Spotlight on Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia & Monroe: Movers & Shapers

The individuals who help shape the communities in these five counties

Charles Andrews is mayor of Monroeville. A native of the city, he is a graduate of the University of Alabama and the FBI Law Enforcement National Academy. He had a 40-year career in law enforcement, working first with the Alabama Department of Corrections, then as an Alabama State Trooper. He is the first African American to be appointed lieutenant colonel and colonel in the DPS. He retired in 2010 as the first chief of the highway patrol division. He then was appointed as U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Alabama from January 2011 until his retirement in October 2018.

Connie Baggett is director of program management for the city of Brewton. Baggett worked for more than 20 years for the Mobile Register. She works on the Brewton Council of the Arts, Tree and Beautification Board and various other civic boards. She has earned recognition for her leadership in the local America in Bloom program and as a national advisor for Leadership Alabama. She was named Alabama Communities of Excellence STAR Local Coordinator for 2018. She is a University of South Alabama graduate.


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Stephanie Bryan is Tribal chair and CEO of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. She oversees the legislative business of the Tribal Council, the operations of all departments of Tribal Government, and the acquisition and expansion of Tribal businesses operated under the Creek Indian Enterprises Development Authority and PCI Gaming Authority. She represents the Tribe’s interests at both the state and national level. In 2023, Business Alabama presented her with its CEO of the Year award, and Investopedia honored her in 2022 as one of five key indigenous CEOs.

Dee Ann Campbell is publisher and managing editor of The Choctaw Sun-Advocate and co-publisher of The Leader in Marengo County. She is Choctaw County’s chief industrial development officer and is a member of the Gilbertown Town Council. She is also executive director of the Choctaw County Chamber of Commerce. She has received several awards for her work in the media. She has volunteered with local schools and served on multiple community and civic boards.



Barry Chancey is the incoming chairman of the Clarke County Commission. A graduate of the University of South Alabama and a native of Clarke County, Chancey works at PCA in logistics management where he has worked for 28 years. He was elected to serve on the Clarke County Board of Education for 12 years and has served as an active board member and president of the Arc of Clarke County.


Tony Lavell Cherry is a Choctaw County commissioner. He graduated from Choctaw County High School and attended Alabama State University on a band scholarship. After college, he returned to Choctaw County and began officiating and coaching youth sports. He works at International Paper in Pine Hill as team lead, power house. He serves on the board of the ACCA, Alabama Tombigbee Regional Commission, Blackbelt Community Foundation; is active on several committees of the National Association of Counties; and chairs the Choctaw County Alabama Democratic Committee.

Susan Coleman is director of the city of Evergreen Chamber of Commerce. A Conecuh native, she is a graduate of Hillcrest High School and Auburn University. She is the administrative director for the Evergreen-Conecuh Capital Improvement Cooperative District, serves on the Reid State Advisory Board and is a member of the Conecuh County Cattlemen/Jr Cattlemen Association.


Randall “Steve” Creamer established Creamer Dozer Service Inc. in 1996 with a truck and a dozer. Today it has close to 50 employees with a fleet of equipment working in multiple states. Two years ago, he launched Creamer Power Equipment, a tractor and lawn mower dealership. He has partnered with the city of Brewton with land to encourage other businesses to invest in the Brewton area. He was awarded Brewton Citizen of the Year in 2022. His company is involved with the local Kiwanis Club and the Chamber of Commerce and is a strong supporter of programs for children and housing needs.

Sheldon Day is mayor of Thomasville. He graduated from Thomasville City Schools and Patrick Henry State Junior College and had a long retail management career with TG&Y Inc. and Wal-Mart. He also served on the Thomasville City Council. A small business owner, Day is an Advanced Certified Municipal Official. He is a founding member of the Clarke County Community Development Foundation, a graduate of Leadership Alabama and a past member of its executive board. He holds additional economic development credentials from Auburn University and the Delta Regional Authority. He has served for 40 years as a volunteer firefighter.

Jessica Dent is director of economic development for Conecuh County and the city of Evergreen. She grew up in rural Elmore, Lowndes and Covington counties; graduated from Pleasant Home School, attended Lurleen B. Wallace Jr. College and is a graduate of Troy University. She holds credentials from Auburn University, Oklahoma University and FEMA and is a graduate of the Delta Leadership Institute. She served former Gov. Bob Riley as community development coordinator for the Blackbelt Action Commission and later as executive director of Riley’s Connecting Alabama Broadband Initiative.

Kara Durie is executive director of the Thomasville Chamber of Commerce. She is a University of Alabama graduate and has worked in sales and marketing in Tuscaloosa, Birmingham and Thomasville. Her career at the Thomasville Chamber began in 2021 and she became executive director in 2022. Durie is also director of the Chamber Ambassador Program for Thomasville City Schools and Thomasville residing students, working to connect young adults with local businesses and industries.


Stacy Hines is administrator of D.W. McMillan Memorial Hospital in Brewton, where she has worked since 2010. Earlier, she served as COO of D.W. McMillan Memorial Hospital and director of revenue cycle for Escambia County Healthcare Authority, which governs the hospital. She is a graduate of Auburn University and is active in professional and civic organizations, including the Brewton Area YMCA board and Brewton Rotary Club. Hines also has served on the Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce board and the United Fund of Brewton and East Brewton.

Ryan Johnson is the career coach at the new Thomasville Career Readiness Center. He is a graduate of Veritas Baptist College with additional counseling training through the Christian Counseling & Education Foundation. He is the pastor of Central Baptist Church in Dixon’s Mills and directs the church’s Hope Central Food Pantry. He serves on the board of directors for the Selma Area Food Bank and serves local volunteer fire departments as chaplain and board member.


Joseph W. “Billy” Jones Jr. is president of JWJ Investment Properties LLC and president of Crowne Management Corp., which includes several nursing homes and other health care companies. He is chairman of the board of Alabama Long Term Care Insurance and is on the local advisory board of Superior Bank. He is involved with downtown Monroeville redevelopment, purchasing several empty buildings and converting them into lofts and businesses.


Yancey “Yank” Lovelace has been mayor of Brewton since 2012, working with economic development, quality of life improvements and maximizing state and federal grants. He is past chairman and founder of the Coastal Gateway Economic Development Authority and has served on the Brewton Industrial Revenue Board and chairman of the Economic Development Committee for the City of Brewton’s ACE program. He is a Leadership Alabama graduate. Lovelace founded The Securance Group, which became one of the largest independent insurance agencies in the region before merging with Bancorp South.

Brad Lowery is administrator of Atmore Community Hospital. Earlier, he served as the physician practice manager for two of Infirmary Health’s primary care practices in Bay Minette. Prior to joining Infirmary Health, he served as physician practice manager for Atmore Community Hospital’s three hospital-based clinics. Lowery is an Auburn University graduate with a master’s from the University of West Florida.


Thomas McMillan Jr. is president of Longleaf Energy Group Inc., owner and president of Longleaf Machining LLC and managing member of Goodway Refining LLC. He is a graduate of Culver Military Academy Prep School and the University of Alabama and is a U.S. Army veteran. For the University of Alabama, McMillan serves on the President’s Cabinet, School of Commerce and Business Administration board of visitors and the Museum board of regents. He is active in regional economic development, a lifetime member of the Escambia County Historical Society and active in Republican politics.

Jess Nicholas is president and CEO of Centerfire Economic LLC, an economic development consulting firm specializing in project management, strategic planning and data analytics and research that is the lead economic development arm of the Escambia County Industrial Development Authority. Earlier he worked with the former Coastal Gateway Regional Economic Development Alliance, eventually as its executive director. A University of Alabama graduate, Nicholas also spent more than a decade in journalism and continues to write and edit for multiple publications. Nicholas was a registered financial advisor for several years prior to joining Coastal Gateway in 2014.

Rosalyn Sales is executive director of economic development for Clarke and Washington counties. A native and lifelong resident of south Alabama, she is a graduate of Auburn University with additional Auburn credentials in economic development. Sales serves as the vice chair of the Clarke County Community Development Foundation board, and a member of the Clarke County Wildlife Federation board, the Governor’s Taskforce for Rural Development Committee and the Southwest Alabama Regional Rural Development Initiative committee, covering Clarke, Washington, Choctaw and Wilcox counties. Sales also serves on the advisory committee for the League of Municipalities’ Economic Development Academy.

Sonya Stinson is probate judge and chairman of the Monroe County Commission. She is a graduate of Troy University with a law degree from Jones School of Law. She was a practicing attorney for 19 years before being elected as probate judge. She currently serves on the Alabama Tombigbee Regional Commission executive committee and the Coosa-Alabama River Improvement Association as an executive member.



Douglas Tanner has served as CEO of Grove Hill Memorial Hospital in Clarke County since March 2020. A seasoned health care executive with more than 30 years of experience, he is a Samford University graduate with a master’s from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.



Ross Wood is mayor of Grove Hill in Clarke County and formerly served on the Grove Hill City Council. A native of Grove Hill, he spent 31 years working as a sportswriter and general manager of the Clarke County Democrat, where he had opportunity to see every aspect of the county.

This article appears in the March 2024 issue of Business Alabama.

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