By Matt Bryant 

Mr. James E. Mulkin will be retiring from the Bessemer Industrial Development Board on January 31, 2024.  Mr. Mulkin has served on the IDB since its inception in February 1966. He has served as Chairman from 2007 until November 2023.  The Downtown Entrepreneurial Center, located at 401 19th Street in Bessemer, will be renamed The James E. Mulkin Downtown Business Center.  The formal renaming took place on Wednesday, December 20, 2023.  

James E. Mulkin was one of the original members of the Bessemer Industrial Development. His service started at the inception of the organization in February 1966.  During the fifty-seven years of his service, the organization developed multiple industrial parks and hundreds of businesses.  Those businesses led to the employment of thousands of people and millions of tax dollars generated for the City of Bessemer.   

Mr. Mulkin was also instrumental in steering the Bessemer Industrial Development Board through a major national economic downturn.  His leadership helped the organization maintain its mission to diversify the city’s economy through the development of light manufacturing, wholesale distribution and transportation businesses. 

For those who do not know Mr. Mulkin, he is a lifelong resident of Bessemer, Alabama.  He graduated from Bessemer High School and attended Sewanee (now called Sewanee – The University of the South). He played running back for the university football team.  

Mr. Mulkin received a Fulbright Scholarship to the London School of Economics. However, he chose to serve his country in the United States Air Force (Korea) instead.  After his service to our country, he returned to Bessemer to open and maintain several successful business ventures.  Mulkin has played a pivotal role and guided through his leadership several other Bessemer organizations including First Financial Bank, The Legacy YMCA and Pleasant Hill Methodist Church.  

We would like to thank you for your service to our community. Without your sacrifices and expertise, we would have never been the community we are today. With Amazon and many other large businesses calling Bessemer home.