James Dow Brown was born in Marion County, Alabama, on November 6, 1943, to Carley A. and Virginia Davis Brown. He graduated from the University of Alabama, Class of 1969, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering. While attending the University, he was a member of Theta Tau Engineering Fraternity.
Following graduation, Brown worked for the Tennessee Department of Highways. In March of 1970, he returned to Alabama to begin work with the Alabama Highway Department. He began his career with Alabama in the Department’s Fifth Division as a Graduate Civil Engineer. In this capacity, he served as Assistant Project Engineer, Project Engineer, and District Engineer for Pickens and Green Counties. He left the Fifth Division in 1979 to become Division Maintenance Engineer in the Third Division and later transferred to the Second Division to be Maintenance Engineer and then Construction and Materials Engineer. In 1983 he went back to the Fifth Division as Division Engineer where he served until being appointed Chief Engineer in 1994.
His next assignment was as an Assistant Chief Engineer and it was during this assignment that he temporarily served as Division Engineer for the Fourth Division. Subsequently, he went back to the Second Division in 1996 as Division Engineer where he continues to serve today.
He has been honored by the University of Alabama College of Civil and Environmental Engineering with its Outstanding Fellow Award and by being named as Chair of its Advisory Board and serving on its Leadership Board.
Brown married Cynthia Loudermilk in September, 1970. Their only son, Dr. Nathan R. Brown, is married to Dr. Alexandra Leigh and they are the parents of three daughters, ages four, two and brand new. James and Cynthia have two daughters. Susannah Brown is completing work on her PhD at Mississippi State University. Meredith Brown Mays is a school teacher and is married to Kenneth Mays and they have two sons, ages eight and six. Both boys are State Champion Wrestlers. James and Cynthia live near Hamilton in Marion County not far from where he was born.