June 29, 2017
William J. Cabaniss, Jr.
After graduating with a B. A. degree
from Vanderbilt University in 1960, Bill Cabaniss entered the United
States Army where he served as an Airborne Ranger First Lieutenant.
In 1964, after a three-year tour of duty in Germany, he was awarded
the Army Commendation Medal. After his service in the armed forces,
Mr. Cabaniss returned to his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, where
he began his business career with the Southern Cement Company Division
of Martin Marietta Corporation. In 1971, he resigned from his position
as Director of Market Development with Southern Cement and acquired
the assets of a small metal grinding company. Since then, he built
Precision Grinding, Inc. into a successful steel place processing
metal machining business. Cabaniss sold Precision Grinding to his
partners in October 2006. Mr. Cabaniss ran for public office in 1978,
served in the Alabama House of Representatives from 1978 to 1982 and
the Alabama State Senate from 1982 to 1990.
Mr. Cabaniss has been a leader in the Birmingham
business community, having served on the boards of directors of the
following publicly-held companies: AmSouth Bank, Birmingham Steel
Corporation, the Southern Company, and Protective Life Corporation.
He served on the Metropolitan Development Board and was past chairman;
served on the Board of the National Association of Manufacturers;
and previously served on the Board of the Southern Research Institute.
He has held membership in the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, Business
Council of Alabama, Association of Iron and Steel Engineers, and the
National Tooling and Machining Association. In 2002, Mr. Cabaniss
received the Distinguished Builders of Birmingham award.
In community affairs, Mr. Cabaniss has served
on the following Boards: A+ (The Coalition for Better Education),
Kings Ranch ( a residential ministry for neglected women and children),
and the Boy Scouts. He previously served as Board Chairman of Junior
Achievement of Jefferson County and is a current member of the Birmingham
Rotary Club where he has served on the board. He also led the Alexis
de Tocqueville Society of United Way in the 2000 campaign; previously
served on the board of trustees of Sweet Briar College; and is past
Senior Warden of St. Luke's Episcopal Church. Mr. Cabaniss received
the Community Service Award from The Rotary Club of Birmingham in
1993. In August 2004, Mr. Cabaniss was inducted into the Alabama Academy
of Honor. In October 2006, he was inducted into the Alabama Business
Hall of Fame.
Mr. Cabaniss was sworn in as U. S. Ambassador
to the Czech Republic by Secretary of State Colin Powell in Washington,
D.C. on December 9, 2003. He arrived in Prague on January 9, 2004,
and presented his credentials to President Vaclav Klaus on January
13, 2004. He served as Ambassador until October 2006.
Mr. Cabaniss is married t the former Catherine
Hood Caldwell, and they have two daughters, Mary Cabaniss Ballard
of Seattle and Frances Johnson of Mobile, and five grandchildren.