Former Tyson Executive Buddy Wray Named to Arkansas Business Hall of Fame
The Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas and the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame Board announced Thursday four inductees who will join the Arkansas Hall of Fame in 2015, and Donald “Buddy” Wray (Arkansas AZ Chapter), a former Tyson Foods Inc. executive, is one of them.
Wray was president of the Springdale-based company from 1991 until he retired in 2000, and he served on its board of directors from 1994 to 2003, according to a press release from Walton College.
In 2008, he returned to Tyson to take on the role of executive vice president-special assistant to the president and chief executive officer.
Wray started as a service technician at Tyson in the early 1960s, but soon worked his way up to plant manager, leading the Rogers plant and the Springdale plant at different times.
During the 1970s-80s, he had significant influence on acquisition growth and also the company’s product development, sales and marketing — culminating in his promotion to chief operating officer, according to the college.
Wray previously was named University of Arkansas Distinguished Alumni of the Year in 2000, given a Northwest Arkansas Community College “Quality of Life” award in 2012, and was inducted into the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame in 2012.
The UA Dale Bumpers College of Agriculture also created the Donald “Buddy” Wray Chair in Food Safety in his name in 2004.
“We are pleased to welcome another distinguished group of business leaders to the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame,” Eli Jones, Walton College dean, said in the press release. “They join an exceptional list of inductees who have been recognized among the best in Arkansas business. The outstanding achievements of these four, just as all of the hall of fame’s current members, will have an impact on the future business leaders in Arkansas and around the world.”
The other inductees who will join the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame Feb. 13, 2015, include Al Bell, former executive and owner of Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee; Stephen L. LaFrance Sr., former owner of USA Drug in Pine Bluff; and Millie Ward, co-founder and former president of Stone Ward in Little Rock.
Hall of Fame inductees must be over 60, and criteria included the significance of the impact made as a business leader, the concern demonstrated for improving the community and the display of ethics in all business dealings, according to the press release.
Greg Lee, a Walton College alum and the retired chief administrative officer and international president of Tyson, chaired the selection process, which included the solicitation of nominations through a committee of 18 business leaders and the selection of the inductees by a committee of nine business and community leaders.
The induction ceremony will be held at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock.