Spotlight on Jefferson County: Movers & Shapers

Meet the leaders that help shape Jefferson County's economy and community.

Jason Alexander

Jason Alexander is president and CEO of Ascension St. Vincent’s and executive vice president of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Health System/Ascension St. Vincent’s Alliance. He oversees the hospital’s inpatient facilities, physician practices and community partnerships and, for the Alliance, works with administrative issues. A University of South Alabama graduate, he holds master’s degrees in both health and business administration from UAB. He serves on the board of the Alabama Hospital Association and the Birmingham Business Alliance.



Frank Brocato

Frank Brocato is the 10th mayor of Hoover. He was first elected in 2016 and won reelection in 2020 with more than 75% of the vote. He is a graduate of Jefferson State Community College and Birmingham-Southern College. He serves on the Leadership Birmingham advisory board and the Mike Slive Prostate Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama board, as well as the Birmingham Business Alliance executive committee and the Lawson State Community College ASPIRE 2030 Strategic Planning Committee.


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Mark Crosswhite

Mark Crosswhite is chairman, president and CEO of Alabama Power Co. He is a University of Alabama in Huntsville graduate and holds a J.D. degree from the University of Alabama School of Law. He is chairman of the boards of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama and Prosper Birmingham. He also is a board member of the Business Council of Alabama, Birmingham Business Alliance, Nuclear Energy Institute, Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited, Southern Research and the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation, UAB Health System and serves on the University of Alabama President’s Cabinet.


Nancy Goedecke

Nancy Goedecke is chairwoman and CEO of her family’s company, Mayer Electric Supply Co. Inc., which opened in 1930. She serves on the boards of the Birmingham Business Alliance, Birmingham Zoo, Leadership Birmingham, McKinney Capital, O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB and United Way of Central Alabama (UWCA). She was the first woman in UWCA history to chair its annual fund-raising campaign.



Jim Gorrie

Jim Gorrie is CEO of Brasfield & Gorrie, one of the nation’s largest privately held construction firms. The company, founded by Gorrie’s father in 1964, had revenues in 2020 of $3.9 billion and ranks 22nd in the nation among Engineering News-Record’s “Top 400 General Contractors” for 2020. Gorrie graduated from Auburn University with a degree in building science in 1984. He serves on numerous boards, which include the Birmingham Business Alliance, the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, The Salvation Army, Synovus Bank and the Alys Stephens Center at UAB.


Ron Kitchens

Ron Kitchens is chief executive officer of the Birmingham Business Alliance. Prior to joining the organization, he led leadership and economic development companies in Michigan, Texas and Missouri. He is also an entrepreneur, having led several companies, including his first company, the Gas Shack convenience stores, when he was 19 years old. Kitchens has served on dozens of boards, including the board of trustees of Western Michigan University, the board of Gibson Insurance in South Bend and the board of the International Economic Development Council.



Bobbie Knight

Bobbie Knight is the 15th president of Miles College and the first woman to hold the top job. In 2016, the Birmingham native retired from a 37-year career at Alabama Power Co. where she worked as vice president of the Birmingham division, vice president of public relations and general manager of supply chain. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama and a J.D. degree from the Birmingham School of Law. She also is a graduate of the Executive Leadership Program offered by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. She is vice chairwoman of the Birmingham Airport Authority board.


Craft O’Neal

Craft O’Neal is chairman and CEO of O’Neal Industries, a 100-year-old, Birmingham-based, family-owned company that is a network of metals service centers and component and tube manufacturing businesses. He is a graduate of Birmingham-Southern College. He joined O’Neal Industries in 1984 and succeeded his father, Emmet O’Neal, as chairman and CEO in 2004. He serves on the boards of the Birmingham Business Alliance, Children’s of Alabama and the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB. He has also lead fund-raising efforts for organizations such as the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center and
UAB Football.


Sanjay Singh

Sanjay Singh is an academic, entrepreneur and investor. He holds a doctorate from the University of Georgia. He was a UAB faculty member where for two decades he taught in the schools of Business and Engineering, and in the computer science and healthcare administration programs. He is a former partner at CTS, a regional software firm that merged in 2017 with the software engineering firm CGI. He serves on numerous boards for companies like Pack Health, CS Equities and Oakworth Capital Bank and on the Birmingham Business Alliance’s executive committee.


James Stephens

James Stephens is president of the Jefferson County Commission. He grew up just south of Bessemer and attended Bessemer High School. He is a graduate of Samford University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and an MBA in 1975. He serves on the boards of the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center Authority, Jefferson County Department of Health, Birmingham Business Alliance and the Rotary Club of Birmingham.




Mark Sullivan

Mark Sullivan is superintendent of Birmingham City Schools. A native of Birmingham, Sullivan earned his bachelor’s degree from Alabama A&M University, a master’s degree from Alabama State University and a doctorate in educational leadership from UAB. He is a member of Phi Delta Kappa, the National Association of Black School Educators and the National Education Association, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, 100 Black Men of Birmingham and Boy Scouts of Central Alabama.




Mark Tarr

Mark Tarr is president and chief executive officer of Encompass Health. After joining the company in 1993, Tarr held several management positions within the organization. He became president of the company’s inpatient division in 2004, executive vice president of operations in 2007 and an executive vice president and chief operating officer in 2011, a position he held until 2016 when he took the helm as the company’s CEO. He is a graduate of Ball State University and has a master’s degree in business administration from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University.



Beck Taylor

Beck Taylor is president of Samford University. He returned to Samford in 2021 after 11 years as Whitworth University’s president in Spokane, Washington. The former economics professor earned his undergraduate degree from Baylor University and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Purdue University. He is the former dean of Samford University’s Brock School of Business, where he established eight new academic programs and an honors program. He also launched the Samford Business Network and a 45-member advisory board of the region’s top business leaders. He is a member of numerous professional and academic organizations.



John Turner

John Turner is president and chief executive officer of Regions Financial Corp. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Georgia and is an advisory trustee for the University of Georgia Foundation. He also is a graduate of Leadership Alabama and a board member of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, United Way of Central Alabama, Business Council of Alabama, Birmingham Business Alliance and Infirmary Health System. He is a former chairman of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce and former board member of Leadership Mobile.



Ray Watts

Ray Watts is president of UAB, his alma mater. He earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering at UAB in 1976. Four years later, he graduated from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Under his direction, UAB has enjoyed record enrollment, the development of novel academic programs, growth in research funding and an increase in international competitiveness. He currently is overseeing numerous campus building projects, including a $78.5 million Science and Engineering Complex that is set to open in 2023.


Randall Woodfin

Randall Woodfin is the city of Birmingham’s 30th mayor. He was sworn into office in 2017. He is a native of Birmingham and graduate of Morehouse College and Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law. Prior to becoming mayor, he served on the Birmingham Board of Education as its president. Under his leadership as mayor, the city established the Office of Social Justice and Racial Equity, with an aim to make social justice a core principle in city operations and policies. He also created the Birmingham Promise initiative, a public-private partnership providing tuition assistance for college-bound Birmingham high school graduates.


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