ANDREW MOREAU: Little Rock steelmaker stands out for his golf projects

Golfers heading out for some final rounds this holiday weekend should look into the development of the course they’re playing on – it may have been built by Lexicon Inc. of Little Rock.

It’s true. The famed steel manufacturer also has a division that designs and builds premium golf courses around the world – over 30 in all. The company has not built any courses in Arkansas.

Last month, the company’s work on a championship course at the PGA of America’s new national headquarters in Frisco, Texas, just outside of Dallas, captured national attention. Play at the new course is expected to begin next year and it is expected to host top-tier professional golf events.

The course is the centerpiece of the PGA’s 600-acre, $550 million campus and will be featured in the 2023 Senior PGA Championship, scheduled for May 24-28. PGA officials hope the course will attract many more major championships to the facilities.

“This project is important to our business,” said Patrick Schucke, President and CEO of Lexicon. “My late father was a fan of the game, so it’s exciting to honor his legacy by bringing major championship golf to North Texas, just steps from our headquarters in Little Rock.”

Lexicon’s Heritage Links division, which began operations in 1999, has experience building championship-worthy courses: The company built Chambers Bay, a public course near Tacoma, Washington, which has hosted the 2015 US Open and the Liberty National in Jersey City, NJ, site of the 2017 President’s Cup. The company also completed a full restoration of Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, site of that year’s PGA Championship.

Heritage Links, based in Houston with satellite offices in California and Nebraska, has worked on more than 400 courses across the country, including Trump National Doral in Florida, an iconic course whose closing 18th hole was recognized by Golf Magazine as one of the top 100 holes in the world.

The magazine noted that the Frisco course is the only U.S. facility designated to host more than 20 professional and amateur events — including two PGA Championships and two PGA Senior Championships — while they are still under construction.

“Having completed more than 480 projects across the country, Heritage Links is an industry leader,” said Division President Jon P. O’Donnell. “Because of our excellent reputation on past high-profile projects, we’ve had the opportunity to work with groups like the PGA Tour, USGA and PGA of America.”

Heritage Links services include new construction, renovation and restoration, irrigation installation, sports field construction and construction management.

Globally, Heritage Links has participated in over a dozen international courses in the Caribbean, India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

After the Senior PGA tournament next year, the KPMG Women’s PGA in 2025 and the PGA Championship in 2026 will be held at the Frisco site. There has been speculation that the venue could host the 2041 Ryder Cup.

RECOGNITION OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Four economic development leaders were honored last week for their lifetime contributions to creating jobs and businesses in Arkansas.

The Maria Haley Lifetime Leadership for Economic Development Award was presented to Governor Asa Hutchinson; Clifton M. Chitwood chairman of the Mississippi County Economic Development Board; Bryan Scoggins, chairman of the Arkansas Development Finance Authority; and Kirkley Thomas, vice president of government affairs for the Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. Scoggins and Thomas are retired.

The four leaders were recognized last week at the 2022 Arkansas Economic Developers and Chamber Executives Annual Conference in Little Rock.

Also at the conference, Cari G. White of the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce was recognized as the state chamber’s Outstanding Executive and Jon Chadwell of the Buffalo River Historical Jail and Museum was named a volunteer of the year.

“We are proud to recognize these excellent leaders across the state who play a vital role in community and economic development,” said Mallory Darby, president of Arkansas Economic Developers & Chamber Executives. “Recipients of these awards drive and lead development in their respective fields while being proactive in addressing critical workforce needs and advancing community and economic development in transformative ways.”

The Arkansas Economic Developers and Chamber Executives is the premier association in the state representing professional and volunteer economic developers and chamber executives in Arkansas.

HELP FOR FARMERS

Farmers and growers in 20 Arkansas counties are eligible for emergency credit to help them recover from property and equipment losses caused by recent extreme drought conditions.

By being designated primary natural disaster areas, their producers have access to emergency loans from the US Department of Agriculture’s Farm Services Agency.

Major counties include Benton, Boone, Carroll, Clay, Cleburne, Conway, Faulkner, Independence, Izard, Johnson, Lawrence, Marion, Madison, Newton, Polk, Pope, Searcy, Stone, Van Buren and Washington.

Emergency loans may also be available for contiguous counties: Baxter, Craighead, Crawford, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Howard, Jackson, Logan, Lonoke, Montgomery, Perry, Pike, Pulaski, Randolph, Scott, Sevier, Sharp, White and Yell.

For more information or to apply, go to fsa.usda.gov.

SUPPLY CHAIN ​​OVERVIEW

Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions is sponsoring a webinar Thursday to help state-owned companies learn more about managing disruptions in the global supply chain.

The free webinar begins at 1:30 p.m. and registration is required. The virtual session is sponsored by the Arkansas District Export Council and Blue Tiger International.

A panel of logistics experts will discuss issues that have stalled the supply chain since the start of the pandemic and offer advice and insights on managing freight disruptions. The event is recommended for professionals in supply chain management, trade compliance, procurement, global trade and logistics.

Registration and more information is available at exportarkansas.org.

BROADBAND CLARIFICATION

Need some clarification in last week’s report on new broadband rules in Arkansas. The public hearing to solicit comments received no vendor objections to the changes. And funding through the American Rescue Plan’s broadband funding is focused on fiber-to-the-home to expand high-speed Internet service.

Michael C. Ford