The Alabama AGC Statewide Board of Directors is considering this year’s slate of nominees for possible induction into the Alabama Construction Hall of Fame at the 2007 Build Alabama Awards Banquet on Jan. 12 at The Club.
The Alabama AGC established the Alabama Construction Hall of Fame to honor and recognize outstanding individuals in the construction industry. These individuals are held in esteem by their peers and have demonstrated their professionalism through active support of the industry through their civic and community involvement. In short, only those who have literally changed the landscape of the state and nation will be enshrined in the Alabama Construction Hall of Fame.
This year’s nominees are:
• Thornton Stanley, president of Stanley Construction Co. Inc., Huntsville.
Stanley established Stanley Landscaping and Construction Co. in 1961 with two employees, one dump truck and one backhoe. Today, Stanley Construction, which specializes in site work, employs 55 people, does in excess of $6 million in volume per year and is in the top 100 paving contractors in the country. In 2001, Stanley was named the Small Business Administration National Small Business Person of the Year and was recognized by President Bush. In 2002, Stanley was honored by the Alabama AGC for outstanding achievement, he was invited by President Bush to serve on the CEO Roundtable of 15 Alabama business leaders and he introduced the president before the president’s “Strengthening Our Economy” speech at UAB.
• The late Johnny Edwards, former president and CEO of Nel-Bran Glass Co., Birmingham.
Edwards entered the construction industry right out of high school in 1955, working for Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. primarily to play shortstop on its baseball team. He was one of the premier amateur baseball players in the city. In 1981, Edwards became president and CEO of Nel-Bran Glass Co. He served in that capacity until his retirement in 1991. Edwards was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in 1990 and died in 2002 after a courageous battle with the disease. Edwards, as a long-time member of the Alabama AGC, was one of the pioneers of the Statewide Associate Board.
• James Harbison, retired general superintendent of Brasfield & Gorrie LLC, Birmingham.
Harbison was associated with Brasfield & Gorrie LLC for 25 years, serving most of that time as general superintendent.
“He is truly an outstanding individual,” wrote M. Miller Gorrie, chairman and CEO of Brasfield & Gorrie.
• Bill Harbert Sr., Harbert and B.L. Harbert Construction, Birmingham.
Bill and John Harbert founded Harbert Construction Corporation in 1949 in Birmingham. From highway and heavy construction, that company quickly expanded into pipeline, industrial and building construction, both within the United States and throughout the world. Harbert later oversaw the transition of the original construction company and worked to make B.L. Harbert a force worldwide before his retirement as chairman and CEO in 2000. Harbert also has been active in philanthropy, recently donating a $2 million collection of European art to the Julie Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University.
• The late B.H. Craig Jr., founder of B.H. Craig Construction Co. in Florence
Craig started his construction company in 1951 in Florence. In 1974, he served as president of the Alabama AGC. The company was founded on three basic principles: provide top quality work, acknowledge the importance of teamwork and remain diversified. Craig was very active throughout his lifetime, serving as mayor of Florence from 1965 to 1968. He was instrumental in starting the Industrial Expansion Committee, was a Rotarian and received the Paul Harris Fellow award and served the United Way. He died in December 1994.
• Sam Moore, The Moore Corporation, Birmingham.
Moore launched Moore Corporation in 1973 as a general contractor specializing in utility work. The company had one backhoe back then, but much has changed in the last three decades. He has grown the company to a design-build contractor widely known in the Southeast. Moore always has been deeply committed to the construction industry donating his time and resources, serving many years as a director, and eventually serving as Alabama AGC president in 1984. He continues to be active in the business and has stated that he doesn’t plan to fully retire. Having a company with a family atmosphere and one that takes pride in a satisfied customer are two founding principles that remain a focal point for the company and Moore.
• The late Bill Caton Sr., Sequoia Construction Co., Birmingham
Caton founded Sequoia Construction Co in 1972 and began his association with the Alabama AGC shortly thereafter. He served on the board of the AGC throughout most of the 1980s and 1990s, serving as president in 1986. Caton was among those instrumental in conceiving and starting the AGC’s workers’ compensation fund and was involved in making many decisions that led to the Alabama AGC’s current success. He believed in creating good relationships and treating everyone fairly and as a result he and Sequoia Construction Co. were widely respected. Caton was a firm believer in “paying civic rent,” and readily offered his services to the Alabama AGC to improve the industry, to his church and to community charities. He was still involved in the day-to-day operation at Sequoia when he became gravely ill earlier this year.
• W.S. “Billy” Newell, founder of W.S. Newell Construction, Montgomery
The Newells have been building roads and grading land in the Southeast for many years. Newell was born into the business in 1921 and began operating equipment as a teenager. He started W.S. Newell Inc. in 1961 and has built the company into one of the largest mass grading contractors in the Southeast. The company worked on many projects, perhaps most notably the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. W.S. Newell moved more than 30 million cu. yds. of material during its seven years on that job.
• W. Ken Upchurch Jr., Upchurch Construction Co., Montgomery.
Upchurch has been a credit to the industry, his community and the Alabama AGC for many years.
During a difficult period, in the 1960s when Alabama separated into three AGC chapters, Upchurch remained active as a national director. Through his involvement, the Central Alabama Chapter remained viable in Alabama and National AGC. Without his involvement, the Alabama Chapter would not have had the strong AGC presence in Central Alabama enjoyed today. Upchurch built his business into one of the leading construction firms in Central Alabama. Upchurch Construction continues today as one of the leading contractors in Central Alabama. Its reputation for quality, dependability and integrity is unquestioned.
Previous hall of fame inductees are:
• 2006, the late Houston A. Brice Sr., founder of Brice Building Co.; the late R. Hugh Daniel, founder of Daniel Construction; and the late John M. Harbert III, founder of Harbert Corporation.
• 2005, John Caddell, founder and chairman of the board of Caddell Construction Co.
• 2004, M. Miller Gorrie, founder and CEO of Brasfield & Gorrie
• 2003, the late Winton “Red” Blount, founder of Blount International
• 2002, George Edwards, former owner of Richardson Construction
• 2001, the late D.W. “Bill” Ellard, Ellard Contracting Co. Inc.; Paul B. Krebs, Paul B. Krebs & Associates; and Nicholas H. Holmes Jr., Holmes & Holmes Architects.
The Alabama Construction Hall of Fame, through its recognition of the great personalities of the state’s construction industry, also serves to highlight the accomplishments and importance of the industry the inductees worked so hard to improve.