Earl R. Foust
Peerless Utility Engineering Solutions
Inducted in 2007
It is a rare breed of executive who is dedicated to publishing, patenting, and researching new products, as well as to managing growth and profitability.
One such individual is Earl R. Foust, Cullman native, 1971 alumnus of Auburn University with a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering, and 1978 alumnus of The University of Alabama with a master of science in mechanical engineering. As president of Valmont-Newmark, Foust puts to work his abundant intellectual curiosity and facility for evolving engineering principles, augmented by management skills honed at Northwestern University, Vanderbilt University, and the plant.
A utility division of global Valmont Industries, Valmont-Newmark is America’s largest provider of the spun concrete, tubular steel, and hybrid poles used in electrical transmission, distribution, and substation systems. Headquartered in Birmingham, it is a $250 million business with a priceless role in creating the nation’s power grids, utilizing 11 plants and a workforce of 850. Valmont-Newmark has become a key alliance supplier to the majority of utilities throughout the United States from the Southern Company and Tennessee Valley Authority in the Southeast to Arizona Public Service and Southern California Edison in the Southwest. These alliances witness to the standards Foust maintains of precise engineering and promises kept.
Foust’s company boasts its industry’s most complete product line. A 2005 Frost and Sullivan Product Line Strategy Award saluted the company for its “diverse product portfolio” that is “highly advantageous in today’s utility structure industry.” In addition, Foust’s product line is an answer to Environmental Protection Agency regulations and deforestation issues. His nontoxic products reduce disposal costs and can be reused or recycled. Environmental responsibility, aesthetics, durability, and value are achieved through Valmont-Newmark’s capacity to custom build structures that utility engineers require.
Foust is clearly a forward-looking engineer: he has an innate feel for what is marketable today. Valmont-Newmark thus delivers structures meeting needs beyond power grids, for example, lighting, architectural columns, missile targets, and golf netting. No application seems to daunt the firm or Foust. Together, they designed and built some of the most difficult projects ever attempted in their field, and their steel pole operations merit the coveted AISC quality fabricator certification. The firm is a recipient of the Alabama Governor’s New Product Award and the Birmingham Venture Club’s Jemison Venture Award.
An active presenter and panelist at professional conferences, Foust also supports enhanced engineering education. He participates in Auburn University’s engineering alumni efforts; is on The University of Alabama’s Mechanical Engineering Advisory Council; is a UA Department of Mechanical Engineering Fellow; is a member and past chairman of The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Engineering Foundation Council; and is on UAB’s President’s Leadership Cabinet.
Foust served in diverse leadership roles for the American Society of Mechanical Engineer’s Birmingham chapter and for the Birmingham Engineering Council; both organizations have presented him with top awards. He has been active in the Alabama Society of Professional Engineers; National Society of Professional Engineers; and in the National Management Association’s chapter at Alabama Power Company, which named him Manager of the Year. Foust was employed with Alabama Power Company in Birmingham from 1974 to 1991; the company sponsored his graduate work on a competitive merit basis.
Earl and his wife, Nan Vinson Foust, reside in Vestavia Hills and have one son, Andrew Foust.