Two of the state’s most influential corporate and community leaders were recognized by The University of Alabama Board of Trustees with its naming of the Industrial Distribution program in the UAB School of Business as the Charles and Patsy Collat Industrial Distribution Program. The board passed a resolution renaming the program and accepting the couples’ latest gift to UAB, $1 million to the ID program, at its meeting Thursday, Sept. 13.

Charles and Patsy Collat, pictured here with a portrait of her father, Ben S. Weil, recently made a $1 million gift to the UAB Industrial Distribution Program, which has been named in their honor.

“A more fitting name could not be possible,” said Robert Holmes, Ph.D., dean of Business. “This honors not only their most recent gift of $1 million but also their leadership and vision that created the program.”

Charles Collat is chairman of Mayer Electric Supply Co. Inc., one of Birmingham’s largest privately held corporations and one of the Top 15 electrical distributors in the county with 59 locations nationwide. The Collat family and other individuals and firms provided funding to establish the Ben S. Weil Endowed Chair of Industrial Distribution in 1990 in honor of Patsy Collat’s father, Ben S. Weil, founder of Mayer Electric, Holmes said. Funds also were provided for a program-enrichment fund to support student travel and other experiential activities.

The Weil chair was the first non-medical endowed chair at UAB. It helped attract talented leadership to the School of Business, which offers the degree-granting Industrial Distribution program – the only one of its kind in the Southeast and one of only 17 in the country. The bachelor’s degree in industrial distribution is a highly specialized program jointly supported by the schools of Business and Engineering. Weil chairholder Thomas E. DeCarlo, Ph.D., recently expanded the program to include a medical supplies and equipment track to complement the traditional industrial program.

“We are very proud of this program and the support we have received from UAB,” Collat said. “It is an important program with a 100 percent placement rate for graduates, and there have been more jobs available than students to fill the need.”

The Collats also will spearhead a campaign to raise an additional $1 million from suppliers and other key contacts within the ID industry to support the program’s growth.

Patsy Collat said she is pleased that her father’s company and UAB have grown to be such an important part of the life of the community. “We have grown up with Birmingham, just like UAB,” she said. “My father would be so happy to know the company has grown with the city and through our children will continue to grow and contribute.”