Alabama Business Hall of Fame Inducts Seven for Class of 2018

In a festive, black-tie celebration Thursday, November 15, 2018, the Alabama Business Hall of Fame inducted seven new members, all of them joining a list now 223 members strong.

The Alabama Business Hall of Fame recognizes those who have brought fame and honor to the state of Alabama through not only their achievements as business leaders and entrepreneurs, but their ardent commitment to civic leadership, philanthropy, and humanitarianism.

The 2018 inductees included the following people, all of whom have deep connections to the state of Alabama:

  • Patricia “Sister Schubert” Barnes, founder not only of a baking empire Sister Schubert’s, which produces over nine million rolls a day, but also of Sasha’s Home, an orphanage in the Ukraine.
  • Jeffrey Bayer, president, CEO, and co-founder of Bayer Properties, which has amassed a real estate portfolio of about 10 million square feet.
  • Don James, former chairman and CEO of aggregates manufacturer Vulcan Materials Company, one of the largest public corporations in Alabama with operations throughout the United States.
  • Charles McCrary, former president and CEO of Alabama Power Company, the second largest utility company in the country, as well as an innovator in labor relations.
  • Randy Owen, not just the singer of country music band Alabama, among the most decorated bands of any genre ever, with 80 million records sold, but also a major supporter of St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
  • James Pursell, Sr., a long career in the development of innovative fertilizer products evolved to ownership of Pursell Farms, a luxury outdoors-oriented resort in Fayetteville, Alabama.
  • John Rhoads, an accountant at Ernst & Ernst that earned a well-deserved reputation for ethical leadership, his legacy has supported hundreds of University of Alabama students and athletes through scholarships and gifts.

All inductees are heavily committed to their communities, serving in leadership roles on boards, donating their time and resources to causes, and inspiring future generations of business leaders.

Read in-depth bios of each inductee. 

Now in its 44th year, the Alabama Business Hall of Fame is located on The University of Alabama campus in the Culverhouse College of Business’s Bidgood Hall. Members of the Culverhouse staff and a board representing the Culverhouse Board of Visitors, former inductees, other Alabama institutions of higher education, and Alabama businesses, coordinate the Hall of Fame selection process and planning of the induction ceremony.

Over 550 people attended the induction ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham – The Wynfrey Hotel. Notable guests included the following higher-education officials:

  • Dr. John M. Beehler, President of Jacksonville State University
  • Dr. Stuart R. Bell, President of The University of Alabama
  • Dr. Ray L. Watts, President of The University of Alabama at Birmingham

Tim Kelly, the Chair of the Hall of Fame committee welcomed attendees to the event and Dr. J Gorman Houston provided the invocation. Dr. Kay M. Palan, Dean of the Culverhouse College of Business, introduced each inductee to the stage.

The award of inductee Mr. John Rhoads, who passed away in 2001, was accepted on his behalf by his wife Margaret E. Rhoads. His friend Mr. Hilton Dean shared some of his fondest memories with guests.

See photos from this year’s Alabama Business Hall of Fame.

Watch speeches from the inductees!

Nominate an Inductee

To nominate someone to the Alabama Business Hall of Fame, contact Courtney Miller at The criteria are:

  1. 1. A candidate must have by his or her business accomplishments, whether they occurred in Alabama or not, brought fame and honor to the state of Alabama.
  2. 2. He/She should have made a significant impact on the development of their community and state by promoting the free enterprise system and entrepreneurship; by demonstrating civic leadership, philanthropy and humanitarianism toward fellow citizens.
  3. 3. All candidates must have been in retirement at least three (3) years, except those who are 65 years of age and older prior to the date of induction and who are still active in their careers

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