BCA Board of Directors Elect Officers, Approve 2016 Legislative Agenda

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Business Council of Alabama’s Board of Directors at its annual meeting on Dec. 4 elected Foley businessman Thomas M. “Tommy” Lee as chairman for 2016 and chose other officers of the business advocacy organization.

Lee currently serves as the BCA’s First Vice Chairman. He will succeed BCA 2015 Chairman Marty Abroms, President and Managing Shareholder of Abroms & Associates, P.C., in Florence. Abroms becomes Immediate Past Chairman.

Lee, president and CEO of Vulcan, Inc., an aluminum manufacturer, has been with Vulcan for 30 years. Prior to joining Vulcan, he was employed by Alabama Power Co. for eight years as a commercial sales engineer.

Second Vice Chairman Jeffrey F. Coleman, president and CEO of Coleman World Group in Midland City, was elected First Vice Chairman to succeed Lee.

Perry Hand, president and CEO of Volkert Inc., of Mobile, was elected Second Vice Chairman to succeed Coleman.

Fournier J. “Boots” Gale III, senior vice president and General Counsel of Regions Financial Corp., was reelected BCA legal counsel, and Charles Nailen, President/Owner BBG Special Foods Inc. in Dothan, was reelected treasurer.

Mike Kemp, president and CEO of Kemp Management Solutions in Birmingham, was elected Secretary, succeeding Philip C. Dotts, Principal, Public Financial Management Inc., in Huntsville.

New BCA board members were elected and the BCA’s 2016 State Legislative Agenda was approved.

Birmingham attorney Liz Huntley was the annual meeting’s dynamic and inspirational speaker. She is the author of More Than a Bird that chronicles her rise from Alabama poverty to succeed in life and the legal profession.

Huntley, a passionate advocate of children and families, is president and co-founder of Project Gear, a non-profit organization which works with at-risk youth to remove barriers to learning.

BCA annual meetings provide the opportunity to recognize Alabamians who have contributed to business advancement in the political and community arenas.

South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce President Donna Watts and 2013 BCA Chairman Fred McCallum also were honored with awards.

Watts, the South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce president, was the recipient of the BCA’s prestigious Thompsonian Leadership Award. She was chair of the CCAA in 2009.

Canary said Watts embodies the six principles of the award: challenge the status quo, seek advice from individuals outside your inner circle, dream the impossible, work with others who have the ability to think outside the box, be humble yet decisive, and be honest.

“Donna is truly a visionary who continues to ‘fly the flag’ for the continued Partnership between the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama and the Business Council of Alabama,” Canary said.

The award is named after the 2003 BCA chairman, Mike Thompson. “He is visionary who initiated the formal partnership between the Chamber of Commerce Association and the Business Council of Alabama,” Canary said.

Canary and former Governor Bob Riley presented McCallum, President of AT&T Alabama, with the Governor Bob Riley “Building a Better Alabama” Award, which recognizes those who work tirelessly to promote manufacturing and economic development in Alabama.

McCallum guided the BCA’s agendas in 2013 when he served as ProgressPAC chairman and BCA First Vice Chairman and in 2014 when he served as BCA chairman, two years during which the BCA grew its efforts to unite business and education.

“Education improvement and economic development that go hand in hand have been at the top of Fred’s agenda during his professional life and which continued during his service to the BCA,” Canary said.

McCallum also promoted the partnership between local Chambers of Commerce and the BCA through the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama and The Partnership, which unite grass-roots and statewide business associations.

“You have earned this award for what you do,” Canary said.

The board approved the BCA’s 2016 Legislative Agenda that was produced during Committee Days in November and submitted to the board. The agenda will guide the BCA’s advocacy team during the 2016 regular legislative session that begins on Feb. 2.

-Dana Beyerle