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Welcome to Beyond the Bank

By on Feb 3, 2016 in People | 1 comment

In this blog, we’ll explore the people and events that make the area of the country served by Simmons Bank such an interesting place to live, work and play. Our writers will be on the road across Simmons Country in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Tennessee to find stories of interest. It might be a successful high school football team. It might be a restaurant that has been operating for more than 50 years. It might be a volunteer who is considered the heart and soul of his or her community. We hope you find the stories fun to read, and we solicit your feedback.

Electrician, Wife Turn Helpful Device Into Patented Product

By on Sep 22, 2016 in Business | 0 comments

Sometimes the best inventions are born out of necessity. As an industrial electrician in Missouri, Ron Meyer constantly was trying to improve quality and efficiency. One of the biggest problems he had was installing conduit and process piping in a sanitary manner in food production facilities. On-site fabrication of the special pipe-support brackets was slow and messy. “This whole thing was born out of desperation and aggravation,” he says. “Every one of these jobs is more fast track than the last one. You’re forced to hurry up and get it done. If all you’re doing is making a mess and mistakes, it takes time. You’re trying to provide value to the customer. That’s what has always been pounded into me. You go out and find a way to give customers the value they deserve. Then you’ll have no reason to look for work anywhere because they won’t let you go.” Process piping is pipework used to...

Former Missouri Coach Pinkel Adjusting to Life After Football

By on Sep 20, 2016 in Events, Sports | 0 comments

The 2016 football season marks the first time in 55 years that Gary Pinkel hasn’t been playing or coaching the sport. It has been an adjustment. “I went to my first tailgate party at the first Missouri home game,” said Pinkel, who retired at the end of last season after 15 years as the head coach at the University of Missouri. “I’ve never tailgated in my life. I had no idea what was going on there.” Pinkel decided to retire after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Pinkel spoke Monday to the Little Rock Touchdown Club, which is sponsored by Simmons Bank. “I had to make a decision last year,” Pinkel said. “I have eight grandchildren, and I wanted to spend more time with them. I had to de-stress.” Pinkel, a standout receiver at Kent State in Ohio, landed on the staff of Don James, his college coach, when James was the head coach at Washington. He succeeded Kent State teammate...

Long satisfied with four-team College Football Playoff

By on Sep 13, 2016 in Events, Sports | 0 comments

The College Football Playoff selection committee won’t meet for another month, but its members are keeping close tabs on the early upsets in college football.  Jeff Long, the University of Arkansas athletic director and a member of the committee, spoke Monday at the Little Rock Touchdown Club, sponsored by Simmons Bank. Following a question-and-answer session before a crowd of several hundred people, Long discussed the work of the committee. “We’ve already started looking at teams,” he said. “All of the members of the committee start watching games the opening week. I’ve recorded games that I have to go back and watch. We’ll be watching all of those games, and they’re all important.” Some writers have been critical of a playoff system that includes just four teams. An expanded field, the critics maintain, would be more favorable for mid-major programs and teams that lost early but...

Jackson Generals Entertain Fans, Give Back to the Community

By on Sep 2, 2016 in Business, Sports | 0 comments

The Jackson Generals offer baseball fans in west Tennessee quality family entertainment. But the club has loftier goals. For 19 years, the Class Double-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners has been a fixture in the community, giving back to charity groups on a regular basis. For its efforts, the club was awarded the Jackson Small Business of the Year Award during the spring. The award came on the heels of winning the 2015 Southern League Community Service Award. “We’re proud to be honored,” says Brandon Liebhaber, the Generals’ manager of media relations and broadcasting. “We’re a business, but it means a lot for us to be recognized as a fixture in the community. We’re achieving our goals. We’re getting people to the park in the summer, and we’re also doing service projects and making sure we build relationships.” The Generals’ mascot, a Bulldog named Sarge, makes public appearances...

ESPN’s Edwards Still High on Cowboys

By on Aug 30, 2016 in Events, Sports | 0 comments

Herm Edwards, a fixture as a football commentator on ESPN, is still optimistic about the Dallas Cowboys even without injured quarterback Tony Romo. The Cowboys announced last week that Romo will miss the first part of the season with a broken bone in his back. That leaves rookie quarterback Dak Prescott from Mississippi State to start in the Cowboys’ season opener Sept. 11. Edwards addressed the Little Rock Touchdown Club on Monday before a crowd of almost 400 people at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Little Rock. Simmons Bank is the presenting sponsor of the club. Edwards is a former head coach of the New York Jets and the Kansas City Chiefs. “They have Prescott, who they’re confident in, and they’re going to lighten the load,” he said. “They’ll be very limited in what they ask him to do from the line of scrimmage. … They’re going to play to his strengths.” Prescott is surrounded by...

Business Degrees Helped Nashville Food Truck Owner Prosper

By on Aug 24, 2016 in Business, Food | 0 comments

Dallas Shaw showed prowess in the kitchen at an early age. Growing up in the Illinois suburbs of St. Louis, Shaw enjoyed cooking. He often helped his grandmother prepare big family meals such as Thanksgiving dinner. To hone his cooking skills, Shaw would find an interesting recipe and would prepare a dish using the exact instructions. Then, based on what he liked and didn’t like about the dish, he would make it a second time, changing parts of the original recipe to make the dish even better. His parents, seeing his affinity for cooking, knew someday he would have his own restaurant. When he graduated from high school, Shaw briefly considered enrolling in culinary school. His parents urged him to reconsider. “They wanted me to go to college so that I would have a degree to fall back on if I decided to move on from cooking in the future,” he says. Shaw enrolled at Freed-Hardeman...

Bielema Kicks off Little Rock Touchdown Club’s 13th Season

By on Aug 23, 2016 in Events, Sports | 0 comments

In 2004, the Little Rock Touchdown Club’s first meeting attracted 48 attendees.  On Monday, a capacity crowd of more than 600 people packed the ballroom of the Embassy Suites Hotel in west Little Rock to hear University of Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema kick off the club’s 13th season.   Simmons Bank is the presenting sponsor of the Little Rock Touchdown Club for the third consecutive year.  “I think we’ve come a long way, what do you think?” Little Rock Touchdown Club president David Bazzel said to those in attendance. “We may not have been around as long as Atlanta, Montgomery, Memphis, St. Louis or Houston, but I promise you that our reputation is growing as one of the best in the country. No one else has speakers for 15 consecutive weeks. I’m pretty proud of that.”  Upcoming speakers include former New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards, former...

Little Rock Touchdown Club Announces 13th Season Lineup

By on Aug 10, 2016 in Events, Sports | 0 comments

For a fourth consecutive season, University of Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema will speak to the Little Rock Touchdown Club. Bielema will kick off the club’s 13th season when he speaks on Monday, Aug. 22, at the Embassy Suites Hotel in west Little Rock. Simmons Bank is the lead sponsor of the Little Rock Touchdown Club for a third consecutive season. The club’s 2016 schedule was announced Wednesday during a noon news conference in the lobby of the Simmons Tower in downtown Little Rock. The announcement was made by David Bazzel, the club’s president and an inductee into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. “This is one of the top organizations of its type in the country,” said George Makris, the chairman of Simmons First National Corp. “We’re delighted to be able to sponsor the club for another season. I always look forward to these meetings, as do hundreds of people across the...