Joseph W. Craft III

2008 Outstanding Business Leader

In many ways, Joseph W. Craft III embodies the "unbridled spirit" that powers his resource-rich native state, Kentucky.  An entrepreneur, attorney and energy industry leader, Craft came to Oklahoma in 1980 where he joined MAPCO Inc. and strategically circled his business endeavors back to the nation's most productive coal fields without leaving Tulsa.

In 1986, Craft became president of MAPCO's Coal segment, a position he held for 10 years before leading a management buyout of the company's coal operations.  During 1999, Alliance Resource Partners, L.P. (NASDAQ: "ARLP") was formed, becoming the coal industry's first publicly traded master limited partnership.

Headquartered in Tulsa with support offices in Kentucky, ARLP has grown through acquisitions and internal development to become the ninth-largest coal producer in the United States.  Craft is president, chief executive officer and a director of ARLP.  In addition, he serves as president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Tulsa-based Alliance Holdings GP, L.P., a publicly traded limited partnership that owns the general partnership interests of ARLP.

Under Craft's leadership, ARLP was recognized by Business Week magazine as the 14th hottest growth company in the United States in 2007, and made the annual list of "100 Hot Growth Companies" for the fifth consecutive year.

Craft has served in various industry leadership positions and is currently serving as a member of the Board of Trustees for The University of Tulsa, a director for Bank of Oklahoma, and Tulsa Community Foundation.  He was inducted into the City of Tulsa Hall of Fame in 2007; and in June 2008, Ernst & Young recognized Craft as Entrepreneur of the Year for the Southwest Region in the Energy, Chemical and Mining category.

Craft holds a bachelor of science degree in accounting and a Juris Doctor from the University of Kentucky.  Craft is also a graduate of the Senior Executive Program of the Alfred P. Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Craft and his wife, Kathy, have four children: J.W., Caroline, Ryan and Kyle, and three grandchildren, Jake, Kingsley and Carter.  The Craft family has a reputation for generously supporting social services and education in the Tulsa area as well as the Commonwealth of Kentucky.