Meet Kiwanis 8 new Birmingham Business Hall of Famers

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W. Edgar Welden and his family at the Birmingham Business Hall of Fame Induction. Photo via Birmingham Business Hall of Fame

The Kiwanis Club of Birmingham virtually inducted eight Magic City leaders into the Birmingham Business Hall of Fame. Keep reading to learn how these remarkable leaders brought their own magic to our city.

World’s Largest Kiwanis Club

9 Magic City legends make Birmingham Business Hall of Fame
Birmingham Business Hall of Fame inductee John A. Hand’s Building Clock Tower. Photo via Jon Eastwood for Bham Now

Birmingham Business Hall of Fame inductees are chosen for their strong leadership and contributions to the Birmingham community. Inductees can be living or deceased.

The Kiwanis Club of Birmingham has inducted Magic City leaders into its hall of fame since 1997. This year’s event was a private dinner at the Harbert Center for the honorees and their families.

The Hall of Fame inductees

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Dr. Shelley Stewart gave a thank you speech. Photo via Birmingham Business Hall of Fame

This year’s group includes leaders and entrepreneurs in banking, healthcare, marketing and advertising and real estate. The 2020-21 honorees are:

1. Grayson Hall Jr.

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Grayson Hall Jr. accepted his award with his family be his side. Photo via Birmingham Business Hall of Fame

Hall has recently retired as Chairman and CEO of Regions Financial Corp. in 2018. His 38-year career in banking began with AmSouth as a management trainee. Through his leadership, Regions has become a stronger, long-term success bank.

2. John A. Hand

John A. Hand's grandson and family, kiwanis
John A. Hand’s grandson Alan accepted his award in his honor. Photo via Birmingham Business Hall of Fame

Hand was a leader of the Alabama banking financial community for more than 40 years. As the comptroller at First National Bank of Birmingham, the money deposit doubled.

3. Elmer B. Harris

Elmer B. Harris' family, kiwanis
Elmer B. Harris’ wife and family were honored to accept his award on his behalf. Photo via Birmingham Business Hall of Fame

Harris’ career at Alabama Power progressed from a co-op student to chairman and CEO. He joined other corporations to build Elmer and Glenda Harris Early Learning Center.

4. Dr. Basil I. Hirschowitz

Kiwanis, Dr. Hirschowitz
Congratulations to Birmingham Business Hall of Fame inductee Basil Hirschowitz. Photo via Kiwanis Club of Birmingham

Hirschowitz created the first fully flexible endoscope while on the medical school faculty at the University of Michigan. His invention changed the medical field and how physicians diagnose their patients.

5. Billy Charles Martin

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Billy Charles Martin’s family was all smiles during his induction. Photo via Birmingham Business Hall of Fame

Martin started Martin & Associates in 1959 and founded Martin Advertising. He had a guiding hand in developing and growing much of the advertising industry in the Birmingham area.

6. Williams R. Pettiford

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It is great to see the accomplishments of Birmingham Business Hall of Fame inductee William Pettiford. Photo via Kiwanis Club of Birmingham

Pettiford was a minister at the 16th Street Baptist Church and founder of Alabama Penny Savings Bank, the first Black-owned and operated financial institution. He also established the Christian Aid Society to help sick members of the 16th Street Baptist Church and bury its dead.

7. Dr. Shelley Stewart

dr. Shelley stewart
Congratulations to legend Dr. Shelley Stewart! Photo via Birmingham Business Hall of Fame

Living legend, Stewart was first known as a radio personality in the 50s and 60s. He was on air for 55 years becoming the longest-running radio talent in the country. He expanded to marketing as the President and CEO of o2ideas, one of America’s largest privately held corporate communication companies.

8. W. Edgar Welden, Sr.

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We can’t wait to see W. Edgar Welden Sr. as first chairman at The World Games 2022 Photo via Birmingham Business Hall of Fame

Welden is the founder of and business partner in various successful real estate companies, like Weldenfield. He founded the Birmingham Athletic Partnership nonprofit and served as first chairman of The World Games 2022.

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Tira Davis
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