Hall of Fame welcomes Henry

Published 12:36 am Sunday, October 16, 2011

Henry Brick owner Ted Henry said he was surprised and humbled to be inducted into the Alabama Business Hall of Fame. -- Tim Reeves

When Selma business icon Ted Henry stepped behind the podium to be inducted into the Alabama Business Hall of Fame, he made a statement that summed up his career in far too simple terms.

“I never dreamed I would spend the rest of my life making bricks,” Henry said, talking of his career after graduating college. “It is a humbling feeling to be standing here among these great Alabama citizens. Being here tonight makes me even more aware of how blessed I have been in my life.”

The induction ceremonies took place at the University of Alabama’s Bryant Conference Center Thursday night.

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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.

“I’ve been to this meeting several times in prior years,” Henry, who is currently chairman of the board of Henry Brick Co. said. “I never dreamed I would be on this side of the podium.”

Henry learned of the Hall of Fame honor in January, but it was not announced until March.

“I am both flattered and humbled,” Henry said in an interview with the Times-Journal in March. “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.

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.

“We have a dedicated group of employees who have done a great job helping us produce a quality product,” Henry said Thursday of the employees at Henry Brick Co. “I enjoy being a manufacturer. I gained a lot from the relationships in our industry and various other associations which I have been able to work with.”

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.

Henry 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.”

“God has truly blessed me and I accept this honor with delight and appreciation,” Henry said in concluding his acceptance speech.

– Times-Journal publisher Dennis Palmer contributed to this report.
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