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Internet firm relocates to Conway with 50 new jobs

Chuck Bartels, AP Business Writer

CONWAY, Ark. (AP) -- An Internet marketing company announced Thursday it is moving its headquarters from New York to Conway and expects to add 50 high-paying jobs over the next four years.

Inuvo Inc. will operate out of the old federal building in Conway, where another tech company, mobile phone app maker PrivacyStar, recently set up shop.

Gov. Mike Beebe noted that earlier in the week he announced a $1 billion steel mill that is planned in northeast Arkansas, with jobs that will pay better than $75,000 per year.

The governor said the state needs a blend of manufacturing and technology-based jobs.

"These are the kind of companies that allow Arkansas to be diversified," Beebe said. "We need both, and we need all kinds."

Beebe kicked in $1.75 million from his Quick Action Closing Fund to help Inuvo with moving expenses and equipment.

Charles Morgan, former CEO of Little Rock-based data company Acxiom Corp., is an Inuvo board member, and Inuvo Chairman and CEO Richard Howe is a former Acxiom executive. Howe credited Morgan with inspiring the move.

"I'm stealing a page from your playbook," Howe said.

Morgan founded Acxiom in Conway, where it still has a significant presence.

Howe said his company develops applications "that make using the Internet easier" and pushes out billions of targeted ads each year.

To support that volume, Howe said the business needs a strong technical side and that he'll be hiring engineers, software developers and marketers.

Howe and Beebe wouldn't say how much the jobs would pay but the governor said the salaries will be quite high.

During the Christmas holiday, including the stretch when central Arkansas got 10 inches of snow, Conway leaders were busy hosting Inuvo employees that Howe wanted to move from New York City to Conway, a university town about 30 miles north of Little Rock. Despite the hardship, Howe said all the workers who made the trip decided to move their families.

Howe said Inuvo will invest about $1 million of its own money in the move and that he looks forward to a period of growth.

"We will be actively hiring," he said.


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