20 Under 40 Feature: Denson HenryPublished 3:23pm Monday, July 29, 2013
With the family business headquartered in Selma, Selma-native Denson Henry, was always encouraged by his parents to travel, go to school out of state, work somewhere else and be exposed to different things. Henry did just that and said he never thought he’d end up working at Henry Brick Co. in Selma.
Henry went to Rhodes College in Memphis for his undergraduate degree and received his master’s from the University of Alabama and then lived in Nashville before returning home to Selma, where he now works as the vice president of Henry Brick.
“I had a chance to come back here about nine or 10 years ago,” he said. “I had been talking with my dad, trying to figure out my next step and what I wanted to do, and he recommended coming back here and giving Selma a try and giving the company a try here at headquarters — and I’m so glad I tried it; I have no regrets.”
Henry had been working in sales for Henry Brick while living in Nashville, but said, while growing up, he never planned to work in the brick industry.
“I was always interested in business and finance; I actually have an international business degree with a focus in Spanish, and my original intent was to work internationally in finance and consulting,” Henry said, noting he had the chance to work overseas, but after meeting his wife, who is also from Selma, plans changed. “I didn’t know if I’d be back here or not. Some doors opened, and I decided to try it.”
Henry said Selma is a great place to raise a family, and said the area hosts a good core base of his extended family as well. And as Henry’s family has grown, so has his leadership roles in the community.
“We have to certainly build on what previous leaders have done, but there comes a point in time where you realize you’re no longer just a kid who grew up here, but that you have responsibilities and a need to give back. Go ahead and accept some leadership roles and be involved,” he said. “You certainly have to learn from what previous leadership did and didn’t do, and try to build on those good things. I think it’s time for people in my generation to step up and find new ideas and help the city move forward.”
Henry acknowledged that the task ahead of him and others in his generation isn’t an easy one, but said it’s something he’s invested in.
“We’re certainly in a challenging place with the economy the way it’s been. In a smaller city with limited financial resources we need to find ways to use all available resources,” he said. “I guess why I came back and why I do what I do is a sense of calling and a sense of trying to give back to the community that gave so much to me growing up. I’m trying to be a part of the solution.
“It’s not an easy road, but when everybody is working together, the better chance we have of coming up with ideas to move the city forward.”