The Birmingham Business Alliance has named its first Black president and CEO.
Kenneth E. Coleman, a former Birmingham Baron and longtime senior executive with Southern Company, will assume the role July 20. He replaces interim president and CEO Fred McCallum, who has served since March 2019.
Coleman is currently interim president and CEO for the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce in the metro Atlanta area. Over his 25-year career, Coleman has served in several positions with Georgia Power, Alabama Power, Mississippi Power and Southern Company Gas, working in issues such as stakeholder engagement, regulatory and legislative affairs, public policy, brand identity and economic development.
Coleman said he is excited to lead the BBA at “such a pivotal time.”
“The partnerships we strengthen, the jobs we help create and the support we provide to all businesses moving forward will shape Birmingham’s future as a leading metropolitan area,” Coleman said. “I look forward to working closely with the public and private sector – old friends and new – to make that happen.”
The BBA is the lead economic development organization for the Birmingham metro area, encompassing Bibb, Blount, Chilton, Jefferson, St. Clair, Shelby and Walker counties.
Coleman was hired following a six-month search process, Encompass Health CEO Mark Tarr, a member of the BBA Executive Committee, said Coleman stood out from a “sizable list of very qualified candidates.”
“His track record of success, experience in a number of different markets, along with a familiarity of Birmingham made him the top pick to lead the BBA at such a critical time,” Tarr said.
Coleman played second base for the Birmingham Barons in 1993 and 1994. He later worked in business development for the Metropolitan Development Board, a predecessor organization to the BBA.
He began his career with Southern Company in 1999. At Georgia Power, he worked at developing solar generation and shepherded a Smart Cities partnership between Georgia Power and the City of Atlanta, He also served as chairman of a $1 billion community-wide economic development program in Montgomery, which led to more than 10,000 new jobs and over $2 billion in new capital investment.
A graduate of the University of New Haven, in New Haven, Conn., Coleman also earned an MBA from the University of Alabama. He is married to Dr. Prentiss Coleman and they have two sons, Kamden and Kyle.
Jim Gorrie, CEO of Brasfield & Gorrie and 2020 BBA Chairman, said Coleman “will be able to hit the ground running as he is well known to many people in the region and is a proven leader.”