Interim Director Named for Center for Business and Economic Research
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Mervin Jebaraj, assistant director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, has been named interim director of the center, effective April 17.
Jebaraj will lead the center during the search for a permanent replacement for Kathy Deck, director of the center since April 2007.
“The center has become the most relied-on resource for critical economic information in the state of Arkansas – and it will continue to fill that role,” said Jebaraj. “I look forward to continuing to provide the full range of economic analyses and services that we are known for.”
Jebaraj earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and international relations from the University of Arkansas in 2007 and a Master of Public Administration in public policy from the U of A in 2011. He has been with the center since 2007.
Jebaraj has led the development of economic studies for the Northwest Arkansas Council, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, the Jones Center for Families, and the University of Arkansas, among many others. He has been recognized as one of the “Fast 15” by the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal, was one of the “20 in their 20’s” by Arkansas Business, and was a member of Leadership Arkansas Class VIII.
Deck is moving to the University of Alabama to take a position as director of community and economic research partnerships in the Culverhouse College of Commerce. Her husband, Cary, a professor in the Department of Economics in Walton College, will be the Lee Bidgood Chair in Economics and Finance at the University of Alabama, starting in fall 2017.
“This was a very difficult decision for both Cary and me,” Deck said. “We really love Northwest Arkansas and the University of Arkansas. It took a truly remarkable offer to get us to even consider leaving – but ultimately this is a very exciting opportunity for both of us.”
While at the center, Deck managed studies for a wide variety of business, non-profit and governmental organizations in the state of Arkansas and served as a media resource for economic analysis of current events and trends. Deck has appeared each year at the annual Business Forecast luncheon hosted by the Walton College to comment on regional economic trends and she has been a frequent commentator on economic issues affecting Northwest Arkansas and the entire state of Arkansas.
There will be a reception to allow the community to bid Deck farewell from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, April 7, in room 203 of Willard J. Walker Hall on the University of Arkansas campus. Remarks will be made at 4 p.m. and all are invited.
About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.
Steve Voorhies, manager of media relations
David Speer, director of communications
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