Douglas L. McCrary
Synonymous with Jobs Powerfully Well Done
Inducted in 2004
The Hall of Fame welcomes Douglas Langston McCrary, president-emeritus of Gulf Power Company, to its membership. A mechanical engineer, Mr. McCrary spent his career in the electric power industry bringing innovations that strongly benefit Alabama electric consumers. Even as a junior engineer with Alabama Power, his work touched the life of this state. He was at the heart of planning and designing hydroelectric plants on the Coosa and Warrior rivers. When completed, they brought Alabama an emission-free fuel source, modern flood controls, and new venues for water recreation.
Bachelor’s- and master’s-level engineering study at Auburn University equipped Mr. McCrary to embark on his forty-one-year career with the Southern Company, owner of Alabama Power and Pensacola-based Gulf Power. His relationship with Auburn remained productive—Mr. McCrary sharing his time and wisdom as a mainstay of Auburn’s Alumni Engineering Council. A Pensacola firm of which he is a board member has endowed a scholarship at the university. Also in deference to Mr. McCrary, this firm regularly hires and nurtures Auburn engineering co-op students and finds numerous, permanent employees among Auburn alumni.
In 1988, Mr. McCrary received Auburn’s Outstanding ME Alumnus Award; citations honoring other accomplishments are the Silver Knight of Management (National Managers Association) and Industrial Leader of the Year (Pensacola Area Chamber of Commerce). He served on a divisional executive committee of the Edison Electric Institute and the University of West Florida advisory board. Highlights of his professional associations include involvement with the Southeastern Electric Reliability Council, Southeastern Electric Exchange, IEEE, and American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Targeting merely personal advancement wasn’t Mr. McCrary’s method. He homed in on challenges and jobs well done. Completing the engineer ranks at Alabama Power, he was promoted in 1967 to engineering assistant manager. Next he served as assistant to the construction manager, quickly progressing to manager. In 1971, he was appointed Alabama Power’s vice president for construction. The senior vice presidency of Southern Company Services came next, leadership culminating in the SCS executive vice presidency. His manager’s eye ever surveyed the company’s big picture, simultaneously perceiving its intricate, interacting elements. This awareness enabled him to create systems and work environments of excellence.
Mr. McCrary came to Florida as chief executive officer of Gulf Power, building its reputation over a decade, retiring in 1994. His tenure saw Gulf Power take efficiency near its limit: maintaining the lowest rates of any similar Florida utility, completing an ambitious construction program, producing strong earnings. He led the firm through challenges: earth-shaking industry changes, inherited government investigations, the tragic 1989 crash of a Southern Company plane. He straightened out Hurricane Elena’s messes at home and assisted neighboring utilities regrouping after hurricanes Hugo and Andrew.
Years ago, the Centreville native served his country in the Air Force. Service to his community remained central, including duties with the local United Way directorial board, YMCA, Sacred Heart Foundation, and regional literacy coalition. Mr. McCrary and his wife, Sara, raised a family of three. Son Charles is the CEO of Alabama Power Company and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.