Dave Robertson, director of the Family Enterprise Center (FEC) at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, has announced his plans to retire on Dec. 31, 2020. Robertson joined UAFS in this role in April of 2009, prepared by a 29-year career in various accounting and auditing positions in the Fort Smith region.
The FEC is a business outreach program within the UAFS College of Business that provides support and guidance to multi-generational family-owned businesses through educational programs, workshops and peer groups. The center was opened in 2004 to provide assistance to local family businesses with planning for successful generational transition of both ownership and leadership.
“This has been the most rewarding and fulfilling time in my 40-year career, and what a joy to be able to cap off my working life at such a vibrant and exciting place as UAFS,” Robertson said. “I am very grateful for having had the opportunity to work with family businesses, to teach business classes to UAFS students, and to plan and deliver training events for our local workforce.”
In addition to his duties with the FEC, Robertson also led the Center for Business and Professional Development (CBPD) at UAFS from 2014-2019. The CBPD at UAFS provides contract training and consulting to regional businesses, open enrollment professional development programs and a workforce leadership associate degree program for new and incumbent workers.
Robertson lauded this program as well, stating, “Kendall Ross [current CBPD director] and the faculty and staff of the CBPD work hard to continue the 30-plus-year tradition of the CBPD at UAFS, and I’m so proud of this program and the training it provides for our workforce.”
Between 2014-2016 Robertson and CBPD faculty and staff were successful in landing a Jobs Driven National Emergency Grant for $457,000 that provided workforce training for 136 underemployed workers with 113 – or 83 percent – also finding new employment with local employers. Training provided under this program included industrial multi-craft maintenance, medical coding and billing, and commercial driving/CDL options.
“Being able to see the impact of your work on someone’s life and their future successes and enjoyment of being successful was a fun way to end my career,” Robertson said. “I’m forever grateful to UAFS and to the members and leaders of the FEC and the CBPD for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I love telling anyone that will listen what a great treasure UAFS is for our region and how well we take care of our students.”
Robertson said he plans to spend his retirement time with his grandchildren as well as on his music and gardening. UAFS will soon launch a national search to identify a new director.