Will the last big company left in Birmingham please turn out the lights

Regions Bank--Birmingham's last remaining Fortune 500 Company


With Vulcan Materials facing a hostile takeover bid from a North Carolina-based competitor, Birmingham is on the verge of losing another public company headquarters.  Even if Vulcan survives, the trend is ominous.

According to a Birmingham Business Journal article from December 16, 2011, titled “A troubling trend for Birmingham,” a little more than a decade ago, Birmingham was home to at least 30 publicly traded companies and now we’re down to 15.

The title of another BBJ article of May 4, 2009 clearly tells the story of Birmingham’s loss of Fortune 500 companies, “Birmingham, which 10 years ago served as home to six Fortune 500 companies -ranking up there with Los Angeles and Boston – now has only one on the list.”

And that one remaining Fortune 500 Company is Regions Financial, which many experts feel, is at risk.

So why should we care?

Well, if you’re a Birmingham business, chances are when we lose that headquarters, you’ll also lose some business—some directly and some indirectly.

My brother, Martin, and I started AmSher Receivables Management in 1986.  From the time we opened our doors, we experienced steady growth up until big headquarters started abandoning our city.

AmSher previously worked for Parisians and then Saks until Saks was bought by Belk who is headquartered in Charlotte.  We collected for BellSouth until acquired by AT&T headquartered in Atlanta.  We worked for most of our major banks until they were sold…culminating in the sale of Colonial Bank last year to BB&T also headquartered in Charlotte.

As the BBJ article of May, 2009 states, “Most experts say it’s good to have large companies based in a city. They tend to pay higher salaries and search nationwide for ambitious people willing to move and take big risks in return for the big rewards. That keeps the local talent pool fresh. Big companies also tend to attract other big companies, as suppliers and partners. They also tend to be the most vocal about education and transportation, and give the most to charities.”

We are unable to compete with other cities because of our government structure.  We’re so busy competing with each other that we don’t have the vision or resources to win.

David Sher’s goal is to create a conversation on how to fix our fragmented and dysfunctional local government.

David Sher is a partner in Buzz12 Content Marketing and co-CEO of AmSher Receivables Management. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (ONB), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).

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