Spotlight on Tallapoosa & Chambers: Movers & Shapers

The individuals who help shape the communities of Tallapoosa and Chambers counties

Curtis “Woody” Baird is mayor of Alexander City. He earned his associate of science in nursing degree from Troy State University and worked six years as a nurse. He also served 20 years in the Army with the Special Forces and ran a business for 24 years in Alexander City. He is an NRA training counselor. He serves on the Alabama Municipal Electric Authority board, Lake Martin Economic Development Authority, East Alabama Regional Planning Commission and the executive board of Tallapoosa County Republican Party.


Michele Edwards is director of career technical education for Alexander City Schools. She has 24 years of experience in education, working in Shelby County and at King’s Home before moving to Alexander City. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Troy University while participating on Troy’s women’s basketball team. She also holds a doctorate from the University of Alabama. She is a 2022 graduate of the Alabama Works Educator’s Workforce Academy and is partnering with the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce to promote Pathway Learning in Alexander City Schools.

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Ansley Emfinger is project manager at the Chambers County Development Authority. She is a native of Chambers County and is a 2020 summa cum laude graduate of the University of Alabama. During college, she interned both at CCDA and Alabama Power Co. through the Economic Development Association of Alabama internship program. After college, she worked at the Elmore County Economic Development Authority. She serves on the LaFayette Main Street board, Circle of Care Center for Families board, is a member of EDAA and the Junior Variety Club. She holds additional economic development credentials from the University of Georgia and Auburn University.

Richard Langford is controller at Russell Lands. A graduate of Auburn University, he is a CPA with a career in accounting and finance of more than 35 years. He came to Russell Lands after serving as chief financial officer at Remmert & Co. in Tuscaloosa, and also has worked in banking in Tuscaloosa and Alexander City and served as director of corporate financial reporting at Russell Corp., the former Fortune 500 company headquartered in Alexander City. He has twice served on the city council in Alexander City.

Jeff Lynn is president of Central Alabama Community College. He is working on increasing enrollment, community engagement, developing long-term relationships with K-12 and other community partners and staffing the college with strong leaders. He came to the Alabama Community College System from Louisiana Economic Development where he developed the nationally recognized LED FastStart workforce development program. He is a graduate of Auburn University, a Certified Economic Developer Trainer with more than 30 years of experience in manufacturing, IT centers and more.


Chad Odom is executive director of the Lake Martin Area Economic Development Alliance, bringing more than 20 years of experience to the post. A native of Louisiana, he is a graduate of the University of New Orleans with additional credentials from the University of Cambridge, and he has mentored management and C level executives for Verizon, Siemens and Holiday Inn. At G.E. Finance, he oversaw language and compliance in Hi Tech City India. Later he was an economic developer in Texas.

Cat Outzen is CEO of Children’s Harbor, working to aid families with seriously ill children. Earlier, Outzen served as the director of community relations and pediatric programs at the Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart in Pensacola. She has a BS and an MBA from the University of Florida. She is currently a member of the Birmingham Rotary Club and formerly served on the boards of Autism Pensacola, Children’s Home Society and the Arthritis Foundation, in her hometown of Pensacola.


Beverly Price is superintendent of Alexander City schools. She has 27 years of experience in public education, the last 18 in Alexander City. She serves on the Lake Martin Area United Way board, the Boys & Girls Club board and is active with the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce. A graduate of Faulkner University, she has a master’s, doctorate and educational specialist degrees from Auburn University.



Matt Sheppard is director of golf for Willow Point Golf & Country Club and the Wicker Point Golf Club, which is currently under construction. He leads the entire golf program, manages the golf shop, outside services, teaching and club fitting programs. He came to Willow Point in 2010 from The Mountain Brook Club in Birmingham where he spent two years as an assistant professional. Sheppard is a PGA Class A Member and Certified Titleist Performance instructor and is vice president of the Alabama NW-Florida PGA Section board. Among his honors, he received the 2020 Alabama-NW Florida PGA Professional Development Award.

Travis Smith is the founder of Unite Inc., a nonprofit that helps connect high school students to HBCUs and HBCU students to opportunities. To date, Unite Inc. has assisted high school seniors in accumulating $40.2 million in scholarships and acceptances to some 550 universities. A LaFayette native, he earned a Ph.D. from Clemson University. Smith is joining the Auburn University faculty as an assistant professor of higher education administration, where he researches HBCUs and Black student experiences.


Mark Spencer is senior vice president for Valley Bank and manages 16 bank branches in Alexander City, Birmingham, Montgomery, Millbrook, Pell City, Wetumpka, Dadeville and Auburn. He is a board member of the Lake Martin Area Economic Development Alliance and chairman for the American Red Cross of Central Alabama, and has been honored as Businessperson of the Year by the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce. He has served as chairman of the Lake Martin Area United Way and the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce and helped established a business incubator.


Stanley Tucker has served as president and CEO of Farmers and Merchants Bank of LaFayette since 2009. He has been with the bank since 1998. Farmers and Merchants Bank is currently the only independently owned bank in Chambers or Tallapoosa County. Beyond banking, the Auburn University graduate is involved in the cattle industry in Chambers County. He serves on the board of LaFayette Main Street and is active with the Rotary Club of LaFayette, East Alabama Health Care Authority and Chattahoochee Humane Society.

Terry “TJ” Wood is a major and patrol commander in the Chambers County Sheriff’s Department. After attending Southern Union State Community College and graduating from the Northeast Alabama Police Academy, he started his career with the LaFayette Police Department, before joining the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office, where he has served as deputy, patrol sergeant, K9 handler, criminal investigator and drug investigator. A former Youth for Christ board member, he is also a former ambassador with the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce.

This appeared in the December 2022 issue of Business Alabama.

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