Annual Taste of Little Rock honors Ron Lazenby, salutes Greek alumni

Ron Lazenby Pic (1)UALR will honor Ron Lazenby during the 12th annual Taste of Little Rock on Thursday, April 2.

The event, which features an array of great food from area vendors, has grown enough through its 12-year history that for the first time it will be held at the larger venue of UALR Jack Stephens Center from 6 to 8 p.m.

Tickets are $75 per person. Proceeds support the UALR Alumni Association Scholarship Endowment. Call 501.683.7208 for additional information.

About the honoree
Lazenby grew up in North Little Rock. And although he’s had time outside of the Natural State, he calls the area home … once again.

When it came time for college, he did not stray far from the state’s center.  UALR was his collegiate choice partly because it was the thing to do in the 70’s.

“A bunch of us from North Little Rock went to UALR that year,” he recalled during an interview from his office on the third floor of the historic Villa Marre.

His journey — from college to the Navy to helping start a real estate company — has made Lazenby who he is today: a successful businessman. After a tour in the Navy and travels around the world, Lazenby returned and began his career at Vratsinas Construction Company, a construction management company, as a project manager.

As the housing market began to fall in 2007, Lazenby actually took a step closer to real estate. By “flipping” houses — renovating and selling them — he realized he was in the perfect position to partner the startup of a real estate company, although he had to wait for the final pieces to fall into place.

In 2012, Lazenby purchased the Villa Marre. The building, the only Little Rock house from its time period that’s still intact, is now open for venue use. The space also houses the offices for RWL Investments, his parent company, whose name bears his initials.

Looking back, Lazenby reflects on the experiences he had at UALR. “The best way to get involved socially was through the Greek [system],” he explained. The campus was smaller in both student size and physical size, but the experience was that “everybody had jobs” and was working to make educational as well as professional ends meet.

These days, both Lazenby’s sons have made UALR work for them. His oldest is a graduate of the law school, and his younger son is currently heavily involved with Greek life as acting president for the Inter Fraternal Council at UALR.

“Ron is a role model for our students and our Greek organizations,” says Christian O’Neal, Associate Vice Chancellor of Alumni and Development.

“He earned a degree from UALR and learned something from his academic and the Greek journey (in Pi Kappa Alpha) to take to the outside world. Ron believes his lifelong connection to the campus has the potential to give students and Greek chapter leaders more benefit than we might normally imagine.

“He was selected as honoree because he lives our values by connecting with our graduates and always holding them accountable to their lifetime commitment to our University.”

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