Gov. Mary Fallin has announced that she is appointing Phil Albert, Claremore industrialist, to succeed Jim Hartz as chair- man of the Will Rogers Memorial Commission. “Phil has proven leadership skills that will serve him well as chairman of the Will Rogers Memorial Commission,” said Governor Mary Fallin. “The commission will benefit from his solid business sense, hard work and community involvement.” The chair is a gubernatorial appointment. Hartz, a former Tulsan who lives in Virginia, co- hosted NBC’s Today Show in the 1970s. He was named to the Commission in 1987 and has served as chair- man since 1993. He will re- main on the Commission. “I am humbled by the Governor’s selection and honored to succeed Jim Hartz,” said Albert. He was asked to serve on the Will Rogers Memorial Founda- tion in 2012, and was ap- pointed by Gov. Fallin to succeed Steve Turnbo on the Memorial Commission in 2013. Albert is excited about preserving the legacy of Will Rogers and will use his position as chairman to introduce Will Rogers to a new generation. He continues to be in- volved in the Foundation and exploring funding needs of the Will Rogers Memorial Museum and Birthplace Ranch. He will continue to have a presence at the Capitol in Oklahoma City on behalf of the Muse- um and the Commission. Albert, who developed a passion for Will Rogers from his first visit to the Museum after coming to Claremore to establish Pel- co Structural LLC, has been involved in promoting Will Rogers and the Museum at the local, state, and nation- al levels. Pelco Structural is a pro- vider of steel tubular struc- tures for infrastructure de- velopment. Involvement of Albert and the company in the community has been far-reaching: from educa- tion to tourism to economic development. It is almost serendip- ity that Albert visited Will Rogers Memorial Museum. A former student of Robert Henry, a Will Rogers schol- ar, their friendship was re- newed when Judge Henry, then Chief Justice of the U.S. Court of Appeals, 10th Cir- cuit, and now president of Oklahoma City University, was in Claremore. He came to receive the 2009 Rogers State Univeristy Constitu- tion Day Award.
Henry shared that he slipped away earlier that day to visit the Will Rogers Memorial Museum, saying it was something he did when he was in the area. As a result, Albert and his wife Jo then made their first vis- it to the Museum. When President Henry was asked about Albert’s Commission appointment he said, “Will Rogers nev- er met a man he didn’t like, but he would love Phil Al- bert. Phil, like Will, is a common man with uncom- mon intelligence and de- cency. I cannot imagine a better person to enhance the legacy of Oklahoma’s favorite son.”