Alumni Profile: Cole McCaskill

Cole McCaskill hadn’t always been interested in communication before enrolling at Henderson State University in 2012. But his mother suggested the major after she noticed the many potential jobs that required communication skills.

“After starting the program, the broad training it provided became apparent,” McCaskill said. “There couldn’t have been a better degree for what I’ve been doing professionally.”

McCaskill is vice president of economic development for the Hot Springs Metro Partnership (HSMP). He works directly with business and industry to facilitate growth in the Hot Springs region.

“My specific targets are business attraction, expansion and retention, talent development and downtown development,” he said. “I am constantly working with the media, writing for publication and speaking publicly – all areas in which I was trained well at Henderson.”

After graduating from Lake Hamilton High School in 2005, McCaskill enrolled at the University of Central Arkansas and later attended National Park Community College. He enrolled at Henderson in 2012 and graduated in 2013 with a communication degree.

The “nexus of debate, persuasion and credibility” is what McCaskill finds most interesting about his degree.

“If you can speak and write well, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to,” he said. “My best advice to students is to pursue an internship through the university and always be flexible.”

McCaskill began an internship in communication with the Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce during his first year at Henderson. He was later hired as director of customer service for the Chamber before joining the HSMP as downtown development director.

The Hot Springs Chamber and HSMP are sister nonprofit agencies.

McCaskill was named to the 2015 Class of “20 in Their 20s – The New Influentials” by Arkansas Business.

He’s an avid fisherman who enjoys art, music, business, history and geography.

“Most people don’t know that I have a minor in visual arts from Henderson,” he said.

• This alumni feature is part of an ongoing project featuring Henderson's outstanding undergraduate and graduate academic programs.