Spotlight on Mobile County: Movers & Shapers

The individuals who help shape the communities of Mobile County

Celia Mann Baehr has been president and CEO of the Mobile Symphony since 2014 after serving 13 years as board chair. Baehr holds degrees from the University of Alabama and the University of South Alabama and has more than 30 years of experience in the financial services business. She is active with the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club and USA’s Mitchell College of Business Advisory Council. She has been honored with the USA National Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award and the Mitchell College of Business Impact Award.


Owen Bailey is chief executive officer and senior associate vice president for medical affairs at USA Health in Mobile. A graduate of Auburn University with a master’s from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, he is a state delegate to the American Hospital Association’s Regional Policy Board and is a past chair of the Alabama Hospital Association board. He serves on boards of the Business Council of Alabama, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, Hancock Whitney Bank Alabama Market Advisory Board, America’s Essential Hospitals Membership Committee and LifeSouth Community Blood Centers. He has been honored by a variety of health care organizations.

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Jo Bonner is president of the University of South Alabama. Previously, he served as chief of staff to Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey. Before joining the governor’s office, he served as vice chancellor for economic development at the University of Alabama System. For more than a decade, Bonner represented Alabama’s 1st Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Honors include induction into the Alabama Academy of Honor and the Distinguished Public Service Award, the highest honor the U.S. Navy bestows on a civilian. Bonner is a University of Alabama graduate.

Philip Burton is the CEO of Burton Property Group, a private regional commercial real estate investment, development and management firm. Burton studied at the University of South Alabama. He is a founding board member of the Beverly Burton Scholarship Trust, and a board member of the University of South Alabama Foundation for Research and Commercialization and the YPO Southern Sands Chapter.


Bradley Byrne is president and CEO of the Mobile Chamber of Commerce. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2014-2021. Byrne also was a member of the Alabama State Senate from 2002-2007 and served on the Alabama State Board of Education for two terms. He is an attorney with Adams and Reese LLP. Byrne is a Duke University graduate with a law degree from the University of Alabama.



David Clark is president and CEO of Visit Mobile. A graduate of Leadership Mobile and Leadership Alabama, he is president of the University of South Alabama Hospitality and Tourism advisory board and serves on the board of the Alabama Restaurant and Hospitality Alliance, Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce board of advisors, Alabama Travel Council, the Southern Rail Commission, Coastal Alabama Partnership, The Exploreum and Downtown Mobile Alliance. He is a graduate of Western Kentucky University.


Randall Dueitt is a Mobile County commissioner who is a 23-year veteran of the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office. He is a graduate of Theodore High School. As a commissioner he has focused on schools, economic development, infrastructure, parks and access to natural resources.




Todd Greer is executive director of Innovation Portal, a space for entrepreneurs and innovators to work and connect. Greer holds a Ph.D. from Regent University. Greer has worked with the Minority Business Accelerator, I-Corps, the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy, the United Way of Southwest Alabama and Mobile United. He currently serves on the boards of Real Advice Mentoring Program (RAMP), Springboard to Success Inc., Melton Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at USA and ForMidtown.


Connie Hudson serves on the Mobile County Commission. Earlier, she served nine years on the Mobile City Council. She has worked on several key economic initiatives, including Austal USA, the Airbus U.S. Final Assembly Line at Brookley Aeroplex, Walmart Distribution and Amazon Sortation centers. A graduate of Troy University, she worked earlier in medical technology with Mobile Infirmary Medical Center.



Merceria Ludgood is on the Mobile County Commission. She is a University of Alabama graduate with master’s degrees from UA and Alabama Interdenominational Seminary and a law degree from Antioch School of Law. She also worked as a law clerk in 1980 to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Jurisprudence and Governmental Relations, chaired by Sen. Howell Heflin of Alabama. She is on the executive committee of the National Association of Counties and is past president and current board member of the Association of County Commissions of Alabama.

Aaron Milner is superintendent of Saraland City Schools. He is a University of Alabama graduate with a master’s from Troy University and a doctorate from Auburn University. Milner also completed the Alabama Superintendents’ Academy and the Harvard Institute for Superintendents and District Leaders. He also serves as an adjunct professor of education for the University of South Alabama and board president for the South Alabama Regional Inservice Center. Milner also serves on the board of the School Superintendents of Alabama and the Council for Leaders of Alabama Schools.

Patrick Murphy is a vice president with Alabama Power, overseeing community affairs in seven counties of southwest Alabama. An Auburn University graduate, he is past  president of the Economic Development Association of Alabama and a graduate of Leadership Alabama. He serves on the board of the Auburn University Research and Technology Foundation, the Infirmary Foundation and the Industrial Development Board for the city of Mobile. He is a member of the Mobile Area Chamber executive committee and a board member of Coastal Alabama Partnership and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab Foundation.

Mark Nix is the president and CEO of Infirmary Health, Alabama’s largest private, not-for-profit healthcare system. He serves on several boards including the Alabama Department of Public Health Licensure Advisory Board, Leadership Alabama, Mobile Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Mobile Arts and Sports Association, Regions Bank-South Alabama Advisory Board, Ernest G. DeBakey Charitable Foundation and the Mobile Chamber of Commerce Board of Advisors.


Dr. Howard Rubenstein is mayor of Saraland. Rubenstein earned undergraduate and medical degrees at the University of Illinois and completed his residency training in family medicine in Pensacola. He is co-founder of the Saraland Medical Arts Clinic and Rubenstein Family Medical Associates. He earned the Emeritus Certified Municipal Official status from the Alabama League of Municipalities and has served in leadership roles including president.


Jeffery St. Clair is president and CEO of Springhill Medical Center. He is a University of Alabama graduate with a master’s from Kennedy-Western University. He serves on the boards for the hospital, Gulf Coast Surgical Partners and Dauphin West Surgery Center. In the community, he serves on the boards of the Alabama Kidney Foundation and United Way of Southwest Alabama. He has led the fundraising efforts for the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk event for the last 12 years.

Sandy Stimpson is the mayor of Mobile. During his tenure, the city has reduced its bonded indebtedness by nearly $100 million and unfunded liabilities for pension and benefits by $200 million. His civic and business endeavors include serving on the boards of the Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Alabama, the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, the Alabama Policy Institute, the Business Council of Alabama and the University of Alabama President’s Cabinet.


Chresal D. Threadgill is superintendent of Mobile County Public School System, the largest school system in Alabama. A native of Mobile, Threadgill is a graduate of Troy State University with a master’s from Alabama State University. During his 18 years leading MCPSS, the district has reached a B grade on the state report card and increased its on-time graduate rate to 88%. In 2020, he was named Alabama’s Superintendent of the Year by his colleagues with the School Superintendents of Alabama.

Mary H. Van Brunt is president of Spring Hill College, the first female to serve in the college’s top leadership role. A graduate of Ursinus College, she holds a master’s from St. Joseph’s University and a Ph.D. from Lehigh University. She has been inducted into Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars, Beta Sigma Gamma Honor Society and the Delta Epsilon Sigma National Catholic Honor Society. She is an author, consultant and certified global business professional.

This appears in the June 2023 issue of Business Alabama.

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