Whaley tapped for prestigious Hall of Fame honor

Published 3:00 am Friday, January 26, 2018

Alex Whaley Sr. of Whaley Construction Co. was one of three leaders recently inducted into the 2018 Alabama Construction Hall of Fame and his son, Alex Whaley II, was named incoming chapter president of the Alabama Associated General Contractors.

The Alabama AGC established he Alabama Construction Hall of Fame to honor and recognize outstanding individuals in the construction industry. These individuals are held in esteem by their peers and have demonstrated their professionalism through active support of the industry and through their civic community involvement.

As a child, the elder Whaley would rise early, make breakfast, dig some worms and walk miles to a fishing hole where he would catch his lunch.  It is that energy, that independence at the core that defines Whaley and informs his everyday life … from loving his family to building a respected powerhouse of a construction company in Troy. That is what has taken the “basket of ears,” as his grandmother called him at his birth, to the respected businessman who tirelessly worked to build a business and improve a construction industry in Alabama.

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Whaley was 7 years old when his father, L.E. Whaley died in 1952. L.E.Whaley ran and owned a saw mill and lumber company and started Whaley Construction Co. in the 1930s.  Whaley Construction got its start during the depression when a bonding agent asked the eldest Whaley, who at the time was making windows and doors in the lumber company, to finish failed school jobs. Ultimately Whaley Construction built schools all over south Alabama.

Alex Whaley worked his way through Auburn, graduating with a building construction degree in 1967.  Annual volume at Whaley Construction had dwindled to $168,000 by the time he bought the company in 1971.  Annual volume at Whaley Construction is more than 100 times that now.

“I did the field engineering, I also bid the work and did the take-off,” Whaley said. “To say that we were intimately involved with each job is an understatement.”

Whaley Construction now does conventional design-bid-build work, design-build, construction management, program management and hybrids, depending on customer needs.  It works in the private sector and is heavily involved in the industrial and institutional sectors.

While working hard building his business, Alex also worked hard to build the construction industry.  He became involved in the Alabama AGC in 1972 and served multiple roles before becoming chapter president in 2008.  Whaley currently is a national AGC life governor, past-chairman of the Alabama AGC state PAC Committee and serves on the AGC of America PAC Committee.  His son Alex Whaley, II, joined the company in 1997 and became president in 2007.

The elder Whaley serves as chairman of the Alabama Licensing Board for General Contractors.  He also has been chairman of the Troy Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Pike County Vocational Technical Advisory Board, a member of the Rotary Club and the Alabama Concrete Industries Associate Board, on the board of directors of Troy Bank and Trust since 1979, currently serving as vice chairman.  He also participated in Leadership Alabama.

Whaley said his time at the AGC has been invaluable.  “What the AGC has given us is the highest level of individual information you can get,” he said. 
“The man sitting next to you may run a $1 billion company and he’ll tell you the answers to questions you have been struggling with.  That’s the reason we have been able to prosper in a limited geographical area.  We’re ahead of the curve because of AGC.”

Incoming Chapter President Alex Whaley II, president of Whaley Construction Co. in Troy, has a long association with the Alabama AGC and understands the impact of a financially strong association with great leadership. So, he plans to bring knowledge and energy to his new role to build on the heavy lifting that has gone before.

“I believe in all of the things we have been doing,” Whaley said. “At the end of the day we need to make our industry stronger and better and that helps our members and their customers.

“It’s what the AGC has always done, to make this a better industry for all of us.”

In 2018 the Alabama AGC will continue to grow the scholarship fund to a self-sustaining level and continue 2017 President Gary Savage’s good work with workforce, better utilizing the Craft Training Act dollars to build a statewide craft education network and to continue to grow participation with high schools and training providers.

And the Alabama AGC plans to be a player in the 2018 elections.

“Our activities in Montgomery have a huge impact on the industry,” Alex Whaley II said. “We started in a defensive mode and then moved into a more active role in the mid-2000s as the PAC grew and the members got more involved.”

While Whaley will serve as president this year, he has been a trustee on the  best-in-class workers’ compensation fund, CompTrustAGC. He was on board when CompTrust was revamped in 2015 and was heavily involved in starting the newest insurance product, AGCP&C.