The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has recognized two talented business leaders in Arkansas as the 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients for the UA Little Rock School of Business.
Brad Eichler, head of investment banking at Stephens Inc., has been named the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year, while Chris Raper, chief strategy officer for Smiley Technologies, Inc., received the Dean’s Award for Excellence. They were recognized during an Oct. 7 awards ceremony at the Little Rock Marriott.
“The School of Business is extremely honored to recognized two very deserving alumni for their successes: Brad Eichler and Chris Raper,” said Dr. Robert Mitchell, director of the School of Business at UA Little Rock. “These individuals represent our missions to make a difference in the lives of our students and to impact our community partners. I thank each of you for your support to the UA Little Rock School of Business and your commitment to quality business education and community impact.”
The Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor granted by the UA Little Rock School of Business, is given to a graduate who has made a significant impact in business or a nonprofit organization and has served the Little Rock community and UA Little Rock.
“The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is a great asset for our community,” Eichler said. “The university provided me with a high-quality education and prepared me for life after the classroom.”
Eichler joined Stephens in July 1991 as an associate in the firm’s Research Department covering the property and casualty insurance industry. In 1999 he began to focus on building the firm’s research effort in information technology and services. He was named director of research in 2006 and co-head of investment banking in 2007. He currently oversees more than 220 banking professionals across nine offices in the U.S. and operations of Stephens Europe Limited in London, England, and Frankfurt, Germany.
Prior to joining Stephens, Eichler spent two years with Merrill Lynch Capital Markets. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in finance from UA Little Rock and earned the designation of Chartered Financial Analyst in 1995.
The Dean’s Award for Excellence is granted to a graduate of the past 10 years who has shown promise as a leader in business or nonprofit work and who is actively involved in serving Little Rock and the university.
“I am so thankful for what UA Little Rock is doing for our community and beyond. Being selected as the recipient of the Dean’s Award for Excellence was a humbling experience,” Raper said. “I am very honored to have been recognized for an award in which I did not seek out. There are many people to thank for helping me get where I am today. It’s a team effort both at home and at work. Thanks to my Smiley Technologies teammates and my family.”
Raper joined Smiley Technologies in 2018. He has previously served as chief operating officer and was responsible for customer support, client relations, quality management, and data processing and analytics. As chief strategy officer, he is responsible for strategic planning, product development, merger and acquisition activity, and partnership development.
Before joining Smiley Technologies, Raper spent 23 years in the telecommunications industry in various leadership roles focused in financial and strategic planning, data analytics, competitive intelligence, and product management and development. He has earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and an MBA from UA Little Rock.
The School of Business Distinguished Alumni Luncheon was sponsored by Stephens Inc., Smiley Technologies, Arkansas Business, and U.S. Bank.