Business Alabama Awards honor best in Alabama business

Honorees included five lifetime achievement winners

Stephanie Bryan of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians was named CEO of the Year.

Winners in seven categories, plus five Lifetime Achievement winners, were honored at a luncheon in Birmingham Friday, March 3, as part of the inaugural Business Alabama Awards.

Category winners included Stephanie Bryan, tribal chair and CEO of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, Atmore, as CEO of the year; Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, Vance, as large company of the year; Master Boat Builders, Coden, as small company of the year; the Space Launch System, designed in Huntsville, as project of the year; The Insider: A Collective Eatery, Mobile, as startup of the year; Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, as Alabama Ex-Pat of the Year; and Protecting Good, an activity of Protective Life, Birmingham, as philanthropic project of the year.

Honored as lifetime achievement recipients were David Bronner, CEO of the Retirement Systems of Alabama; M. Miller Gorrie, former CEO of Brasfield & Gorrie in Birmingham; Abe Mitchell, a Mobile philanthropist; former U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby; and Shelley Stewart, of Birmingham, an author, advertising executive and radio personality.

“These awards are meant to celebrate the success of businesses in Alabama, and our finalists … are certainly testament to that,” Alec Harvey, executive editor of Business Alabama magazine, said at the luncheon, which he co-hosted with Miss Alabama 2021 Lauren Bradford.

Business Alabama took nominations for the Business Alabama Awards and named finalists in each category.

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In addition to the winners in each category, the finalists were:

CEO of the Year: Josh Carpenter, CEO of Southern Research in Birmingham; Mark Crosswhite, former CEO of Alabama Power in Birmingham; Bill Roark, founder and CEO of Starfish Holdings in Huntsville; and Tim Vines, president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama.

Large Company of the Year: Airbus, Mobile; Austal USA, Mobile; Boeing, Huntsville; and United Launch Alliance, Decatur.

Small Company of the Year: Altaworx, Mobile; Capstone Building Corp., Birmingham; CommentSold, Huntsville; and Douglas Manufacturing, Pell City.

Project of the Year: AUBix, Auburn; Drax Pellet Facility, Demopolis; HudsonAlpha Greenhouse and Educational Space, Huntsville; Huntsville International Airport’s approval for Dream Chaser landings, Huntsville; Innovate Alabama, Montgomery; Mazda CX-50, Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, Huntsville; Orion Amphitheater, Huntsville; Port of Mobile additions, Mobile; and the Tony & Libba Rane Culinary Science Center, Auburn.

Startup of the Year: Repowr, Birmingham; ShipShape Urban Farms, Mobile; TaxxWiz, Birmingham; and Zaden Technologies, Huntsville.

Alabama Ex-Pat of the Year: Max Angerholzer, CEO of the George & Barbara Bush Foundation; Marillyn Hewson, former chairman, president and CEO of Lockheed Martin; Tom Joyner, radio personality and founder of the Tom Joyner Foundation; and Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia.

Philantropic Activity of the Year: Christmas for Kids, Albertville’s Progress Rail; Kicks for Kids, Muscle Shoals’ Listerhill Credit Union; Helping Hands, Sheffield’s Bank Independent; and HERO Foundation, Birmingham’s Harbert Management Corporation.

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