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April 2018

Spotlight on Covington & Butler Counties


Downtown Greenville is just 40 miles south of Montgomery.

Photo courtesy of the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce

Covington and Butler counties, located in southeast Alabama, are close to military bases, the capital city of Montgomery, water, rail, interstate and two automotive manufacturing plants. Rich in history and natural resources, the cities and towns work diligently to improve quality of life and attract visitors.

In Covington County, where Andalusia is the county seat, county and city officials actively support schools and healthcare facilities. The largest employer in the county, Shaw Industries, which makes carpet fibers, just announced a major expansion. Other strong sectors in this county are aviation and aerospace, automotive suppliers, health care and higher education.

In Butler County, where Greenville is the county seat, the city of Greenville recently purchased L.V. Stabler Memorial Hospital for $2.8 million and brought in UAB expertise. The hospital is now part of the UAB Health System.

“Mayor (Dexter) McLendon and the city council made the right decision to take over the ownership of the hospital, and to bring in UAB, with all its resources, ” says Donny Rentfro, Stabler CEO. The hospital, a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama Tier 1 facility, employs more than 200 and is a major employer in the area.

Butler County’s largest sector is automotive suppliers. In that sector, the largest overall employer, Hwashin America Corp., has announced an expansion. Other active sectors include lumber and wood products, health care and higher education.

Both counties are active in workforce development. Lurleen B. Wallace Community College and K-12 school systems provide workforce development for high school students and adults and work with industry to provide retraining programs as needed.

Lori Chandler Pruitt is a freelance writer for Business Alabama. She lives in Birmingham.

Text by Lori Chandler Pruitt

Top News Links: Monday, April 30


SMP opens new $150 million auto supplier plant

State and local officials came to Tuscaloosa Friday for the opening of an auto supplier plant that could eventually employ 1, 000 workers. Samvardhana Motherson Peguform, a division of the global auto components manufacturing giant Samvardhana Motherson Group, held a grand opening for its new plant at Cedar Cove Technology Park in Tuscaloosa County. The opening came more than two years after the company announced its coming to Alabama. – AL.com

State gathered $4.4 billion in capital investments for 2017

Alabama attracted $4.4 billion in capital investments last year, as companies announced projects expected to create almost 15, 500 jobs. That's according to a new report Friday from Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Commerce. The 2017 New & Expanding Industry Report shows automotive and aerospace industries are still expanding in Alabama, while forest product and food production sectors also had a good year. – AL.com

Toyota to invest $170M, add 400 jobs in Mississippi plant

Toyota Motor Corp. plans to invest $170 million and add 400 jobs at its Mississippi assembly plant as it shifts some production of the Corolla sedan from Canada. The company said Thursday it will retool the Blue Springs plant beginning later this year to make its next-generation Corolla sedan. Such changeovers are frequent at auto plants, but this one will also increase the plant's capacity. – AP/Memphis Daily News

Ivey back home after business talks in Japan

Gov. Kay Ivey said meetings with high-level executives from Mazda,  Toyota and Honda in Japan helped to fortify the state’s relationships with the global automakers and will facilitate their growth plans in Alabama. Ivey, Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield and a team of Alabama economic development specialists returned home Thursday after talks with the automakers and an appointment with Bill Hagerty, the U.S. Ambassador to Japan. The group traveled to Tokyo on Tuesday. – AT

Robert Aderholt has 'real concerns' about newsprint tariff

Congressman Robert Aderholt said today he has “real concerns” about the effect of recently imposed tariffs on Canadian paper, which he said are raising costs on traditional newsprint. The U.S. Commerce Department earlier this year imposed anti-subsidy and anti-dumping tariffs on Canadian newsprint paper – the paper on which newspapers and directories, as well as other publications are printed – which are supplied by Canadian mills. – AL.com

Gadsden man gets seven years for securities fraud

A Gadsden man has been sentenced to seven years in prison for securities fraud after prosecutors said he took a victim's retirement funds to invest in an unregistered movie production company. Etowah County District Attorney Jody Willoughby and Alabama Securities Commission Director Joseph Borg announced the sentence, handed down this week by Circuit Judge George Day. – AL.com

compiled by dave helms

Top News Links: Friday, April 27


Ivey: Construction to begin on new auto plant by Oct. 1

Construction on Huntsville's $1.6 billion Mazda-Toyota manufacturing plant is scheduled to begin by Oct. 1. That's according to Gov. Kay Ivey,  who returned today from a two-day trip to Japan to speak with executives of the two companies, as well as Honda. She also met with U.S. Ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty. – AL.com

Caddell Construction wins $127M military contract

Caddell Construction Co. of Montgomery has won a $127 million firm-fixed-price contract for the construction of the National Nuclear Security Administration Albuquerque Complex, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Bids were solicited via the Internet with four received. Work will be performed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with an estimated completion date of Nov. 6, 2020. – Defense.gov

Airbus contemplates tweaking its Mobile product mix

Changes are percolating for Airbus' A320 family of jets and for the new aircraft it plans to build in partnership with Bombardier. Those changes likely will affect Airbus' operations in coastal Alabama, though it remains unknown when and to what extent. – AL.com

Ann Florie retiring from Leadership Birmingham

Ann Florie starts an interview about retiring as executive director of Leadership Birmingham by talking about her predecessors and how much they meant to the organization. “We’re the beneficiaries of what they did, ” Florie says of Leadership Birmingham’s first two directors, Sheila Blair and Elise Penfield. Those who know her well say that is the essence of Florie: deflecting attention from herself, even as she has been the face of the leadership program for the past 14 years. – ANC

Ford, GM getting close to being out of car business

So is it really the end of the American car on its home turf? From the way Detroit's major executives are talking, it would seem so. Ford said Wednesday it will only offer two new cars in North America over the coming years — its iconic Mustang and the Focus Active, a rugged-looking hatchback somewhat resembles the Subaru Crosstrek. GM is moving along the same lines. – CNBC

Daimler’s net profit falls but profit forecast rises

Automaker Daimler AG saw first-quarter net profit fall 11 percent due to shifting currency exchange rates and one-time gains in the year-earlier quarter. But the company had stronger earnings from its Mercedes-Benz luxury car division and raised its profit forecast for the year, saying earnings will increase slightly even as it spends heavily on new technology. – CNBC

compiled by dave helms

Top News Links: Thursday, April 26


Birmingham mayor outlines economic game plan

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said Wednesday that the city will focus on attracting, developing and retaining the region's economic talent. “Our commitment is to growing and supporting the next generation of builders and makers, ” Woodfin said during the 2018 Birmingham Business Alliance's Regional Economic Growth Summit at the Harbert Center. – AL.com

Lawsuit questions: Must the play really go on?

A lawyer for the estate of Harper Lee is trying to halt a lawsuit filed by a producer who plans to stage a Broadway production of the writer's classic “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Court records show Lee attorney Tonja Carter on Tuesday asked a federal court in Alabama to block a federal lawsuit filed last week in New York by producer Scott Rudin's company, Rudinplay. Carter filed a lawsuit last month that contends writer Aaron Sorkin's script for a stage adaptation of “Mockingbird” set to open in December alters characters in Lee's book, counter to a contract. – USN&WR

BBA: Area saw $572M in capital investment during 2017 

The Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA) reported the total announced jobs and capital investment for the Birmingham seven-county region in 2017 at its annual Regional Economic Growth Summit today. Last year, 40 new and expanding companies representing 3, 068 jobs and $572.7 million in capital investment were announced. – News release

Smokin’ on the Boulevard in Florence takes bbq prize

Dry-rubbed, hickory-smoked, no-sauce-needed ribs from Smokin’ on the Boulevard in Florence were dubbed Bama’s Best Pork Ribs in an inaugural contest sponsored by the Alabama Pork Producers. Jeff Carter and Karen Hill opened the roadside stand six years ago, where they cook St. Louis-style ribs low and slow in a fertilizer-buggy-turned-smoker. They said they were honored to be named Bama’s best, but accolades aren’t their priority. – ALFA

John M. Turner to become Regions CEO July 2

Regions Financial Corp. on Wednesday announced that John M. Turner Jr. will become chief executive officer of Regions Bank and Regional Financial Corp. July 2. Turner, 56, who currently serves as president, will succeed chairman and CEO Grayson Hall, 60. – AL.com

Fake news strikes the world of higher ed loan reporting

The Chronicle of Higher Education reported an unusual discovery on Monday. The founder, editor and columnist of a website that bills itself as a resource for student loan news does not exist. The Chronicle was seeking information from “Drew Cloud” because reporters there were skeptical of a survey conducted by The Student Loan Report and published on its website. The survey claimed more than one in five students were using loan money to buy cryptocurrency. – APR 

Shots still being fired in the Great Catfish War

Townsend Kyser is a third-generation catfish farmer in the city of Greensboro — population 2, 365 — the catfish capital of Alabama. But since the U.S. and Vietnam signed a bilateral trade agreement in 2001, it’s been a struggle for Southern catfish farmers, most of whom are concentrated in Alabama and Mississippi. – APR

Seating supplier Lear reports strong sales in first quarter

Lear Corp., a leading global supplier of automotive seating and electrical systems with divisions in Alabama and other Southern states, recently reported record results for the first quarter 2018.  The company saw Q1 sales of $5.7 billion, up 15 percent from a year ago. – News release

compiled by dave helms

Flashback: Long-Running Family Fishery


Chris Nelson, Bon Secour Fisheries.

Photo by Dan Anderson


Our Flashback this month also serves as a preview of our May issue, which features businesses that are tied to water.

One of the oldest such business was highlighted in December 2011, in a set of stories about family-owned businesses.

Established as an oyster house in 1896 by Danish immigrant Frank Nelson, Bon Secour Fisheries soon began harvesting its own oysters and later began shrimping. Today the company supplies fresh Gulf seafood to restaurants and grocery stores throughout the Southeast, operating a fleet of five shrimp boats and processing shrimp and oysters in a 30, 000-square-foot plant on the Bon Secour River in Baldwin County.

Hit by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010, the company was one of the few water-bound businesses that didn’t lay off workers. “We met quite often to talk about what direction and what strategy we should take to minimize the impact on our company, ” said Chris Nelson, vice president of oyster procurement. “A number of places closed or laid off their employees, but we wanted to avoid that if at all possible.”

“We” referred to the board of directors, composed of the founder’s grandson, John Ray Nelson, his three sons Chris, David and John Andrew, as well as the company’s information technology specialist and its comptroller/accountant.

Duties in the company are allocated according to an individual’s interest and abilities, explained Chris. “I was always particularly interested in the oyster production end of the business, so that’s where I settled. In college I studied biology, and I got a marine science degree in graduate school. So the things that are more science oriented tend to gravitate my way.”

His oldest brother, John Andrew, studied economics in college and became president of the company. The middle brother, David, who studied economics and has a master’s degree in business administration, became vice president of sales. “I’m not as conversant with accounting and such things, ” explains Chris. “My two older brothers are economic majors, so they had more exposure to that side of the business. We have a good mix of skills, the three of us working together.”

Chris McFadyen is the editorial director of  Business Alabama.

Text by chris mcfadyen

Top News Links: Wednesday, April 25


Google releases new study touting data center impacts

Two weeks after it broke ground on a new data center in Alabama, Google is touting their impact on the communities they've joined. On Monday, Google released the findings of a new analysis of their current six data centers. The study, conducted by Oxford Economics, showed that as of 2016, the centers have generated $1.3 billion in economic impact and created 11, 000 jobs. – WAAY

Mobile making good on support pledge to Airbus

Five years after ground was broken for Mobile's Airbus assembly line and two years after the first jet built there took flight, the city and county seem close to fulfilling the last big piece of the promises that brought it to Alabama in the first place. On Tuesday morning, the Mobile County Commission approved its $125, 000 share of dredging work off Arlington Point. – AL.com

Tennis ball-chasing robot launches on Kickstarter

Tennibot, the autonomous robot that saves players and coaches valuable practice time while avoiding the tedium of chasing tennis balls, has launched on Kickstarter. Haitham Eletrabi, the founder and CEO of Tennibot, Inc., came up with the idea for Tennibot during his time at Auburn University where he received his Master of Business Administration and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering. – News release

State delegation heads to Japan for business talks

Gov. Kay Ivey and a state delegation departed Tuesday for Japan as part of an economic development team to meet with auto executives at Toyota, Mazda, and Honda.  According to Ivey, the goal of this trip is to facilitate growth in the state's automotive sector and strenthen ties with the automakers. – WAAY

Alabama’s biggest aerospace company crushes earnings estimates

Boeing first-quarter earnings comfortably beat analysts’ estimates, driven by faster production in its commercial air division helping to deliver more planes. The aerospace giant raised its full-year earnings forecast by 50 cents, to a range of $16.40 per share to $16.60 per share, while maintaining its revenue at a range of $96 billion to $98 billion. – CNBC

CenterPointe Hospital topped out by DeAngelis Diamond

DeAngelis Diamond recently celebrated the topping out of CenterPointe Hospital in Columbia, Missouri. This 56, 300 sq.ft. psychiatric hospital will hold 72 beds and is set to open in October. The construction management firm worked alongside CenterPointe Behavioral Health System and Johnson Johnson Crabtree Architects to incorporate LEAN principles during design and construction. – Missourian

compiled by dave helms

Where R&D Goes to School


UAH engineering students learn while manufacturing in the co-op program with Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Alabama, the company’s engine plant in Huntsville.


A 2010 study conducted by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute at the State University of New York showed a strong link between higher education and economic development.

While that not-so-surprising fact likely fell into the category of “tell me something I don’t know, ” it documented a new trend in workforce development that is changing a decades-long economic development paradigm.

The report found research universities to be the key players in economic development, with especially strong links to advanced workforce development, business and technological consulting, and creating an environment for corporate startups. The report revealed a new model for economic growth: one modeled more on education, research and innovation and less on traditional incentive programs.

It’s worked for Silicon Valley, Research Triangle Park in North Carolina and the I-93 corridor north of Boston. Technologically focused higher education that produces a talented workforce, supported by enlightened local governments and chambers of commerce, makes a potent mix for economic development.

The key issue, of course, is workforce development. Today’s technology companies, whose competitive advantages rely heavily on technological innovation, must be fed and their fuel is educated people.

The Economic Development Partnership of Alabama promotes the assets of eight research universities in Alabama: Auburn University, Alabama A&M University, Alabama State University, Tuskegee University, the University of Alabama, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the University of South Alabama and the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Here in Huntsville, the partnership between UAH and a growing innovation-oriented economy has produced both supply and demand for highly educated workers.

One must wonder which really comes first. A community wants to bring in the industry, but at the same time you have to have the workforce needed to support that industry.

Since the 1960s, Huntsville has realized that the key to bringing high quality jobs is a high integrity workforce of the smartest and most productive people possible.

Thousands of graduates from the University of Alabama in Huntsville end up at federal agencies and government contractors on Redstone Arsenal and technology-rich companies that populate Cummings Research Park. Several have made it to the top of leading CRP companies. These include UAH graduates Marc Bendickson, chairman of the board of Dynetics; Richard Amos, president of Colsa Corp.; Steven Hill, president of AEgis Research; Ashok Singhal president of CFD Research, and Gurmej Sandhu, founder and chairman of Sigmatech.

A dynamic technological economy fosters changing educational needs. Prospects that need a specific workforce skill set are able to work with UAH to modify or add educational programs designed to fill the gap.

This could involve an entirely new degree program. Current examples are modeling & simulation, gaming and entertainment arts, varying degree levels in cybersecurity, a Ph.D in biotechnology and specialized MBA programs focused on logistics and supply chain management.

Beyond Advanced Workforce Development

The advanced workforce development and research benefits are only the beginning of the story. Research universities bring other benefits designed to grease the wheels of economic development and growth.

One of these is the ability to function as a teaming partner, or a “force multiplier, ” on major proposals for grants and government contracts requiring strong research credentials. UAH offers the ability to be a teaming partner and strengthen a proposal and also to offer facilities many of these companies can’t otherwise afford. Those facilities, as well as UAH talent and expertise, can be a real plus in a proposal effort.

Research can be a very expensive effort and therefore an activity not many companies can cost justify. This is one of the advantages for the Huntsville community in having a research university. UAH is able to develop a research program in an extremely focused, niche area that doesn’t normally exist in industry. Corporations have to be more “jack of all trades” and are not able to develop a niche expertise. But as a UAH faculty member, one can drill down into a very specific area and become a world-class expert in that area. So, there are occasions when that world-class expertise in a very specific area becomes the crucial factor in a proposal.

Research universities find themselves more often at the forefront of local and state economic development efforts. Alabama, like other states, continues to offer traditional incentives like tax breaks and infrastructure development, but the state’s major research universities offer that one “lead incentive” of knowledge that more businesses find they must have.

And this factor appears to become even more prevalent in economic development successes in the greater Huntsville area lately. Recent moves by manufacturing companies in north Alabama also include a research and development component alongside the manufacturing capabilities. Remington moved its R&D center from Kentucky to Huntsville, and Polaris has an R&D building planned on its campus. Toyota-Mazda also has an R&D center planned between the two manufacturing buildings at its mega-plant in Limestone County.

This trend falls in line with the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute report: “In the economy of the future, the businesses that will have staying power and growth potential will be those most dependent on knowledge — on research, new ideas, new technologies and upgraded knowledge for their workers.”

Ray Garner is chief of staff to the president of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Robert Altenkirch.

Text by RAY GARNER, Chief of staff to the president of the University of Alabama in Huntsville

Top News Links: Tuesday, April 24


Amazon wants to deliver packages to your trunk

From the company that brought you the option of letting a courier inside your home comes a new service: package delivery inside your car. Amazon is expanding its in-home delivery service called Key to include deliveries to trunks and backseats of cars. The service is available only to Amazon Prime members in 37 cities who have a 2015 or newer Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac or Volvo with an active OnStar or Volvo On Call account. – APR

Third shift brewing at Milo’s Tea in Bessemer

Milo's Tea Company is looking to fill 30 new positions, as it adds a third shift to the revamped Bessemer plant it opened last year. The company will also be hosting a job fair this Saturday at its 15.5-acre headquarters. CEO Patricia Wallwork said the expansion comes because of the company's rapid growth. – AL.com

Velocity Accelerator's Demo Day offers the inside pitch

They offered everything from babysitters to homes to actual dirt. But more than anything, they offered…the future. The seven startups who brought their business plans to Velocity Accelerator's Demo Day tonight exhibited passion and planning with their pitches before a crowd at Iron City. – AL.com

Clemson, HudsonAlpha partner for cotton in space

A Clemson University and HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology project to explore the cotton genome and how it reacts differently in micro-gravity and normal gravity has been selected as a winner in the Cotton Sustainability Challenge. The Challenge, run by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, and sponsored by Target Corp., provided researchers and innovators the opportunity to propose solutions to improve crop production on Earth by sending their concepts to the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory. – News release

Southern Sky Aviation opens at Birmingham airport

Southern Sky Aviation, a full-service aviation company, has announced its opening at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. The company, which was founded by Bill Gunnells, previously the chief executive officer and founder of prescription drug card benefits company RxBenefits, has more than 67, 000 square feet of space in two fully refurbished hangars on the East and West ramps of the Birmingham airport. – AL.com

Calhoun College to offer CompTIA prep classes

Calhoun Community College will offer accelerated summer courses to prepare individuals for CompTIA certification exams beginning June 4 – July 20, Monday through Friday, from 8am until noon on the Huntsville campus. The CompTIA Summer Certification series will prepare students for the A+, Network+, and Security+ exams, the most commonly required certifications in the IT industry. – News release

Air Hydro Power acquires Powermotion Inc.

Air Hydro Power Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, has acquired Powermotion Inc. of Birmingham. Started by Hugh Cottingham and Roy Costner in 1972, Powermotion brings over 45 years of experience supporting customers throughout Alabama. – News release

After diesel scandal, VW turns to new leaders, electric cars

Volkswagen is trying yet again to turn the page after its emissions cheating scandal— leaving diesel behind in favor of electric cars. The major shift comes as the German automaker — the world's largest in term of cars sold — has a new leader in Herbert Diess. – APR

compiled by dave helms

Career Notes, April 2018

W. Allen Carroll Jr.


W. Allen Carroll Jr., a partner with Wilkins Miller LLC, has been selected as a Mitchell College of Business IMPACT member. In addition, the firm has added Arica Holloway and Leslie Phillips.


Megan Lynch, with Barge Design Solutions Inc. of Birmingham, has passed the exam and is now a licensed architect.


First US Bank has promoted David McCullum to executive vice president, commercial real estate.

Mike Coggin has been named senior vice president commercial banking at NobleBank & Trust. He is based out of the Birmingham branch.

Kyle Conrad has joined Progress Bank as an AVP, business banker within the Birmingham market.

David Cooper Sr., vice chairman of Cooper/T. Smith Corp., is retiring in late April from the board of directors of Regions Financial Corp.


HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology Co-founder Lonnie McMillian has been named Entrepreneur Champion of the Year by the Catalyst Center for Business & Entrepreneurship.

Business Organizations

The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama has named Carolyn Tubbs the director of education programs. In addition,  Katherine Waldon has joined the chamber staff as a workforce development project manager.

Allan Dedman


Eddie Stewart, president and CEO of Caddell Construction Co., has been named the 2018 president of Associated General Contractors of America. Stewart was featured in June 2017 Business Alabama.

Allan Dedman has been promoted to chief operating officer at Doster Construction Co. Dedman has nearly 30 years of industry experience.

Brian Saunders has been promoted to executive project manager for DeAngelis Diamond.

Convenience Stores

MAPCO has appointed Charles (Hal) Adams as CEO. MAPCO has 350 convenience stories located throughout the Southeast.

Economic Development

Neill Wright has been named the executive director of the new Birmingham-based Bronze Valley Corp., an initiative to create a pipeline from education to employment for underrepresented technology careers in the South.


Keith Herron has been re-elected as chairman of Samford University’s Board of Overseers. Peter Clemens IV is vice chair. Newly elected board members are Brent Fielder, Corey Green, Brian Kelly, Daniel Samford and Mechelle Wilder. Re-elected to the board are Bill Cleveland, Carolyn Featheringill, Ann Thornton Field, Drew Langloh, Vince Noblitt and Anna Williams.

The University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Studies has presented Trudier Harris with the 2018 Clarence E. Cason Award in Nonfiction Writing.

Marina Gorbatyuk, an associate professor of vision science in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry has been awarded a $1.25 million R01 grant from the National Eye Institute to study the regulation of protein synthesis in photoreceptors of mice with inherited retinal degeneration. In addition, Ricardo Tapilatu, a graduate of UAB College of Arts and Sciences, was one of eight marine conservationists chosen worldwide to receive a 2018 Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation from the Pew Charitable Trusts.

The University of Montevallo College of Education honored four alumni recently. Alissa Helfinstine was presented the Outstanding Alumna Award for Deaf and Heard of Hearing Education. Erica Tsivourakis was recognized as the Outstanding Alunmna in Nutrition and Wellness. The Outstanding Alumnus Award for Teacher Leadership was presented to Grayson Lawrence and Amanda Hood was the recipient of the Outstanding Alumna Award in Instructional Leadership.

Kelly McCarron


Kelly McCarron has been promoted to associate vice president for medical affairs, health development for USA Health.

Industrial Parts

Genuine Parts Co. has named Motion Industries Inc. President and CEO Tim Breen its 2017 GPC Manager of the Year.

Information Technology

SSI, of Mobile, has promoted Jeff Miller as chief product officer.


Alfa Insurance has promoted Beth Chancey to senior vice president of property & casualty operations. She replaces Tommy Coshatt, who was promoted to executive vice president of operations on the retirement of Steve Rutledge.


Brittney Claud has joined Starnes Davis Florie as an attorney.

Linda Landis has joined the environmental & natural resources practice at Balch & Bingham LLP’s Birmingham office.

Diane Babb Maughan has been elected  to the management committee at Cabaniss, Johnston, Gardner, Dumas & O’Neal LLP.

Cason Kirby and Yawanna McDonald have been named partners in the Birmingham office of Campbell Guin.

Paige Boshell, a partner with Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, has earned four certifications in information privacy through the International Association of Privacy Professionals. Also, the firm has added William “Buddy” Cox III as partner and Seth Muse as an associate in its Birmingham office. In addition, the firm has added Tiffany Graves as pro bono counsel in its Jackson, Mississippi office.

Keith Lichtman, an University of Alabama alumnus, and George Reid have launched Bridgewater Resolution Group to address dispute resolution needs of high-net-worth families and closely held businesses.

Elizabeth Huntley, of counsel for Lightfoot, Franklin &White LLC, has been named a fellow of the Birmingham Bar Foundation. Also, partner Brooke Garner Malcom has been named to the 2018 Board of Directors for the Birmingham Bar Volunteer Lawyers Program.

Michael Rich has joined Maynard Cooper & Gale‘s Government Solutions Practice as an associate in the firm’s Huntsville office.

Wallace, Jordan, Ratliff & Brandt LLC attorney Roderick Evans has been presented the Audrey Gaston Howard Award from Samford University.


David Thompson has been named director of recreation and sports tourism and Don Dukemineer has been named deputy director of sports tourism with Foley Sports Tourism. On the event operations side, Angie Johnston will resume her role as event operations manager and Luke Persall has been hired as event operations coordinator. In addition, Angela Foley has been hired to assist at the Foley Event Center and will be working with Jeff Ryan, who has been maintaining the center. Christy Raley will move into the role of sports and sponsorship sales manager and Rhett Brown has been promoted to field superintendent.


The Business Council of Alabama has commended U.S. Senator Richard Shelby for his public service, which has spanned more than 40 years. In addition, the BCA has presented the Still Ambassadorial Award to Torch Technologies Inc. President John Watson.

Thomas Radcliffe

Real Estate

Thomas Radcliffe has joined NAI Chase Commercial, in Huntsville, as an associate sales person.

Newcastle Homes has added sales agent Courtney Tollison as an agent on site for Griffin Park.

The Sanders Trust, a Birmingham-based healthcare real estate firm, has added Hurston Raley as vice president of asset management.


Donnie and Steve Saucier were recognized for being Franchisees of the Year by Signal 88 Security. The brothers own four locations throughout Alabama.


Swift Industrial Power has added Scott Troutman as a customer service representative in the Mobile office.

ThreatAdvice, of Birmingham, has hired former FBI Agent Rob Haley as director of intelligence. In addition, the company has added Jennifer Skjellum as director of blockchain and crypto innovation in its Chattanooga, Tennessee office.

Wealth Management

J. Aaron Jack has been named chief development officer of Argent Financial Group Inc. Jack will be responsible for marketing, sales and business development for the company, which has a footprint across the Southeast, including Alabama.

Top News Links: Monday, April 23


Leisure/hospitality sector leads state job creation curve

Alabama's economy is on a hot streak, as the state added 20, 100 jobs over the last year. Even so, the state's unemployment rate was up slightly in March, rising to 3.8 percent from its historic low of 3.7 in February. A year ago, the rate was 5 percent. The biggest job gains over the past year came in the leisure and hospitality sector, with more than 4, 400 jobs added. – AL.com

Air Hydro Power now in the robot business

Air Hydro Power is now an authorized distributor of Universal Robots. The is a manufacturer of collaborative robots that are safe, adaptable, and easy for use in businesses of every size. Because of the flexible designs with small footprints, UR robots can provide fast return on investments. – News release

Marx Brothers installs solar panel system on roof of building

Marx Brothers, Birmingham's importer and supplier of coconut products, has installed a solar panel system on the roof of its Birmingham offices which can supply up to 35 percent of the building's annual electric consumption. The panels are part of a 132-kilowatt solar photovoltaic energy system projected to produce more than 205, 000 kilowatt-hours of electricity. – AL.com

Firm moving HQ to Wells Fargo Tower in downtown Birmingham

A full-service financial investigation firm is moving its headquarters to the Wells Fargo Tower in downtown Birmingham. Forensic Strategic Solutions is relocating its headquarters from its current location at 2001 Park Place. The firm also has offices in Charlotte and Winston-Salem, N.C., and Atlanta. – AL.com

TVA auctions 900 acres in Muscle Shoals Reservation

The Tennessee Valley Authority, in a long-planned auction, sold about 900 acres of the Muscle Shoals Reservation on Friday. The public utility announced that Muscle Shoals Holdings LLC made the highest bid at auction of $5 million. The company now has 90 days to close on the property pending a permit release from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. TVA set the minimum bid for the land at $3.85 million. – AL.com

Montgomery agent charged with felony insurance fraud

A Montgomery man has been indicted by a grand jury on seven charges of felony insurance fraud, according to court records. Walter Mark Anderson IV, 48, was indicted on March 30 for seven alleged instances of fraud worth a combined $9, 285 between June 2016 and November 2017. – Montgomery Advertiser

compiled by dave helms

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