Spotlight on Madison County: Movers & Shapers

The individuals who help shape the communities of Madison County


Matthew Banks is CEO at Crestwood Medical Center. Born and raised in Pinson, Banks earned undergraduate and master’s degrees in nursing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He also earned an associate degree in nursing from Troy University. Banks was named a Presidential Leadership Scholar in 2018 and also was awarded the UAB School of Nursing Young Alumni Merit Award in 2013.


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Cynthia Crutchfield is CEO of Innovate Alabama, the state’s first public-private partnership focused on entrepreneurship, technology and innovation. A graduate of Alabama A&M University, Crutchfield worked for the Departments of the Air Force and Navy for 18 years before founding her own IT services and consulting company, Crutchfield Management Consulting.


Anthony Daniels has represented the 53rd District in the Alabama State House of Representatives since 2014 and has served as minority leader since 2017. Daniels was selected as one of 14 leaders nationwide to join The NewDEAL (Developing Exceptional American Leaders), and he serves on the board of directors for Innovate Alabama. Daniels earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Alabama A&M University.


U.S. Army photo by Leonard Fitzgerald.

General Charles Hamilton is the 21st Commanding General of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, where he leads one of the Army’s largest commands consisting of 165,000 employees in all 50 states. He has served as deputy chief of staff, G-4 of the U.S. Army, deputy chief of staff, G-3 of the Army Materiel Command, and held commands in Afghanistan on three separate occasions. He earned his undergraduate degree at Virginia State University and master’s degrees from Central Michigan University and Marine Corps University.


Chuck Karr is president at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). A graduate of the University of Alabama (UA), where he earned his undergraduate, master’s and doctorate degrees, Karr joined the faculty at UA, a position he held for 26 years, including 16 years as dean of the College of Engineering. During his tenure as dean, undergraduate engineering enrollment tripled, research awards grew by
$45 million and new facilities totaled $250 million.

David King is the former group president and CEO of Dynetics, a Leidos company. King retired from his 25-year career with NASA as director of the Marshall Space Flight Center. He serves on the board of directors for Innovate Alabama and Leadership Alabama and is chairman of the Huntsville Hospital Foundation board of trustees. King earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina and a master’s degree from the Florida Institute of Technology.


Neil Lamb is the president of HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. Lamb joined HudsonAlpha in 2006 to lead the educational outreach team. In 2019, he was appointed by Gov. Kay Ivey to lead the Governor’s Advisory Council for Excellence in STEM, and in 2021 was named the recipient of the Arno Motulsky-Barton Childs Award for Excellence in Human Genetics Education by the American Society of Human Genetics. Lamb earned his undergraduate degree at Auburn University and completed his Ph.D. and postgraduate training at Emory University.

Brendan McCormick is vice president and general manager of Turner Construction Co.’s Huntsville office. McCormick started with the company as project engineer at its Indiana office before transferring to Huntsville in 2004 to serve as project manager. Turner Construction won the contract to build Huntsville’s new City Hall last year. McCormick is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati and earned a master’s degree at Indiana Wesleyan University.

Ryan Murphy is president and general manager of Huntsville Venue Group, where he directed the design and construction of the new Orion Amphitheater, which celebrated its first season last year with headliners like Stevie Nicks, Dave Matthews Band and Jack White. Murphy also oversees operations at the venue and the surrounding 40-acre Apollo Park. Murphy earned a master’s degree at the University of Florida.


David Nast is state president for Alabama and the Florida Panhandle at United Community Banks Inc. He was a founder of Progress Bank in Huntsville where he served as president and chief executive officer until its merger with United Community Bank. He is a member of the board of directors of the Birmingham Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He also serves on the board of directors of the Huntsville Museum of Art, the Alabama Bankers Association, the Huntsville Sports Commission and Leadership Alabama. He earned BS and MBA degrees from Jacksonville State University, as well as banking certificates from the Louisiana State University’s Graduate School of Banking and Georgia State University’s Leadership Institute.

Joe Ritch has practiced law at the firm Dentons Sirote since 1983. Last year, he was nominated by President Joe Biden to serve his second term on the Tennessee Valley Authority’s board of directors. Ritch was previously nominated by President Barack Obama and served on the board from 2013 to 2017. He is chair of the Redstone Regional Alliance and also led the Tennessee Valley Base Realignment Commission. Ritch earned his BA at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and attended law school at Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law and New York University’s School of Law. He has served on the University of Alabama System board of trustees and is known as the founder of UAH hockey. Ritch has been inducted into the Alabama Business Hall of Fame.

Kimberly Robinson is executive director and CEO of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. A Birmingham native, Robinson earned her bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and completed her Ph.D. and master’s degrees at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She began her career at Marshall Space Flight Center in 1989 as a project engineer in the Propulsion Laboratory and went on to hold a number of positions, including astronaut trainer and payload mission manager for Artemis I. She has earned numerous NASA performance awards, including an Exceptional Achievement Medal and the Silver Snoopy.


Photo by Anne Rayner, VUMC.

Jeff Samz is CEO of Huntsville Hospital Health System where he previously served as executive vice president and COO. His extensive career in public health administration also includes positions at Vanderbilt Health, Duke Health and Mission Health. Samz graduated from the University of North Carolina and earned his master’s degree at Wake Forest University. He serves on the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce board of directors.



Johnnie Sharp Jr. is the assistant director of the IT Infrastructure Division at the FBI campus in Huntsville. Sharp joined the FBI as a special agent in 1998 and has served temporary FBI locations in London, Cairo, New Delhi and Saudi Arabia. He was selected to serve as the special agent in charge of the Birmingham Field Office in 2017. Sharp holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee and, prior to joining the FBI, was a deputy sheriff and police officer in Knoxville.


Lynn Troy is president of Troy7 Inc., a woman-owned small business specializing in missile and aerospace engineering solutions that was acquired by Yulista last year. A graduate of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Troy spent more than 19 years at Teledyne Brown and Teledyne Solutions before founding Troy7 in 2007. Troy is chair of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce and also serves the Women’s Philanthropy Society’s advisory board and the UAH College of Business advisory board.

Daniel Wims is president of Alabama A&M University where he previously served as provost and vice president of academic affairs and research and as a professor of agricultural sciences. Wims attended undergrad at Fort Valley State College, earned his master’s degree from Ohio State University and a doctorate from the University of Maryland, College Park. He has served as an itinerant elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and is a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity and the Fort Valley State University Alumni Association.

This appears in the May 2023 issue of Business Alabama.

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