Alfred C. Warrington IV«more alumni
Al Warrington, CPA, UF Alumnus 1958
- 1935: Born in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania
- 1958: Earns BSBA in Accounting, University of Florida
- 1958: Joins the accounting firm of Arthur Andersen & Co.
- 1963: Makes Manager at the firm of Arthur Andersen & Co.
- 1968: Admitted as Partner in and managing partner of the Atlanta Audit Practice in the firm of Arthur Andersen & Co.
- 1972: Named Managing Partner of Arthur Andersen's new Miami office
- 1979: Named UF Distinguished Alumnus
- 1985: Outstanding Alumnus - Fisher School of Accounting
- 1990: Retires from Arthur Andersen & Co. after 32 years
- 1990: Becomes co-founder and co-CEO of Sanifill Inc (which later became the new Waste Management)
- 1996: Establishes endowment at the College of Business
- 2001: Appointed to the University of Florida Board of Trustees
- 2003: Inducted into the UF Athletic Hall of Fame
“Because I love this school.”
Al Warrington is a dyed-in-the-wool Gator. In 1996, he established a twelve million dollar endowment at the College of Business Administration for faculty support and development. In grateful recognition of this gift, the university renamed the college the Warrington College of Business. Al has a reputation for getting straight to the heart of matters, whether business or personal. When asked why he established an endowment at UF, he replied simply, “Because I love this school.”
The Early Years...
Alfred C. Warrington, IV was born in Upper Darby (Suburban Philadelphia), Pennsylvania in 1935. He has three younger brothers. His father was an automobile dealer and his family moved often; sometimes Al attended two or three schools in a single year. When his family eventually moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for the third and final time, Al chose to remain in New Jersey until he finished high school and stayed with a friend's family while working weekends in Atlantic City to fund his stay. He also delivered The Philadelphia Bulletin, which he had been doing since he was eight years old and ultimately rose through the ranks to become the Newspaper's District Manager.
After completing high school Al set his sights on college. As he recalled in an interview: “My coming to the University of Florida was sort of interesting. Recognize, at this point I was on my own. I had gotten a small scholarship to go to Rutgers, which, of course, was New Jersey's state school, and intended to go there. My Dad, however, came to Ocean City that summer where I was working for the Philadelphia Bulletin and said, “Hey, I have registered you at the University of Florida (by paying the initial registration fee of $75 only - no lodging or operating money). Why not come home?” I responded negatively initially, but later decided to give the University a look. I visited the campus and found it absolutely magnificent, as it is today. Bottom line, and even though I was throwing away a scholarship, I decided to go to the University of Florida.”
Al was the first generation of his family to attend college. “My mother had never completed high school and my father had a high school degree, but thought college was only for training doctors and dentists,” Warrington recalled. “Dad felt if you weren't going to be one of those, you were wasting time and money.” So when Al decided to major in business his father refused to pay for school. Warrington said he was left in a financial “never never land,” since he was ineligible for traditional grants. Instead, to survive on his own, he relied on loans, both from the school and friends, and a series of odd jobs, the worst being cleaning fraternity bathrooms. His fraternity, Chi Phi, and Tigert Hall also tried to help when he was down to nothing, which was often, he said. He remembers once going for four days eating only a 10-cent apple butter sandwich, the cheapest thing on the cafeteria menu. “It was always a struggle,” he said. “But I figured I would eventually make it, it just might take me a bit longer.”
Al nonetheless found the time to be active on campus. He was Treasurer of his fraternity, Chi Phi and a member of Beta Alpha Psi, and Delta Sigma Pi. Al played in all the intramural sports, and during that period Chi Phi was very successful. Al recalls “We pretty much dominated the intramural Blue League when I was here. I guess my greatest claim to fame was making all-campus in football.” Al graduated in 1958 with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration with a major in accounting and managed to pay off all his student loans a few months later. Al's two sons and both daughter-in-laws are also alumni of the University of Florida. Both Warrington and his sons are members of the Chi Phi fraternity.
CPA, Businessman, Entrepreneur...
After graduation, Al joined the Marine Corps and successfully completed the 23rd OCC school. However, a football knee injury kept him from staying longer in the Corp; so he ended up serving six months in the Reserves. He quickly put his accounting degree to work at one of the biggest accounting firms in the nation. He was one of only two UF students offered jobs that year at Arthur Andersen & Co. in Atlanta at a top annual salary of $4,800. He made manager in 1963. In 1968, he was admitted as a Partner in the firm, and became the head of the audit division in Atlanta. In 1972, he was named Managing Partner of Arthur Andersen's new office in Miami. Under his direction, the Miami office became one of the firm's two fastest growing offices in the world. He later served the Houston office as Managing partner of its Practice Development and Special Services divisions. After a long and successful career lasting more than 30 years Warrington retired from Arthur Andersen & Co. in 1990 to join one of his clients where he became founding chairman and co-CEO of Sanifill Inc., a newly formed Houston-based environmental company. In a short period of time, the company had operations throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico and was listed on the NYSE. Sanifill later merged with USA Waste Inc. and the combined company merged into the old Waste Management Co. to become the new Waste Management Company. He is also a founder of the Atlanta-based House of Cheatham, Inc., manufacturers of health and beauty aids and with a friend and another former partner of Arthur Andersen & Co., acquired in 2003 Houston based Houston Plating and Coatings (an oilfield service company) and in 2008 Tyler, Texas based Gulf Coast Mechanical (a company which coats coils for air conditioners and generators). Most recently, Warrington has teamed up with some Houston businessmen and three of the University of Florida's College of Business brightest and best students to develop an automated tracking system which should have application in numerous industries.
Al Warrington has a long history of support for UF. In the 1970s, he was instrumental in creating UF's School of Accounting. He was the driving force behind the effort to turn the accounting department into a standalone school. “He never says no,” said John K. Simmons, an accounting professor and the accounting school's first director. Another former director, Doug Snowball, recalled “Over the last 20 years, I don't think he's missed more than one or two meetings for our advisory groups for the college, the Fisher School of Accounting or the university. Al comes from Houston or Atlanta and somehow he always gets here.” He noted Warrington takes time to talk with students, knows the accounting faculty personally and keeps in touch with those who move away. Al also helped enhance and expand programs at UF through devoted service as chair of the College of Business' “It's Performance That Counts” Capital Campaign Committee, which raised over $60 million for business and accounting program support.
Al's pretty enthusiastic about Gator athletics, too. As Clearwater philanthropist Fred Fisher, for whom the accounting school is named, stated “I think he bleeds orange out of his left leg and blue out of his right leg.” Al helped design the financing program that enabled the UF Athletic Association to fund new projects such as the additions of the north and south end zones and the skyboxes at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, and new tennis, track and baseball, and basketball practice facilities. He has served as president of both the UF National Alumni Association and Gator Boosters, the private support group for Gator athletics.
Warrington's allegiance extends to his home and office decorating preferences. His weekend home at the beach south of Galveston, Texas, is an A-frame trimmed in orange and blue. On one side, visible from the road, are the letters “UF,” a large Gator and the message “Go Gators.” He keeps a boat out back to indulge his second passion, saltwater fishing.
In 1979, he was named a UF Distinguished Alumnus and, in 1985, an Outstanding Alumnus by the Fisher School of Accounting. Mr. Warrington was appointed to the University of Florida's Board of Trustees in 2001. In gratitude for years of service and support of Gator Boosters Inc., he was inducted into the UF Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003.