Conway Corp celebrates 90 years of serving Conway [North Metro Business Journal]

On May 6, 1929, Conway city leaders signed the charter to create Conway Corporation and built a framework to benefit future generations over and over again. They created an opportunity powered by Conway Corp and its commitment to this community.

Early in 1929, Conway was confronted with the possibility of losing two of its oldest educational institutions – Hendrix College located in the city in 1890 and Central College located here in 1892. Both colleges were in financial trouble; the two Methodist conferences were discussing moving Hendrix College, and the Baptist convention was discussing having to abandon Central College.

To avoid the economic consequences the loss of the colleges would bring upon Conway, the Conway Chamber of Commerce proposed to the Methodist board in charge of its colleges that it would donate $150,000 to Hendrix College on two conditions: that a sufficient sum be raised outside to qualify for a $150,000 gift from the General Education Board, and that Hendrix College be definitely and permanently located in Conway. On March 13, 1929, the Methodist board formally accepted the proposal.

1946 Electric Department


1946 Electric Department


This posed the question of how and where the $150,000 could be raised. After several weeks of deliberation failed to produce any practical plan for raising money, it appeared that Conway would lose the two colleges. However, Frank Farris, attorney R.W. Robins, and attorney George W. Clark conceived the idea of capitalizing the earnings of the municipal electric plant over a period of years and issuing bonds against these earnings. The electric plant at that time had a net annual revenue (over operating expenses, free street lights, and other services furnished to the city) of about $20,000, which would be sufficient to amortize a bond issue large enough to cover the needed funds.

The plan was unprecedented and may have seemed crazy. However, the lawyers could find no law prohibiting such a proceeding, and, if it were not enjoined by the courts, and, if anybody could be found to purchase the bonds, it was thought worth a trial.

Conway Corp was chartered with V.D. Hill, R.H. Maddox, J. Frank Jones, J.J. Hiegel, and Frank E. Robins appointed as the first board members.

Shortly after incorporation, Conway Corp took over the city's water system and then in 1957, its wastewater plants. In 1980, keeping pace with Conway’s growth, Conway completed construction on the city-owned cable system. In 1995, the company spent about $5.6 million to rebuild its hybrid-fiber-coax infrastructure, making way for the 1997 launch of cable internet service. The launch made it the fifth company in North America to offer high-speed, broadband cable internet service. In December 2016, the company launched a 1 gigabit internet offering for residential customers citywide.

1985 Electric Crew


1985 Electric Crew


Since 1929, Conway Corp and its employees have worked to honor the commitment made by those early leaders to make a difference in the place they call home. The company proudly continues the efforts of those leaders who captured the spirit of Conway and created a vision of the city powered by Conway Corp.

Conway Corp’s mission is to exceed its customers’ expectations in producing and delivering safe, affordable, reliable, innovative, and environmentally sound utility and telecommunication services while enhancing the quality of life in the community.

Knowing the community and its needs helps Conway Corp keep homes, businesses, and public places powered year-round. But the company also believes in enhancing the city through community projects and educational opportunities. Conway Corp was founded to support area education, and today it provides technology, scholarships, and more to local schools and colleges. Its employees invest in the community because they are the community.

The 2018 annual report features Conway Corp’s core values, centered around the very things found in the company’s early history – customer satisfaction, innovation, reliability, safety, responsibility, and community.

The annual report can be viewed online at https://issuu.com/myconwaycorp.


This article originally appeared in the May 2019 issue of the North Metro Business Journal.