Gov. Mary Fallin announced she is appointing Phil Albert, Claremore industrialist, to succeed Jim Hartz as chairman 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 chairman since 1993. He will remain 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 Foundation in 2012, and was appointed by Gov. Fallin to succeed Steve Turnbo on the Memorial Commission in 2013.
Albert is excited about perserving the legacy of Will Rogers and will use his position as chairman to introduce Will Rogers to a new generation.
He continues to be involved 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 Museum and the Commission.
Albert, who developed a passion for Will Rogers from his first visit to the Museum after coming to Claremore to establish Pelco Structural LLC, has been involved in promoting Will Rogers and the Museum at the local, state, and national levels.
Pelco Structural is a provider of steel tubular structures for infrastructure development. Involvement of Albert and the company in the community has been far-reaching: from education to tourism to economic development.
It is almost serendipity that Albert visited Will Rogers Memorial Museum. A former student of Robert Henry, a Will Rogers scholar, their friendship was renewed when Judge Henry, then Chief Justice of the U.S. Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit, and now president of Oklahoma City University, was in Claremore. He came to receive the 2009 Rogers State Univeristy Constitution 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 visit to the Museum.
When President Henry was asked about Albert’s appointment to the Commission he commented, “Will Rogers never met a man he didn’t like, but he would love Phil Albert. Phil, like Will, is a common man with uncommon intelligence and decency. I cannot imagine a better person to enhance the legacy of Oklahoma’s favorite son.”