Gov. Sarah Sanders announced Thursday (Jan. 12) that she will name Clint O’Neal executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC). He will report to Secretary of Commerce Hugh McDonald.
O’Neal has served as the Deputy Director of Global Business at AEDC since 2018. In his role as deputy director, O’Neal led several divisions within the agency, including Business Development, Existing Business, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development, Marketing, Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise, Film, and Military Affairs.
As executive director, he will continue to oversee these divisions, alongside the other functions of the agency, such as community resources, finance, science and technology, and legislative affairs.
“I am ready to unleash my vision to make Arkansas the best place in the nation to start and grow a business alongside Clint O’Neal, who will serve as Executive Director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission,” Sanders said. “His nearly two decades of experience in this field will be invaluable as we work together with Secretary Hugh McDonald to foster a pro-business, pro-worker environment, attracting companies across the nation – and world – to bring thousands of high-paying jobs to Arkansas.”
“The team at AEDC is full of talented economic development professionals who believe in the mission and work every day to make Arkansas a top business destination. I’m honored and excited to lead the organization that gave me the opportunity to start my career in economic development over 15 years ago,” O’Neal said. “It is a privilege to be entrusted to serve as Executive Director of AEDC at a time when Arkansas is gaining momentum and notoriety on the national and international stage. Arkansas has an outstanding business community and the tools companies need to succeed. I look forward to working alongside Governor Sanders, Secretary McDonald, our state legislature, economic development partners around the state, and the remarkable team at AEDC to make that message known at home and abroad.”
“With his wealth of experience in economic development and his passion for supporting businesses and communities in Arkansas, Clint is a natural fit to lead AEDC,” McDonald said. “Clint has a proven record of reliable leadership, and he has demonstrated that he knows what it takes to bring new capital investment into our state and win new jobs for Arkansans. I have full confidence that AEDC will thrive under Clint’s leadership and, by extension, so will Arkansas.”
O’Neal has nearly two decades of experience in the field of economic development. He began his economic development career as a project manager at AEDC. He then served as Vice President of Business Recruitment for the Missouri Partnership, Missouri’s principal business recruitment and marketing organization, before rejoining AEDC as deputy director.
Clint is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) through the International Economic Development Council. He holds a master’s degree in community and economic development from the University of Central Arkansas.