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Jenkin Lloyd Jones, Sr., has had a relationship in supporting the development of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System since the 1920s and saw development of the Arkansas River as important to the economic growth of the area.
Jones completed college in 1933 and joined The Tulsa Tribune that year as a reporter. He later became a columnist, managing editor, associate editor, editor and publisher. He used the voice of The Tulsa Tribune to champion the river's cause. He insured that the newspaper staff was knowledgeable about how the river could be harnessed to meet various needs - flood control, recreation, power and transportation. Editorial columns, many written by Jones, supporting that position played a major role in retaining political support for the river's development. His support extended to related organizations like the Arkansas Basin Development Association.
Those editorials were based not just on what he might glean from a visitor to his office, for he liked to see things himself. In a company plane, he would fly the route being carved out by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers so he could have a feel for what was needed and the progress being made.
Colonel Harley W. Ladd retired from the U.S. Army in 1968 following a tour of duty as District Engineer for the Tulsa District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Arkansas Basin Development Association (ABDA) subsequently employed Ladd. In 1971, he became director of the Tulsa Port of Catoosa.
In a short time he was recognized as an expert on inland port and waterway matters. His dedication to those interests caused Ladd to be elected as an officer and/or as a member of the Boards of Directors of several waterway-related organizations to include the National Waterways Conference, the Arkansas-Oklahoma Port Operators Association and Inland Rivers Ports and Terminals Association. He also served on the steering committee for the Mid-America Ports Study conducted during the mid 1970's.
Colonel Ladd's most significant port/waterway contribution was the role he played in the initial development of the 2,000-acre Tulsa Port of Catoosa. With very limited resources at his disposal, he lead the Port into a positive cash flow position and also initiated the construction of key infrastructure projects paid for by federal grants.
Scott McGeorge is President of Pine Bluff Sand and Gravel Company. This company has a history of operating barges and towboats on the Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Red, Ouchita, Black and Pearl rivers and on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. McGeorge's company is believed to be the largest single shipper on the Arkansas River.
McGeorge has long been a proponent of inland waterway transportation. As a member of the Arkansas River Basin Interstate Committee, he regularly meets with members of Congress seeking funds necessary for the continuing development and protection of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System.
McGeorge was a founder of the Coalition for Montgomery Point Lock and Dam and remains co-chairman to this day. This critical $262-million lock and dam will assure continuation of traffic to and from the Arkansas River during times of low water on the Mississippi. He has served as Chairman for the Arkansas Waterways Commission, twice Chairman for the Pine Bluff-Jefferson County Port Authority; and Co-Chairman for the Greater Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Chamber of Commerce Transportation Committee.
Randy Tardy, of Little Rock, Arkansas, made significant contributions to the development of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System as a newspaper business and transportation writer, staff member of the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce and a news team member of television station KTHV. This role was extremely important in obtaining public support and subsequently Congressional funding for the $1.2 billion project that was at that time the largest project ever undertaken by the Corps of Engineers.
Tardy gained the trust and respect of Corps of Engineers representatives, members of Congress and their staffs, state and local leaders and the larger business community. He stands out among his peers with his ability to grasp the vision defined by the project's originators.
As a respected reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, he became the premier transportation writer in Arkansas. He was recognized in 1997 with the Business Leadership Award by the Arkansas Waterways Association, honored in 1995 by the National Waterways Conference, Inc. "Steamboat Award" and received the Arkansas tourism Henry Award in 1990 for media support.
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