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Arkansas Business Power List 2016: Energy & Utilities

5 min read

Walter Bryant, 58

Division Vice President of Regional Operations
CenterPoint Energy, Little Rock
Walter Bryant is Mississippi born and raised, but as CenterPoint Energy’s leader in four states, he has called Arkansas home since 2006, when he became division vice president of the state’s largest gas utility. Houston-based CenterPoint, which filed for a rate increase with the Arkansas Public Service Commission in November, serves 430,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Arkansas. A native of Okolona, Mississippi, Bryant leads operations in Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Oklahoma. He is a graduate of Mississippi State University and serves on the boards of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and Arkansas’ Independent Colleges & Universities.

Andrew Clyde, 52

President and CEO
Murphy USA Inc., El Dorado
Andrew Clyde has nurtured Murphy USA since 2013, when it was spun off from Murphy Oil Corp. The company operates more than 1,300 gas stations and convenience stores in 24 states. A graduate of Southern Methodist University with a degree in accounting and a minor in geology, he earned a master’s in management at Northwestern University and joined Booz & Co.’s energy department in 1993. He is now charting an independent growth plan for the company after a decision by Wal-Mart, a partner in some 1,200 locations near its stores, to develop its own gasoline sales at sites not already committed to Murphy USA.

John Harris, 51

President and CEO
Coulson Oil Co., North Little Rock
John Harris has sold fuel in several capacities at Coulson Oil, where he became CEO in 2013, but now he’s helping Arkansans fill up on something else — beer. After leading Coulson back into retail with the purchase of two Texarkana stores in 2012, Harris lobbied for allowing the sale of beer growlers — sealable containers filled from drafts —  now offered at several of the company’s 10 retail stores. Harris joined Coulson, which ranked 20th on Arkansas Business’ most recent list of the state’s largest private companies, in 2006 as manager of Coulson Petroleum Services. In 2012 he became chief operating officer and was named president in 2013. A native of Ashdown, he graduated from the University of Arkansas and earned a law degree in Fayetteville in 1989.

Duane D. Highley, 54

President and CEO
Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp., Little Rock
Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Inc., Little Rock
Duane Highley wants to bring power to the people — particularly to populations in the developing world. As chief of the state’s electric cooperatives, Highley leads organizations that electrified rural Arkansas before World War II, and he is now working to get power to northern Guatemala. His passion beyond AECC and AECI, which both appear on Arkansas Business’ list of the state’s 75 largest private companies, is to serve underdeveloped countries through the cooperative model. Highley, an engineer, is a graduate of Missouri University of Science & Technology and the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program. He has also worked with cabinet-level officials on electric system reliability and security.

Roger W. Jenkins, 54

President and CEO
Murphy Oil Corp., El Dorado
When the Arkansas football Razorbacks play LSU in Fayetteville on Nov. 12, Roger Jenkins will be rooting a bit for the Tigers. Jenkins, Murphy Oil’s chief executive since 2013, is Louisiana State’s 2016 alumnus of the year and a die-hard Tigers fan. Murphy Oil, which reported a net 2015 loss of $2.27 billion, is coming off a more challenging year than the Bayou Bengals, who finished 9-3. Jenkins, a Louisiana native, whose LSU degree is in petroleum engineering, also has an MBA in finance from Tulane. He noted that beyond a disastrous year for oil prices, Murphy had performed well. The oil and gas exploration giant increased its proven reserves and cut costs across its business. Jenkins said the frugality measures had placed the company in a good position to weather a “lower-for-longer” environment for oil prices.   

Hugh McDonald, 57

President and CEO
Entergy Arkansas Inc., Little Rock
Hugh McDonald is wrapping up a long and successful career at Entergy, which ranks first on Arkansas Business’ list of the state’s largest utilities, serving more than 700,000 electricity customers. McDonald is scheduled to retire in mid-June after more than 34 years with the company, including 16 as its top officer. McDonald, who has a bachelor’s degree in construction management from North Dakota State University and an MBA from the University of New Orleans, has been lobbying on his way out for an electric rate increase that the company argues will be largely offset by a fuel cost adjustment. The request is before the Arkansas Public Service Commission.

Shane Patterson, 39

Flash Market Inc., West Memphis
Shane Patterson got an early start at the top of one of Arkansas’ largest private energy companies. He became president of the Flash Market fuel and convenience store chain, owned by his family, after the death of his father, Harold Patterson, in May 2010. At the time, Patterson was in his early 30s. The company, which owns and operates about 80 stores, most in Arkansas, uses its affiliated petroleum company, Flash Oil, to supply fuel to its own stores and about 75 other retail locations in Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri and Mississippi.

Rick Riley, 53

Group Vice President
Entergy Arkansas Inc., Little Rock
Rick Riley is scheduled to become president and CEO of Entergy Arkansas upon Hugh McDonald’s retirement in June. Before becoming group vice president of customer service and operations last year, Riley had been vice president of transmission since 2010. He began his utility career in 1985 at Gulf States Utilities in Beaumont, Texas, the same town where he earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s in engineering management from Lamar University. He also holds an MBA from Tulane University in New Orleans.

Doug Van Slambrouck, 55

Senior Vice President, Fayetteville
Seeco Inc., Houston
Doug Van Slambrouck took charge of operations in the Fayetteville shale area as his predecessor in that role, J. Alan Stubblefield, assumed a more national job at Southwestern Energy, Seeco’s parent company, focused on drilling and completions. Van Slambrouck has nearly three decades of experience in the oil and gas industry. A 1985 graduate of Texas A&M with a degree in petroleum engineering, he worked in engineering and operations roles at Anadarko Petroleum and Atlantic Richfield before joining Southwestern in 2000. Seeco is the largest gas producer in the north-central Arkansas shale area. The collapse in gas prices has presented great challenges the past few years, and residents of Faulkner, Conway and Van Buren counties filed a class-action suit in November claiming that Southwestern Energy, Seeco and three other energy companies made fictitious deductions against their gas and oil royalties.

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