Spotlight on Etowah, St. Clair & Blount: Movers & Shapers

The individuals who help shape the communities of Etowah, St. Clair and Blount counties

Keith Brown, J.D. is president of Jefferson State Community College, where he has worked since 1999. Brown holds an associate degree from Jefferson State, a bachelor’s and a law degree from the University of Alabama. He also has taught at the college level in the areas of business law and human resources. He has served in the Alabama Air National Guard for more than 34 years and now holds the rank of colonel. He currently serves as the State Staff Judge Advocate, the senior attorney for the Alabama Air National Guard. He serves on numerous boards for local civic organizations.

Leslie Clines is project and workforce manager for the Blount County Economic Development Council, an organization responsible for retail and industrial recruitment, retention and expansion of existing industries and new project development, along with working to build a strong workforce. She has worked with the Marshall County Economic Development Council, the aviation and construction industries. She attended Calhoun Community College, is a TVA Rural Leadership graduate and a graduate of the Auburn GEDI program.

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Bill Ellison is president of I-20 Development Inc. and is credited with dozens of developments throughout Pell City, now generating 40% of the city’s tax base. The latest venture he contributed to is a 147,500-square-foot shopping and lifestyle center called Pell City Square. Earlier, he developed the Publix shopping center and the commercial district that includes Walmart Supercenter, an expansive shopping center, hotels, restaurants and more. He was honored for his impact on Pell City when the U.S. 231 bridge over I-20 was named the William C. Ellison Bridge.

Stephanie Evans is managing partner and co-owner of Greensport RV Park and Marina. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, she holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisville. She was the youngest person in her area to hold a District Level position with The Home Depot. She is a graduate of the George O’Leary National School of Outdoor Hospitality, a two-year management course, and a 2021 graduate of leadership St. Clair County. Greensport RV Park and Campground now has 112 sites with 78 more in progress.


Zachary Gentile is a senior vice president for the Ford Meter Box Co. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Auburn University and a master’s from Troy University. He serves on the board of The Ford Meter Box Co.; the Pell City Educational Foundation; Daniel’s Place in Manchester, Indiana; and is the treasurer of the Pell City Chamber of Commerce. He also serves on the board of the United Way of Central Alabama and is serving on a fourth consecutive campaign cabinet.


Jason Goodgame is corporate vice president of Goodgame Company Inc. An Auburn University graduate, he has helped recruit and develop several projects in St. Clair County and Pell City throughout his career, including St. Vincent’s St. Clair Hospital, WKW Automotive North America and Eissmann Automotive North America. Goodgame chairs the Governor’s Construction Industry Craft Training Board, which funds craft training across the state. He is an executive board member for Associated Builders and Contractors representing East Alabama and since 2005 he has been president of the Pell City Schools Education Foundation.

Craig Ford was elected mayor of Gadsden in 2022. He was born and raised in Gadsden and is a graduate of Auburn University. Ford has owned two small businesses in Gadsden for more than 20 years, which together employ 20 people — The Messenger community newspaper and Ford Insurance Agency, one of the oldest independent insurance agencies in North Alabama. Earlier, Ford served 18 years in the Alabama House of Representatives. He is an officer in the U.S. Army.


Bradley Harvey is a Blount County commissioner. He graduated from Oneonta High School in 2006 and served in the U.S. Army, completing two tours in Afghanistan. After his military service, he earned a degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and later a law degree from Faulkner University. He has worked in various aspects of the construction industry, two years as a farm hand, a freight conductor with CSX Railroad and a law clerk. He practices law with a focus on property and real estate.

Candice Hill has been working with the St. Clair County Economic Development Council since 2007 and, as a part of their strategic plan, helped to transition Leadership Pell City into a countywide organization. For the last 15 years, she has helped coordinate the Leadership St. Clair County program, which has more than 400 graduates. In a partnership between St. Clair County Economic Development Council, St. Clair County and the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, she has helped create a Small Business St. Clair initiative to link small local business with the information they need to thrive.

David Hooks is executive director of the Gadsden-Etowah Industrial Development Authority and serves on several state advisory boards. Earlier, Hooks served as the director of innovation at The Edge of Chaos, a “thought and innovation” collaborative, established by the School of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Hooks holds a master’s from UAB and an undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama. He is author of “The Wisdom of Solomon Ancient Teachings for Modern Business.”

Lyman Lovejoy began Lovejoy Realty in 1971. He also served as chairman of the Economic Development Council in St. Clair County and received the Annual Chairman’s award for exemplary dedication. He has served as president with the St. Clair Association of Realtors, a member of Ascension St. Vincent’s St. Clair Hospital board and has served on the Alabama Real Estate Commission. Congressman Mike Rogers just awarded Lovejoy Congressional Recognition for being in business for 50 years.


John Moore is director of economic development and governmental affairs for the city of Gadsden. As a lifelong resident of Etowah County, he is a graduate of Jacksonville State University. He was the mayor pro tem for the Hokes Bluff City Council for 12 years and spent more than 20 years as director of sales for Spectrum Reach. He is an active member of the board of United Way and Downtown Gadsden Inc. Moore also is the past president of Etowah C.A.R.E.S., a community action group in Gadsden.

Richard Phillips is mayor of Oneonta. A lifelong resident of the city, he is a 2000 graduate of Oneonta High School. He has a degree from Auburn University in graphic design and is a practicing attorney. After working as a designer in New York City and Atlanta, Phillips returned to Oneonta in 2014 and set up his law practice. He was elected to the Oneonta City Council in 2016 where he served as the police commissioner for four years. He was elected mayor in 2020.


Tony Reddick is superintendent of Gadsden City Schools. Reddick is a past or present member of numerous boards of directors including Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the Gadsden/Etowah Chamber of Commerce, the YMCA, the Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts, the Gadsden Civil Service Board, the Gadsden Design Review Board, the Industrial Development Authority, East Alabama United Way, the Gadsden State Community College Cardinal Foundation, Quality of Life Health Services and the Alabama Teachers Credit Union.


Scott Reeves is mayor of Hokes Bluff. He is retired from APCO with 33 years of service. He is on the board of the Alabama League of Municipalities 4th Congressional district, the Alabama Municipal Funding Board with ALM, chairman of the Etowah County Mayors Association, chairman of the Gadsden/Etowah Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Etowah County 911 Board, the Drug Task Force Committee, Greater Etowah 310 Board and the Gadsden/Etowah Transportation Coordinating Committee. He has coached youth football and baseball and serves on the Hokes Bluff Athletic Club board.

Joe Taylor is mayor of Rainbow City and a lifetime resident of Etowah County. He is an Army and Army National Guard veteran with leadership roles in the 20th Special Forces (Airborne). Taylor established Landcrafters Inc. in 1985 and is a licensed general contractor. He is the former owner of Gadsden Fire Extinguisher and CO2 Service and owns a real estate investment company. He is a retired commander from the Gadsden Fire Department. He is an Advanced Certified Municipal Official. He has served on the boards of East Alabama Regional Planning Committee, the United Way of Etowah County, and the Challenger STEM Project.

Ricky Tillis is the director of the Valley Street campus of Gadsden State Community College and full-time minister at Harvest Fellowship Community Church in Gadsden. He has a background in carpentry and is a graduate of Birmingham-Easonian Baptist Bible College. He has worked in warehousing and trucking and substance abuse treatment at The Bridge. He is an Athens State University graduate and is working toward a master’s there.


Nicole Tolbert joined the city of Oneonta in early 2022. She works on projects including the Community Canvas juried art show and City Market, which promotes local shopping. Tolbert also serves as a grant writer and, in her first year, helped the city receive a $95,000 Lowe’s Hometown Grant to renovate the historic Little Brick Church and a $25,000 grant from the Alabama Historic Commission to remodel the Historic L&N Depot. Tolbert is a 2012 Auburn University graduate and serves on the Blount-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce board.

This appears in the April 2023 issue of Business Alabama.

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