Alabama Business Hall of Fame welcomes six for 2019

Alabama Business Hall of Fame welcomes six for 2019
The 2019 Alabama Business Hall of Fame inductees, from left: Sue Whitehead, accepting for her late father, Lonnie S. McMillian; Charles A. Collat Sr., Gary P. Fayard, Marillyn A. Hewson, Joe W. Forehand Jr. and Michael Reilly. (ABHOF)

In a festive, black-tie celebration, the Alabama Business Hall of Fame inducted six new members for2019, joining a list now 229 members strong. More than 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.

Now in its 45th year, the Alabama Business Hall of Fame is 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, 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 he was CEO, the firm’s revenue grew from $9.6 billion to $13.7 billion. He is a dedicated alumnus of Auburn University, where he was co-chair of its recent $1.2 billion capital campaign.
  • Marillyn A. Hewson, 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 her husband, James, recently made a substantial gift to the University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Business to help construct a 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 died in 2018. His award was accepted on his behalf by his daughter Sue Whitehead, who shared anecdotes about her father and his legacy.
  • 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 community, especially those that benefit youth.

Read in-depth bios of each inductee at

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.

In her speech upon being inducted, 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.”

In his speech, Fayard said, “The only reason I’m up here tonight is because of all those people here who have supported me.”

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