Category Archives: Corporate community

Are Birmingham business leaders loopy?

Mobile Skyline
Mobile Skyline

Every seat was full at the Harbert Center last week.

Jeff Immelt, CEO of General Electric, one of the largest companies in the world, addressed a joint luncheon of the Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs of Birmingham.

Rotarians and Kiwanians were thrilled to have the opportunity to see such an influential business executive– and hear him sing the praises of Alabama. Continue reading Are Birmingham business leaders loopy?

Does Birmingham have a ‘closed’ culture that shuts out millennials?

The Rotary Trail--Community porject of the Rotary Club of Birmingham
The Rotary Trail–One of the many projects of the Rotary Club of Birmingham

The speaker completed his talk at my Rotary meeting.

When I got up from my table to leave, a young man tapped me on my shoulder.

After introducing himself, he said, “Mr. Sher, I enjoy reading ComebackTown, but I was upset by one of your articles.” Continue reading Does Birmingham have a ‘closed’ culture that shuts out millennials?

How Trussville mucked up Birmingham’s future

Veterans Memorial in Trussville
Veterans Memorial in Trussville

Okay, I should have titled this column, “How Trussville, Adamsville, Hueytown, and Pleasant Grove mucked up Birmingham’s future.”

I’m repeatedly surprised by the animosity between our suburbs and the City of Birmingham.

The lack of trust between our City and its suburbs continually plays havoc with our progress. Continue reading How Trussville mucked up Birmingham’s future

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