Press Release: Heartland Forward Names J.T. Geren as New Director of Strategic Communications 


He will oversee brand strategy, media relations and more for Heartland Forward 

Bentonville, Ark.Heartland Forward is pleased to announce J.T. Geren has joined the organization as its new director of strategic communications. Geren’s extensive background in communications and marketing makes him a valuable addition to the Heartland Forward team.

“We are delighted to welcome J.T. Geren as our new director of strategic communications,” said Heartland Forward CEO and President Ross DeVol. “J.T. brings a unique perspective shaped by his personal connection to the heartland. His diverse professional experiences and deep-rooted commitment to the heartland will be instrumental as we continue to empower and uplift our communities.”

Before joining Heartland Forward, Geren led communications and marketing for Runway Group, a Bentonville-based holding company for Tom Walton and Steuart Walton’s investments in outdoor recreation, hospitality, aviation and real estate. At Runway Group, Geren was instrumental in advancing its mission to make Arkansas the best place to live.

Geren earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication from Samford University and a master’s degree in sports management from the University of Arkansas. His diverse career spans leadership roles in both the corporate and academic sectors.

Geren’s experience in college athletics includes nearly a decade of leadership in roles at the University of Kansas and the University of Arkansas. While on campus, he led award-winning marketing efforts for Jayhawk and Razorback Athletics, achieving revenue and attendance records. 

Geren has a strong personal connection to the heartland, having lived in Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Kansas. He is a graduate of Leadership Arkansas, Class XVII, and supports a variety of community and civic organizations in Northwest Arkansas.

As director of strategic communications at Heartland Forward, Geren will oversee brand strategy, public relations, media relations and digital communications. His role includes leading Heartland Forward to be a recognized brand among the policymakers, government officials and community leaders who are actively advancing solutions for the heartland’s prosperity. 

Geren aims to position the organization as the “go-to” resource for local, state and national media on matters related to the heartland, especially in key areas of broadband, entrepreneurship and health and wellness. 


About Heartland Forward
Heartland Forward is a policy think-and-do tank dedicated to being a resource for states and local communities in the middle of the country. We do this by studying broad economic trends and building data-driven and community-tested partnerships, programs and policies to address the needs of the heartland – all while helping to change the narrative about the middle of the country and kick-starting economic growth.