Edward L. Lowder
Edward L. Lowder grew up on a small farm in Washington County, Alabama, and then was off to college at the Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now Auburn University) to major in agriculture.
When he graduated in 1934, he went to work for the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service (now Extension System) in Lawrence County as a county agent and then later served Extension in Pickens and Tuscaloosa counties.
In 1942, he was called to military duty and served with distinction in World War II, after which he returned to Alabama and his work with Extension. However, in 1946 he was asked to start the Alabama Farm Bureau Insurance Company in hopes of bringing affordable insurance to rural Alabamians, which would be a tremendous benefit to Alabama farmers. Lowder accepted the challenge and began the business with one secretary and $10,000. Alabama Farm Bureau, which later became ALFA Insurance, is now one of the most successful insurance companies in the nation.
In addition to his work with ALFA, Lowder also founded and developed Lowder Companies, which later became a conglomerate of construction, real estate, banking, insurance, and broadcast enterprises that today are listed under a variety of Colonial Company names and are run by his three sons.
Though Lowder’s career took a slight turn away from traditional agriculture, he remained a strong supporter of agriculture and Auburn. He was a charter member of the Southeastern Livestock Exposition, serving from 1958 to 1987, and he gave generously of his time and resources to Auburn University, which presented Lowder a honorary doctorate of laws 1983. He died in 1987 and was inducted posthumously into the Alabama Business Hall of Fame.