CONWAY — Don B. Bradley III of Conway said he was “elated” to receive the Wilford L. White Fellow Award in June at the 59th annual World Conference in Dublin, Ireland.
Bradley, 69, is a professor of marketing and the executive director of the Small Business Advancement National Center at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.
“It’s the highest award that a researcher and a consultant in the small-business and entrepreneurship consulting area can receive internationally,” Bradley said.
The fellowship is named after Wilford L. White, founder of the International Council for Small Business, which gives the award. Sixty-six educators, researchers, government officials, and small-business and trade-association leaders have been recognized as a Wilford L. White Fellow since 1977.
“You have to be nominated by your peers, and then all the Wilford White Fellows around the world vote,” Bradley said. “You have to get 75 percent of the vote from all the fellows who vote. I was extremely pleased and happy that my peers had bestowed this honor on me.”
Bradley said he didn’t realize he’d been nominated until he found out about three months ago that he had won. He was told in advance so he could make arrangements to go to Ireland.
“I’m only the third person in the history since 1955 that has received all the fellows from all the North American groups (small-business and professional organizations), and now the international group,” Bradley said of his most recent honor.
Being named a fellow “means you’re one of the top researchers in the field,” Bradley said. “In our case, it’s the counselor, or people who help small businesses in consulting.”
He is a past president of the International Council for Small Business and has served on the board for “a number of years,” he said.
“The idea behind receiving this award is you went out and helped various people throughout the world. I’ve been working in a number of countries around the world in helping promote small business,” Bradley said. “Another thing we do — with our website I have at the Small Business Advancement National Center at UCA, we service 87 different countries. What we’ve become is an electronic library for small businesses and entrepreneurships.”
The website is www.sbaer.uca.edu.
“We have a weekly newsletter that goes out to that same group every Tuesday that gives international information. It gives a tip of the week to help small businesses. We’re about evenly divided between academicians and small-business owners around the world,” he said.
Bradley, with the help of former U.S. Sen. Dale Bumpers of Little Rock, founded the Small Business Advancement National Center at UCA.
Bradley’s experience includes being a salesman, an advertising director, a bank CEO and vice president of a training and development company. Since 1971, he has been president and chief consultant of a family-operated consulting firm, American Marketing Group LLC of Conway.
Bradley has worked with Winrock International in Little Rock on rural economic development. Internationally, he has worked with universities and small businesses in Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Egypt, England, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Wales.
Bradley said he’d worked in Ireland with the European Union. One of the projects was with the University of Limerick.
“They have a system where a student can start a project while they’re in a university, starting a new business, and when they graduate, they put them in an incubator [program], and they can stay there and continue to develop their new product or idea,” he said.
“That was all funded by the European Union at the University of Limerick. We worked with their students, and I took UCA students over there, also,” Bradley said.
He will begin his 33rd year at UCA this fall and is president of the faculty senate.
“Now that I’m getting toward the end of my career, it’s a good way to feel like you’ve accomplished something,” Bradley said.
Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or firstname.lastname@example.org.