Movers & Shapers, January 2019

Spotlight on Montgomery County

Elton N. Dean Sr.
Dean, chairman of the Montgomery County Commission, was first elected to the commission in November 2000. He is a graduate of Selma University and Alabama State University. He is owner of Dean Realty and 21st Century Hair Studio and is a retired manager of Western Electric/AT&T/Lucent Technologies and Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. He is executive board member of the South Central Alabama Boys and Girls Club and a board member of the Montgomery Improvement Association, MIA Foundation board, NAACP and Central Alabama Community Foundation. He also served as a commissioner of the Central Alabama Amateur Baseball League and Southern League Dixie Youth Baseball. He was presented Alabama State University’s College of Business Administration Distinguished Alumni Award in 2014.

Al Dees

Al Dees
Dees is executive vice president of marketing for Alfa Insurance Companies. A native of Evergreen, he is a Troy University graduate. Dees served on the Troy University Board of Trustees, including serving as president of the Alumni Board. In addition, he was honored as Troy Alumnus of the Year and is a member of the Troy School of Business Hall of Fame. Dees serves on the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors. 

Rick Dildine
Dildine is the fourth artistic director of Alabama Shakespeare Festival, coming from a similar role at Shakespeare Festival St. Louis. Dildine has held leadership positions at Shakespeare & Co., About Face Theatre, Stephen Foster Theatre and Brown University/Trinity Rep New Plays Festival under the direction of Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel. Dildine has served on numerous grant panels including the National Endowment for the Arts. He is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University and Brown University/Trinity Rep. He is a member of Actors’ Equity Association and the Society of Directors and Choreographers. He grew up in Wynne, Arkansas.

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Horace Horn
Horn is vice president of external affairs for PowerSouth Energy,  after retiring as state director of USDA Rural Development. He is a graduate of Troy University. Horn serves on the boards of the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway Development Authority, Committee of 100 Board of Control, Alabama World Trade Association, Coosa Alabama River Improvement Association, Warrior Tombigbee Waterway Association, Alabama Rural Rehabilitation Corp., the Southeastern Federal Power Customers, Alabama World Affairs Council and Alabama Department of Archives and History. He is chairman of the Alabama State Port Authority, past president of Alabama Wildlife Federation and past chairman of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce.

Chuck Ledbetter

Chuck Ledbetter
Ledbetter is superintendent of Pike Road City Schools. A graduate of Auburn High School, he attended Furman University and then graduated from Auburn University. He has a master’s from Auburn University Montgomery and a doctor of education from Auburn University. He also completed the University of Alabama Superintendent Academy. In his 28 years in education, he has served as a teacher, coach, principal and assistant superintendent before becoming a superintendent. He served on the boards of the Council for Leaders of Alabama Schools, Georgia School Superintendents Association and the Georgia Charter Advisory Committee. Ledbetter serves as the second vice president for the Century Club 100, a group consisting of two superintendents from each state.

Samuel Munnerlyn
Munnerlyn is president of Trenholm State Community College. He became the first person in his family to attend college, earning a bachelor’s degree from Stillman College and a master’s from Alabama State University. In 1980, Munnerlyn earned his vocational educational certificate from Alabama A&M University in Huntsville. He also is a graduate of the Alabama Community College System Leadership Academy and the Lakin Institute. He serves on the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100, the the boards of the Region Five Workforce Development Council, the Montgomery County Department of Human Resources, the Montgomery Area Business Committee for the Arts and the Metro YMCA, and is the immediate past president of the Alabama Community College System Presidents Association. 

David Reed

David Reed
Reed is executive vice president and chairman of the board of directors for architecture and engineering firm Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood Inc. Reed is past chairman of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, a graduate of Leadership Alabama and on the board for the Salvation Army. He is a member of the Association of Conservation Engineers, American Society of Civil Engineers, Society of American Military Engineers, National Society of Professional Engineers and Alabama Consulting Engineers Council Board of Directors. A graduate of Auburn University, he is a licensed professional engineer and land surveyor in Alabama and a licensed PE in Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee.

Quinton T. Ross Jr.
Ross is the 15th president of Alabama State University. Prior to becoming president of his alma mater, he had begun his fourth term in the Alabama State Senate. First elected in 2002, he was elected as the first African-American male Senate Minority Leader in 2015 and the first Minority Leader elected to a four-year term. He is a graduate of Alabama State University, where he earned a bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Ross has more than 22 years of experience in K-12 public education and higher education. Ross was selected by the Business Council of Alabama as a 2017 Business Champion. He holds professional memberships in several organizations and sings in the male chorus at Hutchinson Missionary Baptist Church.

Col. William Sparrow

Col. William Sparrow
Sparrow is the Commander, 187th Fighter Wing, Dannelly Field. As commander, he oversees the operations of over 1,000 personnel and 22 permanently assigned F16C+ Fighting Falcons. Sparrow is a Princeton, New Jersey, native and a graduate of the College of New Jersey with a master’s from Mississippi State University. He attended undergraduate pilot training at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, and went on to fly the F16 at Luke AFB, Arizona. Since joining the Alabama Air National Guard’s 187th FW in 2001, Sparrow has supported more than 100 combat missions and flown more than 450 combat hours in support of Operations Noble Eagle and Iraqi Freedom. He has also deployed in support of Operations Provide Comfort and Northern Watch and flown in operations over Bosnia. Sparrow has over 4,500 hours in the F16 Fighting Falcon. Sparrow is cofounder with Major Rich Peace of the 187th of the Red Tail Scholarship Foundation.

Leslie Sanders
Sanders is vice president of the Southern Division of Alabama Power. She is a graduate of the University of Alabama. Former chairman of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, she is now chair of the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts and the Montgomery Riverfront Development Foundation. She was recently appointed to the board of the Alabama Department of Mental Health. She also continues to serve on the boards for Montgomery Junior League, MGM Smart City/Smart Base Strategy, Family Sunshine Center – 100 Women Strong and the UAB Montgomery Regional Medical Campus. She completed the International Women’s Foundation Fellowship and served as coordinator of the 45th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott with the City of Montgomery and the Montgomery Improvement Association. She is the 2017 Montgomery Sunrise Rotary Club Commitment to Service Award recipient. She received recognition in 2015 as one of the 34 Women Who Shape the State and was named River Region Living’s Citizen of the Year for 2014. Sanders is a member of the Society of International Business Fellows.

Todd Schmidt

Todd Schmidt
Schmidt recently returned to his home state of Alabama to serve as the executive director of Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Previously he served as the managing director of Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey, where he helped produce 40 shows including four world premieres that moved to Broadway (Newsies, Honeymoon in Vegas, Bandstand and A Bronx Tale) and several national tours (25th anniversary production Les Misérables, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Bodyguard). Under his leadership, Paper Mill received a Tony Award in 2016. Earlier, he was managing director for George Street Playhouse in New Jersey, and executive producer of Peninsula Players Theatre in Wisconsin. In Chicago, he worked with Chicago Shakespeare, Goodman and Apple Tree Theatre and directed and produced St. Nicholas and The Woman in Black (Jefferson Award nomination for best production). Schmidt was named one of the 101 Most Influential People in New Jersey by New Jersey Monthly magazine. Schmidt holds an MFA degree from DePaul University, a BA from Auburn University and graduated from Vestavia Hills High School.

Carl Stockton
Stockton is chancellor of Auburn University at Montgomery, which has hit record enrollment and earned numerous recognitions during his tenure. In his 33 years in higher education, Stockton has raised more than $100 million in grants and capital support for the universities and programs he has served. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Florida and earned his doctorate at the University of Tennessee. He has served as a board member for a variety of River Region and state non-profits, including Child Protect Children’s Advocacy Center, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, YMCA Metro and Birmingham’s Youth Leadership Development Program. He also serves as a member of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100 and as a member of the Envision 2040 strategic planning committee for the City of Montgomery.

Charisse Stokes

Charisse Stokes
Stokes is president of Tidal IT Solutions, a Montgomery-based information technology solutions company. A graduate of Clemson University, she has a master’s from Auburn University Montgomery. A U.S. Air Force veteran, she is executive director for TechMGM, a Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce initiative. She is director of the education foundation for the Montgomery Armed Forces Communication and Electronics Association (AFCEA) chapter and director of EduWerx, a nonprofit organization introducing minorities and women to science and technology opportunities in the River Region. She is the Midsouth regional vice president and is on the AFCEA International Board of Directors, the Trenholm State Community College Computer Science Advisory Board and the Lee High School IT Career Academy Advisory Council. She was awarded the AFCEA International Distinguished Service to Education Award, the Women in AFCEA Appreciation Award and cited by the Girl Scouts as a Leading Lady. Most recently she was recognized by Alabama Power Co. as a Power Leader in the State of Alabama for her efforts in education, technology and innovation in the community.

Gordon Stone
Stone is mayor of Pike Road. He grew up in Pine Apple as the son of a cattle farmer. He also is executive director of Higher Education Partnership, an advocacy organization for Alabama’s 14 public universities representing the more than 150,000 voters on the university campuses. Stone and his family moved to Pike Road in 1997, just before the town was incorporated. He joined the Town Council in 2000 and became mayor in 2004. He helped guide the startup and growth of the town and led the initiative to build a municipal school system in the town. An Auburn University graduate, he has an MBA from Auburn University Montgomery. For the past 25 years, Stone has served as a board member and leader with the National Young Farmer Educational Association. He is a graduate of Leadership Alabama and Alabama Ag and Forestry Leaders.

Todd Strange

Todd Strange
Todd Strange is mayor of Montgomery. He is a graduate of Murphy High School in Mobile and the University of Montevallo. Prior to becoming mayor, Strange was chairman of the Montgomery County Commission for nearly five years. He also served as president, CEO and co-owner of Blount Strange Automotive Group. As director of the Alabama Development Office, Strange helped bring major industries to the state, including Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama. Earlier he served key roles with Blount International Ltd., Blount Development Corp. and South Central Bell. He is a former chairman of the Capital City Club, former chair and now board member of Leadership Alabama and chairman of the board of trustees at University of Montevallo. He also serves on the executive committee for the Alabama League of Municipalities. His awards include Business and Professional Women Boss of the Year, March of Dimes’ River Region Citizen of the Year, AUM Outstanding Community Leader Award and Time Magazine’s Quality Dealer Award for Alabama, as well as Alabama Director of the National Automobile Dealers’ Association, Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services 2016 Public Service Award, Martin Luther King Jr. Beloved Community Award and Alabama State Council on the Arts’ Legacy Award.

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