2023 Brings Six New Additions to the Alabama Business Hall of Fame

2023 Alabama Business Hall of Fame Inductees

CONTACT: Zach Thomas, Director of Marketing and Communications, rzthomas@ua.edu.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The Alabama Business Hall of Fame inducted six new members for 2023 in a black-tie ceremony on November 9 at Haven in downtown Birmingham, attended by about 450 individuals.

The inductees for 2023 included:

Herman E. Bulls

Herman E. Bulls is Vice Chairman, Americas, as well as international director and the founder of Jones Lang LaSalle’s (JLL) highly acclaimed Public Institutions practice, which he started to serve governmental and higher education clients. In addition to his current work at JLL, Bulls is the founder, president, and CEO of Bulls Advisory Group, a real estate advisory and management consulting firm. Born in Florence, Ala., he served in the United States Army after graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point with an engineering degree and completing the Army’s Airborne and Ranger courses.

Thomas “Tom” Hough

Thomas “Tom” Hough spent most of his career working for Ernst & Young in positions of escalating responsibility. By his retirement in 2014, he was leading EY’s Americas Assurance Practice, serving on the Firm’s Executive Board and a member of the Global Assurance Executive Committee. He graduated from The University of Alabama with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting.

Phillip McWane

Phillip McWane is chairman of McWane, Inc., the Birmingham, Alabama-based manufacturer of ductile iron products such as pipes, hydrants, and other critical goods used in construction and water infrastructure. Under McWane’s leadership, the company, a cornerstone of the Alabama business community, became a market leader. He graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in industrial management.

James W. Rane

James W. “Jimmy” Rane is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Great Southern Wood Preserving, Inc., a company he founded in Abbeville, Alabama, in 1970 and which has since grown to become one of the world’s largest manufacturers of pressure-treated lumber. He graduated high school from Marion Military Institute. He earned his bachelor’s in business administration from Auburn University, as well as a J.D. from the Samford University Cumberland School of Law.

Frank Stitt III

Frank Stitt III is the owner and executive chef of Highlands Bar and Grill, Bottega Restaurant, Bottega Café, and Chez Fonfon in Birmingham, Alabama. Stitt’s culinary journey began to take shape when he moved to San Francisco, and he honed his kitchen skills at various Bay Area restaurants before returning to his home state of Alabama to launch Highlands in 1982. He attended Tufts University and the University of California, Berkeley.

Michael D. Thompson

Michael D. Thompson is chairman of the board of Thompson Tractor Co., a dealer of heavy earthmoving machinery and engines through the South, and president and CEO of Fairway Investments. Fairway manages millions of square feet of retail, office, multi-family, hospitality, and industrial property across the country. He earned a bachelor’s degree in general business from The University of Alabama. 

Read longer inductee bios here.

Watch videos about each individual inductee here.

See and download photos of the induction ceremony here.

Mike Ross, chairman of the Hall of Fame Board, welcomed attendees to the event and provided the invocation. Dr. Kay M. Palan, dean of the Culverhouse College of Business, introduced each inductee to the stage after the playing of videos highlighting the individual inductees’ careers and community contributions.

Some of the distinguished guests in attendance included area higher-ed leadership, including Dr. Stuart Bell, President of The University of Alabama, Beck Taylor, President of Samford University, and Dr. Ray Watts, President of The University of Alabama at Birmingham, as well as University of Alabama System Chancellor Finis St. John IV. Furthermore, Congressman Robert Aderholt and former Senator Richard Shelby attended the ceremony.

Several former inductees from over the years also attended the event.

About the Alabama Business Hall of Fame

Founded in 1973, the Alabama Business Hall of Fame honors, preserves and perpetuates the names and outstanding accomplishments of business personalities who have brought lasting fame to the State of Alabama, whether it occurred in Alabama or not.

The Alabama Business Hall of Fame is located in Hewson Hall on The University of Alabama campus.

The Hall of Fame is governed by a 26-member Board of Directors. This body established the criteria for selecting inductees, determines the eligibility and election process for how these candidates shall be elected to the Hall of Fame. All candidates must have been deceased or in retirement at least three years, except for those who are 65 years of age and older, and still active in business. To be eligible for selection, an individual must have made a significant impact on the development of their community and state by promoting the free enterprise system and entrepreneurship.

This board of directors is composed of Alabama Business Hall of Fame members, business leaders who are alumni and/or affiliates of a diverse representation of the state’s higher education institutions, and each congressional district in the state of Alabama.

We are extremely proud of this group of distinguished Alabama business personalities to be inducted into the Alabama Business Hall of Fame. Individually and collectively, these individuals have greatly influenced the economic, political, and cultural aspects of life in the State of Alabama and the United States.

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