Link Loegler (’96) is helping the Poarch Band of Creek Indians diversify its investment portfolio and launch OWA, a new entertainment and amusement park in Foley, Alabama.
The first phase of the project is scheduled to open in May, and the tribe, which has more than 3,000 members, expects it to attract families in Alabama and throughout the Southeast to the South Alabama amusement park.
OWA, pronounced oh-wah, means “big water” in the Muskogee Creek language. Loegler said the project presents an opportunity to partner with the City of Foley, and to provide family-oriented entertainment services to an underserved market. While the decision is business-driven, it does help the community by creating jobs, providing another attraction for those who travel to the beaches in the area, and generating tax revenue for Foley.
If OWA works as planned, there will be more tax revenue, which will help build better schools and increase home values, Loegler said.
The tribe “saw an opportunity to do something unique, and that would really benefit the Gulf Coast: Orange Beach, Gulf Shores and Foley,” Loegler said. “There’s nothing like that there.”
Loegler has been an invaluable asset for the tribe, said Chad Klinck, Chief Financial Officer of the Creek Indian Enterprises Development Authority.
“We’re lucky to have someone with Link’s depth and breadth of knowledge,” Klinck said. “He’s worth his weight in gold.”
Loegler has been a business attorney for more than 20 years. Before joining the Poarch Band of Creek Indians as an Assistant Attorney General in 2014, he practiced in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, real estate and tax law for Leitman, Siegal & Payne, P.C. in Birmingham. While there, he closed several billions of dollars in deals for Colonial Properties Trust, a publicly traded real estate investment trust.
“I learned so much because I was always dealing with large multi-national law firms on the other side,” he said. “Sometimes you’re learning what to do, and sometimes you’re learning what not to do.”
Loegler, like many lawyers, is often questioning whether he has gotten the result he should have or wondering if he could have done a better job for his client. Loegler said he knows he has done well when, at the end of a transaction, his client voices appreciation.
“As corny and as cliché as it sounds, that’s the best part of practicing law,’’ he said.
Loegler always dreamed of being a lawyer. He was first introduced to the profession as a Cub Scout. He and the other members of Troop 321 visited a courtroom and observed a moot court case about a broken window. Later, while attending Spring Hill College in Mobile, and pursuing a bachelor’s degree in accounting, Loegler took a few tax classes as well as a business law course. With both an interest in business and in law, he thought he could marry the two and become a business lawyer.
Loegler acknowledges that the University of Alabama School of Law has had a profound effect on his career path. He arrived at the same time as Professor William Brewbaker, and Loegler was put at ease when Professor Brewbaker announced it was also his very first year at the Law School. Meanwhile, Loegler found Professor Timothy Hoff’s Civil Procedure classes both informative and entertaining. Professor Hoff was the type of professor who asked a student wearing boots to stand on a desk, and then tug at his own bootstraps. It was an example, Loegler said, of just how hard it is to pull up oneself by using bootstraps.
“Pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps many times works as well in real life as if you literally try to do it,” Loegler said. “It’s sometimes an impossible task.”
It’s also impossible to complete law school without the help of classmates, professors, family and friends. Loegler said law school pushed him to become the lawyer he is today. He was placed in an environment with an incredibly smart, talented and diverse student body that challenged him every step of the way. In the classroom, he and his classmates would critique lawyers and decide whether they had served their clients.
“I still look at what other lawyers do,” he said, “but I am really critiquing myself. That was instilled in law school.”