Spotlight on Lauderdale & Colbert: Movers & Shapers

The individuals who help shape the communities of Lauderdale and Colbert counties


Ross Alexander is provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of North Alabama. Alexander has led several projects bringing millions of one-time and recurring funds to the university. A graduate of Beloit College, where he was an all-conference football player, he earned an M.P.A. from Arizona State University and a Ph.D. from Northern Illinois University. He also holds certification from the Institute for Management and Leadership in Education at Harvard University.


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Ron Ballman is CEO and partner of Adventech LLC, a startup developing industrial efficiency solutions. Earlier, he owned Ballman Metals LLC, an aluminum and steel fabrication company, and served as vice president of operations and partner of Shoals Extrusion. A University of Notre Dame graduate, he holds an MBA and a Ph.D. from the Indiana Institute of Technology and a second Ph.D. in humanities from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Kirk Brothers is president of Heritage Christian University in Florence. He earned his B.A. from Lipscomb University, his M.A. from Freed-Hardeman University, his M.Div. from Lipscomb and his Ph.D. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He spent 23 years in ministerial roles before taking a position in 2010 as a professor of bible at Freed-Hardeman. He became president of Heritage Christian University in 2018. Brothers serves as a part-time missionary to Latin America, training preachers and starting Future Minister Training Camps for young men ages 12-14.


Penny Camp is executive vice president-chief people officer for Bank Independent, a $2.3 billion community bank serving north Alabama. She is a member of the Shoals Chamber of Commerce board and president of the board of Shoals Christian School. She also serves on the finance committee of the Colbert Lauderdale Baptist Association. She earned her B.S. from Union University and is a 2018 graduate of the Wharton Executive Development Program.


Caitlin Holland is president of the Shoals Chamber of Commerce. Earlier, she worked with United Way of Northwest Alabama and as a corporate attorney. She is chair-elect of the board of the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama and a member of the Business Council of Alabama board. Holland serves on the University of North Alabama’s Executive Business Council, the advisory board for its College of Education & Human Sciences, Alabama Leadership Initiative’s inaugural class and on the Auburn University’s Young Alumni Council. She is a graduate of Auburn University and of Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law.

Kevin Jackson is president of the Shoals Economic Development Authority. He came to the Shoals after spending10 years as the economic development manager in Cullman County. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, with additional credentials in economic development from Auburn, Oklahoma and Georgia Tech, as well as the TVA Rural Leadership Institute. He and his team have fostered and grown relationships with regional organizations and community leaders, established a strong partnership with the University of North Alabama, won numerous industrial projects and implemented innovative community programs.

Ken Kitts is president of the University of North Alabama. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina and has more than 30 years of experience as a professor and college administrator. He is the author of an award-winning book on presidential advisory commissions. At UNA, Kitts has worked for equity in higher education funding and led the school to record enrollment growth, increased fundraising and created new workforce programs to support the regional economy. Kitts is a graduate of Harvard’s Institute for Educational Management and Leadership Alabama. He is on the Business Council of Alabama board and a member of the Florence Rotary Club.

Mike Lockhart is mayor of Muscle Shoals. Before being elected mayor, he served on the city council for two terms. Lockhart worked 30 years in health care management, 27 of them at Helen Keller Hospital in Sheffield. He is on the board of Alabama League of Municipalities and active with The National League of Cities Human Development Committee and Small Cities Council. Locally, he serves on the Shoals Industrial Development Council and the Shoals Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization. He also has attained Certified Municipal Officer Emeritus status.


Evelyn VanSant Mauldin is senior vice president and legal counsel of Bank Independent and sits on the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees. She is a graduate of the University of Alabama and its law school. She has served on the Leighton City Council and its Water and Sewer board and on the board of the American Cancer Society of The Shoals, the United Way of The Shoals and the Junior League. She was a member of the Tornado Recovery Action Council of Alabama in 2011-21 and is a past vice president and member of the executive committee of the University of Alabama National Alumni Association.

Ashley Morrow is an inventor and designer. She invented Alchemy Jewelry Sealer and since bringing it to market in 2015, the company has grown to be online and in more than 400 stores in the U.S. She also designed a clothing line for women called Allure Apparel. She is managing partner of Click Synergy, a business coaching and consulting group, and co-owns and runs a women’s boutique. She was named Emerging Retailer of the Year for work with Skip Nichols and Josh Kelley on The Shoppes at Coldwater in Tuscumbia. She is a graduate of the University of Alabama and has experience in the film industry, health care and consulting. She also is a motivational speaker.

Kerry Underwood has been mayor of Tuscumbia since 2016. A University of North Alabama graduate, he is a CPA with his own firm in Tuscumbia. As mayor, he has served as chair of the Shoals Economic Development Board, the Shoals Metropolitan Planning Organization and the TriCities Solid Waste Authority. He is active in the Shoals Chamber of Commerce through his CPA firm. Underwood is the Republican nominee to represent Alabama State House District Three, which covers most of the Shoals region.


This appeared in the October 2022 issue of Business Alabama.

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