University of Arkansas

Walton College

The Sam M. Walton College of Business

Joe T. Ford



ALLTEL Corporation

Little Rock, Arkansas


Joe Ford began his career in telecommunications at Allied Telephone Company in 1959 as a yellow pages salesman. He served in a number of executive positions before becoming Allied president in 1977. When Allied merged with Mid-Continent Telephone Corporation in 1983 to form ALLTEL Corporation, he was named ALLTEL's president. Ford became CEO in 1987 and chairman of the board in 1991.

He received a bachelor's degree from the former UA College of Business Administration in 1959. He also was active in government and civic affairs, serving in the Arkansas Senate from 1967 to 1982. Ford led ALLTEL Corporation through one of the most intense eras of change in telecommunications, including deregulation of the telephone industry and the growth of wireless communications. Over the past several decades, Ford executed more than 250 mergers and acquisitions. He served as a director for The Dial Corporation and Textron Inc. and as a trustee for City Education Trust.


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