The Little Rock Technology Park Authority voted this morning to hire Brent Birch, director of the web design firm FLEX360 at Arkansas Business Publishing Group and ABPG’s chief information officer, to direct the tech park. The vote by the seven board members was unanimous. Chair Dr. Mary Good said there was no vote taken on a second choice.
Board members Tom Butler, vice chancellor for administrative and government affairs at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and park sponsor UAMS’ representative on the board, and Jay Chesshir, president of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, will negotiate a contract with Birch. Good said the board has capped the pay at $100,000.
Birch, if he accepts the job, will work under an interim contract with UAMS, but the Tech Park will pay his salary and benefits. Good said she would like him to start work as soon as possible.
If Birch declines the job, Good said the board would meet again to choose one from their “extraordinarily good candidates” to direct the park.
It has yet to be determined where the director’s office will be housed. The Tech Park is renovating space at Markham across from the Statehouse Convention Center for its first location; the Central Arkansas Ark Challenge, the start-up competition hosted by Innovate Arkansas, will lease the space from August to December.
The director’s job is to work with park sponsors UAMS and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, and economic development agencies to recruit tech companies and bring in venture capital.