Perry Hand becomes member of AGC Alabama’s 2019 “Construction Hall of Fame”
On Thursday, January 10, the Alabama chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America inducted Perry Hand, Volkert’s chairman of the board, into the Alabama Construction Hall of Fame. Hand was one of five honorees in this year’s selection and the only representative from an engineering firm.
The Alabama AGC established the 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 through their civic and community involvement.
“In short, only those who have literally changed the landscape of our state and nation will be enshrined in the Alabama Construction Hall of Fame,” says Billy Norrell, CEO of the Alabama AGC.
Hand graduated from Auburn University in 1969 with a degree in civil engineering, which he immediately put to use for his first employer, David Volkert & Associates, Inc. He worked on bridges in Louisiana and then the Gulf State Park project in Baldwin County, Alabama, a project that would become a hallmark of success throughout his Volkert career. In 1970, Hand opened his own engineering and surveying business, which he ran for nearly two decades.
By the early 80s, Hand saw the need to promote a more robust business climate in his home state and decided to enter the political arena. In 1983 he won election to the Alabama state senate representing Baldwin County, the first Republican in history ever to do so. Bringing his engineering perspective to legislative issues, he was re-elected in 1986 and served under Guy Hunt, the state’s first Republican governor since Reconstruction. During this term, Hand was recognized by his senate colleagues for his tireless efforts to bring a balanced-budget approach to state government and received their “Outstanding Legislator” award.
In 1989 Governor Hunt appointed Hand to serve as Alabama’s secretary of state, completing an unexpired term due to a congressional election. In 1991 he was appointed to be the director of Alabama’s highway department, later named the Department of Transportation. During his two years in office, he prepared a transportation program that would make full use of President George H.W. Bush’s Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act and passed a gasoline tax to fund it. Once again, Hand was hailed for his drive to find solutions and break through seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
In 1993 Hand returned to Volkert as a senior vice president. He formed new lines of business, recruited new talent, and developed new centers of expertise, particularly in architecture and program/ construction management. Volkert offices were opened in a number of new markets, including Atlanta, Chattanooga, Raleigh, and Collinsville, Illinois, under his direction. His emphasis on producing “good work, on time, in budget” steadily grew the company’s client base and revenues.
Not surprisingly, Hand’s career advanced with Volkert’s success: in 2007 he was promoted to president and chief marketing officer, and in 2011 he was appointed president, CEO, and chairman of the board, in which capacity he served until he appointed his successor, Jerry Stump, as president and CEO in 2018. Under his leadership in the chief executive role, Volkert grew from a $77 million firm in 2011 to a $180 million firm in 2018, reflecting a 15 percent growth rate year-over-year. Last year Volkert was ranked 87th among Engineering News-Record’s “Top 500 Design Firms,” the firm’s highest position since ranking began in 1965.
Also in 2018, Hand served a one-year term as chairman of the Business Council of Alabama. In this role, Hand continued to work for a business-friendly climate throughout the state and for improved infrastructure. “The value of the BCA has been bringing together businesses into Alabama politics,” Hand said. “We are, without apology, a group of businesses that want consideration of the business point of view.”
In 2019, Perry Hand continues his advisory role as the chairman of the board of Volkert and remains an influential figure in Alabama business and politics. From his leadership in both the public and private sector, Hand has demonstrated what it means to be a builder—of infrastructure, of businesses, and of a life committed to service.
View the inductee video for Perry Hand, presented at the ceremony.