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.

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...

Former NFL Player, Partner Carve Out Successful Commercial Real Estate Career

By on Aug 9, 2016 in Business, People | 0 comments

The NFL’s St. Louis Cardinals are long gone, but Jim Otis still calls the Gateway City home. The former Cardinal fullback prepared diligently for the years after his playing career ended. He was ready to dive headlong into the real estate business with a fellow Ohio State University alumnus, Clark Amos. The Ohio natives have built Otis & Clark Properties into one of the most respected full-service real estate companies in the St. Louis area. “We offer everything from going out and acquiring property to putting developments together to managing those things once we have them out there,” Otis says. “Clark and I think we’ll work a little harder than the next group to make sure these things happen. That’s what has made us successful.” The business partners have a bond that comes from sharing a home state and an alma mater. They also have different personalities and niches. “My training...

Dedicated Pine Bluff Volunteer Ensures Historical Taylor Field is Sparkling

By on Jul 29, 2016 in People | 0 comments

Those who are awake at 6 a.m. in southeast Pine Bluff, Ark., near Ohio Street will see Jim Hill on patrol. The 83-year-old retiree with a new hip is looking for any trash that might take away from the beauty of the Taylor Field grounds. The venerable ballpark is a sparkling throwback in a town rich in history. Taylor Field, which opened in 1940, is in better shape than ever as a baseball facility thanks to Hill’s efforts. In 2010, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The paint is fresh, the grounds are manicured and the diamond would make most Major League Baseball groundskeepers jealous. Hill retired from Arkansas Power & Light Co. (now Entergy Arkansas) in 1991 after 40 years with the company. At 58, he began volunteering full time at a place where he used to umpire games. As a result of Hill’s devotion, Taylor Field has stood the test of time and continues...

Simmons Director Earns Prestigious Arkansas Bar Association Honor

By on Jul 22, 2016 in People, Uncategorized | 0 comments

For 44 years, Gene Hunt has practiced law and held some of the most prestigious judicial posts in Arkansas. He has served as an Arkansas Court of Appeals judge and an Arkansas Supreme Court special justice. For his efforts, Hunt recently was awarded the Arkansas Bar Association’s James H. McKenzie Professionalism Award. It’s one of the highest awards presented by the ABA and was presented during the association’s annual meeting at Hot Springs. It recognizes sustained excellence in the legal profession through the traits of integrity and leadership. “I was shocked and overwhelmed,” says Hunt, who practices law at Pine Bluff. “It’s indeed an honor and one I never thought I would get.” Hunt wasn’t originally planning to attend the convention. “I had made arrangements to be out of town, but my wife told me I was going to Hot Springs,” Hunt says. “I was totally surprised.” In addition to a...

Lofton Successful With Contracting Company While Laying Down Roots

By on Jul 14, 2016 in Business, People | 0 comments

Jason Lofton formed QTI Inc., a general contracting business, in 2003 after becoming frustrated with his job at a large company. QTI are the initials of his children. “When I left that really good job, it came down to asking myself a simple question,” Lofton says. “How am I going to support my family? … The things that drive me every day are my kids and my wife.” The day after he quit, Lofton placed a bid on a project as an independent contractor. He didn’t get the job, but he landed the next three on which he bid. Since then, the Olathe, Kan., company has evolved from a one-man operation to 25 employees and has long list of clients such as Great Plains Energy, Google Fiber, Ameristar Casino, Harrah’s Casino and the city of Olathe. QTI provides services such as general construction, construction site setup and site cleanup. Lofton spent much of his youth moving from town to town...