The Team

Jeff Stinson


The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub

For the past 11 years, Jeff has managed the Fund for Arkansas’ Future, the state’s first and largest angel fund. He is passionate about training, empowering, and investing in entrepreneurs.

Fun facts: He won his 2nd grade spelling bee (peaked too early), and made over 350 skydives in college.

Kari Payton

Program Specialist

The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub

Kari Payton is a senior Donaghey Scholar, studying Mechanical Systems Engineering and Sociology with a minor in mathematics. In 2013, her team was awarded Top 25 in the Microsoft Imagine Cup Innovation Competition, and before coming to the Innovation Hub, she worked as a quality and operations engineering intern for LM Wind Power and SouthWest Power Pool. She has a passion for STEM education and over the past two years has volunteered for Girls of Promise, BEST Robotics and MathCounts.

Fun Fact: She once went sledding down a volcano in Nicaragua.

Spencer Jones

Entrepreneur in Residence

The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub

Working as a Registered Nurse in various clinical settings allowed Spencer to gain an in depth understanding of healthcare, leading hum to patent two vascular access devices and complete two business accelerators. He am obsessed with finding innovative solutions for big problems, and is driven to turn the solutions of tomorrow into realities of today.

Fun facts: He listens to rap music almost exclusively, and rarely reads books but love recommending them!

Steve Abell

Vice President, Strategic Services

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Specialty: Financial Services / Valuation / Investment / Insurance
A native of Ohio, Steve received his bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University and is a graduate of the Wharton School’s Advanced Management Program at the University of Pennsylvania. Steve Abell is responsible for the enterprise’s diversified ventures and strategic investments, alliances and teaming relationships, and strategic and annual planning processes. Additionally, Steve is responsible for enterprise project management, which prioritizes projects and ensures alignment with strategic, operational and capital management priorities. Prior to joining Arkansas Blue Cross, Steve provided corporate development and M&A leadership for a large, privately held media corporation, and created successful, team-based solutions for management consulting firms and public-sector organizations.

Fun Fact: Steve is a bass player on the weekends.

Marty Bauer


Iron Yard Ventures

Marty is currently the President of Iron Yard Ventures, which runs top ranked accelerator programs as well as manages a portfolio of 59 early stage tech investments. Prior to Iron Yard, he co-founded multiple startups including one company funded by Iron Yard. In college he was a two-sport division 1 college athlete and now is now a gentle-hearted husband to his wife, Sarah, father of one, and fearless leader of the Iron Yard Ventures. When not working with companies he is an avid homebrewer and fly-fisherman.

G Dennis

Assistant Vice President, Patient Services & Innovation

Baptist Health

Over the last 10 years, I’ve worked in various capacities within the health care industry. I have been a health care entrepreneur, a health care executive, and a health care consultant. I am very passionate and committed to being a part of the health care delivery and business transformation that must occur in order to make health care affordable and accessible in this country. I believe that it is the most exciting industry with amazing opportunities for growth, change, and entrepreneurship.

Fun facts: I once scored 52 points in a high school basketball game, and we still lost! And when I was 7, I was kicked out of Showbiz Pizza now known as Chuck E. Cheese and asked to never return! They even put my photo up with a sign that said “deny entry”!

Warwick Sabin

Executive Director of Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub
Arkansas House of Representatives

Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub

As the State Representative for District 33, Warwick also holds the position of Assistant Speaker Pro Tempore for the 90th General Assembly. He is a Marshall Scholar and a Truman Scholar, and he holds an M.A. in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University and a B.A. (summa cum laude) in Political Science from University of Arkansas, where he graduated as valedictorian and was president of the student body. He received the University of Arkansas Young Alumni Award in 2005 and was named to the Arkansas Business “40 Under 40” in 2003, and he has volunteered and served on the boards of directors for numerous community and nonprofit organizations and projects in Little Rock.

FunFacts: In 2014, he was among 24 national political leaders awarded the Rodel Fellowship by the Aspen Institute for his “outstanding ability to work responsibly across partisan divisions and bring greater civility to public discourse.” Before assuming his position at the Innovation Hub, Warwick was publisher of the Oxford American magazine, and in 2009 he was named to the FOLIO:40, a list of the 40 most influential people in the national magazine industry.