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W. E. "Bill" Henderson grew up on a farm in Lonoke County near Carlisle, AR. In World War II, at age 20, he entered the U.S. Army Air Corps and served 28 months as an aerial gunner before being discharged and returning to the family farm in May 1946. In September 1948, he enrolled at the University of Arkansas- Fayetteville, earning a BA degree with a major in journalism. Four years later in the spring of 1952, he entered graduate school at Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., where he earned an MS in Journalism in June 1953. That same month he began his career with the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce, serving as manager of the research department, oil activities department and industrial department. In 1957-58, he managed the Denison, Texas Chamber of Commerce before joining the Little Rock Chamber staff.
From June 1, 1961 to March 8, 1971 he was executive vice president and general manager of the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce. That position also included serving as executive vice president of the Arkansas Basin Association. ABA was the development organization for the Arkansas River Navigation Project.
The ABA coordinated its activities with similar groups in Oklahoma and Kansas. "These were the years when most of the construction on the McClellan-Kerr Navigation Project took place," Henderson said in a May 1982 interview with the Arkansas Democrat. He continued: "The Association conducted activities to generate citizen-support for the river development and lobbied Congress for development funds." For several years during the 1960s Henderson coordinated the annual appearances by the Arkansas Congressional Delegation before the Senate and House Appropriations committees and personally drafted the delegation's testimony. In his ABA role, he drafted the policy regarding the naming of structures on the river system in the state.
Henderson termed the Arkansas River Navigation Project, along with the merger of then-private Little Rock University into the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, "as the two most significant projects during my 12 and one-half years" with the Little Rock Chamber. "In both instances, the impact will be felt for generations." During his years there, the Chamber also, worked to develop the Port of Little Rock, worked for riverfront development along the new waterway and "promoted the new export-import opportunities available with a navigable Arkansas River," Henderson said.
Bill Henderson was named an honorary life member of the Little Rock COC, and was the first honorary life member of the Arkansas COC Executives where he had also served as president. He was listed in "Who's Who in America," "Who's Who in Finance and Industry" and "Who's Who in Government."
Terence G. McDonald was born May 24, 1916, in rural Peabody, Kansas. After college graduation, he left Peabody with his wife Lydia and embarked on a career in the agricultural industry. That decision led him to ultimately impact the physical development of the Tulsa Port of Catoosa more then any other person since it opened for business in December of 1970. Prior to assuming responsibility for the Port's grain elevator in 1976, he served as President of Garvey International, of Wichita, Kansas. During his tenure with Garvey, he managed the construction of new houses in Mexico, Chile, Bolivia and Columbia. He also built flourmills in Jamaica and Trinidad and managed Garvey's grain handling and merchandising operations at the Port of Catoosa.
Always looking for new opportunities, Terence, or TG as he was often called by his many friends, negotiated a buy out of the lease of the Port's Grain elevator from Garvey and with the Port Authority's approval embarked upon an impressive grain and fertilizer development program. To briefly summarize, he increased the storage capacity of the Port's grain elevator to 5 million bushels and soon thereafter put an incredible annual volume of 20 million bushels of wheat through the facility. He took over the operation of the Port's fertilizer facility from the Williams Companies and expanded its storage by 30,000 tons, bought 20 semi-trailer grain trucks and built a truck stop at the front of the Port to repair and fuel them. He contracted with the Tulsa Port of Catoosa to assume operation of the Port's towboats and railroad, and transferred his offices into the Port's administrative building.
This impressive six-year development record attracted the attention of ConAgra Inc. to whom he sold his leasehold estate in 1980. Terence would later purchase Tuloma Stevedoring (operator of the Port's general cargo dock), which remains in the McDonald's holdings with his son Terry now at the helm.
Aside from his tremendous business talents, he was totally devoted to Lydia, his wife of 58 years and their children--Terry, Mary and Myron. He was an avid pilot, devoutly religious, a Mason, and a member of the Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs. Terence died in April 1996.
Lew Meibergen was born in Enid, Oklahoma, and attended Enid High School. Following graduation from OSU with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Animal Science and later with his Masters Degree from the graduate school of banking at the University of Wisconsin in 1973, Lew worked for five years as a Manager in the W.B. Johnston Grain, Feed and Seed Company in Fairview, OK, part of his family's numerous business holdings, all of which he purchased in 1976. Lew devoted the next six years of his life as an Oklahoma Commissioner of Agriculture, Member of the OSU Board of Regents and other related State Agricultural boards. He then went on to hone his financial skills by serving as an officer for eleven years at Liberty National Bank and Trust Company of Oklahoma City and later as President of the First National Bank and Trust Company in his home town of Enid.
In recent years, Lew acquired and developed Johnston's Port 33-the largest private Port on the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System. Applying his many talents, he has made a huge success of this Port operation leading to his agreeing to expand it and the general dry and dry bulk operations at the Port of Muskogee where they are the Port's general dry bulk terminal operator. He often privately asserts that these Port operations saved his own business whereas his waterway colleagues believe that he saved the river by standing up and fighting for its survival to include convincing the Congress to fund the construction of Montgomery Point Lock and Dam.
Lew is currently serving on the following boards: The Oklahoma Waterways Advisory Board, OSU Dean of Agriculture's Advisory Board, and The Oklahoma State Chamber Board of Directors where he is chairman of the transportation committee. He is Chairman of the Terminal Elevator Grain Merchants Association, a member of the Garfield County Fairgrounds Trust Authority, a member Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality Board, President & Director of the Enid Board of Trade, President & Director of the Oklahoma Grain & Feed Association, and is President of the Governor's Waterways Advisory Team. He is also Director & Chairman of the Oklahoma Bankers Association Agricultural Committee, a Director of the National Grain & Feed Association, a Commissioner of the Kansas-Oklahoma Arkansas River Association, Director & Member of the Executive Committee of the National Grain Trade Council, and a Director of the Arkansas Basin Development Association. In addition, he is on the Governor's Agriculture 2000 Task Force and is a member of the Oklahoma International Trade Development Council.
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