Margie L. Handley is recognized in her local area of Willits, California, as a pillar of the community where she was born and raised. An immensely successful businesswoman, she has operated a thriving asphalt and aggregate business company and spent several years in real estate development before becoming president of Harrah Industries, which was established by her father Robert “Bob” Harrah in the 1940s. Ms. Handley also served as vice president of Microphor, Inc., for just under a decade and as president of Hot Rocks, Inc.
Ms. Handley continues carrying on her father’s legacy as president of the board of directors for the Frank R. Howard Foundation. The organization, which supports Howard Hospital and its mission to provide high quality health care in Northern Mendocino County, has benefitted immensely from her philanthropic and fundraising efforts over the years. In addition to her role with the foundation, Ms. Handley has been a general partner in the Madrone Professional Group since 1982 and an active member of local and state boards. Appointed a member of the State of California Economic Strategy Panel for five consecutive years, she is highly regarded for her business acumen and strategic planning abilities.
As one who has never shied away from fulfilling her civic duty, Ms. Handley has played an active role in local elections and campaigns for the Republican Party, serving as a committee member, delegate, district chairman and committee member over the years. She was also a member of the California Rural Development Council and the Mental Health Advocacy Board of Mendocino County.
A memorable moment that Ms. Handley will never forget is being in the asphalt and gravel business. It was the most challenging that she has run, not being easy, but exciting too. The most enjoyable thing she did was serve on the California Transportation Commission for four years and that was her very favorite appointment. The commission funds all of the projects in the state and she became knowledgeable about the transportation system in California, both highway and rail, as well as mass transit. It was all very interesting. She was appointed by the governor and at that time, she was usually the only woman on the boards and commissions. Ms. Handley guesses that is because at that time, women were not as involved. It is different now, as women are accepted in leadership positions. In addition, you have to be tenacious and she has been known as “the bulldog.”
In light of her accomplishments, Ms. Handley was selected for inclusion in the 71st edition of Who’s Who in America. She was also the recipient of the Fair Woman of the Year Award from the Mendocino 12th District in 1987, and the Volunteer Award from A Heart for Willits in 2000. Furthermore, Ms. Handley was named to the Notable American Women in 2011, and received the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and the Marquis Who’s Who Humanitarian Award.