Spotlight on Butler, Covington, Crenshaw & Lowndes: Movers & Shapers

The individuals who help shape the communities of Butler, Covington, Crenshaw and Lowndes counties.

Evelyn Causey

Causey is COO and president of Hayneville Telephone Co. in Lowndes County and Camellia Communications in Butler County. Gov. Kay Ivey appointed her to the Alabama 911 board, and she also is chair of the Butler County Commission for Economic Development, president of the Telecommunication Association of the Southeast, vice chair of the Lurleen B. Wallace Community College Foundation Board and serves on the Lowndes County Economic Development Board. She is a Troy University graduate.

Rick Clifton

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Clifton is president and CEO of the Covington County Economic Development Commission. A University of Alabama graduate, he has a law degree from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University and an LLM in taxation from UA. A retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, he served as Staff Judge Advocate at Maxwell Air Force Base/Gunter Air Force Station in Montgomery while on active duty.


Thomas Ellis

Ellis and his family own and operate Priester’s Pecans. He grew up in the business, working in areas from laborer to customer service to computer management before becoming president. He also owns and operates Triple E Farm, where he raises cattle and poultry. He is chair of the Lowndes County Economic Development Commission. He also is District 1 board representative for Dixie Electric Cooperative, Pintlala Water Authority board member and past president member of the Southeastern Livestock Exposition and the Lowndes County Farmers Federation.

Christopher Hilburn

Hilburn and his wife, Caitlin, recently bought Luverne Hardware, a 25-year-old business that suffered a fire in February 2021, but reopened the same year. The Hilburns also run six poultry houses and a cow/calf operation. Hilburn is a member of the Alabama Farmers Federation and is a director of the Crenshaw County Cattlemen’s Association. The couple are part of the Crenshaw County Young Farmers and the Crenshaw County Chamber of Commerce.

Brenda Herring

Herring is vice president and branch manager at the Highland Home branch of First Citizens Bank. She has taught banking and business classes through the Center for Financial Training. Herring is a graduate of LBW Community College and Faulkner University. She serves on the Crenshaw County Economic and Industrial Authority Board and volunteers with Highland Home School, including Bookworm Club reading initiative that is sponsored by First Citizens Bank.

David Hutchison

Hutchison is executive director of the Butler County Commission for Economic Development. He has been in the economic development field since 1975, helping start agencies in both Escambia and Lowndes counties. He worked for 24 years in the Alabama Development Office. In July 2021, he received the David Echols Distinguished Service Award from Economic Development Association of Alabama. He is a graduate of Jacksonville State University and a Certified Economic Developer.

Brock Kelley

Kelley is president of Lurleen B. Wallace Community College. Before taking that role, he worked for the Alabama Community College System, developing career preparation programs. Recently he founded the Alabama RISE program at LBW, which focuses on training individuals with disabilities for the workforce. He is a graduate of LBW and Troy University, playing baseball at both schools and earning a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in education. He earned his Ph.D. from Auburn University.

Dexter McLendon

McLendon is mayor of Greenville. He serves on the city’s Health Care Authority; on the boards of Trustmark Bank, Southeast Gas, Butler County Commission for Economic Development, Alabama Black Belt Adventures and the YMCA; and is active with Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce and Butler County E-911. He is a member of Leadership Alabama and the Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy. As mayor, he has helped bring a YMCA, golf and industry to Greenville. He is a Paul Harris Fellow and a Greenville Jaycees “Man of the Year.”

Orbuty Ross Ozier

Ozier is mayor of Gordonville in Lowndes County. She is a graduate of Trenholm State Community College in Montgomery and Wayne State Community College in Detroit, Michigan. She is a member of the Alabama Black Mayors Association, Lowndes County Industrial Development Board, Get Wired Alabama, Lowndes County Economic Development Commission, Ozier’s Designer Planner, O&W General Contractors LLC and River Region United Way.

Tracy Salter

Salter is the executive director for the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce. Earlier, Salter spent 18 years in the newspaper industry, beginning her career in advertising with Greenville Newspapers in 1999 and later moving to the role of president and publisher. She serves on the board of the Greenville YMCA, the Mid-South RC&D Council, the Achiever Award Scholarship Committee and the Butler County Commission for Economic Development.

David Smyth

Smyth is administrator and CFO for the Crenshaw County Commission, serving for 18 years. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama and holds a law degree from The Jones Law Institute in Montgomery. He recently served as president of the Association of County Administrators of Alabama. He has also served on the Alabama Emergency Management Advisory Council.


SalLee Sasser-Williams

Sasser-Williams is director of operations for Sasser Enterprises, a family-owned health care managing company based in Andalusia. She also is vice president of Hammer Industrial, an industrial construction company that she owns with her husband. She is a Troy University graduate. Sasser-Williams is chair of the Alabama Nursing Home Association board and represents Crenshaw County on the South Central Alabama Mental Health Board. She was awarded the Andalusia Office Professionals Association Boss of the Year for 2019-2020.

Brian Springate

Springate is CEO of Andalusia Health. He came to Andalusia Health from Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital, another LifePoint Health facility in Kentucky, where he served as COO and led several multimillion-dollar construction and renovation projects, service expansions and recruitment. He also held administrative posts at hospitals in West Virginia and Kentucky. He is a nursing graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University and has an MBA from Florida Institute of Technology.


This appeared in the April 2022 issue of Business Alabama.

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