Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is naming a four-lane stretch of U.S. Highway 400 west and southeast of Neodesha, Kan., the Pack St. Clair Highway in honor of the Cobalt Boats founder and CEO.
The recognition is a result of the work of state Rep. Larry Hibbard, a Republican member of the House Committee on Transportation who ushered through the legislation honoring St. Clair.
“I had the opportunity to introduce this bill in the House Transportation Committee and then carry it on the floor of the House,” Hibbard said in a statement. “The state of Kansas is investing in job creation, something Pack has promoted locally for 40 years. Cobalt’s success has been felt throughout southeast Kansas. This is a small tribute to a great man.”
St. Clair pointed out the work of a number of men in the community who more than 40 years ago laid the foundation for the development of the present industrial base in Neodesha.
“What a wonderful honor for my family and me,” St. Clair said. “I realize this was all made possible by a few of my good friends here in Neodesha. I certainly appreciate the recognition, and I can’t help but think back to our early days in the new Neodesha Industrial Park and the people who worked with all of the local industries to help start our businesses. There were a group of guys who worked very hard to turn the old Standard Refinery into a new industrial park.
“Ed Worley, Charlie Head, Ernie Wilson, Reuben Klayder, Bob Bacon, and John and Mike Deer were among the movers and shakers that made the community the industrial envy of southeast Kansas,” St. Clair said.
“Only because of these men were Dan Bramhall and I able to move our business from Chanute to Neodesha and be one of the first industries in the new industrial park,” he said. “Looking back on it, what they started 45 years ago has produced up to 1,600 jobs a year when you combine the work force of all the industries.”