Lonnie S. McMillian Jr.

Co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology

Lonnie McMillian

Lonnie S. McMillian Jr. was co-founder and chairman emeritus of the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. Lonnie was a visionary innovator and serial entrepreneur who led multiple telecommunications and biotechnology organizations to global success.

Lonnie was a founder and leader of ADTRAN, a publicly traded telecommunications company based in Huntsville. Lonnie was the inventor of numerous patented technologies used by ADTRAN for over three decades. Upon his retirement from ADTRAN, the company had become a global leader in networking and communications equipment.

After his retirement from ADTRAN, Lonnie and HudsonAlpha co-founder Jim Hudson created the only nonprofit institute that combines the power of academic research with the resources of the commercial sector to bring discoveries to market quicker. Their goal was to deliver better medical care to people everywhere. Since opening in 2008, the Institute has positively impacted tens of thousands of lives across the globe through advancements in diagnosis, treatment and our fundamental understanding of the genome.

For his innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership, Lonnie was inducted into the Alabama Business Hall of Fame and recognized by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama for his lifetime of achievement.

Beyond the business success, Lonnie was a philanthropist and his generosity impacted countless people. Due to Lonnie’s desire for anonymity, many individuals and groups never realized that he provided a key charitable gift. 

Lonnie was a mentor for many entrepreneurs and offered advice, guidance, and friendship on many aspects of business but focused much of his time on the people that were so critical in business success. He emphasized the importance of helping each other and celebrating others success, maintaining a positive attitude, enjoying your work and always treating everyone with kindness and respect.

For those fortunate to know him, Lonnie demonstrated qualities that lead to business success. Further, these “Team Commandments” are among the traits essential to genuine relationships and success in life. 

Lonnie McMillian passed away in 2018.