Local Industry & Knowledge Sectors
J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc.
At the tail end of the Great Depression in 1939, a young boy dropped out of the seventh grade to work in his uncle’s saw mill in Central Arkansas to make $1.50 a day. During his time at the saw mill, he saw farmers come and go from the mill while shoveling the shavings in their trucks to use as poultry-house litter at no cost to them. He got his uncle’s carpenter to construct a raised house and used the blower vents to shoot the shavings into it for storage. At $4 per load the farmers could now pull their trucks underneath the storage house to be filled. He went from making $1.50 to $16 per day. From his first job, J.B. Hunt was creative and innovative.
It was this type of innovation that led J.B. Hunt Transportation to become one of North America’s largest transportation companies with billions in annual revenue. The company is paving the way to future growth through innovation using the latest in machine-learning to provide their customers real-time alerts and predictive delivery estimates. The company has had billions in capital expenditures into a variety of areas as well as disruptive supply chain tech, including exploring blockchain, positioning them to continue growth well into the future.
Not only has the Hunt family’s business changed Northwest Arkansas, but their incredible generosity in giving back to their community has had a profound impact. Hunt Ventures, a private investment company, has had a tremendous effect on the economic development of Rogers. The 1,200,000-square-foot Pinnacle Hills Promenade outdoor shopping center was a partnership of Hunt Ventures and a Chicago group in 2005. The area now has over 100 retail shops and 15 restuarants, which has led to further growth in the west end of Rogers. Hunt Ventures also donated the land for the Walmart Amphitheater. They have constructed multiple office towers, Pinnacle Heights (a $150 million mixed use development), and many other projects fueling the growth of Rogers. J.B.’s wife, Johnelle, was instrumental in the success of the transportation business and continues the Hunt family tradition of giving back to the community. J.B. Hunt sadly passed in 2006, but his legacy lives on through his family, company, and the impact he has had on his community.