By CAROLINE BECK, Alabama Daily News
The Business Council of Alabama named Gov. Kay Ivey as the recipient of its 2018 Chairman’s Award, an honor given annually for steadfast support of pro-business initiatives.
BCA Chairman Perry Hand presented the award at the group’s Chairman’s Dinner in Birmingham, saying Ivey has demonstrated a commitment to advancing free enterprise throughout her professional and political career.
“Gov. Ivey’s support of a thriving business climate has been key to landing coveted economic projects including the new Toyota-Mazda plant and its 4,000 anticipated jobs to north Alabama,” Hand said.
“Gov. Ivey supports a business environment which grows tech companies and she continues to be a strong recruiter of companies in the automotive, aviation, and aerospace sectors.”
Hand noted that, since Gov. Ivey took office, more than $8 billion has been invested in Alabama, resulting in 16,000 jobs. Unemployment during her term is the lowest in state history and the number of people working is the highest, he said.
“This is indeed a high moment for me. This is a very significant award,” Gov. Ivey said accepting the honor.
“I’ve had a lot of help from many folks in this room throughout my career,” Ivey continued. “I’m truly thankful.”
The BCA Chairman’s Dinner is held each year to raise money for ProgressPAC, the group’s political action committee that contributes funds to candidates that support pro-business initiatives. The group has contributed more than $100,000 to Ivey’s campaign this cycle.
The special guest for the Chairman’s dinner this year was Ben Stein, a frequent economics commentator and who is mostly remembered for his comedic role in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Gov. Ivey addressed about 800 BCA members and guests at the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel ballroom.
The BCA Chairman’s Award is given to a recipient of the BCA chairman’s choice during the closing months of his or her tenure as the volunteer leader of the statewide business advocacy organization.
Hand had a long career in state politics, serving as a state senator, Secretary of State and director of the Department of Transportation. For the last seven years he has been CEO of Volkert, an infrastructure engineering firm based in Mobile, and he is now chairman of that company’s board. For the last year as BCA Chairman, Hand has overseen an organization that includes some of the state’s largest corporations who pool resources to lobby for pro-business policies.
BCA is in the midst of a leadership transition. Longtime President and CEO Billy Canary stepped down in July to take a position with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and in August BCA reconstituted its governance structure.
Alabama Daily News Publisher Todd Stacy reported Wednesday that BCA planned to hire Katie Boyd Britt as its new President and CEO. Britt currently works as Chief of Staff for Sen. Richard Shelby in his Washington, D.C. office. Prior to that, Britt worked Government and Corporate Relations for Butler Snow and was a BCA Board Member.
BCA has not announced any hire and would not confirm the report.