Category Archives: Uncategorized

Convoluted government brings us to our knees

St. Louis and Birmingham surprisingly have a lot in common


The year was 2002.  Dave Adkisson, the then Birmingham Chamber of Commerce President, and I were in St. Louis jogging early one morning when we struck up a conversation with a local runner.

He asked where we were from and why we were visiting St. Louis.  We told him we were with a group of about 100 business leaders and politicians from Birmingham who had come to St. Louis to learn about his city’s successes.

His response was one of disbelief.  “Why in the world would anyone think there was anything good to learn about St. Louis?” Continue reading Convoluted government brings us to our knees

Does Birmingham have poor corporate leadership?

Alabama Ballet performs Nutcracker--corporate leaders have made Birmingham an arts powerhouse


I had the opportunity to talk with a new corporate CEO who moved to Birmingham from Nashville a few years back.

I asked, “So what do you think of Birmingham?”  Then I looked down at my shoes waiting to hear how much Nashville had outpaced Birmingham.

Continue reading Does Birmingham have poor corporate leadership?

Birmingham rated one of the poorest sports cities in U.S.

Legion Field has lost its magic


It seems like a distant memory, but in the 70’s and 80’s, Birmingham leaders were plotting to recruit an NFL football franchise to Birmingham.  I don’t know how close we came, but we obviously felt there was a possibility.

Of course, we weren’t successful while other Southern Cities like Jacksonville, New Orleans, Atlanta, Charlotte, and Nashville recruited teams. Continue reading Birmingham rated one of the poorest sports cities in U.S.

Nashville spits on Birmingham

Nashville has grown to be the fourth largest city in the Southeast


Up until a few years ago, our Chamber of Commerce (currently BBA), organized a trip of community leaders and politicians to visit other cities.  They were called the “BIG Trips,” and the purpose was to learn what works in other communities.

The Chamber over a seven year period visited St. Louis (2002), Baltimore (2003), Charlotte (2004), Nashville (2005), Pittsburgh (2006), Denver (2007, and Austin (2008).

We found these trips to be fascinating.  We heard about successes and we heard about failures, but it opened our eyes to the possibilities. Continue reading Nashville spits on Birmingham

There’s no way in hell we’ll ever work together

Tornado strikes Birmingham, April, 2011, but governments still don't cooperate


Leadership Birmingham is a diverse group of Birmingham citizens who are selected each year to study Birmingham’s problems and opportunities and then go out and make a difference.

I was in the class of 1992 and when I graduated I asked the business leader who was delivering the commencement speech, “Why doesn’t Birmingham consider combining its city and county government?” Continue reading There’s no way in hell we’ll ever work together

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

Government structure is killing us

3rd Ave N. looking east from 18th street; courtesy of the Birmingham Historical Society


After World War II, Birmingham and New Orleans were the top two leading cities in the South.  Now they’re at the bottom. New Orleans had Katrina.  What’s Birmingham’s excuse?

Birmingham’s centrally located in the South, is absolutely gorgeous, and has very smart, likeable people–as do other Southern cities.  Why have we performed so poorly?  Is there something in the water? Continue reading Government structure is killing us