William E. “Bill” Pender was the founder of Pender Water Wells, but that was not his intention when he moved back to Foreman, Arkansas after World War II. What he wanted to do was grow rice on a farm just south of town. But unfortunately, Arkansas was in a time of drought and it requires a lot of water to grow rice.
Bill didn’t let a little thing like drought discourage him. He leased a drilling rig from a subcontractor and developed a “battery system” – a series of about eight wells linked together to a single centrifugal pump so that he could irrigate his fields. The innovative system caught the attention of farmers in Louisiana and before long they were flying Bill down to their farms to set up similar systems.
Realizing he might be on to something, Bill eventually bought the drilling rig. With the area still reeling from the drought, Bill saw that the community and beyond needed a water well and irrigation specialist. He established Pender Water Wells in 1955.
When only five years old, Bill’s oldest son, Ernest, began to tag along with his father. After graduating from high school, Ernest decided to pursue a degree in petroleum engineering. At the age of 21 he joined the family business and is currently president of the company.
Pender Water Wells grew from necessity and is still thriving today. Ernest Pender has carried on the family tradition of assisting his neighbors with their water needs. The neighborhood may have grown to include parts of Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma, but the small town service remains.