The Alford American Family Association
Serving the Alford community over 25 Years
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|Last Updated: 1 SEP 2021 by #0197
Frederick Fergus Alford, business executive, was born in Wills Point, Texas, June 11, 1899, son of Albert N. and Thaddie (Cogswell) Alford. After he completed his preliminary education in the public schools in Wills Point, Fred F. Alford attended Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College for two years and the University of Texas for a year and a half. He began his career as an accountant with the auditing firm of Ernst & Ernst in Dallas.
In 1937, he acquired the facilities of the Merchants Cold Storage Co., Dallas, a firm which was heavily in debt, and founded his own business, the Fred F. Alford Refrigeration Co., of which he was president until the end of his life. Under his leadership, the plant became the largest mechanized refrigerated warehouse complex in the world, and the company was reincorparated as Alford Refrigerated Warehouses, Inc. The facilities in Dallas were expanded to include buildings containing 12 million cubic feet of refrigerated space and 10 million cubic feet of air-conditioned space, located on a thirty-eight acre tract of land. In 1959, an additional plant was built in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Alford made a number of innovations in the operation and management of a refrigerated warehousing business. The highly mechanized warehouses were built according to his own unorthodox ideas of refrigeration, insulation, and materials handling. Alford employed special dehumidifiers and other devices and was the first in his industry to use battery-operated fork lift trucks. Although his company was the largest of its kind, handling about a billion pounds of merchandise a year, the high degree of automation enabled it to operate with only 200 employees and an output per man-hour that was three times industry average.
Alford became known as a leader in liberal programs of employee benefits, including unlimited medical expense coverage for workers and their families, with all expenses paid directly from company funds. The Alford Credit Union, a company sponsored investment plan offering employees an opportunity to earn up to 22 percent on their savings, was chartered by the state of Texas in 1947 with a capital of $50; by 1964, share holdings had reached $300,000. College scholarships were also offered to deserving children of workers. Alford credited the employee benefit program for the low rates of employee turnover, absenteeism, accidents, and pilferage.
Alford's chief hobby was skeet shooting, which began only in the 1940's after many years of bird hunting. He won numerous trophies in skeet competitions; in 1953 he was named to the men's All-American Skeet Team and in 1954 placed fourth in the Pan-American Olympics. With his son, he won father-and-son world championships in 1951 and 1953. He and his wife set a world record in 1953 in husband-and-wife skeet shooting with 497 out of 500 targets and in the same year set a record of 299 out of 300 shots. At his death, they still held the record for the longest husband-wife run without a miss, 358 targets. As president of the Dallas Gun Club, Alford helped to reactivate and expand the annual Pan-American International Skeet Championships there.
He was married in Washington, DC, May 31, 1930, to Olita McCoy and had a son, Frederick Fergus Alford, Jr. Frederick F. Alford, Sr. died October 14, 1964.
Note from Karl Heink, AAFA #0458, great-grandnephew of Frederick: The Alford Refrigerated Warehouses still operate in Dallas and Frederick Alford, Jr. recently stepped down from President. Now his daughter, Bertha W. "B" Alford, II is the new President of the company. If any of our members in Texas have had contact with this family, AAFA would love to hear from you.