Donald W. Sanders
As a youngster in Aliceville, Alabama, Donny Sanders grew up in an agriculturally diverse area of the state. After high school, he spent one year at the University of Alabama before leaving to pursue cooperative education opportunities available at Auburn University.
Throughout the enrollment process, Sanders was exposed to the Auburn experience. He encountered people who truly cared, asked questions about what he wanted, helped him develop a plan for his future, and never gave up believing in him.
In AU’s Co-Op Program, Sanders worked with the National Tillage Machinery Lab on campus and, through the ROTC program, completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural engineering in 1969 and 1971, respectively. While at Auburn, he married Becky Martin, also of Aliceville.
Sanders served in the U.S. Army, completing his tour at Auburn as a captain in the Army Reserve. While working as a research engineer for the U.S. Forest Service, he continued his education, receiving an MBA at Auburn in 1974. Also during this time, he developed and received a U.S. patent for a mechanized bark hack.
As agriculture was booming in west Alabama in the mid-1970s, Sanders returned to Aliceville to become sales manager at Martin Truck & Tractor Company. In 1991, he took over as president and soon after opened a store in Columbus, Mississippi. The company serves a range of customers covering row crops, cattle, pork, catfish, corn, cotton, soybeans, timber, and hay.
Through the years, Sanders has remained active in the farm industry. He has been a leader in the Alabama Farm Equipment Dealers Association and the Southern Equipment Dealers Association. Sanders is a charter member and founding director of the Alabama Agribusiness Council, a TREASURE Forester, past director of the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association, and a life member of both the AU Alumni Association and the Agricultural Alumni Association.
A strong believer in participating in and giving back to the community, Sanders is an active member of the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club. He has been a team leader for mission trips to Mexico and the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, and he is a board member for the Palmer Home for Children in Columbus, Mississippi.
Donny and Becky Sanders have two sons – Marty and Matt – and two grandchildren.