The Route 66 Experience

About Us

The Route 66 Alliance, based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation, promotion, and enhancement of historic Route 66 – past, present, and future.

 

The Alliance supports the efforts of organizations and people in each of the eight Route 66 states to preserve historic sites, architecture, institutions, merchants, and attractions that touch the lives of millions of people from around the world who travel the length of the historic highway. The Alliance also partners with the eight state associations to encourage tourism and economic development along the Route 66 corridor.

Many key Route 66 influences and activists have endorsed the creation of the Route 66 Alliance. Each one recognizes that the highway needs a national voice. Each also understands that everything that is preserved and protected in one of the states benefits attractions and people in all of the Mother Road states.

The Route 66 Alliance chose Tulsa, Oklahoma, as its headquarters, in part, because of the community’s commitment to its Route 66 heritage. The city is centrally located and plays an important role in the creation, development, and history of Route 66. 

What is the Route 66 Experience?

The Experience

Located on the North end of Riverside Drive next to the Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza, the proposed Route 66 Experience will be a multi-faceted center designed for maximum value and delight. Alongside its signature interpretive center, the Route 66 Experience will include a drive-in movie theater, two restaurants, visitor information center, retail shop, resource center, event space for rent, office or commercial space for lease, elevated pedestrian walkway, and three-level underground parking. Slated to open in 2018, the Experience is poised to bolster Tulsa tourism not only by attracting new visitors, but also by educating those already here about what Tulsa has to offer.

Interpretive center

With a mixture of permanent displays, rotating artifact collections, temporary exhibits and fully interactive audio-visual experiences, the interpretive center will be the definitive Route 66 destination for families and enthusiasts alike. This home of ultra-modern storytelling will resonate for the content that's presented and for the way it's experienced.

Staff

Ken Busby
Michael Wallis
Rick Freeland
Shannon Moudy
Rhys Martin Advisor
Ken Busby

Ken Busby

Executive Director & CEO

Ken Busby is the Executive Director & CEO of the Route 66 Alliance. Previously, he served as Executive Director & CEO of the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa for twelve years. Prior to that, Busby was the Director of Development for Tulsa Zoo Friends and was with Gilcrease Museum for eight years, serving as Membership Director and Director of Communication. A native of Tulsa, Busby holds a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in communication and French from the University of Tulsa. He has a Master of Arts degree in journalism from Indiana University at Bloomington. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Busby is also a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma Class XVII.

Busby is the immediate past chairman of the Tulsa Performing Arts Center Trust. He was elected to the Arts Education Advisory Council of Americans for the Arts in 2010, and is past chairman of that Council. He also serves on the executive committee of the Tulsa Symphony and Workforce Tulsa, and serves on the Regional Tourism Marketing Committee for the Tulsa Regional Chamber’s Visit Tulsa. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Tulsa and serves as a consultant in the areas of fundraising, grant writing, strategic planning, and board development for nonprofits across the state. In 2008, Busby received the Governor’s Arts Award for Community Service and the Global Vision Award from Tulsa Global Alliance. In 2011, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Holland Hall. In 2013, the Association of Fundraising Professionals named him its Outstanding Fundraising Executive, and in 2015, Busby was named the Leadership Oklahoma Distinguished Graduate.

 

Michael Wallis

Michael Wallis

Founder

Michael Wallis is a best-selling author, award-winning reporter, historian, and biographer of the American West. He is a popular speaker and in 2006 joined an all-star cast in Pixar Studio’s animated feature film CARS as the voice of the Sheriff of Radiator Springs. The film was a celebration of Route 66 and the Sheriff has continued to direct traffic in CARS 2 and the upcoming CARS 3.

Michael has published 18 books and has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize three times. His book Route 66: The Mother Road is credited for sparking a resurgence of interest in the historic highway. Other titles by Michael include The Lincoln Highway: Coast to Coast from Times Square to the Golden Gate; Billy The Kid: The Endless Ride; David Crockett: The Lion of the West; and The Wild West 365.

Rick Freeland

Rick Freeland

Founder

Following a career with Computerland, where he started the retailer’s government and corporate divisions, Rick Freeland founded Voice Mail Systems, Inc. and launched the first voice mail system, replacing the “while you were out” pink notes found in millions of offices. He worked as a systems engineer for Centigram, traveling throughout the country to install and trouble-shoot large voice mail systems. Rick also assumed the leadership of a bankrupt Voice-Tel Systems franchise in Washington D.C. and converted it to a successful business serving more than 5,000 customers.

Rick’s love affair with Route 66 began years ago after a family trip along the highway. Since his first journey he has cruised the length of the eight-state corridor in his classic Corvette many times. Through his work with the Route 66 Alliance Rick has been able to support the business efforts of many people and places along the highway.

Shannon Moudy

Shannon Moudy

Chief Information Officer

Shannon Moudy is the CIO of the Route 66 Alliance.

Moudy envisions, creates and develops technology-based, multi-million dollar revenue and growth initiatives, based solidly on industry leaders best practices.  He has served as a valued member of senior executive teams and organizations such as NORDAM, Benham, Spartan Aeronautics, and Media Encounters LLC.  Founding Board Member of  Tulsa Technet.   VP of Information Security and Technology for Defense Technology Group working with Department of Justice and Department of Defense..

 

Designer and developer of a phone system  for numerous law offices, medical centers, government facilities (including 911 centers) and executive centers across the nation, using open-source technology in an unconventional way for success.

 

Shannon designed an Internet Radio Station utilizing open-source technology focused on a variety of music, community organizations, businesses and municipalities with a global listenership.

Rhys Martin Advisor

Rhys Martin Advisor

Rhys Martin is an author and photographer from Tulsa, Oklahoma. His love of travel was born in 2009 when he sold all of his possessions and left the country. For ten months, he lived out of a backpack and explored southeast Asia and Europe.
After returning home, Rhys looked at his home state with fresh eyes. When he began to explore the back roads of Oklahoma, he quickly understood the significance of historic Route 66 to the greater American story. He has traveled all 2,448 miles of the Mother Road and continues to explore the quiet Main Streets of the Midwest.
Rhys’s travel writing and photography has been featured in several publications including TulsaPeople Magazine, This Land Press, Route 66 Magazine, Nimrod Journal, Inbound Asia Magazine, The Oklahoman, and the Tulsa World. His most recent project with Arcadia Publishing is a book that tells the story of the Lost Restaurants of Tulsa from the 1930s to the 1980s.
Rhys is also on the Board of Directors for the Oklahoma Route 66 Association, serves on the Tulsa Route 66 Commission, and is an adviser for the Route 66 Alliance. He loves to connect with people and share his experiences.

History

1916

1916

Legislation for first public highways

1925

1925

More comprehensive legislation to execute plan for national highway construction

1926-27

1926-27

Great Depression halted work on Route 66 – put back to work in 1933

1927

1927

U.S. 66 Highway Association formed by Cyrus Avery and John Woodruff to promote early completion of and secure permanent maintenance of U.S. Highway No. 66 between Chicago and Los Angeles

1938

1938

Chicago to Los Angeles branch, which spanned 2,300 miles, is continuously paved

1946

1946

“Get your kicks on Route 66” released by Nat King Cole

1960s

1960s

“Route 66” TV show staring Martin Milner and George Maharis showed every Friday

1956

1956

Federal Aid Highway Act / National Interstate and Defense Highways Act provided finances to improve the national interstate and defense highway system, which was pushed into law by President Eisenhower after returning from Germany and seeing the Autobahn – this was the largest public construction project in the U.S. at that time

1970

1970

Interstate Highway system connected east and west coasts of the nation and afforded drivers the opportunity to travel the distance more quickly than on Route 66

1974

1974

U.S. 66 Highway Association disbanded due to “death by interstate”

1984

1984

Last branches of Route 66 yield to the interstate system

1985

1985

Route 66 formally decommissioned

1999

1999

Senator Pete Domenici and Representative Heather Wilson of New Mexico pushed a Route 66 preservation bill through Congress – $10 million approved by President Clinton

2015

2015

U.S. 66 Highway Association reestablished following the consolidation of Route 66 Alliance and National Historic Route 66 federation

Projects

While still fairly new, the Route 66 Alliance staff are reaching out and working with professionals around the country on many projects. Listed below are projects by category. 

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