Category Archives: Corporate community

Birmingham: Bear Bryant may be turning over in his grave

Paul Bear Bryant
Paul Bear Bryant

I graduated from the University of Alabama in 1965.

If you are a college football fan you may remember that between 1961 and 1965 UA won three NCAA College National Championships.

Joe Namath was our quarterback, but more importantly, our coach was the legendary Paul Bear Bryant.

No need to give a history lesson on Coach Bryant, but unless you’re of a certain age, you may not know one important fact about the Bear. Continue reading Birmingham: Bear Bryant may be turning over in his grave

Birmingham’s misfortune (and how we’re overcoming it)

Rickwood Field--the oldest baseball park in America
Rickwood Field–the oldest baseball park in America

Each year from 2002 to 2008 approximately 100 business and political leaders from Birmingham traveled to cities across the U.S.

The Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce BIG trips were designed to discover ideas that were successful in other cities that could be implemented here in Birmingham.

Much was learned, but every year we came home and lamented Birmingham’s stroke of misfortune.

Continue reading Birmingham’s misfortune (and how we’re overcoming it)

Why raising the minimum wage won’t work for Birmingham

Two fireworks superstores on I-20 in Alabama near Georgia line; one on each side of Interstate
Fireworks superstores on I-20 in Alabama near Georgia line on each side of Interstate

Before you folks who favor raising the Birmingham minimum wage start beating me up…please listen to what I have to say.

This piece is not about whether raising the minimum wage is a good idea or not.  I’ve read arguments for and against and I’m not taking sides.

This is about raising the minimum wage specifically for the City of Birmingham. Continue reading Why raising the minimum wage won’t work for Birmingham

Leading the parade of professionals back downtown

John Shank, Barfield, Murphy, Shank and Smith
John Shank–Barfield, Murphy, Shank and Smith

ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.

Today’s guest blogger is John Shank.  If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

This wouldn’t have happened five years ago.

It wouldn’t have happened two years ago—or even last year.

But now’s the time…

Some people may view CPA’s as dull and boring, but we’ve always viewed ourselves as creative and visionary.

We want to lead the parade—not wait and get left behind.

That’s why we want to move people in Riverchase to downtown Birmingham. Continue reading Leading the parade of professionals back downtown

How to extort money from City of Homewood

Target
Homewood gave Target $10 million in incentives to open store at Brookwood Village

We have a little game us business people play in Birmingham—and we’re darn good at it.

When it’s time to renew the lease on our building—we go to our home city or surrounding cities and demand money.

And it’s so easy to do.  There are 35+ municipalities in Jefferson County and if you are large enough or important enough—some local government will throw money at you. Continue reading How to extort money from City of Homewood

There’s no stopping Birmingham

Maury Shevin
Maury Shevin

ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.

Today’s guest blogger is Maury Shevin.  If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

I recently attended a meeting of real estate professionals from the Birmingham area.

Dick Schmalz, President RGS Properties, spoke about his 20 Midtown development.  20 Midtown is the new Publix, Starbucks, retail and apartment buildings that are being developed between 3rd and 4th Avenues South on both sides of 20th Street.  These are not pie-in-the-sky projects.  They are real with building permits and bank financing. Dick said these three projects will cost more than $100 million.

Continue reading There’s no stopping Birmingham

Birmingham at mercy of outside interests

Sharecroppers
Sharecroppers

A sharecropper is someone who raises crops for the owner of a piece of land and is paid a portion of the money from the sale of the crops.

We in Birmingham have always been controlled by outside landlords.

Birmingham is the city of iron and steel and historically U.S. Steel controlled every aspect of our lives-politics, business, and people.  U.S. Steel is headquartered in Pittsburgh and was for much of Birmingham’s history our largest employer.  Birmingham’s labor was first to be laid off and last to be rehired.  All decisions favored Pittsburgh over Birmingham, and of course, all profits were sent up north.

Fortunately, U.S. Steel is no longer our largest employer, but unfortunately we are still being impacted. February 5th, U.S. Steel announced it could lay off up to 1,840 workers here.

But even though we are not now totally dependent on U.S. Steel, we are still controlled by outsiders. Continue reading Birmingham at mercy of outside interests

WOW! The response took my breath away

Lee Thuston
Lee Thuston, Managing Partner, Burr & Forman
Ty Dodge
Ty Dodge, President & CEO, RealtySouth

I never could have predicted this would happen.

When we started talking about a better metropolitan Birmingham with an emphasis on government structure, no one took us seriously.

Now in a short 30 months, dialogue about government structure and particularly government consolidation has moved to the top of the list.

The Birmingham Business Journal (BBJ) recently unveiled its list of Birmingham’s most influential executives and ran the following poll, “Which issue should Birmingham’s Most Influential Executives address? Continue reading WOW! The response took my breath away

Young professional: How to make it in Birmingham

Taylor Peake Wyatt
Taylor Peake Wyatt, co-founder of MotionMobs and President of Kiosk Evolution

ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.

Today’s guest blogger is Taylor Peake Wyatt .  If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

When I recently read the guest blog on ComebackTown, A 4 letter word: Why young professionals leave Birmingham, I had to respond.

I’m eager to give Birmingham’s business community the credit it deserves and to explain why I enjoy growing my career here.

I would like to answer the question how a small but vibrant city is keeping talented young professionals inspired and growing.

Being a young professional has a lot of challenges and being a young female entrepreneur has even more. There’s a lot of pressure in being independent and starting your career – especially if you’re dealing with student loans, a lack of available jobs, and wanting to support a family of your own.  It takes balance, passion, and perseverance. Continue reading Young professional: How to make it in Birmingham

Birmingham’s real image

Jake McKenzie
Jake McKenzie – CEO Intermark Group

ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.

Today’s guest blogger is Jake McKenzie.  If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

A little over a decade ago, the head of Nissan North America, Carlos Ghosn, made an announcement that shocked nearly everyone – Nissan was moving their headquarters from southern California to Nashville, Tennessee. When publicly questioned why, he cited savings in operational costs and large tax incentives.

But in private discussions, Ghosn began his answer rather differently. He shared how Nashville is simply Continue reading Birmingham’s real image