Business Council of Alabama Chairman Perry Hand was inducted into the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame on Saturday in Huntsville.
“It is an honor to even be considered for induction into the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame,” Hand said. “But to be selected for induction is just a truly amazing honor.
“My wife Joan is my life partner and deserves much of the credit for this honor. She has supported me at every turn and carried more than her share of the load throughout my career. This year we will celebrate or 50th wedding anniversary and I’m blessed to be able to share this honor with her.”
Hand, chairman of Volkert Inc. in Mobile, was inducted into the Class of 2018 along with Daniel K. Glover, 1980 University of Alabama engineering graduate and retired Alabama Power Co. distribution vice president; Vicki A. Hollub, 1981 University of Alabama mineral engineering graduate and president and chief executive officer of Occidental Petroleum Corp.;
Larry Monroe, 1979 Auburn University chemical engineering graduate and retired Southern Company’s chief environmental officer; Olivia Kelley Owen, 1977 Auburn University civil engineering graduate and retired ExxonMobil corporate officer and vice president for safety, security, health and environment; and, Ken Smith, 1981 Auburn University civil engineering graduate and president of Spire Alabama, Spire Gulf Coast and Spire Mississippi (formerly Alagasco, Mobile Gas and Willmut Gas).
The Big Spring Water Treatment Plant and Supply Improvements in Tuscumbia was selected under the projects category.
A registered Professional Engineer, Hand has spent nearly 40 years serving the public either in private business or government service: He was an elected state senator, Alabama secretary of state, and state Highway Director.
“Perry Hand is the gold standard when it comes to his career in both the public- and private-sectors in Alabama who has been serving his state and profession for nearly 50 years,” BCA President and CEO William J. Canary
“His public service in both the legislative and executive branches of government and his leadership of a nationally significant Alabama engineering company cannot be more acknowledged and honored than with this prestigious and deserved award,” Canary said. “Perry cherishes Alabama from the Tennessee River valley to his beloved Gulf Coast and is an engaged leader serving Alabama’s business community as the 2018 Chairman of the Business Council of Alabama.”
HIS GOAL WAS SET IN JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL
As early as the 8th grade, Hand knew what he wanted to do.
While in grade school, he helped his civil engineer brother-in-law perform land surveying work in Georgia and Alabama. “I loved the work and my first professional registration was as an Alabama Licensed Land Surveyor two years after graduating from Auburn as a civil engineer,” Hand recalled.
Business Council of Alabama Chairman Perry Hand, right, chairman of Volkert Inc. in Mobile, is inducted into the 2018 Class of the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame, on Saturday in Huntsville. Fellow inductees are, from left, Ken Smith; Olivia Owen; and Larry Monroe. Not pictured are Daniel Glover and Vicki Hollub. (Photo courtesy of Auburn University)
Hand said college was hard until he reached engineering classes, “then I excelled.” The proof was being named the Most Outstanding Civil Engineering Graduate.
“That was a shock to me,” Hand said. “I have never considered myself as ‘outstanding’ anything, just a hard worker with a good compass.
“I have loved everything about engineering from client relationships, design, construction to delivering the project complete and ready for use,” Perry Hand
After graduating from Auburn in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, Hand founded Perry Hand & Associates Inc. He was elected to the Alabama Senate in 1983 and again in 1986 and sold his business in 1989 when he became Alabama secretary of state.
In 1991, Hand was appointed Highway Director with responsibility for all state highway design, construction, and maintenance. As BCA chairman, he has come full circle using his BCA position this year to advocate for Alabama infrastructure improvements, setting the stage for infrastructure legislation in 2019.
Hand joined Volkert in 1993 and guided the company in high-profile projects, including a $700-million project to replace more than a mile of elevated Interstate 20/59 through downtown Birmingham; preliminary and final design of Interstate 22; and the $125-million Baldwin Beach Express that opened in 2014.
He was named Volkert chief marketing officer in 2004, president in 2007, and CEO and chairman in 2011. This year, he relinquished the CEO title and remains chairman.
Hand serves on the Hall of Fame board, incidentally with Tim McCartney, vice president of BCA-member McCartney Construction Co. LLC in Gadsden.
The State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame was chartered by the governor in 1987 to honor those men, women, corporations and projects associated with the state that have brought credit to the engineering profession. A total of 178 engineers, 43 projects, and 32 firms have been recognized by the hall.