Dr. James K. Hendren is a former Co-Founder, CEO and Chairman of Arkansas Systems, Inc. (ARKSYS), one of the world’s earliest financial technology companies. He successfully grew that company from a small firm to an internationally recognized corporation that forged major business deals across North and South America, Europe and Asia. James’ company lead the way in ATM and ETF systems development and deployment throughout the 1980s and 1990s. As an internationally recognized leader in electronic money transfer systems, the company played a major role in building Russia’s electronic central banking system from the ground up.
James has worked with more than 30 technology startups, four of which he directed as the CEO. From cultivating financial technology companies to providing the highest speed Internet services in the State of Arkansas, James has a vast wealth of entrepreneurial and technology industry experience.
James has been an entrepreneurial champion for the advancement of technology startup companies and knowledge-based job development in Arkansas since the mid-1980’s. He has served on the Arkansas Science & Technology Authority Board of Directors and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, where he lead the charge for shifting Arkansas economic development strategies to include technology startup companies.
He chaired the Arkansas Taskforce for Knowledge-Based Job Creation and is the current Chairman of the Arkansas Taskforce on Computer Science, an initiative passed by the Arkansas Legislature and championed by the Governor. He was one of the founders of Accelerate Arkansas and the founding Chairman of the Arkansas STEM Coalition. As a key player in the Arkansas technology business ecosystem, and as Chairman of Accelerate Arkansas, Dr Hendren has spearheaded the efforts for creating incentives to produce an effective environment that encourages start up companies in Arkansas; including design, legislation, and the creation of Innovate Arkansas and the Arkansas Research Alliance. He was one of the founders of Arkansas’s first angel fund, Fund for Arkansas’ Future, where he is an active Manager.
James is the Chairman of The Venture Center, where he actively participates in the direction of the Center and as an active mentor to many startup founders. He Chairs the Governor’s Task-force on Computer Science. He has served on the boards of The Rep Theater, Museum of Discovery, Philmont Scout Ranch, Arkansas School for Math and Science, and multiple advisory boards at UAF, UAMS, UALR, John Brown University, and has held numerous other volunteer positions.
Dr. Hendren received his doctorate in physics from the University of Arkansas in 1972, providing a foundation for his successful career in sophisticated software development in both the defense and finance industries.