Wes Kemp retired as President and Chief Executive Officer for ABF Freight System, Inc. on January 1, 2012. He joined ABF as a management trainee in 1969 upon graduation from the University of Arkansas with a BSBA Management degree. He also successfully completed the Executive Program at Northwestern University in Advanced Transportation/Logistics Management and held a variety of positions during his 42-year ABF career, including Senior Vice President of Operations.
Wes and his late wife, Sharon Ann, were married for 46 years and had two children, Wes II and Caroline. He is an elder in the First Presbyterian Church of Alma, Arkansas, and has served on the board of directors for the following organizations: Bost, Inc, Mack-Blackwell Transportation Center, Supply Chain Management Research Center, Walton College Dean’s Executive Advisory Board, Economics Arkansas, and Economics Arkansas Foundation.
In 2005, he and his wife established the Wes and Sharon Kemp Doctoral Fellowship in the Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas to support students in the field of Transportation Logistics. They were subsequently inducted into the Towers of Old Main Society. In 2011, Wes was named a Walton College Distinguished Alumni. They gifted funds in 2014 to advance the study of Free Market Capitalism. Wes also established an endowed scholarship in memory of his wife for the Advancement of Free Enterprise. In 2016, he joined six other investors to purchase Capitaf, Nobel laureate Milton Friedman’s summer estate in Vermont, which has been converted into a conference center for the study of the free-market principles advanced by Professor Friedman. During the summers of 2017-2022, he accompanied a total of 6 groups made up of 10-12 University of Arkansas students who visited the site and participated in the studies.
In retirement, Wes serves as an Executive in Residence and Adjunct Instructor in the Walton College, where he taught the course entitled The Logistics of Capitalism for four years. He currently oversees the online Certificate for the Study of Capitalism initiative housed under the Executive Education program of the college. He served as an advisor for the Young Americans for Liberty RSO (Registered Student Organization), assisted in the launch of the This is Capitalism! RSO, and speaks to various groups across the country on the Free Enterprise System. In the fall of 2022, he and Martha Ford married and make their home in Alma, Arkansas, a short distance from the University of Arkansas campus. Like Wes, Martha lost her spouse to an illness.