Midwest City Manager Guy Henson has announced his resignation after nearly 40 years with the city. Henson, whose last day will be June 12, has managed the city since December 2005 but his tenure began more than 25 years before that.
Henson’s career in Midwest City started in 1979 as the assistant city planner. He has also served as the grants manager, development services director and assistant city manager. After being unanimously appointed to the city manager position in 2005, Henson expressed his desire to focus on the economic growth in the city.
“I have truly enjoyed my nearly forty years with the city,” said Henson in his resignation letter. Henson said he plans to pursue other professional opportunities and personal interests.
The Midwest City Council officially approved Henson’s resignation agreement at the March 12 council meeting and will determine next steps for his replacement in the coming weeks. Mayor Matt Dukes thanked Henson for his forty years of service and his commitment to the city and the community. At his recent update on the state of the city, Dukes praised Henson for his leadership and for “successfully steering the community through challenges that could have easily devastated the city.”
Included in those challenges was the May 1999 tornado which caused significant damage in Midwest City. The Hospitality District was one of the worst hit areas. At the time many wondered if the businesses would rebuild. City leaders used the destruction of the Hospitality District to set the example by moving forward with the Reed Conference Center. The public investments were the vote of confidence that inspired businesses to take advantage of the opportunities to rebuild and to develop what is now a thriving hospitality area.
During this time, the city also developed SE 29th Street. “Guy Henson was key to two monumental developments – the Hospitality District and the Town Center Plaza. What Mr. Henson did was so progressive, city planners from around the state were inquiring about it,” said Community Development Director Billy Harless.
“Guy Henson’s focus on, and expertise in, economic development has forever shaped Midwest City’s future,” said Robert Coleman, the city’s economic development director.
Another priority for Henson has been walkability. Midwest City has more trails and sidewalks than most similarly-sized communities. Under his leadership, Midwest City was the first city in the state to achieve ISO Class 1 rating, which resulted in lower homeowner insurance rates for residents whose insurance companies use the Public Protection Classification System.
In 2014, the Midwest City Chamber of Commerce recognized Henson with their Visionary Leader Award. He served on their founding committee for many years. According to Bonnie Cheatwood, the Chamber’s Executive Director, Guy Henson was also instrumental in making their Youth Excel Leadership program a reality when it was established over 20 years ago.
Henson also received the Midwest City Employee of the Year award for 2015.