The Rise and Fall of Ed Harvey's Business Empire

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Aug. 2, 2010 12:00 am  

First Security hoped to ask Ed Harvey about those assets in a deposition for its White County collection suit, but his lawyer instead filed an exhibit dated March 24 in which Dr. Pham Liem of Little Rock said Harvey had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Circuit Judge Thomas Hughes ruled on June 24 that Harvey must sit for the deposition, but a date hasn't been set, Donovan said.

Meanwhile, Harvey is still on the board of a bank his wife now owns, Preston National Bank in Dallas. The bank's president, Douglas Hester, didn't return several calls seeking comment.


'A Real Innovator'

Harvey, father-in-law of U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., has never granted an interview to Arkansas Business and declined through Donovan to be interviewed for this article. If he's ever been interviewed at length, Arkansas Business couldn't find a report of it.

"He was a humble man," said his friend of nearly 40 years, Charles Nash of Lockesburg. "He didn't go around blowing his horn or seeking publicity."

Harvey "had almost boundless energy and a vision to see how to do things that was different than other people," Nash said.

It's unclear what Harvey did immediately after he graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 1954 with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. But on Oct. 28, 1966, Harvey filed paperwork with the Arkansas Secretary of State's Office to form Harvey Engineering & Manufacturing Corp. of Hot Springs.

Nash, 75, said that he started his long association with Harvey by going to work for Harvey Engineering in 1973. They created a lumber recovery system for the timber industry, he said.

"We developed a laser measuring system that enabled the computer to take a 3D picture of the board," he said.

The computer initially determined how to get the most usable boards from a wood slab, Nash said. Later, the equipment was programmed to maximize profit based on the current market price of various sizes of board.

The equipment was revolutionary for the timber industry in the 1970s, Nash said.



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