Board of Advisors’ Biographies


Ann Bedsole served on the Alabama State Senate from 1982-1994, where she chaired the Chaired the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee. Prior to that, she served on the Alabama House of Representatives from 1978-1982. Ms. Bedsole was the first woman to serve in the Alabama State Senate and was first Republican woman elected to the House.

Among her accomplishments, Ms. Bedsole was instrumental in founding the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science. She sponsored the legislation, served as Vice-President and President of the Board. Ms. Bedsole is also the Founding Chairman of the Alabama Forest Resources Center. She helped establish the Dwight Harrigan Learning Center at the University of Mobile. She started the C.I.T.Y. Program-an alternate school to rehabilitate juvenile criminals. She is also the founding President of the Mobile Historic Homes Tour. Ms Bedsole serves as Chairman of the Distribution Committee for The Sybil H. Smith Charitable Trust. She is also President and Chairman of the Board, White Smith Land Company, Inc. In addition, Ms. Bedsole serves on the boards of the Business Innovation Center, Mobile United, Alabama School of Mathematics and Science, Mobile Area Education Foundation (Emeritus), Alabama Forest Resources Center, and the Centre for the Living Arts (Chairman).

Ms. Bedsole was born in Selma, Alabama. She attended the University of Alabama and Denver University. Ms. Bedsole is a member of Dauphin Way United Methodist Church. Currently, she is the owner of Bedsole Farms.


Carl Burkhalter is a litigation partner at the law firm of Maynard, Cooper & Gale, P.C., which is based in Birmingham. A Tuscaloosa native, he graduated from the University magna cum laude in 1987 and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. Carl attended law school at the University of Chicago, graduating with honors in 1990. He then clerked for Judge E. Grady Jolly on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.


Jim Hayes is President of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, a private, non-profit organization dedicated to Alabama’s economic growth. Prior to joining the Partnership, Hayes held several key positions for the State of Alabama, including Senior Advisor to Governor Don Siegelman, Director of the Alabama Development Office, and Revenue Commissioner and Land Commissioner. He also served as Director of Planning and Acquisitions for The Louisiana Land & Exploration Company.

Jim is a director of First Commercial Bank (Birmingham) and BancTrust Financial (Mobile). He is also currently a member of the Lakeshore Foundation, the Crippled Children’s Foundation and is a graduate of Leadership Birmingham.

Jim graduated from T.R. Miller High School in Brewton, Ala. He received both his bachelor’s degree and his master’s degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Alabama. He has been awarded several honors from that institution: Alumnus of the Year, 1994; College of Commerce Achievement in Finance; and Distinguished Engineering Fellow and a Honorary Doctorate (2004). He is currently serves a member of the University of Alabama President’s Cabinet.

Jim is married to the former Ann Beauchamp of Tuscaloosa. They are members of St. Stephens Episcopal Church in Birmingham.


James F. “Jim” Hughey, III grew up in Birmingham and was educated at Vanderbilt University and the University of Alabama School of Law, from which he graduated summa cum laude in 1998 and was elected to Order of the Coif. While in law school, Jim served as editor-in-chief of the Alabama Law Review.

Jim practices civil litigation as a partner with Lightfoot, Franklin & White, LLC in Birmingham. Jim is a member of the American Bar Association, the Alabama Bar Association, and the Birmingham Bar Association. He is a graduate of Class II of the Leadership Forum of the Alabama State Bar. He served from 2001 to 2005 as a member of the Executive Committee of the Alabama Young Lawyers and is presently co-chair of the Alabama Defense Lawyers Association’s Diversity Task Force.

Mr. Hughey is a member of the board of directors of the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (PARCA) and former chairman of the PARCA Roundtable. Through PARCA, Jim served as a volunteer staff member for the Governor’s Education Spending Commission in 2003. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Downtown YMCA and has served as a fundraiser for its annual Strong Kids Campaign since 2001. He previously served as a member of the board of directors of First Look (now a division of YouthServe) and as a volunteer for that organization at Ramsay High School and at other venues across Birmingham. Jim is also a member of the Rotary Club of Birmingham and of All Saints Episcopal Church.

Jim is married to Dr. Lauren Hughey, a dermatologist with the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Jim and Lauren have two children, Emma and Fletcher. The Hugheys live in Homewood.


John D. Johns is the current Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Protective Life Corporation in Birmingham. He has served with Protective Life since October 1993, when he joined the company as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Prior to joining Protective Life, Mr. Johns was with Sonat, Inc., as Vice President and General Counsel from 1988. Mr. Johns was a founding partner of the law firm Maynard Cooper & Gale from 1984 to 1988. He was an Associate (1978 – 1983) and Partner (1984) of the law firm Cabaniss, Johnston, Gardner, Dumas & O’Neal.

Mr. Johns graduated with a B.A. from the University of Alabama in 1974, and graduated with both a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1978.

Mr. Johns serves on the Board of Directors of the Alabama National BanCorporation, Alabama Power Company, Birmingham Museum of Arts, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce, Business Council of Alabama, Central Alabama Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the Entrepreneurial Center, Genuine Parts Company, John H. Harland Company, Leadership Alabama, the Metropolitan Development Board, The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham. He also serves on the President’s Cabinet of The University of Alabama, a member of the Executive Committee of Region 2020, and a trustee of the McWane Foundation, Birmingham-Southern College, and the Altamont School.

Mr. Johns is married to Dr. Nancy Dunlap Jones. The Johns have two children, Anna and James. John is originally from Gadsden, Alabama.


Dr. Catherine Randall is the former Director of the University Honors Program at The University of Alabama and the former Chairman of the Board of Randall Publishing Company. She earned two Ph.D. degrees from the University of Alabama and has been named one of the top 31 women graduates of the century. A member of the Alabama Academy of Honor (the 100 most outstanding living Alabamians), Dr. Randall has served as National President of Mortar Board, Inc., president of the Board of Directors of the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame, Director of Alabama Girls State, and a member of the boards of directors of the American Village, the National Collegiate Honors Council, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the Alabama Law Foundation, the Alabama Archives and History Foundation, the Alabama Center for Civic Life, and the Tuscaloosa City Schools Education Foundation.

Catherine is the widow of H. Pettus Randall, III, and the mother of Jaynie Rogers Randall, Kate Randall, and H. Pettus Randall IV.