Go Forward Pine Bluff CEO Ryan Watley has announced the Go Forward Pine Bluff Board of Directors, who will serve as consultants on the various projects proposed by the plan.

In a news release, Watley said, “We again thank the citizens of Pine Bluff for supporting the sales tax increase that will fund the 27 initiatives of the Go Forward Pine Bluff Plan. Your vote solidified the public-private partnership with the City of Pine Bluff and the necessary development of GFPB.

“As part of GFPB's internal progression, we have finalized our Board members. The need to identify individuals with proven leadership in the areas of business, academia, the faith-based community, and social engagement led to the following founding members of GFPB, Inc.'s Board.”

The five-eighths cent Go Forward Pine Bluff sales tax will begin collections on Oct. 1, with the money becoming available to spend on projects on Jan. 1, 2018.

The first quarterly receipt from the Go Forward tax will be $1.1 million with approximate monthly receipts of $365,000, totaling $4.4 million annually, according to GFPB. A new city fund and bank account will be established for GFPB sales tax receipts and appropriation of those funds will be requested by GFPB leadership and approved by the City Council for each initiative. Donations through the GFPB corporation are more difficult to project. However, GFPB expects to receive approximately $1 million per year.

“GFPB would like to thank the committed Board members for volunteering their time and skill set towards the execution of the 27 initiatives,” Watley said in the news release. “We remain grateful to our 100 citizens who participated in the planning phase and with this board we are now prepared to achieve the mission of GFPB, Inc.”

Board members and their respective assignments are listed below:


Earlean Collins, Retired Assistant Principal, Pine Bluff High School Dr. Lawrence Davis Jr., Chancellor Emeritus, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Dr. Connie Hathorn, Superintendent, Watson Chapel School District Dr. Sederick Rice, Assistant Professor of Biology, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


Drew Atkinson, Chief Financial Officer, Pine Bluff Sand and Gravel Steven Brown, Senior Vice President, Relyance Bank Brian Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, Jefferson Regional Medical Center

Citizen's Representative

Irene Holcomb, Former Alderwoman, Pine Bluff City Council Faith Based Community Reverend Jesse Turner, Chairman, Pine Bluff Faith Community Coalition Ministerial Alliance

Go Forward Pine Bluff Representatives

Rosalind Mouser, Assistant General Counsel and Senior Vice President, Simmons Bank Eric Walden, Assistant Chief, Sixth Division Circuit Court


Mary Virginia Makris, Physicians Recruiter, Jefferson Regional Medical Center


Tommy May, Chairman of Simmons Foundation, GFPB Chairman of the Board Mary Pringos, Agriculture Community, GFPB Vice Chairman Dr. Carla Martin, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, GFPB Assistant Vice Chairman Alexandra Kosmitis, Executive Project Manager, Simmons Bank, GFPB Secretary/Treasurer