In 2009, the ACIA created the Chairman’s Award to honor outstanding leaders in the concrete industry. This year’s winner is the epitome of this recognition.
Phil Webb was born in Heflin, AL to a family who placed a high value on hard work. Phil’s grandfather started Farmer Supply Company, a small hardware store on Main Street of Heflin in 1945. The store specialized in fertilizer, seed and hardware. In the early 1960’s Phil’s grandfather expanded the company by building a concrete plant by hand. He then added a sand and gravel business to the support the operation.
Ownership of the company passed to Phil’s father in the late 1960’s and continued to be a quality supplier of concrete materials to the Heflin area. Like most family businesses, the children were expected to help out at the company, but Phil was not ready to follow in his father’s footsteps and go to work when he graduated from high school. Instead, Phil wanted to attend his beloved University of Alabama.
Phil graduated from high school in 1976, and his father said to him “Phil, you and your brother Ricky can go to college, I’ll pay for it, but when y’all are finished with school the store is either going to be closed or sold. I’m retiring and moving to Florida with your mom. I’m ready to play golf.”
However, things changed quickly when his mother was diagnosed with cancer. Phil decided to forego college and started working for the family business in May of ’76.
In 1979, his mother succumbed to cancer, and his father moved to Destin.
After Ricky graduated from high school in ’79, he joined his older brother. Since their father had promised he would sell or close the store, the sons bought the company from him.
After a couple of years, Phil realized the company needed to grow and expand from the original location in Heflin. Phil and his brother secured a $16k loan, bought an acre and a half of land and built a new office and concrete plant. The new land is the same location the company operates from today. In 1982, they changed the name from Farmers Supply Company to Webb Concrete.
Webb’s next move was a decision to open a second concrete plant in Pell City. Tragically not long after the expansion, Phil lost his brother and he was left to run the business on his own.
As his business continued to grow, Webb caught the attention of a multi-national cement company who hoped to purchase his business. Phil declined the offer, and the firm decided to open a plant in his market. However, Phil not only survived the competition, he ended up purchasing the plant from the company when they decided to leave the market a couple of years later. With the purchase, Phil grew Webb to a three plant operation. Webb later purchased a fourth plant in Roanoke.
Webb started out with just four trucks, but today they have concrete plants in Oxford, Pell City, Heflin, and Roanoke. They also have building materials locations in Heflin, Oxford, Pell City, Centre, and Birmingham.
Phil is widely recognized for his success in the concrete and building industry, but to anyone from his hometown he is more likely known for his philanthropy. The quality most often attributed to Phil is that of having a servant’s heart, both in his community and within his company. The ability to serve is the basis for every venture Phil undertakes. Service is the most important element of his business philosophy and he expects his staff to adopt that same philosophy.
John Morris a longtime friend of Phil described him this way. “I’m in awe of Phil. There’s so much I could say about him… He leads by action. Phil is such a hardworker. Number one, he is the rock for this county. He does so much for charities, and his real passion is simply making people happy. He gets no better satisfaction than pleasing others, and I don’t know anyone who can do it so well.”
To that end, Phil has served on the board of directors for many organizations, including the Greater Alabama Council Boy Scouts of America, The Donoho School, The Right Place, YMCA of Calhoun County, and the Knox Concert Series. He also serves on the JSU Foundation, JSU School of Business and Industry, Calhoun County Economic Development, and the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce. Finally he serves on the board of Directors for Alabama Power, Noble Bank and Trust and our own association board.
While Phil’s number one passion is giving back to his community, tied for second would have to be his love for Alabama Football and Alabama politics. Phil is a fixture in Alabama politics and he currently serves as the finance Chairman for the Alabama Republican Party and served in a similar role for Governor Ivey’s election campaign.