Five Business Leaders Headed for Alabama Business Hall of Fame
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Five distinguished business leaders have been selected for induction into the Alabama Business Hall of Fame Thursday, Nov. 14, at the Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa in Hoover. The reception will begin at 6 p.m. and the induction ceremony and dinner at 7 p.m.
The five will be the 40th class of inductees.
“These distinguished business leaders are a true representation of Alabama’s unique economic community, from the bustling Gulf Coast to the thriving northern part of the state and points in between. Each has left his mark on his community, the state and, in fact, the world,” said Dr. J. Michael Hardin, dean of The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration. The College’s Board of Visitors founded the Alabama Business Hall of Fame in 1973.
“Each inductee has demonstrated hard work and vision in his chosen field, from stevedoring on the nation’s coasts to residential and recreational development to education,” Hardin said.
The Alabama Business Hall of Fame honors the accomplishments of more than 130 men and women who are some of the state’s most distinguished business leaders.
“The history of the Business Hall of Fame reaches back to 1973 and honors some of the state’s most distinguished business leaders,” Hardin said.
To be eligible for selection, a person must have brought fame and honor to the state of Alabama. He or she should have made a significant impact on the development of community and state by promoting the free enterprise system and entrepreneurship; by demonstrating civic leadership, and by their philanthropy and humanitarianism toward their fellow citizens.
Nominees must be retired for three years or be at least 65. A continuing list of nominees is maintained, and each year new names are added for consideration. Nominations from anyone are welcome.
For ticket information to the Alabama Business Hall of Fame, contact Susan Newman, events coordinator at the Culverhouse College of Commerce, email@example.com, 205/348-0147.
This year’s inductees are:
Angus R. Cooper II, chairman and chief executive officer of Cooper/T. Smith Corp., Mobile;
David J. Cooper Sr.,vice chair, Cooper/T. Smith Corp., Mobile;
William Eugene (Gene) Davenport, president and chief operating officer, retired, Russell Lands Inc., Birmingham;
Peter Loftis Lowe, president of G.W. Jones and Sons Real Estate Investment Co. Inc., Huntsville;
Dr. J. Barry Mason, former dean, UA’s Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration, Tuscaloosa.
Biographies of the inductees follow:
Angus R. Cooper II
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Cooper/T. Smith Corp.
Angus R. Cooper II is chairman and chief executive officer of Cooper/T. Smith Corp. headquartered in Mobile.
Cooper was born March 28, 1942 in Mobile, and he attended University Military School, graduating in 1960. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from The University of Alabama in l964. In 1995, he received the Achievement in Transportation Award from The University Of Alabama Culverhouse College Of Commerce.
After graduation from college, he joined Cooper Stevedoring Corp. Under his direction, Cooper Stevedoring has grown and operates in 37 ports on the East, Gulf and West Coast of the United States, plus operations in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. It has also expanded into services of ship docking and undocking, mooring, warehousing, barging and barge towing business. One of Cooper’s latest acquisitions is Kimberly Clark’s marine and timberlands division now renamed Cooper Marine and Timberlands Inc.
The story of the Cooper family businesses began in the late 1800s when Henry Harrison Cooper and his two brothers emigrated from Scotland, eventually settling in Baldwin County, in an area appropriately named Rosinton. They were rosin farmers securing rosin for Naval stores from the plentiful Baldwin County pine trees.
Henry Cooper’s son Angus, one of fourteen children, went to work on the Mobile waterfront and began the Cooper family stevedoring tradition, and, in 1905, he established what eventually became Cooper/T. Smith Corp.
Angus Cooper’s son, Ervin, joined the family’s business. He married, had two sons (Angus II and David), and went on to personally direct the firm’s expansion to ports throughout the U.S. Both sons set out on a seemingly impossible mission: to grow the business worldwide and compete internationally with the biggest maritime firms in the world.
He currently serves on the board of directors of IBERIABANK, the Coast Guard Foundation and Crescent Towing & Salvage Co. Inc. He is vice president of Crimson Tide Foundation, and he is a member of the Chief Executives Organization Inc. He is chairman of the Senior Bowl and the Mobile Arts & Sports Association and a member of the Mobile Carnival Association, Mobile Touchdown Club, Eastern Shore Art Association and the New Orleans Business Council and World Presidents’ Organization.
He is honorary chair for the Alabama Kidney Foundation. In 1998, he received the World Trade Club Award at the United Nations in New York. In 2004 he received the Bank One Junior Achievement Award, and, in 2005, he was chosen as a Role Model for the Young Leadership Council. He was named “Maritime Person of the Year 2005” by the Propeller Club of New Orleans. He also received the 14th International Maritime Hall of Fame Award in 2007. In 2009 he was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor.
Cooper is on the board of directors of the National WWII Museum, the Audubon Institute and GulfQuest Maritime Museum.
He formerly served on the Board of Trustees of The University of Alabama System, the board of directors of Whitney National Bank of New Orleans, chairman of the board of commissioners of the Port of New Orleans, director of Federal Reserve Bank, Alabama Dry Dock & Shipbuilding Inc., Boy Scouts of America, Children’s Hospital and various other civic and social organizations. Cooper was the former co-chairman of the United States Olympic Committee – Mobile.
Cooper is an active member of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Fairhope. He has four children, Carol Elizabeth (Lisa), Angus III, Scott, and Claire Ellen and nine grandchildren.
David J. Cooper Sr.
Vice Chair, Cooper/T. Smith Corp.
David J. Cooper Sr. served as president of Cooper/T. Smith Corp., headquartered in Mobile, from 1983 to 2008. In 2008 he became vice chair, the position he currently holds.
Cooper was born Aug. 21, 1945 in Mobile. He graduated as a member of the Class of 1963 from University Military School, and the Class of 1967 from the University of Alabama in the School of Commerce and Business Administration with a Bachelor of Science in general business.
After college, Cooper joined his family’s stevedoring company. The company operates in 37 ports on the East, West and Gulf Coasts of the United States, plus operations in South America and Mexico. Cooper/T. Smith has also diversified its business interests, including 31 subsidiaries and affiliated companies. The company also owns Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Mobile, Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Jackson, Miss., Felix’s Fish Camp and The Bluegill Restaurant on the Mobile Bay Causeway.
He serves as a director on the corporate boards of Alabama Power Co., Regions Financial Corp., International Transportation Service (Kawasaki) in Long Beach, Calif., and CSC Assurance in Hamilton, Bermuda. He is a director of AAA (Alabama Automobile Association), Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, and he is a former director of SouthTrust Bank (now Wells Fargo); and a former director of AmSouth Bank (now Regions Financial).
Cooper also served as chairman of Infirmary Health System; Mobile Carnival Association; Mobile Industrial Development Board and vice chair of Alabama State Port Authority.
He is a former director the Alabama State Chamber of Commerce, American Red Cross, University Military School, Old Dauphin Way School, Julius T. Wright School and UMS-Wright Preparatory School where he served as chairman of the board. He is past president of the Country Club of Mobile, the Touchdown Club and other civic and social organizations.
He is a former member of Young Presidents’ Organization and World Presidents’ Organization. In 1995 he received the Achievement in Transportation Award from The University Of Alabama Culverhouse College Of Commerce, the 1996 Outstanding Alumni Award from the UMS-Wright Preparatory School, and he was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor in 2011.
Cooper is an active member of Christ Episcopal Cathedral and is married to the former Joanne Knowles. They have three grown children: Ashleigh, Margaret, and David Jr., and six grandchildren.
William Eugene (Gene) Davenport
President and Chief Operating Officer, Retired
Russell Lands Inc.
William Eugene (Gene) Davenport served for 30 years as an officer of Russell Lands Inc., the last 13 of which were as president and chief operating officer. Russell Lands is a highly diversified company located in Alexander City and is recognized as Alabama’s largest recreational developer.
Born in Kentucky, Davenport grew up in Yazoo City, Miss. After graduating from Millsaps College with a Bachelor of Science degree, he attended the University of Mississippi where he earned a master’s degree in urban and regional planning. Early in his career he worked in Huntsville with Rust Engineering, coordinating planning for NASA physical installations. He then transferred to Rust headquarters in Birmingham to help develop a city planning division. It was through his work in this division that he met Ben Russell and ultimately became the ninth employee of Russell Lands on Jan. 1, 1973.
Ben Russell didn’t have a difficult sales job in convincing Davenport to relocate his young family from Center Point in Birmingham to Lake Martin. A strong life-long bond developed between these two men as they nurtured company assets, strategically and intentionally growing Russell Lands into the company that it is today.
During his 30-year tenure with the company, it grew to include 13 residential land development projects, condominium developments, 5 marina operations, 11 building supply centers, over 400 rental lake houses, several real estate offices, a renewable fuel energy business, and many commercial properties on and around Lake Martin. One operation that may be particularly familiar is Willow Point Golf and Country Club, professed by many to be America’s most beautiful lakeside golf resort.
Additionally, the company owns and operates 25,000 acres of timberland, which includes some 200 plus miles of shoreline, in the three-county area around Lake Martin. This timberland is carefully managed for production and improvement to assure the quality longevity of a prime company asset, all in full consideration of the natural environment.
Davenport has served and continues to serve on many boards including: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, former chairman of DoIt Best Corp., BBVA Compass Bank, The Baptist Health System, chairman of the Baptist Health System Foundation, UAB Liver Center, UAB Leadership Cabinet, Auburn University Presidents Advisory Board, on the board as vice-chairman of Children’s Harbor since its inception, founding director of ARISE, an Alexander City community program for the elderly, founding director of the local Rotary Club and past president, Society of International Business Fellows, Lake Martin Economic Development Alliance, chaired the board of the Alabama Forestry Association, and he was a founding member of the board of the Alabama Water Resource Commission.
In addition to business pursuits, Davenport has been a lifelong philanthropist. He is founder of the Alexander City Rotary Golf Challenge, a charity event which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to benefit Children’s Harbor and Camp ASCCA-Easter Seals. He co-chairs with David Dixon the “Davenport-Dixon” Golf Challenge as an additional fundraiser for Children’s Harbor. He was awarded Rotary’s International Four Venues of Service Award, been successful in raising money for UAB’s Liver Center, and he was named Philanthropist of the Year by the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Eight years ago, he underwent a liver transplant at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., where he and his wife, Sandra, established and funded, in perpetuity, a program for research in all areas of transplantation. He also serves on Mayo’s National Development Committee’s advisory board. He and Sandra have also established a fund for research in the field of Neurology at UAB.
His hobby, which he shares with his son, Will, is collecting antique and classic automobiles, and he managed to parlay the hobby into serving on two additional boards: the Board of the Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg National Museum and as a partner in WORLDWIDE AUCTIONEERS, which specializes in the sale of antique and classic automobiles.
Peter Loftis Lowe
President, G.W. Jones and Sons Real Estate Investment Co. Inc.
Peter Loftis Lowe is president of G.W. Jones and Sons Real Estate Investment Co. Inc. in Huntsville, and he has made his mark in business through a series of entrepreneurial ventures that have stretched across the Southeast.
He was born in Pensacola, the son of Edgar Leonard and Nadis Loftis Lowe. He graduated from Shades Valley High School in Birmingham and received his bachelor’s degree in commerce and business administration from The University of Alabama in 1960.
Lowe has been involved in more than 50 limited liability corporations across the state, ranging from retail stores, shopping centers, aerospace companies, hotels, restaurants and wine storage facilities. He formerly owned a shopping center in south Alabama and auto supply stores in Alabama, Tennessee and Louisiana.
He received the Member, Appraisal Institute designation of the American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers in 1969. He is a member of the National Association of Realtors and is also an Accredited Rural Appraiser, and he is a member of the Building Owners and Managers Association.
His experience and background are primarily in the area of commercial real estate. He is responsible for the development and management of all real estate operations of his firm and other partnerships and corporations in which he has ownership.
He is helping develop a Huntsville subdivision called Lendon, a high-end neighborhood with boutique shopping, outdoor cafes, a clubhouse that doubles as a bed and breakfast for out-of-town guests, and narrow streets to encourage walking.
Lowe was a member of the Board of Trustees of The University of Alabama for 17 years. He also served on the University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System Board. He currently serves on The University of Alabama Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration board of visitors, UAB Valley Foundation and UAH Foundation … board of directors.
He is a member and past president of the Huntsville Rotary Club, member and past president of Volunteers of America, past board member of the Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce, past member of the board of directors for the Huntsville Land Trust and served on the U.S. Space and Rocket Center advisory committee.
He is very active in the community, serving on numerous boards and committees. He is active with the Huntsville Museum of Art, where his Elizabeth serves on the board of directors, and they recently co-chaired the capital campaign for the museum’s multi-million dollar expansion “Masterpiece in the Making'” which raised $12 million to improve the museum’s existing facilities and provided an endowment for the museum’s long-term financial stability. Lowe was instrumental in the creation and funding for the HudsonAlpa Biotechnical Institute and serves on their Foundation Board. He is also a member of the board of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.
He and his wife received the 2008 Arthritis Foundation Humanitarian Award given annually to the person or persons in the Huntsville community who displays exemplary community leadership. This past March he was named to the North Alabama Business Hall of Fame sponsored by Junior Achievement. The Lowes are distinguished community advocates and civic volunteers who have given countless hours to numerous community and state-wide organizations and boards.
He and his wife have three children: Peter L. Lowe Jr., an attorney; Carl T. Jones Lowe, a building contractor, and Sara Lowe Ahearn, all of Huntsville. They have six grandchildren.
His hobbies include golf, art collecting, sporting events and travel.
Dr. J. Barry Mason
Former Dean, The Culverhouse College of Commerce
and Business Administration, The University of Alabama,
Dr. J. Barry Mason, born in Memphis and raised in Louisiana, was the seventh dean of The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration.
His campus experience spanned more than 40 years, 22 of those as dean. In addition, he served as interim president of the University for a brief period. And he has played a major role in moving the state’s economy forward through his work in preventing the closure of the Rochester Carburetor plant and setting the foundation for the state’s thriving automobile manufacturing industry.
Mason earned his bachelor’s degree from Louisiana Tech University in 1963. He moved to The University of Alabama, where he earned his master’s degree in 1964 and his doctorate in 1967.
His national recognition for scholarly achievement began in 1976 when he was recognized as a Beta Gamma Scholar in national competition. In 1980 he was recognized as one of 10 outstanding scholars on campus. He received the Academy of Marketing Science Outstanding Educator of the Year and was designated a Distinguished Fellow for his contributions to marketing. He has been recognized as one of the top 100 marketing scholars in the past 20 years, and he is a fellow of the Southwestern Marketing Association and the Southern Marketing Association. He was president of both associations as well as the National Marketing Association.
Mason is the senior author of eight college textbooks, numerous monographs, and he is the co‑author of more than 100 scholarly articles.
He was awarded the John E. Burnum Distinguished Faculty Award for research, scholarship and a profound dedication to the art of teaching. He also is a past winner of the Alabama National Alumni Association Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award and recipient of the Western Electric (AT&T) Foundation Award, given annually by the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business for the nation’s best undergraduate innovation in business education, and he is also a recipient of the Leavey Award for Excellence in Private Enterprise Education, Freedom’s Foundation of Valley Forge, for “outstanding efforts to help young people better understand the function and benefits of private enterprise and free market economics.”
His recognition by the University includes the Minnie C. Miles Endowed Excellence Award, the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award to recognize “the practical application of noble ideals based on excellence on character and service to humanity,” the E. Roger Sayers Award “in recognition of outstanding performance and dedication above and beyond normal duties,” and the Amelia Gayle Watson Distinctive Image Award “epitomizing a person of profound stature.”
He was recognized by the American Marketing Association for his efforts in turning around the 40,000 member national association at a time it teetered on the brink of bankruptcy. He was also the recipient of the Wayne Lemberg Award in 1999 for “significant, sustained contributions to the American Marketing Association.”
Mason has been active in the Black Warrior Council of the Boy Scouts of and is a past president of the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce. He was on the board of directors of the DCH Regional Healthcare Authority from 1986 to 2007 and served as chairman of the board of the Healthcare Authority for eight years. He serves on the DCH Healthcare Foundation board of directors and is a past Fellow. He also is past president of Challenge 21, a local community initiative established to enhance a program of deliberative dialogue on issues crucial to the future of the Tuscaloosa County area, is past president of Junior Achievement and a past member of the board of the Jack Warner Foundation.
In 2006 he was selected as an inductee into the West Alabama Civic Hall of Fame and recognized as a Pillar of West Alabama by the West Alabama Community Foundation for sustained contributions to the betterment of the West Alabama area. In 2008, Mason was selected as the Tuscaloosa County Citizen of the Year by the Civitan Club.
He has been a member of the board of directors at Peoples Bank of Tuscaloosa, First National Bank of Amsouth Bank, Tuscaloosa and Books-a-Million.
Mason and his wife, Linda, have a daughter, Melissa, and a son, Michael (deceased).
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: UA Media Relations, 205/348-5320
- SOURCE: Diane Harrison, firstname.lastname@example.org, 205/348-2930