William B. Allen, 55-year construction materials business veteran, 1930–2012

Sources: Allen-Villere Partners, Mandeville, La.; National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Silver Spring, Md.; CP staff

One of the best-known management consultants and financial advisors to concrete, aggregate and cement producers, W.B. “Bill” Allen, died March 26 in Memphis after a prolonged illness. Around the midpoint of his nearly six decades in construction materials, he transitioned from independent business owner in a market destined for consolidation, to a valuation expert involved in transactions shaping current ready mixed, precast concrete and aggregate production leaders.

Allen began building a client base in the years following the federal government’s easing of merger restrictions that had limited vertical integration in cement, aggregates and concrete. Consulting and valuation services came naturally after he sold a Memphis-based ready mixed, block and sand & gravel producer, Allen Materials, in 1981. He had grown the family business, Allen Ready-Mix, as a second-generation operator since 1960, the year of an honorable discharge as a U.S. Marine Corps captain. A nine-year Marines commitment included a three-year Battalion Equipment Officer tour of duty with responsibilities to units building infrastructure and operating sand pits in North Carolina and Puerto Rico.

From 1981 forward, Allen logged valuations for more than 400 construction materials businesses. He capped his career as chairman of Allen-Villere Partners, an investment banking firm formed in 2001 with Pierre Villere, president and managing partner.

Concurrent with business pursuits, Allen was a fixture in National Ready Mixed Concrete Association and State Affiliate activities. After serving as 1981 NRMCA chairman, he would author the NRMCA Sales and Sales Management Certification Program’s Module III-General Business Skills and chair the Membership, Promotion, Long Range Planning and Joint Financial Management Committees. He played a pivotal role in the latter’s NRMCA/RMC Industry Data Survey Task Group. NRMCA presented him a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, renaming it the annual William B. Allen Award to recognize individuals who elevate the business acumen of the ready mixed concrete industry.

Allen is survived by his wife, Dorothy, and sons, William Jr., Richard, James and John, along with eight grandchildren. Noon visitation and a 1 p.m. service are scheduled March 29 at Memorial Park Funeral Home in Memphis.