Melville Woods “Dr. Mel” Adams

Melville Woods “Dr. Mel” Adams

July 20, 1947 - February 05, 2024

Melville Woods “Dr. Mel” Adams

July 20, 1947 - February 05, 2024


Melville Woods Adams, “Dr. Mel”, was welcomed into the presence of the Lord on February 5, 2024. He was 76.

Born July 20, 1947, in Lawrence, Kansas, Mel was the eldest son of Dr. Roy M. Adams and Madelyn Woods Adams. In 1951, the family moved to a farm in Darlington, Pennsylvania where he and his brothers were raised. Mel attended Northwestern High School, played snare drum in the marching band, sang in regional chorus, and set the school half mile record. He graduated in 1965. Mel attended Geneva College for undergraduate studies obtaining a B.S. in Mathematics but “majoring in table tennis.” He sang baritone in the college acapella choir “The Genevans” and co-founded a double men’s quartet “The Eight Bells” which continues today. Shortly after graduation, he was drafted, serving his tour of duty as a military policeman in the Army at Fort Bragg, NC.

After his military service, he completed a Master’s in math education from Mankato State University (1972). Moving to Oak Ridge, TN, he joined Oak Ridge Associated Universities program on energy education – delivering live assembly presentations in over 500 schools. He also managed the design and exhibition for the U.S. Dept. of Energy Pavilion at the 1982 World’s Fair Expo. In 1984 he earned an MBA (management/finance) from the University of Tennessee, followed by his PhD (strategic management/marketing) in 1990. Following graduate school, Dr. Mel moved to Huntsville. Although a “Vol” for life, he has proudly considered Huntsville his home and community for over 30 years.

Within Huntsville’s academic and business sectors, Dr. Mel earned the reputation of applying Lean management, common-sense, and leadership to help leaders unite their team, improve customer value, and get lasting results. He successfully applied his expertise to a wide variety of government, commercial and community service organizations. His assistance contributed to Alabama Quality Award winners, DOD Nunn-Perry Award winners, Alabama Manufacturers of the Year, winners of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber “Small Business of Year”, and a Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce “Executive of the Year.” His impact on business and personal development resonates across the city, state and nation.

For 20 years he worked with the University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH), first in the business school as an associate professor, conducting team projects for North Alabama Small Business Development Center clients, and teaching graduate and undergraduate management, marketing, entrepreneurship and business development classes. He co-authored the book, Beyond TQM and numerous articles on entrepreneurship, small business, high-tech management, and process improvement. Later, he transitioned to senior business consultant and research scientist serving clients in high tech startups, family-owned firms, minority-owned small businesses, large manufacturers, Fortune 500 firms, aerospace and defense contractors and non-profits. He led long range planning efforts for boards of United Way Huntsville, Land Trust of North Alabama, and Habitat for Humanity. He was a graduate of Leadership Huntsville. As a charter member of the Alabama Technology Network he helped dozens of clients across the southeast. He supported Mercedes Benz, Teledyne Brown, and Northrup Grumman and initiated the Alabama Automotive Manufacturers Association to support Toyota, Honda and Hyundai suppliers in Alabama. For several years, his own firm provided market research and business development services to small federal contractors. He led Lean implementation in the largest U.S. Army acquisition and logistics organization, reducing lead times and cost, and coaching government and contractor personnel on Lean, value stream mapping and Kaizen. For two years, he coached helicopter maintenance teams to reduce overhaul times from 150 days to 50 days. He helped implement Lean in more than 20 states, Austria, Germany, and seven army maintenance sites.

In 2000, Dr. Mel was recognized as National Practitioner of the Year among 2000 field agents by the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

In 2008, Dr. Mel became a consultant to Booz Allen Hamilton. He drafted the Tennessee Valley Authority Enterprise Security Policy, Enterprise Security Strategic Plan, and initiated implementation. He has led or assisted proposals for avatar and game-based training systems for unmanned aircraft operators, Army Aviation and Missile Command Information Management & Technology Support, condition-based maintenance for army rotorcraft, and flight Hour Analysis for army aviation.

He has served on the board of directors for several high-tech startups, Huntsville’s homeless agency, First Stop, Inc. and the board of trustees for Geneva College. He retired from UAH in 2007 and from Booz Allen Hamilton in 2018. “Quickly bored and failing at retirement,” he returned to part time work as a team member of the UAH Apex Accelerator Alabama in 2023 where he was serving as a senior advisor until the time of his death.

Outside of his professional interests, Dr. Mel was a proud and loving father to Dr. Melody Adams Schwab, and in 2016 became even prouder “Bubba” to grandson, Jackson Wheeler Schwab. He was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. Roy M. Adams, Madelyn Irene Woods Adams and an infant son, Timothy Aaron Adams. In addition to his daughter, her husband (John Paul Schwab), and grandson, he is survived by brothers, Ren (Norma) Adams, Dr. Jonathan (Kathryn) Adams and Dr. Joel (Dr. Barbara) Adams; many nieces and nephews and their children – all of whom he loved.

He was an avid runner, competing in countless road races throughout his life and enjoyed running Monte Sano Mountain and the Cotton Row courses. His favorite past time was tracking down estate sale “treasures” and was always on the lookout for items on everyone’s “wish list.” He could often be found dropping off an item to a friend or neighbor because he knew it was something “they couldn’t live without” or better yet it might elicit a laugh! He biked or ran in the neighborhood daily, stopping to chat, joke, or lend a helping hand when needed.

He was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church and a beloved teacher of the “Curious Christians” Sunday school class. He was also a devoted member of the First Baptist Church Living Christmas Tree. Dr. Mel loved studying the Bible and strived to be an outward example of the fruits of the spirit. In all his endeavors, both professional and personal, he strived to serve humbly, help his fellow man, advocate, lead by example, and make a difference in his country, his community, and in the lives of those he held dear. Although he was still making plans for the future, he has earned his rest.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day.” – 2 Timothy 4 6-8

Visitation will be Friday February 16th from 6 to 8 p.m. at Laughlin Service Funeral Home, 2320 Bob Wallace Ave, Huntsville. A celebration of life memorial service will be held Saturday, February 17th, 10:30 a.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church, 607 Airport Rd. SW, Huntsville. Interment with military honors will be held Saturday, February 24th at 11:30AM at Reformed Presbyterian Church Cemetery, 349 Sylvania Rd. New Galilee, Pennsylvania.  Pastor Tim Casey will officiate.

Memorial contributions may be directed to First Stop, Inc. of Huntsville.

Graveside Service

  • Date & Time: No Date & Time
  • Venue: Reformed Presbyterian Cemetery

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1 responses to Melville Woods “Dr. Mel” Adams

  1. So sad! We were good friends ! I found out at cotton row run start , from doc Everette ! He said he was with Mel when ! I had sent him two pasta invites and surprised at no response ! Will miss him forever! Jim

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