DKE Relationships Pay Off 25 Years Later for Britt Sexton ’85
Britt Sexton ’85 graduated with a B.S. in finance. He is CEO of Sexton Inc., CEO of First Southern Financial/First United Companies, Inc., managing member of Sexton Investments, LLC, member of the University of Alabama Board of Trustees, and leads the Sexton Charitable Foundation. The company’s interests include financial services, private equity, software, and real estate. Memberships and activities include: executive committee, Morgan County Economic Development; Decatur General Hospital Foundation; The University of Alabama President’s Cabinet; the Crimson Tide Foundation; and the Decatur Rotary Club. Britt’s married to the former Susan Baker, a Kappa at Alabama. They live in Decatur and have two children, Gray (20) and Aly (14).
When and why did you decide to join DKE?
Senior year of high school. Jim Harmon ’82 was the real leader in Decatur for guys going DKE. He was a couple of years older than me.
Who influenced you during college?
One person and one group. Chris “Felix” Harmon ’85 was my roommate—smart, organized, knew the right priorities as a freshman, etc. He was a tremendous influence and role model to emulate. (25 years later, Felix is my corporate lawyer for all of our companies). The group answer was my pledge class. We had a very smart, driven class, and you could tell even back then who was going to be successful.
Did you meet your wife Susan at the university?
Yes, we met on a blind date that actually didn’t go very well. She told me I was her first date that had attended public school. We drove to Birmingham for a football game and had a Mt. Brook rush party after that. When she told me she was ready to go home, I said, “If you start walking now, I will pick you up around Bessemer.” Needless to say, we didn’t go out again that year. It turned out okay though, we have been married now for 25 years!
What was your favorite party in college?
Undertakers and Oakland Raiders. We had a brilliant guy named Black Chaffe ’83 who made up the Oakland Raider cheers.
What was your favorite food at the house?
Breakfast at night, because you knew something was up.
How often do you get by the DKE house?
I go by the house for all the football games. It’s great to see old friends and to catch up. Now it’s fun seeing everyone’s kids there.
What advice would you give to the actives?
Establish a diverse network. It’s amazing how often I reach out to someone I knew in college in everything I do now. Relationships matter, so build them.
What advice would you give to the Newboys?
Make sure no one is nicknamed “Jammin’ Dave” in an upper class. He still scares the hell out of me. Also, “It’s never over.”
Has being a DKE helped you in the business world?
Absolutely, as I’ve alluded to, our class was super successful. We have about seven lawyers, nine CEOs or running their own operation, three CFOs, and others very high in their organization. One has been successful in politics.
What are some of your hobbies?
Snow skiing, love going to concerts. Took my family to Red Rocks in Colorado and saw a great Avett Brothers concert. Recently I’ve seen Ryan Adams, Justin Townes Earl, JJ Grey, Wood Brothers, and Jason Isbell all in Birmingham.
Compare the University now to when you were in school?
The biggest thing is just the size. Dr. Witt implemented a plan seven or eight years ago, then went out and executed it. The campus is beautiful, and everyone understands the importance of student recruitment. It doesn’t just happen. That mindset must start from the top. We spend a lot of time in Aspen, and I’m proud to say that four kids from Aspen High School now attend UA (one is a DKE!).