Jimmy Rane


Jimmy Rane is the dynamic President and CEO of Great Southern Wood Preserving, widely recognized as the “Yella Fella” from his company’s advertisements. He has become an icon in the lumber industry and a prominent figure in the American Southeast.

Early life

Jimmy was born to Anthony ‘Tony’ J. Rane and Libba Mills Rane on 15 September 1946 in Abbeville, Louisiana. His father, Tony, a respected World War II veteran, was a multifaceted entrepreneur known for his ventures in the restaurant, retail, and hotel franchise industries. On the other hand, Libba, while being a supportive partner in Tony’s endeavors, primarily dedicated her time to homemaking.

Rane grew up in a close-knit family environment, which instilled in him the values of hard work, integrity, and dedication from a young age. The southern charm of Abbeville provided the backdrop for a young Jimmy to learn the importance of community, a trait he would carry into his business ventures. His early experiences in the town’s communal life would significantly influence his future approach to business and philanthropy.

Jimmy was nurtured in a caring environment, surrounded by the love and support of his parents and his brother, Gerg. In recognition of their notable contributions, Auburn University’s Board of Trustees named the Tony and Libba Rane Culinary Science Center after them in April 2017. Tragically, Jimmy lost his father, Tony, who passed away at home on 12 July 2011.

He has a Bachelor of Business Administration in major Economics & History and Doctor of Law, and he went to college at Auburn University and the Cumberland School of Law. He has been married to his wife, Angela Rane, for over four decades and they have five children together.


Rane’s career began as a humble endeavor. Initially, Jimmy Rane pursued a legal education. However, he inadvertently entered the lumber industry while intervening in a family disagreement, which led him to oversee a modest fence-post production company.

After studying law and embarking on a brief legal career, he identified a need in the market for pressure-treated lumber and recognized its potential. This insight led to the foundation of Great Southern Wood Preserving in 1970. Under his leadership, the company transformed from a local supplier to one of the leading producers of pressure-treated lumber in the United States.

The business quickly grew to over 14 facilities in states such as Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Texas. As of 2017, the business’s yearly revenue was $1 billion USD.

The company’s flagship product, YellaWood® brand products, quickly became a household name in the Southeast, largely due to the innovative marketing campaigns featuring Rane himself as the “Yella Fella.”

Throughout his career, Rane’s focus has always been on delivering quality products and fostering a strong company culture. He believes in hands-on leadership and is known to frequently visit the company’s various plants, ensuring that operations run smoothly and addressing concerns personally. This dedication to his company and its employees has ensured consistent growth and expansion throughout the decades.

He’s often seen participating actively in local events in Abbeville and engaging with the community members. His approachability and genuine concern for the well-being of those around him make him a beloved figure in his hometown and beyond.

On social media, while he is not extremely active, Rane’s presence reflects his business and philanthropic efforts. The Yella Fella campaigns, in particular, showcase his sense of humor and ability to connect with a wider audience. Through these platforms, he shares updates about his company, the foundation, and occasionally provides glimpses into his personal life, reinforcing his image as a leader who is deeply connected with his roots.

Rane’s journey from a small-town boy to the CEO of a lumber empire is an inspiration. His dedication to business excellence, combined with his commitment to community and education, makes him a multifaceted leader. His legacy, built over decades, stands as a testament to the power of vision, perseverance, and genuine care for others.

Using the profits from his venture, Rane is now working to rejuvenate his native Abbeville, Alabama.

Net Worth

According to Forbes, Jimmy Rane’s net worth is currently $1.2 billion. He is the wealthiest person in Alabama.


While Rane’s professional achievements in the lumber industry are numerous, his contributions extend beyond business. He has been a pillar of support for his community, state, and region.

Philanthropy: Through the Jimmy Rane Foundation, he has provided scholarships to hundreds of students, ensuring they get access to quality education and the opportunity to pursue their dreams. This foundation is one of the many testaments to his commitment to giving back.
Awards: Rane has been the recipient of various awards throughout his career. Notably, he was honored with the Alabama Business Hall of Fame in recognition of his business acumen and contributions to the state's economy.
Community Development: Beyond scholarships, Rane's dedication to community development is evident in his investment in infrastructure and local business ventures in Abbeville, ensuring that the town thrives and prospers.
Education: Jimmy Rane's commitment to education isn't limited to scholarships. He has been instrumental in promoting educational initiatives in his state, providing not just funds but also guidance and vision.