Our thoughts are with the family of James H. Brewer today as we remember the life and impact of Conway Corp’s former General Manager. Mr. Brewer, age 89, died today (Wednesday, Oct. 19), at his home in Conway.
Mr. Brewer became a part of the Conway Corp family in 1955 as assistant manager. He was named General Manager in 1966 and held that position until his retirement in 1991. Our community and our company continue to feel the benefits of Mr. Brewer’s leadership.
“Conway lost a legend today,” Conway Corp CEO Richard Arnold said. “Jim was one of the most intelligent, hard-working men I ever knew. We all benefit from his vision.”
When Mr. Brewer joined Conway Corp in 1955 there were 39 employees serving 3,400 customers. That grew to 101 employees serving more than 12,000 customers at his retirement. He saw the growth that would come to Conway and he helped pave the way for Conway Corp to be able to continue to provide quality, reliable services to our customers.
Under his leadership the Gleason Water Treatment Plant (now Roger Q Mills Water Treatment Plant), originally designed to provide 1-million-gallons of water daily was raised to a capability of 15-million-gallons-daily.
In 1966, Mr. Brewer led Conway Corp to recommend that the city reserve the cable franchise for the city of Conway. That held a place for cable television (and after his retirement Internet services) to be offered in Conway. In 1981, the city’s cable television system was completed.
In 1980, Conway Corp began receiving power from its 2 percent interest in the White Bluff and Independence Steam Electric generating plants. Total electrical energy consumed that year was 208,689,200 kw hours, almost ten times the amount consumed in 1960. Ownership in these plants meant better electric rates for Conway Corp customers for many years.
In 1983, following 20 years of negotiations, work was completed on a new water reservoir for the city. In September of that year, Conway’s primary water source was dedicated and named James H. Brewer Lake.
“Without Jim Brewer we would not have the water source that has served us so well and will continue to serve us well for years to come,” Bill Hegeman said. Hegeman followed Brewer, serving as Conway Corp CEO from 1991 until 1998. “Jim’s persistence to stay with that project and make it happen is the only reason we have the lake.”
In June 1991, just prior to his retirement, Mr. Brewer wrote these words, “But Conway Corporation is not an event; it is an ongoing process, one that requires the dedication of each employee, each day. You, my friends and fellow employees, are possessors of that type of dedication. And because of that, the Conway Corporation will continue, as always to grow and be a vital part of the community it serves.”
Conway Corp retiree and former Chief Operating Officer Roger Mills added, “Jim’s goal was to always provide the best service for the citizens of Conway. I lost a good friend and our community lost a man of great impact.”
Upon the occasion of Conway Corp’s 75th anniversary in 2004, Mr. Brewer was interviewed for a video providing the history of Conway Corp. During that interview, he said “The spark of vision that the 1929 leaders infused in to the woof and warp of this community has lasted all through the years and I would say to them, ‘Thank you very much for your ability to put something together that had the capacity for lasting like this has.’”
Thank you very much Mr. Brewer. For your leadership, your vision, your commitment to Conway Corporation and for leaving a legacy of dedicated service to our community.