Born and raised in Oklahoma. Glen L. Cheatham entered the port and waterway business in 1973, when he was employed by WillBros Terminal Company at the Port of Muskogee, as Assistant Port Superintendent. During his 13-year employment at the Port of Muskogee, Cheatham became active in several water-related organizations, including treasurer and member of the Executive Committee of the Oklahoma Governor's Waterways Advisory Team.
He joined the Oklahoma Department of Commerce as director of the newly-formed Oklahoma Waterways Office in December, 1986. In July 1993, the Oklahoma legislature transferred that office to the Department of Transportation, where he recently retired as head of the Waterways Branch.
Cheatham has served as executive vice president of the Arkansas Basin Development Association, Inc. (water resources voice for the Arkansas River Basin) since 1989. Since that time, he has prepared the annual testimony for water resources funding needs for Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma to present to the U.S. House and Senate Subcommittees on Energy and Water Resources Development.
Cheatham has benefitted inland river navigation in many other ways. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Arkansas-Oklahoma Port Operators Association, serving as an officer for four years and as president in 1986. He is a former Executive Committee member of the Water Resources Congress, and is a past Chairman of the Board of the Inland Rivers, Ports and Terminals, Inc. (IRPT), serving as President for three consecutive years - 1998, 1999 and 2000. He now serves on the Executive Board of Directors of the National Waterways Conference, Inc., and has been on the executive committee of the Oklahoma Transportation Center at Oklahoma State University & University of Oklahoma since its inception in 2001. Additionally, he has been a member of the Oklahoma Maritime Security Committee, under the U.S. Coast Guard, since its inception 5 years ago. Cheatham has also been active as a member of the AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) Standing Committee on Water Transportation for a number of years. The Waterways Branch was host to their spring 2007 meeting in Tulsa.
James E. Danaher of Jefferson County, Ark., had his farm cut in two by construction of the Boyd Point Cutoff just North of Pine Bluff for what was to become part of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System. This did not dampen his spirits. He was an enthusiastic optimist, and made land separated by the waterway from his farm available for commercial and industrial use. In addition, he personally developed an extensive recreational marina as well as Island Harbor Estates, a residential subdivision offering home sites along canals for pleasure craft with access to the navigation system. As a farmer, Jim Danaher recognized the great potential the waterway would offer agriculture through the cost saving shipment of grains and fertilizer. He became a staunch promoter of the river transportation.
Prior to being appointed a member of the Pine Bluff-Jefferson County Port Authority, he was a non paid civic volunteer involved in numerous projects that benefitted the waterway, port and community. While Port Authority Chairman in 1985 and 1986 Jim Danaher was intimately involved in expansion of the harbor and Industrial District through the use of hydraulic fill, creating additional barge transport oriented industrial sites. He served on the board from 1978 to 1990.
Using his yacht, he often provided visiting industrialists with on-the-water tours on the navigation system, lock and dam operation, and the Harbor Industrial District of the Port of Pine Bluff. His warm reception and hospitality was legendary and contributed to the attraction of waterway oriented industry and jobs.
Today, thanks to the vision and efforts of Jim Danaher and his Port Authority associates, the Authority's initial $3 million investment in the Harbor Industrial District has stimulated another $50 million in investments with more than 500 jobs.
Tulsa's last street commissioner, J.D. Metcalfe was one the "fathers" of the city's flood-management program. One of his greatest legacies is the city's stormwater drainage system. And while that might not seem glamorous, it has had far-reaching effects, including saved lives.
The flood control fight was very controversial, and polarized Tulsans in the 1980s. Metcalfe established a system to regulate development in floodplains, maintain the storm-drain system and build flood control projects in 1985. The reform followed a 1984 flood that led to 14 deaths and $200 million in damage across the city.
Metcalfe was born in Pearsall, Texas. He received a degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M University in 1937. A registered professional engineer in Texas and Oklahoma, he was a lieutenant colonel in the Army Corps of Engineers during World War II and received the Bronze Star. After 45 years in the construction industry, and president of Standard Industries from 1967 to 1980, Metcalfe was elected the city's public works commissioner in 1984, and was reelected twice until a change in the city charter eliminated the position in 1990.
"J.D. was an absolute gem to know," said Susan Savage, Oklahoma's secretary of state and former Tulsa mayor. She said she knew Metcalfe for more than 20 years and worked with him for much of that time. "He really understood the role of a public servant," she said. "Hecarried out everything he did."
Metcalfe established a system to regulate development in floodplains, maintain the storm-drain system and build flood-control projects in 1985. The system was ranked No. 1 in the nation by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). He also supervised about $275 million in major street and flood-control projects paid for with sales tax and bond issue funds. He later served on the Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority from 1993 to 2001, and served as chair from 1997 to 1999.
Utility Authority member Richard Sevenoaks said Metcalfe was "the Godfather of City Hall" for several years and was relied on heavily for advice by city officials. He was an early proponent of protecting the city's drinking water watersheds and reservoirs.
J. D. Metcalfe was an "urban statesman" who also lent a fatherly touch to relationships with his colleagues, said Ann Patton. He was "such an amazing good man and such a good human being who inspired faith in the people who worked for him," Patton said. "He believed in us, and that made us more than we were."
Metcalfe's engineering work benefited the entire nation as other cities began to copy his programs.Tulsa Partners Inc., a nonprofit organization that works to help reduce disaster losses, named its top award the Metcalfe Building Bridges Award in his honor. The Tulsa Post of the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) announced plans to award three $1,000 scholarships to Junior or Senior students in Engineering, Biological Sciences and Physical Sciences programs in honor of Mr. Metcalfe. He received the Outstanding Public Service Award from FEMA in 1992, and was a board member of the Arkansas River Historical Society.
Col. James Phillips is a native of Little Rock, and holds degrees from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville and Lehigh University. Phillips spent 30 years in the U.S. Army as a commissioned officer. As an Army Engineer, he served various levels of command. They included deputy commander of the then-Lower Mississippi River Valley Division, Vicksburg, Mississippi, which included the St. Louis, Memphis, Vicksburg and New Orleans engineer districts. He served commands in South Korea, Viet Nam and at Ft. Leonard Wood MO. He also served as secretary of the Mississippi River Commission and deputy commander of the Lower Mississippi Valley Division, both based in Vicksburg. His Military awards include the Combat Infantry Badge, Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Air Medal.
He was well prepared for civilian duties with the Arkansas Waterways Commission, the state body that fosters development of Arkansas' navigable rivers.
Phillips points to numerous accomplishments during his tenure on the commission. He worked to improve navigation on the Arkansas through adequate channel markings which could withstand very high and swift flows. When Phillips took the commission job in 1980, the Arkansas, he said, "was not adequately marked." Phillips also worked with the Commission to retain the officer grade of Colonel for the Little Rock District after an effort was made in the early 1980s to replace the District Engineer with a lower grade lieutenant colonel.
Philliips worked to help realize a Slack Water Harbor at the Port of Little Rock. Through the Commission, Propeller Club, and the state's Congressional Delegation and others, a successful campaign was launched to get the project funded and approved. Today the sizeable tonnage figures from the Port of Little Rock are buoyed by the Slack Water Harbor's attractiveness.
He also had a strong interest in realizing the need for a lock and Dam on the White River entrance linking the Mississippi and Arkansas rivers. Water elevations on that stretch rose and fell with levels of the adjoining Mississippi, and periods of low water on the Mississippi impeded barge transportation. Because of his persistence, the Waterways Commission recommended a more detailed study of the problem, and after more public meetings and hearings, what is today Montgomery Point Lock and Dam was approved and the project funded.
Phillips said the Waterways Commission has done and excellent job for the state, and he termed the Corps of Engineers "a national treasure." But when it comes to getting waterway projects approved and funded, "the politicians are the ones that ultimately decide."
H. Nelson Spencer is the president and owner of The Waterways Journal, Inc., a 123-year-old publishing company based in St. Louis, Mo. The company's largest publication focuses on the inland river barge transportation industry as covered in its weekly trade magazine, The Waterways Journal. It also publishes two annual books, the Inland River Guide and the Inland River Record. Spencer was named Publisher of The Waterways Journal prior to being its owner in 1980 and he retains that title to present day.
His passion for the barge industry grew after graduating from Lake Forest College in 1967. Immediately following school he spent time decking for Huffman Towing Company on the Illinois Waterway and working as a deck hand/dispatcher for Crounse Corporation on the Green River at Calhoun, Ky.
In 1969 Spencer joined The Waterways Journal masthead, primarily writing stories and selling advertising space. Later, he established an office in New Orleans and was responsible for expanding the business and adding new titles. He steered the company through hard times and challenges specific to publishing. And after 41 years, he continues to cover issues important to the industry and help companies get their sales messages in front of loyal readers.
Spencer has and continues to be an ardent supporter of the industry as evident by coverage in The Waterways Journal. He has also spent countless hours supporting organizations that support river commerce.
He is currently on the Board of the National Waterways Foundation, National Waterways Conference, Upper Mississippi Waterways Association, Inland River Ports and Terminals, and the National Association of Marine Surveyors. He is an active member of numerous other organizations, including Waterways Council Inc. and the Gulf Intracoastal Canal Association. Additionally, The Waterways Journal is a co-founder and sponsor of the annual Waterways Symposium.
"Thanks to the industry's valued support," says Spencer, "The Waterways Journal will continue on, like river commerce itself, well beyond my tenure and on to the next. It's been a privilege to document the development of projects like the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, to watch them grow and prosper and return to the nation benefits far beyond what was projected, and we're sure there will be much more to report in the future."
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