Alabama Business Hall of Fame to Induct Five New Members; Time-Warner’s Don Logan to Deliver Keynote Address
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Five of the state’s leading business and civic leaders will be inducted into the Alabama Business Hall of Fame on Thursday, Oct. 7 at the Bryant Conference Center on The University of Alabama campus.
This year marks the 31st anniversary of the hall of fame sponsored by the board of visitors of UA’s Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration. The five inductees exemplify hard work and determination as well as a commitment to excellence and the entrepreneurial spirit.
Inductees for 2004 are James B. Boone Jr., of Tuscaloosa, chairman of the board of Boone Newspapers Inc.; Donald C. Brabston of Birmingham, former managing partner of the Birmingham office of Ernst and Young accounting firm; William L. Halsey Jr., of Huntsville, chairman and treasurer of W.L. Halsey Grocery Company Inc.; Bernard A. Monaghan (deceased) of Birmingham, former chief executive officer of Vulcan Materials, and John H. Watson of Dothan, president and chief executive officer of Smith’s Inc.
Past honorees, now totaling more than 100 include: George Washington Carver, Mildred Westervelt Warner and Albert Bellingrath.
The keynote speaker at this year’s program will be Don Logan, chairman of Time Warner’s Media & Communications Group. Logan will address the community and friends and family members of the inductees at the 7:30 p.m. black tie dinner.
Logan oversees America Online, Time Inc., Time Warner Cable and the Time Warner Book Group. Before assuming his current position in July 2002, Logan had served as chairman and chief executive officer of Time Inc. since August 1994, where he managed the operating and strategic initiatives of Time Warner’s publishing division.
Time Inc. is the largest magazine publisher in the world and a leading direct marketer of music and videos. Previously, Logan served as Time Inc.’s president and chief operating officer since June 1992.
Logan joined Southern Progress Corp. in 1970. He was named president of Oxmoor House, its book publishing division, in 1978, and became chairman and chief executive officer of Southern Progress in 1986. Southern Progress, the largest regional magazine and book publisher in the country, was acquired by Time Inc. in 1985.
Biographical information about the inductees:
JAMES B. BOONE JR.
James B. Boone Jr. is chairman of the board and majority stockholder of Boone Newspapers Inc., which owns and manages newspapers and shopping guides in 35 communities in Alabama, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia.
Born in Macon, Ga., to Buford and Frances Herin Boone, Boone got his early education in Tuscaloosa and attended The University of Alabama’s school of commerce and business administration, graduating in 1958. He worked at The Tuscaloosa News throughout high school and college.
Upon graduation from UA, Boone was employed and guided by Carmage Walls, a leading newspaper group publisher of his era and a longtime friend and associate of Boone’s father. With Walls, he served at newspapers in Georgia, Texas and Virginia, including seven years as editor and publisher of The Suffolk (Virginia) News-Herald.
Boone returned to Tuscaloosa in 1968, succeeding his father and purchasing controlling interest from his parents in Tuscaloosa Newspapers Inc., publisher of The Tuscaloosa News under lease from the Public Welfare Foundation. He began acquiring newspapers in 1970. He cancelled The Tuscaloosa News lease in 1981, and the foundation sold the paper several years later to its present owner, the New York Times Co.
His community and professional commitment is evident in the boards, organizations and institutions he supports, advises or leads. Included are numerous newspaper organizations. He is past president of Tuscaloosa organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, the DCH Regional Medical Center Foundation, the Tuscaloosa Academy Board of Trustees, the United Way, the YMCA, the Park and Recreation Authority Board and the Journalism Foundation of the Alabama Press Association. Boone served two communities as United Way drive chairman and served on the Vestry of Christ Episcopal Church.
He retired this year from the board of Regions Financial Corp., where he was chairman of the corporate governance committee. He also is a member of the board of directors of Regions Bank—Tuscaloosa and serves on the board of directors of Randall Publishing Co.
He has won a number of awards, including the Julia and Henry Tutwiler Award from UA, where he was also inducted into the Communications Hall of Fame. The West Alabama Chamber of Commerce has inducted him into the Civic Hall of Fame, and he was awarded the Casey Award from the University of Minnesota for newspaper industry leadership.
He serves on the president’s cabinet and the National Advisory Board and was a member of the steering committee for the Campaign for Alabama. He is a member of the board of visitors for both the College of Communication and Information Sciences and the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration. The University of Alabama presented him the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.
He recently was honored by the Alabama Press Association with a Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes outstanding service and accomplishments spanning a career in journalism in Alabama. Boone is married to Carolyn Farrior Boone. He has two sons, Kenneth S. Boone and J. Buford Boone III, and three daughters, Martha B. Cobbold, Caroline F. Boone, and Catherine G. Boone.
DONALD CAMPBELL BRABSTON
One week after returning from World War II in 1945, Donald C. Brabston joined the Birmingham office of Ernst & Ernst (later Ernst & Whinney and now Ernst & Young LLP), where he retired 34 years later as managing partner of the Alabama practice.
Brabston, a certified public accountant, was born and raised in Birmingham, graduating from Ramsay High School and Birmingham-Southern College. He earned his M.B.A. at Northwestern University.
When he became a partner, the firm’s Alabama practice had a professional staff of 30. Under Brabston’s leadership, the firm’s Alabama offices in Birmingham, Huntsville, and Mobile grew to approximately 200 professional accountants, nearly all of whom were CPAs. He hired the first woman and the first African-American on the professional staff in the firm’s southern offices.
At the time of Brabston’s retirement in 1979, Ernst & Whinney was the dominant professional services firm in Alabama, and the Birmingham office was the firm’s largest office in the South.
Brabston built a culture at the firm that emphasized active participation and leadership in community affairs. He often told employees, “We should pay our civic rent.” He led by example, setting high standards for service in and supporting important civic affairs.
Brabston was a leader in the accounting profession throughout his career. In 1947, he received the Silver Medal for placing second out of about 7,500 candidates nationwide on the Certified Public Accountants examination. Brabston served an active role in the Institute of Management Accountants for many years. He was a national vice president of the institute and a member of its national board of directors and executive committee and president of its Birmingham chapter.
Brabston has long been involved in support of education. He has been honored as an Alumnus of the Year by Birmingham-Southern College and was a founder and the first president of the college’s Norton Center, the purpose of which is to foster relationships between the college and business. He served as chairman of The University of Alabama’s Accounting Advisory Board for many years, during which time the University’s accounting department became the School of Accountancy. He is a lifetime member of the Samford University Board of Trustees, having served 31 years, and has served as chairman of the university’s executive, business affairs, and investment committees.
Brabston served in leadership positions in a number of civic organizations. He served as president of the Birmingham Area Chamber of Commerce and chaired the taxation committee of the National Chamber of Commerce.
Brabston served as chairman of the board of United Way of Central Alabama in 1975, 1976, and 1981 and is the only chairman in the history of that organization to serve three times in that capacity. He was one of the founders instrumental in establishing the United Way Community Food Bank and was a member of its board of directors and its treasurer.
He was chairman of the Salvation Army and recipient of its highest award for a lay individual, the William Booth Award. Brabston has been a trusted adviser to commanders of the Greater Birmingham Area Salvation Army for 40 years and is an emeritus member of the organization’s advisory board.
Brabston was chairman of the Young Men’s Christian Association of Birmingham for several years and a trustee of the YMCA for more than 25 years, as well as chairman of its Capital Funds Campaign. During his tenure as chairman, the first African-Americans joined as members of the Birmingham YMCA.
He served as vice president, treasurer and a member of the board of directors of the Birmingham Football Foundation Inc., and as chairman of the board of trustees of the Alabama Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (for three years), as well as president of the Baptist Hospital Foundation and director of its Baptist Hospital Service Corp. He was a member of the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham Steering Committee, as well as a director and member of Rotary Club of Birmingham. He has served on the board of the Birmingham Chapter of the American Red Cross and other civic and charitable organizations, including the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau, Executive Service Corps of Birmingham (as a founder and chairman), and the Metropolitan Arts Council (as chairman of its allocations committee). He was a member of the first Oil and Gas Board of Alabama.
Brabston is a life deacon and has served as chairman of the board of trustees, chairman of the board of deacons and chairman of the finance committee (for over 25 years) at Mountain Brook Baptist Church and is a member of the church’s Endowment Trust Fund Board.
While a student at Northwestern University, Brabston met and married Mary Jane Coolman, his wife of 53 years until her death in 1996. He has a son, Donald C. Brabston Jr. of Manhattan Beach, Calif., and a daughter, Mary Elizabeth Brabston, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and one grandson, Benjamin Kenneth Forman Brabston of Manhattan Beach, Calif.
WILLIAM L. HALSEY JR.
William L. Halsey Jr., of Huntsville, chairman and treasurer of W.L. Halsey Grocery Company Inc. was born and raised in Huntsville, the son of William L. and Elizabeth Lowery Halsey.
When he was 14, he won an essay contest that awarded him a scholarship to the Gulf Coast Military Academy for three years, after which he attended The University of Alabama. When Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941, Halsey finished his education and entered the Army three weeks after graduation, serving in the Engineer Amphibian Command until his discharge in 1946 at the rank of major.
The W.L. Halsey Grocery Co., started in 1879 by brothers William Leroy Halsey and Charles Henry Halsey, was being run by Halsey’s father, William, and uncle, Charles. While in the Army, Halsey became interested in the institutional food business, and in 1950 the company embarked on a path of expanding and modernizing as an institutional food service, serving hospitals, schools, nursing homes, restaurants, hotels and motels, clubs, camps and airlines. In 1955, Halsey became president and treasurer of the firm.
When the company’s transition began, it was located in downtown Huntsville in a crowded, two-story building with 7,000 square feet on each floor. But the decision to change direction came at the same time Huntsville was undergoing a revitalization and an urban renewal program that required the removal of the railroad tracks that served the Halsey company and other companies in the area. With that in mind, Halsey located a 10-acre site in Madison 10 miles west and began building a 60,000-square-foot warehouse and frozen-food facility. In 1972, the warehouse was finished and Halsey Grocery Co. moved to Madison. In 2000, this facility was expanded to 130,000 square feet, which included a meat processing plant and a produce department. The Huntsville downtown building was converted to “Halsey Cash and Carry” and operates today as a branch of the Madison facility. Today, Halsey Grocery Co. serves more than 1,800 customers in five states with a full line of items.
Halsey has been very active in a number of national and local industry associations, serving as president of the Institutional Food Distributors of America, president of the Alabama Wholesale Grocer’s Association, and a member of the board of governors of the National American Wholesale Grocers Association. He is a past vice president of the Continental Organization of Distributor Enterprises as well as the United States Wholesale Grocers Association.
Halsey Grocery Co. was one of the five founders of the Continental Organization of Distributor Enterprises, a food service distributor marketing organization known today as EMCO. Members of the organization combined their annual volume, which allowed them to negotiate better prices and reduce costs.
Halsey is a past director of First Alabama Bank, Huntsville, and First Alabama Bancshares; a former director of SCI Systems Inc.; and a director of the University of Alabama in Huntsville Foundation.
As Halsey Grocery Co. grew over the years, so did Huntsville, as home of NASA’s George C. Marshall Space Flight Center and Redstone Arsenal, the Army’s Missile Research Complex. Through all the growth, Halsey has been a driving force in bringing new businesses and capital to the area. He was president of the Huntsville Chamber of Commerce in 1955 and chairman of the Huntsville Army Advisory Committee from 1967 to 1992. He also served on a committee set up by Werner von Braun, who pioneered the U.S. manned space flight program.
That led to the formation of The University of Alabama in Huntsville, and Halsey was part of the group that helped raise the money to start UAH. In May 1982, Halsey received an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University.
Halsey’s civic work has earned him a number of honors, including his selection as Outstanding Young Man of the Year in Huntsville in 1955 and being chosen to receive the Outstanding Civilian Service Medal from the Redstone Arsenal on three separate occasions. He received the Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Award in 1989, the same year he received the American Defense Preparedness Association Distinguished Service Award. In 1990, he received the Susan B. Greene Distinguished Service Award from the North Alabama District Dietetic Association.
He is a past president of the Huntsville-Madison County Industrial Development Association and the Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce. He has served as president of the Huntsville Rotary Club and the Huntsville Golf and Country Club. He is a past chairman of the Huntsville city school board and served as vice chairman of the Huntsville Industrial Development Board and as a trustee of the Huntsville Hospital Board. He is a member of the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center Advisory Committee.
He has been active in fund-raising efforts on behalf of the American Red Cross, the YMCA, and the Boy Scouts of America, and chaired the fund-raising drive for Girl Scouts of America, and served as committee chairman for the Community Chest.
Halsey was also a key figure in the integration of the Huntsville schools and the water fountains and rest rooms of the Madison County Courthouse, as well as in convincing nightclub owners in the city to serve black soldiers.
He is married to the former Miriam Barnes Brennan. He and his first wife, the late Jewel Fernandez, have three daughters, Cecilia, Laura and Elizabeth. He also has two stepdaughters, Patricia Bidwell and Susan Rivis.
BERNARD A. MONAGHAN
(1916 – 1987)
The late Bernard A. Monaghan, former chief executive officer of Vulcan Materials Co., was a successful lawyer who left the legal profession to become president and chief executive officer of Vulcan Materials Co. until 1981.
Vulcan is the largest U.S. producer of construction aggregates, which it sells primarily to the private sector. The construction materials unit operates more than 220 aggregates plants, not including other production and distribution facilities, in the U.S. and Mexico.
Born in Birmingham to Bernard A. and Mary Frances Monaghan, he attended Birmingham-Southern College and earned a law degree from Harvard at 21, after which he traveled to Britain and earned a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford.
After finishing at Oxford, he returned to Birmingham where he joined the law firm of what is now Bradley Arant Rose and White. During World War II he rose to the rank of captain in the Marine Corps and received the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star medal. He remained active in the Marine Corps Reserve, rising to the rank of Lt. Colonel.
In 1948, he became a partner in the law firm and four years later took a leave of absence to serve as department counselor for the Department of the Army, for which he received the Exceptional Civilian Service Medal in 1953.
In 1956 Birmingham Slag was renamed Vulcan Materials, and went public.
Monaghan had worked closely with the company as company counsel and consultant, so it was not a complete surprise when the company’s board of directors hired him as executive vice president in 1958. His hiring came at a time when the company was growing rapidly, expanding its facilities through acquisitions and mergers with production facilities in 12 states and undergoing a period of reorganization and transformation from a family-owned business to a national corporation.
Under Monaghan’s leadership, Vulcan’s diversification and expansion moved the company into the Forbes 500 ranking. Today Vulcan Materials Co. is a leading provider of infrastructure materials to the American economy.
Vulcan Chemicals produces basic industrial chemicals, which include chlorine, caustic soda, hydrochloric acid, potassium chemicals and chlorinated organics. Vulcan’s chemicals serve many industries and are used in a wide range of modern applications.
Monaghan was an active supporter of education, serving on the board of governors of Indian Springs School and as a trustee at Birmingham-Southern College, where he was awarded a doctor of humanities degree. He also was a member of the Alabama Rhodes Scholarship Committee. The B.A. Monaghan Professorship in Business Administration at Birmingham-Southern College is named in his honor.
He received the 1967 Gold Knight of Management Award from the National Management Association, and in 1978 he was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor. In 2003, he was inducted into the Birmingham Business Hall of Fame.
He was a member of the board of directors of Beatrice Foods of Chicago, South Central Bell, Protective Life, SouthTrust Bank, Avondale Mills and Southern Research Institute.
He also was a member of the Downtown Club, Mountain Brook Club, The Relay Club of Birmingham, and The Chicago Club.
A leader of cultural affairs in Birmingham, he was a member of Trustees for the Birmingham Civic Ballet, Birmingham Symphony Association, the Rushton Lectures of Birmingham, and a member of the Newcomen Society. He was given the 1972 Brotherhood Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews.
His other civic interests included: participation as a member of the Executive Steering Committee of the Alabama Heart Hospital; board of directors of the Birmingham Committee of 100; board of directors of the Alabama State Chamber of Commerce; director and member of the Executive Committee of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce; member of the board of trustees of the Ireland Foundation of Birmingham; chairman of the Jefferson County Survey Committee in 1950 to 1952; member of the National Executive Committee and chairman of the Birmingham Executive Committee for the National Council on Crime and Delinquency; board of directors of the National Institute for Public Affairs, Washington, D.C., 1967 to 1973; board of directors for the Birmingham Urban League, 1968 to 1974.
Active in fund-raising for civic causes, Monaghan chairman of the 1967 Ford Foundation Matching Grant Campaign for Birmingham-Southern College; agent for the Harvard Law School Fund from 1956 to 1960; board of directors for the Birmingham Community Chest, 1960, 1962 to 1966; chairman, Special Gifts Campaign for the National Conference of Christians and Jews, Alabama Region in 1961 and 1963; director and chairman of the 1959 Christmas Seals Campaign for the Anti-Tuberculosis Association of Birmingham; chairman of the 1965 Foundation Committee of the Rotary Club of Birmingham; member of the Board of Directors of the Baptist Hospital Foundation; United Negro College Fund as the corporate chairman of the Birmingham Area 1977 Campaign; member of the Alabama Rhodes Scholarship Committee since 1949 and its secretary in 1972; member of the Steering Committee for the Samford University’s 1970 Decisive Years Campaign.
He was married in 1941 to Margaret Rushton, with whom he had a daughter, Margaret Monaghan. He later was married to the former Mary Jackson Hughes.
JOHN H. WATSON
John Holman Watson, of Dothan, is president and chief executive officer of Smith’s Inc., a mechanical contracting firm.
Watson was born to Absolom and Mary Outlaw Watson on Feb. 12, 1938, in the small rural community of Skipperville in Dale County. He worked a variety of jobs coming up, from delivering ice to carpentry to roof work. He graduated a year early from Newton High School in 1955 and attended Auburn University.
The first person in his family to attend college, Watson was a co-op student, working at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville and the Corps of Engineers at Fort Rucker and became involved in the advanced ROTC program at Auburn. Upon graduating from Auburn in 1960 with a degree in mechanical engineering, Watson married Gail Pearson of Ozark, and entered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a second lieutenant. After serving on active duty in 1961 and 1962 during the Berlin Crisis, Watson and his wife moved back to Dothan where he took a job as an engineer for Smith’s Inc., the largest mechanical contracting firm in the area.
Watson worked 100-hours weeks, and in 1966 he and two other employees bought 47 percent interest in the company from James M. Smith. Four years later they purchased the rest of the firm.
Watson considered growing Smith’s Inc. into a regional or national firm but decided it would be better to diversify in other types of business because of fluctuations in the economy. Watson has had his hands in a number of businesses, including Engineered Systems Inc., a general contracting and design firm performing only negotiated projects. The company specializes in design/build projects on shopping centers, office buildings, warehouses and industrial buildings. In 1998 the company worked with a number of institutions and businesses, including Auburn University, to design and build its Indoor Football Practice Facility; Higgins Electric Inc., an industrial contracting, engineering, and electrical supply business; Aladan Inc., which became the largest latex glove producer in the U.S. and the largest condom manufacturing company in the world; USA Yeast Inc., a baker’s yeast company in Hattiesburg, Miss., which is the most “state of the art” baker’s yeast plant in the world and the only American-owned baker’s yeast plant in the United States, supplying one-seventh of the total U.S. fresh yeast demand (Smith’s, Higgins Electric and Engineered Systems designed and built the two plants); South Alabama Brick Co., which has offices in Alabama and Florida; Southeastern Commercial Financial, LLC, a company specializing in making asset-based loans to businesses and which also now has offices in Nashville, Tenn. and Atlanta, Ga; and Twitchell Inc., a Dothan company with manufacturing facilities in China which specializes in the manufacture of fabric for the casual furniture market.
Watson has served as a trustee and elder in the Evergreen Presbyterian Church. He has served on the board of Houston Academy, the Dothan Boys Club, the Alabama Research Institute, and the Alabama Industrial Relations Board.
He was named the 1996 Presidents Council Volunteer of the Year for the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind and serves on the institute’s board. He was the 1988 chairman of the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce and a graduate of Leadership Alabama. In 1998, he received the Community Service Award from Troy State University–Dothan.
He is a past member and chairman of the Alabama Ethics Commission and is currently on the board of directors of Regions Financial Corp.
He and his wife, Gail Pearson Watson, have a daughter, Abby Jo Watson Downs, a son, John Ronney Watson, and six grandchildren.
Note to editors: Short biographical sketches are attached. Sketches of inductees are available electronically by calling Bill Gerdes at 205/348-8318.
The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.
CONTACT: Bill Gerdes, UA Business Writer, 205/348-8318, firstname.lastname@example.org