Wilson, Arkansas town center

Wilson, Arkansas: Preserving the History, People and Passion Through Agritech

Wilson, Arkansas town center

In the mid-eighteenth century, an enterprising man named Josiah Wilson began purchasing land covered with flooded timber in the Arkansas delta not far from Memphis. By 1850, Wilson had acquired nine hundred acres and cleared one hundred acres for cultivation, eventually growing his holdings to over 2000 acres. In doing so, he had sown the seed that would eventually make his family one of the largest cotton producers in the world.

Close up of cotton plantAfter Wilson’s death in 1916 and a protracted legal battle over his estate, Wilson’s holdings eventually passed to Robert E. “Lee” Wilson. Despite Lee’s limited education, he gradually transformed the original holdings into a Delta empire.

Overcoming floods and various legal battles during the first two decades of the twentieth century, as well as significant financial issues in the 1930’s, Lee grew his holdings to forty-seven thousand acres and developed the town of Wilson, a quintessential “one man” company town. Nearly every building was owned by the Wilson family. Ninety-four employees and its residents shopped at Wilson owned stores and even paid for goods with Wilson currency.

Lee died in 1933 and is buried in the center of town square, a constant monument to the man that truly put Wilson on the map. After Lee’s death in 1933, the business was shortly run by his son, who ceded control to a non-family member, Jim Crain, due to health issues. Jim served as a “placeholder” until the third generation of Wilsons came of age.   From that point forward, the family transformed the business into a portfolio agricultural business holding with twenty-three thousand acres devoted to three primary commodities: cotton, soybeans and rice.[1]

The latest chapter began in 2010 when Gaylon Lawrence purchased the family agricultural holdings, including the town. Gaylon is gradually transforming the town into a culturally significant destination via an investment in new buildings, the renovation and reopening of the Wilson Café, organic farming, art events and a new private school.  All in addition to his nation-wide portfolio of businesses, including Heitz Cellars in California.

Wilson, Arkansas signageOctober is cotton ginning season, and the ginning operation in Wilson is something to see. The outside of the gin looks like an ordinary metal building; however, inside you’ll find aa sophisticated computerized system capable of sorting, cleaning and processing tons of product. This season, the Lawrence Group will process approximately 175,000 bales of cotton and and 60,000 tons of seed for resale. Each bale is approximately 500 pounds and at a price of .80 cents per pound, that means The Lawrence Group will process approximately $70 million in cotton this season.

iConvergence is proud to be a part of the town’s renaissance and as an IT partner entrusted with making sure The Lawrence Group’s IT system functions correctly. In 2018, we sponsored the Town’s music series, which is well known for bringing national acts to Wilson. Despite having a population of fewer than nine-hundred people, Wilson is blessed with a state-of-the-art fiber optic network and public WiFi. As the primary IT and telecommunications provider for the Lawrence Group, iConvergence designs, implements and supports all of its voice, data and video services across seven locations. This includes Meraki switching, point-to-point WiFi, SD-WAN, managed security, Cisco WebEx collaboration, desktop support and remote datacenter services.

Wilson cafeiConvergence has become an integral part of the town. People come up and speak to us when we’re in the Café enjoying a piece of pie or attending town events. They wave to us and see us as “locals,” a sign that the relationship is personal and more than just business. At iConvergence, we try to never lose sight of that and always emphasize the “human” part of what we do.

Y’all come see us in Wilson.

Reach out today.

[1] Jeannie Whayne, Delta Empire, Louisiana State University Press, 2011

Artistic depiction of man using technology

IT and Data Security Should Be a Way of Life for Your Business

Artistic depiction of man using technology

You’re going to get hacked.  Just read the news any day of the week and you’ll quickly realize it’s impossible for any government, corporation, small business or resident to protect their data with 100% confidence.  IT security isn’t just something you install on a computer or connect to your network.  If you want to close the security gap as tight as possible you will have to change the way your business functions.  Security needs to be a way of life.  It has to be as important as the products or services you sell that keep you in business.  Security has to be a part of every business much like accounting. It’s something that every business, no matter the size, must be able to maintain.

Your Current IT Security May Be No Match for Today’s Hackers

Today’s hackers are entering organization’s in so many different ways it’s challenging just to keep the holes plugged.  Just check out this recent article on how “Hackers Could Read Your Hotmail, MSN, and Outlook Emails by Abusing Microsoft Support.” This is why a security stack is necessary.  It’s like layers of an onion.  Someone may get through a layer or two but there is another one waiting just under that one. Stacking your security solution provides your business with the best odds for protecting your data. Below is the stack I recommend every business implement.

  • Firewall
  • DNS Protection
  • Multi-Factor Authentication
  • OS Security Updates & Patching
  • Anti-Virus/Anti-Malware
  • Email Spam & ATP
  • Offsite Backups
  • Employee Security Training

You might be thinking this is overkill and will cost your business way too much.  How much will not having all of this cost you?  This is the world we live in now.  Data breaches leaking medical records, banking information, case files, copy right records, engineering drawings and client information.  Resulting in lawsuits, fines, revoked licenses, degraded brand recognition, loss of customers and business closure. Keep in mind, this example was only a data breach.  I won’t even go through the ransomware attacks or even worse, the guys that just want to delete all of your data because they find it amusing.

Fact is, if you don’t have all of the layers in place that I have recommended above, then you are not doing your best to protect your company’s data, your employees, your customers and frankly, the doors from closing on your company.

At iConvergence, we’re happy to chat about your current environment and see how our security experts and strategy can help ensure your company remains on a path to uninterrupted growth and success.

Let’s talk about protecting your business – contact us today!

Jeremy Roth

Director of Managed Services, iConvergence