Piggott Natives Honored in 'Forty Under 40'

Thursday, August 31, 2017
Alex Baldwin and Matt Spence following the awards ceremony.
courtesy photo

Recently, the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal presented its 21st class of “Forty Under 40” and two local natives are included among those honored. The award serves to recognize 40 individuals in the business world who are making a positive difference in both their professions, and in their communities. Among those recognized were Piggott natives Matt Spence and Alex Baldwin.

The publication first started naming the list in 1997, as a way of honoring 40 outstanding professionals under the age of 40 who live and work in the six-county area of Benton, Washington, Carroll, Madison, Sebastian and Crawford counties. The winners were nominated by their peers from all industries, and this year's class was chosen from over 100 nominees from both the non-profit and for-profit sector.

Alex Baldwin opened his own State Farm insurance agency in Faytteville in October of 2010 when he was 27 years old. Now, seven years later he's grown the business from two employees to 12 and premium revenue this year is expected to hit around $950,000, an incrase of 31 percent from the previous year.

In recognition of his success, the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce named the agency as the city's best small business for 2013. Earlier this year Baldwin was also recognized at the annual State Farm event in California as the sixth-best agency in the United States, competing against more than 18,000 agents.

The son of Suzie Morris and Danny Baldwin of Piggott, Alex is a graduate of PHS and later graduated from the University of Arkansas with a finance degree.

Afterward, he went to work for veteran State Farm agent Roger Clark, and after two years transferred to central Arkansas. He returned to Northwest Arkansas in 2010.

In looking ahead to his longterm goals, Baldwin notes he hopes someday to become the largest State Farm agency in the state.

Alex is married and has two children. He is a current board member of the Central United Methodist Church, where he teaches a Sunday School class.

He's served on a variety of boards, including the Fayetteville Chamber, Fayetteville Future Fund and UA Young Alumni. He's also a graduate of Leadership Fayetteville.

Matt Spence leads a team of 140 employees, across 17 stores throughout the region, overseeing sales and operations for AT&T.

He began working for the communications giant in 2007, serving as a sales representative at a store in Russellville. Later, he was promoted to store manager, then left to open a store in Poplar Bluff.

Under his guidance the Poplar Bluff location was recognized as the number one store in the nation. Later he transferred to a struggling Little Rock store before progressing to area sales manager for southern Arkansas.

Since relocating in 2015, he has strived to improve customer service and sales. Recognizing how competitive the industry is, he has also worked hard to get customers the services they want—when they expect them.

As a result, his area leads in customer service for the AT&T submarket, which includes Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri.

In 2015 Spence was selected to develp a program to improve customer service in stores across the nation. He also opened the first “Store of the Future” in Rogers, and is working to redesign the area stores with Razorback branding.

During his time with AT&T he has promoted more than 50 employees, and his sales team has received the AT&T Summit Award four times. He was also the first recipient of the engagement award in Arkansas and was selected to take the retail management development program.

The father of two, Spence is a volunteer for Junior Achievement for Northwest Arkansas, United Way, Girl Scouts and the Susan G. Komen effort. He enjoys golf, deer hunting and is a huge Razorback fan.

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