AlumnUS of the Year - ANDY NEWTON '90


Andy Newtom was honored as our 2017 Alumnus of the Year on Friday, October 20th at 11:00 am in the Moorer Reception Gallery. 

Andrew Madison Newton graduated from UMS-Wright in 1990 where he was a member of the National Honor Society and the Varsity Soccer Team and was president of the Key Club.  He continued his education at Birmingham-Southern College receiving a degree in Economics in 1994.  While there, he was a member of Student Judiciary and the Rugby Team. He also served as President of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Development Officer for mission trip to Zimbabwe, Africa.

Newton’s entrepreneurship began at 16 when he started his first company, Madison Organization, Inc., which handled typeset for local printing companies.  After college, he built houses for Joe Vinson Builders, and then started his own home building company, Newton Construction.  In 1998, he co-founded Southern Light with Lee Wallace ‘90.  He has served as President and Chief Executive Officer since its inception in 1998.  In that capacity, he stewards the overall operations, strategic guidance, and culture of the company.  Southern Light is currently the leading provider of fiber optic networks and high-capacity transport solutions along the Gulf Coast with over 6,000 miles of fiber networks.  The company has been listed in "America's Fastest Growing Private Companies" by Inc. Magazine for nine consecutive years.  Such growth has lead to an acquisition deal by Uniti Group.  In 2010, Southern Light was named the “Innovator of the Year” by the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce.  In 2015, Fortune Magazine ranked Southern Light the “51st Best Place to Work for Women” and “52nd Best Medium-sized Workplace” in the U.S. in 2016 based on its Great Places to Work survey.  On April 10, Uniti Group announced that it had "entered into a definitive agreement" to buy privately-held Southern Light for approximately $700 million in cash and equity. Newton was recently named the “2017 Outstanding Entrepreneur” by the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce. 

Newton is active in the Gulf Coast community serving on such boards as the Alabama School of Math and Science Foundation Board, Downtown Mobile Alliance, and University of South Alabama Mitchell College of Business. He has served on the board of UMS-Wright Preparatory School since 2014 sitting on the finance and technology committees.  He is a big brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters and volunteers for Habitat for Humanity. 

To read the 2017 Alumnus of the Year program, and also a list of past Alumni of the Year recipients, click here



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