Alabama Academy of Honor


Elmer Beseler Harris

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 1993.



Elmer Beseler Harris, the son of Alton and Lera Mae (Mitchell) Harris, was born in Chilton County, Alabama, on April 8, 1939.

He attended elementary and high school in Clanton, Alabama.

In 1958 he began his association with Alabama Power Company as a co-op student in engineering. In 1962 Elmer Harris earned a B.S. degree in engineering from Auburn University. In 1968 he was awarded a M.S. degree from the same institution of higher learning. In 1970 Elmer Harris received a M.B.A. degree, also from Auburn University.

During his military career he attended the United States Air Force Flight School in 1964, Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base in 1970 and Air War College in 1985.

As a result of hard work, ability and dedication he progressed through the ranks of Alabama Power Company, and in 1989 he was chosen by its Board of Directors to become president and chief executive officer of that large utility company.

During the busy years that followed he did not fail to pay his civic rent all over the state by lending his leadership to many causes, serving as a Trustee of the Alabama 4H Council, member of the Board of Trustees of the Association of Independent Colleges of Alabama, Trustee of Auburn University Foundation, member of the Council of Boy Scouts of America, member of the Board of Trustees of Samford University, and working with many other worthwhile organizations in need of support.

Even though there was much demand on his time directing the affairs of the enterprise he serves as chief executive officer, Mr. Harris nevertheless shared his time and ability with other businesses in the state. He is on the Board of AmSouth Bancorporation, Southern Electric Generating Company, Junior Achievement and others.

Elmer Harris has been a strong worker and outspoken advocate of a better educational system for this state and nation. He has given time and strong support to such a movement.

He is the husband of the former Glenda Steele, and they are the parents of two children and six grandchildren.

The Elmer Harris Family worships at Dawson Memorial Baptist Church in Birmingham, where he is a member of its Board of Trustees.