Hall set to welcome Ted HenryPublished 7:03pm Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Standing outside his office at Henry Brick, Ted Henry is feeling better about things these days.
His family’s company has faced one of the worst economic downturns in America’s history; an economic Armageddon that seemed to specifically affect the homebuilding industry worse than any, but today Henry Brick Company remains a viable business.
While the brick making company is not running at full capacity and has only one of their two plants operating, Henry has seen the economy turn sour before.
“You don’t learn anything in good times,” Henry said Tuesday. “You learn in the tough times. In the good times you slack off on things, don’t do things you should. You find out what you need to do when times are tough.”
He knows the turnaround will be slow. In fact, the Selma native, 72, who retired as chief executive officer of the company last year but still holds the company’s chairman of the board position, is already looking ahead to 2012 and 2013.
“I am blessed because I have never got up in the morning and not wanted to go to work,” Henry said. “I like being a manufacturer. I like making things.”
It is this passion for his job, a passion for his company and business that likely led to Henry’s latest accomplishment.
In a release Monday, the Alabama Business Hall of Fame announced Henry would join four others as members of the hall’s Class of 2011. The group will be inducted into the hall during a ceremony Oct. 13 at the Bryant Conference Center on the campus of the University of Alabama.
“I am both flattered and humbled,” Henry said. “I was notified in January of the honor and I am surprised and pleased that I will be among some of the, what I call ‘heavy hitters’.”
Henry attended Davidson College for three semesters, before transferring to the University of Alabama where he graduated in 1960.
“He is an extremely astute businessman,” former president of the Selma-Dallas County Chamber of Commerce Jamie Wallace said. “If I could have, I would have nominated him myself for this honor.”
In his career at Henry Brick, the company moved from manufacturing 26 million bricks in 1961, the year he returned from the Army, to its peak year of production in 2006, when the company produced 116 million bricks.
He is a past chairman of the board of Peoples BancTrust Co. Inc. of Selma, where he served as director for 40 years. Henry was also a director and served three years as chairman of the Brick Institute of America, the national organization for brick manufacturers. He also served 10 years as a director of the National Association of Manufacturers, where he was the state’s small-manufacturer representative.
His civic affiliations include serving as chairman of the board of the Selma-Dallas County Chamber of Commerce, the Sturdivant Museum Association and the Selma-Dallas County Historical Society.
“He is a great friend and he and his family have meant a lot to the Selma and Dallas County community,” Wallace said. “I couldn’t think of a person more deserving for such an honor.”
He served on the boards of Leadership Alabama and the Business Council of Alabama, serving also as a member of its executive committee, as well as a district chairman.
He was on the Alabama Historical Commission, including a term as chairman. He was a trustee of Rhodes College for eight years and serves on the President’s Cabinet at the University of Alabama.
Henry, who is an elder at the First Presbyterian Church of Selma, and his family, through Henry Brick, established the pavilion at the rose garden on the grounds of the historic Sturdivant Hall House Museum.
According to information from the hall of fame, to be eligible for selection, a person must have made a “significant impact on the development of the state by promoting the free enterprise system and entrepreneurship; by demonstrating civic leadership, and by their philanthropy and humanitarianism toward their fellow citizens.”
Joining Henry in this year’s hall of fame class are Elbert Allen “Larry” Drummond, 67, of Jasper, vice chairman and chairman of the executive management committee for the Drummond Company; John J. McMahon Jr., 68, of Birmingham, chairman of Ligon Industries, LLC; Drayton Nabers Jr., 70, of Birmingham, former chief justice, Alabama Supreme Court, and chief executive officer of Protective Life Corporation; and Edward Lee Spencer Jr., 78, of Auburn, former chairman, president and chief executive officer of Auburn Bank.