Beverly Phifer Wingard
The following biographical sketch was created at the time of induction in October 2012.
Beverly Phifer Wingard is president and chief executive officer of Phifer Incorporated, a family-owned business founded in Tuscaloosa in 1952 by her father, Reese Phifer. Mrs. Wingard "grew up in the business" and fondly remembers announcing in the third grade that her father was a “manufacturer,” as she showed off 100 feet of woven aluminum screen wire in a box labeled PHIFER WIRE.
With the training of her father during his lifetime, and over 40 years of working with great people at Phifer, Mrs. Wingard has led this privately held company through many expansions. The scope of Phifer has expanded, both the wire business and the fiberglass business (another innovation by her father) into a highly advanced synthetic fabrics business. Some of the precision woven products manufactured by Phifer are called “Technical Textiles.”
Phifer employs approximately 1,200 people in Tuscaloosa. When jobs and business were being lost in the outdoor furniture and fabric industry due to a large part of Phifer’s customer base moving their plants to China, Mrs. Wingard made the decision to manufacture a raw material in China with the strategy of regaining business that had gone overseas, while also shipping this raw material to Phifer in Tuscaloosa for a competitive edge. This has proven to be a very good business decision for the health, continued growth, and hiring at the Tuscaloosa plant.
In 2012, Tuscaloosa employees designed and suggested to Mrs. Wingard a new way to focus on plant and office safety, developing the theme “PhiferCares” (Creating A Responsible Environment for Safety). In presenting this concept to her in a video, the Safety Design Team had produced an in-house video of men and women at Phifer singing and dancing (on the job!) to the tune of “We Are Family!" Mrs. Wingard regards this as an all-time favorite moment in her 40-plus years at Phifer.
Mrs. Wingard’s interests include numerous worthy causes, such as the West Alabama Food Bank, the Salvation Army, Temporary Emergency Services, the Soup Bowls, the Good Samaritan Clinic, the Red Cross, the West Alabama Promise Neighborhood, and Christ Episcopal Church’s Lazarus Ministry. She also had Phifer build a small dorm with nearby kitchen for overnight visitors to Tuscaloosa who were working as Tornado Recovery Volunteers.
Mrs. Wingard enjoys her affiliation with her alma mater, The University of Alabama, especially as a member of The President’s Cabinet (Dr. Joab Thomas first invited her to join), The Museum Board of Regents, The Denny Society, The Women of the Capstone, and The Board of Visitors for the Culverhouse College of Commerce.
In her spare time, Mrs. Wingard is an avid Eastern Bluebird watcher, as well as an inventor of various items of convenience. The first U.S. patent that she and her colleagues were awarded was for The Phifer ReaderTM. Several other patents have been obtained or are pending, the latest being The Stand Outside the BagTM, a shoulder-strapped carry-all for Tablets and eReaders, which provides a built-in stand “outside the bag” for comfortable hands-free viewing.