Business lecture series starts March 7

Henderson State University’s School of Business will present its spring Guest Lecture Series beginning March 7 featuring three successful Henderson business graduates and the young founder of a successful taco restaurant. Each lecture will be held from 12:30-1:30 p.m.

Melinda Hays, March 7, at Caplinger Airway Science Center

Melinda Hays has a passion for the outdoors, which has led her throughout her professional career. She worked in retail while completing her first two degrees, then became the fishing brands pro staff manager for PRADCO Outdoor Brands.

She was named assistant brand manager and marketing manager for PRADCO before she went to work for Costa Sunglasses as Bass Community Leader. She handles every aspect of marketing in regards to freshwater fishing.

Hays, who received her marketing degree from Henderson in 2006, has returned to her alma mater to work on her MBA degree. She also earned a political science degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 2011.

Gabe Carter, March 16, Caplinger Airway Science Center

Gabe Carter is a national account manager for Birchwood Foods.  He is responsible for mass and grocery accounts including Walmart, HEB, and Safeway/Albertsons. Before joining Birchwood, Carter was a regional account manager at AdvancePierre foods where he was responsible for the west/southwest region. He began his career in analyst roles for Nestle and AdvancePierre.

Carter earned his MBA from Henderson in 2013.

Omar Kasim, April 6, Garrison Center Banquet Room

Omar Kasim is the founder of Con Quesos, a successful taco restaurant based in Fayetteville. He is a 2015 graduate of the Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. Kasim was awarded Outstanding Student in Management and graduated Magna Cum Laude.

He opened Con Quesos in January 2016.  After one year in business, Con Quesos was voted runner up for Best New Restaurant by Cityscape Magazine and was named one of Northwest Arkansas’s best Late Night Eats by NWA Travel Guide.

Maria Markham, April 20, Caplinger Airway Science Center

Dr. Maria Markham became director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education in August 2016, but her history with higher education in Arkansas spans over a decade. She has worked in almost every facet of higher education, at both a community college and a university.

In addition to her work at ADHE, Markham is also a member of the Governor’s Cabinet, and serves on several state boards and task forces.

Markham received both her bachelor’s degree in marketing and MBA from Henderson. She later earned her Ph.D. in business with a specialization in organizational leadership from North Central University.

Markham was recently named as one of Arkansas’s 40 Under 40 Most Intriguing Business and Political Leaders.

The lectures are free and open to the public.