Dr. Chris Jones is stepping down as the head of the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub.
Jones has served as the executive director and lead maker at the North Little Rock-based Hub since 2018. Current deputy director Errin Stanger has been appointed to serve as the organization’s acting executive director.
Jones’ departure was announced in an email on Thursday, April 29. According to the email, Jones will be leaving his role at the end April. “I have shared this with staff and our Board of Directors and now I’m sharing with you, my Hub family. It has been an outstanding journey, full of rewarding projects and wonderful people. Now it is time for me to start out on a new adventure, a new season,” he said in a statement.
In his email, Jones highlighted several accomplishments during his tenure as executive director. He pointed to the establishment of the Hub on Wheels, a mobile makerspace program; Innovate NWA, a pop-up makerspace in Springdale; Best Buy Teen Tech Center & The Hub, a forthcoming after-school clubhouse for students; Skills to Launch, a workforce development program for young adults; Arkansas Digital Literacy, a program to help students, parents and teachers use digital resources; the Innovation Challenge, a science fair alternative; and the Arkansas Maker Task Force, an emergency response team of Arkansas makers who supported PPE production during the COVID-19 pandemic as milestones for him.
An Arkansas native (born and raised in Pine Bluff), Jones has varied educational background, holding five degrees from Morehouse College and MIT. He has bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and physics from Morehouse College, as well as master’s degrees in nuclear engineering and technology and policy and a a doctorate in urban studies and planning from MIT.
Before joining the Innovation Hub, he served as a principal with BCT Partners and was the executive director of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative. In the latter role, he obtained more than $6 million in funding, according to a 2018 Winrock International release.
Jones also served as an assistant dean for graduate education at MIT.
Saying thank you doesn’t capture the depth of my appreciation for how you’ve embraced me and my family over these years. When I left Arkansas, I always knew that I wanted to come back and serve the state that has given so much to me and my family for generations,” he said.