J. E. McClelland, Sr.
J. E. McClelland, Sr.
Founder, McClelland Consulting
James J.E. “Ep.” McClelland Sr. grew up in Fayetteville and graduated in 1940 with
a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering.
Before he joined the Army at the beginning of World War II, he worked for the Cottonbelt Railroad in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. James was stationed in Baltimore, Maryland, where he was in charge of testing the largest caliber mortar (914mm) ever built by the U.S. Army. The mortar, “the Little David,” was designed to penetrate 6-inch thick German bunkers.
After the war ended, McClelland took his family to Houston, Texas, where he worked for a consulting firm designing large highway projects. He later moved back to his hometown and founded McClelland Engineering and Construction Co., specializing in municipal infrastructure
projects in various towns in Arkansas and Oklahoma.
In 1963, McClelland established McClelland Consulting Engineers Inc. and began assisting clients throughout Northwest Arkansas, including the University of Arkansas, numerous cities and towns, individuals and other governmental agencies.
McClelland was an accomplished Civil Engineer and an excellent artist and musician. He sang opera, played the piano and organ, and painted portraits, landscapes and still life.
He always wanted to help young people with their careers and employed engineering students as paid interns from the beginning of his consulting practice. It is estimated that he provided practical, real-world experience to more than 200 students over the past 58 years.
Another important way that he supported students at the University of Arkansas was by providing scholarships to civil engineering students in their junior and senior years. These gifts have been provided for the last 24 years and the McClelland Family and Engineering Company have endowed the scholarship program so that now five scholarships are given each year.
McClelland personally selected the Highfill area as the best place for the XNA airport and MCE is still providing Engineering Services at XNA. He was the president of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, Rotary club, a Paul Harris Fellow, and was active in many other civil endeavors.
Ep was well-liked, had a kind demeanor and a great sense of humor.