Photography by Lori Sparkman Photography
Why UA Little Rock?
“Born in Puerto Rico, my family didn’t have any means. In my family, no one had graduated college – many even not from high school. We moved to the mainland when I was 15 years old. I tried quitting high school to focus on my mowing business because I was making about $300 a week. That was almost as much as my dad was making in Puerto Rico to feed ALL of us, so I was SET! My parents did not let me. Honestly, I feel UA Little Rock chose me. I was offered the EAST Scholarship and I decided to go. I lost the scholarship with low grades, but I didn’t want to disappoint my parents. What turned it around for me was that I got my first painting job. It was my first trade outside of mowing, so I didn’t know how to bid it. I vowed to never feel any less than I was worth, so I hit the books hard. Decided to go the business track, I was a computer engineering major and didn’t look up until I graduated with a bachelors and a masters degree.
For me, that mowing company became a roofing company, and that roofing company became one of the largest residential construction companies in Arkansas. I ran it for 20 years and sold it. After a long break, I fell in love with financial technology and now I’m the director of strategy and growth for Team Walt, a fintech owned by Southern Bancorp. They have allowed me to keep my entrepreneurial mindset as I find ways to help build applications that could potentially help kids like me escape poverty. I am so thankful and grateful for this opportunity to have impact and be a wealth builder for all.
It is easy to dismiss college, as people often do, by saying you don’t learn anything while going. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. I look back and know that I could’ve never grown the business the way I did without the education I received at UA Little Rock.”
Affordable and relevant, a great metropolitan university is critical to the infrastructure of a vibrant city. It also requires a strong alumni association that’s engaged in civic and business leadership throughout the Capital City. UA Little Rock boasts both – with a shared vision for the future. As UA Little Rock celebrates the success of its alumni, the university and alumni reflect on the role the institution plays in the continued economic development of Central Arkansas and the wealth of knowledge is offer current students.
‘05, Finance | ’09, MBA
Director of Strategy and Growth for Team Walt