Gene Higginbotham, Executive Director
The Arkansas Waterways Commission selected Gene Higginbotham as the Commission’s Executive Director effective June 2012.
Gene was instrumental in the passage of Arkansas Port, Intermodal and Waterways Improvement Grant in 2013, providing a permanent funding source for capital improvements projects for public ports in Arkansas. In 2014, he was successful in having a navigation section added to the Arkansas State Water Plan; highlighting the additional water benefits that navigation systems provide to Arkansas.
In 2015, Gene led the Commission to partner with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to upgrade the status of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System to corridor status under the American's Marine Highway Program. He also facilitated the passing of legislation to fund the state’s portion of a federal study of The Three Rivers area, critical to navigation and other services to the state of Arkansas. Gene initiated a statewide port marketing agreement initiative designed to connect landlocked facilities to ports. The first agreement was signed in May 2015, between the Little Rock Port Authority and the SW Arkansas Intermodal Authority.
Gene began his career in public service in 2003 as Field Representative for U.S. Senator Mark Pryor, serving eastern Arkansas and the Delta. He was promoted to the Senator’s Executive Assistant in Washington, D.C. before he became Deputy District Director in 2007 for Congressman Mike Ross, in Arkansas' 4th Congressional District.
Gene has also held positions with the United States Marshal's Service, the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, the Atlanta Braves, Southwest Airlines, and FedEx.
Gene holds master’s degrees from Southeastern Oklahoma State University and Georgia State University. He is currently participating in continuing professional education at Stanford University. Gene resides in Little Rock and has one son, Sam, who lives in Washington, D.C.
Selby Whitbeck, Administrative Analyst
Brittany Johnson, Business Operations Specialist