- Our Mission
- Personal Accounts
- Business Accounts
- Investor Relations
- Find Locations
- About Southern
- Contact Us
Arkansas Business names Baldwin one of most powerful people
By Donna Hilton
Phil Baldwin of Arkadelphia was recently selected one of the 176 most powerful people in Arkansas by Arkansas Business magazine. Such accolades mean little to Baldwin, who said “we do what we can do.”
Baldwin is the president and CEO of Southern Bancorp, parent company to Elk Horn Bank of Arkadelphia and several other banks in Arkansas and Mississippi. Baldwin is also the originator of the Clark County Strategic Planning Committee, a three-year plan to make the county a better place to live.
Others named to Arkansas Business’ “Power List” are Gov. Mike Beebe; former President Bill Clinton; Sen. Blanche Lincoln; Sen. Mark Pryor; Dr. Jonathan Bates, president of Arkansas Children’s Hospital; and Richard Bell, Arkansas’ secretary of agriculture.
“I’m not sure how they make the selection,” Baldwin said. He learned of his inclusion when he picked up his copy of Arkansas Business. “They didn’t even call me up.”
He attributes his place on the list to his work in community development. He and Southern Bancorp were involved in Phillips County’s Strategic Development Plan, which not only included cleaning up the area, but united the cities of Helena and West Helena.
Baldwin said he’s proud of the successes of the plan in Phillips County and is excited that Clark County’s plan is about to show progress.
“We’re entering into the fun stage now, the action steps,” he said. During that phase of the plan, committee members will figure out ways to accomplish their goals. “The next three or four months will be really fun, then the real work begins.”
Even though the strategic planning process is a long one, he encourages people to remain involved. “I want folks to understand that this is a long term process with long term results. It’s a 20- to 25-year effort.”
While he’s been pleased with the efforts of the CCSP thus far, Baldwin is a bit disappointed that residents of the entire county haven’t been as involved as they could be. That goes for all the cities and communities as well, he said.
Southern Bancorp has offered grants to each municipality for cleaning up dilapidated houses and buildings. Only the city of Arkadelphia has accepted the grant. Under the program, the city can raze old buildings and have a lien placed on the properties to repay the expense. The program is meant to evolve into a self-sufficient community improvement project.
Thus far, nine sites in Arkadelphia have been razed and a building permit has been issued for improvements on another targeted residence. City Manager Jimmy Bolt said plans are in the works for the second phase of the grant. Baldwin said money will be available to the city for the project.
“We offered the same programs to all (of the towns). They just haven’t taken advantage of it like Arkadelphia,” he said.
Baldwin’s name was listed among other executives from non-profit organizations, such as the Arkansas Children’s Hospital, but he feels the business magazine should put him in another category. “I see what I do as economic development instead of non-profit work,” he said.