Seven outstanding citizens will be inducted in the Atmore Area Hall of Fame April 28: Athletics – Willie Parker and Earl Miller; Government – Stephanie Bryan and Weldon Vickrey; Business – Dale Ash and Bill Farr; Medicine – Ima Joan Helton-Crawford
The induction ceremony and dinner will be held Saturday, April 28, 6 p.m., at The Club, Highway 21, Atmore. Tickets, $25 each, are available at Atmore News.
Note: Everyone must have a ticket to attend the ceremony and dinner. All former inductees are invited to attend at no cost, courtesy of the Hall of Fame Committee.
This week, Atmore News features inductee Dale Ash. Information provided by the Hall of Fame Committee.
Dale Matthews Ash
Fifty-eight years ago, Dale Ash was born in Atmore to Hooper W. Matthews, Jr. and Merle Wade Matthews. After graduating as valedictorian and state track champion from Escambia Academy in 1977, Dale attended Auburn University. While at Auburn University, Dale continued to be extremely active on campus and was the first from Atmore to be elected as Panhellenic President where she presided over 18 sororities on campus, including her own sorority, Delta Gamma.
While at Auburn, she was inducted into the Who’s Who in Colleges & Universities, Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honorary, Beta Alpha Psi Accounting honorary, Beta Gamma Sigma business honorary, and Alpha Lambda Delta freshman honorary.
After graduating with honors with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting in 1981, Dale began her business career at First National Bank in Brewton (currently Trustmark) where she worked for 12 years as Cashier and Controller and Secretary to the Board of Directors. During this time, Dale also served as an adjunct instructor at Jeff Davis Community College teaching banking courses.
In February 1993, after she and her siblings, Cindy Colville and Hooper Matthews III, purchased a 50 percent interest in Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Atmore, Dale began a 60-mile round trip commute to work in the family business.
In September 1993, she became the first female elected to the Board of Directors of United Bank and was later elected to the holding company of the bank, United Bancorporation. Over the last 24 years, Dale has served in various capacities on the bank board as well as in various organizations throughout the state, city and county.
Dale was only the second female in the 99-year history of the Alabama Beverage Association to be elected its President. During her tenure, she led the Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Dr Pepper bottlers throughout the state in a grassroots effort in which the association successfully defeated a possible soft drink tax. As Vice President of Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Atmore, she, along with Hooper and Cindy, lead the company in its massive community relations program.
Extremely active in the community, Dale received the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce. She continues to serve as an active board member of the Escambia County Child Advocacy Board and Atmore’s National Day of Prayer Committee.
Last year, she was extremely instrumental in founding the Atmore Affiliate of the Community Foundation of South Alabama in order that money raised in Atmore could stay in Atmore. In less than a year, the Atmore Community Foundation has raised over $125,000.
Very comfortable behind the scenes, she has been an integral part of the YMCA improvements, Save the Strand, and Chamber of Commerce events. Passionate about education, she has spent many hours helping students with resumes, college applications, scholarships, and sorority recommendations. Like her parents and siblings, Dale shares their heart for those in need, especially the elderly.
More recently, Dale has played a role in the local grant writing scene. Just recently, she helped co-author a Delta Regional Authority grant. The award which was announced October 10, 2017, will provide funds to allow the Pride of Atmore and the city to develop and implement a master plan for the revitalization project for downtown.
In 1998, Dale, Cindy and Hooper purchased the remainder of Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company from their father. Since his death in 2006, Pepsi-Atmore has been named North Baldwin Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year (the first time a non-Bay Minette company was awarded), Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year, finalist for the Donald M. Kendall Pepsi-Cola Bottler of the Year, and 2016 Philanthropist of the Year for the Community Foundation of South Alabama.
Dale is married to her husband of 36 years, Alan, and they are active members of First Presbyterian Church in Atmore. They are the parents of two sons, Matt, an Auburn graduate and Doctor of Physical Therapy, and Alan, a Vanderbilt graduate and teacher and coach.