Collier Wenderoth Jr.

O.K. Industries Inc.

Fort Smith

Collier Wenderoth Jr.

In 1955 — that's 56 years ago — Collier Wenderoth Jr. inherited the Fort Smith business his father had started in 1933. O.K. Foods came in at No. 7 on Arkansas Business' most recent list of the state's largest private companies with 2009 revenue estimated at $950 million and more than 4,000 employees.

O.K.'s Fort Smith facilities include two poultry processing plants, a feed mill, hatchery, deboning plant and corporate offices, and the company also has operations in Heavener, Muldrow and Stigler, Okla. Wenderoth has served two terms as president of the Arkansas Poultry Federation and two terms as chairman of what is now the National Chicken Council.

He was the Poultry Federation's Man of the Year in 2004, and the University of Arkansas' Poultry Center of Excellence has recognized him as one of the 32 founders of the state's poultry industry. In 2009, he was inducted into the Arkansas Farm Bureau's Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame.

Wenderoth died in 2011.