Alabama Business Hall of Fame Welcomes Six for 2019

2019 Inductees of the Alabama Business Hall of Fame from L-R: Sue Whitehead daughter of Lonnie S. McMillian, Charles A. Collat, Sr., Gary P. Fayard, Marillyn A. Hewson, Joe W. Forehand, Jr., and Michael Reilly

2019 Alabama Business Hall of Fame Inductees

All 2019 ABHOF inductees from left to right: Sue Whitehead, daughter of Lonnie S. McMillian, Charles A. Collat, Sr., Gary P. Fayard, Marillyn A. Hewson, Joe W. Forehand, Jr., and Michael Reilly.

Annual celebration of business leaders and humanitarians that have brought lasting fame to the State of Alabama welcomes new cohort to join list 229 members strong.

“The only reason I’m up here tonight is because of all those people here who have supported me.” – Gary P. Fayard, former CFO of The Coca-Cola Co., who was inducted into the Alabama Business Hall of Fame for 2019.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — In a festive, black-tie celebration Thursday, November 7, 2019, the Alabama Business Hall of Fame inducted six new members, all of them joining a list now 229 members strong. Over 450 people attended the induction ceremony at Haven in downtown Birmingham.

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.

Alabama Business Hall of Fame guests gathered at Haven in downtown Birmingham.
Alabama Business Hall of Fame guests gathered at Haven in downtown Birmingham.

Now in its 45th 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.

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.

The 2019 inductees included the following people, all of whom have deep connections to the state of Alabama:

  • Charles A. Collat Sr., chairman emeritus of Mayer, one of the largest electrical product distributors in the country. He is also a committed supporter of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and its business school, now named the Collat School of Business.
  • Gary P. Fayard, as former chief financial officer and executive vice president of The Coca-Cola Co., he helped the company double its revenues to $47 billion. The $12 billion acquisition of the company’s North American bottling and distribution operations is noted among his greatest accomplishments.
  • Joe W. Forehand Jr., former chairman and chief executive officer of Accenture. While CEO, the firm’s revenue grew from $9.6 billion to $13.7 billion. He is a dedicated alum of Auburn University, where he was co-chair of its recent $1.2 billion capital campaign.
  • Marillyn A. Hewson, current chairman, president and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corp. In 2019, TIME magazine identified Hewson as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.” She and husband James recently made a substantial gift to The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Business to help construct a new building named Hewson Hall.
  • Lonnie S. McMillian, a visionary serial entrepreneur who led the development of innovative companies aligned with telecommunications and biotech. In 2005, he co-founded the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. He passed away in 2018.
  • Michael Reilly, chairman emeritus of Randall-Reilly, a strategic data, media and marketing services company that services a wide number of industries. He is an ardent supporter of organizations that serve the Tuscaloosa, Alabama community, especially those that benefit youth.

Read in-depth bios of each inductee here.

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.

Marillyn A. Hewson, inductee and current chairman, president and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corp.

In her speech upon being inducted, Marillyn A. Hewson said:

“The Business Hall of Fame shows that Alabama’s people, companies, and education institutions are having a positive and lasting impact on our country and on our world. And, that’s not a surprise to those of us who call Alabama ‘home.’ We know that the people, ideals, and universities here provide building blocks for success.”

“That’s why, throughout my career, I have always been proud to represent this wonderful state.”

The award of inductee Mr. Lonnie McMillian, who passed away in 2018, was accepted on his behalf by his daughter Sue Whitehead, who shared anecdotes about her father and his legacy.

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

Nominate an Inductee

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

  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. 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. 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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