Distinguished. Exceptional. Innovative. These words should be used sparingly, but they fit Billy Harvill to a T.
Harvill graduated from the College of Communication and Information Sciences in 1972, earned a BS in accounting from UAB in 1977, and then became a Certified Public Accountant. He has since had an extraordinary career in Alabama advertising: after a 10-year career as a CPA, Harvill sold his practice in 1988 and joined childhood friend Mike Strong at Strong Automotive Merchandising. In 1992, upon Mike’s retirement, Billy led the formation of an ESOP Trust to effect that transition. Harvill served as CEO from 1992 until his retirement in 2010. By that time the company, which was renamed the Intermark Group, had become the largest advertising agency in Alabama and one of the largest in the southeast with over 160 employees in three states serving clients as diverse as Toyota Motors, Mohawk Carpets and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.
Billy Harvill is known as a strong and supportive leader who hires the best and trusts them to do the job well. To encourage growth and creativity, he initiated a training program for employees and even added an art gallery to which employees are encouraged to submit their own work. Grounded in what has worked in the past but open to the future, Harvill’s ethos is exemplified by Intermark’s award-winning renovation of a historic building in downtown Birmingham, a marriage of old and new. Birmingham Business Journal recently praised the Intermark building as one of the “coolest office spaces” in the city.
Harvill’s work has been noted by his peers. He has been honored as 2005 CEO of the Year and Ad Man of the year and received the Silver Medal Award from the Birmingham Advertising Federation. The Birmingham Area Chamber of Commerce named him “Small Business Person of the Year” in 2002.
The University of Alabama has expressed its admiration for Harvill’s dedication as well. In 2005 he became one of only five recipients of the CCIS Dean’s Medal for serving the College with distinction, based on his work with the Board of Visitors and his loyalty to and support of the College. Former Dean Culpepper Clark said at the time, “The College has no function of importance that he doesn’t attend and support with his presence . . . He believes in the relationship between his agency and what we do at the college.” He had previously been awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the College.
In addition to his work with the CCIS Board of Visitors, where he served as Chairman, Harvill also serves on the President’s Cabinet at The University of Alabama and is currently the Chair of UAB’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.
He and his wife, Sharon, have two children, Kate and Brandon, and two grandchildren, Wyatt and Virginia.
William “Billy” Harvill is well qualified to be inducted into the College of Communication and Information Sciences Hall of Fame, class of 2013.