Lost in the headlines announcing a complete reorganization of the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) was the fact that its executive committee is now a collection of the most influential business leaders in the state.
This assemblage of influence, and the resources that come with their participation in the BCA, set the organization up for its return to prominence in policy-making and politics.
The fact that leaders of the state’s largest employers, themselves, sit on the group’s governing body is a departure from the previous structure.
It shows the seriousness with which these companies take the need for one voice in Alabama’s business community.
And it allows them to harness unrivaled resources to implement their vision.
Among those sitting on the executive committee is Mark Crosswhite, president and CEO of Alabama Power, who spearheaded the overhaul effort for the state’s large employers. Crosswhite’s company has 1.4 million customers and 7,000 employees in Alabama.
John Turner, president and CEO of Regions Bank, brings to the table a presence of more than 200 bank branches in communities throughout Alabama.
Tim Vines, president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, leads a business that operates in every county in the state and counts 2.1 million Alabamians as its customers.
Johnny Johns has been called an icon in the Alabama business community. He serves as Executive Chairman of Protective Life Corp. in Birmingham which is the 13th largest insurance company in the world.
Most corporate boardrooms would be envious of the collection of business leaders brought together at the new BCA.
In neighboring states, similar business advocacy groups have corporate officers below the CEO level participating in governance or see the influence of their CEOs diluted by the sheer numbers on governing boards.
That is not the case anymore in Alabama.
The willingness of these business leaders to sit at the table and participate directly in the decision-making process for the good of Alabama’s economy should not go unnoticed.
With their commitment, the resources they have at their disposal, the number of Alabamians they touch and a geographic footprint in all corners of the state, the BCA is now equipped with a rare level of influence.
And influence matters. Setting an agenda is easy. Enacting an agenda is the true litmus test for success.