Alabama Academy of Honor

William Fleming Edmonds

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 1991, 2002, and 2007..

William Fleming Edmonds was born in Birmingham, Alabama, on June 11, 1923, the son of Henry Morris Edmonds and Mary Fleming Edmonds.

Bill Edmonds received his early education at South Highland Grammar School and his high school education at Phillips High School, both in Birmingham.

He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Virginia Military Institute in 1948 after having excelled academically. He was business manager of his college annual and president of the college's Glee Club.

Mr. Edmonds and his wife, Joan McCoy Edmonds, are the parents of two sons, Henry M. Edmonds, II, and Bryson G. Edmonds.

Mr. Edmonds began his military service to his country as a commissioned officer in the Corps of Engineers during World War II with duty in the European and Asiatic Theaters. During the Korean War, he served as Company Commander of an Engineer Avation Battalion.

Bill Edmonds began his business career in 1952 with Rust Engineering Company of Birmingham. By 1956 this firm had promoted him to the position of Project Manager. During the years 1956-58 he was employed by Harbert Construction Company. In 1958 he again became associated with Rust Engineering, advancing by 1966 to Chief Engineer and Vice President. In 1967 Bill Edmonds accepted a transfer to Brussels, Belgium, as President of Coppee Rust, a European affiliate of Rust Engineering. In this position he directed work in fifteen European countries.

In 1969 he returned to Rust's Pittsburgh office as Sr. VP - Operations.

In 1972 Mr. Edmonds returned to Birmingham where he and two associates founded BE&K Inc. He served this firm as President and Chief Executive Officer from its beginning until in 1983 when he became Chairman, a position he held until his retirement in 1989.

BE&K operations began with an annual volume of $36 million and increased that volume by l989 to 3.4 billion dollars. This company has been recognized for providing advanced technical and innovative services to the paper industry and other similar industries throughout the Northern Hemisphere and more recently, the rest of the world.

William F. Edmonds was a member of the Board of Directors of the First Alabama Bank of Birmingham, a Director of Energen Corporation, and continued as a Trustee of Southern Research Institute.

Among Bill Edmonds' awards for excellence in his profession are "The Knight of the Order of the Crown" by the Belgian Government in 1969, "Engineer of the Year" in 1983 by the Alabama Society of Professional Engineers, and an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree in 1986 by the University of Alabama in Birmingham. Because of his leadership roles at the Alabama Symphony and at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, Edmonds was selected in 1988 "Citizen of the Year" by the Young Men's Business Club of Birmingham. In 1992 he was inducted into the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame and in 1996 he was presented the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award.

Edmonds was for a long time a staunch supporter of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, having served as president of the Symphony Association and later as Chairman of its Board of Directors.

Mr. William Fleming Edmonds was an active member and Elder of the Independent Presbyterian Church of Birmingham.

Edmonds continued to be active in his community by serving on several committees of the United Way of Central Alabama and at UAB. He also served as chairman of the board of Kirkwood-by-The River, a retirement Life Care Community.

William F. Edmonds died on October 18, 2007.