Two area alums to be honored at annual business luncheon

Mark Langston, executive vice president and chief financial officer for USAble Life and Life and Specialty Ventures (LSV), is the UALR 2014 College of Business Distinguished Alumnus of the Year.

Langston, a 1984 graduate of UALR who holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting, will be honored at the annual College of Business Distinguished Alumni Award luncheon, presented by USAble Life, on Oct. 1 at the Little Rock Marriott in the River Market District.

Talk Business & Politics’ Roby Brock will serve as master of ceremonies.

Joining Langston will be Susan Parke, winner of the Dean’s Award for Excellence. Parke, a 2004 Executive MBA graduate of UALR, is the owner of Beyond Cotton, a women’s upscale clothing store in Little Rock.

Tickets are $100 per person or $1,000 for a table of 10. Sponsorship opportunities are available.

For more information or to RSVP by Sept. 26, contact Andrea Angel at or 501.569.3208. Reservations are also available online.

More about the honorees:

Mark Langston brings more than 30 years of experience serving in leadership positions and as a financial advisor and strategist. In his current role, Langston is accountable for ensuring overall financial strength and stability through effective cost accounting, forecasting, and asset management. He is also charged with assisting in strategy development and execution to significantly grow the company.

Prior to the formation of LSV in 2005 and the movement of USAble Life into the holding company, he served as its Chief Financial Officer. Under his leadership, USAable Life expanded its portfolio of businesses including the purchase of a general insurance and consulting agency and a flexible reimbursement administration company.

Langston’s career began at Deloitte & Touche where he spent nearly nine years and achieved the title of senior manager. Langston later joined Central Arkansas Bancshares as its chief financial officer, where he oversaw both the financial and audit/compliance functions for four underlying banks. He was also instrumental in growing the business and the acquisition of an additional bank.

Next, he moved to Alltel Information Services Inc. to work on special projects ranging from process engineering to facilitating problem solving meetings in a cutting-edge Electronic Meeting Room. Following Alltel, he joined Rasco Burris & Winter, developing new services for the firm including “CFO for Hire,” accounting software consulting, profitability coaching, strategic planning and advanced financial analysis.

Langston is on the Board of Vine & Village, a non-profit helping those in the University District. He also supports the Pfeifer Camp for at-risk youth and was active in Kiwanis for many years. He has served in a variety of capacities at Fellowship Bible Church over the last 20 years ranging from Upward Basketball to teaching various children’s classes. In his free time, Langston enjoys golf, hunting, fishing, jogging and activities with his family, wife, Ann, and two children.

Susan Parke is the owner of Beyond Cotton, a women’s upscale clothing store, in Little Rock. After working in women’s boutiques during college and after graduation, she left the retail industry in 1992 and joined USAble Life as a member of the sales team, offering voluntary insurance products to school employees throughout the state of Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi.

In 1998, Parke joined FedEx Ground (formerly RPS) as an account executive in Central Arkansas. She joined the staff of Junior Achievement of Arkansas Inc. in 2001 as the Director of Development. During her tenure there, she was accepted to the Executive MBA program at UALR and received her degree in December 2004. From 2005 to 2013, Parke worked in commercial real estate, first as the real estate manager for the Metropolitan Bank Building and then in real estate brokerage with Coldwell Banker Commercial Hathaway Group.

Parke had the opportunity to return to her retail roots with her purchase of Beyond Cotton, a West Little Rock store with an exceptionally loyal customer base. She gives UALR credit for giving her the tools and resources to properly evaluate the business and develop a strong plan that ultimately allowed her to follow her dream of small business ownership.

Parke has volunteered in a variety of capacities for organizations including the Museum of Discovery, American Cancer Society, Junior Achievement of Arkansas Inc., St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Delta Delta Delta Sorority Centennial (Delta Iota, University of Arkansas) and the Komen Foundation Runway for a Cause. She and her husband, John, live with their two boxers in Ferndale.

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