectionThe conversation starts with a reflection on the historical challenges faced by Black communities and the self-sufficiency they have displayed in the face of adversity. The guests emphasized the importance of recognizing the significance of these communities and their contributions to the fabric of society.Growth and Inclusivity in Northwest ArkansasAs Northwest Arkansas experiences growth and diversification, the discussion turns to the need for intentional community planning and inclusivity. Leverett-Higgins emphasizes the role of organizations like Engage NWA in ensuring that the region remains attractive for diverse talent.Challenges of Retaining Diverse TalentThe conversation also delves into the challenges of retaining diverse talent and the disparities that need to be addressed to create a sense of cultural belonging. The guests highlight the importance of supporting Black entrepreneurs and professionals and increasing representation in industries like healthcare.State of Black Northwest Arkansas Census as a ToolThe State of Black Northwest Arkansas Census is seen as a powerful tool to bridge gaps and address disparities. The guests encourage individual participation in the census to ensure that everyone's voice is heard, and they invite stakeholders and businesses to get involved in creating a more inclusive community.All this and more on this episode of the I am Northwest Arkansas podcast. Important Links and Mentions on the Show*Email Lindsey Leverett-HigginsEmail Chris SeawoodNWA MLK Council WebsiteNWA MLK Council on InstagramNWA MLK Council on FacebookNWA MLK Council State of Black NWA Survey
  • About the Show:"Everyone deserves to take up space in the arts ecosystem, regardless of background or experience.” - Lakeisha EdwardsOn this episode of the I am Northwest Arkansas podcast, host Randy Wilburn talks to Lakeisha Edwards, the Executive Director of Art Ventures. Edwards emphasizes the importance of collaboration, support, and the welcoming spirit of the Northwest Arkansas community that has inspired her work at Art Ventures. She sheds light on the need for recognizing the business side of art and the importance of funding to sustain organizations in the art community.Edwards outlines various ways individuals can make a difference, such as becoming monthly donors or art angels, with contributions as small as $10 making an impact. She encourages listeners to connect with Art Ventures through their website, social media platforms, or by visiting their physical gallery.Wilburn praises Edwards for her dedication and urges listeners to contact her personally. Their conversation serves as both a celebration of the thriving cultural community in Northwest Arkansas and an invitation for others to get involved and contribute to the growth of the arts in the region.What you will learn in this episode:Glimpse Art Ventures' fervent mission is to make art accessible to every individual.Delve into the labor of love and challenges encountered in curating funded public art projects.Realize your significant role as a patron in keeping Art Ventures thriving and ensuring art is accessible to all.Look forward to Art Ventures' future endeavors in expanding their community outreach and forming partnerships.Understand the profound influence of art in cultivating a communal spirit of safety, solace, and unity.All this and more on this episode of the I am Northwest Arkansas podcast.(insert the Main block of show notes here)Important Links and Mentions on the Show*Email Lakeisha Edwards at Art VenturesLakeisha Edwards on LinkedInWebsite for Art VenturesArt Ventures on InstagramArt Ventures on FacebookTune in to KUAF 91.3 FM to listen to the I Am Northwest Arkansas podcast on Ozarks at Large. This episode is sponsored by*Signature Bank of Arkansas "Community Banking at its Best!" Northwest Arkansas Council - "Life Works Here!" *Note: some of the resources mentioned may be affiliate links. This means we get paid a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you use that link to make a purchase.Connect more with I am Northwest Arkansas:Grab our Newsletter Email Us at