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June 09, 2004   Email to Friend 

Alfa Insurance Honors Three Former Executives
Jeff Helms

Alfa President Jerry Newby, right, recognizes former leaders of the company during a reception prior to Alfa's annual stockholders meeting. From left are, retired Executive Vice President of Marketing Boyd Christenberry, retired Executive Vice President of Operations Phil Richardson, Jimmy Lowder, the son of Alfa's long-time executive vice president, the late Ed Lowder, and Newby.
Alfa Insurance honored three of its former leaders April 22 prior to the company's annual stockholders meeting at the Alfa headquarters in Montgomery.

The late Ed Lowder, who served as the first executive vice president of the insurance company, was honored along with retired Executive Vice President of Operations Phil Richardson and retired Executive Vice President of Marketing Boyd Christenberry. The men were recognized for their contributions to Alfa's amazing growth over the past 58 years. Alfa President Jerry Newby announced that the company had commissioned oil portraits of the three men, which will be hung in the Alfa headquarters later this year.

"Mr. Ed Lowder, Mr. Phil Richardson and Mr. Boyd Christenberry made a lasting impact on these companies and many of their employees," Newby said. "Since the beginning of the companies in 1946 until today, these companies have enjoyed great success. Much of this success can be attributed to the hard work and commitment to excellence that these men personified."

Lowder grew up on a small farm in Washington County. After earning his bachelor's and master's degrees from Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now Auburn University), Lowder served with distinction in World War II. He joined the staff of the Alabama Farmers Federation in August 1946 as director of services to membership. A month later, the state's largest farm organization formed what would become Alfa Insurance.

Lowder was later named general manager of the new insurance company, which began with one secretary and $10,000 in prepaid insurance premiums from 327 rural property owners. When Lowder retired in 1980 as executive vice president, Alfa had grown to become the fifth-largest property and casualty insurance company in the South.

A native of LaGrange, Ga., Richardson served two and a half years as a weather technician in the U.S. Navy before earning a degree in business administration from Auburn University. He was hired by Alfa in 1950 and quickly rose through the ranks of the company. In 1978, Richardson was named executive vice president of operations--a position he held until his retirement in 1997. Richardson joined Alfa when the company had just nine employees and fewer than 10,000 policies in force. Today, the Alfa family of companies has 2,500 employees and over a million policies in force.

Christenberry joined the Alfa staff in 1956 as one of five district sales managers. A native of Perry County, Christenberry served a stint with the U.S. Army in Korea before earning a degree in agricultural science from Auburn University. At Alfa, he served at every level of the sales management team, and in 1978, was named executive vice president of marketing. Christenberry retired in 1993. Under his leadership, Alfa expanded its operations into Georgia and Mississippi, and today, also writes insurance in North Carolina and Virginia.

Newby said the three former Alfa executives all were great businessmen who understood what it takes for a company to remain profitable.

"They also understood people--what it takes to lead a company and its employees--and what it takes to satisfy the customer," Newby said. "The leadership and work ethic of these men have been, and always will be, cherished by the people of Alfa."

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