Internship Leads to Award, Job Opportunity for COB Graduate

Sammy Jolly LeMarr wanted to understand the ins and outs of the industry, the things common observers do not notice or recognize.

For one reason, her coursework up to that point had provided her a solid foundation in logistics and supply chain management and this was the logical next step. For another, LeMarr wanted to attain a deep understanding and comprehension of her field prior to entering the workforce.

Working day in and day out in a professional setting would provide her what she wanted. That’s why she chose to do an internship.

“My internship provided me that operational experience I needed to better understand how it all works,” she said.

LeMarr came to UCA a biology major, hoping to turn her love for animals into a career as a veterinarian. However, a couple semesters in, it wasn’t panning out as she’d hoped. LeMarr turned to a family friend, Scott Nadler, Ph.D., assistant professor in the College of Business’ Department of Marketing and Management, for advice.

He steered LeMarr to the department’s Logistics and Supply Chain Management program.

Navigating a major change that would take her across campus and from one side of the career spectrum to the other, must have been some predetermined aptitude test for her future. It is one she passed with flying colors.

LeMarr immediately took an interest in her courses and major.

“I loved it,” she said.

She began her internship with C.H. Robinson, a global logistics company with an office in Little Rock, in January 2017. It didn’t take long for her to find a lot of enjoyment there, either.

For her, it was the behind-the-scenes aspects of the industry that go unnoticed but are vital to its success that hooked her. It’s scheduling trucks to haul, building relationships with carriers and customers, and managing freight costs to impact a customer’s return.

“I didn’t know what went into moving a pallet from Point A to Point B – from raw material to an item for your consumption – whether that was food, clothing, car parts or something else,” she said. “It is crazy to think about all the little things that have to come together for something to finally make it to you.”

She initially began prospecting for the company, researching possible clients and presenting lead sheets to the sales team, but she quickly assumed operational responsibilities as well.

“Sammy is driven to the nth degree, losing is not in her vocabulary,” said Nadler.

Maybe it was her drive, her competitive nature or a budding interest in the industry — or a combination of the three — but whatever it was, LeMarr shined.

Before long, she was tracking and tracing loads, communicating with customers on pickups and deliveries, and, eventually, she was given the opportunity to research potential clients for her own book of business to manage.

LeMarr worked full-time in the summer growing her book and also filled in for two employees out on leave in the early part of the fall semester. She managed their books of business and cultivated new clients.

“She goes out and finds a business where no one else can, and she can close the deal,” said Nadler. “That’s the bottom line.”

It sounds cliche, but LeMarr was just determined to be the best intern she could.

“I told myself if I was going to have an internship, I wanted to be the best I could be and show that through my work ethic and the abilities I bring to the table,” she said. “And I wanted a job at C.H. Robinson more than anything.”

By the end of August, C.H. Robinson had offered LeMarr a full-time position as a sales executive that would be waiting on her in December after graduation. She was also named UCA’s Intern of the Year.

“I completely believe that hard work pays off and it did,” said LeMarr. “To be recognized for all I did, it really meant a lot to me.”

Ask LeMarr and she’ll say she accomplished this for a few reasons. It was the relationships she had with professors in the Logistics and Supply Chain Management program, including Nadler, Doug Voss, and Jim Dittrich.

“Every professor was incredibly helpful to me,” said LeMarr. “Having those relationships and being able to talk with them about my internship and have conversations where they understood where I was coming from, it was beneficial to me.”

UCA Career Services also played an important role, said LeMarr, since it was at one of its career fairs she met her general manager at C.H. Robinson.

But it was also the experience an internship provided her and the doors it opened in her career.

“It allowed me to gain a lot of experience and understanding before I left college,” said LeMarr. “The coursework and classes are important, but you don’t truly understand something until you get your hands in it and see how comes together.”

There are so many benefits an internship provides, LeMarr said she doesn’t see why anyone wouldn’t consider it.

“Why wouldn’t you do it?

COB Tops $90,000 in Scholarships for the Year

The UCA College of Business awarded $94,950 in scholarships for the 2018-2019 academic year, a new record total for the college.

The nearly $95,000 was awarded to 60 students across 30 scholarships, marking significant growth from 2015 when $34,000 was awarded.

“No matter the dollar amount, the significance of a scholarship is boundless for our students. For some, it alleviates the headache of books and supplies, and for others, it pays for an additional course,” said Michael Hargis, Ph.D., dean of the College of Business.

“It’s validation for a high-achieving student, relief for a student fighting to pay for college from semester to semester, and it’s a sense of pride for a first-generation college student on the way to a degree,” he said. “Because of our wonderful donors, more and more of our students are realizing this impact.”

To honor those donors and recognize the students their scholarships benefit, the College of Business hosted a scholarship reception Oct. 18. It allowed for donors and recipients to meet, share stories and get to know one another.

Speaking to the audience, Dean Hargis thanked everyone for their attendance and announced the college’s plans to reach $120,000 in scholarships by 2020.

“We want to continue to see tremendous growth in our scholarships,” he said. “This seems like a lofty goal, but we know it’s achievable because of the loyalty and commitment of our donors.”

For those interested in giving, contact J.D. Gray, senior director of development in the College of Business, at for more information.


BIT Club Meeting 10/25/18 @ 1:40 pm in COB 107

The Business & Information Technology (BIT) Club is having its second meeting on Thursday, October 25th.  Beta Alpha Psi is co-hosting the event.  It will be held in the College of Business Auditorium (Rooms 107/208) during X-period (1:40 – 2:30 p.m.) and is open to all majors on campus.  Three recent UCA graduates (Randy Naylor, Meghan Antoine, and Kelton Shaw), all with Windstream, will be the featured speakers and we are delighted to welcome them back to campus.  Refreshments will be served and door prizes will be awarded.  All students, faculty, and staff are invited to attend.

MBA Program Rated Among Most Affordable Online MBAs in the Country

The UCA College of Business’ Master of Business Administration program has been rated among the most affordable online MBA programs in the country.

The college’s MBA program was rated fourth by OnlineU, an organization created by SR Education Group to research and evaluate institutions’ online programs for quality, affordability, and accessibility.

OnlineU manually gathers tuition rates for each institution, as well as details about program coursework and available degrees. To be considered for its ranking, an institution must be regionally accredited and offer at least one fully online degree.

“We want to make sure our students are able to obtain a valuable education that will help them move forward in their careers while also being affordable,” said Michael Hargis, Ph.D., dean of the College of Business. “This recognition by OnlineU shows we have been successful in that mission.”

The College of Business’ MBA program has 133 students and offers concentrations in finance, health care administration, information management, and international business specialization.

The MBA program was also recently rated among the best available in the country by The Princeton Review.

OnlineU also rated the College of Business as the 24th most affordable online program for a bachelor’s in general business.

More information can be found by visiting these links:



Home BancShares Chairman Johnny Allison to Speak Oct. 30 at Davis Family Lecture Series

CONWAY — Home BancShares Chairman Johnny Allison is the keynote speaker for the Davis Family Lecture Series on Oct. 30 at the UCA College of Business.

His talk will begin at 1:40 p.m. in the College of Business Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Allison has more than three decades experience in the banking industry. He co-founded Home BancShares, Inc., the parent company of Centennial Bank, in 1998 with Robert H. “Bunny” Adcock Jr., vice chairman of Home BancShares and University of Central Arkansas trustee, and established First State Bank.

After a series of acquisitions in Arkansas and Florida, the bank charters were combined into one in 2009: Centennial Bank. Today, Centennial Bank has locations in Arkansas, Florida, Alabama and New York.

Home BancShares, which has nearly $15 billion in assets, was the top-ranked bank in Forbes’ 2018 Best Banks in America list. The banks are rated on 10 metrics related to growth, profitability, capital adequacy and asset quality.

Allison serves as chairman of the board of Home BancShares. Prior to Home BancShares, Allison was chairman of First National Bank of Conway from 1983 to 1998 and director of First Commercial Corporation from 1985 to 1998.

The Davis Family Lecture Series was established in 2010 through a gift from Granger and Jan Davis, and Milton and Claudia Davis. The series features prominent business leaders who have made a significant impact in an industry. Past speakers include John W. Bachmann, Steve Williams, Hank Henderson, Reynie Rutledge, Marcy Doderer and Millie Ward.

The UCA College of Business is the fastest-growing college at the University of Central Arkansas with more than 1,650 undergraduate students and 150 graduate students. It offers 13 baccalaureate degrees, two master’s and one graduate certificate across four academic departments and houses the state’s only insurance and risk management program. Visit for more.

Greg and Sherri Pillow Pledge $25,000 to Establish Pillow Family Finance Endowed Scholarship

 CONWAY — Greg and Sherri Pillow have pledged $25,000 to establish the Pillow Family Finance Endowed Scholarship in the UCA College of Business.

The scholarship will be awarded annually, beginning in 2023, to a finance major in the college.

“The University of Central Arkansas is an important institution in our family,” said Pillow. “My wife and I went to school here and met many lifelong friends here; we love UCA. We wanted to be an encouragement to future UCA students and support their education.”

Pillow is the owner of Conway Wealth Management, which offers assistance in investments, financial planning, and insurance.

Pillow said he hopes the scholarship will encourage more students to pursue financial advising. According to Cerulli Associates, the average financial advisor is more than 50 years old.

“This has been a great career for me and there is plenty of opportunity for the next generation,” said Pillow. “If there is not a generation of financial advisors behind this one, there will be a void.”

The scholarship will give special preference to fifth-year students.

“My wife and I were both fifth-year students and sometimes aid is not as readily available to those students,” said Pillow. “We wanted to be able to encourage them to finish what they started.”

Pillow graduated from UCA in 1996 and has been a financial advisor since 1999.

The UCA College of Business is the fastest-growing college at the University of Central Arkansas with more than 1,650 undergraduate students and 150 graduate students. It offers 13 baccalaureate degrees, two master’s and one graduate certificate across four academic departments, and houses the state’s only insurance and risk management program. Visit to learn more.

Johnny Allison Entrepreneurship Series Brings Marshall Stewart

Greenway Equipment president Marshall Stewart met with a Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship class Sept. 27 to share the story of his company and how its developed into a regional leader in agricultural equipment and services companies. Stewart, a College of Business alumnus, is the latest speaker in the Johnny Allison Entrepreneurship Speaker Series, which brings business leaders, executives and entrepreneurs to the College of Business to share with students.

TIDA Presents 3 Scholarships to COB Students

The Trucking Industry Defense Association (TIDA) presented three College of Business students with scholarships for the fall semester Sept. 26. Dusty Mikula, Uyanga Tsogtbaatar and Paul Torres each received a $1,000 scholarship from TIDA.


COB Alumnus Paul Bradley Speaks at BIT Club

The first Business & Information Technology (BIT) Club meeting of the semester welcomed College of Business alumnus Paul Bradley. Bradley is now the Conway market leader at Edafio Technology Partners. Bradley shared what Edafio does and talked with students about the type of employees they’re looking to hire.

Students and Companies Interact at Meet The Firms

UCA College of Business accounting students had the opportunity to interact with potential employers on campus Sept. 17 at Meet The Firms. The annual event attracts firms and companies from across the state for a chance to meet with students about accounting careers and opportunities.