The National Achievement Award is the highest honor presented by the National Rivers Hall of Fame to those people who are making significant contributions to America’s waterways. The National Rivers Hall of Fame with members in 36 states is the only national museum telling the stories of the people of America’s rivers.
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Honored in 1993
A native of Ohio, William J. Hull spent most of his life in association with America’s waterways. He attended Phillips Academy at Andover, Massachusetts, and earned his B.A. and LL.B. degrees from Yale University, where he was valedictorian. He joined Ashland Oil, Inc., in Ashland, Kentucky, in 1951 as Executive Assistant. In 1956, he opened the company’s first office in Washington, D.C. He was Vice President when he retired in 1977.
Beginning in the early 1950s, he studied Federal laws and policies affecting river development. Ashland was growing from a small eastern Kentucky refinery into a Forbes 500 company by relying on barges to bring in crude oil and deliver refined products to independent marketers. In the process, Ashland soon operated the nation’s largest inland towing fleet.
Mr. Hull took a leading role in the Ohio Valley Improvement Association (OVIA), serving as Chairman of its Legislative Committee. In this role, for more than two decades, he made annual presentations to the Bureau of the Budget and later Office of Management and Budget at the White House, detailing the navigation needs of the Ohio River and its tributaries.
Mr. Hull was an astute legal scholar and a historian. Mr. Hull wrote The Origin and Development of the Waterways Policy of the United States, with his son Robert W. Hull, tracing waterways policy from Revolutionary times to mid-1960s.