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ArcBest Technologies, IBM, J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc., Tyson Foods and Walmart have joined the University of Arkansas Blockchain Center of Excellence Executive Advisory Board.

The five companies have been working with the Department of Information Systems for the past year to help guide the center’s mission and values. The key individuals representing the company are:

The key individuals representing each company are:

ArcBest Technologies

  • Dave Cogswell, vice president and CTO
  • Leo Sharum, vice president and CIO


  • Misty Decker, program manager, zSystems Academic Initiative
  • Mariels Winhoffer, vice president and global managing director, and IBM Senior State Executive for Arkansas

J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc.

  • Gary Dowdy, head of innovation and disruptive technologies
  • Daniel Trimble, senior expert software engineer
  • Jay Davidson, recently retired vice president of technology

Tyson Foods

  • Lee Slezak, vice president of IT architecture
  • Chad Wahlquist, director of emerging technology


  • Archana Mehta Sristy, director, engineering, Global Business Services
  • Karl Bedwell, senior director II, global business services and technology

Five more companies will be identified by this group to join the board.

The mission of the Blockchain Center for Excellence is three-fold. They aim to develop and establish research partnerships by conducting collaborative industry-university research, promote and enable dissemination of knowledge about blockchain, and accelerate industry adoption of blockchain technology.

The vision is to make Walton College a premier academic leader in advocating for and educating on blockchain.

What is the Blockchain?

It’s a cutting-edge way to store data in a transparent and unalterable way, as well as a means of transmitting money without the need for traditional banking networks.