Arvest Bank Trust’s Whittaker Receives Industry Appointments

Thursday, February 15 at 03:00 PM
Category: Arvest News

Arvest Wealth Management (AWM) is pleased to recognize Dennis J. Whittaker’s recent appointments involving the National Federation of Municipal Analysts and the Southern Municipal Finance Society. 

Whittaker serves as senior vice president and fixed income portfolio manager for Arvest Bank Trust, a division of Arvest Bank. In that role, Whittaker manages the fixed income portfolios for a book of high-profile client accounts. Additionally, he directs the research function for securities that have credit risk for both client portfolios and the bank’s investment portfolio. 

Whittaker is based in Little Rock, but serves in a support role to AWM’s investment management group, which serves the entire Arvest footprint. He was recently appointed as: 

  • Member of the Board of Directors of the Southern Municipal Finance Society
  • The Chair of the Board of Directors of the Southern Municipal Finance Society
  • Member of the Board of Governors of the National Federation of Municipal Analysts 

The Southern Municipal Finance Society is a constituent society of the National Federation of Municipal Analysts. The latter is a nonprofit industry association with the goals of: 

  • Promoting professionalism in municipal credit analysis,
  • Furthering the skill level of its members through educational programs and industry communication, providing a platform by which analysts can exchange information,
  • Advocating, when appropriate, issues of importance to the municipal finance industry, and
  • Facilitating the flow of information among market participants, especially in terms of better issuer disclosure 

“This is a testament to the knowledge, insight and expertise that Dennis brings to the municipal finance industry,” Arvest Bank Trust president and CEO Donny Rogers said. “We are thrilled to congratulate him on these significant industry achievements.” 

Whittaker, a Chartered Financial Analyst®, earned a bachelor’s degree in economics at the University of Arkansas. He also is a member of the Fixed Income Analysts Society. 

Tags: Associates, Little Rock

Louise Allison Lights New Paths for Survivors - People Helping People Series

Tuesday, November 28 at 02:00 PM
Category: People Helping People

Nov. 24, 2017 – It would have been understandable if Louise Allison was satisfied with surviving and overcoming a period of time most can’t fathom.

“I'm a survivor of sexual assault and sex trafficking,” Allison said. “It happened to me when I was a kid. I was on the streets for about two years in the sex industry.”

More than two decades after being rescued from that horror – and some would say miraculously rebuilding her life – Allison came to a realization she couldn’t shake.

“I think I hid from that darkness and hid from that secret for years, and as an adult when I began to recognize or come to grips with the things that had happened to me when I was younger,” Allison said, “I also realized I was not the only one out there. It's still going on… There's a lot of people that need help.”

That’s how Allison came to leave a career in nursing administration to form Partners Against Trafficking Humans* (PATH).

“We are no longer victims of sexual assault. We are no longer victims of sex trafficking,” Allison said. “We are survivors."

“And that surviving helps another girl realize that you can get past this and you, too, can become a survivor.”

Allison is the 26th person to be featured in Arvest Bank’s People Helping People video series. The series is designed to celebrate individuals in the communities Arvest serves who are uniquely making a difference. The idea came from the bank’s mission statement: “People helping people find financial solutions for life.”

The MarCom Award-winning videos are available via Arvest’s social media channels – YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and the Arvest Blog – and the bank will make related posts each time a new story appears. Additionally, Arvest social media followers can help spread the word about these inspiring community members by sharing, liking and retweeting the videos. Allison’s video will launch on Nov. 24.

Part of PATH’s mission is to advocate on behalf of those victimized by sex-trafficking and provide them trauma-focused restorative care. Allison’s video gives a glimpse of not just how she has impacted many survivors, but how some of those survivors have been inspired to help others as well. Those who want to learn more are encouraged to visit

About Arvest Bank
Arvest Bank, named by Forbes magazine as one of “America’s Best Large Employers” for 2017, operates more than 250 bank branches in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas through a group of 16 locally managed banks, each with its own board and management team. These banks serve customers in more than 120 communities, with extended weekday banking hours at many locations. Arvest also provides a wide range of banking services including loans, deposits, treasury management, credit cards, mortgage loans and mortgage servicing. Arvest is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC.

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

Tags: Arkansas, Community Support, Little Rock, People Helping People

Local Retiree Shows a Heart for the Homeless - People Helping People Series

Friday, September 08 at 04:00 PM
Category: People Helping People

There’s one thing people need to know about Johnette Weiss.

“She’s a very strong-willed woman,” her friend, Robert Peoples, said with a laugh. “She wants something done, she’ll get it done.”

Weiss’ strong will has served her well over her 75 years. Visually impaired most of her life, Weiss spent 40 years working as an instructor at World Services for the Blind. Now retired, she channels her energy and determination into making hygiene kits for the homeless “because everybody needs some deodorant, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, just anything to make us more presentable. It makes a person feel good about himself or herself if they're clean.”

Weiss is the 21st person to be featured in Arvest Bank’s People Helping People video series. The series is designed to celebrate individuals in the communities Arvest serves who are uniquely making a difference.

Weiss’ desire to help others was ingrained early. She grew up on a farm and remembers her mother, Ann Bartholomew, sharing extra milk, eggs and vegetables with a nearby neighbor in need. Weiss said her mother didn’t have extra money to give the neighbor, so she helped the only way she could.

“It made an impression on me as a little girl and now I want to help some, too,” she said.

That experience has shaped her approach to life over the years. "My philosophy in life is if each person can make a little bit of difference, can make life a little bit better for someone, then we’ve done something good.”

Weiss has been retired for about 10 years, and has been preparing the hygiene kits for about eight years. One of the challenges she faces when she is assembling the kits is to keep the items separated. She uses braille lables to help her with the task.

“I see the need for the homeless because just about every time you go shopping you're going to see someone that's asking for some help,” Weiss said. “I can't help every one of those people, but I can put together those hygiene kits, and I take them to the shelter that passes them out. They see those people that need that specific help, and they can use those kits to make that person's life just a little bit better.

“It makes me feel good to know I'm helping others because it just makes me feel that I'm being the kind of person I ought to be.”

Watch* Weiss tell her story of helping others. Keep an eye on our social media channels for videos highlighting the good works of dedicated citizens in the communities Arvest Bank serves.

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

Tags: Arkansas, Little Rock, People Helping People

Community Advisory Board Created in Saline County, Ark.

Friday, July 21 at 11:00 AM
Category: Arvest Community News
Arvest Bank has announced the creation of a Saline County Advisory Board that was formed to broaden and enhance the bank’s support of the community.
The board consists of four members who will advise, support and serve as liaisons for the bank through relationships with local businesses and the community.
“We are fortunate in Saline County to have many distinguished professionals and entrepreneurs who work to help our communities thrive on a state and national level, and who are invested in helping this area of Arkansas continue to succeed,” said Phillip Partain, community bank president for Arvest Bank in Saline County. “We’re working in collaboration with these leaders to help ensure we’re making the best decisions, and pursuing the right opportunities, for our customers and for the future success of this area.”
Advisory board members will each serve a five-year term and include:
Grayling V. Hill, president of HilArk Industries in Benton, a manufacturer of heavy equipment for the construction industry. He also is the owner of HilBilt Sales Corp. – Arkansas. 
Hill has served on the Board of Trustees for the Arkansas Independent Colleges and Universities. He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and an MBA in management from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. 
Hill, his wife Sharon, and their two children live in Bryant. He is a member of Family Church in Bryant.
Lamont Cornwell, Jr., executive director of the Saline County Economic Development Corporation. Cornwell was an executive in the gas utilities industry for 27 years, created a small business of his own and also served as a state representative for Saline County.
He is a charter member and former chairman of the Benton Public Utilities Commission, past chairman of the Benton Parks Commission, past president of the Benton Chamber of Commerce, past president of the Saline County Hospital Foundation and currently is involved in various state and national organizations that promote economic development in Arkansas.
Cornwell is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University and a member of The Church at Rock Creek.
He and his wife, Billie, have four children and nine grandchildren. 
Mark Middleton, president of CommerceCorp International, a boutique international merchant banking firm. He is a managing partner of MidCorp Investments and principal of Middleton Inc., a diversified family holding company.
Middleton served as finance director for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign and was appointed special assistant to President Clinton and deputy to the president’s chief of staff. He has worked closely with Fortune 500 companies regarding their involvement in international business. Following his government service, Middleton was involved in establishing the Clinton Presidential Library and the Clinton Birthplace Foundation.
He earned a BSBA in finance and banking from the University of Arkansas. A Rotary International Fellow, Middleton completed his post-graduate studies at the London School of Economics, then earned his law degree from the University of Arkansas, where he was a member of the Law Review.
He is a board member of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Foundation Fund and the CHI St. Vincent Foundation, and is a member of Fifty for the Future. 
Middleton and his wife, Rhea, have two daughters. They are members of St. James United Methodist Church in Little Rock.

Don Rhoads, president of Fleming Electric in Bryant. 
Rhoads serves on the boards of the Arkansas chapter of the American Red Cross, Baptist Health and Arkansas Workforce, and is a member of Club 99 Rotary in Little Rock. He also is active in other industry organizations. 
Rhoads is a graduate of Arkansas State University, where he earned an associates degree in math and science. 

Tags: Community Support, Little Rock

Aaron Reddin Drives for a Better Future – People Helping People Series

Thursday, June 01 at 02:50 PM
Category: People Helping People
Aaron Reddin spends his days serving the needs of the homeless. After working for years as a director for local shelters, he learned what homeless individuals deal with on a daily basis. That inspired him to leave his job and start his own organization* to meet their immediate needs. 
“It started with just emailing all my friends and telling them to cough up the coats they had in their closet one winter and loading it down in my Toyota Yaris,” Aaron Reddin said. “Just going out and finding people that needed a hand and needed a friend. And just doing what I could from there.”
He soon realized he needed a bigger vehicle to carry all the supplies. That’s how The Van* was created. Initially, Aaron received a well-used van from a total stranger who believed in the cause. Seven days a week, The Van provides clothes and other items to those who are homeless. He has since purchased a brand new van with cash from more than 500 donors.
The work of Aaron and his team give hope to those who need assistance.
Aaron’s work has expanded and now better serves those who are not close to a shelter, and who don’t have access to quality food.
“We’re about bringing dignity with stuff. So we said hey let’s start a garden. Let’s just start a garden and see what happens.”
“Never really thought it would turn into chickens and bees and all kinds of other things.”
As the garden grows, this food provides dozens of meals every night to the people “The Van” serves. 
Aaron knows the work is hard, but it hasn’t stopped him from trying to achieve his vision.
“My end goal is to work ourselves out of business. I would love for there to be no reason for this to exist because we did it,” Reddin said. 
Watch Aaron in action.
Aaron’s story is part of Arvest Bank’s People Helping People series featuring citizens giving back to their community. 

Keep an eye on our social media channels for videos highlighting the good works of dedicated citizens in the communities Arvest Bank serves.  
Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution. 

Tags: Arkansas, Charitable Giving, Community Support, Little Rock, People Helping People

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