Central Research, Inc. is an award-winning small business located in Northwest Arkansas. We provide a range of innovative services to state and federal government agencies and organizations. Our service areas include: Financial Services and Solutions, Management and Professional Solutions, Data and Information Solutions, and Logistics and Life Cycle Support Services.
CRI’s leadership is comprised of experienced industry professionals.
The current executive leadership of the company consists of the following team members:
Chief Executive Officer
Johnny Dillard, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Central Research, Inc. has dedicated the majority of his life to his country. He served in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War and after completing his tour, joined the Arkansas Army National Guard for the duration of his military career. While in the Arkansas Army National Guard, he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Dr. Dillard retired from the military in 1994 and began his final government employee role by working for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for 10 years. Originally from Arkansas, he moved back to his home state to open CRI with his son Scott Dillard. Dr. Dillard manages the day-to-day business operations of the company, and provides guidance and leadership on business development leads and marketing efforts.
Scott Dillard, MBA co-founded Central Research Inc. in 1999 with his father, Johnny Dillard, PhD. Scott brings years of experience from a Fortune 500 company while he oversees daily operations in all areas of the business. He supports all company marketing campaigns and business development strategies, and supervises contractual negotiations for federal and state government, and commercial business. Scott holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Marketing and Management from Arkansas Tech University, and his MBA from Webster University.
Chief Strategy Officer (CSO)
Don Taylor is a recognized subject matter expert in the collections industry beginning his career in 1978. He started in the industry following 8 years in the US Navy as an Operations Specialist finishing his term with Fleet Training Group in Guantanamo Bay Cuba as an instructor observer. He is also a Viet Nam veteran. His career includes broad experience in operations, sales and regulatory compliance with major national collection agencies. He is recognized nationally, speaking at multiple conferences and has experience in multiple markets includes federal, state and municipal government, student, healthcare and financial services. Don has led three companies as President developing corporate strategy successfully growing these organizations. He also worked as a contract administrator with the US Department of Education and the US Department of the Treasury. His experience also includes working with Congressional staff promoting legislative modifications to better serve the industry. As a strategist he has developed new lines of service and most recently has been instrumental in the development of omni-channel communications including the use of avatars in communicating with consumers. He is known for his motivational speaking and mentoring sharing his wealth of knowledge. Joining Central Research in 2018 as Chief Strategy Officer (CSO), he will be leading multiple initiatives to expand CRI’s presence with both government and private entities.
Chief Operating Officer (COO)
Gus Bell has 40 years of proven leadership and management experience in all aspects of program, contract, financial, and quality management in the Federal Government and private industry. He has directed and managed numerous programs at all levels of the federal government, which included the Department of the Air Force, the Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD), Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and the White House. Mr. Bell served as comptroller for the White House Communications Agency for President Bush and President Clinton. He is a recipient of the Presidential Service Award. After leaving the White House, he received a Presidential Appointment position and was responsible for managing a $550 million annual budget for the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Mr. Bell has had a successful career for seventeen years as an entrepreneur in the public and private sector. He is certified Level III in Program Management and in Financial Management, a graduate of Tuskegee University with a BS in Accounting and received an MBA in Business Management from Troy State University.
Vice President of Information Technology
Steve McGill, MBA and VP of Information Technology brings several decades of IT leadership experience to Central Research, Inc. His range of experience ranges from Fortune 100 to start-ups as well as being a Deloitte and Touché National Outsource service line leader and management consultant. Steve was an officer in the United States Navy (1981 – 1989) and served at CINCPAC amongst other command postings. He has degrees in Economics and an MBA from Oklahoma State University. Steve has worked and consulted for City, County, State and Federal entities and agencies, as well Canadian provinces over the past 30 years. He was an advisory consultant to many Native America Tribes on business development and gaming as well as for energy and tribal systems. His background includes executive leadership positions at the largest travel company in the world, the 2nd largest media new company, large pharmaceutical and financial services companies. He has done global strategy and transformation work for a multitude of companies and has extensive global experience in infrastructure, sourcing, facilities, procurement and contracts.
Vice President of Operations
Karena Holt joined Central Research, Inc. in 2015 as a key addition to the leadership team. She brings over 24 years of credit and collection experience and has held multiple executive positions for some of the industry’s leading firms. As the Vice President of Operations, she was responsible for setting up the infrastructure for the U.S. Department of Education (ED) Federal contract. Karena oversees all operations by providing executive-level leadership. Her thorough knowledge from working on six ED contracts has led her to become proficient with managing operations and the client services of the contract. Karena graduated from Vol-State Community College with a degree in Business Administration with a Concentration on Management. With this experience, she has a comprehensive understanding to the relevant government rules, regulations, and industry best practices.
Pam Holmes joined Central Research, Inc. in 2016 and serves as the corporate Controller. Pam brings over 25 years of executive financial management experience in the government contracting industry. As the Controller, she directs all corporate accounting and financial aspects of the business including accounting practices, audits, budgeting, cash flow and financial planning, interfacing with the financial community, and monitoring of financial performance. Prior to joining CRI, Pam held the positions of controller, director of finance and accounting, and director of internal control and human resources where consistently achieved favorable audit opinions and reports from external or independent auditors, resulting in the recovery of over $100,000 in indirect costs variances. Pam holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Alabama A&M University.