BCA Annual Meeting Caps a Successful 2014

Business Council of Alabama board members for 2015 and state and federal legislative agendas were approved this month during the BCA’s final meeting that closed out a successful 2014 and set the stage for 2015.

“Overall it’s the most successful year we had,” said BCA Chairman-elect Marty Abroms.

The BCA annual meeting at the Harbert Center on Dec. 5 also included a combined business meeting of the BCA and Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama, which are in the 11th year of their Partnership.

During the annual meeting, Abroms, President of Abroms & Associates P.C. in Florence, was elected BCA Chairman for 2015, succeeding 2014 Chairman Fred McCallum, President of AT&T Alabama. Abroms is the 2014 First Vice Chairman and McCallum will become Immediate Past Chairman.

“I’m looking to continue what you have started, especially at the education front,” Abroms told McCallum.

McCallum said he wants his year at the helm to be remembered as one in which the newly formed Business Education Alliance of Alabama continued to become a premier business education advocate.
The BEA, formed in 2013 with former state School Superintendent Joe Morton as chairman and president, released a significant study on high school dropout rates during the BCA’s Governmental Affairs Conference in early August.
“We really stepped up our efforts to work with them,” McCallum said. “One of our organization’s goals the last three years and one of my personal goals in the BCA this year was to take another step forward in establishing business as the leading voice for positive change in education.”

Accomplishments in 2014 include passage of an updated Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, defense of College and Career-Ready education standards, expanding the successful Alabama Pre-kindergarten program, signing a continued cooperation agreement with the National Association of Manufacturers, support for the Alabama Department of Education’s Plan 2020 that aims for a 90 percent high school graduation rate by 2020, and the most successful chairman’s dinner that featured former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

“It’s been a great, great year,” McCallum said.
Tommy Lee, CEO of Vulcan Materials, currently Second Vice Chairman, was elected First Vice Chairman, and Jeff Coleman was elected Second Vice Chairman.
Fournier J. “Boots” Gale III, senior vice president and general counsel for Regionals Financial Corp., was reelected BCA legal counsel.
Charles Nailen, President and Owner of BBG Specialty Foods Inc., in Dothan, was re-elected treasurer, and Philip Dotts, Managing Director of the PFM Group in Huntsville, was re-elected secretary.
Board members and district chairs also were elected.
“This strong slate of leaders will continue pro-business agendas at both the state and federal levels in our efforts to protect and grow Alabama business interests so that owners, investors, and employees can benefit their companies, families, and state,” said BCA President and CEO William J. Canary.

Voting BCA members approved a state legislative agenda for 2015. “We believe it’s a good agenda that represents the interests of our members,” said Fred Blackwell, chairman of the BCA Governmental Affairs Committee.

Members also approved a 2015 federal legislative agenda.

Abroms as First Vice Chair also was the 2014 chair of ProgressPAC, the BCA’s political arm. Abroms reported that 2014 was a successful year politically with the election of 114 of 118 BCA-endorsed candidates.

The 11-year Partnership between the BCA and CCAA was observed. “We accomplished a lot in the past year and we have a lot to be thankful for,” said 2014 CCAA Chairman Jim Page, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama.

Brian Hilson, President and CEO of the Birmingham Business Alliance, was elected CCAA chairman for 2015.

Rich Galen, columnist and former press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich, was the keynote speaker.

The day included awards to deserving recipients.

Decatur-Morgan County President and CEO John Seymour was the 2014 recipient of the BCA’s Thompsonian Leadership Award. “John Seymour epitomizes the ultimate in chamber leadership due to his experience, long service, and his adherence to the key principles of leadership,” Canary said.

The Thompsonian Leadership Award is named in honor of 2003 BCA Chairman Mike Thompson, a visionary who initiated the formal Partnership between the CCAA and the BCA. The award is presented to Chamber professionals who have displayed outstanding attributes in their daily vocation.

Former Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Darrelyn Bender was presented with the prestigious Jamie Wallace Award during the CCAA’s annual meeting. The CCAA’s highest award is presented to Chamber professionals who have displayed outstanding attributes in their daily vocations. “Darrelyn Bender has worked tirelessly to advance the mission of CCAA by building a better Alabama through strong chambers of commerce,” said CCAA President and CEO Jeremy Arthur.

-Dana Beyerle