Tech Talk with Charles Morgan, CEO of First Orion and Dr. Chris Jones, Executive Director of AR Regional Innovation Hub

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Tech Talk with Charles Morgan, CEO of First Orion and Dr. Chris Jones, Executive Director of AR Regional Innovation Hub

Time & Location

Mar 13, 2020, 12:00 PM

Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub, 204 E 4th St, North Little Rock, AR 72114, USA

About the Event


Join us for a book signing luncheon with investor, entrepreneur and tech CEO, Charles D. Morgan. Enjoy a box lunch while learning the ins and outs of being a successful businessman as Charles discusses First Orion, his latest book, “Now What? The Biography of a (Finally) Successful Startup” and Arkansas Center for Data Science initiative with Dr. Chris Jones, Executive Director of Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub. Guests will be able to ask Charles questions about his career and business advice as well as get their books signed. This is a free event and lunch will be provided upon registration.

Afterward, anyone interested will be welcome for a tour at First Orion’s newly built headquarters in the Argenta District. 


CHARLES D. MORGAN is the visionary former Chairman and CEO of Acxiom Corporation, a world leader in data gathering and its accompanying technology, which Morgan grew from a small Arkansas company with 25 people to 7000 employees globally and $1.5 billion in revenue. A gadget geek from childhood, Morgan has raced motorcycles, flown jets, and built and driven racecars in a professional racing career. His first book, Matters of Life and Data was published by Morgan James in 2015. Now CEO of his latest tech venture, First Orion, Charles Morgan lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, with his wife, Susie.  

Through his involvement in First Orion and extensive work in tech (i.e. Acxiom, IBM), Charles understands that right now in Arkansas we have a problem—how to find enough qualified tech workers. Our largest companies (i.e. Walmart) have trouble acquiring enough talent. And if Walmart is having trouble filling all its tech jobs, imagine the challenge for all our small startups. It is a problem that never ends. 

Thus, the Blue Ribbon Panel convened by Gov. Asa Hutchinson in 2017 recommended the state launch of a $25 million, a five-year economic development nonprofit to address business challenges in computing and data analytics, and finding better ways to recruit and retain talent to fill technology-related jobs. Therefore, ACDS was formed and it’s underseen by an impressive Board of Directors: Charles Morgan, CEO, First Orion Corporation, Mike Preston, Executive Director, Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Clay Johnson, EVP, Enterprise Chief Information Officer, Walmart Stores, Inc., Scott Spradley, EVP & Chief Technology Officer, Tyson Foods, Inc., Warren Stephens, Chairman, President & CEO, Stephens Inc.

ABOUT THE BOOK – NOW WHAT? The Biography Of A (Finally) Succesful Startup

IF YOU'RE LOOKING for a real-world depiction of the entrepreneurial experience, look no further. Charles D. Morgan's Now What? The Biography of a (Finally) Successful Startup is the riveting first-hand account of his technology startup First Orion and his small team's relentless, nine-year quest to build a call blocking, scam-protection system within the network of a major telecommunications network. 

This is a book tailor-made for the era we live in now when tech startups are the new garage bands and Steve Jobs is the new American Rock Star. If you're a general reader, this book reveals the surprisingly messy life inside your smartphone. And if you're an entrepreneur setting out to secure your place in the Steve Jobs pantheon, Morgan's insights into the entrepreneurial mind and business strategy make this book nothing less than due diligence.


ACDS was incorporated in August 2018 and began operations in November 2018 with initial funding from primarily the Arkansas Economic Development Corporation. The ACDS vision and mission are a bold statement of strategic importance that can play a major role in evolving the Arkansas ecosystem to a true knowledge-based economy. The ACDS will be funded by a combination of public and private resources. The primary objective is to facilitate an increase in the Arkansas workforce in Data Science and Computer Science, with a direct increase in workforce capability and capacity. For more information, visit 


Dr. Christopher M. Jones is Executive Director and Lead Maker of the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub. He has graduate degrees in nuclear engineering and urban planning, and 20 years of experience in energy and infrastructure, diversity, community development, housing and management. Formerly a principal at BCT Partners, Jones was lead executive on numerous multimillion-dollar federal projects. As executive director of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) in Boston, Mass., he secured more than $6 million in funds for the organization and supported a community of active and engaged residents. As assistant dean for graduate education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he led efforts that doubled minority enrollment and more than tripled minority applications to MIT graduate programs. His academic research ranges from plasma fusion and nuclear nonproliferation to the social impact of large-scale energy infrastructure systems. An Arkansas native, Jones has served on or supported several boards of directors and spent one year as an algebra teacher in a Boston public school. Jones holds five degrees, including a B.S. in mathematics and a B.S. in physics from Morehouse College, where he received a full scholarship from NASA and served as student body president; an M.S. in nuclear engineering and an M.S. in technology and policy from MIT, and a Ph.D. in urban studies and planning from MIT. He and his wife, Dr. Jerrilyn Jones, live in Little Rock with their three beautiful daughters.

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