R. Hugh Daniel

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Robert Hugh Daniel (born September 1, 1906 in Elberton, Georgia; died October 27, 1983) was co-founder of the Daniel Construction Company, which grew into Daniel International, a construction giant with offices throughout the United States and in Europe.

Daniel was the son of James Fleming and Leila Mildred Adams Daniel. The family moved to Anderson, South Carolina when he was nine years old. He was valedictorian of his 1929 graduating class at The Citadel. He and his brother Charles went on to found a successful lumber company. In 1934 they established the Daniel Construction Company. Hugh established a branch office in Birmingham a year later. He was made a vice-president of the company in the next year and married the former Martha Stone Cobb of Vernon.

During World War II Daniel Construction was awarded contracts to build new shipyards in Savannah and Brunswick, Georgia. After they were completed, Daniel joined the U.S. Navy, serving as a lieutenant in the Civil Engineering Corps.

During the post-war building boom Daniel took on numerous large projects in Alabama. Hugh took over the presidency in 1955 and became CEO in 1964, helping the firm grow to international stature. He established a real-estate division, now Daniel Corporation, to manage the firm's real estate properties. That year he provided funds to help establish the Central Bank of the South (now BBVA Compass). He served on the board of directors for the bank and its holding company. The bank's headquarters office shared the 20-story Daniel Building in Midtown Birmingham with Daniel Corporation until Compass bought the complete building in 1993.

By 1976 Daniel International Construction Corporation had 40,000 employees and nearly $1 billion in annual revenues, making it the third-largest construction company in the world. The firm was acquired by the Fluor Corporation of Irving, Texas in 1977 and operated as Fluor-Daniel until 2002. The real-estate subdivision became an independent corporation remaining in Birmingham.

Daniel sat on the boards of the Alabama Gas Corporation, U.S. Pipe and Foundry, Southern Bank and Trust, the Delwood Furniture Company, and the Florida National Banks of Florida. He helped to found and served twice as president of the Alabama Chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America. He was also a co-founder of the American States' Rights Association.

Daniel worked for a variety of civic and community organizations as well. He served as a trustee of the Birmingham Symphony Association and as a member of the advisory board of the Birmingham Salvation Army. And from 1954 to 1955 he served as the appeals chairman of the Jefferson County United Appeal. He served on the boards of trustees for the Daniel Foundation at The Citadel, Southern Research Institute, Birmingham-Southern College, the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce. Daniel also served on the boards of directors of the Birmingham Museum of Art and the Baptist Hospitals Foundation.

Daniel was active in the work of the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham, the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, and the Canterbury Methodist Church. He was also a member of the Birmingham Country Club, the Mountain Brook Club, the Relay House, and the Chi Psi fraternity. He received honorary degrees from the Citadel in 1957 and from Piedmont College in 1965. He was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor in 1976. The directorship of the Birmingham Museum of Art was endowed and named in his honor. Hugh Daniel Drive in Shelby County is also named in his honor.


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