Alabama isn't necessarily the first state you think of when you hear the word "millionaire," but the richest people in Alabama have a surprisingly strong net worth. Many of these people focus on cities around the college towns in the state or in bigger areas like Jackson.
That said, there are very few billionaires in the state, and while there has recently been an increase in the number of rich Alabama residents to the tune of 7.9 percent, according to Wealth X, sources show that the numbers are still low in comparison to other states.
To satisfy your curiosity about who they are, let's take a deep dive into this topic to learn about the wealthiest people in Alabama. We'll highlight the 10 richest people in Alabama and highlight some of the biggest-earning millionaires in the state. This should help give you a better idea of the big earners in the state.
When compiling our list of the richest people in Alabama, we made sure to follow a strict research pattern that helps weed through the conflicting financial information available online. Then, we carefully selected people and updated our previous article to ensure higher accuracy. These steps included a few simple actions that make our details accurate, including:
- Check listicle sites that highlight the richest people in Alabama
- Double-check their information for accuracy to avoid mistakes
- Look for any official sites that list information on people's finances
- Rearrange any information from previous articles to improve the list
- Continually upgrade the information when needed
Richest People in Alabama
When discussing the wealthiest people in Alabama, it's important to take the time to read through all this information to get more context into their careers. Thankfully, we've done the research for you to ensure that you don't have to do it yourself. The following data should provide you with more than enough information to understand who makes the real money in Alabama.
10. Brian Wiatrak - $1.1 million annual salary
Brian Wiatrak is a pediatrician who works for the Children's of Alabama non-profit organization. According to AL.com, he makes a base salary of about $516,716 annually, with a total compensation of $1.1 million per year.
Though we were able to ascertain that his annual compensation is well over a million dollars a year, there was no information available on his current net worth. Regardless, his wage makes him one of the highest wage earners in the state of Alabama.
Brian Wiatrak earns high acclaim, as his official site points out. He's been a Castle Connolly Top Doctor since 2014 and specializes in airway lesions, laryngotracheal reconstruction, head and neck masses, and much more, to become one of the wealthiest people in Alabama.
9. Brian Richardson - $1.3 million
Dr. Brian Richardson is the ninth richest person in Alabama, with a base pay of $546,369 per year and a total annual compensation of $1.25 million. Though his net worth mounts aren’t available online, this steady pay makes him a high-earning Alabama resident.
As someone who’s likely one of the many millionaires in Alabama, Dr. Richardson is a respected physician at the Jackson Hospital and Clinic. He has over 20 years of experience in his field and gets high scores from patients for his courteous and professional work ethic.
While Wallmine has his total net worth at an estimated $990,000, his worth could be higher because other sources have placed it above the million-dollar mark. Note that net worth is notoriously hard to calculate due to changes in a person’s financial state, such as buying homes.
8. Clark Christianson - $1.3 million
So far, most of the wealthiest people in Alabama have been in the medical field. Clark Christianson is no different. As the president and CEO of Providence Hospital, Clark Christianson is running even with Brian Richardson, who has an estimated net worth of $1.3 million.
As the President and CEO of Providence Hospital, his base pay is $403,517 per year, but he also receives other compensation that brings his total annual income to $1.27 million. Over the years, Christianson has worked in this role and others in the medical community.
While other information about him is not easy to find online, he has helped make Providence Hospital a strong care option for the state. In a state with a healthcare system that's considered “at a breaking point,” skilled experts like this are helpful.
7. D. Mark Nix - $1.4 million
As the seventh-richest person in Alabama, D. Mark Nix is the President and Chairman of Infirmary Health Systems, Inc. He earns an annual base pay of $689,173 with other compensation that totals $1.36 million.
Nix leads Infirmary Health to serve 11 counties and 600,000 people in Alabama along the Gulf Coast. Nix also serves as a board member for the John S. Davis company. He joined the company in 1987 and has served as the President and CEO since 2009.
As a native of Alabama, Nix has spent most of his life here and even went to the University of Alabama to get his accounting degree. He also serves on many organizational boards to help bring better healthcare to Alabama natives.
6. Jason Swanner - $1.4 million
Dr. Jason Swanner is currently the Director of Clinical Operations for the University of Alabama Ophthalmology Services, where he earns a base pay of $1.2 million with a total annual compensation of $1.36 million.
As one of the top 10 richest people in Alabama, Dr. Swanner has worked hard to reach his position. He specializes in glaucoma, anterior segment, and cataract surgery. As a lifelong Alabama resident (besides a brief stint at Harvard), he has stayed dedicated to the area.
For example, Dr. Swanner attended Samford University, graduating in 1994, and continued his education at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, graduating in 1998. Swanner is known for his strong bedside manner, his excellent professionalism, and his skilled financial understanding.
5. Isaac William Ferniany - $1.5 million
Isaac Willian Ferniany was once the CEO of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System. Here, he earned a base pay of $649,247 annually with additional benefits and perks that bring his total compensation to $1.48 million.
After 13 years of serving with UAB, he retired in 2021. Ferniany had been working in the medical industry since 1975 and worked across multiple different fields. Currently, he still serves as the dean of the medical school at UAB.
Like many on this list, he has stayed in the state most of his life. He attended the University of Alabama. He is a board member of Vizient, Inc. His previous post, prior to joining UAB, was as the Chief Executive Officer of the University of Mississippi Med Center.
His impact has been so significant in the medical industry in Alabama that an award was named after him that recognizes excellence in Academic Medicine Leadership.
4. John O'Neil - $2 million
John O'Neil is currently the President and Chief Operating Officer of St. Vincent's Health System. For his hard work, O'Neil receives base pay of $420,615 and a total compensation package of $1.95 million annually.
O’Neill worked multiple jobs before landing at St. Vincent’s Health System. Previously, he worked for Caterpillar selling engine parts, sold car insurance, and eventually transitioned to the health industry at the age of 24.
Since then, he’s worked heavily as an administrator for many facilities and is something of a unique rags-to-riches story that Alabama residents can look up to in their lives.
3. James W. Rane - $1.2B
The jump from fourth to third-richest person in Alabama is pretty steep. It’s basically a 90% increase to the third richest person in Alabama, James W. Rane. As the founder of Great Southern Wood Preserving Inc., he has made decks, fences, and other treated lumber projects.
Rane is well known throughout Alabama as the “Yella Fella,” an alter ego he uses in his company’s commercials. He’s a true American success story, turning a $22,000 family backyard industry into a billion-dollar industry.
Rane started his career in the lumber business when he took over the family's fence post manufacturing company. It was a small operation, but since that time, Rane has built it into an operation with a total of 15 plants.
He also surpassed the wealth of the late Gary Drummond, who previously held the position with a one-time wealth estimate of $980 million, but his fortune dwindled to $600 million prior to his passing. Rane holds the rarified air of being one of the only billionaires in the state.
Rane is certainly one of the top 10 richest people in Alabama who worked up from nothing to transform his life. His success story has fascinated Alabama residents for years and frustrated the wealthiest people in Alabama, who saw him as little more than a local yahoo.
2. Raymond, John, and Marguerite Harbert ($6.6 billion divided and total split yet unknown).
Though this case has been settled, the exact terms of the settlement were never revealed. As a result, it’s uncertain who got the money and how it was split. That said, even an even split between the three children would make them three of the richest people in Alabama.
Unfortunately, it was far from the first or last time these siblings sued each other. Marguerite sued her brother Raymond over allegations of mishandling of the estate many years ago.
Since then, the siblings have mostly been quiet and likely enjoying their wealth. Even if the money wasn’t split exactly evenly, it’s likely each of them made at least $1 billion or more.
1. James Stephens, Elton Stephens, Jane Comer, Dell S Brooke - $4 billion
James Stephens is the Chairman of EBSCO Industries and is one of three people who split a net worth of $4 billion in Alabama. As a lifelong resident of the area, he graduated from Yale University and Harvard and worked in the military. He joined EBSCO Industries, his father’s $5,000 business, as a young man. Stephens is in his 80s and is one of the richest people in Alabama.
Before his death, Elton Stephens was worth a similar amount of money and, with his son, helped turn EBSCO into a multi-billion dollar industry that employs over 5,700 workers throughout the world. Stephens passed in 2005 and left control of the company to James.
James Stephens inherited a portion of the company after the death of his father in 2005, along with his siblings Elton, Jane, and Dell. This fortune is worth an estimated $4 billion.
As heirs to the family fortune, they are the richest family in the state of Alabama and continue making good money with EBSCO, turning this small investment into a major fortune.
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Written by Garrett Parker
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