They made contributions in the fields of health, real estate and security — and all will be honored with induction into the Dothan Business Hall of Fame Thursday.
Dr. Marnix Heersink, Tom West, and the late A.B. Clark form the ninth class of inductees into the local hall of fame, which is displayed inside the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce. Their induction will be at Calvary Baptist Church and begins at 6 p.m.
The Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce along with the Dothan Area Young Professionals launched the hall of fame in 2011 to honor business leaders who “made a significant impact” in the development of the Dothan area through the promotion of “the free enterprise of entrepreneurship,” according to a chamber document. Community contributions in other realms are also considered when selecting a new class.
In May and June of each year, the hall’s board of advisers solicits nominations then deliberates them before naming a new class.
Below is information on the new inductees as provided by the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce:
» A.B. Clark served as Houston County sheriff, a job that led him to a new business venture that resulted in his induction. In his third year as sheriff, construction crews at the Joseph M. Farley Nuclear Plant requested deputies for a security detail. Clark realized the Wiregrass needed a company to provide these services, which led to the founding of DSI Security Services. Clark grew the company until his death in 1988, but the company remains in the family as his son Alan, Alan’s wife Marty, and Alan’s sons Boyd and Deavours all lead the firm from DSI’s Dothan headquarters. DSI is the 14th-largest security firm in the United States and employs more than 4,000 in 24 states.
» Dr. Marnix Heersink, a native of the Netherlands, is an ophthalmologist who helped found Eye Center South after moving to the Dothan area in 1978. Heersink specializes in diagnosing and treatment of cataracts and in performing laser-vision correction. Recently Eye Center South opened a 200,000-square-foot addition called Health Center South. All six of Heersink’s children have pursued careers in the medical field, and two are practicing ophthalmologists themselves. The Heersink Family Charitable Foundation has endowed scholarships at Wallace Community College, UAB’s schools of medicine and optometry and in other places. Wallace recently named its new Health Sciences Building after the Heersink family. Eye Center South has also been honored for championing workforce development projects in the area.
» Tom West, a 1957 Dothan High school graduate, obtained a degree in finance from the University of Alabama. After a stint in the U.S. Army, West became a real estate broker in 1966 and formed the Pierce-West Realty Group — now known as the Tom West Company. West has served as a leader in several professional organizations like the Homebuilders Association of Dothan and Dothan Board of Realtors. Outside of the real estate realm, West has been a longtime Rotarian, served on the Wiregrass Rehabilitation Center’s board and possessed a membership on the Troy University Business Advisory Council. He also has served as a deacon, elder, and trustee at First Presbyterian Church of Dothan.