Mr. William T. Payne
Chaiman of the Board, Big Chief Drilling Company
Former Member, Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
It is appropriate that The Henry G. Bennett Distinguished Service Award be presented to Mr. Jenkin Lloyd Jones, Mr. Dean A. McGee, and Mr. William T. Payne -- individuals who have demonstrated with their hearts, minds, and souls those qualities of character which exemplify the life of the man in whose name the award is made.
Mr. Payne is one of the pioneer independents in the oil and gas industry of our state. A graduate of OSU (then Oklahoma A&M college), he early in life saw the great potential for the oil and gas resources in Oklahoma, and, after working as an oil scout for North American Oil Company, accepted a position as Superintendent of the W. H. Helmerich Company. He became a partner and rose to the vice presidency of Helmerich and Payne Company. In 1936 he founded the big Chief Drilling Company and served as its Director until recently. He is also Chairman of the Board of Seneca Oil Company and President of Payne Petroleum Corporation. Mr. Payne's interests are varied, and he has devoted endless hours to the advancement of education, science, medicine, and the arts. He has been recognized with many awards and honors for his outstanding civic contributions.
Year of Award: 1974