Alabama Academy of Honor


Seth Merrill Hammett

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 2013.

Seth Merrill Hammett was born in the Rose Hill community of Covington County to the late Marvin and Mozelle Hammett. In 1964, he entered Auburn University and served in the Air Force ROTC. Hammett earned his B.S. in business administration and was designated a distinguished military graduate. In 1968, he received his Air Force Commission. Upon discharge from the Air Force, he entered graduate school at Auburn and was employed as both a pilot in the School of Aviation and a graduate teaching assistant in economics while working toward his M.B.A.

At the age of 26, Hammett began his career in academia as an economics instructor at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College in Andalusia. He rose quickly in the college's administration to Administrative Assistant and by the age of 29 was Dean of Business Affairs. In 1983, he founded First National Bank of Andalusia (now Wells Fargo), where he was named President. In 1991, he returned to Lurleen B. Wallace Community College as President, served in that capacity until he retired in 2002, and was then named President Emeritus. In 2002, Hammett focused his efforts on economic development and was appointed Vice President of Business Development for SouthTrust Bank. In 2004, he was appointed Director of Economic Development for the Alabama Electric Cooperative (now PowerSouth Energy Cooperative). In 2009, he was named Vice President of Business Development by PowerSouth, a position he continues to hold. In 2010, Governor-elect Robert Bentley named Hammett to his transition team and later appointed him Director of the Alabama Development Office, charged with both leading Alabama's economic development efforts and establishing a strategic economic development plan -- Accelerate Alabama.

From 1978 to 2010, concurrent with his professional career, Hammett served with distinction as a member of the Alabama House of Representatives, including four years as Speaker Pro Tempore and twelve years as Speaker of the House. As Speaker, Hammett was known as an honorable statesman, consensus builder, and practical lawmaker. In 2010, after thirty-two years of service and numerous honors, awards, and recognitions, he was named Speaker Emeritus.

In both his public and private careers, Hammett has articulated his vision for economic development -- to transform the kinds of jobs available to Alabamians from low-skill/low-wage to high-tech/high-wage. His legislative leadership helped establish the Alabama Trust Fund, which has enabled Alabama to offer competitive incentives to lure multi-billion dollar investments from companies such as Mercedes, Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, and ThyssenKrupp. As Director of the Alabama Development Office and the state's top job recruiter, he continued the work he began as House Speaker to retain incentives pledged for Airbus to build aircraft in Mobile. While many people work tirelessly and admirably, few have and seize the opportunity to make a difference in critical areas that matter most to our state and its people -- jobs, education, and good government. Hammett seized the opportunity and by doing so created a legacy of service that will impact the lives of Alabamians for generations to come.

Hammett and his wife Nancy have two children, Merrill and Catherine.