U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has appointed 15 members to the Arkansas District Export Council, including Indian American Ashvin Vibhakar, Joe T. Ford Chair of Finance at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the university said in a March 5 news release.
“The Arkansas District Export Council engages a group of individuals who are familiar with exporting and doing business in other countries,” Vibhakar said in a statement.
“The goal is for state businesses, especially small businesses, to become familiar with how to expand their businesses globally as well as teach them about the resources that exist in the state, especially at the Arkansas U.S. Export Assistance Center,” he added.
The Arkansas District Export Council is a private, nonprofit organization, whose members are appointed for four-year terms by the secretary of commerce.
It brings together experienced international business people who provide support, advice and assistance to Arkansas companies interested in entering into or expanding into international markets, the news release said.
Vibhakar is looking forward to the opportunity to help small businesses expand to the international market.
“I think Arkansas has a lot of potential, particularly when you think about small businesses,” he added. “I have always believed that the more education people have, the less intimidated they would be about doing international business. From my perspective, education and learning about the culture of different parts of the world plays a great role in business.”
Vibhakar holds a bachelor’s degree from M.S. University in Baroda, India, an M.B.A. from Central Missouri State University, and a doctorate from the University of Arkansas.
He came to UA Little Rock in 1981 as an assistant professor of finance. After 27 years at the university, Vibhakar left his position as the director of the Institute for Economic Advancement to pursue a career at Charter Financial Analyst Institute in Hong Kong.
As managing director of the Asia Pacific region and later a global assignment, Vibhakar conducted business in 54 countries. He returned to UA Little Rock in his current position in 2015.
Vibhakar is the chair of the Little Rock Sister Cities Commission. He also served on the Governor’s Economic Advisory Council and the Arkansas Promise steering committee to provide access of resources to young people to succeed.
He served on the CFA Institute Board of Governors, was a member of the board of directors of Arvest Bank, currently serves on Arvest Group audit committee and is past president of the Association of University Bureaus of Economic Research.