Spotlight on Autauga & Elmore: Movers & Shapers

The individuals who help shape the communities of Autauga and Elmore counties.

Connie Bainbridge

Bainbridge is manager of community and economic development for Central Alabama Electric Cooperative. In her 30 years of economic development work, she has worked to build consensus among business leaders and government officials for a variety of collaborative projects in the industrial, commercial and retail arena. She has a master’s degree from Faulkner University and is a graduate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute and the Economic Development Institute. She is a Rotarian and serves on several local, state and national boards. Bainbridge is a graduate of Leadership Alabama.

Brenda Robertson Dennis

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Dennis is executive director of the Millbrook Chamber of Commerce. A graduate of Huntingdon College, she has worked in public relations and fundraising for nearly 20 years and has been a freelance writer for magazines throughout Alabama and Florida. She is active with the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, the Arts Council of Montgomery, Envision 2020 and the Association of Fundraising Professionals, on the board of Mary Ellen’s Hearth and a member of Junior League of Montgomery. She is a graduate of Leadership Montgomery and a Paul Harris Fellow with the Prattville-Millbrook Sunrise Rotary Club.

William Gillespie Jr.

Gillespie has been mayor of Prattville since 2011. Earlier he represented District 1 on the city council and served as council president. He is the second generation to serve in government. His father, “Billy” Gillespie, served on the city council from 1984 to 1992. Gillespie also serves on the city of Prattville Planning Commission. Gillespie has earned both the Certified Municipal Official and the Advanced Certified Municipal Official designation. Since 1955, the Gillespie family has operated an auto service and repair company in Prattville. Gillespie began working for the family business in 1970 and took over its management in 1980.

Haley N. Greene

Greene is the executive director of Main Street Wetumpka. She is a graduate of Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia, her hometown. Her passion for the Main Street program and small businesses began in her role with Uptown Columbus Inc., a decades-old organization responsible for the management and coordination of revitalization initiatives in the uptown Columbus area, and more recently, she worked as the arts program coordinator for the city of South Jordan, Utah. Greene moved back to the Southeast in 2021 to be closer to family and to pursue her passion for downtown revitalization.

Ann Harper

Harper is economic development director for the city of Millbrook. Earlier, she was director of development for the Alabama Wildlife Federation. She is an Auburn University graduate and holds an advanced degree from Auburn University in Montgomery. She is a member of the Economic Development Association of Alabama and International Council of Shopping Centers.  Harper also serves on the board of the Elmore County Economic Development Authority, the Millbrook Area Chamber of Commerce (ex-officio), the Montgomery Area Mental Health Authority and the Central Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission.

Joshua Johnson

Johnson is economic development director for the city of Prattville. A University of North Alabama graduate, he holds a master’s in public administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He holds several additional certifications: Professional Transportation Planner through the Institute of Transportation Engineers; GIS from Michigan State University; and Project Management Professional from Syracuse University. In addition, he is a graduate of Auburn’s Economic Development Intensive course and EDAA’s Leadership Course. Earlier, he worked in economic development for the city of Madison and in planning in the Birmingham area. He also served in the Marine Corps and the Army.

Al Kelley

Kelley is serving his seventh term as the mayor of the city of Millbrook, where he has lived more than 50 years. He attended the University of Alabama and Troy State University where he received his degree in accounting. In 1980, he opened Kelley’s Accounting & Tax Service in Millbrook where he continues to work. Kelley is a member of the Sons of the American Legion, Millbrook Civitan Club, Millbrook Area Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Tax Practitioners. Kelley also serves on the board of the Montgomery Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Central Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission.

Desirae Lewis

Lewis represents District 5 on the Elmore County Commission. A Wetumpka native and Wetumpka High School graduate, she graduated magna cum laude from the University of Alabama and earned her Juris Doctor from Jones School of Law at Faulkner University. She owns the Lewis Law Firm PC in Wetumpka and practices law throughout central Alabama. Lewis is a member of the Association of County Commissions of Alabama’s Minority Issues Steering Committee.


Jeff Lynn

Lynn is president of Central Alabama Community College. He came to ACCS from Louisiana Economic Development where he created the workforce development program LED FastStart. Earlier he held a similar role in Georgia and built a highly regarded workforce program. He also worked in advanced manufacturing at Ciba Vision. An Auburn University graduate, he is a Certified Economic Development Trainer. He serves on the Alabama Workforce Council and several local, statewide and national boards tied to workforce and education. His goal at CACC is to expand academic, workforce and adult education programs.

Fletcher Majors

Majors is founder, president and owner of Great Southern Land. A graduate of Auburn University and Jones Law Institute, Majors has been a licensed real estate broker since 1974. His real estate experience began in timberland sales and then extended to transitional land sales. He holds the Accredited Land Consultant designation of the Realtors Land Institute and has taught classes across the country. He has reached national honors for his professional accomplishments. He most recently was awarded the Alabama Realtors David D. Roberts Award for his national, statewide and local contributions to the real estate industry.

Jimmy Stubbs

Stubbs is CEO of River Bank & Trust. The bank was formed in 2006 under his leadership and has grown to be among the largest community banks headquartered in Alabama, with total assets of $2.3 billion. An Auburn University graduate, he has an executive MBA from Troy University and additional credentials in banking. He recently completed his term as chairman of the Alabama Bankers Association and became a member of its Chairman’s Council. He now serves as the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta’s membership director representing Alabama. He serves as a board member for several business and civic organizations.

Daniel Thompson

Thompson is a principal with Jackson Thornton, leading its Wetumpka office. He is a graduate of Auburn University at Montgomery. Thompson holds professional membership in the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants. He is a graduate of Leadership Elmore County. He has served on the boards of the Elmore County Healthcare Authority, Central Alabama Community Foundation, Wetumpka Lions Club and Edgewood Academy.

Jay Thompson

Thompson represents District 4 on the Autauga County Commission and currently serves as chairman. He is 2021-2022 president-elect of the Association of County Commissions of Alabama board. Locally, Thompson serves on the boards of Central Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission, Central Alabama Aging Consortium and Autauga Montgomery Elmore Seniors. A lifelong resident of Autauga County, he is a graduate of Leadership Alabama and Leadership Autauga County. Thompson worked 20 years in residential construction and development and recently was named the construction coordinator for the Autauga County Board of Education.

Patty VanderWal

VanderWal is president of the Prattville Area Chamber of Commerce. Earlier, she owned a small business and served on the Prattville Chamber board. A Prattville native, she is a graduate of Autauga County High School and Auburn University at Montgomery. She is a Certified Public Accountant. VanderWal is accredited by the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama and is a graduate of the Institute of Organizational Management, a professional development program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  She serves on the boards of Leadership Autauga and the Prattville YMCA and is a member of the Noon Prattville Rotary Club.

Shellie Whitfield

Whitfield is executive director of the Wetumpka Area Chamber of Commerce. A former art teacher, she owns Big Fish Art Studio in downtown Wetumpka and works to make Wetumpka  an art collectors’ destination. She has worked closely with RTR Media on the filming of “Home Town Takeover,” a show that has boosted tourism to Wetumpka. She and the Chamber staff now offer guided tours to visitors. Whitfield owns the historic “Big Fish House” that was the movie set for Tim Burton’s “Big Fish” movie and was recently renovated on HGTV’s “Home Town Takeover.”

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