9 local Alabama leaders who are running their regions of the state
The Yellowhammer Power & Influence 50 is an annual list of the 50 most powerful and influential players in Alabama politics and business — the men and women who shape the state. The 2017 list was broken into three segments: government officials and politicians, business leaders, and lobbyists and consultants.
In addition to the top 50, this year we are also digging deeper into various regions of the state to identify notable local leaders, which you can find below.
Don’t miss Yellowhammer’s 3rd Annual Power of Service reception honoring the men and women on the Power & Influence 50 list who leverage their stature to make a positive impact on the state. The event is set to take place Thursday, September 14th at Ross Bridge Resort in Birmingham. Past events attracted a who’s who of Alabama politics and business, including the Governor, Lt. Governor, Speaker of the House, Pro Tem of the Senate, members of Congress, dozens of state legislators and many of the state’s top executives, lobbyists, opinion leaders and political activists. For more information on the event click here and to purchase tickets click here.
Gulf Coast Region
Sandy Stimpson, Mayor of Mobile
Sandy Stimpson is the twice-elected mayor of Mobile. There is now no more powerful and influential figure in the Gulf Coast region, and observers from other parts of the state have begun to take notice. Stimpson has positioned himself as someone who will be on every list for Alabama’s highest statewide offices for years to come.
Wes Allen, Pike County Probate Judge
Few local elected officials have utilized their position to increase their stature the way that Wes Allen has. The former Crimson Tide football player and Troy University associate athletic director has shifted his sights to state government with a run for the State House of Representatives. With Allen already having outraised the opposition more than three to one, expect his profile to rise.
Davis Malone, III, Chairman and CEO, MidSouth Bank
Every region has those key power and influencers who are essential stops for those seeking a congressional office or seat in the Alabama Legislature. Davis Malone is that person in the Wiregrass. He is a lawyer, a banker and a member of the powerful University of Alabama System Board of Trustees. Anyone seeking a position that touches Davis Malone’s sphere of influence had better make their way to his office.
Frank Brocato, Mayor of Hoover
The city of Hoover has become the bustling center of economic growth and quality of life for over-the-mountain Jefferson County. At the center of it all is the city’s tenth mayor, Frank Brocato. He began his public service with the city of Hoover as a firefighter in 1973. Finally elected mayor in November of 2016, Brocato is a passionate ambassador for his city and its 85,000 residents.
Ray Watts, M.D., President, University of Alabama Birmingham
The University of Alabama Birmingham is the largest employer in the state and the most powerful economic engine in central Alabama. Its more than $5 billion annual economic impact is felt across the region. At the helm of this colossus is Dr. Ray Watts. Watts became the seventh president of UAB in 2013 and has led the university through a period of unprecedented growth and record enrollment. A two-term chairman of the Birmingham Business Alliance, Watts is clearly one of the region’s preeminent power players.
Becky Gerritson, President, Wetumpka Tea Party
Sometimes it takes a little time for people to settle on where to mark off the boundaries of their power and influence. Becky Gerritson has had her time on the national stage delivering compelling testimony on Capitol Hill. She also had an unsuccessful run for congress in the state’s second district. Both of those things almost seem to take a back seat to the fact that no one organizes grassroots campaigns in the River Region better than Gerritson. Anyone running for office in the River Region had better make a trip to see Becky Gerritson and her Wetumpka Tea Party.
Tommy Battle, Mayor of Huntsville
Drive around Huntsville and the growth and prosperity of the city is visible to the eye. The man leading the effort is the city’s mayor, Tommy Battle. Battle is so well thought of in his region that he is the choice for governor of some of the region’s largest donors. In a year where north Alabama is making its case to be heard in races for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and Speaker of the House, Battle is at the forefront of that effort. Stay tuned to see whether he becomes a statewide power and influencer.
Dale Strong, Chairman, Madison County Commission
It seems that north Alabama is chock full of heavy hitters these days and none hit heavier than Dale Strong. Strong is a political operator of the highest order. He is involved in every major issue and project in Madison County. He understands leverage and horse trading and is always eager to employ a lot of both. Combine that with his seemingly limitless energy and you end up with someone who is at the top of the list of most powerful and influential people in his region.
Tim Parker, Jr., Chairman, Parker Towing
Tim Parker, Jr. is a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives, and he sits atop one of west Alabama’s most successful businesses. Both of those things are important components of his impressive resume of influence. The reality is, though, that Parker is the kingmaker in his region. When someone wants to run for office in his area, they go see Parker for his blessing. Without it, a candidate faces an uphill battle and low likelihood for success. Tim Parker, Jr. is a power and influencer for the ages in west Alabama.