300 episodes

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 Randy Wilburn

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 53 Ratings

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.

    NWA Transplant: CEO of Smart Eye Technology Discusses Relocating to Northwest Arkansas and the Importance of the Local Business Ecosystem

    NWA Transplant: CEO of Smart Eye Technology Discusses Relocating to Northwest Arkansas and the Importance of the Local Business Ecosystem

    About the Show:"We want to build the kinds of communities where our kids will want to raise their kids."
    Dexter Caffey
    About the Guest:Dexter Caffey is the innovative CEO of Smart Eye Technology, where he leads the way in revolutionizing data protection through continuous facial recognition technology. Based in Northwest Arkansas, Dexter focuses on creating a secure digital environment for both businesses and consumers. He's an alumnus of Youngstown State University and has a background in commodities trading, further showcasing his diverse professional expertise. Dexter's recent move to Northwest Arkansas was initiated by an invitation from the nonprofit organization Startup Junkie, aiming to nurture his groundbreaking company within the region's thriving technology ecosystem.
    Episode Summary:In this episode of the I am Northwest Arkansas podcast, host Randy Wilburn welcomes Dexter Caffey, CEO of Smart Eye Technology, to discuss the synergies of business, culture, and entrepreneurship in the Ozarks. Dexter shares his journey from Atlanta to the vibrant technology scene of Northwest Arkansas and the factors that influenced his relocation.
    Dexter narrates his experience with the startup accelerator program fueled by Startup Junkie, detailing his initial hesitations and the subsequent success that propelled him to make Northwest Arkansas the new home for Smart Eye Technology. He delves into the company's mission to combat data breaches with innovative facial recognition software. Listening to Dexter's stories and aspirations unravels how community spirit and a strong startup ecosystem are shaping the business landscape in Northwest Arkansas.
    Key Takeaways:Dexter Caffey was recruited by Startup Junkie to bring Smart Eye Technology to Northwest Arkansas, emphasizing the region's dedication to fostering technology startups.Smart Eye Technology specializes in continuous facial recognition for securing data, with upcoming plans to launch a Chrome browser extension for consumers and businesses alike.Dexter shares insights on how the friendly and supportive business environment in Northwest Arkansas was a significant factor in his decision to relocate.He highlights the rampant issue of data breaches and fraud, demonstrating the critical need for advanced security measures like those provided by Smart Eye Technology.The episode sheds light on the beauty of Northwest Arkansas's nature, which Dexter appreciates alongside the thriving business and tech community.
    All this and more on this episode of the I Am Northwest Arkansas podcast.
    Important Links and Mentions on the Show*Email Get Smart Eye
    Website Smart Eye Technology
    Smart Eye Technology on Facebook
    Smart Eye Technology on YouTube
    Smart Eye Technology on LinkedIn
    Smart Eye Technology on Instagram
    Tune in to a...

    • 37 min
    Crafting the Future: Bruce Katz on Urban Innovation and Northwest Arkansas's Potential

    Crafting the Future: Bruce Katz on Urban Innovation and Northwest Arkansas's Potential

    About the Show:"Cities are the vanguard of problem-solving in the modern world."
    Bruce Katz
    About the Guest:Bruce Katz, a renowned urban policy expert and the founding director of the Nowak Metro Finance Lab at Drexel University, joins us to share his deep insights on the transformative power of cities. With a rich background that includes advising urban leaders globally and authoring the pivotal book "The New Localism," Bruce brings a wealth of knowledge on how cities can flourish amidst the challenges of our time.
    Episode Summary:In this episode, host Randy Wilburn sits down with Bruce Katz at Gorog X Studio in Bentonville, Arkansas, to explore the concept of "new localism" and how cities are becoming the epicenter of innovation and growth. They delve into the pressing issue of affordable housing, the reshoring of American manufacturing, and the unique opportunities that Northwest Arkansas presents as a rapidly growing region.
    Bruce shares his experiences working with urban leaders, the lessons learned from cities like Pittsburgh and Copenhagen, and the importance of local collaboration in addressing housing, transportation, and economic development. He emphasizes the need for cities to act as economies, leveraging their unique assets to create inclusive and sustainable growth.
    Key Takeaways:Bruce Katz illuminates the role of cities as engines of problem-solving and innovation, particularly in times of national discord.The discussion sheds light on the critical nature of affordable housing and the potential of initiatives like groundwork to address this challenge in Northwest Arkansas.Bruce's expertise underscores the significance of local governments, businesses, and citizens understanding and embracing the long game for sustainable development.The conversation highlights the power of collaborative ecosystems in driving progress and the transformative impact of universities and industry leaders working in tandem.Listeners are encouraged to rethink the role of federal and state governments, viewing them as supporters of local economies rather than top-down decision-makers.
    All this and more on this episode of the I Am Northwest Arkansas podcast.
    Important Links and Mentions on the Show*Email Bruce Katz
    Website Drexel University
    Drexel University on Facebook
    Sign up for The New Localism Newsletter here.
    Tune in to KUAF 91.3 FM to listen to the I Am Northwest Arkansas podcast on Ozarks at Large every Tuesday at 12 Noon and 7 PM CST. And, check us out on their podcast as well. 
    This episode is sponsored by*Signature Bank of Arkansas "Community Banking at its Best!"
    Northwest Arkansas Council - "Life Works Here!"
    Try ONBoardNWA.com...

    • 46 min
    Keeping It Real: How NWA Transplants Authentically Share Their Journey

    Keeping It Real: How NWA Transplants Authentically Share Their Journey

    About the Show:"Northwest Arkansas is part of Arkansas. You're going to find a lot of different areas, and, no matter what you're into, you're going to find your people."
    Brittany Swiderski
    About the Guests:This podcast episode offers an intimate glimpse into the lives of Brittany and Amin, a young couple who uprooted from New York to Northwest Arkansas just before the pandemic turned the world upside down. With Amin's new job as their compass, they took a leap of faith into the unknown. Little did they realize how much their big move would pay off.
    Hailing from disparate parts of North America initially, neither Brittany nor Amin knew much about Arkansas before landing there. In fact, the only news they ever heard about the state involved some sort of tragedy. To counter the bad press, the duo started documenting their experience through an Instagram account called "NWA Transplants." They hoped to showcase the many positives of living in Northwest Arkansas that aren't visible from afar.
    Over time, Brittany and Amin have evolved their social media style and built connections by highlighting local events, the arts, music, small businesses, and more hidden gems. As Brittany notes, they wanted to share "what this area is really like when you're living there." From finding community during the first wave of COVID-19 to discovering common interests through happenstance meetings, the couple has embraced the opportunities around them to build a life—and make an impact.
    Episode Summary:The conversation covers their initial reservations about moving, the surprising discoveries upon arrival, and the evolving landscape of NWA. They share insights into the importance of dental health, the joy of finding community, and the unexpected encounters that have enriched their lives. Randy and his guests also discuss the challenges of housing, the power of social media storytelling, and the future aspirations for their platform.
    Key Takeaways:Brittany and Amin's story is a compelling narrative of finding one's place in an unexpected corner of the world.Their Instagram account @nwatransplants serves as a beacon for others contemplating a move to Northwest Arkansas and for locals discovering the hidden gems in their backyard.The episode explores the couple's commitment to community engagement, the celebration of NWA's growth, and the genuine desire to contribute positively to the region.Through humor, authenticity, and relatable content, they've managed to build a platform that resonates with a diverse audience.The discussion highlights the importance of being proactive in one's community, the power of storytelling, and the role each resident plays in shaping the future of Northwest Arkansas.
    All this and more on this episode of the I Am Northwest Arkansas podcast.
    Important Links and Mentions on the Show*Email NWA Transplants
    NWA Transplants on Instagram
    NWA Transplants on Facebook
    Tune in to KUAF 91.3 FM to listen to the I Am Northwest Arkansas podcast on Ozarks at Large every Tuesday at 12 Noon and 7 PM CST. And, check us out on their a...

    • 48 min
    St. James Food Pantry Director Discusses Serving the Community in Northwest Arkansas

    St. James Food Pantry Director Discusses Serving the Community in Northwest Arkansas

    About the Show:"Allowing people to work within their strength strengthens our whole operations of the food pantry."
    Monique Jones
    About the Guest:Monique Jones is a pastor and the Director of Outreach and Community Engagement at the St. James Food Pantry, part of the Squire Jahagan Outreach Center, a non-profit arm of St. James, the oldest African American church in Northwest Arkansas. With a poignant history in Human Resources, including a 25-year stint of notable work that led her to Northwest Arkansas on a relocation project, Monique transitioned to full-time service, deeply embedding herself within the community. Her dedication to nurturing neighbors and serving the food insecure through innovative means has defined her position as a central figure in local outreach and ministry beyond the church's walls.
    Episode Summary:In this episode of I am Northwest Arkansas, host Randy Wilburn delves into an intimate conversation with Monique Jones. The dialogue not only celebrates her contributions to the community but also spotlights the intersection of business, culture, and life as shaped by individuals like Monique in the Ozarks.
    Randy and Monique discuss the inherent challenges and triumphs in addressing food insecurity in the region, particularly during the pandemic. Monique shares her unique journey from an HR executive to a devoted servant leader, applying Kaizen methodology to streamline operations at the food pantry. Their conversation unravels the fabric of community resilience and engagement, revealing how the power of collaboration across various entities, including public service officers, can meet extensive needs in creative ways.
    Key Takeaways:Monique Jones' journey from a corporate executive to leading a food pantry redefines community service, showcasing a seamless transition from business acumen to humanitarian efforts.The St. James Food Pantry mobilized an inclusive and extensive response to food insecurity, especially during the pandemic, serving as a beacon of hope across Northwest Arkansas.Introducing the first food locker in Arkansas, Monique illustrates innovation in addressing food accessibility, indicating plans for expansion to support rural areas.The episode underscores the importance of human connection, collaboration, and cultural sensitivity in addressing community needs, transcending beyond racial and socio-economic lines.Leveraging partnerships with local law enforcement and organizations has helped redefine community policing and support for vulnerable populations.
    All this and more on this episode of the I Am Northwest Arkansas podcast.
    Important Links and Mentions on the Show*Email Monique Jones
    Website Squire Jehegan Outreach Center
    Squire Jehegan Outreach Center on Facebook
    Tune in to KUAF 91.3 FM to listen to the I Am Northwest Arkansas podcast on Ozarks at Large every Tuesday at 12 Noon and 7 PM CST. And, check us out on their podcast as...

    • 51 min
    NWA Transplant Series: James Hawkins Discusses Mental Health and the Importance of Seeking Support

    NWA Transplant Series: James Hawkins Discusses Mental Health and the Importance of Seeking Support

    About the Show:"There's a lot of culture here in Northwest Arkansas even then. So what I ran into in my job at that time, I worked with a lot of business leaders, the church community, but also I worked with what they identified themselves as the hillbilly community."
    James Hawkins
    About the Guest:James Hawkins is a seasoned therapist and the clinical coordinator for the Joshua Center. With a depth of experience in psychology and counseling, James holds a Master's Degree and a PhD in his field. He is a former Air Force member who has served the country with honor and has continued to serve the community through his dedication to mental health and relational work. James is also known for his podcast, "The Leading Edge in Emotionally Focused Therapy," where he shares his expertise with other clinicians.
    Episode Summary:In this episode of the I am Northwest Arkansas Podcast, host Randy Wilburn engages in a rich conversation with guest James Hawkins. The episode peels back layers surrounding the intersectionality of business, culture, entrepreneurship, and life in the Ozarks. It is a narrative journey through James's transition into the community as a transplant and how he found a home in Northwest Arkansas, despite its striking contrasts to his previous experiences living in the South and New Orleans.
    James and Randy discuss the nuances of community and identity, especially for African American individuals like themselves, in a majority space. They delve into the subject of mental health and the importance of seeking help through channels like face-to-face therapy rather than solely through emerging platforms like online counseling. James conveys strong arguments for why therapeutic relationships are most effective in person, drawing from his extensive experience in the field.
    Key Takeaways:Northwest Arkansas's welcoming community and entrepreneurial spirit make it a home for many, including transplants.Mental health conversation is essential, and the stigma around seeking therapy needs to be diminished, especially in the African American community.Maintaining mental health is crucial, much like servicing a vehicle; one must not delay addressing their emotional and psychological needs.The growth and diversity of Northwest Arkansas benefit the community, enriching it with new flavors and ideas.The importance of building a responsible, regional transit system and affordable living spaces to align with Northwest Arkansas’s growth trajectory.
    All this and more on this episode of the I Am Northwest Arkansas podcast.
    Important Links and Mentions on the Show*Email Doc Hawk LPC
    Website Doc Hawk LPC
    Doc Hawk LPC on Facebook
    Doc Hawk LPC on Instagram
    Doc Hawk LPC on LinkedIn
    Tune in to KUAF 91.3 FM to listen to the I Am Northwest Arkansasa...

    • 54 min
    Fayetteville High School Football Coach Casey Dick Reflects on Championship Season

    Fayetteville High School Football Coach Casey Dick Reflects on Championship Season

    About the Show:"When they walk through that door, there are no differences. That's what we want to drive home."
    Casey Dick
    About the Guest:Casey Dick is a prominent figure in high school sports, known for his illustrious career both on and off the field. With roots in Allen, Texas, Dick has a storied background as a former quarterback for the University of Arkansas (U of A), where he was a three-year starter and letterman. Post his active sports career, Dick has made a significant transition into the coaching realm, currently serving as the head coach of the Fayetteville High School Bulldogs football team. He has earned a reputation for his ability to bring teams together, foster a sense of community, and mold future leaders through the medium of high school football.
    Episode Summary:In this episode of I am Northwest Arkansas, host Randy Wilburn engages with Coach Casey Dick, the mastermind behind the Fayetteville High School Bulldogs' triumphant season. With a personal perspective as a parent and a keen observer, Wilburn sets the stage for a deep dive into the dynamics of successful team-building, the profound impact of sports on young lives, and the indispensable role of community support in youthful development.
    Coach Dick opens up about his early inspirations and the path that led him from player to coach. Drawing on his rich experience, he emphasizes the significance of forging strong relationships between coaches and players and introduces the Bulldogs' distinct "family" ethos that underpins their program's success. The episode shines a spotlight on the integral contributions of not just the athletes but also the supportive network of parents and Fayetteville residents, showcasing how collective efforts contribute to the Bulldogs' sterling 13-0 record.
    Key Takeaways:The power of a team sport, like football, in bringing together communities and shaping the lives of young athletes.The journey of Casey Dick from playing at U of A to coaching high school football and the life lessons learned along the way.Fayetteville High School's unique approach to building leadership skills and personal growth in its football program.The invaluable role of parents and the local community in providing the resources and support necessary for every student-athlete to thrive.Coach Dick's commitment to treating football as a medium for long-term development, rather than solely focusing on wins.
    All this and more on this episode of the I Am Northwest Arkansas podcast.
    Important Links and Mentions on the Show*Email Casey Dick
    Casey Dick on Facebook
    Tune in to KUAF 91.3 FM to listen to the I Am Northwest Arkansas podcast on Ozarks at Large every Tuesday at 12 Noon and 7 PM CST. And, check us out on their podcast as well.
    This episode is sponsored by*Signature Bank of Arkansas "Community Banking at its Best!"
    Northwest Arkansas Council -...

    • 35 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
53 Ratings

53 Ratings

bbriannaa ,

A lens into what makes NWA great!

I Am Northwest Arkansas podcast, hosted by Randy Wilburn, is an absolute gem! The engaging conversations and insightful interviews capture the essence of the region perfectly. Randy's charismatic hosting style adds a delightful touch, making each episode a must-listen. Five stars for an excellent blend of local stories and compelling narratives - a true celebration of Northwest Arkansas and what makes our community great!

Dooniesmom ,

Excellent podcast!

I’ve learned so much about Northwest Arkansas by listening to this podcast, which is saying a lot because I’ve lived here my entire life! I’m always learning about new nonprofits, upcoming events, and businesses in the area that are making an impact in NWA. Love this podcast and look forward to a new episode every week! Thank you for bringing awareness to this community and connect us to one another .

Webb Blades ,

Pure Gold

This Podcast is firing on all syllables!
As an artist, entrepreneur and aficionado of the art of broadcasting, this is not only very listenable but has incredible content, guests and variety. 10 outa 10🔥

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