EBSCO Industries

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EBSCO Industries is a privately held, widely diversified corporation with headquarters in Birmingham. It was founded in 1944 by Elton B. Stephens (hence the EBSCO acronym Elton B Stephens COmpany). EBSCO is the largest privately-held company in Alabama and one of the top 200 in the nation, based on revenues and employee numbers, according to Forbes Magazine. In 1997 sales surpassed $1 billion. In 2008 revenues exceeded $2.5 billion.

Stephens was succeeded as president by his son, Elton Stephens Jr. In 2005 the company was turned over to Dixon Brooke Jr, the elder Stephens' son-in-law. When Tim Collins succeeded Brooke as president and CEO in 2014 it marked the first time that the company was led by someone from outside the Stephens family.

EBSCO is a diverse company which includes over 30 businesses. Its core industries are subscriptions services to libraries, bibliographic databases, manufacturing of construction and outdoors products and real estate development. EBSCO is also well known for its employee benefits. It has been rated among America's Best Companies to work for by Forbes.

Company founder Stephens earned money to attend Birmingham-Southern College by selling magazines door-to-door. He soon became a sales manager and began hiring salespeople and sending them across the country to sell magazine subscriptions. In 1936, Stephens earned a law degree from the University of Alabama, but decided that managing the sale of magazines was more profitable than practicing law. In 1944, Stephens formed a partnership with his wife, Alys Robinson Stephens, to sell magazine subscriptions, personalized binders and magazine racks to the U.S. Armed Forces. They named this Military Service Company, and over the next decade acquired several other companies that were eventually combined to form EBSCO Industries, Inc.

EBSCO companies


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