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More about Jon and Jennifer: At the peak of a successful 25-year career at Caterpillar Inc. (including director-level positions in Australia, Japan, and most recently, serving as General Manager for their new world-class manufacturing facility in North Little Rock, AR), Jon left corporate America to follow his calling of serving people that are often overlooked and under-appreciated. In this capacity, Jon now serves as Executive Director of “Vine & Village”, a new 501c3 organization spawned from Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas (a multi-ethnic, socio-economically diverse church in the heart of Little Rock, AR) that is focused on returning hope and dignity to both forgotten people and a forgotten area of the city.
This transition from a career focused on “success” to one that focuses on “significance” was an easy one for Jon as the common theme during his career at Caterpillar was his passion for people. Jon is known as a leader that places special attention on the “front-line” team members who are often ignored in many organizations. Through his many years of experience in all corners of the world, Jon has proven that the only sustainable competitive advantage for any organization is to become relentless in developing a team of values-driven, informed and passionate people.
Driven from this passion, Jon founded his own company, VIP2, (which stands for Values-driven, Informed, Passionate People). VIP2, through several avenues, assists organizations with this critical journey, resulting in successful organizations and transformed lives.
Jon holds a BS in Business Economics from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, and is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at Duke University.
Jon’s driving forces in his life are his faith, his family (wife Jennifer and three daughters, Lindsey, Taylor and Grace) and his friends.
More about Eric: Eric is the director of Immerse Arkansas and is a Licensed Master of Social Work (LMSW) having obtained his master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
He and his wife Kara co-founded Immerse Arkansas to meet the needs of youth transitioning from foster care to adulthood. Eric’s focus on supporting foster youth includes work as a houseparent for at-risk youth, work with youth in therapeutic foster care, and engaging in program development for Arkansas Department of Children and Family Services.
Eric is a founding member of the Arkansas Coalition for Transitional Supports and is a driving force for change in the arena of providing support to disconnected and at-risk youth in the state. He and his wife Kara and their two children reside in Little Rock, AR, and are members of Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas.
More about Vine and Village: Vine and Village was spawned from the incredible community work being done via Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas. At both Mosaic Church and Vine and Village, we believe that to truly transform a community three critical components must be in place.
First, community transformation must include spiritual renewal. Debilitating issues that thwart true community transformation, like racism, for example, can only be overcome by a permanent change in the hearts of citizens. This “changing of the heart” is accomplished best through the spiritual aspect of one’s life. As shown above, Mosaic Church is one example of a spiritual oasis in the University District…a church for all people…that specializes in “heart changes”.
Second, we believe that economic renewal must be present in a true community transformation. Thriving schools, parks, retail establishments and businesses are all a part of a healthy community. These institutions provide education, employment, tax revenue, safe places to play and work, and needed goods and services for the people in the community. Mosaic Church and Vine & Village have played a big part in the renewal of the University District by moving into the former Wal-Mart store on Colonel Glenn Avenue several years ago. By resurrecting that “forgotten” building, Mosaic has since drawn other businesses to this strip mall that was dark, unsafe, and not producing jobs or tax revenue. Our commitment to economic development will continue as we move our location, this time as owners instead of renters, to the former K-Mart store at the corner of University and Asher/ Colonel Glenn. This beautiful new building will be a community center (including a park and a playground) that will also house Mosaic Church and the Vine & Village offices. Along with the great work being done by UALR and other business owners, Mosaic and Vine & Village will continue to significantly impact the economic renewal of the Univeristy District.
Finally, there must be a significant social impact to fuel true community transformation. This is the area in which Vine & Village specializes. Through our coordinated efforts / programs, Vine & Village is focused on meeting the spiritual, social and material needs for our community members in the University District. As seen on this website, our programs improve the lives of babies, small children, teens, parents and the elderly. Vine & Village, along with our key partners, serves as a “beacon of light” to those that are in need in the University District (and beyond)…for this is our home, our neighborhood too, and we’re proud to be serving here.