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Forbes Crowns New Richest Alabamian

Jimmy Rane, founder and CEO of Great Southern Wood Preserving Inc.

Jimmy Rane, founder and CEO of Great Southern Wood Preserving Inc.

Photo by Nick Stakelum

In late May, Forbes magazine announced that everybody’s favorite “Yella Fella” is now Alabama’s wealthiest person. Jimmy Rane, founder of Great Southern Wood and perhaps best known for his memorable Western-themed ads, took the top spot from Garry Drummond, heir to the Drummond Co. fortune. 

According to Forbes, Rane’s fortune stands at $610 million. By comparison, the richest Alabamian before Drummond was billionaire Marguerite Harbert. While Alabama currently has no billionaires, Rane is doing all right with company revenue estimated at $700 million a year, according Forbes.

A profile of Rane in Business Alabama’s March 2012 edition found him giving credit for his success to his father, Tony Rane, who helped back the fledgling lumber business even though he wasn’t convinced it was a good fit for his son. The elder Rane co-signed a $76,000 loan to make the son’s first lumber treatment plant, inherited from his wife’s family, operational. 

“This act was a real tribute to my father,” Rane said at the time. “He believed in me enough to co-sign, even though he was opposed.”

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