HUNTSVILLE & MADISON COUNTY
INNOVATION STARTS HERE
INTRODUCTION BY MAYOR TOMMY BATTLE SPONSORED BY DOWNTOWN HUNTSVILLE, INC.
WRITTEN BY CHRIS WELCH, DR. JAN DAVIS, BARBARA NASH, MARK McCARTER, PATRICIA McCARTER AND NANCY MANN JACKSON FEATURING THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF ERIC SCHULTZ
HUNTSVILLE & MADISON COUNTY
INNOVATION STARTS HERE
Produced in cooperation with Downtown Hunstville, Inc.
HUNTSVILLE & MADISON COUNTY
INNOVATION STARTS HERE
INTRODUCTION BY MAYOR TOMMY BATTLE SPONSORED BY DOWNTOWN HUNTSVILLE, INC.
WRITTEN BY CHRIS WELCH, DR. JAN DAVIS, BARBARA NASH, MARK McCARTER, PATRICIA McCARTER AND NANCY MANN JACKSON FEATURING THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF ERIC SCHULTZ
Photo courtesy of NASA
HUNTSVILLE & MADISON COUNTY
INNOVATION STARTS HERE
Produced in cooperation with Downtown Huntsville, Inc. by Beers & Associates, LLC Foreword by Chad Emerson Introduction by Mayor Tommy Battle Written by Chris Welch, Dr. Jan Davis, Mark McCarter, Patricia McCarter, Barbara Nash and Nancy Mann Jackson Featuring the photography of Eric Schultz
Ronald P. Beers, President, Publisher Terry Chambliss Beers, Vice President Associate Publisher: Paula T. Haider Managing Editor: Rachel Beers Fisher Proofreader: Ann Marie Martin Printing & Production: Friesens Cover photo images (from top to bottom) by: NASA/ Sierra Nevada Corporation Michael Mercier Beers & Associates, LLC 8650 Minnie Brown Road, Suite 120 Montgomery, Alabama 36117 beersandassociates.net ÂŠ 2016 Beers & Associates, LLC All Rights Reserved Published 2016 First Edition ISBN: 978-0-9913534-4-6 Library of Congress Control Number: 2016953804 Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information herein. However, the authors and Beers & Associates are not responsible for any errors or omissions which may have occurred. Printed in Canada 5
Photo by Randall Belk
TABLE OF CONTENTS Corporations and Organizations Profiled . . . . . . . . 9 Business Visionaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Foreword by Chad Emerson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Introduction by Mayor Tommy Battle. . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Huntsville & Madison County: Center of Vision & Innovation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Downtown: Center of It All. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Education: Smart City. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Health Care: Award-Winning Quality Care . . . . . . . 84 Communities & Neighborhoods: Places Called Home. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108 Outdoors & Recreation: Places to Play . . . . . . . . . . . 128 Arts, Entertainment, Attractions & Events: The Cornerstone of Culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140 Business: Innovation, Vision, Opportunity. . . . . . . . 162 Aerospace & Defense. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190 Aerospace: Strong Foundation - No Ceiling . . . 190 Defense: Supporting the Warfighter . . . . . . . . . . 198 High Tech: Designs on the Future. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 236 Manufacturing: Made in Huntsville. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 258 Transportation & Utilities: Global Connectivity. . . 274 Agribusiness: The Seeds of Innovation. . . . . . . . . . . 288 Entrepreneurs, Creatives & Makers: Innovate Hard. Live Easy.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302 Corporate Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 314 Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 317 Authors & Photographers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 319 7
Photo by Eric Schultz
CORPORATIONS & ORGANIZATIONS The following corporations and organizations have made a valuable commitment to the quality of this publication. Downtown Huntsville, Inc. gratefully acknowledges their participation in Huntsville & Madison County: Innovation Starts Here. * denotes Business Visionaries. 256 Magazine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ADTRAN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . AECOM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Aerojet Rocketdyne . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Agile Information Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Alabama A&M University . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Alabama Colon & Gastro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Alabama Psychological Services Center, LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Amanda Howard Real Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Auburn University Huntsville Research Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Aviagen* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Boeing* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Broadway Group* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Calhoun Community College . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cepeda Systems & Software Analysis, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Christine Wicks, Keller Williams In Town Partners* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Clearview Cancer Institute . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Community Foundation of Huntsville/Madison County . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Covenant Properties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Crestwood Medical Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Currie Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cyn Shea’s Serving Hope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Davidson Technologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . DESE Research, Inc., . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Downtown Huntsville, Inc.* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . DRS Technologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dynetics* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Embassy Suites . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Garber Construction Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Grace Lutheran School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hexagon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hightower Twickenham . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Huntsville Botanical Garden . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Huntsville Hospital Health System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Huntsville Utilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Intuitive Research and Technology Corporation (INTUITIVE) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . J.F. Drake State Community & Technical College . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . John Blue Realty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . L-3 in Huntsville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . LG Electronics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Limbaugh Orthodontics* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . LogiCore* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Madison County Commission* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Melvin, Bibb, Pinson & Segars, P.C. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Nektar Therapeutics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Northrop Grumman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . nou Systems, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Oakwood University . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Oral Arts Dental Laboratories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Orbital ATK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PeopleTec . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Port of Huntsville* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PPT Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PROJECTXYZ, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . R2C Support Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RadioBro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rosenblum Realty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Russ Russell Commercial Real Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . System Studies & Simluation, Inc. (S³)* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Samples Properties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ServisFirst Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sierra Nevada Corporation* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Smith Family Clinic for Genomic Medicine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Teledyne Brown Engineering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Torch Technologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Turner Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The University of Alabama in Huntsville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Village of Providence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Von Braun Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . WaveLink . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Yulista* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
40 250 229 223 225 76 106 107 126 83 300 214 56 80 220 120 102 39 186 98 185 158 208 233 60 270 210 154 187 82 254 188 36 159 160 104 37 222 74 184 226 252 96 216 174 182 34 224 227 81 100 231 218 286 256 230 228 255 122 189 212 180 178 248 105 257 234 272 38 78 124 161 232 204
Photo by Eric Schultz
hen we meet with groups of people, we often ask, “Can you think of a dynamic city that doesn’t have a dynamic downtown?” The response is always, “No, we can’t.” That consensus response demonstrates why a strong downtown is an important part of any strong city or strong region. That’s why Downtown Huntsville, Inc. is excited to partner in this new publication. Huntsville has long been celebrated as Rocket City USA. With a large NASA rocket, Army missile, and Defense Department missile presence along with private companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman, the moniker fits Huntsville extremely well. In recent years, though, more and more people have begun to re-discover Downtown Huntsville as an important feature of the city. Overlooked by Monte Sano and miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, Downtown Huntsville and the immediate surrounding area is a vibrant outdoor destination in a city center setting. Residents and guests to downtown can access the miles of Monte Sano trails just minutes from the city center as well as Monte Sano State Park – one of the few state parks adjacent to a downtown setting. In addition to Monte Sano, the Downtown Huntsville outdoor lifestyle offers Big Spring International Park – a linear park that comfortably winds throughout Downtown from the Historic Square to the Von Braun Center Convention and Entertainment complex. Big Spring Park is also home to the Huntsville Museum of Art as well as many of the region’s most popular and eclectic events such as the regular Street Food Gatherings filled with food trucks and other artisan food makers, the Grotto Lights Concert Series, Panoply Arts Festival, Retro Winter Games and the Human Foosball Tournament. Just steps away, the Historic Square and Historic Huntsville Depot host other signature events, including the Rocket City Brewfest, the Downtown Open Pop Up Putt Putt tournament, and the Downtown Pop Up Park Experience. All of these events support the Downtown Huntsville philosophy of offering “eclectic yet approachable” events that appeal to all ages in different ways. Downtown Huntsville’s dynamic revitalization isn’t limited to special events. In fact, over $300 million dollars in new private developments have either opened or begun planning and construction stages. These include the new Downtown Publix, hundreds of new lofts, award-winning dining, and several of the region’s eight local craft brewer-
ies, including the Downtown Huntsville Craft Beer Trail which will include one of the country’s first multi-brewery entertainment facilities. In addition to large and dynamic developments, Downtown Huntsville also emphasizes small and microscale redevelopment such as the IDA award-winning Clinton Row retail shops – a former ground-floor storage facility where the storage units were converted into 10-by-10-square-foot retail incubators. Here you’ll find everything from start-up jewelry makers to fashion design, locally made products, and artist venues. In a city filled with amazing technology ventures such as the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, Downtown Huntsville is also staking claim as an innovation hub led by Curse, Inc.--a leading gaming support company which recently relocated its headquarters from downtown San Francisco to the center of the Rocket City. Other growing, innovation companies include Appleton Learning, API Digital, StarLab, Polaris Sensor Technologies, and Zero Point Frontiers. Another important part of the downtown revitalization strategy focuses on live events at a variety of venues. The Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, Broadway Theatre League, Huntsville Ballet, Theatre Huntsville, Fantasy Playhouse and other cultural resources all perform in the city center. Downtown is also home to a Division 1 hockey team and minor league hockey team as well as regional concerts ranging from Cirque du Soleil to Elton John. While Downtown Huntsville aggressively looks to the future, it also celebrates its past with historic residential districts such as Twickenham, Old Town, and Five Points that complement the downtown lofts by offering everything from Victorian mansions to quirky bungalows. This mix of loft living and single-family homes also supports some of the best scoring public schools in the state. The result of all these important features coming together is a Downtown that is revitalizing itself with a unique mix of innovative businesses, dynamic redevelopment, eclectic events, and historic charm. To learn more, please visit us at DowntownHuntsville. org or on our wide variety of social media channels.
Chad Emerson, CEO of Downtown Huntsville Inc. 13
eamwork and Innovation. These two characteristics help define the most dynamic cities, governments and companies. These essential ingredients are at the heart of what makes Huntsville a success and why innovation starts here. Our community is open to new people, fresh ideas, and endless possibilities. New residents discover Huntsville to be an inclusive place that welcomes their thoughts, encourages their input, and desires their involvement. When people visit Huntsville for the first time, whether they are business leaders, meeting planners, vacationing families, or Space Campers preparing for their first mission, we often hear the phrase, “I had no idea!” Visitors are impressed by our inclusive, progressive and vibrant community. They are surprised to learn we have the secondlargest research park in the U.S., one of the largest private arts centers in the country, the nation’s highest concentration of engineers, a city where one in four people is employed in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) profession, and a place where residents are
above: Mayor Tommy Battle (Photo by Eric Schultz) left: Huntsville’s central core has become a hub for business and entertainment. (Photo courtesy of the Huntsville/Madison
above: The Huntsville Museum of Art hosts lectures, classes and social events in addition to mounting landmark exhibitions. (Photo courtesy of the
Huntsville/Madison County CVB) below: Huntsville is consistently ranked among the top places in the U.S. to live, work, play and retire. (Photo by Eric Schultz)
The Huntsville Botanical Garden is another visitor favorite. (Photo courtesy of the Huntsville Botanical Garden)
minutes away from a wide variety of recreation options, including hike and bike trails, waterways, and greenways. In the heart of our City is our historic downtown and Big Spring Park, where Huntsville was founded in 1805. Today, our central core has become a hub for business and entertainment. There are regular outdoor concerts and movies, festivals, and cultural activities. Charming cafés, fine dining, pubs, clubs and boutiques have made our downtown the happening spot. They have good reason to be so impressed. Huntsville is consistently ranked among the top places in the U.S. to live, work, play and retire. You name it and chances are we’ve made the list. We’re home to many of Alabama’s top tourist attractions – and the state’s top-ranked paid attraction – the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. From the EarlyWorks Family of Museums, including the Historic Huntsville Depot (check out the Civil War-era graffiti on the third floor when you visit), Alabama Constitution Village (the location where Alabama first became a state) and EarlyWorks Children’s Museum, to Burritt on the Mountain with its beautiful valley views, Huntsville has something for everyone.
Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment is just one of the gems we have to offer. It’s an old textile mill turned into the nation’s largest privately owned arts center and a must-stop on everyone’s Huntsville bucket list. The Huntsville Botanical Garden, another visitor favorite, is home to the nation’s largest open-air butterfly house and is sure to impress anyone who enjoys communing with nature. The Huntsville Museum of Art hosts lectures, classes, and social events in addition to mounting landmark exhibitions. Major parts of Huntsville’s history, culture, and character are contained in the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. Huntsvillians all know the story. In the 1950s, Pentagon leaders chose Huntsville as the location for a group of German scientists to work on the rockets that would one day carry man to the moon. The rocket team preferred Huntsville because of our gentle mountain slopes and lush valley that most reminded them of their German landscape. They kicked off a new era of innovation, transitioning Huntsville from the “Watercress Capital of the South” to “Rocket City, USA.” That same spirit of innovation captured the imagination of our community. Exploration became a 17
opposite page: The U.S. Space & Rocket Center has graduated more
above: Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment is the nation’s largest privately
than 600,000 Space Campers and continues to be a major draw for tourists from around the world. (Photo courtesy of the Huntsville/Madison County CVB)
owned arts center and a must-stop on everyone’s Huntsville bucket list. (Photo by Eric Schultz)
part of our DNA. Ed Buckbee, a public affairs officer for NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, worked to fulfill Dr. Wernher von Braun’s vision and helped create a center that celebrated America’s new space program. He and others worked to establish what is now the Earth’s largest space museum – a place that not only celebrates our country’s space history, but embraces and encourages our space future and Huntsville’s important role in that future. The U.S. Space & Rocket Center has graduated more than 600,000 Space Campers and continues to be a major draw for tourists from around the world. The propensity to always be moving forward – innovating, excelling, progressing – continues to motivate Huntsville. The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, a worldwide leader in genomics research, is making landmark discoveries in ALS, childhood genetic disorders and kidney cancer; expanding research in bipolar disorders and schizophrenia, and conducting critical research in other devastating diseases and conditions, including all forms of cancer, Parkinson’s, lupus, multiple sclerosis and much more. As home to Redstone Arsenal and hundreds of Department of Defense contractors, Huntsville is a smart, technology and science-driven community. Our businesses and government agencies protect our nation and warfighters through groundbreaking work on missile defense,
Army aircraft and missiles systems, foreign military sales, logistics, analysis and training on explosives and intelligence on what rogue nations might be trying to achieve to compromise our security and that of our allies. Aside from our technical endeavors, one of my favorite parts of Huntsville is our nature offerings. Greenways, nature trails and nature preserves can be found at every turn and truly make our community a scenic jewel. Recently, we’ve experienced a craft beer boom in the Rocket City. From Straight to Ale to Yellowhammer and Salty Nut, Huntsville has become known as the craft beer capital of Alabama – some say we have more craft breweries per capita than anywhere else in our Sweet Home Alabama. I could go on and on about the many extraordinary efforts taking place in Huntsville every day – but you’ve got pages to turn and reading to do. Every corner of the Rocket City – north, south, east and west – is worth exploring, and here’s a guidebook to get you started.
Mayor Tommy Battle Huntsville, Alabama 19
HUNTSVILLE & MADISON COUNTY
CENTER OF VISION & INNOVATION By Chris Welch
f you’ve lived in Huntsville or Madison County for any length of time, you know we – well, those smart engineering guys at Marshall Space Flight Center on Redstone Arsenal – birthed the revolutionary Saturn rockets that took man to the moon in 1969, prompting astronaut Neil Armstrong to utter these famous words: “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” (and one giddy moment for Huntsville). But here’s the thing: We aren’t done pioneering groundbreaking things. We’re still creating rockets – we are the Rocket City, after all – including the exciting new Space Launch System (SLS). When it’s finished, the SLS will be the largest and most powerful rocket ever – built to take man to Mars and beyond. To borrow a line from Captain Kirk, “to boldly go where no one has gone before.” Huntsville has always tried to go where no one has gone before, whether that’s up in the stratosphere with space travel or down here on the ground with its innovative, cutting-edge research and development. “Who would have imagined, thinking back 10 to 20 years, we’d have all that we’ve got here today?” Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said. “I-565 is just 20 years old.” Battle points out that Huntsville is the first city in the world to have a clinic that identifies and diagnoses rare and unidentified diseases using genomic sequencing (at HudsonAlpha). “We’re also the first city to locate a plant – GE Aviation – that jumps light years ahead in its technology (for jet engines, components and integrated systems for commercial and military aircraft). The next step is how we use that technology not only for missiles and aerodynamics, but for mankind. That’s all innovation, and it’s what Huntsville and Madison County do so well.” Huntsville has stayed ahead of the innovation curve, with help from our research parks and universities where the innovators themselves study and work. It’s no secret, at least in the mind of Erin Koshut, director of Cummings Research Park, why Huntsville leads the way in so many fields. “The city of Huntsville has the highest concentration of engineers per capita in the country,” Koshut said. “It also has the highest concentration of Ph.D.s. This is the kind of workforce that
When it’s finished, the SLS will be the largest and most powerful rocket ever – built to take man to Mars and beyond. (Photo courtesy of Boeing)
puts Huntsville on the same playing field as any other metropolis in the country.” Indeed, Forbes ranked Huntsville as one of the 10 Smartest Cities in the World in 2009. In 2016, Huntsville was ranked No. 29 among the most educated cities in the U.S. Battle said innovation has always been part of Huntsville’s DNA. This particularly picked up steam in the early ’50s and ’60s when NASA and the Army Missile Command were established here. In 1950 the University of Alabama in Huntsville started in the basement of what eventually became Stone Middle School and relocated to its current campus in Research Park in 1961. Supported in the early years by Dr. Wernher von Braun, who saw the need for his engineers and scientists to advance their own education as well as conduct research, UAH has always been involved in Huntsville’s out-of-the-box thinking. UAH’s five research disciplines – computer science, business
above: Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot, walks on the
surface of the Moon near the leg of the Lunar Module (LM) “Eagle” during the Apollo 11 extravehicular activity. Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, commander, took this photograph with a 70mm lunar surface camera. (Photo courtesy of NASA)
Mercedes Plant | Photo by Robert Fouts
left: Apollo 4, the first test flight of the Apollo/Saturn V space vehicle launched in 1967. (Photo courtesy of NASA)
Huntsville is the first city in the world to have a clinic that identifies and diagnoses rare and unidentified diseases using genomic sequencing at HudsonAlpha. (Photos courtesy of HudsonAlpha).
preceding pages: Huntsville International Airport is moving closer to a
courtesy of the Sierra Nevada Corporation)
above: A large contingent of UAH students work at the Army’s Aviation and Missile Research and Development Center (AMRDEC), one of the Army’s primary research labs, to solve a host of critical military and security challenges. (Photo courtesy of AMRDEC)
and management, atmospheric research, astronomy and aerospace engineering – rank among the Top 20 in the U.S. in federal research expenditures, according to data released by the National Science Foundation, said Ray Vaughn, UAH vice president of research and economic development. In aerospace engineering research, perhaps the most crucial discipline in the greater Huntsville area economy, UAH ranks fourth nationally. Thousands of UAH graduates have found employment with leading area government contractors and technology companies located in Cummings Research Park, such as Lockheed, Boeing, Northrop Grumman and SAIC, as well as with most of the federal agencies at Redstone. Many UAH graduates have gone on to create vibrant business organizations based locally. That list includes such company founders as Jim Hudson of the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology,
Dr. Marc Bendickson, chairman of the board and former CEO of Dynetics, AEgis Technologies co-founders Bill Waites and Steven Hill, and Gurmej Sandhu at Sigmatech. Almost since its beginning, UAH has steadily evolved into a research partnership with the Army and NASA, managing nearly $100 million annually in funded research contracts. Most of this happens at Redstone Arsenal, where approximately 400 UAH employees support Redstone’s mission activities. A large contingent of UAH students work at the Army’s Aviation and Missile Research and Development Center (AMRDEC), one of the Army’s primary research labs, to solve a host of critical military and security challenges. Nine years ago, UAH’s Center for Cybersecurity Research and Education was awarded a designation as a National Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance in 2007 and was redesignated for academic years 2012-2017 by the National
goal of becoming the first commercial airport that will be a landing spot for Sierra Nevada Corp.’s Dream Chaser spaceplane. (Photo
Huntsville is the first city to locate a plant â€“ GE Aviation â€“ that jumps light years ahead in its technology for jet engines, components and integrated systems for commercial and military aircraft. (Photo courtesy of GE)
S3, located in Cummings Research Park, provides support to US Army technologically advanced weapon systems. (Photo courtesy of S3) 27
preceding pages: Cummings Research Park has nearly 450 acres of
above: Over 300 companies reside in Cummings Research Park, the
land available for development and the new master plan will give the park more flexibility to provide a mix of uses to support park employees and students. (Photo courtesy of Perkins + Will)
second-largest research park in the country and fourth-largest in the world, with over 3,843 acres and 29,000 employees. (Photo by Marty
Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. UAH was also cited by the National Center for Academic Excellence and Cyber Defense for 2014-2021. One of the most recent innovations that has many around the world buzzing is the addition of Google Fiber. Huntsville is one of only 10 cities in the world with Google Fiber. Provo, Utah, is the only other mid-tier city with that distinction. “Every home in Huntsville will have Google Fiber and Google Connect,” Battle said. “That puts
us with other elite cities in the U.S. and makes us a model for mid-sized and mid-tier cities.” These developments have brought more competition and choice to residents and businesses. And now, in order to prepare municipal Information Technology services, local electric grid technology and more for the future, Huntsville Utilities is going to invest in new fiber infrastructure. “Abundant high-speed Internet can help communities grow stronger, laying a foundation
for innovation and economic growth,” said Jill Szuchmacher, director of expansion for Google Fiber. “Huntsville’s leaders have taken a big step by bringing a new fiber network to their residents and businesses.” “We already know Huntsville is a place where people do cool things, smart things, things that change the world,” Battle said. “A rocket city deserves rocket speed, and that means a network that connects to the Internet at one gigabit per second. Your Internet will be 50 to 100 times faster than it is today.” Another innovation that’s drawn attention to Huntsville is the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, dedicated to the study of genes, gene sequences and their functions since opening in 2008 in Cummings Research Park. “HudsonAlpha has created a truly unique model for innovation,” said Carter Wells, vice president for economic development at HudsonAlpha. “Our nonprofit research institute shares a campus with 34 for-profit life science companies, many of which were founded on discoveries from HudsonAlpha investigators. Our model and mindset encourages entrepreneurship with many business incubator services. However, we work to attract new companies from outside the region to our biotech campus. We have plenty of room to grow, and are able to accommodate a company that wants turnkey space, to build on our land or expand in our existing space. The companies are attracted to the world-class research engine that is HudsonAlpha. We have made groundbreaking discoveries in cancer, immunogenomics, and agrisciences.” “HudsonAlpha is truly different in its structure and spirit; by comingling scientists with life science companies, we quickly translate research into real-world solutions. We are now accomplishing things through science that were science fiction as recently as 10 years ago. Genetics and genomics are the building blocks of science, and what we learn here can be applied worldwide, in many science disciplines. We imagine we can do anything.”
HudsonAlpha is truly different in its structure and spirit; by co-mingling scientists with life science companies, they quickly translate research into real-world solutions. (Photo courtesy of HudsonAlpha)
In 2015, HudsonAlpha continued to show why innovation starts here with its new Smith Family Clinic for Genomic Medicine. The clinic, a collaboration between HudsonAlpha, Children’s of Alabama and UAB-Medicine, provides diagnoses to patients with undiagnosed disease via the exclusive use of whole genome sequencing data. “We are innovating medicine for the millions of people with rare, undiagnosed disease. The Smith Family Clinic for Genomic Medicine is the world’s first stand-alone clinic dedicated solely for the practice of genomic medicine. That’s truly life-changing – and the world is taking notice,” said Howard J. Jacob, Ph.D., executive vice president for genomic medicine at HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and chief medical genomics officer for the clinic. “It’s been a game-changer,” Erin Koshut, director of Cummings Research Park, said of HudsonAlpha. “The economic impact and community involvement, it’s lifechanging for the country and the world.” HudsonAlpha is situated on a 152-acre biotech campus in what has become a thriving incubator of 32
innovation in Cummings Research Park. Over 300 companies reside in Cummings Research Park, the second-largest research park in the country and fourthlargest in the world, with over 3,843 acres and 29,000 employees. Home to such companies as Lockheed Martin, Teledyne Brown, Adtran and UAH, Cummings Research Park is the center of attention for research and technology, featuring a mixture of Fortune 500 companies, local and international high-tech enterprises, a business incubator, small businesses, and competitive higher-education institutions. Koshut said Cummings Research Park has nearly 450 acres of land available for development, and the new master plan will give the park more flexibility to provide a mix of uses, including smaller offices with retail, entertainment and more social and community activities to support park employees and students. The new CRP master plan could allow for bike paths, greenways, additional festivals, even utilizing the ever-popular food trucks. Koshut adds: “Cumming Research Park is the center of innovation for Huntsville. It was created to
support the thriving work on the Arsenal, and that’s still the mission today. But it’s diversified for broader hightech businesses, too. There’s a $12.9 billion impact to the regional economy.” “Cummings Research Park has been a leading research park for more than 50 years,” Battle said. “It has helped deliver the programs that make our nation safe,
discover new insights into our universe that are now making possible cures and treatments for diseases we thought incurable. This project to update our master plan will enable the park to build upon this legacy of innovation while meeting the needs of the new workplace – a workplace the best and brightest have come to expect.”
Members of the Lonnie and Helen McMillian family receiving the Community Philanthropy Award (Family Category). Presented at the Community Foundation’s annual Summit on Philanthropy.
The Community Foundation of Huntsville/Madison County is proof that innovation in philanthropy leads to positive community change. Individuals, families, corporations and financial advisors who call Madison County home have found a hub that allows them to align their specific charitable goals with funds, initiatives and organizations while making this community a better place both today and for generations to come. The Community Foundation serves as a matchmaker – connecting people who care with the causes that matter. Stuart Obermann, CEO/President of the Community Foundation states: “The Community Foundation offers donors an innovative approach to philanthropy by facilitating tax-efficient solutions for complex and unique giving opportunities. We offer a wide variety of charitable funds to meet the needs of our donors and the nonprofit community, which provide a perpetual source of philanthropic capital to support our community’s current and future needs. We are blessed to live in a generous community that wants to ‘give back’ and to work collaboratively to improve our quality of life. The Community Foundation is an enabler – a conduit by which donors can achieve their charitable goals in an efficient and impactful way. This is why we say the Community Foundation is A Smart Place to Give.” 33
NEKTAR THERAPEUTICS Discovering Healing in Huntsville
n 1992, leading chemists from the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) launched Shearwater Polymer Corporation to market their polyethylene glycol (PEG) technology for pharmaceuticals. The company quickly became a leader in the space, and its technology is used in numerous medicines sold by pharmaceutical companies around the world. In 2001, Nektar Therapeutics, a leading drug development company, purchased Shearwater—and today, Nektar’s Huntsville operation is central to its growing business. “Nektar decided to keep the core manufacturing and quality functions in Huntsville because of our talented workforce at our location there and access to even more talent locally,” says Tony Sander, Vice President of Manufacturing & Site Operations for Nektar in Huntsville. “Since then, Nektar has made additional investments in manufacturing capabilities in Huntsville and our employee base in Huntsville has grown. Our Huntsville location also houses our research fellows, who are highly respected in the field of PEG chemistry.”
Building on Science Based in San Francisco, Nektar employs almost 600 people, with about 20 percent of its workforce in Huntsville. A clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, Nektar has a proven track record of discovering and developing new medicines that treat patients living with debilitating diseases and conditions. The company continues to build on the chemistry platform that was invented in UAH labs, along with its scientific expertise to focus on developing unique, smarter and more precise medicines. Polymer chemistry is a powerful approach to drug design that focuses on creating new molecular entities with
optimized pharmacology, and Nektar is the global leader in this field. The company attributes its success to its two key scientific strategies. The first is targeting well-characterized biomolecular pathways that are considered likely to yield significant therapeutic benefits. Secondly, Nektar exploits the structural malleability of polymers, which are key chemical building blocks that provide a near-limitless toolbox with which to customize the behavior of a new molecule. This unique methodology has led to an impressive record of approved medicines that are used to treat patients around the world. The company calls its approach “smart pharmacology,” because it uses chemistry to control pharmacokinetics, biodistribution, receptor selectivity and other important properties with high precision. For instance, with its proprietary platform, Nektar has developed methods to target tumor tissue more effectively; modulate entry of molecules into the central nervous system; or tune receptor selectivity to achieve the proper balance of therapeutic action. The company’s approach has also allowed it to design new therapies in the form of a convenient pill in areas
where this was not possible in the past, and to significantly prolong the amount of time a medicine circulates in the body to extend the duration of its activity. Nektar’s success is rooted in its proprietary and proven science and technology approach, which fuels its discovery efforts. The company has a unique research and development pipeline of new investigational medicines in cancer, pain and immunology, as well as a team of dedicated scientists, clinicians and employees who are all focused on bringing new medicines to patients with debilitating diseases. Nektar’s solid track record is reflected in its portfolio of successful approved medicines, each of which emanated from the company’s chemistry platform and are made available globally by its pharmaceutical partners.
Treating Widespread Illnesses Nektar Therapeutics develops medicines to treat cancer, pain, autoimmune diseases and other life-threatening and serious medical conditions. In addition to developing its own portfolio of medicines, Nektar also partners with other pharmaceutical companies to bring new medicines to market. Some of its partners include Roche, Baxalta, BristolMyers Squibb, AstraZeneca and Bayer Healthcare. For instance, Nektar has played a role in developing and bringing to market a number of commonly used drugs such as Neulasta for neutropenia during cancer treatment (from Amgen); Pegasys for hepatitis C (from Roche); Adynovate for
hemophilia A (from Baxalta); Movantik for opioid-induced constipation (from AstraZeneca); Cimzia for Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis (from UCB Pharma).
Depending on Huntsville Employees based in Huntsville are responsible for pharmaceutical development, analytical functions and manufacturing—and the company has found the community to be a good location for highly educated workers and room to grow its facilities. “Huntsville is the hub that supports the manufacture of investigational medicines being studied in clinical trials by Nektar, and it also serves as the manufacturing site for the supply chain for many medicines marketed by our pharmaceutical partners, which are used to help patients around the world who are fighting cancer, hemophilia, and hepatitis,” Sander says. “The local and talented workforce has driven our expansion in Huntsville, as well as access to facility expansion possibilities to support our growing manufacturing activities.” With its proprietary, proven science approach and a strong team of talented, dedicated employees, Nektar plans to continue discovering new treatments for the diseases and conditions that hamper our lives. Together, the Nektar team is working to build healthier, stronger people and communities. 35
HUDSONALPHA INSTITUTE FOR BIOTECHNOLOGY T
he HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology was founded in 2008 to translate the promise of genomics into real-world applications that improve health and global sustainability. HudsonAlpha, a nonprofit institute, innovates on four platforms: • Developing and applying cutting-edge genomic technology across a wide spectrum of biology and biomedical research. • Preparing the future biotechnology workforce and cultivating genetic literacy for all citizens. • Bridging the gulf between ideas and discoveries generated in laboratories and their movement into the marketplace where they can benefit patients and society at large. • Advancing the practice of genomic medicine to benefit patients with undiagnosed disease today, and in the future, to practice personalized, predictive medicine. Under the leadership of Richard M. Myers, PhD, HudsonAlpha connects these four endeavors into a single enterprise, making it one of the most unique areas for genomic discovery in the country. HudsonAlpha has generated major discoveries that impact disease diagnosis and treatment, created intellectual property, fostered biotechnology companies and expanded the number of biosciences-literate people, many of whom will take their place among the future life sciences
The genomic sequencing laboratories at HudsonAlpha process more than 15,000 samples each year. 36
The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is the cornerstone of the biotech campus at Cummings Research Park.
workforce. Additionally, HudsonAlpha has created one of the world’s first end-to-end genomic medicine programs to diagnose rare disease. Together, these missions are powerfully synergistic and represent the science of progress at HudsonAlpha. HudsonAlpha is the brainchild of founders James R. Hudson, Jr., and Lonnie S. McMillian. Each is a serial entrepreneur whose career path led him to understand the promise of genomics, and who possessed the drive to translate that promise into real-world results. “I’m a scientist by nature, but I have a deep desire to create businesses and a marketplace to leverage discovery,” said Hudson. “We are on the cusp of the next ‘moon shot,’ which is harnessing the power of the human genome to truly personalize the practice of medicine and create a healthier world. At HudsonAlpha, we’ve created a unique environment to make that happen.” The Institute serves as the cornerstone of the 152-acre Biotech Campus of Cummings Research Park. Created as a wellspring of innovation as well as collaboration, the 270,000-square-foot building encourages both through its architecture and design. The state-of-the-art facility houses the Genomic Services Laboratory and the HudsonAlpha Clinical Services Laboratory. The building also contains flexible reconfigurable space for biotech research and commercial development. More than 30 associate companies are co-located at HudsonAlpha, translating discovery to real-world applications in health and life sciences.
HUNTSVILLE UTILITIES Maintaining Innovation with Eyes on the Future
ince 1940, Huntsville Utilities has been the primary source for electricity, water and natural gas. Today, they are planning for growth and keeping an eye on technological advancements so they can maintain infrastructure for a highly innovative community.
A New “Gig” In 2016, Huntsville Utilities announced a partnership with the City of Huntsville to make Huntsville a “Gig City” making it the first community of its size to upgrade its communications and technology speeds in this manner. Huntsville Utilities created a plan for this endeavor by utilizing the needs for automating information delivery and response of the utility’s facilities into a large-scale plan to provide Gigabit information delivery to businesses, while offering leased fiber space to provider companies to make available the same Gigabit information delivery to residential customers. This new model is testament to the innovative thought that Huntsville Utilities personnel have in planning for providing the best service possible to the community. The first company to take advantage of this opportunity is Google Fiber, a company well-known for its cutting-edge approach to doing business and serving their customers. Utilizing the same fiber optic network, Huntsville Utilities is also transitioning to Automated Metering Information (AMI) technology, enabling Huntsville Utilities to monitor utility usage and make appropriate changes to meet customers’ needs while providing them the opportunity to learn more about their own utility usage and
Huntsville Utilities is a publicly-owned not-for-profit utility and has served its customers electric, natural gas and water needs for over 75 years.
how they can help conserve.
Serving a Growing Community A growing community means a growing demand for essential resources such as water. A new water plant is under construction on the Tennessee River which will add 24 million gallons per day of pumping capacity to Huntsville Utilities’ system, with the ultimate potential to double the current daily pumping capacity. The construction of this water treatment plant will meet the community’s needs for decades to come. Huntsville Utilities is a leader in energy efficiency education, helping customers save on utility bills and use resources wisely. The utility’s programs include Huntsville Extreme Energy Makeover where Huntsville Utilities has collaborated with TVA to renovate older homes whose owners do not have the resources needed to save electricity. Another program promotes the use of economical natural gas for water heating.
Innovation Lives Here
Huntsville Utilities has installed electric charging stations in several high traffic areas in Huntsville to encourage use of the energy efficient vehicles. The Electric Department recently added two hybrid bucket trucks to the fleet in addition to several hybrid pickup trucks.
Huntsville shot rockets into space and put a man on the moon. All the while, Huntsville Utilities has planned for growth and implemented technology to meet the expectations of a technologically advanced customer base. Every day, Huntsville Utilities looks at information about the community’s needs and makes decisions to stay ahead with infrastructure and availability. Huntsville Utilities is proud to be a part of a thriving, high-technology community. Huntsville Utilities is doing what is best for customers each day by planning for the future. Innovation lives at Huntsville Utilities.
TURNER CONSTRUCTION F
ueled by a spirit of innovation, Turner Construction Company has helped shape North Alabama in profound ways. From the industrial corridor along the Tennessee River in Decatur, to the high-tech office buildings of Cummings Research Park, Turner has delivered on promises to its clients for more than 60 years – including a rich history at Redstone Arsenal and George C. Marshall Space Flight Center. With an office in Huntsville, the firm built the Von Braun Center, the iconic Saturn V rocket replica and Davidson Center for Space Exploration at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and, more recently, the Von Braun Complex at Redstone Arsenal. Today, the company provides a full range of construction services while leading the industry in innovative construction practices. As the nation’s leading builder, Turner provides construction services for a variety of markets throughout North Alabama including aerospace, commercial, education, government, healthcare, and manufacturing. Although Turner has more than 5,200 employees and 43 offices nationwide, “you really feel like it’s a smaller, local company because our employees’ roots and families have long been here in Huntsville,” said Lee Holland, project executive in Huntsville. While Turner provides a deep pool
Turner completed one of Huntsville’s most recognizable buildings, the Davidson Center for Space Exploration at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in 2007. (Photo courtesy Blake Mathis)
of national resources, it promotes a philosophy of creativity and innovation. Locally, the firm’s highly capable staff perform operations, and its fabrication shop in Decatur gives its clients opportunities to add tremendous value to their projects. While Turner’s spirit may be innovative, its heart is in serving the community. Turner regularly organizes days of service, encourages employees to volunteer at local organizations, and is highly involved in community events, industry initiatives, and developing the future workforce. Turner’s culture thrives on serving generously and making connections to bring about opportunities for all parties. “Our goal is to be an active member of the local community. We believe this makes us better builders too,” said Holland. Some of Turner’s most recent contributions to building the Huntsville area include Carpenter Technology’s high-end metals production facility in Athens and a Guest Welcome Center for the Huntsville Botanical Garden—currently in progress. “Turner is proud to have served Alabama for six decades,” said Holland. “We have watched the area transform over the years, and have the distinct honor of being a part of building Huntsville and North Alabama—and that’s ultimately what’s so rewarding about what we do.”
left: Turner’s Huntsville employees helped erect the Bloom Exhibit at the Huntsville Botanical Garden in May. Turner celebrates its Founder’s Day each year with a day of giving in the local communities.
COMMUNITY FOUNDATION A Smart Place to Give
hortly after the start of the new century, a small group of community leaders saw a need in the Huntsville/Madison County region – a need for a sustainable source of financial support that would promote charitable giving and increase the capacity of local nonprofits to meet the growing region’s critical community needs.
The Community Foundation of Huntsville/ Madison County serves as the trustee of our community’s future, fostering philanthropy and mobilizing partners, while striving for an exceptional quality of life both today and tomorrow.
holders can make grants to any 501(c)(3) organization in the United States, many have chosen to invest their charitable dollars locally, with over 70% of all grants remaining in Madison County to meet our community’s most pressing needs. The Community Foundation works with individual, family, and corporate donors and with nonprofit and governmental agencies to improve the community through the eight areas within the Quality of Life Framework. Each of the areas within the Framework is monitored through the annual Vital Signs publication that tracks key community
Founding benefactors Joe and Pam Alexander stepped forward to provide a generous donation to help launch this new Community Foundation. The Community Foundation of Huntsville/Madison County was founded on September 3, 2009, and is governed by a committed board of community leaders. Now, less than a decade later, the Community Foundation of Huntsville/Madison County has raised nearly $20,000,000 of charitable assets and has distributed, on
Torch Technologies presents the seed funding donation for the Community Catalyst Fund. (L to R: Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, Torch CEO Bill Roark, Community Foundation President/CEO Stuart Obermann, Community Foundation Board member Chris Russell)
behalf of its donors, over $7,000,000 in grant funding to hundreds of nonprofit organizations. The Foundation manages nearly 200 funds to help people and organizations achieve their charitable giving objectives. Although fund
indicators that reflect the community’s overall health. Donors who want to partner with the Foundation and other local donors in improving the Quality of Life in the community are invited to donate to a Collective Impact Fund in the area of their interest. In addition to managing charitable funds for donors and making grants, the Foundation also works closely with the nonprofit community to help them become sustainable and more efficient, by offering continuing education, networking, and professional development opportunities at the annual NonProfit University (NPU) conference. The Summit on Philanthropy is the Community Foundation’s flagship event, held each year to inspire and educate the public on how philanthropy can be used strategically to have the maximum positive impact on our community’s quality of life.
Together we can help today and shape tomorrow.
256 MAGAZINE S
ince 2013, 256 Magazine has been providing the ultimate in local information and entertainment covering the “256” (North Alabama including Huntsville/Madison, Madison and surrounding counties). With the vision of becoming a trusted resource offering readers an opportunity to learn, uncover and experience the many gems that the North Alabama area has to offer, each and every issue is filled with something for everyone! Whether you are a North Alabama native, a transplant, or a visitor, you will find something about the area you will love! The full color, glossy, lifestyle magazine prints eight times per year and is free to pick up at over 150 locations. Featuring varied topics, all highlighting the best of the “256”. “In The Know” hosts hot topics of interest including: “No Guts No Glory” a local business profile; a “Space & Missile Defense” business profile, “Thank You for Your Service” which highlights an Armed Services member, active or retired, and “Personality Profiles” feature people who call “256” their home. “Travel” features locals sharing their international and local travel experiences. “256 Living” showcases interior design, landscaping and outdoor living tips and financial and automotive interests. “Looking Good, Feeling Fit” covers the latest in health and wellness topics ranging from fitness and nutrition to local bike and running racing schedules, as well as, fashions from local retailers; and twice a year, presents the “Pink Pages and Heart Pages”. Inside “Sports” you will find profiles and updates from local high schools, universities and, of course, Alabama and Auburn football. Hockey and seasonal sports, local fishing and golfing tips, player profiles and schedules are also included. “Let’s Dine” features local chefs’ recipes and restaurant profiles, wine, liquor and local craft beer profiles, and local restaurant listings. “Romance” features a local wedding or an anniversary couple. “Pets” features a local pet profile, an expert pet health topic, listings of pet friendly patios, dog parks, and pet ER clinics, and anchoring the feature are Greater Huntsville Human Society and various local animal shelters, spotlighting adoptable pets, events and services. “Kids” features a student profile, an article by a local educational professional, an interactive activity for the family, seasonal events geared towards kids and a “Good Samaritan” profile. Last but not least, “Leisure” focuses on downtown events, concert calendars, a local “Non- Profit” profile, “About the Artist” profiles, seasonal events and calendars, and the “Social Pics”, submitted by local readers and organizations. 256 Magazine reveals how local residences are living the great life in Huntsville, Madison County and surrounding area with a bit of unique flair! 40
CENTER OF IT ALL By Chris Welch
urprises. That’s how downtown visionary and CEO of Downtown Huntsville, Chad Emerson, teases you when he talks about the Rocket City’s revitalized and lively downtown. He promises you’re going to have a blast finding little gems hidden on nearly every corner. It’s just one of the many ways he, Mayor Tommy Battle and others have made Huntsville one of the most interesting midsize destinations in America, bringing innovation and technology together with arts, historic architecture, loft living, entertainment and modern amenities. “What we are doing is dusting off downtown and reintroducing it to both local people and out-of-market people,” Emerson said. Downtown is becoming more vibrant through the addition of new loft living, new destination retail and entertainment options for locals and visitors alike. Combine this with a better recognition of existing assets like Lowe Mill and Monte Sano and an increase in local-centric small businesses and add in the mix of eclectic-yet-approachable events throughout the year, and you’ve got the recipe for downtown Huntsville’s revival. Mayor Tommy Battle says the city developed a plan for making downtown more dynamic five years ago. “We worked on downtown and how to attract millennials,” Battle said. “Chad and others have helped us think outside the box and stay ahead of the curve.” Curious? Hop aboard for a walking tour of sorts, and let Emerson reveal some of those surprises awaiting you on the streets of downtown Huntsville. SURPRISE NO. 1: Emerson doesn’t have to walk far to find the first gem. Right out the back door of Downtown Huntsville Inc. on Washington Street is one of The Four Secret Art Treasures of Downtown. Downtown Huntsville commissioned local artist Micah Gregg to curate four space-themed art sculptures and display them around downtown. “We purposely didn’t put a lot out there about the Secret Art Project,” said Emerson. “We want you to walk around the corner and say, ’Oh, there’s a nice piece of art.’ If you poke around here enough, you’re going to be rewarded.” Chad Emerson, Mayor Tommy Battle and others have made Huntsville one of the most interesting midsize destinations in America, bringing innovation and technology together with arts, historic architecture, loft living, entertainment and modern amenities. (Photo by Randall Belk) preceding page: The NASA in the Park event, a collaboration between Downtown
Huntsville and NASA, is held in Big Spring Park. (Photo courtesy of NASA) 43
above: Downtown Huntsville commissioned local artist Micah Gregg
right: Old newspaper racks have been reinvented and are scattered
to curate four space- themed art sculptures and display them around downtown. (Photo by Eric Schultz)
around town with library books inside. (Photo by Eric Schultz)
While many things have changed, it’s clear that the ’Klatsch continues to entice those that pass by with the delicious aromas from their freshly roasted coffee. (Photo by Eric Schultz) 44
SURPRISE NO. 2: The Kaffeeklatsch Coffee Bar, 103 Jefferson Street. If you’ve been living in Huntsville since 1976, you won’t be surprised about this coffee oasis in the middle of the city, but if you’re new, it’s definitely a place to visit. Take note: The white flakes coming out of the exhaust at the top of the building aren’t snow, but residue from beans roasting in a vintage 1929 Jabez Burns coffee roaster owners Grant and Kathy Heath snagged from New Orleans back in 1977. While many things have changed, it’s clear that the ’Klatsch continues to entice those that pass by with the delicious aromas from their freshly roasted coffee. Grant Heath says that there’s a lot more walking traffic now than in ’76. “It’s more than people just going to the courthouse to get their tags.” The lesson learned at the ’Klatsch is best summed up in Emerson’s words as he talks about the coffee shop: “Innovation doesn’t have to be new, it can be renewed.” SURPRISE NO. 3: Think the library is the only place to borrow books these days? Not so fast. Enter the Book Boxes. These old newspaper racks have been reinvented and are scattered around town with library books inside. Painted by local artists with designs that range from the whimsical to the historical, these convenient spots
left: The Grotto Lights display flashes a rainbow of colors in different patterns at 200 West Court Square. (Photo by Donald
above: With mountains and a panorama of downtown, the rooftop of
(Photo by Eric Schultz)
the Belk Hudson Lofts give you get an elevated vista that is unmatched.
below: Downtown Huntsville hosts events for the whole family.
(Photo by Eric Schultz)
provide a “little something extra” in downtown and are full of books provided by Friends of the Library. They operate on the honor system, and anyone can use them. “There’s no risk with a free library,” Emerson said. “It’s a fun thing we came up with, taking something old and giving it a new twist.” SURPRISE NO. 4: It looks like something straight out of the Emerald City – Oz, that is – and can be seen for miles. It’s called the Grotto Lights, and the display flashes a rainbow of colors in different patterns at 200 West Court Square. “People really like the lights. We designed it as a public park and have the Grotto Lights Concert Series down here.” SURPRISE NO. 5: The rooftop of the Belk Hudson Lofts, 110 Washington Street. Emerson said building new loft apartments was “critical” to the revival of downtown, and the Belk Hudson Lofts helped that dream take off in 2012. Developers Sasha and Charlie Sealy added 75 of the Belk Hudson Lofts and another 197 with the newest $35 million-plus development, The Avenue, at the corner of Holmes Avenue and Jefferson Street. 47
Photo by Eric Schultz
Photo by Eric Schultz
For Jim Hudson, founder/president of HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, the success of downtown revitalization is personal. He and his late wife, Susie, helped fuel the downtown movement in the early 2000s by opening Humphrey’s Bar & Grill, Mason’s Pub and The Chophouse, where The Bottle is currently located: “When we renovated buildings into condos and opened Humphrey’s, it was Susie’s goal that downtown become a vibrant destination for young people. It is wonderful to see this dream coming to life.” 48
Photo by Mark Chivers
Photo by Eric Schultz 49
But what makes the Belk Hudson development special is not so much what’s going on the inside, but what’s outside – on the roof that is. There are couches, tables and one heck of a view. With mountains and a panorama of downtown, you get an elevated vista that is unmatched. “You show me a downtown that has this kind of view. It’s one of the best downtowns with proximity to hiking and biking trails,” Emerson said. “You can see the trails from here. You can also see the (U.S. Space & Rocket Center’s) rocket lit up and the houses twinkling.” SURPRISE NO. 6: A.M. Booth’s Lumberyard, 108 Cleveland Avenue. Built in 1895, this old lumberyard in the middle of the city looks like something out of the Wild West. Rusty sheds and antiques add to the charm of this historical landmark turned hotspot.
above and opposite page, above: Booth’s Lumberyard hosts
live music at this historic landmark turned hotspot. (Photos by Eric Schultz) opposite page, below: Bikes and Brews First Friday
event is a leisurely ride among friends and drinking companions between various spots around town. (Photo by Eric Schultz)
52Photo by Eric Schultz
Photo by Eric Schultz
Owner Doug Smith turned The Lumberyard into a favorite spot for locals and visitors with a restaurant, shops and entertainment. Smith owns the famous Sound Cell Studio next door, and when the Lumberyard property went into bankruptcy, he wanted to make sure that what went in next wouldn’t ruin his recording quality. That’s when his daughter, a photographer, had an idea. “She thought it might be good for wedding photos,” Smith said. He had gotten some ideas about The Lumberyard after traveling to cities for his Sound Cell Studio work. “When I go to other cities, my hosts take me to the low-rent districts because the artists start going there. And, the next thing you know, everybody wants to go there.”
Photo by Eric Schultz 53
Photo by Eric Schultz
Photo by Eric Schultz
Photo by Donald Christian
Photo by Eric Schultz
Photo by Eric Schultz
THE BROADWAY GROUP Making a Mark in Cities Across America
uring the early years of the 21st century, growing numbers of national retailers began slowly moving from strip malls to freestanding stores. That enduring trend in commercial real estate has fueled strong growth for a Huntsville-based development firm. The Broadway Group, launched by Bob Broadway in 2001, specializes in developing and building new freestanding retail stores and restaurants for a variety of national tenants. While Broadway, a native Huntsvillian, and his 30+ staff members live and work in the Huntsville area, the firm has projects across the country, from New York to New Mexico. “A large number of retailers are looking for the convenience of stand-alone buildings rather than strip centers, so they aren’t buried among other retailers behind a massive parking lot,” Broadway says, “and that trend has been really good for our business.” A former banker, Broadway focused on commercial lending and always hoped to start his own business. When a former customer approached him with the opportunity to partner in filling requests for several new Dollar General stores, Broadway was intrigued. He started by developing and building one store for Dollar General, which eventually The Broadway Group. Photo by David Bean
turned into five more, then 15 more. In 2016, The Broadway Group built more than 70 Dollar Generals across the country.
The Work Along with Dollar General, The Broadway Group has worked with a number of other national tenants including AT&T, Little Caesar’s, McDonald’s, Fastenal, Mayer Electric and Michelin Tires. As these and other retailers work to broaden their footprint in cities and towns across the country, they often rely on The Broadway Group to be their boots on the ground. The firm scouts locations, selects sites, resolves zoning issues, builds stores to the clients’ specifications, and maintains the building while the tenants commit to a long-term lease. Most of the retailers that work with The Broadway Group use demographic software to identify geographical locations where a new store might be successful. With statistical data, such as traffic levels and nearby housing, these software programs can offer fairly accurate suggestions for store locations. When retailers review this data and decide which locations best match their interests, they contact The Broadway Group. “We might get a document from a client once or twice a year that shows all the locations where they want us to pursue stores in the next year,” Broadway says. “In most
stores in their territory,” Broadway says. “We just want to help them be successful in meeting those goals, even if some deals are better for us than others.” The manner in which The Broadway Group places a client’s success first has been proven during many due diligence periods. After signing a contract for a new store, commercial real estate developers typically will have a specific, mutually agreed upon window in which they can back out of a deal for various reasons, without consequences for the client. During this due diligence time, the developer must handle permits, titles, zoning or other site issues. While it is not uncommon for developers to back out of a contract during the due diligence period, The Broadway Group rarely does. “We cancel as few deals as possible because we want to offer our clients predictability and sometimes that means we take on some additional risk,” Broadway says. “Some developers just won’t do a deal unless they’re going to make a certain amount. So our clients appreciate that they can count on us to come through for them.”
Bob Broadway accepting 2015 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year, Auburn School of Accountancy.
cases, they’ve never been to these locations and they may never go, so we go for them and learn the area, determine where it makes sense to put a store, and see if we can afford property in that location.” If the location does seem like a good fit, The Broadway Group will initiate a sales contract on the chosen property. Next, the firm will make a presentation to the tenant’s executive board. “We usually have about three to five minutes to educate them about the site and the town, the local competition and the synergies,” Broadway says. When the deal is approved, The Broadway Group moves forward, constructing the building according to tenant specs. While national retailers could choose any commercial development firm across the country to handle such real estate transactions, The Broadway Group’s customers return again and again because the firm provides them with individualized service resulting in a seamless transaction. The Broadway Group is able to manage the hiccups and headaches for the retailer, offering, from the retailers’ perspective, a streamlined process from beginning to end, with a finished product that sells. “When we work with a retailer’s real estate manager, they have goals every year to open a certain number of
Because The Broadway Group’s business model is unique in the area, Broadway says he can’t simply recruit experienced employees from the competition around the corner. Instead of looking for employees with specific skills, he has grown his business by seeking people with certain characteristics. He has found Huntsville to be full of the right kinds of people. These special characteristics come into play when The Broadway Group starts a project in a new community. It is important to be able to quickly build relationships in that area. “There are warm, friendly people here who know how to forge genuine relationships,” Broadway says. “The
Bob and his wife, Julie. Photo by Bookout Studios 57
The Broadway Group Headquarters. Photo by David Bean
labor pool in Huntsville offers us a considerable population possessing specific traits we need such as being a multitasker and a self-starter, being goal-oriented, having the ability to make positive first impressions, and skill at getting to know people.” In addition to those qualities, The Broadway Group has benefited from hiring staff members who know how to work together as a team. “You spend so much of your life working, so work needs to be a place you enjoy going with people you enjoy being around,” Broadway says. “We work hard to find people who fit in with our team environment and are able to be team players. Because of this, we have very little turnover.”
The Building While The Broadway Group spends its time planning, developing and constructing new landmark retail stores 58
and restaurants in cities and towns across the country, it does that work from its own landmark location. In 2013, Broadway moved its operations to the historic First National Bank building in downtown Huntsville, which was built in 1835 and is the oldest bank building in the state of Alabama. While the building had operated continuously as a bank until 2010, it had been mostly vacant since then. After a yearlong historic renovation project, The Broadway Group settled in to new offices there. “As an old banker, I always appreciate old bank buildings,” Broadway says, “and growing up in Huntsville, I always loved this old building. It houses a lot of history and is among the most photographed buildings in the state.” During the 1800s, cotton traders brought cotton up the canal through today’s Big Spring Park to the bank. There, in the courthouse square in front of the bank building, men
Bob and his mother, Jena Broadway. Photo by David Bean
The Broadway Group Management Team: Lisa Hawkins, Bob Broadway & Alicia Cole. Photo by David Coker
traded cotton. Above them, from the third-floor balcony of the bank—where the bank president and his family lived— the bank president’s wife and other ladies sat and watched the trading. Local legend says that Jesse James tried to rob the First National Bank in the 1870s and was shot while escaping through a back door. In the 1930s, President Roosevelt’s New Deal created numerous programs to put Americans back to work and one of those programs hired architects to create accurate architectural plans of existing historic buildings. Because Huntsville’s First National Bank building was selected for that program, Broadway has copies of the plans that depict the bank’s original construction, including the lofty residence upstairs.
dated harsh coaching. It is an increasingly popular program that offers a developmental approach to gymnastics, building strong children inside and out. Avid supporters of Auburn University, Bob and Julie are involved in a variety of areas within the university. They are benefactors to the AU Athletic Department in the basketball, gymnastics, and football programs. On the academic side, Bob and Julie endow a chair in the AU Harbert College of Business’s Business Analytics Department. Bob serves on the AU Harbert College of Business Dean’s Advisory Council. In addition, he is a member of the AU HCOB Capital Campaign Committee in conjunction with the “Because This is Auburn Campaign.” Broadway says, “Education is the key to any successful society.”
The Community Spirit The Broadway Group isn’t just located in one of Huntsville’s oldest buildings; it’s truly rooted in the community in other ways as well. In fact, giving back to the community that has always been home to him is a passion for Broadway and his wife Julie. Among other organizations, The Broadway Group liberally supports the local chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the National Children’s Advocacy Center, Christian Women’s Job Corps, Project Abundant Life, First Baptist Church of Huntsville, the Huntsville Museum of Art, and the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra. Especially close to his heart is Broadway’s support of The Vine Counseling Center, a pastoral counseling center supported by 50 local churches, and his alma mater, Auburn University. Broadway was honored as the Auburn University School of Accountancy Alumnus of the Year in 2015. Bob and Julie Broadway also sponsor a gymnasium, Broadway Gymnastics Center, that serves as a ministry for families of children who want a quality program for their budding athletes without the intimidating pressure of out-
The Broadway Family: Bob, Julie, Madison, Kevin, Elizabeth, Summer, and Reese. Photo by Bookout Studios 59
DOWNTOWN HUNTSVILLE, INC. H
untsville has long been celebrated as America’s Space and Rocket City. With a large NASA, Army, and Missile Defense Agency presence along with private companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman, the moniker fits Huntsville extremely well. In recent years, though, more and more people have begun to re-discover Downtown Huntsville as a defining feature of the city. Overlooked by Monte Sano Mountain and miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, Downtown Huntsville and the immediate surrounding area is an amazing outdoor destination in a city center setting. Residents and guests to downtown can access the miles of Monte Sano trails just minutes from the city center as well as Monte State Park—one of the few state parks adjacent to a downtown setting. In addition to Monte Sano, the Downtown Huntsville outdoor lifestyle offers Big Spring Park—a linear park that comfortably winds throughout Downtown from the Historic Square to the Von Braun Center Convention and Entertainment complex. Big Spring Park is also home to the Huntsville Museum of Art and many of the region’s most popular and eclectic events such as the regular Street Food Gatherings filled with food trucks and other artisan food makers, the Grotto Lights Concert Series, Panoply Arts Festival, Retro Winter Games and the Human Foosball Tournament. Just steps away, the Historic Square and Historic Depot host other unique events including the Rocket City Brewfest, Downtown Open Pop Up Putt Putt tournament, and the Downtown Pop Up Park Experience. All of these events support the Downtown Huntsville philosophy of offering
For a full list of events please visit, facebook.com/downtownhsv
“eclectic yet approachable” events that appeal to all ages in different ways. Downtown Huntsville’s dynamic revitalization isn’t limited to unique events though. In fact, over $300 million dollars of new private development has either opened or begun planning and construction stages including the new Downtown Publix, hundreds of new lofts, award-winning dining, and several of the region’s 8 local craft breweries, including a brewery row which will include one of the country’s first multi-brewery, entertainment facilities. In addition to large and dynamic developments, Downtown Huntsville also emphasizes small and micro scale redevelopment such as the IDA award-winning Clinton Row retail shops—a former ground floor storage facility where the storage units were converted into 10x10 square foot retail incubators. Here you’ll find everything from start-up jewelry makers to fashion design, locally-made beauty products, and artist venues. Another great example is the artisan-shopping destination known as The Garage at Clinton Row which is home to some of the most unique boutique shops in the State. In a city filled with amazing technology ventures such as the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, Downtown Huntsville is also staking claim as an innovation hub led by Curse, Inc.--a leading gaming support company which recently relocated its headquarters from Downtown San Francisco to the center of the Rocket City. Other growing, innovation companies include API Digital, Zero Point Frontiers, Starlab, DealNews, and KAYA.. Another important part of the Downtown revitalization strategy focuses on live events at a variety of unique venues.
The Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, Broadway Theater League, Huntsville Ballet, Theatre Huntsville, Fantasy Playhouse and other cultural resources all perform in the city center. Downtown is also home to a Division 1 hockey team, minor league hockey team, and indoor football team as well as regional concerts ranging from Cirque du Soleil to Elton John. While Downtown Huntsville aggressively looks to the future, it also celebrates its past with historic residential
districts such as Twickenham, Old Town, and Five Points that complement the downtown lofts by offering everything from Victorian mansions to funky bungalows. This mix of loft living and single family homes also support some of the best scoring public schools in the state. The result of all these important features coming together is a Downtown that is revitalizing itself with a unique mix of innovative businesses, dynamic redevelopment, eclectic events and historic charm.
SMART CITY By Chris Welch
early every year, you’ll find Huntsville on the list of smartest cities in the world, and there’s a very good reason why – an abundance of rocket scientists, engineers, high-tech master minds and world-class educational institutions continue to make Huntsville and Madison County home to a concentration of intelligence and innovation found nowhere else. In 2016, Wallethub.com, a personal finance company, named Huntsville No. 27 on its list of most educated cities in the world. In past years, NerdWallet named Huntsville America’s top engineering city and Forbes listed Huntsville as one of the top 10 educated cities in the world. Of course, there’s also a reason for that -- Huntsville is ranked first in the nation on a per capita basis for having the most engineers, computer scientists and mathematicians, according to the U.S. Census.
five research disciplines — computer science, business and management, atmospheric research, astronomy and aerospace engineering — rank among the Top 20 in the U.S. in federal research expenditures. (Photo courtesy
of UAH) left: Calhoun Community College is the largest of Alabama’s two-year colleges.
(Photo courtesy of Calhoun Community College)
Photo courtesy of UAH
AAMU has produced nearly 40,000 graduates around the world. (Photo courtesy of AAMU)
Photo by Eric Schultz
“Since education is a value proposition to this area, the many decisions that have been made to strengthen every level of education are on display in our vibrant economy and high quality of life.“ Mary Scott Hunter, District 8 Representative for the Alabama State Board of Education 66
Huntsville and Madison County offer a range of high-quality education options, from pre-kindergarten through doctorate. “Education has culturally and historically been a ‘stake in the ground’ issue in this area, hence leaders and stakeholders alike have sought to improve the educational options in order to harness brainpower and improve outcomes,” said Mary Scott Hunter, District 8 representative for the Alabama State Board of Education. “Since education is a value proposition to this area, the many decisions that have been made to strengthen every level of education are on display in our vibrant economy and high quality of life. “ According to the U.S. Army at Redstone Arsenal, 69 percent of their 39,000 employees have at least a bachelor’s degree, and many have earned advanced degrees. At NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, the educational levels of Marshall’s more than 2,000 civil service employees are among the highest in the region with more than 90 percent possessing at least a bachelor’s degree. This highly educated workforce has made Redstone Arsenal an important installation for the U.S. Army and Marshall Space Flight Center. At Cummings Research Park, the second-largest university-related research park in the U.S, a survey among companies in the park reveal that many firms report higher than 80 percent of their employees have a bachelor’s or advanced degree.
So what has all this brainpower done for Huntsville? For one, it has allowed Huntsville to move from an historically industrial economy into today’s knowledgebased economy of innovation, ingenuity and high technology. Because Huntsville’s workforce has focused on skills in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers -- computer scientists, engineers, chemists, and mathematicians -- workers can be easily adapted to other emerging economic and technological trends, according to Ray Garner, University of Alabama Huntsville’s chief of staff and director of community relations. “Dr. von Braun felt like education was important, if Huntsville was to play a role in America’s space program, and he was pivotal in establishing UAH,” Garner said.
Four-Year Universities UAH has constantly renewed its academic programs and research capabilities, thus leading to Cummings Research Park becoming more diverse, moving beyond aerospace and defense into expanded industries such as
software design, engineering services, computers and electronics, advanced manufacturing, cyber security, biotechnology and even poultry breeding research. UAH’s five research disciplines — computer science, business and management, atmospheric research, astronomy and aerospace engineering — rank among the Top 20 in the U.S. in federal research expenditures according to data released by the National Science Foundation, said Dr. Ray Vaughn, UAH Vice President for Research and Economic Development. Thousands of UAH graduates have found employment with leading area government contractors and technology companies in Cummings Research Park, such as Lockheed, Boeing, Northrop Grumman and SAIC. UAH has also steadily evolved into a research partnership with the Army and NASA, managing nearly $100 million annually in funded research contracts. Most of this happens at Redstone Arsenal, where approximately 400 UAH students work. Alabama A&M University is a fully accredited, 140plus-year-old land-grant institution offering degrees ranging from bachelor’s to doctorate. Internationally
Calhoun’s new state-of-the-art Math, Science & Computer Science building houses faculty offices, collaborative workspaces and over 10 classrooms. (Photo courtesy of Calhoun Community College) 67
above: Oakwood is the nationâ€™s
fifth- ranked producer of undergraduate black applicants to medical schools, according to the Association for American Medical Colleges. (Photo courtesy of Oakwood
below: Oakwoodâ€™s school choir, the Aeolians, are world-renowned.
(Photo courtesy of Oakwood College)
respected as a center of learning, research, culture and opportunity, AAMU has produced nearly 40,000 graduates around the world and established numerous collaborations. There are 5,500 undergraduates and 874 graduate students from 44 states and 11 foreign countries who attend the college. The A&M Small Business Development Center provides free counseling to small businesses in seven counties. The Agribition Center is designed to host almost any kind of event, including trade shows and agricultural events. The most recent assessment of A&M’s economic impact on the state reported a $349.8 million expenditure impact and 1,612 jobs, according to Jerome Saintjones, director of A&M’s office of marketing and public relations. The university is also an excellent investment opportunity for the state, yielding a 6.7 percent annual rate of return on its state appropriations. The economic impacts on the Huntsville metro area were $227.8 million and 1,404 jobs. Alabama A&M boasts such notable alumni as Vivian Malone, who broke the color barrier at the University of Alabama, and NFL Hall of Famer John Stallworth, who played football at A&M, and is now one of Huntsville’s top business leaders. Oakwood University is a small Huntsville college founded by the Seventh-day Adventist Church that has consistently ranked among the nation’s “Best Colleges,” both in terms of the “Historically Black Colleges and Universities” and “Regional Colleges/South” categories along with being among the top 10 among HBCUs with highest graduation rates. Oakwood is the nation’s fifthranked producer of undergraduate black applicants to medical schools, according to the Association for American Medical Colleges. In addition, its school choir, the Aeolians, is world-renowned and have such famed former members as Grammy winner Mervyn Warren and Mark Kibble of Take 6. Calhoun Community College is the largest of Alabama’s two-year colleges, serving approximately 11,500 students at its Decatur campus and its Huntsville site in Cummings Research Park. Just over 3,100 or approximately a third, of these students attending the Huntsville campus. Calhoun remains the No. 1 choice of all students from Madison County attending any higher education institution, at 28 percent, according to Janet Kincherlow-Martin, Executive Assistant to the President for Public Affairs, Community Relations and Institutional Advancement. Calhoun is also a vital economic development partner through its workforce training and provides a range of technologically-advanced training programs
Drake State has the only culinary arts program in the Tennessee Valley. (Photo courtesy of J.F. Drake State University)
to meet the needs of regional employers. Calhoun’s Workforce Solutions (CWS) group provides customized, flexible, cost-effective and convenient training to local businesses and industries throughout North Alabama, allowing them to achieve and maintain peak efficiency in the global marketplace. Calhoun’s new state-of-the-art math, science & computer science building houses faculty offices, collaborative workspaces and over 10 classrooms. It also serves as a state of the art learning facility for students with a wide range of labs, such as chemistry, physics, anatomy/physiology and microbiology. “Calhoun takes pride in providing students with hands-on learning to ensure they enter the workforce as high-skilled employees”, said Mark Branon, the Huntsville campus director. Many students choose Calhoun because they don’t have to drive far to find a good institution. “I chose to go to Calhoun to better my education in a way that was close to home and still gave me a prime opportunity to 69
choose my career path in the future,” said student Colton Bullard. “I chose Calhoun because it was close to home, I could still live at home and still get a great education. I did not want to go off to school because I felt that I would do better living at home,” said Leah Weigart. J.F. Drake State Community and Technical College is a unique two-year institution that is both a comprehensive community college and a core-driven technical college. Drake State prepares its students for the workforce with a unique blend of academics, technical training programs and grant-funded initiatives. Drake State has also established university articulation agreements with Alabama A&M, Oakwood University, Athens State University and UAH to make it possible for Drake State graduates with technical associate degrees in computer information systems, electrical engineering technology, and business programs to transfer easily to these universities – a program benefiting all of these institutions.
There are many examples of Drake State keeping pace with advanced technology – a satellite tracking station for capturing and forwarding micro-sized satellite telemetry in partnership with NASA, an amateur radio station for the wireless communications curriculum that serves as a FEMA relay station during local weather watch activities and 3-D engineering for rapid prototyping and 3-D printing. In addition, Drake State has the only culinary arts program in the Tennessee Valley, advanced manufacturing programs, multiple curriculum options in computer and information technology, dual enrollment for high school students and pioneering work in training new employees for jobs in renewable energy and cyber security.
Primary and Secondary Education in Huntsville & Madison County Huntsville City Schools, founded in 1875, serves more than 24,000 students with a team of 2,600 teachers, administrators, and staff. The district includes 36 schools:
Huntsville City Schools, founded in 1875, serves more than 24,000 students with a team of 2,600 teachers, administrators, and staff. (Photo courtesy Huntsville City Schools)
above: Huntsville High’s distinguished drama program preforms
below: Vincent Vidaurri, center, a technical specialist with Teledyne
“Legally Blonde”. (Photo courtesy of Huntsville High School)
Brown Engineering supporting Mission Operations at the Marshall Space Flight Center, provides details about a mock-up of the International Space Station science lab to a group of area teachers as part of “Back-2-School Day.” (Photo courtesy of NASA/MSFC/Fred Deaton)
Huntsville City Schools are a pioneer in digital learning.
seven high schools, two magnet schools, six middle or junior high schools and 21 Pre-K through elementary facilities. A $279 million capital improvements plan implemented in 2013 has led to significant renovation of many schools and the completion or ongoing construction of six new schools that will serve as anchors for revitalization and growth across the city. “Innovation is an integral attribute of the mission and mechanics of Huntsville City Schools,” said Rena Anderson, the Huntsville City Schools director of community engagement. “Through deploying alternative courses and curriculum, developing and promoting collaborative corporate partnerships and exposing students to practical application in highly technical and/or virtual laboratories, Huntsville City Schools enables academic exploration for all of its students - regardless of learning style, preference, or proficiency.” Huntsville City Schools’ Class of 2016 broke the all-time scholarship record with more than $54 million in scholarships awarded. The system currently has nine schools designated as Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence and has several schools that are currently working on the 72
Blue Ribbon School application. Huntsville City School juniors continue to outperform their peers in other systems, and scores continue to rise. Anderson said Huntsville City Schools are a pioneer in digital learning. “In 2012, the district implemented the largest digital 1:1 learning environment in the United States,” she said. “The program put laptops in the hands of each student in grades 3-12 and placed iPads and tablets in grades K-2.” Anderson said there is tremendous “STEMphasis” at Huntsville City Schools, meaning that “our District places a heightened emphasis on Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-based projects and curriculum.” That coincides with the type of employee and projects that many of Huntsville’s companies are incorporating.” The Madison City School System is located in the City of Madison and serves Madison and Triana. The system was established in 1998 after separating from the Madison County School System, and it consists of two high schools, two middle schools, and seven elementary schools. Enrollment for the start of 2016-17 is projected to surpass 10,000 students. Test scores on national
standardized tests are above the national average at all schools. Madison, located in North Alabama near Huntsville, has a population of over 45,000. It is an affluent suburban community, with residents working in highly technical jobs with companies such as SCI, Intergraph and Boeing, as well as the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command and NASA. Over 69 percent of adults in Madison hold bachelor’s or advanced degrees. Madison County Schools is one of the largest public school systems in Alabama with 27 schools, along with a virtual school and career academy. The mission of Madison County Schools is to prepare students for college and career opportunities in a globally competitive environment. MCS utilizes Canvas, a learning management system, through which teachers empower learning through innovation. Test scores indicate that MCS is the highest performing large public school system in Alabama. Additionally, MCS offers a robust Advanced Placement curriculum that is a model for districts throughout Alabama. Madison County Schools has nine schools designated as national “Leader in Me” schools
and nine that have achieved the “Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence Lighthouse Award” status. The district has increased its graduation rate to 93 percent. Madison County offers many outstanding private school options, including Randolph School, Providence Classical, Holy Spirit Regional Catholic School, Whitesburg Christian Academy, Westminster Christian Academy, Madison Academy, St. John Paul II Catholic High School, Grace Lutheran School, Union Chapel Christian Academy and many more. The art museums, symphonies, state-of-the-art libraries, neighborhoods full of beautiful homes, philanthropies, golf courses, and a vibrant city center are just some of the places where the effects of education have taken root and prove that education matters in Huntsville and Madison County. This community has a history of discovery, innovation and creation that has changed the world and is why people and companies are coming to Huntsville from all over the world. The journey of discovery begins with innovation in our classroom.
Huntsville High School students and community volunteers engaging Sonnie Hereford Elementary School students in an after school tutoring session. (Photo courtesy of ETV) 73
J.F. DRAKE STATE COMMUNITY AND TECHNICAL COLLEGE The Right Combination of Academics and Technical Training
.F. Drake State Community and Technical College is the first and only institution of its kind in Alabama. It’s an institution where students can enhance their futures through comprehensive academic and technical training programs.
The Beginnings of a Rich History As with so many educational institutions, within Drake State’s history lies many of its strengths. In 1961, Governor George Wallace founded a group of state, two-year technical institutions to support the technical/ vocational career education needs of African Americans. Huntsville State Vocational Technical School was one of these schools. Its original campus covered 30 acres of land deeded by Alabama A&M University to the Alabama Board of Education, and the new college opened its doors in 1962 with 27 students enrolled in four programs – auto mechanics, cosmetology, electronics, and masonry. In 1966, the school changed its name to J. F. Drake State Technical Trade School in honor of the late Joseph Fanning Drake, long-time president of Alabama A&M University. The Alabama State Board of Education granted Drake State technical college status in 1973 and adjusted its name to J. F. Drake State Technical College, allowing the school to offer the Associate in Applied Technology Degree (AAT).
The Modern Era After more than 30 years, Drake State established university articulation agreements with several area schools, expanding options for its students. The new agreements with Alabama A&M University, Oakwood University, Athens State University and the University of Alabama in Huntsville make it possible for Drake State graduates with technical associate degrees in computer information systems, electrical engineering technology, and business programs to transfer seamlessly to these universities – a program benefiting all institutions involved. Another modern educational enhancement involved Drake State’s dedication to the community. In 2010, the college spearheaded a move into downtown Huntsville by offering classes in the historic Times Building on Holmes Avenue. This had a positive impact not only on the school’s enrollment, but also on the city’s downtown development – adding students to the downtown business landscape to stimulate rejuvenation of the urban area. In January 2012, Drake State began its membership with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. This landmark achievement ensured transferability of general education courses and streamlined student transitions from two-year degrees into university programs anywhere in the United States – a tremendous enhancement for the school and its students. The final step in establishing the school’s identity came in July of 2013 when the college officially became J.F. Drake State Community and Technical College. Its name accurately depicts its standing as both a comprehensive community college and a core-driven technical college – the best of both worlds.
Impacting the Community With Huntsville’s unique blend of space and defense industries, biotechnology, healthcare and high-tech manufacturing, the community has high expectations for local educational institutions. Drake State certainly rises to the challenge of preparing highly skilled workers for the North Alabama workforce – accomplishing it with a unique blend of academics, technical training programs and grant funded initiatives. Throughout its history, the college has trained thousands of technicians in a wide variety of industries. Since the vast majority of graduates stay in the area, the local investment in education continues to pay dividends in the subsequent contribution to local economic growth. 74
What’s more – many of Drake State’s graduates have gone on to start their own businesses, including salons, machine shops, welding shops, IT services, heating and air conditioning businesses, and many others. Small businesses and skilled entrepreneurs wield a strong influence on economic development in the region, and Drake State graduates contribute steadily to that business growth.
The Way of the Future Since the first auto mechanics, cosmetology, electronics, and masonry classes in 1962, Drake State has kept pace with the high-tech needs of both its students and the business community. Its solid commitment to vocational, technical, and industrial training allows the college to teach and develops top-tier technical skills obtained through state-ofthe-art facilities and equipment. There are many examples of Drake State keeping pace with advanced technology – a satellite tracking station for capturing and forwarding micro-sized satellite telemetry in partnership with NASA, an amateur radio station for the wireless communications curriculum that serves as a FEMA relay station during local weather watch activities, and 3-D engineering for rapid prototyping and 3-D printing. All of these specialized study opportunities add even more for students. In addition, Drake State has the only culinary arts program in the Tennessee Valley, advanced manufacturing programs, multiple curriculum options in computer and information technology, dual enrollment for high school students and pioneering work in training new employees for jobs in renewable energy and cyber security. These programs and more keep this institution at the forefront of anticipating workforce demands of the future and training employees to fill those needs.
Ready. Set. Go! With a strong and distinctive emphasis on hands-on learning, Drake State provides the benefit of combining traditional academics with increased lab study to deliver immediate functionality in the workplace. Students also have the added advantage of opportunities in emerging research and entrepreneurial pursuits with training not typically offered at other two-year institutions – all creating a unique atmosphere for practical job preparation. J.F. Drake State Community and Technical College is committed to having its students ready with the right knowledge, set with the right training and skills, and able to go into the workforce immediately – a winning formula for the students, the community, and the economy.
ALABAMA A&M UNIVERSITY I
n 1875, an ex-slave named William Hooper Councill founded Alabama A&M University (AAMU) to address the dire educational needs of the underserved African-American population that had been held in subjugation within the United States. Reflecting its heritage as a traditional 1890 land-grant institution, the school’s mission, both then and now, centers around teaching, research and service. The school opened in 1875 as the “Huntsville Normal School” with an appropriation of $1,000 per year with 61 students and two teachers and was assisted financially by the Slater and Peabody Funds, along with private contributors. Industrial education was introduced around 1878. It attracted nationwide attention and was so successful that the State Legislature authorized the name to be changed to the “State Normal and Industrial School at Huntsville” and the appropriation was increased by the State to $4,000 per year. By 1891, the school became the recipient of a part of the Federal Land-Grant Fund provided by an act of Congress allowing further training in agriculture and mechanical arts. In 1948, several events and name changes later, the name was again changed to “Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical College.” The institution became fully accredited in 1963. Then, in 1969, the Alabama State Board of Education adopted a resolution changing the name of the institution
A professor shares with the public the many benefits of medicinal plants.
to its current name, “Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University” (AAMU). Today, Alabama A&M University is a dynamic and progressive 140-year-old institution with a strong commitment to academic excellence. The picturesque 76
campus is situated only a few miles from downtown Huntsville on what many alumni and friends fondly refer to as “The Hill”. AAMU offers numerous undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including four doctoral (Ph.D.) degree programs in Food Science, Physics, Plant and Soil Science, and Reading/Literacy. The Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Alabama reported that in one academic year alone, the economic and fiscal impacts of AAMU on Alabama were nearly $350 million, including 1,612 jobs, as well as $12.3 million in income and sales taxes ($7.8 million for the state and $4.5 million for local jurisdictions). This means that AAMU creates an impressive impact of $8.66 for every $1 of state appropriation. Moreover, AAMU’s economic impact on the two-county Huntsville metro area totaled $227.8 million, 1,404 jobs, and $2.9 million in local sales tax. The future of AAMU shows promise through collaborations with neighboring, regional, national and even international institutions. The Memoranda of Understanding between AAMU and Middle Tennessee State University, and AAMU and the University of Curacao are just two shining examples. Moreover, students participate in a number of projects and trips that further enhance their preparedness and help the university meet its mission of outreach. AAMU provides outreach initiatives that are both meaningful and numerous. These efforts continue to be led by the directives of the Alabama Cooperative
Extension System’s Urban and New Nontraditional Programs component. Additionally, the university’s earnest commitment to service is realized through the AAMU Community Development Corporation and the Center for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Economic Development. The on-campus Telecommunications Center, with its 100,000-watt radio station and several other productive components, help to disseminate the mission. Fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commissions on Colleges (SACSCOC), as well as other specialty, regional and national accrediting bodies, AAMU’s quality programs have been recognized by U.S. News and World Report, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, and the Washington Monthly, to name a few. Each year, the campus welcomes a Nobel Laureate to serve as guest lecturer to its students, faculty and the community. Moreover, the institution continues to serve as the host site for numerous professional associations and organizations. Its students, faculty and staff compete on the regional and national levels in a wide range of scholarly endeavors. In athletics, the AAMU Bulldogs compete in 16 Division I NCAA sports and are a vibrant force in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). Among an extensive list of distinguished alumni are John Stallworth, former Pittsburgh Steeler and Pro Football Hall of Famer, former head of Madison Research Corporation in Huntsville; William E. Cox, president, Cox Mathews & Associates (publisher of the nationally distributed DIVERSE magazine); Ruben Studdard, former “American Idol”; and many others.
A graduate student works in a food science lab.
Today’s campus proper is comprised of 70 buildings on over 1,000 acres of land. A large agricultural research farm is situated about 10 miles off-campus in Hazel Green, Alabama, and the University’s Agribition Center is also located about one mile east of the main campus. Affiliated offices, such as the North Alabama Center for Educational Excellence, are also located several miles from campus. With more than 5,500 students, AAMU is a state, regional, national and international resource that has made, and is continuing to make, a significant impact on the lives of people the world over. “Start Here, Go Anywhere.”
THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA IN HUNTSVILLE T
anner Carden and Devon Bane are developing a specialized 3-D printing extruder that could lower the costs of printing cellular structures for use in drug testing, thus lowering the cost of drug testing for doctors, hospitals and patients. Their device — CarmAl extruder — is shorthand for Carbohydrate Anhydrous Rapid Manufacturing Aluminum extruder. The controlling software and the manufacturing processes being developed by these students at The University of Alabama in Huntsville are able to produce a sugar grid that mimics blood vessels. The result is a cell mass that contains vessels like a human organ. That’s an advantage for drug tests over flatdish cell cultures currently used because it more accurately represents living tissue and more of the test cells can be kept alive by vessel-supplied nutrients. This product is typical of the innovation that exists in laboratories at research universities, such as UAH. It’s the type of breakthrough that can have major consequences. More importantly, it reflects a mindset that makes UAH a vital leader in Huntsville’s innovation economy. This type of environment exists as a result of UAH faculty removing the perceived barrier between teaching and research. UAH professors take their research into the classroom, and UAH has created world-class, cuttingedge research labs for students to expand knowledge and innovation.
The university thrives on the synergy created by academia, government and business that exists in North Alabama, which is enhanced as the anchor tenant for Cummings Research Park, the second largest universityrelated research park in America. Innovation economies generate intellectual property that spawn new companies that grow and create new permanent jobs, and wealth for those entrepreneurs willing to take the risk of starting a company. Thousands of new jobs are created, the kind that light the fires of bright, technical people who then become attracted to the greater Huntsville area. UAH is a highly respected and nationally recognized institution of higher learning that serves as an innovation catalyst for the region. The university’s academic reputation has been recognized by Barron’s Profile of American Colleges and Universities. It is one of only two public universities in
UAH’s aeronautical and astronautical engineering research program is ranked fifth nationally, according to the National Science Foundation.
UAH students Tanner Carden and Devon Bane have built a device that is able to produce a sugar grid that mimics blood vessels. Their innovation could lower the cost of drug testing for doctors, hospitals and patients.
UAH has created world-class, cutting-edge research labs for students to expand knowledge and innovation, and it is this mindset that makes UAH a vital leader in Huntsville’s innovation economy.
Alabama to be rated “very competitive.” Incoming freshmen at UAH have an average ACT score of 27.1, highest among Alabama’s public universities. UAH is also valued for its research enterprise and has been ranked among the top 75 public universities in the United States by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Rankings by the National Science Foundation show that UAH has five research programs in the top 20 in the nation. The university’s research with the Department of Defense and NASA are both ranked in the top 20 nationally. UAH continues to excel in its technological capabilities while, at the same time, offering outstanding programs in arts, humanities and social sciences, as well as business, education and nursing. “The research of the university and its Ph.D. programs, with its concentration in engineering and science, has made us nationally and internationally visible,” says UAH President Robert Altenkirch. “Our companion programs in business, education, nursing, as well as the arts, humanities and social sciences reach levels of excellence within our region. The academic and research strengths of our campus reflect the needs and interests of the broad-based community that we serve.” And those needs were identified when Dr. Altenkirch arrived and pulled together the campus in developing a strategic plan – Expanding Horizons. One of the strategic priorities would be to become a recognized leader in selected areas of education and research: aerospace and systems engineering; biotechnology; cybersecurity and big data; Earth, atmospheric and space science; and gaming and entertainment arts.
UAH has five research programs ranked in the top 20 in the nation.
These programs are helping lead the continued technological development in the region, and UAH serves the local economy best by focusing on the education of the world-class students it attracts for workforce development, and the expansion of intellectual property to help lead the growth of the local innovation economy. UAH is a shining star on Huntsville’s horizon, expanding the horizon of opportunities for both students and the hightechnology community that surrounds it. As for the past half century, the men and women at UAH continue to look into the future and to provide a vibrant vision for our area, state and our nation.
CALHOUN COMMUNITY COLLEGE An Undeniable Leader in Regional Education and Workforce Development
mission to improve lives. A history that spans decades. A unique blend of traditional academics and workforce development. This is Calhoun Community College.
Background Founded in 1947 as the Tennessee Valley State Technical School with facilities in U.S. Air Force barracks, Calhoun has experienced unprecedented growth and change over the years. After legislative acts in the 1960s established the school as a technical junior college, which merged with the Tennessee Valley State Technical School, the Alabama State Board of Education designated Calhoun as a comprehensive community college in 1973. Since then, it has grown to be the largest two-year higher education institution in the state. With multiple campuses and site locations and an enrollment exceeding 10,000, Calhoun is the largest of the state’s two-year colleges and Alabama’s sixth largest state-funded institution of higher education. The college’s main campus is located in Decatur with a second campus in Huntsville’s Cummings Research Park, making it the only community college in the nation with a campus located in a major research park.
Meeting Student Needs Calhoun fulfills its mission by focusing on three areas – academic transfer, workforce development, and adult education. Each area provides students the tools they need to reach their educational goals and produces a skilled, trained workforce while improving lives in the process.
The front entrance of Calhoun’s Decatur Campus with the Math, Science, Administration building in the background. (Photo by Lanita Parker, Calhoun Community College)
With a firm commitment to providing the right tools for every educational goal, Calhoun gives students knowledge and skills to advance their careers. For example, students may take advantage of dual enrollment and graduate from high school with college credits already earned toward their next degrees. The college also offers expanded opportunities through many specialized programs and partnerships. Among the college’s unique and collaborative programs are the Alabama Center for Excellence in Green Energy Technology, the Alabama Center for the Arts with Athens State University, and Dual Enrollment Emergency Medical Technician training programs with area high schools. The high-tech business base and demand for skilled workers in the region led to a major expansion of Calhoun’s Huntsville campus in Cummings Research Park. The project included new facilities for pre-engineering, math, science, and computer science along with state-of-the-art labs, collaborative work spaces, classrooms, and expanded student services – all designed to meet educational needs in the most effective way possible.
Serving the Community
Calhoun students taking a stroll across campus. Pictured, l-r: Tequila Cohen, Emsley Jones, Ryan Nichols, Anna-Margaret Sparks (Photo credit: Lanita Parker, Calhoun Community College)
The depth and breadth of more than 70 degree and certificate programs makes Calhoun a key resource and selling point for business and industry throughout North Alabama. By working with industry advisory boards to shape academic programs, creating specialized technical training, adding new certifications, and expanding distance learning, Calhoun successfully meets the current and future workforce training needs of the community. When it comes to regional education and job training, Calhoun Community College leads the way with distinction.
OAKWOOD UNIVERSITY S
ince 1896, Oakwood University has served to transform lives and raise leaders through quality Christian education. The institutional aim, “God First!” is the very core of their identity around which their ethics, values, relationships, and curriculum orbit. Whether in the classroom, dorms, dining hall, the campus green, and everywhere in between, Oakwood strives to put God First! Simply put, this motto is a way of life. For years, Oakwood University has been ranked by the U.S. News and World Report as one of the best regional colleges and universities to attend. With 58 different majors to choose from, Oakwood makes sure their students are equipped with the tools they need to become leaders in their field. The faculty and staff at Oakwood University are passionate about making learning a rewarding experience and they often maintain supportive relationships long after students have graduated. Over the last century, many well-known leaders in various industries began their career paths on the campus of Oakwood University. Countless doctors, lawyers, teachers, scientists, preachers, journalists, politicians, musicians, actors, nurses, judges, and many others have added to the growing Oakwood legacy. Situated on 1,185 beautiful acres, the campus is a hidden jewel in the Tennessee Valley. The campus offers the perfect blend of historic landmarks as well as modern buildings and amenities fit for the 21st century student. Well manicured lawns and tree-filled parks offer an ideal, serene setting amid the bustle of academic life. Oakwood students enjoy access to nature trails, modern and spacious dorms, indoor and outdoor exercise facilities, numerous study areas, and state-of-the-art smart classrooms. Oakwood University is dedicated to teaching with respect and compassion, while remaining dedicated to ensuring graduates enter the workforce with a strong
commitment to performing with integrity and excellence. Maintaining a dedication to innovation and collaboration with students through groundbreaking research and the latest technology is an ongoing effort that is gaining new ground each year. The faculty and staff are dedicated to instilling a sense of community in each student through numerous opportunities for Christ-centered service learning. “We are dedicated to you. This is Oakwood University.”
GRACE LUTHERAN SCHOOL Growing with Our Community
uring Huntsville’s “boom years” of the 1960’s, Grace Lutheran School was established to serve the many young families who were moving to Huntsville and the surrounding area to work on NASA’s space program. First opened in 1963 with a kindergarten class, Grace added another class, the first grade, in 1964. Grace continued to add a grade each year to 6th grade. In 1977 grade 7 was added and then in 1978 8th grade and prekindergarten. In 1980, the John Deere equipment building next door to the school was purchased and renovated to be occupied by the fourth through eighth grade classes as well as to host a science laboratory, library, and a music/band room. In 2005 Grace completed a major building program that added a family life center to house a large gymnasium, professional kitchen, and future classrooms on its second level. In 2012, Grace expanded once again developing a Child Development Center to fit the needs of young families moving into the city and surrounding county. Meeting the needs of the community continued as Grace added new classrooms each year for four consecutive years. Then, in 2015, Grace once again dared to dream big and launched a home-school cover, international exchange student program, and a blended high school creating the first Lutheran High School in Alabama. Well-established and well respected, Grace has had only nine principals in its 50-year history. In the true spirit of Huntsville, Grace continues to grow and develop innovative and cutting edge practices by keeping their focus on developing a school for the community. The first Junior Optimist Club for middle school students in Huntsville
has been a beacon to allow the students of Grace to grow in leadership, discipleship and innovation. Grace added university level skill electives courses for 7th and 8h grade students, five foreign language courses for high school students, nine duel enrollment universities to choose from and a host of career and technical education courses. Grace continues to innovate! Whether through extensive student-led community service initiatives, artistic designs, musical arts, athletics or high-level academic offerings Grace is determined to make a difference in a community of difference makers. Daring to dream and reaching for the stars, Grace will continue to be an integral part of the community of Huntsville.
THE AUBURN UNIVERSITY HUNTSVILLE RESEARCH CENTER I
n 2010, the Auburn University Huntsville Research Center was established in Huntsville’s Cummings Research Park to give North Alabama business, industry and government agencies easier access to the capabilities of one of the Southeast’s major research institutions. Headed by Dr. Rodney Robertson, former director of the technical center of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, the Huntsville Research Center connects Auburn’s extensive research capacities with the needs of Huntsville’s agencies and industries. By facilitating collaborations between Auburn University researchers and Huntsville industry leaders on a number of federal contracts, the Huntsville Research Center aims to increase research funding to both Auburn University and the state of Alabama, as well as assist the state to expand its role in the national research agenda. The Huntsville Research Center also facilitates Auburn’s collaboration with Alabama A&M University and the University of Alabama in Huntsville. It works to leverage the outstanding resources of these institutions to promote Alabama’s economic development, thereby bringing new ideas and new products to government, industry and consumers. Auburn University’s broad array of disciplines include defense and cyber security; advanced manufacturing; robotics and unmanned systems; advanced communications and wireless; advanced composites and materials; health sciences; veterinary medicine; and human dimension. The Huntsville Research Center has successfully created partnerships with the U.S. Army; NASA; Missile and Space Intelligence Center; Missile Defense Agency; and HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, among many others. It has linked Huntsville-based industry to several of Auburn’s colleges and programs, including Agriculture; Architecture, Design and Construction; Business;
Engineering; Human Sciences; Kinesiology; Pharmacy; Sciences and Mathematics; and Veterinary Medicine. With a staff that is deeply rooted in Huntsville, personnel in the Huntsville Research Center have more than 100 years of collective service within the Huntsville Army and NASA community and hold a prominent role in community organizations including the Cyber Huntsville initiative, Huntsville Chamber of Commerce Technology Committee and Huntsville Madison Auburn Club. As Huntsville serves as a high-tech economic hub for the region, the Auburn University Huntsville Research Center will continue to bring capability together to address the world’s grand challenges.
AWARD-WINNING QUALITY CARE By Patricia McCarter
f you’re in need of medical care, Huntsville is a great place to be. Huntsville/Madison County is home to not one but two award-winning hospital systems, plus an Army hospital, a St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital affiliate clinic, a new fullservice Veterans Affairs clinic and much, much more. These amenities generate medical stability and choices for residents of all ages, and they create more than 25,000 jobs and $1 billion-plus in annual wages. “If you added up everyone who works at Huntsville Hospital, Crestwood Hospital, the Surgery Center, Clearview (Cancer Institute) and all of the clinics and doctors’ offices, I’ll bet you’d come up with a number that’s pretty close to the number of people working on the (Redstone) Arsenal,” said David Spillers, CEO of Huntsville Hospital. “These are people who make good salaries and have benefits. And they turn around and invest in this community.” Having access to quality health care isn’t just important to local residents. It is a top concern of businesses, individuals and families considering a move to Huntsville and Madison County. “We get calls (from outside our community) about health care all the time,” said Dr. Pam Hudson, Crestwood Hospital CEO. “We can put those concerns to rest,” she said. “There is very little out-migration for health care necessary. Our community is fortunate to have two very good hospitals. Just about every specialty can be met without leaving Huntsville.”
Huntsville Hospital Established in 1895 for charitable purposes by a concerned group of women, Huntsville Hospital is the second largest hospital in Alabama, serving hundreds of thousands of patients as the major referral center for North Alabama and southern Tennessee. More than 8,000 staff members serve patients and families at its hospital facilities in Madison County, including the main campus with its 941 beds along with the Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children and the 60-bed Madison Hospital, left: Having access to quality health care is a top concern of businesses, individuals and families considering a move to Huntsville and Madison County. (Photo courtesy of Huntsville Hospital)
above and bottom, right: Huntsville Hospital is the second largest hospital in Alabama, serving hundreds of thousands of patients as the major referral
center for North Alabama and southern Tennessee. (Photos by Eric Schultz and courtesy of Huntsville Hospital)
which opened in 2012. In recent years, the Huntsville Hospital Health System has been ranked the third largest publicly owned health care system in the United States by Modern Health Care. The system’s purchases include the 120-bed Parkway Medical Center in Decatur, Decatur General Hospital, Helen Keller Hospital in Colbert County, Red Bay Hospital in Franklin County and Athens-Limestone Hospital. Combined, these hospitals have more than 2,000 beds, 12,000 employees and 1,100 physicians. Just a few years ago, Huntsville Hospital opened a centralized medical instrument sterilization center in Thornton Research Park in conjunction with its logistics center that began operation six years ago. Now, every surgical instrument used at any of the hospital system’s campuses is sterilized there, just as all hospital supplies run through the logistics center. About 200 employees work there. “A vendor will give you a much better deal when you’re buying 1,000 instead of 10,” Spillers said. “With medical reimbursements constantly being cut, we have 86
to be economical with all of our decisions. Our regional relationships give us critical mass.” Huntsville Hospital has enjoyed a number of accolades over its 120-year history. Some of the most recent ones include being named the only Alabama hospital on Healthgrades’ Top 100 Hospitals for spine surgery as well as cardiac surgery for 2015. It is also the only Alabama hospital included in Truven Health Analytics’ 50 best cardiovascular hospitals for 2016. It is North Alabama’s first comprehensive joint replacement program, known as “Joint Camp,” and it’s the region’s only Level One trauma program and pediatric emergency room and ICU. “We exist for one reason,” Spillers said, “to serve our patients and our community.”
Crestwood Hospital With up to 1,000 surgeries a month and 40,000 emergency room visits annually, the 180-bed Crestwood Hospital makes a definite splash in the health care pool in Huntsville. Crestwood CEO Pam Hudson said the hospital helps launch 10 physician practices each year.
“Our mission is to provide great health care,” she said. “There is a shortage of physicians, so by recruiting physicians, that is also a part of our impact.” Hudson, a Huntsville High graduate and former ER doctor at Crestwood, said Medical Economics recently rated this area as one of the best places to launch a medical career. That kind of endorsement does help in recruiting good staff, and quality health care options make it easier for economic developers to attract new or expanding industries. One of the new things Crestwood can highlight to potential residents is its renovated labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum (LDRP) area. Also, Crestwood launched an occupational medicine program, renovated the pain management department and expanded the operating room area. “Our niche is to provide a very high quality of care in an environment of service excellence,” she said. “People like options.” An aspect of care particularly attractive to the community’s retirees is Crestwood’s acute care for the elderly, or ACE unit. The hospital has a core of “Geriatric Resource Nurses,” who have received additional education and training specific to care of the elderly.
“We exist for one reason: to serve our patients and our community.” David Spillers, CEO of Huntsville Hospital
“We are also proud to be named to the Joint Commission’s list of Top Performers for the past two years,” she said. “The credit goes to our medical staff, employees and volunteers whose hard work every day makes this possible.” Crestwood marketing/public relations director Lori Light said that in the past year, the hospital opened a wound care and hyperbaric chamber, expanded the Vein Center and began electrophysiology in the cardiac catheterization lab. The facility also offers robotic-assisted techniques in general surgery, urology and otolaryngology. In July 2013, a surgical team at Crestwood performed the first da Vinci Single-Site hysterectomy 88
in Alabama by removing the patient’s uterus with one small incision in the belly button. That same year, Crestwood opened a Madison location, which offers imaging services, digital mammography, lab services and a sleep disorder clinic. “We monitor the community so we can meet their health care needs,” Light said. “People want a choice in health care, and we are happy to provide that.”
The Surgery Center of Huntsville Not all surgeries require a hospital stay. For those outpatient procedures, The Surgery Center of Huntsville is an option, and it is one that contributed economically
With up to 1,000 surgeries a month and 40,000 emergency room visits annually, the 180-bed Crestwood Hospital makes a definite splash in the health care pool in Huntsville. (Photos courtesy of Crestwood Medical Center)
to the community in a big way when it spent $24 million to expand its space. Another $6 million was spent on additional medical equipment. Prior to the expansion, The Surgery Center’s caseload was about 11,000 patients a year, according to CEO Bill Sammons. The caseload now exceeds 26,000. More than 100 registered nurses work at The Surgery Center, and more than 100 physicians have privileges there. Sammons said The Surgery Center’s niche focus is strictly on surgical services that will allow a patient to return home no greater than 23 hours after surgery.
“Our niche is to provide a very high quality of care in an environment of service excellence.” Pam Hudson, CEO of Crestwood Medical Center 89
Clearview Cancer Institute offers integrated cancer treatment programs and a staff that has been active in cancer research for more than 25 years. (Photos courtesy of Clearview Cancer Institute)
Clearview Cancer Institute Moving from its downtown Huntsville facility, Clearview Cancer Institute opened the doors to its new three-story, 115,000-square-foot building off Interstate 565 in 2006. The institute offers an integrated cancer treatment program to include medical oncology and hematology, radiation oncology, gynecologic oncology, research and clinical trials, imaging services, full laboratory services, genetic counseling, education and supportive care resources. The staff of 300 employees includes board-certified oncologists, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, 90
licensed social workers and the only certified genetic counselor in North Alabama. Its physicians have been active in cancer research trials for more than 25 years, and more than 30 scientific breakthroughs of new FDA-approved cancer-fighting treatments have been proven in clinical trials conducted at Clearview Cancer Institute.
The Smith Family Clinic for Genomic Medicine In 2015, HudsonAlpha opened the Smith Family Clinic for Genomic Medicine. The clinic is a collaboration between HudsonAlpha, Childrenâ€™s of Alabama and
UAB-Medicine and specializes in helping patients and physicians uncover genetic causes to rare, undiagnosed, and misdiagnosed diseases and illnesses via the exclusive use of whole genome sequencing data. The Smith Family Clinic is truly changing the world as the worldâ€™s first stand-alone clinic dedicated solely for the practice of genomic medicine.
And more... Not only is the area heavily endowed with specialized physicians, it also produces topnotch physicians through the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School
of Medicine, Huntsville Regional Medical campus. The university provides training for third- and fourth-year medical students in the clinical disciplines of medicine. The center is home to an active research program involving the assessment, education and treatment of chronic illnesses. Since 1974, 828 students have graduated from the UAB School of Medicine after training at the Huntsville Campus. The health center includes 30 faculty physicians providing care in five specialties, including family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, and psychiatry. 91
preceding pages: Oral Arts Dental Laboratories is
above: If youâ€™re in need of healthcare,
below: The Smith Family Clinic is the worldâ€™s
at the forefront of the dental industry. (Photo
Huntsville is a great place to be. (Photo
courtesy of Oral Arts)
courtesy of Clearview Cancer Institute)
first clinic dedicated solely for the practice of genomic medicine. (Photo courtesy of Smith Family Clinic)
Huntsville/Madison County is also home to a St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. (Photo courtesy of St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital)
Each year Fox Army Health Center serves over 60,000 soldiers, retirees, family members, and civilian employees who make up Team Redstone. The medical staff consists of approximately 300 soldiers, civilian employees, and contractors providing primary care, occupational health care, and outpatient specialty care. This health care facility provides a tremendous service to the Redstone community. The Huntsville Veterans Affairs Clinic has a new $40 million, 47,800-square-foot facility that provides primary
care, mental health, women’s health, audiology, optometry and radiology, as well as an onsite pharmacy. The new VA Clinic brings together the Madison/Decatur and Huntsville Community Outpatient Clinics under one roof. Huntsville’s health care enterprise is just one more component bringing people to, and perhaps more importantly, compelling them to stay in Huntsville and Madison County. By continuing to improve and build on this vital sector, Huntsville is making sure its citizens are healthy, happy and able to keep innovation strong. 95
LIMBAUGH ORTHODONTICS The Cutting Edge of Technology
ntra-oral scanners. Digital x-rays. Simulation software. All in a paperless environment. Not exactly words that conjure images of teeth, braces or specialized dental services. But at Limbaugh Orthodontics, that’s exactly what they are—the words of cutting-edge technology that allow patients to be a part of creating their treatment protocols. These words let patients live their lives smiling. So, how does an orthodontic practice offer the most advanced techniques for the future? By building on the successes of the past. Dr. Charles Ray Graham located his orthodontic practice in Huntsville, being drawn to the region by the progressive nature of the technological business environment. For 37 years, he provided patients with the best care based on the
latest advancements. But he was not alone in his attraction to Huntsville. Twenty-five years after he was drawn to the city to establish his practice, another young doctor set her sights on Huntsville as well. During her residency in Birmingham, Dr. Lindsay Limbaugh became more and more determined to locate in Huntsville because of its advanced technology and unique blend of cultures and residents. Several fellow specialists suggested she call Dr. Graham, as he enjoyed a reputation for using the latest techniques to serve his patients. After discussions, the two doctors mutually agreed to join together in a synergistic partnership that provided patients with not only the newest information on the latest technology, but also many years of proven clinical experience. Upon Dr. Graham’s retirement in 2015, the practice transitioned seamlessly into a sole doctor practice. Drs. Graham & Limbaugh became Limbaugh Orthodontics, building on the successful partnership with a strong determination to carry on the legacy of the best orthodontic treatment in Huntsville. Dr. Limbaugh continues offering the most advanced technologies and embracing the latest research and stateof-the-art equipment. Why? Because providing the best patient care demands it. As a board-certified orthodontist, Dr. Limbaugh maintains her board certification through extensive continuing education, but she doesn’t stop there. She believes that going above and beyond the board requirements allows her to learn about the most advanced orthodontic options available anywhere. That knowledge improves and enhances care for her patients. In such an intelligent, educated, and cutting-edge community as Huntsville, staying on top of the best and most current treatments isn’t optional – it’s essential. Patients expect complete information and are interested in every aspect of their treatment process. Dr. Limbaugh makes sure to keep communication open with all patients from children to adults and involves them in the decisions that will affect their ultimate outcomes. Armed with the most current technology and techniques, Dr. Limbaugh provides her patients with the best personalized options. She explains, “If a treatment is available, we offer it. Referring dentists know that their patients will receive the very best existing treatments here.” That and more keeps Limbaugh Orthodontics one step ahead of the rest. Having access to every technology allows patients to see what will happen over time. It’s where those concepts of
digital imaging and impression-less digital models (via the use of an intra-oral scanner) all come into play. Patients must no longer simply imagine the outcome— they see predictable results before even taking the first step. By actually seeing the end result before they start, patients are much more committed to the full treatment process and remain engaged from beginning to end. Not only have treatment protocols changed over time, so have the patients themselves. In the past, most orthodontic patients were children or teenagers. Now, 25-30% of Dr. Limbaugh’s patients are adults, so the office environment makes both age groups feel comfortable. For children, fun is the name of the game to keep them engaged and elevate their orthodontic experience. Dr. Limbaugh has programs such as “Rewards Points” to accumulate toward prizes, new electric toothbrushes to enhance motivation, and the annual “Sweet Swap” in the fall to give children cash rewards for bringing in candy for a matching funds program that supports the free community dental clinic. For adults, access to information is the rule that allows them to become partners with Dr. Limbaugh in their treatment plans and remain involved in planning their future care. Since adults already understand the need for treatment and want specific results, allowing them both to evaluate the various individual options and to see their results over time gives them the control. Limbaugh Orthodontics also understands that providing complete patient care means being a responsible
corporate citizen within the community. With a firm commitment to many organization and activities, the practice gives back to the region. Advanced technology. State-of-the-art treatments. Superior results. Limbaugh Orthodontics – Live life smiling.
CRESTWOOD MEDICAL CENTER Built on Community Choice and Compassionate Care
iving patients a choice. Providing personal, considerate care. Meeting community needs. Crestwood Medical Center is committed to transforming health care at every turn.
Creating a Choice As Huntsville grew in the early 1960s, Dr. Bernie Moore, Dr. Ellis Sparks, Dr. James Earl Robertson, and local businessman Archie Hill saw a need for new options in medical services. The group first opened a small clinic-type hospital connected to a nursing home in 1964 and then continued to bring their vision to reality by converting the facilities to a hospital in 1965. They gave Huntsville a choice for in-patient care. 1968 saw the hospital purchased by HCA. Expanded services, an increasing staff, and greater community need led to a move to the new site off Airport Road in 1982. Since that time, Crestwood has experienced ownership changes and numerous expansions and renovations. Each one has raised the level of medical care in the community and given patients more choices in health care services.
Providing Exceptional Medical Facilities Occupying a sprawling campus off Airport Road, Crestwood is truly a full-service medical center serving Madison County and North Alabama. Anchored by the 180-bed acute care hospital with the latest medical 98
advancements along with surgical and diagnostic procedures, the main site features a full spectrum of facilities and services – an expanded and enhanced Emergency Department, an extensive Outpatient Surgery Center, a designated Vascular Lab, Women’s Center, Imaging and Diagnostic Center, Vein Center, Therapy Services, Behavioral Health, Center for Sleep Disorders, Laboratory Services, and Physicians Plaza with multiple family and specialty practices. Keeping pace with the growing community, Crestwood has added beds incrementally in the acute care hospital to meet the increasing demands of the North Alabama region. Throughout the decades, various other departments and service areas have also expanded or seen renovations – always to maintain the highest level of patient care. A recent $5.5 million expansion and renovation of the Emergency Department added greater access, more privacy, and improved total time from entrance to discharge to home. It also increased capability in Emergent Cardiac Care, Emergent Endovascular Intervention, and specialized emergency care for senior patients. As a result of this capital investment, ER experiences are faster and more comfortable for residents of Madison County and surrounding communities. In addition to the vast array of services available on the main campus, Crestwood provides multiple health care centers spread across the region with physician clinics, outpatient diagnostics, specialized programs, and lab
services. These outlying centers take primary care directly to the larger community, providing patients with easier access to the health care they need where they need it.
Offering Quality Care Numerous accreditations and certifications place Crestwood Medical Center in the top tier of North Alabama medical service providers. In fact, Crestwood has earned recognition time after time for its high standards of care and advancements in multiple areas of surgery and specialized treatments including designation as a “Top Performer on Key Quality Measures” by The Joint Commission, the nation’s leading accreditor of health care organizations which also carries Crestwood’s accreditation. For Crestwood, quality begins with compassionate care combined with the latest in medical advancements. That means remaining at the forefront of medical technology in the ultra-dynamic environment of health care and always benefiting the patient with better diagnostics, less invasive procedures, faster recovery times, and more critical advantages. With a reputation for compassion and Southern hospitality health care at its finest, Crestwood works continually to upgrade care at all levels. Collaborative communication among doctors, nurses, staff, and the patient allows evidence-based decisions that deliver the right treatment in the right way at the right time – the cornerstone of high-quality health care.
Crestwood LDRP (Labor, Delivery, Recovery, Postpartum) suites provide a home-away-from-home birth experience where the mother remains in the same room for all four steps of the birthing process, eliminating the need for the disruption of shifting rooms. Traditional LDR and postpartum rooms are also available.
level. Staying in constant touch with residents in the medical center’s service area translates into improved overall services and better patient care. Even in a field that demands continual change, one thing stays the same – providing a quality choice for health care needs. Crestwood Medical Center. Built with the community in mind.
Continuing to Make a Difference Crestwood serves the local community in a variety of ways besides through health care. As one of the area’s top 10 tax-paying entities including payroll, property, and sales taxes, Crestwood makes a substantial difference in the availability of community resources. The medical center is also among the top employers in the area and adds tremendously to quality-oflife considerations in new economic development projects throughout the region. Community benefit doesn’t stop there. Crestwood physicians, employee leaders, and administrators are all extremely involved in education programs, non-profit organizations and other community initiatives.
Crestwood’s Emergency Department has been renovated and expanded to provide patients with greater access, privacy, and faster, more comfortable care. below: Crestwood offers a full range of cardiovascular procedures, both emergent and elective, including heart catheterizations, coronary interventions (such as balloon angioplasty, stents, pacemakers, and defibrillators), electrophysiology, and endovascular lab procedures.
Keeping Community Needs at the Forefront Throughout the decades, one thing has remained constant – Crestwood’s commitment to the community. From the very beginning when establishing a new hospital provided North Alabama residents with a choice, Crestwood has continued to listen to the community in order to determine emerging priorities in patient and family needs. The local Board of Trustees and advisory councils keep the hospital connected to the community at the grassroots 99
ORAL ARTS DENTAL LABORATORIES Delivering High-Tech Excellence Nationwide
rom Mobile to the jungles of Vietnam to a state-of-theart lab serving more than 2,500 dental practices nationwide – Thomas Winstead built Oral Arts Dental Laboratories into a thriving, high-tech, family-owned business with national reach that is defining the future.
More Than Just a Job When Oral Arts Dental Laboratories founder Thomas Winstead was a 16-year-old student in Mobile looking for a job, he chose to make deliveries for a dental lab even though he could have earned more money in the short term at other jobs. Even then, he knew that he wanted a career, not just a job. That high school choice ended up shaping the path of his life.
Winstead enlisted in the National Guard and subsequently graduated from the Fort Sam Houston Medical Training Center in San Antonio, Texas. In the late 1960s, his National Guard unit served a tour in Vietnam where he was responsible for daily operations of the military dental clinic serving the troops— an invaluable training experience that further prepared him for his career. Upon the advice of a dentist, who was his commanding officer, Winstead returned to Huntsville in 1969 following his military tour. He quickly secured an investor and opened Oral Arts Dental Laboratories in 1970. Even as a very small operation, the new business maintained high standards for work quality and impeccable service. Each case met the condition of using the best possible materials to be as close to perfection as possible for the dental patient. This unwavering commitment to precision, and timely delivery earned the lab a sterling reputation for excellence and created growth for the business within the dental industry. Through the years, Winstead continued to work toward his vision of becoming a world-class, high-tech facility with national influence – a vision that has become reality. Now with multiple locations, the company has grown to serve more than 2,500 dental practices throughout the United States, placing the lab in the top 1% of dental labs in the country.
More Than the Status Quo
In the past, technicians crafted products mostly by hand using individual tools, as seen above. Now, the entire process from securing dental impressions to producing the end product has become high-tech, driven more and more by computers. Today, Oral Arts is in the top 1% of dental labs in the country. 100
From the very beginning, Oral Arts Dental Laboratories has led the industry by using the most current materials and technologies available. As a full-service dental lab, its capabilities include fabricating any kind of restoration or appliance that dentists need for patients – crowns, veneers, partials, full dentures, implants, orthodontic appliances, and mouth guards – and technology drives every product. In the past, technicians crafted products mostly by hand using individual tools. Now, the entire process from securing dental impressions to producing the end product has become high-tech, driven more and more by computers. For instance, instead of taking messy impressions of a patient’s mouth, dentists can now use intra-oral digital scans, which are much easier and less invasive for the patient. The lab is able to generate the products with ten times more accuracy. Technology also enables much faster production which, in turn, gets the patients what they need without an extended wait. Dentists can send in patient scans directly to the lab electronically, allowing the technicians to begin creating the product much sooner. Advancements in lab technology also make mass production possible. Where crowns were once made
Oral Arts Dental Laboratories is more than just a company. It is a family-owned business dedicated to its employees, its customers, and its community serving more than 2,500 dental practices nationwide.
individually, technology makes it possible to custom design them on a computer and produce them twenty at a time on a milling machine or sixty at time on a 3-D printer. They can be further customized following this process. This technology also reduces total production time and gets the product to the patients faster. These upgrades, along with staying abreast of the latest in high-tech equipment, put the company at the forefront of the industry with the fastest in-lab turnaround times – cutting production time in half. Additionally, the lab prides itself on delivering the most robust customer service available anywhere. Dentists know they can rely on the highest quality service for every patient, every time.
Thomas Winstead poses in front of the dental clinic where he served troops while he was in Vietnam. His time there would prove to be an invaluable training experience that further prepared him for what would become Oral Arts Dental Laboratories.
Pictured left to right is Matt Winstead, Derek Winstead, Tiffany Winstead Marshall and Thomas Winstead.
More Than Just a Lab While the company has the distinction of being a national industry leader, it is far more than just a lab. The company also has a strong commitment to education on several fronts. In the beginning, Winstead built the company presenting seminars. He was among the first dental technicians to do educational lectures to dentists on how to meet patient needs. His dedication to demonstrating advancements in dental technology was doubly important because it not only created confidence in the lab’s capabilities, but it also showed the dentists how the lab could be a partner on problematic cases to solve the patient’s dental needs. The education connection extends even further and includes long-standing collaboration with the dental school at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. Professors, students, and dental lab technicians all benefit from sharing information and ideas through seminars, special programs, and on-site training. Oral Arts Dental Laboratories is also more than just a company. It is a family-owned business that is dedicated to its employees, its customers, and its community. Thomas Winstead turned his dedication to building a career into visionary high-tech gain for Huntsville and for thousands of dentists and patients each year. 101
CLEARVIEW CANCER INSTITUTE I
n May of 1985, Dr. Marshall T. Schreeder moved to Huntsville by way of Atlanta and began the process of providing comprehensive cancer services to Madison County and the surrounding counties of North Alabama and southern Tennessee. Dr. Schreeder forged a strategic partnership with another oncologist new to Huntsville, Dr. Jeremy K. Hon, forming what is now known as the Clearview Cancer Institute. Now, over 30 years later, the Institute is highly regarded as one of the nationâ€™s leading oncology and hematology centers. Clearview treats 5,000 new patients annually and both founding partners continue to see patients at the 100,000-square-foot facility, along with ten other physicians and a staff of over 300 employees. The growth of the Institute has allowed Clearview to expand to include four additional locations in surrounding North Alabama counties. In 1988, as Clearview evolved, the physicians saw a void in local treatment options. In response, they opened the Research Department, which resulted in attracting new research protocols to Huntsville and provided local physicians and patients additional oncology treatment opportunities. Today, their research departmentâ€™s comprehensive clinical trials portfolio consists of Phase I through Phase IV experimental protocols. These trials provide pharmaceutical companies the opportunity to expedite and approve new cancer treatments and give patients access to cutting edge treatments. Over 35 treatment-revolutionizing FDA approved drugs have been
tested in clinical trials at Clearview, including drugs for breast, lung, colorectal and pancreatic cancers, as well as leukemias and lymphomas. As the clinic grew, Dr. Schreeder and Dr. Hon recruited Dr. John Waples, a recent graduate of the University of Florida, who specialized in bone marrow transplants. Soon after Dr. Waples arrived at Clearview he formed the first peripheral blood stem cell transplant program in North Alabama. Patients with multiple myeloma and patients with certain types of lymphomas are among those who continue to benefit from this program. The 1990s brought an explosion of new technological advances, which bled over into the medical industry with the discovery of the breast tissue genes, BRCA 1 and BRCA 2. The identification of these two genes changed the treatment options for many oncology patients. Keeping pace at the forefront of technology, Dr. Schreeder instituted the genetic testing and counseling program at Clearview in 2002 and employed the first certified genetic counselor in North Alabama. As more cancer-related genes are identified the number of genetic tests offered will continue to increase. After 21 years of adding new services and departments Clearview outgrew its existing location at Blackwell Towers. In 2006, Clearview Cancer Institute moved their offices from Governors Drive to a parcel of land dubbed Russel Hill. The Russel Hill campus is named after Revolutionary War veteran, Lieutenant Colonel Albert Russel, who in 1816 moved his family to the very site where the main campus
stands today. In addition to housing the Clearview Cancer Institute the campus is also home to the Russel Hill Cancer Foundation; a foundation that offers cancer patients and their families bold, innovative cancer research, education, and patient assistance. The opening of the new campus allotted space to new services such as radiation oncology, diagnostic imaging, laboratory services, blood and platelet transfusions, on-site pharmacy, financial counseling, social services, patient education classes, and support groups. Clearview Cancer Institute is proud of its humble beginnings and continues along the path of growing Dr.
Schreederâ€™s vision of providing comprehensive cancer treatment to patients in the Tennessee Valley. The Clearview team forges ahead to assess the immediate and future needs of all oncology and hematology patients to ensure compassionate, quality care, cutting-edge therapy, and screening tools to all those who walk through their doors seeking treatment. With such dramatic growth over the past thirty years, Clearview embraces the future and looks forward to playing a part in finding a cure for all those battling cancer.
HUNTSVILLE HOSPITAL HEALTH SYSTEM E
stablished in 1895, Huntsville Hospital is the second largest hospital in Alabama serving hundreds of thousands of patients as the major referral center for North Alabama and southern Tennessee. Throughout its 120-year history, Huntsville Hospital has been community-owned. Today, the Health Care Authority of the City of Huntsville provides volunteer governance of the 941-bed hospital. More than 7,500 staff members serve patients at its hospital facilities in Madison County, including the main campus, Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children and Madison Hospital. Recently, the development of Huntsville Hospital Health System has extended the hospital’s service throughout the Tennessee Valley with affiliate hospitals located in Athens, Decatur, Sheffield, Red Bay, Moulton, Russellville, Winfield, and Haleyville. Combined, the Health System represents more than 2,000 hospital beds, 12,000 staff members and 1,100 physicians. Huntsville Hospital Health System was ranked as the third largest publicly owned hospital system in the nation by Modern Healthcare magazine in June 2015. At the heart of Huntsville Hospital’s services is the region’s most experienced team of healthcare professionals. The hospital is led by nearly 3,000 nurses who support the 750 members of the medical staff providing the following services:
• The region’s only Level One Trauma program • Advanced surgical services include neurosurgical and orthopedic surgery and comprehensive spinal care. Huntsville Hospital was the only hospital in Alabama to be included in Healthgrades’ Top 100 Hospitals for Spine Surgery for 2015. • North Alabama’s first comprehensive joint replacement program, known as Joint Camp, is at Huntsville Hospital. • Premier cardiovascular program for the region with state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment services, providing electrophysiology, TAVR, minimally invasive procedures and other advanced cardiac care. • The only hospital in Alabama to be ranked in Truven Health Analytics Top 50 Heart Hospitals for 2016 and Healthgrades’ Top 50 Hospitals for Cardiac Surgery in 2015 and 2016. • Certified Primary Stroke Center • One of 3 dedicated children’s hospitals in Alabama with dozens of pediatric subspecialty physicians. • Region’s only Pediatric ER and Pediatric ICU • Alabama’s largest mother/baby program with the Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and a MaternalFetal Medicine Unit for high risk mothers • Advanced imaging services, including 256-slice CT and MRI • Comprehensive Outpatient Services located throughout the community
Huntsville Hospital Health System CEO, David Spillers
Huntsville Hospital also serves as the teaching facility for UAB’s Family Practice and Internal Medicine residency programs. The hospital has earned quality recognitions from Blue Cross Blue Shield, Healthgrades, U.S. News & World Report, American Heart and Stroke Associations, and accredited by The Joint Commission. David Spillers, CEO of Huntsville Hospital Health System, is proudest of the service that his team provides to patients and their families. “We exist for one reason---to serve our community,” he said. “We do our best to provide advanced equipment and clean, up-to-date facilities. Everyone wants that. But our primary reason for being here is to serve our patients with quality care. Healthcare is often complicated and confusing, but in the end, it’s a people business. We could not do what we do without a great team of physicians, nurses and other hospital staff.”
THE SMITH FAMILY CLINIC FOR GENOMIC MEDICINE T
he Smith Family Clinic for Genomic Medicine is believed to be the world’s first stand-alone clinic established solely for the practice of genomic medicine. The clinic sees patients with rare undiagnosed and misdiagnosed disease, and uses whole genome sequencing to identify the genetic causes of disease. Whole genome sequencing involves spelling out an individual’s genetic code—their entire DNA blueprint. Data from that sequence is interpreted clinically to identify variants, or changes in the DNA, linked to the disease. Each of us has between four and six million variants, and most of those are not linked to disease; they are merely that which makes each of us unique. The Smith Family Clinic for Genomic Medicine leverages the sequencing and diagnostic expertise of the physicians, genetic counselors and scientists at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in a patient care setting. The clinic utilizes HudsonAlpha’s trademarked Genome Gateway™ patient portal, which was developed specifically for genomic medicine, to gather relevant information about the patient’s health and family history. Whole genome sequencing is performed in an accredited clinical laboratory that specializes in genomic medicine. Genetic counselors play a critical role in the practice of genomic medicine. Because genetic tests provide information relevant not just to patients but also to family members (because family members share DNA and can pass down some disease mutations), it’s important to engage in discussions prior to testing about the information whole genome sequencing may potentially reveal. Beyond a diagnosis, an individual’s DNA might reveal a mutation known to cause breast cancer, for example. For
this reason, patient families have an opportunity to make choices around the return of data prior to testing. Genetic counselors also discuss the potential ethical, legal and social implications of genome sequencing with patients. After testing, the geneticist and the genetic counselors again meet with the patient to discuss the findings and next steps. While genomic sequencing will not always yield a diagnosis, for many families it ends years-long diagnostic odysseys. Patients are referred to the Smith Family Clinic for Genomic Medicine through their primary health care providers or through specialists practicing locally, regionally, and worldwide.
ALABAMA COLON & GASTRO I
n January 2016, Alabama Colon & Gastro opened its doors to serve the people of Madison County and the Tennessee Valley. Led by Bradley Rice, M.D., a boardcertified gastroenterologist and Physician Assistant Andrea Womble, the practice focuses on providing comprehensive, compassionate and responsible medical care and treatment of disorders and diseases of the colon, esophagus, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, small intestine and stomach. “Our staff is trained to ensure that all medical needs are met, which makes our practice a great choice for those with digestive problems,” says Rice. “We are committed to delivering quality care to improve the health and wellbeing of our patients, and we aim to be Alabama’s premier provider dedicated to the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of digestive disorders and liver disease.” Alabama Colon & Gastro offers specialty medical services for patients with a variety of conditions, including abdominal pain, liver issues, problems swallowing, acid reflux, as well as preventive care such as regular colonoscopies. The office uses the latest technology to provide a variety of tests and procedures, such as ERCP (a specialized technique used to study the bile ducts, pancreatic duct and gallbladder); flexible sigmoidoscopy; liver biopsy; radiofrequency ablation; small bowel capsule endoscopy; upper GI endoscopy; and screening colonoscopy. A native of Evansville, Ind., Rice graduated from the University of Alabama in 1999 and the University of South Alabama School of Medicine in 2003. He
completed a residency program in internal medicine and a gastroenterology fellowship at the University of Louisville, where he served as Chief Gastroenterology Fellow. He has been a practicing gastroenterologist in the Huntsville area since 2009. Board-certified in both gastroenterology and internal medicine, Rice has physician privileges at Crestwood Medical Center in Huntsville and Madison Surgery Center. At Crestwood, he serves as chair of Internal Medicine and co-director of Crestwood Medical Center Endoscopy Center. He also serves on the Board of Censors of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama, the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners, the Alabama Department of Public Health Board, the Board of Trustees for the Madison County Medical Society, and is vice president of the Alabama Gastroenterology Society. Womble, a board-certified physician’s assistant, has worked in the gastroenterology field in the Huntsville area since 2006, in both the clinical and hospital settings. Born and raised in Atlanta, she graduated from Auburn University in 1998 and received her Master’s in Health Science from the University of South Alabama Physician Assistant program in in 2002. Both Rice and Womble find North Alabama to be an ideal place to settle down. “Huntsville is a great place to live and practice medicine,” Rice says. “Even though it is a city, if feels like a small town. We enjoy getting to know our patients and also helping the community.”
ALABAMA PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICES CENTER, LLC Strengthening Quality of Life
elping people work better, play better, and have better relationships. That’s strengthening quality of life. That’s improving the community. That’s Alabama Psychological Services Center.
From Engineering to Psychology
Owner Dr. Lois Pope started practicing psychology in 1993 after a 15-year career in Huntsville as a software engineer working on the Saturn V and the space shuttle programs. When Pope found a new calling in psychology, through hard work and the support of her husband William and five children, she commuted to Vanderbilt University obtaining a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology. Where she intended to practice was never in question – Huntsville was home and she wanted to make a difference in the community. She started a private practice in psychology joining two other psychologists at Alabama Psychological Services Center in 1993 and became the sole owner in 2007.
Expanding to Meet Community Need
During 23 years of practice, Pope has provided psychological testing and follow-up services to children and adults of all ages. With a growing demand for services she has increased the professional staff of psychologists, counselors and social workers and now has a professional staff of 16. They operate in two locations (Huntsville and Madison) providing counseling and psychological testing in response to requests from individuals, families, physicians, the legal system, government agencies, educational institutions, and many others. To manage the increased demand for services and oversee multiple locations, Pope’s son, Bill, joined the
Psychological testing is offered for people of all ages to help with diagnosis and treatment planning.
Clinical Director Lois Pope, Ph.D. and Director of Operations Bill Pope take the lead in providing supportive business and clinical services for the company’s group of professionals.
company as Director of Operations and is now co-owner. Together, with his wife Wendy who serves as Business Manager, they will provide continuity of leadership into the future. Additional Pope family members have joined the business over the years, creating a family-owned atmosphere.
When Pope changed careers from software engineer to psychologist she knew her technical background in computers would serve her well. While expanding facilities and personnel, the company incorporated the use of computer technology for administrative functions as well as clinical services. Advancements in interactive media and the use of computers for psychological testing improve efficiency and accuracy in the diagnostic testing process. Equipment for EMDR allows for state of the art treatment of symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The clinical staff has diverse training and skills allowing them to deal with difficulties across the full spectrum of psychological issues – learning disabilities, ADHD, autism, depression, anxiety, PTSD, chronic pain, sleep disorders, addiction, relationship difficulties, and much more. This diversity of skills allows diagnosis and treatment of almost any type of problem, helping people to live better, work better, and play better in their day to day lives. It is truly a full-service practice. Alabama Psychological Services Center – capability, compassion, community. 107
COMMUNITIES & NEIGHBORHOODS
PLACES CALLED HOME By Chris Welch
aybe, as the old saying goes, there really is something in the water here in Huntsville. You know, that cold, crystal-clear, bubbling water at Big Spring Park that John Hunt started drinking some 200 years ago and still flows today in downtown Huntsville. Maybe it’s because we’ve got more historic homes in the state, great neighborhoods around the city, parks and greenways, a downtown thriving with more and more new loft apartments, cool things to do like food truck parties, outdoor concerts and entertainment. Or maybe we’re just happy here in Huntsville. A 2016 survey reported in The Washington Post lists Huntsville as No. 50 among the country’s “most happy” cities. Whatever it is, the folks from Liveability.com named Huntsville No. 1 in the U.S. on its list of Best Affordable Cities in 2016. They even felt a little of our Rocket City mojo here in claiming: “Shooting for the moon is cheaper in Huntsville, Alabama” But we knew that all along, right? But here’s how the folks at liveability.com put it: “While its economy is built on space exploration, missile defense and biotechnology, residents in Huntsville find living expenses far from out of this world. Spending levels in nearly all the categories we measured were below the national average in Huntsville, and the city offers a soaring economy and an array of things to do, putting it on a trajectory to become No. 1 on our list of the best affordable cities in 2016.” People – approximately 188,226 according to the 2014 United States Census Bureau – also love to live here because of the big number of corporations located in Huntsville and Madison County – including several Fortune 500 companies. The bustling economy, cultural attractions, parks, restaurants and the numerous job opportunities are all a part of the bigger package. Liveability.com also likes the fact
The 75-unit Belk-Hudson Lofts are situated in the old BelkHudson Department store building two blocks north of the courthouse and make for an easy walk downtown. (Photo courtesy of Belk Hudson Lofts)
Huntsville residents spend the lowest percentage of their income on housing (a mere 22 percent!). When Curse, one of the top gaming companies in the country, announced it was moving to Huntsville by way of San Francisco in 2013, CEO and founder Hubert Thieblot said it was because of the fantastic talent, affordable cost of living and tax rates. Huntsville beat out Boulder, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Seattle, winning out in the end because of its competitive attributes and vital assistance from officials at the state level. The folks at Curse and others are finding out what a lot of us have known for years, including noted local author Homer Hickam, who has written several bestselling books, including the memoir and internationally acclaimed “Rocket Boys” that became the hit movie “October Sky.” “I love Huntsville and the people here,” said Hickam. “The Army sent me here in 1969, and I immediately fell in love with it. Although I lived in Germany and elsewhere, 110
I always came back to Huntsville because it’s a vibrant community. It is now home. In the 40-plus years I’ve lived here, I’ve seen Huntsville go from a small community to a bursting-at-the-seams metropolitan area. The big and vibrant Von Braun Center as well as the burgeoning Huntsville Museum of Art has drawn in creative people from everywhere. Moreover, the evolving complex known as the United States Space & Rocket Center (home of Space Camp) is an exciting attraction to space lovers and tourists.” Huntsville once had a tough time competing for residents with trendy cities like Austin, Raleigh, Chattanooga, Greenville and Charleston because of a lack of urban lofts downtown. But now, that’s changed. Adding loft living has literally opened the door for more people to live, work and play downtown. Using historic buildings that housed businesses years ago, owners have carved out loft apartments and condominiums.
Huntsville was named No. 1 on a list of the best affordable cities in 2016. Whether living outside the city center, or in a loft in the center of it all, Huntsville is a great place to live. (Photos by Eric Schultz)
“I love Huntsville and the people here. The Army sent me here in 1969, and I immediately fell in love with it. Although I lived in Germany and elsewhere, I always came back to Huntsville because it’s a vibrant community. It is now home. In the 40-plus years I’ve lived here, I’ve seen Huntsville go from a small community to a bursting-at-theseams metropolitan area.” Photo by Eric Schultz
Homer Hickam 111
The Twickenham District is south of downtown and features one of the highest concentrations of antebellum homes in the country. (Photos by Eric Schultz)
Hampton Cove is one of the newer communities in Huntsville. (Photo by Kristin Clark)
above and right: From the streets of historic Twickenham to the peak of Monte Sano, the quality of life in Huntsville is unmatched. (Photos by Eric
The 75-unit Belk-Hudson Lofts are situated in the old Belk-Hudson Department store building two blocks north of the courthouse and make for an easy walk downtown. The new Artisan Lofts have 246 residential units and are part of the new Twickenham Square development near the Downtown Publix. The 301 East Condominiums are a seven-story project with ground floor retail and rooftop terrace along with 21 units. The upper floors of the building were renovated in 2002 and represent downtown Huntsville’s first luxury condos.
“Huntsville is unique,” Mayor Tommy Battle said. “We’ve earned a lot of accolades, and that’s proof the strategy we started seven years ago is working. We wanted to make sure we grew but didn’t outgrow our infrastructure. We wanted to grow incrementally and wanted to be successful, while staying ahead of the curve and maintaining our quality of life. With the downtown apartments, we felt like if we could get all the people pulling together and help them with the infrastructure, it would make a big difference in the working synergy 115
Photo by Eric Schultz
Adding loft living has literally opened the door for more people to live, work and play downtown. (Photos courtesy of The Avenue)
downtown.” To play off a line from the classic movie “Field of Dreams,” Battle and other developers believe: If you build it, the people of Huntsville will come. The most recent loft development is a $35-plus million venture at the corner of Jefferson Street and Holmes Avenue, called The Avenue. Chad Emerson, CEO of DHI, says, “to use a baseball analogy, [The Avenue] is a home run, a grand slam.” The Belk Hudson Lofts, Artisan Lofts and The Avenue are all projects that have been announced in the last several years, about two years apart. Another project that will add more residents living downtown is CityCenter at Big Spring at the site of the old Hilton/ Holiday Inn at the corner of Williams Avenue and Monroe Street. It will include a new hotel, luxury apartments and outdoor dining and entertainment. “The goal is for them all to be successful,” Battle said. “As for downtown apartments, we have a lot of capacity in place and a lot of synergy.” Did you know Huntsville boasts the largest area of historic homes in the state? Just walk the streets of Old Town and Twickenham, and you will step back in time. The Twickenham District is south of downtown and features one of the highest concentrations of antebellum homes, including the 1819 Weeden House Museum, home of female artist and poet Maria Howard Weeden. The neighborhood was added to the National 117
Photo by Eric Schultz
Register of Historic Places in 1973. The Old Town District is east of downtown and features over 170 smaller homes. Five Points has long been known as the cultural, laid-back, artsy neighborhood, featuring over 350 houses. It gained Historic Preservation District status in 1999. The Lincoln Mill District was a neighborhood built for the folks who worked at the nearby Lincoln Mill in the 1900s. At one time, it was the largest cotton mill in the city, and when it closed in 1955, it housed office space for NASA, where engineers designed the Apollo Lunar Rover. Since then, the area has recharged and reinvented itself with entertainment and a growing tech campus and people returning to the neighborhood. The Lincoln Mill District features longtime restaurant Dallas Mill Deli and the newer Mad Malts Brewing. Another area that used to be the home for mill workers surrounds Lowe Mill, which produced textiles, boots for soldiers in Vietnam and a variety of other products. This area has seen an amazing revival. Not far from the Lowe Mill Arts and Entertainment complex is the Merrimack District, another historic area from the Merrimack Manufacturing Co. mill days. The neighborhood has seen quite a bit of revival in recent years and is home to the Merrimack Hall Performing Arts Center, which has been renovated from its original purpose as the millâ€™s store and community center. Now itâ€™s a multi-purpose home for live music, special events and other performing arts. 118 Photo by Eric Schultz
The folks up on Monte Sano have some of the most breathtaking views of the city in another eclectic, laidback community. Life seems to slow down up on Monte Sano. Perhaps that’s encouraged by the proximity of Monte Sano State Park, which offers visitors and residents beautiful glimpses of the mountain through 25 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, along with Burritt on the Mountain – A Living Museum. Back in the 1950s, 15 German families – here to help the country’s space and missile programs – bought 37 acres on top of Monte Sano, and it was nicknamed “Sauerkraut Hill” because the forested hills and plowed fields surrounding Huntsville reminded many of their homes in Germany. Adjacent to downtown Huntsville, the Medical District is home to Huntsville High School, a variety of locally owned shops, Huntsville Hospital and other stateof-the-art medical facilities. It features The Artisan, a new Publix and restaurants like Taco Mama and the Chocolate Bar. The new Merchant’s Walk development at the corner of Bob Wallace and South Memorial Parkway features the first Whole Foods in North Alabama, the first Farm Burger in Alabama and the first Orangetheory Fitness Center in North Alabama. Head to Jones Valley, and it appears you’ve ventured out of the city, but instead the acres of pasture and
cows owned by the Jones Family are a backdrop to both longtime and new neighborhoods and retail development. Although much of the land has been developed, Jones Farm is still in business and is considered the largest working urban farm in the nation. Inside Jones Valley you’ll find the Atwood Drive Linear Park Greenway, the beautiful Ledges neighborhood and golf course, Target at Valley Bend shopping center and a new development called Lendon. Hampton Cove is one of the newer communities in Huntsville, constructed in 1992 and composed of 20 different neighborhoods. Throughout the 2,800 acres of Hampton Cove, you will find three Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail courses, the Hampton House, the beautiful Hays Nature Preserve, 28 lakes, several parks, and more than 20 miles of continuous sidewalks. The Village of Providence, located just off U.S. Highway 72, has been nationally recognized for its commitment to creating a people- and pedestrianoriented place. It offers several nice dining options like Grill 29, Mellow Mushroom and Phuket along with quaint houses, professional offices and apartment complexes. The Village’s website paints a welcoming picture: “Like a glass of sweet tea on a hot August day, the Village of Providence is filled with heart-warming Southern charm.”
Photo by Eric Schultz 119
CHRISTINE WICKS Hometown Service and Real Estate Savvy
lifelong Huntsville resident, Christine Wicks began her career in real estate in 2001. Two years later, she and a group of investors started Keller Williams Realty in the Rocket City. As the Operating Principal of Keller Williams Realty Huntsville and Madison, as well as CEO of InTown Partners Real Estate Group, Wicks and her team strive to provide unparalleled service to sellers and buyers across the Tennessee Valley. “Huntsville and Madison always rank highly on surveys about the best places to live or raise a family, as well as for entrepreneurs to start a business. Even when people move away from this area, they often return because of the growing number of opportunities,” Wicks says. “My father’s military service brought us to the Huntsville area. After living here my whole life, I can’t think of a better place to have raised a family and grow my business.”
Setting Standards of Service in the Real Estate Industry When she started her own real estate company, Wicks was drawn to the Keller Williams Realty franchise because of its strong belief in the balance of “God, Family, then Business.” “The company culture is unmatched and is always putting others first; a core belief of all Keller Williams agents is ‘win-win or no deal,’ ” Wicks says. “Keller Williams is also extremely education based and continuously provides training for our agents to ensure they stay the best in the business, which in turn provides a higher standard of service and success for the client.” This others-first approach extends beyond business dealings and into the company’s ongoing commitment of giving back to the community. Every year, Keller Williams real estate agents participate in RED Day, which stands for Renew, Energize and Donate. Agents spend the day serving worthy organizations and causes committed to improving their local communities as a way to say thank you for the support the community offers all year long. Christine and
“Christine is amazing! She took us around Huntsville to familiarize us with the area, and to understand more of what we were looking for. She has great patience, and always makes us feel like we are her most important priority. She found us a house that was perfect for us through her networking, and got us an amazing price. We HIGHLY recommend her!” — Bought a home in 2016 120
her team, InTown Partners Real Estate Group, participate every year. Highlights include building Habitat for Humanity homes, planting produce at the CASA Community Garden, painting school classrooms and visiting nursing homes. Wicks and her team of real estate professionals don’t just serve the community on RED Day. The group also participates in the Keller Williams Huntsville Chili for Charity event, an annual local chili cook-off that raises money and awareness for a different charity each year. In addition, Wicks is actively involved with fundraising for a number of Huntsville area nonprofit organizations and is always willing to provide time and service, as well as opening her home, for fundraising events.
Selling North Alabama The InTown Partners Real Estate Group specializes in all types of residential real estate including representing and negotiating sales for buyers and sellers, relocation and
new construction. The team has developed a reputation for their vast knowledge of the local neighborhoods, amenities and market values, as well as for their exceptional customer service and innovative marketing techniques. Team members focus on getting to know their clients’ needs through ongoing communication so they can offer informed insight and support during the home buying or selling process. With offices in Huntsville and Madison, they have the Tennessee Valley covered. “Our team has the incomparable ability to understand every client’s unique home buying or selling needs,” Wicks says. “My goal is for each individual to see that we understand how complex and emotional the process can be and that we are focused on one goal: providing outstanding service. We view our ability to provide this seamless, turnkey service as a great strength and benefit to our valued customers. A quick glance through our reviews speaks volumes about the level of professionalism and commitment we provide.” In addition to working with loyal clients, Wicks and her team also work with local companies that are recruiting employees from surrounding cities, out of state, and internationally. “In many cases, we work with companies during the recruiting process and take potential employees
on a tour of Huntsville and Madison, which helps to further sell and promote the area,” Wicks says. “We aren’t just helping them find a home; we’re helping them secure a happy future in a community that fits their wants and needs.” For Wicks, selling her hometown is not difficult. “I have raised my family here and I know the ins and outs of the area, the history and the growth,” she says. “Huntsville and Madison have excellent school systems which is always an important consideration. When there are inevitable dips in the economy, we are often insulated thanks to all of the high-tech companies and government contractors that continue to thrive even when the economy slows.” For all of those reasons and more, there was no better place for Wicks to build her real estate business, she says. As she fulfills her passion for helping people find and own their perfect home in Huntsville and Madison, she never loses focus on her personal commitment: to make the community that she is so proud of a better place to call home.
ROSENBLUM REALTY Time-Honored, Community-Focused
here’s no place like home. And nowhere is that more true than at Rosenblum Realty – where Huntsville has been home to Rosenblums since the time of cotton and textiles. This family-owned real estate brokerage has been on the local landscape since the 1950s, bringing customers an unmatched depth of experience and uncompromised integrity.
Four Generations When Tom Rosenblum began working at Huntsville’s largest textile factory sweeping floors, he had no idea that his career at Lincoln Mill would take him into management as a top overseer. It’s also where he met a co-worker named Elizabeth Jones who would later become his wife. When the complex closed in 1955, Tom began searching for a second career where he could use his business knowledge. After briefly selling insurance, he soon found a good fit in real estate by partnering with Kelly & Summers, a construction company developing residential properties. Tom’s management skills gave him a great rapport with home buyers, so he became the broker to sell the small homes. It was an ideal time to enter the real estate profession in Huntsville because the city was growing to support Redstone Arsenal and the new space program. Tom and partner Jess Brooks soon founded Brooks & Rosenblum, a real estate company focused on new and existing homes. As the new enterprise grew, Tom encouraged his son, Tommy, to obtain his real estate license to help build the business – a successful father/son business relationship until Tom’s early death at age 62. Tommy took sole ownership of the company in the late 1960s, establishing Rosenblum Realty. Tom Rosenblum He branched out with a couple of agents and continued serving residential sales. To create a central location with close proximity to downtown, he bought an old Gulf gas station on Memorial Parkway, remodeled it into office space, and expanded the property to accommodate more agents and bigger operations. Tommy and his wife, Barbara, worked together to grow the business. Over the next few years, they developed a working relationship with the Veterans Administration out of Montgomery, where they acted as property managers handling the acquisition, 122
remodeling, and marketing of foreclosed properties that the VA had in inventory in the Huntsville area. Even with various satellite offices over the years, the headquarters location proved to be the most advantageous place to accommodate working all areas of Huntsville and remains the main office today.
The Next Chapter In 1975, Tommy’s son, Carey, graduated from college and returned to Huntsville to join the family business. Putting his business administration degree to work, Carey worked with his father to expand the company to multiple offices. He spent most of his time in the field with clients, guiding them through the buying and selling process with the experience of two previous generations on his side. Through the challenging years of high interest rates and a slow market, Rosenblum Realty continued to serve its clients by finding the most creative solutions for each case. Since the early years of the company, Rosenblum Realty has offered property management services for homeowners or investors who needed a professional to handle the day-to-day oversight of their properties. This aspect of the business also helps provide operational stability and has led the company to become Huntsville’s leading property management firm for single family dwellings – a designation that continues to stand the test of time. When Tommy retired in 1989, Carey took over the company as Designated Broker. Home sales rebounded with
Rosenblum’s outstanding business practices and decades of success have also earned recognition over and over from the Chamber of Commerce, the Better Business Bureau, and Best in Business awards for many years running. Just more proof of a reputation for integrity and excellence.
The Benefits of Knowledge
Tommy and Barbara Rosenblum
the national economy, and Rosenblum Realty responded by adding more agents – professionals who have stayed with the company, giving clients an added assurance of decades of knowledge and experience. The reputation for knowing the market and operating with integrity has produced a loyal customer base through referral of one client to another. Taking the legacy of that knowledge into yet another generation, Carey and his wife Pamela have two sons who have established their own careers in real estate – David in Nashville and Michael in Huntsville with the family business. Now with four generations involved in the company, Rosenblum stands even more firmly on the foundation of honesty built by Tom and Tommy – a solid reputation that money can’t buy.
From the outset, the Rosenblums have been dedicated to serving as ambassadors for the region since they are often the city’s first contact with potential new residents, sharing the history of city leaders’ long-range planning, the incredible quality of life, and the vision of the future. Through the years, the company has added connectivity to the best real estate data available. By staying on the leading edge of technology, the company maintains the most accurate electronic information while leading clients through the various processes of buying, selling, or renting. It’s the best information and the knowledge of what to do with it. From the early days of the community’s development to the information age and beyond – for Rosenblum Realty, there’s no place like Huntsville to call home. And no better place for real estate.
Carey (above) and Michael Rosenblum (right)
THE VILLAGE OF PROVIDENCE Big City Life - Small Town Living
n the fastest growing area of Huntsville lies a new urban village making space for its residents to experience “big city life and small town living.” Designed by the world famous Duany, Platter-Zyberk & Company, the same designers behind Rosemary Beach and Seaside, The Village of Providence brings the charm of Charleston and old town feel of Boston to the Rocket City. Located right off of Highway 72 in northwest Huntsville the neighborhood is within minutes of Cummings Research Park, Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville International Airport and downtown. For over a decade, the Village of Providence has set a new standard for living in Huntsville. The pedestrian friendly neighborhood is an idyllic setting for its homes, lofts, condominiums and mixed-use spaces all constructed with old world charm. A variety of award-winning restaurants, boutiques, retail shops and local businesses embrace a variety of ages, interests and stages of life and set the stage for the vibrancy the Village of Providence is known for. At first glance, it may be hard to believe communities like the Village of Providence can still exist in our globally minded and fast paced world. The Village of Providence is proof that while our global connectivity may be faster and our lives may be busier, the importance of the places we
call home connecting us to people and giving us a sense of place is more valuable than ever. And there’s no substitute for that. Living in the Village of Providence is, in essence, saying goodbye to the trend of anonymous suburbia and waving hello to community and connectivity. This Mayberry-esque, planned community is a welcomed reprieve where front porches turn neighbors into family and Main Street is just around the corner. When Betty and Chandler Hall decided to build their dream home, they went looking for a place that had the perfect balance between the quiet charm of a neighborhood and dynamic lifestyle in a downtown. Their search brought them to the Village of Providence and they, in their own words, could not be happier. “We chose the Village of Providence because of the great community. Not just fantastic and friendly neighbors but also for the design and feel of the place. We love the easy walk to get dinner in the square or to take a bike ride on the trails,” they said. The bike trails follow along the Village center that runs from the school to US 72. The trail weaves through Indian Creek and is home to wildlife often spotted by bicyclists, runners and leisurely walkers. As home development
continues, Phases VIII and IX will be along this creek. It’s just another example of one of the amazing aspects of a community with so much vitality and diversity of space. Village of Providence residents enjoy the nostalgia, charm and spirit of a small town with all the conveniences of a larger city within arms reach. Walking to dinner, listening to music in the Town Center and strolling to favorite shops and local businesses are just some of the perks. The Halls, and families like theirs, choose homes based on different architectural styles that reflect a time when homes were built to last. The homes in The Village of Providence portray the look and feel of homes like the kind you may see in Charleston or New Orleans with a splash of Washington D.C.’s row home tradition. Building in this picturesque community is reserved for only the most prestigious homebuilders who who have a high value for quality workmanship. Homes in The Village of Providence are spacious and luxurious, with high ceilings and beautiful finishes. “There is nothing like the Village of Providence,” said the Halls. “The village lifestyle is so much more relaxed and convenient. The quality of our new home is second to none and the whole place feels thoroughly thought out and planned for people.” A walk down Main Street unveils historically inspired southern architecture and wide tree-lined sidewalks. The Town Center in the Village of Providence is a vibrant business district providing residents with everything they need. This destination environment draws from an MSA of over 900,000 potential customers for dining, shopping and entertainment. The Town Center of the Village of Providence is home to a wide variety of restaurants ranging from casual to fine dining; numerous shops and retailers;
professional services; medical offices; and several major national chains including CVS, Hilton, and Marriott Hotels. In addition, several companies have located their headquarters and distribution operations in the Village and the growth is evident with new building and leasing opportunities every day. The Town Center has over 700,000 square feet of additional retail and commercial space planned for the future. As the Village of Providence continues to grow and expand, its capacity for creating community and connectivity will grow. Providence will continue to build new homes, open new restaurants and shops, offer more entertainment, and provide an unmatched quality of life. It’s easy to see why so many people call the Village of Providence home.
AMANDA HOWARD REAL ESTATE Guaranteed Success
manda Howard knows what she wants and works hard to get it. Luckily for Huntsville, she is running a highly successful real estate company with market expertise and complete customer satisfaction. But she doesn’t just say her company will meet clients’ real estate needs – she puts her money where her mouth is. She guarantees it.
A Girl with the Midas Touch
It all began as Mandy’s Muffins – a young girl’s dream of working to get what she wanted, and at the time, Amanda wanted designer jeans. So she set out on her journey of entrepreneurship at age 12 by taking orders around her neighborhood and making weekly deliveries of her homebaked muffins. Her initial capital investment of $6 more than tripled her first week in business, and that was just the beginning. She got those jeans and a lot more. Mostly, she learned valuable lessons about supply and demand and niche marketing that she has carried with her throughout her professional career. She also discovered the value of reliability. Most importantly, she learned that hard work and determination lead to success.
The Passion for Real Estate
Her journey in business led her to real estate. Family moves brought her and husband Travis to Huntsville in 2003 where they found the place they wanted to call their home and raise their young daughters – the city had the best of everything. It also proved to be a prime area to thrive in real estate. Not surprisingly, Amanda was “Rookie of the Year” her first year in Huntsville and the top-producing agent for several subsequent years. Amanda and Travis’s dream became reality when they founded Amanda Howard Real Estate in 2009. Travis put their business plan into action while Amanda kicked her
entrepreneurship into high gear to create a real estate company different from anything Huntsville had ever seen. With unbridled determination, Amanda and her team built a thriving company – a client-centric firm with a team of specialists. Always on the cutting edge, they brought customers notable market advantages – 3-D imaging for increased online perspective, market reports and video blogs on the latest trends, and the revolutionary sales guarantee – the innovative concept designed to remove fear of navigating the home sales process. The strategy paid off in spades, earning the company countless local, regional, and national awards and accolades along the way. With expansions to other housing markets along with property management and commercial real estate acquisitions, the firm continues to grow and give back to the communities it serves. From baking muffins to selling houses – the businesses changed, but never the basic principles. Hard work, and unbridled determination will always yield high returns. Amanda Howard Real Estate. Guaranteed success.
Photo by Eric Schultz
OUTDOORS & RECREATION
PLACES TO PLAY By Chris Welch
or over 200 years, Huntsville and Madison County residents have had a love affair with the natural beauty of the Tennessee Valley. For one, they’ve always been able to simply look up and see Mother Nature at her finest. It’s hard to miss Monte Sano. Spanish for “Mountain of Health,” this geographic treasure earned its name because of its mineral springs, fresh air and clean water. Those combined resources in one area led to the building of Monte Sano Hotel in 1880 when visitors would gladly take the four-hour horse and carriage ride up Monte Sano to enjoy the hotel and natural springs, fill their lungs with fresh air and quench their thirst with clean water. Over a century later, Huntsvillians still love the outdoors and their mountain. Obviously, the trip to Monte Sano is a lot faster and easier than it was in 1880. Instead of four hours in a horse carriage, it’s only a short 10-to-15-minute drive from downtown. Having this kind of access to this kind of beauty and recreation is just another treat from an area with endless surprises. Monte Sano may be the summit of Huntsville’s outdoors scene, but there’s lots more to enjoy. While some people are into experiencing the arts and wandering the halls of museums, those who have an affinity for the great outdoors can get their fix by biking, walking and hiking the land and bike trails of the Land Trust and greenways. “The Land Trust’s trails are only two miles from Big Spring International Park in downtown Huntsville,” said Marie Bostick, director of the Huntsville Land Trust. “From Three Caves trailhead, hikers, bikers, and runners can access 25-plus miles of trails on the 1,107-acre Monte Sano Nature Preserve – the green backdrop of downtown Huntsville.” Mayor Tommy Battle said the proximity of Huntsville’s outdoors amenities to downtown made it attractive to new companies like Polaris, Remington and GE Aviation to locate here. “Many of our customers benefit from the outdoor recreation activities in the area, and this brings us even closer to our customers. Huntsville was and continues to be a good choice for our new facility,” said Marlys Knutson, spokesman for Polaris. In 2013, Huntsville was named a “Playful City USA” by KaBOOM! (a national nonprofit dedicated to making sure all kids get a childhood
left: The proximity to the outdoors makes Huntsville attractive to companies and families alike. (Photo courtesy of the Huntsville / Madison County CVB)
Access to trails and recreation is just a short 15 minute drive from downtown. (Photo by Eric Schultz)
filled with balanced and active play) for its efforts to provide play opportunities for children that included after school programs and parks within walking distance of home. There are 57 parks in the Huntsville area, including Monte Sano State Park, which was built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps and features over 2,140 acres perfect for hiking, biking, running or sightseeing. There are over 25 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, several campground sites and cabins, an 18-hole disc golf course and the Von Braun Astronomical Societyâ€™s observatory. The Monte Sano Lodge offers a serene mountain setting that is ideal for a variety of meetings and gatherings. Fourteen rustic cabins are perched on the side of the mountain and are equipped with kitchens, fireplaces, separate showers and baths, cable television, outdoor grills, picnic tables, and porches for taking in the amazing sunrises. The park also features 89 improved campsites, a primitive campground and a camp store. Huntsville has won several national awards for its recreation, but this may even surprise a few residents: REI Sports (one of the nationâ€™s top outdoor sports gear and apparel companies) asked Hiking Project (an app and website that helps you find the best trails) to put together
left: Monte Sano offers stunning views of not only Huntsville, but also the sky at its finest. (Photo by Eric Schultz)
above: Big Spring Park in downtown attracts locals and visitors alike.
five destinations for spring hiking, and Huntsville was named No. 3 on the list behind Boulder, Colo., and the Grand Canyon. Pretty impressive to be tied with two of the preeminent hiking and recreation destinations in the country! The Land Trust of North Alabama is the state’s first land trust and has over 25 miles of public trails on their nature preserves. There are over 1,107 acres in the Monte Sano Nature Preserve on the mountain’s west face, over 843 acres in the Wade Mountain Nature Preserve in northwest Huntsville and 971 acres on the Blevins Gap Nature Preserve in southeast Huntsville off Cecil Ashburn Road. The trail systems of four of its preserves (Monte Sano, Blevins Gap, Wade Mountain, and Harvest Square) are the first in Madison County to be honored as National Recreation Trails by the U.S. Department of the Interior. “The Land Trust continually works to expand the Monte Sano Nature Preserve, as well as preserved lands
across the North Alabama region,” said Cathie Mayne, marketing director of the Land Trust. “With six existing nature preserves and two more in the works, the Land Trust provides 55-plus miles of trails and 6,200-plus acres of preserved lands for everyone to enjoy.” The Land Trust also protects Historic Three Caves, which, despite its name, isn’t really a cave. It’s an old limestone quarry from 1945 that has four, not three, entrances. With rock walls 55-plus feet high and yearround natural air conditioning of 65 degrees, Three Caves is one of the most unique venues in the South. The Concerts at Three Caves series has showcased top-name jazz, bluegrass, indie and country talent. The Land Trust also features a Wildflower Trail found at the base of Monte Sano and provides a great view of wildflowers during the spring. The trail follows Fagan Spring, where you will often find hikers or children and their dogs playing in the water.
(Photo by Eric Schultz)
“The right balance of development and preservation is vital to the continued success of North Alabama,” Bostick said. “Providing preserved natural landscapes for people, animals, and plants to live and thrive has proven to be a key decision factor for businesses and people in choosing where they want to live and work.” 132
Bostick says there are many ways Huntsville’s trails and natural wonders help improve our quality of life. “Creating and connecting diverse nature preserves provides opportunities to experience our awe-inspiring natural lands. The enrichment of our quality of life and economic prosperity is rooted in a strong preservation
strategy. Having public places for recreation and exercise – a walk or run on a woodland trail or a picnic beside a waterfall – are valued by residents and visitors. Nature has provided unique and valuable treasures to our community.” If you like to bike, run or just walk and enjoy Huntsville’s outdoor beauty, you can probably find a greenway nearby.
The Land Trust of North Alabama is the state’s first land trust and has over 25 miles of public trails on their nature preserves. (Photo courtesy of Huntsville/Madison County CVB)
The plan for the numerous greenways in Huntsville started back in the 1980s with a sidewalk plan, Battle said. As many greenways as there are, he said that only about 26 of the 200 miles ultimately planned have been built. “The greenways can accommodate bikers and walkers and are very popular,” he said. “We’ve added more and more, and we’ve got more to come. We try to add something each year.” The Madison County Nature Trail is another beautiful, 72-acre outdoor escape atop Green Mountain in southeast Huntsville. The trail includes Sky Lake, a 1.5mile walking trail, pavilion, chapel, picnic tables, covered bridges and accessible restrooms. It’s open from 7 a.m. until 30 minutes prior to sunset and is free to the public. If you like water, Ditto Landing is the place to be. With the Tennessee River Bridge in the background, Ditto Landing offers a marina, campgrounds, dry dock, storage and picnic areas over its 560 acres. In the fall, cruise the 134
river and take in the colors of autumn on the surrounding mountains. In the summer, ski, swim, fish, picnic and explore. In the winter, enjoy the crisp air along the scenic river. In the spring, watch the riverbanks bloom. There’s also the Aldridge Creek Greenway that allows you to walk, run or bike along the banks of the river for beautiful views of the water and boat traffic. Another place to get wet is the new Splash Park at the Richard Showers Sr. Recreation Center. The 15,429-square-foot park features three splash pads and 26 fixtures. The park also includes 12 shaded picnic tables and bench seating. “We haven’t met a child yet who doesn’t love a splash pad, and we are proud to provide this amenity for our North Huntsville families,” Battle said. The $320,000 Splash Park is part of a $1.2-million renovation to the Showers Center. Additional improvements include a refurbished locker room,
opposite page: Bikers enjoy
Huntsvilleâ€™s greenways and roadways. (Photo by Eric Schultz) left: The Dog Spot, Astro Dog Park at Southside, Indian Creek Greenway Dog Park and Mill Creek Dog Park are just a few of the parks accommodating furry friends.
(Photo by Eric Schultz) below: The Concerts at Three
Caves series has showcased top-name jazz, bluegrass, indie and country talent. (Photo by Cathie Mayne / North Alabama Land Trust)
preceding pages: The Ledges features a beautiful golf course surrounded
above: If you like to golf, Huntsville has plenty of public courses. (Photo
by natural beauty. (Photo by Marty Sellers)
by Eric Schultz)
Those who have an affinity for the great outdoors can get their fix by biking, walking and hiking the land and bike trails of the Land Trust and greenways. (Photo by Eric Schultz) 138
Summer, Spring, Winter, Fall - Huntsville experiences them all. (Photo courtesy of the Huntsville/Madison County CVB)
restrooms and showers, new windows, painting, lighting, and pool deck. If you like to golf, Huntsville has plenty of public courses, including the Becky Pierce Municipal course off south Memorial Parkway near John Hunt Park, Sunset Landing near the Huntsville International Airport and the breathtaking Robert Trent Jones Course in Hampton Cove. There are also some nice private courses, including The Ledges, Valley Hill Country Club and Huntsville Country Club. If you’re feeling adventurous, how about a safari? Probably not what you’d expect in the deep dark “jungles” of North Alabama, but it’s there. Harmony Park Safari is a federally licensed nature preserve of free-ranging exotic and endangered animals. It’s about a 20-minute drive from
south Huntsville, and you’ll find all sorts of exotic animals on the two-mile journey. Visitors remain in their cars to see the zebras, zebus, antelope, buffalo, a camel, ostriches, and crocodiles. If you buy buckets of food, you can roll down your window (slightly) and feed the friendly critters. Speaking of animals, Huntsville and Madison County have a few “off-leash” areas for the four-legged members of your family. These include: The Dog Spot, Astro Dog Park at Southside, Indian Creek Greenway Dog Park and Mill Creek Dog Park. The experiences awaiting anyone who ventures into the great outdoors of North Alabama are about as wide as they are varied. It’s just another reason why Huntsville and Madison County offer not only a good place to live and work, but play, too! 139
ARTS, ENTERTAINMENT, ATTRACTIONS & EVENTS
THE CORNERSTONE OF CULTURE By Chris Welch
hink rockets and space shuttles are the only things to see in Huntsville and Madison County? Think again! The arts and entertainment options are endless and deeply rooted in the character of the area. Here are a few from on and off the beaten path. Food Trucks, Brews & Tunes The food truck frenzy started in Huntsville in 2014 with 16 food trucks at the inaugural Street Food Gathering in the Meridian Arts & Entertainment District. Now the gatherings, which happen once a month from April through October, draw 40-plus food trucks and thousands more folks who love dining on the mobile menus. Revved up by Downtown Huntsville, Inc. (DHI), this is just one of the many new things to experience (and taste!) in Huntsville. While the event will be changing in 2017, it will still include the most interesting food trucks in the entire state as it emphasizes the “All Stars” of the food truck world. In the last six years, Huntsville has developed a taste for craft beer that won’t be quenched anytime soon. With eight breweries (and counting) on the scene, the Rocket City is quickly becoming the Craft Beer Capital of the South. Below the Radar, Mad Malts, Salty Nut, Straight to Ale and Yellowhammer are just the ones located downtown. Another thing that has craft beer aficionados excited is the new Campus No. 805, Huntsville’s premier local, craft brewery center and event venue. Along with Yellowhammer and Straight to Ale, Campus No. 805 houses Lone Goose Saloon, Bubba’s Silver Spoon Catering, Earth & Stone Wood Fired Pizza and a major retail area. Thanks to the repeal of laws that kept brewing on the fringes, craft beer is thriving and driving a lot of the social scene in innovative ways, leaving the people thirsty for more. The Huntsville Symphony is the oldest continuously operating professional orchestra in the state of Alabama thanks again, in part, to von Braun and his team of scientists. According to the symphony’s website, “When longtime residents Bill and Margaret Lindberg moved to what is now the Five Points area in 1955, they recall hearing their German neighbors playing chamber music on their porches. Bill’s reaction: ‘We have found an incredible little city! It’s only a matter of time before the new German residents will demand an orchestra!’ In 1955, 40 musicians, including many of the German scientists, formed and the orchestra has been performing ever since.” It continues to offer a Classical Series, a Pops Series and a Casual Classic series and has featured international artists like Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman. (Photo courtesy of the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra)
above: Local legends like Microwave Dave Gallaher can be found
performing in the many entertainment venues in Huntsville. (Photo by Eric Schultz) left: With eight breweries (and counting) on the scene, the Rocket City is quickly becoming the Craft Beer Capital of the South. (Photo by Sarah Belanger) opposite page: The Food Truck gatherings, which happen once a
month from April through October, draw 40-plus food trucks and thousands more folks who love dining on the mobile menus. (Photo by Eric Schultz)
Photo courtesy of the Huntsville Ballet 144
Photo courtesy of the Fantasy Playhouse 145
above: Concerts at Lowe Mill are one of the many venues for
right: Greene Street Market is Huntsville’s only producer-only, open-
showcasing musical talent. (Photo by Eric Schultz)
air market for fresh, locally grown vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers. (Photo by Sarah Belanger)
While we’re talking about the brews, let’s focus on the entertainment that makes the evening complete. Musical talent – from American Idol’s Bo Bice and Taylor Hicks to local legends Microwave Dave Gallaher, Dave Anderson, Mike Roberts and more – has always flowed freely in Huntsville. You can hear those and other musicians in small clubs and venues around town, or go outside for a growing selection of free concerts. Concerts in the Park, sponsored by Arts Huntsville in Big Spring International Park, is a long-time favorite, but now there’s also Concerts on the Docks at Lowe Mill, Grotto Lights Concert Series near the 200 Westside Building, Burritt on the Mountain’s City Lights & Stars series, the Land Trust’s Concert at Three Caves and Downtown Huntsville’s ongoing concert series on the courthouse square.
Creating Space The encouragement of Mayor Tommy Battle and the investment of businesses – in economics as well as infrastructure – have combined to create a rich environment where arts and people mingle. It’s creating a seismic shift in the way Huntsvillians live, work and play. Speaking of mingling, DHI has done its part to bring people together downtown. It’s sponsored human foosball; Retro Winter Games with dodgeball, FourSquare and ultimate Frisbee, and the Downtown Open with miniature golf. It’s also turned downtown parking spots into Pop Up Parks for a 10-day period. Along with hosting Concerts on the Docks, Lowe Mill Arts & Entertainment offers the largest privately owned arts facility in the country. With over 200 artists working
on virtually every art form, along with entertainers as part of the Flying Monkey Arts Center, Lowe Mill has become one of the go-to destinations near the downtown area. Another area having an impact on downtown entertainment is the Greene Street Market – Huntsville’s only producer-only, open-air market for fresh, locally grown vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers. Musicians also perform, and artists and artisans show their works in the new Art at Greene Street area. A European Flair Huntsvillians can thank Dr. Wernher von Braun and his German rocket team for many of Huntsville’s current arts and entertainment opportunities. Yep, the 118 Germans who came here after World War II to rev up our military space and rocket program brought a European art influence to Huntsville that helped boost the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, laid the groundwork for the Huntsville Museum of Art, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and Space Camp, the Von Braun Astronomical Society and its planetarium atop Monte Sano and on and on.
above: The Huntsville Museum of Art features
more than 3,000 objects, including traveling exhibits and the work of nationally and regionally acclaimed artists. The museum hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including an ice-skating rink in its backyard during the winter months. (Photo courtesy of the Huntsville Museum of Art) opposite page: The U.S. Space & Rocket Center
is the largest spaceflight museum in the world and has thousands of artifacts, from a moon rock to America’s first satellite, Explorer I, to rides like Space Shot. It features the Spacedome IMAX Theater and National Geographic Theater and is home to Space Camp, Aviation Challenge and Robotics Camp. Since opening in 1970, nearly 16 million people have visited the center, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. (Photo by Eric Schultz) 149
Concerts at Three Caves always draw a crowd. (Photo by Daniel Seigel) 150
Big Spring International Park, with its large grounds in the middle of the city, hosts several events during the year, including Panoply in the Park, the Tinsel Trail and Concerts in the Park. Nearby, the Von Braun Center complex offers an assortment of entertainment options, including the Propst Arena for concerts and shows, the Mark C. Smith Concert Hall for more intimate shows and events and the South Hall for exhibits and conventions. (Photo
Burritt on the Mountain sits atop Round Top Mountain, a plateau connected to Monte Sano. Along with giving visitors breathtaking views of the Tennessee Valley, it offers tours of Dr. William Burrittâ€™s unique mansion, nature trails, a historic park with six restored 19th-century homes and a barnyard with animals. (Photo
courtesy of Huntsville/Madison County CVB)
courtesy of NASA)
“The von Braun team got library cards practically from the moment they arrived in what was then essentially a farming community,” said noted author Homer Hickam, who, along with writing bestselling books like “Rocket Boys,” was a Vietnam veteran, worked at NASA for years and helped train astronauts. “After that, they began supporting all the arts, including a symphony. In fact, many of the von Braun team played in the symphony over the years.” “In the 1950s and ’60s, the international community demanded better education and things like an art museum and symphony,” Battle said. “There are lots of things that are very, very important to the creativity of the community. You may not play an instrument, but you like to listen to them. Some people just like to know you have a symphony. It’s the same thing with the arts community.” Arts Huntsville, acting as the largest arts advocacy, service and engagement organization in North Alabama, represents nearly 300 arts, entertainment and cultural organizations and individual artists across the metro area. “Throughout Huntsville’s history, its arts and cultural scene has grown and evolved just as the community has morphed and changed,” said Daniela Perallon, marketing/ public relations manager for Arts Huntsville. “From its roots as a small Southern cotton town with traditional arts offerings like the Huntsville Community Chorus Association and Community Concerts in the 1940s, Huntsville began to take flight with the arrival of Wernher von Braun and his German engineering team in 1950. Making Huntsville their home, these European scientists helped launch both the U.S. space program and our growing arts and cultural scene. “Today, Arts Huntsville’s mission is to stimulate and support community creativity and engagement in the arts by advancing the arts, entertainment and culture in the greater Huntsville metropolitan region. As Huntsville looks to the future with population growth on track to make it the largest city in the state of Alabama by 2025, at Arts Huntsville we believe our regional arts, entertainment and cultural scene will continue to evolve and Huntsville will emerge as a premier mid-sized city for the arts in the southeastern United States.”
The Huntsville Botanical Garden is a beautiful 120-acre site with stunning floral collections, aquatic areas, demonstration vegetable and herb gardens and Nature Center. The garden is home to the nation’s largest open-air, seasonal butterfly house and hosts one of the South’s premier Christmas lighting displays every year, Galaxy of Lights. The garden’s future plans include a welcome center, which will feature an atrium, restaurant, gift shop and event hall; Column Courtyard overlooking a new pond, and an education complex. (Photo by Eric Schultz, rendering courtesy of the Huntsville Botanical Garden)
EMBASSY SUITES Y
ou don’t have to make it past the smiling faces of the concierge to see that the Embassy Suites by Hilton Huntsville Hotel & Spa offers a unique sense of hospitality. Situated in the heart of the bustling arts and entertainment district of downtown Huntsville, with the gorgeous mountains of North Alabama as its backdrop, the Embassy Suites – Huntsville is more than just a hotel – it is a community centerpiece that has, since 2006, been one of the premiere hotels for business and leisure travelers alike to get the much-needed rest and relaxation while exploring or working in the Rocket City. And there’s no better time to be a community centerpiece in the middle of a city in the midst of a downtown revival. And if you think the hotel industry could be left in the dust, think again.
With innovation happening on every corner, the Embassy Suites – Huntsville is, according to General Manager Sandi Snead, excited to be a part of the hustle and bustle so many city leaders are helping to create by providing opportunities for locals and visitors to engage Huntsville and Madison county in new and fresh ways. “We want to be a part of the revival of downtown happening here,” said Snead. “We are looking forward to creating opportunities to be a part of this very exciting time in our city.”
“Built to Be the Best” The Embassy Suites – Huntsville is owned and managed by John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts (JQH). Founded on the extraordinary vision of John Q. Hammons, and built on his legacy of excellence, JQH has become one of the most recognized and award-winning companies in the hotel industry. JQH is one of the largest private, independent owners and hotel management companies in the United States, with a portfolio that includes 35 hotels representing nearly 8,500 guest rooms in 16 states. JQH also operates more than 1 million square feet of superb meeting space. Snead has worked for JQH hotels for nearly 25 years. As the leader of the company’s Huntsville property, she is committed to maintaining the strong tradition of quality that JQH’s hotels and resorts are known for while keeping an eye on the future.
Pleasing Aesthetics and Quality Amenities Part of that strong tradition is the pleasing aesthetics and contemporary design Embassy Suites hotels have become known for. When guests arrive, they are surrounded by the lush, green, 10-story atrium with gentle waterfalls and water features – an atmosphere that has become a trademark piece for JQH’s Embassy Suites hotels. Comfortable chairs and trendy lounge areas for reading, working or meeting with co-workers provide the perfect environment for both business and leisure travelers to relax and enjoy their morning coffee or share an after-hours beverage with friends at the bar. When it’s time to turn in for the night, guests can sink into the hotel’s luxurious beds. All 295 suites are outfitted with amenities such as two televisions, a refrigerator, microwave and sofa bed. Each two-room suite comes with a private bedroom and living area that also includes work table, ergonomic chair, wet bar and coffeemaker. Business guests will appreciate telephones with voicemail and highspeed Internet access. Every morning, guests wake up to a complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast, including muffins, eggs or a signature omelet. In the evenings, the hotel offers a twohour reception with complimentary drinks and snacks. For 154
guests on the run, Caffeinaâ€™s Marketplace is the perfect spot to pick up an early morning coffee and pastry or enjoy an afternoon snack. The Embassy Suites â€“ Huntsville offers guests plenty of options for staying on their normal routines while away from home whether they prefer to workout at the Fitness Center, swim laps at the indoor pool, or relax in the hot tub. Spa Botanica, an on-site, full-service spa, allows guests to receive ultimate relaxation in a peaceful atmosphere. The
spa provides a variety of treatment options from alleviating tension and stress through a relaxing massage, to a refreshing facial, as well as nail services and waxing. Guests can reserve the spa for groups or private parties. With 7,800 square feet of meeting space, the all-suite hotel provides the ideal space for meetings and events. The hotel offers full-service meeting and planning capabilities for a seamless event from start to finish. From business meetings, functions, and weddings, the hotel has a range
of venues for nearly any event. Guests can select from flexible meeting rooms, including the Big Spring Ballroom, and enjoy 24-hour BusinessLink™ Business Center with complimentary Internet access. In 2016, the Embassy Suites – Huntsville was awarded as the host hotel for the Association of United States Army (AUSA) conference. “This was very exciting,” said Snead. “We received a great letter from them as the host hotel and they are already looking forward to next year.” This is just one of many conferences in the city that happens each year the Embassy Suites – Huntsville is a part of helping make a success.
Engaging Huntsville for the Future
Staying true to the brand, the Embassy Suites – Huntsville and Snead are looking forward to the future as Huntsville continues to recreate itself and become a hub for innovation in more ways than ever before. The location of the hotel alone has created a connection to the city that is unmatched in connecting its guests to the myriad of events and places where Huntsville’s “rising” is on full display. Located only 15 minutes from the Huntsville International Airport at the intersection of I-565 and Memorial Parkway South, the hotel provides easy access for its guests. 156
The hotel adjoins the Von Braun Center at its South Hall, a remarkable meeting and performance arts venue, via a sky bridge. The Von Braun Center has been an anchor in downtown Huntsville and the hotel’s literal connection to the entertainment venue has enabled the Embassy Suites to become its own kind of hospitality anchor for the city. Just a few steps out of the entrance of the hotel lands guests atop the John Q. Hammons Bridge, named after the late hotel tycoon for his work in bringing one of his esteemed properties to Huntsville. The bridge provides easy access to Big Spring Park where guests can enjoy a jog or walk. And if you’d rather bike – you can do that too! The Embassy Suites – Huntsville partnered with Downtown Huntsville Inc. to bring bike rentals to the hotel, allowing guests to enjoy the beautiful scenery surrounding the property. The bikes are bright green, beach cruisers and are available for free to hotel guests to have a little fun during their stay. This is just another way that Snead and her staff are getting in on the action and creating opportunities to creatively engage with all that is happening in downtown Huntsville. Guests can easily walk to the Huntsville Museum of Art in just a few short minutes and are only 3.7 miles from the Huntsville Botanical Garden – a favorite of visitors and locals alike. The Cozy Cow, a popular café, and several restaurants are also in walking distance from the hotel so guests can enjoy all downtown has to offer conveniently and without having to drive. With such walkability to downtown, Snead hopes that they can provide a food and beverage piece of the hotel that serves their guests, as well as locals. “We want to be a part of the food and beverage scene that is happening in our city and it’s exciting for us to think about being a part of that in the near future,” said Snead. While working to promote the hotel in such a unique place like Huntsville that encounters so many people from so many places from all over the nation and the world, Snead believes they are positioned to offer guests and locals an experience unlike any other. “We exist primarily to serve the 6,000 + guests that come through our doors every month,” said Snead. At the same time, they look forward to playing their part in the revival happening downtown and creating a space that serves the city as well. It’s clear that JQH’s Embassy Suites – Huntsville will continue to be the community centerpiece the hotel has
been as the award-winning property changes and moves with the exciting times at present and ahead. By creating a hospitality experience that leaves guests and locals believing Huntsville is the place to travel, live, work and play, the hotel will continue to live up to the high quality expectations JQH has maintained for years, while providing a place for people to experience the best Huntsville has to offer.
CYN SHEA’S SERVING HOPE S
ince 1995, Cyn Shea’s has served the community as a premier catering company and a multi-award winning restaurant/coffeehouse and bakery. Nonetheless, the company’s greatest role is still yet to be revealed. Cyn Shea’s founder, Cynthia Shea Hart, is embracing a new direction and moving the company beyond success to significance by organizing the cafe as a non-profit organization called, Serving Hope, Inc. This new chapter has to do with living and working beyond the immediate and involves investing their talents and skills in service to others – and receiving the personal joy that comes as a result of that investment. Serving Hope believes Jesus Christ is the foundation of community and we are called to share His teachings through word and action. Serving Hope is a 7-month employment and life skills curriculum that develops good character, selfconfidence and dependable work ethics by mentorship in the workplace and community. Understanding God’s design for work, Serving Hope students grow in faith while realizing the importance of life-long learning, thus bridging together Huntsville’s wealthy and poor for true community revitalization. The Serving Hope goal is simple: To love well, instill hope and teach a new work skill set for long lasting employment in Huntsville’s fast-growing food and hospitality industry. Serving Hope empowers individuals by providing the resources and life-strategies needed to effect change in their own home and communities. Lessons from creating the farm-to-table experience in gardening and farming to personal grooming and workplace etiquette and building values and relationships through volunteering are only the beginning. Participants are also learning about finances and banking for family prosperity, while instilling versatile
culinary crafts and finally achieving the state-recognized ServSafe Certification. This “hands-up” approach prepares students for work readiness while creating a strong equalitybased economic development for Huntsville. Cyn Shea’s has had the privilege of serving Huntsville for more than two decades with much success and continues to give all the glory and honor to God. The future shines even brighter and with His guidance as the new mission, Serving Hope, Inc., impacts lives for Huntsville’s greater community and service.
HUNTSVILLE BOTANICAL GARDEN Beauty. Discovery. Inspiration.
inter, spring, summer, fall – Huntsville Botanical Garden is a sanctuary for all seasons. It’s far more than just a garden, and it always delivers the natural joy the community has loved since 1988.
The Huntsville Botanical Garden had its beginnings with a small group in 1979 that had a dream of creating a beautiful garden for the community. After years of diligent planning, fundraising, building, and the tireless efforts of the board and hundreds of volunteers, the Garden opened to the public in 1988. Since then, it has grown to become one of the top tourist attractions in the Southeast. By following a visionary master plan, the Garden evolved by maximizing the natural resources on its sprawling 112acre campus to shape striking displays and enhance the aesthetic heritage of the region. The result is a continuing refuge for visitors to revel in solace and inspiration.
The Perfect Combination
Huntsville Botanical Garden offers the optimal blend – wildlife, foliage, florals, trails, specialty gardens, pavilions, a butterfly house, walkways, lakes, and more. When combined with a myriad of diverse classes for youth and adults, camps, and a full calendar of exhibits and festivals all year long, it’s clear that the Garden has something for everyone. Additional to the natural features and coordinated programs, the Garden also offers attractive and functional facilities. There are venues for all types of community and family events, ranging from meetings to parties to picnics to weddings to banquets and more. Whether outdoors or indoors, the Garden has the right mixture of resources to enhance community amenities and augment quality of life.
Always Something Special
The Garden is also famous for several special experiences it brings to the community throughout each year. They begin with winter bird-watching, followed by Huntsville Blooms. For summer, there are countless programs and opportunities to enjoy nature. Then it’s on to the famous Scarecrow Trail to celebrate autumn, and the festivities culminate with the magnificent Galaxy of Lights. The spectacular annual display draws crowds from all over the Southeast every year and has earned national recognition multiple times.
Continuing to Grow
Realizing the dream of its founders, the Huntsville Botanical Garden has grown along with the community. Continuing the vision, a revised master plan and stunning new facilities are putting the Garden in a league of its own. Whatever the time of year, the Huntsville Botanical Garden is North Alabama nature at its best – a place of continuing discovery and unending inspiration. hsvbg.org
HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU Serving a Stellar Community
or those planning a visit or exploring the possibility of hosting a meeting or event, the award-winning Huntsville/ Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau has something to say: “We’ve Got Space!” Space for just about everything imaginable from worldclass hotels to incredible restaurants to fabulous shopping to multiple arts destinations to one-of-a-kind visitor attractions – not to mention full-service convention and support facilities. With so much to offer, it takes a seasoned organization to represent such an all-inclusive community.
The History Known to Huntsvillians as the “CVB,” the bureau had its beginnings in 1970 as a division of the new Von Braun Civic Center – then called the “VBCC.” With offices in the civic center complex, the CVB initially marketed only the VBCC’s facilities, events, and programs. In 1991, the CVB and Madison County Tourism Board merged to create the full-service organization of today. Funding from the City of Huntsville, Madison County, and the City of Madison, enables the CVB to promote Huntsville as well as all of Madison County. Over the next three decades, as the community grew by leaps and bounds, the bureau grew along with it. In 2004, the CVB opened the Huntsville/Madison County Visitor Center in partnership with the City of Huntsville Division of Parking and Public Transit. This created better facilities to meet increasing demand and to provide visitors with a onestop shop for information.
Staying Ahead of the Curve Throughout its existence, the bureau has remained representative of the high-tech community it supports by
The Huntsville Museum of Art is known for its stunning collections and rich exhibits.
finding new ways to communicate and share information. In the early days it was all about print materials and answering phone calls. Now in the age of instant access, the CVB provides multiple ways to get more details about the community – a robust new website, active and engaging social media channels, and a visitor information channel in hotel rooms to highlight events, activities, attractions, and other guest opportunities. All this while still maintaining more traditional ways of serving visitors, including the interactive downtown visitor center and the airport information center, both open seven days a week to provide personalized visitor experiences. The CVB also continually looks for ways to enhance visitor services. One example is the new wayfinding signage in the downtown area to point the way to local attractions and various points of interest, a partnership with the City of Huntsville and the State of Alabama that will continue to expand throughout the community. far left: The U.S. Space & Rocket Center serves as the Official NASA Visitor Center for Marshall Space Flight Center and an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. left: Lowe Mill is an historic factory building that’s been redeveloped into 132 working studios for over 200 artists and makers, 6 fine art galleries, a multi-use theatre, and performance venues.
VON BRAUN CENTER
Bringing All Cultures into One Space “I have learned to use the word IMPOSSIBLE with the greatest caution.” – Dr. Wernher Von Braun
ollowing the philosophy of its namesake, the Von Braun Center has been performing the impossible every day for decades. From its beginning in 1975, the Von Braun Center has been the nexus for the city’s entertainment, arts, conference, civic, and convention activities. By bringing all of Huntsville’s cultures into one space, this multi-purpose complex serves the region with an unprecedented blend of flexible facilities that meet virtually every need. This “Jewel of Downtown Huntsville” provides the venue and services for nearly 1 million people every year – completely under one roof. The Von Braun Center does it all with world-class venues including the Propst Arena, which houses major concerts and sporting events; the Mark C. Smith Concert Hall, which hosts Huntsville’s Broadway Theater League, the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, and multiple other theatrical and community occasions; the Playhouse, which is home to many local theatrical productions and other performing groups; 170,000 square feet of flexible convention, meetings, banquet and special event space – and so much more. The Von Braun Center is most certainly a Huntsville landmark – not just a venue, but a part of your life. It’s the place where just about everybody goes to do just about everything in civics, arts, or entertainment. Most Huntsvillians have many memories of concerts, social events, business meetings, or community milestones. In fact, practically every graduation ceremony in the region is held at the “VBC,” creating even more lifetime memories. The Von Braun Center holds many distinctions, including staging the longest-running Broadway theater program in the country. In addition, it has presented decade after decade of incredible concerts and performances
with countless classic performers such as Elvis Presley and Aerosmith along with current stars like Elton John and Kenny Chesney. From the very beginning, improving the quality of life for Huntsville has been the mission of the Von Braun Center. In addition to providing the very best facilities, programs, and entertainment options for the region, the complex also generates significant annual economic impact for the hospitality industry, restaurants, and shopping establishments. It is always a valuable partner in economic development projects, and by generating more than 80% of its sustaining operating budget, the Center has even more flexibility to adapt and to meet future demands. By growing with the community and responding to its needs through decades of service, the Von Braun Center has proven its ability to do the IMPOSSIBLE. Quite literally, this enduring icon brings the cultural fabric of the region together.
Photo courtesy of Huntsville/Madison Chamber of Commerce
INNOVATION, VISION, OPPORTUNITY By Barbara Nash, APR
nnovation. Potential. Progress. Ingenuity. Vision. Growth. Strength. Diversity. Opportunity. These words merely scratch the surface in describing the incredible success displayed throughout Huntsville’s economic development history. It’s a stunning story of determination, pushing the envelope, and making the most of every new development on the horizon.
Leading from the Beginning With John Hunt’s arrival in the area in 1805 came a pioneering spirit and determination. Making the most of natural resources like rich soil, an accessible water supply, and a favorable climate, Hunt and his fellow settlers soon proved the viability of cotton production – so much so that many wealthy investors and cotton farmers flocked to the area. Potential. The economic prosperity attracted more and more people to the area, bringing support for the growing cotton industry. As Alabama’s economic leader, Huntsville became the first capital of the state in 1819. Following the first gubernatorial election, the first state legislative session, and the establishment of the state constitution, Congress granted Alabama statehood. While Alabama established its presence in the Union, Huntsville flourished as the largest town in the state with the most established economy. The agricultural success brought many more newcomers, and Huntsville and Madison County increased their importance by serving as the trading center for all of the Tennessee Valley. Huntsville was leading cotton production and fueling the economic engine of the state. Progress.
Changing with the Times Following the difficulties of the Civil War and Reconstruction, Huntsville once again made the most of its resources, attracted investment, and led the way in building cotton mills. At one time, as many as 16 mills in Huntsville provided employment for much of the local workforce. Two of those mills, Lincoln Mill and Lowe Mill, still serve the community today – Lincoln Mill Village now houses an office campus with numerous start-ups and entrepreneurial ventures including technology companies, and Lowe Mill 163
above: Lincoln Mill Village now houses an office campus with
below: Lowe Mill Village serves as a community arts and entertainment
numerous start-ups and entrepreneurial ventures. (Photo by Eric Schultz)
center and houses artists and makers spaces. (Photo by Eric Schultz)
Village serves as a community arts and entertainment center. Both areas also serve as a reminder of the industrial period of the city’s history. While expanding its economic base by turning its cotton into textiles, Huntsville also continued to maintain its position as the leader in cotton production, and expanded its agricultural base. Farmers in the region supplemented cotton by adding a new crop – watercress. While it was not a major cash crop, watercress was an important commodity and grew perfectly in the rich soil alongside king cotton. The leafy greens gave Huntsville and Madison County economic diversification as well as
the title of “Watercress Capital of the World” because of such abundant harvests at the height of its production, making the area a major supplier for the nation. As the economic landscape changed, Huntsville worked together, overcame adversity, and capitalized on its strengths to move into a new era. Ingenuity.
Defining Decisions The first significant decision for Huntsville came just before the United States entered World War II. The Army decided to construct Huntsville Arsenal, a munitions
plant in the southwestern part of Madison County to manufacture and store chemical artillery shells. Just a few months later, the Army built Redstone Ordnance Plant to assemble explosives for the artillery shells. In 1943, the plant became Redstone Arsenal. More than 20,000 local employees at the two facilities worked together throughout the war to supply the Army with the weaponry needed in the field – a foreshadowing of the future. The end of the war brought another crucial decision. To enhance its research and development capabilities, the Army consolidated its missile program to Redstone Arsenal in 1949 and transferred a small group of missile experts to Huntsville from Fort Bliss, Texas. The group included Dr. Wernher von Braun and his team – 120 German rocket scientists who would shape the future of Huntsville’s economy. Von Braun led design and development activities for the surface-to-surface Redstone rocket with a 500-mile range. Next came the intermediate range ballistic Jupiter
missile. The new efforts were so successful that the Army accelerated the program and built the nation’s largest rocket test stand at Redstone. In 1958, the von Braun team launched America’s first satellite into space aboard the Jupiter-C ballistic missile as the launch vehicle, bringing Huntsville national recognition as a major center for high technology and giving the city a new nickname – “The Rocket City.” While the Army’s complete missile development and training program continued in Huntsville, then-President Dwight Eisenhower made another critical decision for Huntsville’s economy in 1960. He transferred von Braun’s rocket development center to the newly formed National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and established the space vehicle center at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). Over the next few years, von Braun and MSFC led research and development for the Mercury and Apollo programs with one goal in mind – to increase space exploration and put Americans on the moon. Vision.
Von Braun and MSFC led research and development for the Mercury and Apollo programs with one goal in mind – to increase space exploration and put Americans on the moon. (Photo courtesy of NASA) 165
above and below: Huntsville will generate an innovative and energizing future attracting more new companies â€“ large and small â€“ to enrich the business community. (Top photo courtesy of The Huntsville / Madison
County Chamber of Commerce. Bottom photo courtesy of Servis FIrst)
right: Cepeda Systems was mamed MSFC 2016 Small Business Prime
Contractor of the Year. (Photo courtesy of Cepeda Systems)
Enabling Invention As the Army and NASA invented more and more new technologies, highly educated civilian employment increased substantially to advance the military and space programs. Defense industry giants located offices in Huntsville, and many new companies established a presence in the city to contribute to Army operations and the growing space program. City leaders recognized the potential for technology development and other research-based pursuits and planned wisely for expansion. To accommodate the rapid corporate influx, Huntsville set aside 4,000 acres of land just north of Redstone Arsenal and developed Cummings Research Park (CRP) with critical infrastructure and plenty of room for private industry to expand. Companies large and small settled in CRP, which eventually became the second largest research park in the U.S. and fourth largest in the world. Many small businesses planted their stakes in the ground and boosted capabilities and income for the entire region â€“
entrepreneurship at its best. With greater advancements in technology and greater collaboration among programs, Huntsvilleâ€™s population surged, its economy prospered, and its national importance increased. Growth.
Shifting Focus At the conclusion of the Apollo program, which successfully propelled the U.S. to the forefront of space exploration, Huntsville industry turned its focus to bolstering the space shuttle program, the International Space Station, and new space sciences and military technologies. From concept through testing to fullrate production, the city found new ways to augment government efforts and create commercial applications of evolving technologies. Taking the business base beyond government support into the commercial sector provided more economic opportunity. Over the next few decades, Huntsvilleâ€™s contributions to cutting-edge capabilities 167
Curse, one of the top gaming companies in the country, announced it was moving to Huntsville by way of San Francisco in 2013. Huntsville beat out Boulder, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Seattle, winning out in the end because of its competitive attributes and vital assistance from officials at the state level. (Photo courtesy of Curse / Alabama Department of Commerce)
and products grew, and the city’s reputation rose both nationally and internationally. “The Technology Capital of the South” astonished the world with its capacity for innovation. The economy remained solid and began to attract new ventures. Strength.
Branching Out While continuing staunch support of military defense programs, space sciences, and NASA, the city diversified its economic base through multiple avenues of business pursuits. Huntsville found new ways to maximize resources and grow economic development in the community. By taking advantage of the highly skilled technology workforce available in the region, Huntsville became a leader in many different industries, including telecommunications services and equipment, computer hardware design, systems software development, engineering services, and information technology. Each business sector made major contributions in their respective fields, and all helped to further solidify the city’s 168
position as an important part of the nation’s technology landscape. As these industries grew, another new branch of business emerged in the form of automotive manufacturing when Toyota Motor Manufacturing chose Huntsville for a new engine plant. This brought an entirely new capability to the region, and the economic impact multiplied because of the suppliers and other support businesses that followed. Workforce development programs also trained a new generation of skilled manufacturing employees, attracting more manufacturing enterprises to the area. On the heels of automotive manufacturing came another exciting investment in Huntsville’s economic future. When HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology came on the scene, it established a far-reaching initiative with its research center housing multiple biotech companies, paving the way for genetic discoveries and effective new medical treatments. New and emerging sectors, including advanced specialized manufacturing and cybersecurity, are further strengthening Huntsville’s economic environment. Diversity.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Alabama employs approximately 1,370 employees and has distinguished itself not just in the U.S., but worldwide. (Photos courtesy of TMMA)
170 Photo by Eric Schultz
GE broke ground in 2016 on two adjacent facilities on 100 acres in Huntsville. One will mass-produce silicon carbide materials â€“ the first such operation in the U.S. â€“ the other will manufacture unidirectional ceramic matrix composite tape for CMC components in jet engines and landbased gas turbines. (Photo courtesy of GE) left: For over 30 years the Chamber has been supporting and recognizing individuals and businesses that make a positive impact on our community through their products, services, and outstanding attributes. Their annual Small Business Awards honors the best of the best small business entrepreneurs, young professionals, non-profits, and executive leadership.
(Photo courtesy of the Huntsville / Madison County Chamber of Commerce)
Huntsville has always led the way through vision and economic diversity. (Photo above courtesy of OrbitalATK, photo below courtesy of Sierra Nevada Corporation)
When HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology came on the scene, it established a far-reaching initiative with its research center housing multiple biotech companies, paving the way for genetic discoveries and effective new medical treatments. (Photo courtesy of HudsonAlpha)
Moving to the Future
The City’s Legacy
Since the very first settlers recognized the potential for economic prosperity, Huntsville has harnessed the power of resourcefulness and ingenuity to prosper. From cotton to early manufacturing to military munitions to rockets to space exploration to biotechnology to nanotechnology – Huntsville has always led the way through vision and economic diversity. Huntsville will generate an innovative and energizing future that will attract more new companies – large and small – to enrich the business community. New technology advancements, new economic initiatives, and new business pursuits will continue to spark imagination. The economy will thrive by building on the foundations laid in the past to give the economy of the future what it needs to succeed. Opportunity.
Huntsville has many factors that make its business environment unique – multiple industry sectors, an educated workforce, available space for building and expansions, an attractive cost of living, robust educational assets, and a supportive community. Through it all, though, runs one element that will forever propel Huntsville to the forefront. One thread that runs from beginning to end. One characteristic that tops all others to keep the economy strong. Innovation.
MADISON COUNTY COMMISSION M
adison County is recognized as the “birthplace” of Alabama and was founded on December 14, 1819. For much of the county’s history, the economy revolved mainly around agriculture. Madison County was one of the largest cottonproducing counties in the state. This all changed when a group of German rocket scientists, led by Wernher von Braun, came to Redstone Arsenal in 1950. They developed, among others, the Redstone rocket, which was modified to launch the first two Americans into space. Tens of thousands of jobs came to the area as a result of the Space Race, and the population of Madison County rose from 72,903 in 1950 to a population of 334,811 in 2010.
Diverse Workforce Madison County is currently home to a diverse economy with several key industry sectors. The area’s strengths include technology development, integration
and value-added manufacturing. Primary industry sectors are: aerospace/defense, information technology, advanced manufacturing and life sciences. Building on the success of these primary industry sectors, there is a number of emerging technology areas: electronic communications, modelling and simulation, geospatial, energy, cyber security, robotics and small satellites. Today, military, space, telecommunications, biotechnology, diversified manufacturing and a variety of emerging specialties provide challenging work in delightful surroundings for Madison County’s workforce.
County Makeup and Geographic Location The City of Huntsville serves as the county seat for Madison County, but five other cities and towns are also located here. The City of Madison, Triana, New Hope, Gurley and Owens Cross Road also make up the 800 square miles of
Madison County Commissioners, seated left to right: Commissioner Roger Jones-District One, Commission Chairman Dale W. Strong, Commissioner Bob Harrison-District Six. Standing left to right: Commissioner Steve Haraway-District Two, Commissioner Eddie Sisk-District Three, Commissioner Phil Vandiver-District Four, Commissioner Phil Riddick-District Five 174
Cummings Research Park is the 2nd largest research park in the country.
the county north from the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains south to the Tennessee River. Madison County is Alabama’s third most populated county with a per capita income second only to Shelby County located in central Alabama. The City of Madison has a population of over 45,000. It is an affluent suburban community with residents working in highly technical jobs with companies such as SCI, Intergraph, Boeing, as well as the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command and NASA. Over 69% of adults in Madison hold bachelor’s or advanced degrees. Since Madison County is centrally located in the southeastern United States, it serves as an excellent location for accessing and serving the southern U.S. region. Huntsville International Airport has two parallel runways including the second longest in the southeast. The runway measures 12,600 feet and allows non-stop cargo flights to Asia, Europe and Latin America. The International Intermodal Center provides a single hub location specializing in a wide range of services including receiving, transferring, storing and distributing air, rail and highway cargo both domestically and internationally.
Three Strong Public School Systems The Huntsville City School System is one of the premier school districts in the state of Alabama. The school system has 64 Pre-K programs, 21 elementary schools, 4 middle schools and 2 junior highs, 6 high schools, 5 P-8 schools (2 of
which are magnet schools: Academy for Academics and Art and Academy for Science and Foreign Language) providing services for more than 24,000 students. Magnet schools offer specialized programs of learning with a focused theme that attract a diverse population of students throughout Huntsville City Schools. A variety of themes are available that include creative and performing arts, International Baccalaureate, law, public safety, foreign language, biomedical, computer science, technology, engineering, and math. Students from across the district may apply to magnet schools. The Madison City School system is located in the city of Madison serving Madison and the town of Triana. The System was established in 1998 after separating from the Madison County School System and consists of two high schools, two middle schools, and seven elementary schools. The system has a $73 million operating budget and employs 675 certified personnel. Student enrollment at the start of 2016-17 is projected to surpass 10,000 students. Test scores on national standardized tests are above the national average at all schools. Parents are active in their support of school functions by participating in booster clubs, PTA, school events, and school volunteer programs. The Madison County School system is one of the largest in the state. When families from major metropolitan cities locate to Madison County, they often choose quieter, suburban parts in which to settle. To live “out in the county” rarely requires more than a 17-minute drive into the city for 175
work. Madison County Schools focus on technology and on expanding the district’s career technical programs and prekindergarten curricula. Several institutions of higher learning call Madison County home, including Alabama A&M University, Calhoun Community College, Oakwood University, The University of Alabama in Huntsville and J.F. Drake State Community & Technical College.
Excellent Health Care Huntsville Hospital is a 941-bed hospital. A communitybased, not-for-profit institution, Huntsville Hospital is the state’s second largest hospital. Huntsville Hospital Health System is the nation’s third largest publicly owned hospital system with more than 1,800 beds and 12,000 employees. Huntsville Hospital serves as the major referral hospital and trauma center for patients throughout North Alabama and southern Tennessee. Huntsville Hospital has more than 800 physicians on the medical staff and is a teaching facility for UAB’s Family Practice and Internal Medicine Residency Programs.
Quality of Life Madison County is home to several popular tourist attractions including, Monte Sano State Park, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Huntsville Botanical Garden and many others. The county also boasts part of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail of Alabama, Hampton Cove Golf Course. From mountains, lakes, woodlands and the Tennessee River, Madison County has numerous outdoor recreational activities. The county also has a large cultural arts scene with major concerts, Broadway, ballet and symphony performances, extensive permanent collections and
Concerts in the Park at the Huntsville Museum of Art are a favorite for locals and visitors.
traveling exhibitions which all contribute to a wonderful way of life. The Huntsville Museum of Art is a nationally recognized museum, located in Big Spring Park, and features children’s arts education classes. The Lowe Mill Arts and Entertainment area supports a diverse creative community and is the largest privately owned arts facility in the United States. Lowe Mill’s history dates back to the early 20th century as a textile mill. With a focus on visual arts, this huge historic factory building has been redeveloped into 132 working studios for over 200 artists and makers, 6 fine art galleries, a multi-use theatre, and performance venues. Within this thriving community are artists from around the world. The Mill serves as a space where they can create, learn, and collaborate. With studio spaces lining the hallways, visitors have the opportunity to openly explore the Mill and artist spaces where they can shop and learn about the artists and their works. In addition to working artists, Lowe Mill is home to several of North Alabama’s premiere entertainment events including Concerts on the Dock and the world’s longest running Cigar Box Guitar Festival. Madison County enjoys a large population of retirees, both military and civilian, because of the favorable cost of living and quality of life. The Madison County Commission offers many services to the retirees and their families.
SENIOR Rx $297 million in BRAC Funding for all three school systems. 176
The Madison County Commission’s SENIOR Rx Program is designed to assist low-income Madison County
From left to right: Congressman Mo Brooks, 5th District of Alabama, Chairman Strong, and Commissioner Haraway
Pictured from left to right: Commissioner Riddick, Commissioner Vandiver, Commissioner Sisk, Commissioner Jones and Chairman Strong celebrating the 3,000,000th engine produced at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing plant located in Madison County.
residents, age 55 and above, or those who have recently began Medicare disability and are in the two-year waiting period. Residents who meet that criteria and who do not have prescription drug coverage may obtain medication for a chronic illness or condition for free or at a low-cost. The SENIOR Rx staff facilitates access to pharmaceutical companies’ patient assistance programs. Funding is provided by the Madison County Commission and the Alabama Department of Senior Services through the TARCOG/Area Agency on Aging. Medication is mailed directly to the patient, or to the patient’s physician, or they may opt to receive a discount card usable at the pharmacy.
training machines, treadmills, exercise bicycles, upper body recumbent cycles, total body recumbent steppers, and elliptical trainers. It has a rubberized indoor walking track; a computer room; an arts and crafts area; a heated Olympic-size swimming pool and hot tub; a fully equipped kitchen where meals are served to members for $1.25 each weekday; and a nature trail. Amenities include personal lockers, a snack area with microwave and refrigerator, and a putting green. The new 5,000-square-foot picnic and concert pavilion will accommodate outdoor activities that range from family reunions to large corporate picnics or rallies. They also rent the ballroom, conference room, and patio to members and non-members. Madison County is a great place to start a business, grow the company, raise your family and retire. It is truly a place that has it all!
TRAM The Transportation for Rural Areas of Madison County (TRAM) program is another service available to seniors in Madison County, as well as the general public. TRAM is a public transportation program that provides rides to residents that live in the unincorporated areas of Madison County. TRAM requires you call by 3:00 p.m. the previous business day to schedule a ride. TRAM operates from 6:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 6:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. on Friday. The cost to ride TRAM is $9.00 roundtrip and $7.00 one-way. Tickets also may be purchased at the TRAM office or ordered by mail with payment in the form of a check or money order.
Harrison Senior Wellness and Advocacy Center The Harrison Senior Wellness and Advocacy Center serves active seniors age 50+ and “junior” seniors age 4049, in an open, airy 20,000-square-foot facility in a natural 20 acre setting located at 6156 Pulaski Pike in Huntsville. Classes include water aerobics, line dancing, and Zumba Gold. The center has an on-staff physical trainer and state-ofthe-art exercise equipment including pneumatic strength-
Chairman Strong and Commissioner Riddick at the groundbreaking for the new Grissom High School. 177
Living Up to Its Name
A New Concept in Banking
hat’s in a name? For a bank whose very name defines its mission, it’s everything. Commitment to exceptional service guides every policy, every activity, every decision, every transaction, and every interaction every single day at ServisFirst Bank. In fact, it was dedication to a new brand of service that established ServisFirst Bank in Huntsville in 2006, and service has been the guiding philosophy since day one. The founding goal? Lead the industry in offering cutting-edge banking products at the highest level of personal service. ServisFirst’s Huntsville/North Alabama office was started by a team of high-energy, experienced banking executives and directors who are committed to serving the community with a unique brand of urban banking – large regional resources combined with the strength of experienced local executives who have the ability to develop solutions and make quick decisions. They instigated a long-term growth strategy to develop operations in Huntsville and the surrounding Tennessee Valley, including Southern Middle Tennessee – a region of new service without borders. Focused on commercial and private banking, ServisFirst’s
seasoned banking executives implemented a low-overhead business model that utilizes the advances in financial technology to deliver ease and convenience to customers while maintaining a high-touch banking experience. The concept of providing more access to advanced technological tools while relying less on multiple branch locations has allowed ServisFirst to operate with far less overhead and pass those cost savings along to clients through more competitive rates and fees. ServisFirst customers benefit from time-saving banking technologies such as remote deposit capture (the first bank in the market to make this feature available), mobile banking, free ATM use, cash management, online banking – including international currency exchange, payroll services, ACH deposits, online wires and more. Professionals have everything they need at their fingertips with the assurance of knowing they will have access to emerging technologies as they become available – an important feature that allows clients to advance with changing trends in business and stay on the cutting edge.
Growing through the Grapevine Whereas many businesses rely on advertising to announce their presence in a new market or to promote products and services, ServisFirst used a different approach. Approximately 175 local business owners helped establish the bank office in Huntsville through a unique “client/
shareholder” model. Those initial clients/shareholders experienced rapid growth on their investments and ultimately became a de facto salesforce by telling their friends and family about ServisFirst’s better banking experience. Those initial endorsements, strengthened by years of building a word-of-mouth client network, has been a major component of both growth and commitment for ServisFirst. When clients and owners refer others to the bank, they are confident that their friends and families will receive exceptional service from the first interaction. ServisFirst believes that referrals from existing customers are the ultimate compliment, and every team member delivers the highest level of personal service to every client every day. Team members know instinctively that creating a warm environment where clients feel like family is paramount. Providing personal attention every time is standard operating procedure. It isn’t part of the culture, it is the culture. Likewise, ServisFirst is dedicated to helping its clients grow their businesses by making appropriate introductions with other business leaders so that all can benefit from this strong network of influencers. It’s simple, if a bank introduction can lead to further business for each client, then it is a win-win-win proposition.
introductions. The ability to put clients together to do business is an outgrowth of ServisFirst’s personal service and customer relationships – a lasting benefit to everyone involved.
Doing What They Do Best ServisFirst continues to expand its customer base throughout the region by maintaining focus on core banking services, providing cutting-edge financial technology to its clients, and staying true to its mission. ServisFirst Bank. The name says it all.
Filling a Gap at a Critical Time Demonstrating its firm commitment to keep client needs as top priority, ServisFirst put its mission into practice in a big way during the recent recession. Business needs didn’t stop, but borrowers were having great difficulty securing loans. Due in part to its low overhead model and lack of problem loan costs, ServisFirst’s consistent earnings and strong capital position allowed the bank to continue to lend money and help clients grow while other banks were turning them away. At a time when many financial institutions experienced difficulty, ServisFirst maintained its momentum, focusing on growth in several sectors – government contracting, biotech, manufacturing, agriculture, medical, and other commercial and industrial areas. As the economy continued to improve and demand for real estate increased, the bank also widened its lending to include more residential and commercial real estate to stay in front of client needs. Service to customers came first – even in a slow economy when many needed help the most.
Putting a Win-Win-Win Philosophy to Work ServisFirst knows that helping clients succeed and build revenue is good for the clients and good for the bank. Increasing customer success increases bank success – a winwin-win situation. As one avenue for helping clients grow, ServisFirst provides multiple networking opportunities through business development lunches, social events, and personal 179
SAMPLES PROPERTIES Huntsville History Influencing Huntsville’s Future
steadfast presence throughout Huntsville’s growth, development, and expansion, Samples Properties helped define the city’s past and served its needs throughout the decades. Now this prime developer and real estate management team takes a unique, full-service approach to defining Huntsville’s future.
Roots in Huntsville History In 1973, Ty and Carol Ann Samples founded Southeastern Development, Inc., with a two-pronged business focus – managing the Huntsville properties of Carol Ann’s father, the visionary Milton Cummings, and working in site selection across the Southeast. Both efforts proved to be invaluable in moving the company forward. Following his transition from cotton farmer to President/ CEO of Brown Engineering, Milton Cummings located that company, along with IBM, in what would become Cummings Research Park. Carol Ann continued to manage these and other properties her father built. Concurrently, Ty worked in hotel and restaurant site selection, but gradually became more and more involved with building projects in Huntsville. The company shifted concentration almost exclusively to the Huntsville market, which led to the 1987 name change to Samples Properties. Ty led major developments, including McDonnell Douglas, General Electric, Colonial Bank/BB&T, SAIC and Intel which solidified the company’s direction. As Huntsville continued to grow, Samples Properties emerged as one of the leading developers in the region – always keeping Huntsville as its operational focus. Ty and Carol Ann managed activities that included significant expansions in Cummings Research Park, downtown and
standing left to right:
Gripp Luther and Michael Samples. seated: Betsy Rouse and Alice Samples Bentley.
in other selected areas throughout the city. Samples also continued Cummings’ long-time practice of developing buildings and brokerage houses that include Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo Advisors and Morgan Stanley. Joining the company after college graduation, Ty and Carol Ann’s son, Michael, took over the property management operations. Having grown up in the family business, he had learned sound business and solid commitment from the best. For decades, the close-knit family operation grew right along with Huntsville and continued to enhance its ownership stake in the community as a home-grown company. When clients’ needs increased and changed, Samples adapted its inventory and services to meet the demand. In shifting its business model to accommodate the changing business environment, Samples used multiple approaches to real estate development and management. The company not only supported companies with an established presence in Huntsville, but also provided opportunities for new businesses through joint ventures and other partnerships.
Superior Client Service
The Westar/Quinetiq building, built in 2007 – 168,000 square feet. 180
One feature has remained constant throughout – Samples Properties’ staunch commitment to superior client service. Cummings had a strong belief in being available to his tenants and providing them with on-site access to
The SAIC building, built in 2006 – 100,000 square feet.
management service. In fact, he was so often in his on-site offices, young Michael thought his grandfather actually worked at the brokerage firms in his buildings. The hands-on approach to client service has continued throughout the life of the company. It’s what sets Samples Properties apart as the best facility group available. Personalized service, rapid response times, continual improvement, and a diverse and skilled staff have also enabled the company to meet the challenges of the region’s growing business base in any economic climate. With the added specialization in the Huntsville market, Samples offers its clients invaluable insight into local and regional trends. As the landscape has changed, so has the company. In 2010, Michael along with his sister Alice Samples Bentley, Gripp Luther, and Betsy Rouse purchased Samples Properties, which is a full-service real estate company offering development, property management and brokerage services.
workers in the service sector to build and operate buildings, and continuing to partner with new companies in Huntsville. By providing the right expertise and support, Samples enables them to thrive and grow the economy even more. Flexibility is, and always has been, the foundation of Samples’ viability – adapting to changes in the market conditions, providing value-added services to its clients, and meeting the needs of companies in transition. That flexibility coupled with the relentless desire to improve creates the edge that keeps Samples at the forefront of Huntsville’s growth and development. Samples Properties – Rooted in history, focused on community. A Huntsville legacy.
Community Commitment Along with providing superior personal service to its clients and maintaining the vibrancy of all its buildings throughout Huntsville, Samples demonstrates its continuing commitment to the Huntsville community every day. Cummings Research Park (CRP) is the second largest research park in the nation, it remains a constant, critical component of Huntsville’s economic development profile. Samples understands the importance of CRP and works tirelessly to continue the Cummings vision and legacy. Samples also benefits the Huntsville region on a larger scale through expanding the local tax base, employing
: The Discovery Center, built over the course of 1986, 1989, and 1991 – 230,000 square feet. 181
MELVIN, BIBB, SEGARS & ASSOCIATES, P.C.
More Than Just the Numbers
ince 1965, Ross Melvin has anchored a Huntsville accounting firm that is more than just a place to talk numbers. It’s a time-honored business that has maintained its commitment to serving the community through decades of growth and economic evolution. A firm that uses numbers and formulas to benefit not only its clients, but also the community it serves.
the firm expanded its client base to include small businesses supporting both the government and larger space and defense contractors. Throughout the subsequent years of the city’s rapid expansion, the accounting firm continued to serve its base while remaining flexible enough to meet the needs of other businesses and professionals that were fueling the area’s economic development. During the 1970s, Huntsville emerged as the center of health care across North Alabama to meet ever-increasing medical needs of area residents. To assist that segment of the local economy, a significant portion of the practice shifted to serve physicians and other health care providers in the region – a focus that differentiated the firm from others at the time. Huntsville’s economy became a major driver in the South and created a region whose per capita income is the highest in the South, generating a need for specialized personal services. Continuing its pattern of meeting the needs of the community, the firm developed personal financial capability and generated consulting services for individuals throughout the area. Always serving. Always fulfilling community demands.
The Personal Touch While building and maintaining the practice throughout the years, Ross Melvin was far more than just an accountant. He gave many accountants a start in the industry and developed them into significant contributors not only to the firm, but also to other firms after beginning their careers here. All current partners began their careers with Ross and grew to become the leaders they are today. For Alan Bibb, Mike Segars, and their associates, it all began with personal mentoring from Ross Melvin. The firm continues to believe that helping others achieve higher standards is a responsibility and a privilege. Although the firm has included many partners throughout the years, the name has always begun with “Melvin” – a true testament to his establishment of the firm’s core principles.
A History of Supporting Huntsville’s Economy Although Melvin had the opportunity to practice in Birmingham, he remained steadfast in his commitment to building his business in Huntsville. The city was growing in size and significance, and he built a strong, successful practice by following the trends and supporting the business sectors most significant to the economy at each phase of development. Initially, the firm concentrated on serving the construction industry that was literally building what would become the technology center of the South. As population and economic growth continued in the region, 182
Branching Out Since its founding, the practice has held firm in offering core accounting services for businesses and individuals in the community – tax planning and compliance, small business services such as accounting and payroll, and personal financial consulting including estates, trusts, and retirement planning. But one area continues to distinguish the firm for its absolute expertise – health care consulting. The specialization in health care accounting and financial services proved so successful that it led the firm to establish a new independent company with the specific purpose of helping physicians. Millennium Medical Billing
& Physician Services stays ahead of the curve with the most comprehensive financial information systems, allowing doctors and other medical practitioners to respond to changing regulations, the shifting landscape of insurance, and other reporting requirements. This niche company has helped its client physicians streamline billing procedures and maximize reimbursements for medical services, allowing them to concentrate on treating patients. Another outgrowth of the accounting firmâ€™s commitment to the community.
Beyond the Numbers Melvin, Bibb, Segars & Associates, P. C. contributes to the community in many other ways besides providing financial services, both as a firm and as individuals. When they see a need, they step up and meet it. One visible example of their devotion to Huntsville came when Ross Melvin and Mike Segars helped establish the Community Free Clinic for all of Madison County. Calling on their expertise in medical finance, the two men worked to help the clinic provide free quality healthcare, education, and medications to thousands of people without health care benefits or treatment options. Similarly, Alan Bibb used his specialized skills as a board member for the 911 Center of Huntsville/Madison County â€“ a modernized example in the emergency services arena. Melvin, Bibb, Segars, and others at the firm demonstrate their dedication to public needs through volunteer board service for many existing non-profit organizations; such as Phoenix Industries, Big Brothers Big Sisters, American Cancer Society, Therapy Partners, & Habitat for Humanity. They have also assisted with starting new non-profits in the area
and share their expertise through speaking at seminars and teaching classes. They donâ€™t just talk about supporting the community, they do it.
The Bottom Line The firm continues to grow and develop the next generation of CPAs for the future. By delivering the full life cycle of accounting services for clients, it all adds up for Melvin, Bibb, Segars & Associates, P. C. Demonstrated Expertise + Quality Service = Success.
JOHN BLUE REALTY Creating Properties with Historical Significance
ohn D. Blue has been part of the Huntsville professional community since the early 1970s being a partner in two development companies all playing a role in the city’s transition from a small cotton town to a thriving center of aerospace and industry. John launched his third company in 2000 with his son, John W. Blue, making it a family endeavor. John Blue Realty LLC specializes in development, property management, sales, and leasing as a full-service commercial real estate company. The firm has played a vital role in a number of notable historic renovations and landmark projects for Huntsville. “We are grateful to have the opportunity of working with clients who we consider friends, and together we can enjoy the rewards of seeing our visions become reality. Our passion is to repurpose existing structures in order to recapture their charm and historic significance and in turn give them new life. One of Huntsville’s first revived properties in the early 1980s was the redevelopment of the historic Dunnavant Department Store located at the corner of Washington Street and Clinton Avenue. It was the first modern department store of its kind in North Alabama. John Blue Realty transformed this four-story brick structure into a Class A office building. This redevelopment helped kickstart the downtown renaissance by preserving pieces of the past that continues today. This building now houses one of Huntsville’s largest law firms, Wilmer & Lee, P.A. Blue and his team also redeveloped and converted the historic Lincoln Mill Company Store into a new recreational center and headquarters for the Huntsville Girl’s Club. Another prize-winning project was helping to develop the 250-unit Governors House Apartment complex. John was also the visionary and mastermind fostering the idea of Huntsville’s most exclusive gated community and private club; The Ledges of Huntsville Mountain. This development sits 1,536 feet atop Huntsville Mountain offering panoramic views overlooking Huntsville and the Tennessee Valley. Blue explains that all of the homes were patterned from Huntsville’s Historic District to give tribute to our forefathers design of excellence. The Ledges is recognized as one of the most magnificent championship Golf Courses & Private Club facilities in the south. The firm has worked with a number of local businesses in building their company headquarters from concept to completion, including Yulista Corporation, AEgis Technologies, Kratos, and Avion Corporation to mention a few. John Blue Realty is avid about the concept of mixed-use developments and is presently working on four projects; namely, St. James Place on Cecil Ashburn Drive, Lendon of Jones Valley, Viduta Village atop Monte Sano Mountain, and the Aldridge Greenway Project.
The Blue’s have watched the city’s economy - and its real estate - evolve during the past 60 years. John said, “In the mid-1970s, after NASA’s Apollo program ended, it left a void in direction and created an abundance of vacant offices and buildings. As a result, city leaders realized that Huntsville needed to diversify its economy and never rely on a single industry. That philosophy to date has paid off.” Blue states that recent economic development projects have brought companies such as Dunlop, Toyota, Remington, GE Aviation and Polaris to the Huntsville area, all having a positive impact on North Alabama. He says, “The work of local government and business leaders to continually diversify the economy makes Huntsville an attractive live-work-play community that has attracted the attention of national and international business, as well as receiving national acclaim and honors.” “Huntsville has been a solid market for our commercial real estate business,” Blue says. “Our city is the shining star for Alabama and has been highly publicized for its technological expertise along with the number of highly educated individuals who call it home. The on-going defense and aerospace activity is a stepping stone for many spinoff companies, which are a blessing for the commercial real estate development business and Huntsville at large. Huntsville continues to look to the future with an eye on the past.”
CURRIE SYSTEMS I
n 1979, Dan Currie launched Currie Systems, a Huntsvillebased company that provides printing, office supplies and promotional products. After almost four decades and sweeping changes in the printing industry, the company continues to provide value, personal service and cuttingedge products. Currie Systems continues to serve many of the same customers it served in 1979. The Currie family has been calling the Huntsville area home since 1952. “With the economic protection of Huntsville’s government-related industries, it has been a great place to build a business,” says Dan Currie. “And even with the area’s continued growth, Huntsville is still a small town where you can build lasting relationships.” For Currie, those relationships have been built over an array of logo merchandise, office supplies, and high-quality printed products. The company offers custom imprinting on all types of promotional products, such as shirts, hats, pens, notepads, drink holders, cups, coolers and tumblers. The
A Tradition of Service
most popular items change according to current trends, but Currie Systems always offers the latest gadgets and items for custom imprint. In addition to promotional products, Currie Systems also offers all types of office supplies and office furniture. Printing also remains in demand by Currie Systems customers, which range in size from small businesses to giant corporations. Over the years, Currie has seen the printing industry undergo significant changes, but they have continued to offer customers the same great results. “Printing has changed a great deal; printing presses are just about gone and everything is digital now,” Currie says. “With digital presses, we can print brochures and other items in a quarter of the time it used to take, which means prices on printing have also dropped substantially—and we have passed those savings on to our customers.” Not only do Currie Systems customers depend on the right products at the right prices, but they also get outstanding customer service, including delivery at no extra charge. In fact, few customers ever visit Currie Systems in person: When they need something, they simply call their sales rep, who will get what they need and have it delivered as quickly as possible. “People really appreciate our fast service and the fact that salespeople come to them, along with free delivery,” Currie says. “And we always provide a quality product.” With an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, Currie Systems stays busy serving customers in Huntsville, Madison, Decatur, Athens, Albertville, Boaz, Scottsboro, and in southern Tennessee.
COVENANT PROPERTIES Leading Local Investment
ormer math teacher Krista Campbell never felt comfortable with traditional Wall Street investing. That was too far away to send hard-earned savings which invested in companies even farther away. After leaving education to begin a career in real estate—first residential, then commercial—she started investing in local commercial real estate projects. “I was dismayed as I watched friends and colleagues lose value in the equity and bond markets,” Campbell says. “And I developed a passion for local real estate investing, as I would drive by a local property and think, ‘My money is in those bricks and in that land.’ When you can actually touch your asset, you are assured your principal is secure and the only risk is in the size of the return, not if there will be a return.” In an effort to share her passion for local investment opportunities with others, Campbell formed Covenant Properties in 2002. The full-service firm offers brokerage, management and investment services on a specialized and individualized basis for clients. Covenant Properties develops and leases properties in the Huntsville and North Alabama region. A brief client list has included, Raytheon Company, Legal Services Alabama, DESE Research, Inc., Express Oil Change and state and local governments. In addition, the company offers tenant representation by procuring space for commercial clients. Other services include market research and analysis, portfolio analysis and recommendations, providing strategies and negotiating lease or sale terms. In addition to working with tenants, Covenant Properties brokerage services provide high quality properties and management services to its investment clients at cost-effective prices. “Being property owners ourselves gives us a different perspective regarding property expenses,” Campbell says. “Our goal is to carefully manage expenses for others as if those expenses were our own.”
The firm maintains working relationships with all local brokerage firms and has access to all commercial property listings. Because it is not a franchise, Covenant Properties can internally establish its own fee and commission structures, allowing them to share commissions with other brokers rather than keeping transactions exclusive to the firm. “Maintaining an excellent relationship with those to whom we represent and lease is our top priority,” Campbell says. “We are sharply focused on meeting the specific commercial needs of an individual or their company and share their excitement when we find the perfect space for them. Covenant Properties is your boots on the ground in Huntsville and Madison County and does the research for you. We are local.” Campbell is a candidate for the CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) designation, a former president of the North Alabama Commercial Brokers’ Association (NALCOM) and a graduate of Leadership Huntsville/Madison County. Covenant Properties is a member of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce, Huntsville Area Association of Realtors (HAAR), The National Association of Realtors (NAR), and the Building Owners and Managers Association International (BOMA). The company’s name, Covenant, refers to a one-sided promise, referring to its pledge to always put clients’ interests first, excel in integrity, work tirelessly and ensure clients’ satisfaction, Campbell says. “We are focused on our covenant commitment to our clients and their business; we’re not focused on their commitment to us,” she adds. “After experiencing our service, we find that clients want us to represent them for their real estate needs.”
“We bring SPACE to Huntsville”
GARBER CONSTRUCTION COMPANY Helping Build a Growing City
ince 1957, the Garber family has been part of the Huntsville community. In 1990, after years of working for leading construction companies, Harry Garber launched Garber Construction Company, a general contractor that provides construction services for commercial, industrial, retail, institutional, athletic facilities, and historic renovation projects. Three years later, Bob Garber joined the company, bringing another decade of experience in the commercial construction industry. Over the years, Garber Construction Company has completed hundreds of projects in the Tennessee Valley. Some of its landmark projects include constructing the offices/the board room of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce, Signature Flight Support at the Huntsville International Airport, warehouse expansions at Turner Beverage Company and 10 generals quarters on Redstone Arsenal. Garber has also worked extensively with local city and county schools to complete numerous renovations and additions including Huntsville High and Madison Elementary School. Garber Construction also enjoys the challenge of constructing historic renovation projects such as the Limestone County Courthouse in Athens and Harrison Brothers in Huntsville. Their preferred projects are complex renovations or new construction that requires a concerted team effort to ensure that the owner receives the best possible outcome, whether
Photo by Eric Schultz
it be design/build, construction management or lump sum delivery. After more than a quarter-century in business, Garber Construction continues to be family owned and operated, and the Garber family has long been committed to giving back to the local community. Harry Garber has served two terms as president of the Huntsville/Madison County Builders Association and has been appointed by the mayor to serve on the Huntsville Board of Adjustments. He has also been named Builder of the Year in two consecutive years and has been inducted into the Builders Association’s Hall of Fame. “Garber Construction has a well-established stake in the community with strong family ties and we believe in treating each and every client as our neighbors,” says Harry Garber. Not only is Huntsville and Madison County home to the Garber family, it has been an ideal location to grow their business. A diverse population and strong leadership has fueled the steady growth that is essential for success in the construction industry. “Huntsville is growing faster than any other city in the state and is expected to be the largest city in Alabama within a few short years, and of course, growth is what a contracting business needs for success,” Garber says. “This is an exciting time for the North Alabama area and Garber Construction looks forward to the challenges and relationships that lie in our future. ”
HIGHTOWER TWICKENHAM Client-centric. Community-focused. Trusted advice.
ighTower Twickenham is a multi-disciplinary team composed of financial professionals who specialize in wealth management, portfolio construction, client service and financial planning. They combine sophisticated strategies with an uncompromising dedication to upholding the values that matter to their clients—integrity, honesty, community service, humility and hard work. Whether you’ve built a business from the ground up, or you’re staked in the tradition of continuing your family’s legacy, HighTower Twickenham will help you protect and enhance your prosperity.
Client-Centric HighTower Twickenham is unassailably focused on their clients, their needs and their objectives. They understand that managing wealth is personal and emotional, so they take the time to listen and understand their clients’ experiences, aspirations, goals and fears. From small businesses to generations of families, the professionals at HighTower Twickenham grow with their clients—overcoming obstacles, celebrating triumphs and helping clients realize the future they envision.
The entire team is active in various Huntsville civic and arts charities and organizations, continuing a tradition of philanthropy and local business patronage for more than 50 years.
Dedicated From preserving your values to providing you with sophisticated investment solutions, HighTower Twickenham looks to your past to help you build something for future generations to be proud of and aspire to grow. They offer comprehensive wealth management and concierge services to both retail and corporate clients, allotting you more time to pursue your lifelong dreams, spend time with loved ones and do the things you love.
Trustworthy HighTower Twickenham acts with the utmost integrity in everything that they do, with straightforward conversations and transparent advice at the core of their offering. They are committed to providing excellent client service and creating comprehensive, enduring strategies to help clients optimize their wealth, enhance their legacies and reach their goals.
Philanthropic The professionals at HighTower Twickenham are dedicated to giving back to the Huntsville community. Securities are offered through HighTower Securities, LLC, member FINRA/SIPC/MSRB. HighTower Advisors, LLC is a SEC registered investment adviser.
RUSS RUSSELL COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE Serving Huntsville Business
he Russell family has been an important name in the local commercial real estate business since 1958. Russ Russell grew up watching his parents develop, own, lease and maintain commercial properties, and he knew he eventually wanted to work in the same field. He earned a degree in real estate from the University of Alabama, and in 1987, he launched Russ Russell Commercial Real Estate in Huntsville. Since 2000, his company has consistently held the largest number of commercial listings in North Alabama. “Huntsville is one of the few remaining cities in the United States that continues to thrive, and that’s largely because it is the home of Redstone Arsenal and the second largest research park in the country,” Russell says. “My family has had a presence in local commercial real estate since the late 1950s, and it has been exciting to be part of that ongoing growth and development.” Russ Russell Commercial Real Estate has high visibility in the Huntsville community through several significant projects including Furniture Row and Madison RV, both located along Interstate 565, and Children’s Hospital of Alabama on Governors Drive in the Medical District. “We were really proud to bring Children’s Hospital to Huntsville,” Russell says.
Success is a way of life for Russ Russell Commercial Real Estate, but there’s no such thing as “business as usual” for this company that pushes the limits and tries new things. For instance, in 2014, Russell became the first Realtor in Madison County to use a drone to market properties. His firm is also the first and only in the United States to have a real estate mascot: Ruff Russell, with a custom-made costume measuring six feet tall, who accompanies Russ at events and in advertising. While there are a number of commercial real estate companies in the area, Russ Russell is unique. The company specializes not only in leasing and sales but also in taxdeferred exchanges. That allows property owners to sell high-priced properties and avoid capital gains taxes by purchasing another property of equal or greater value within a certain time frame, according to Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code. Russell is the first and only Certified Exchange Advisor (CEA) in the Huntsville area. The CEA designation is awarded to individuals who have completed intensive classwork on the specialty of real estate exchanging provided by the American Institute of Real Estate Exchangors. In addition to the CEA, Russell also holds the Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) designation, the Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) designation, and the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR) designation. He is the first and only Realtor in the United States to hold all four of these designations simultaneously. Who is your Broker? 189
AEROSPACE & DEFENSE
AEROSPACE: STRONG FOUNDATION - NO CEILING By Dr. Jan Davis
hen I moved to Huntsville in 1965, they were testing engines for the Saturn V rocket, and the whole town was shaking. My parents didn’t work in the aerospace industry, but like everyone else in Huntsville, we followed the missions and watched the launches and felt the roaring in our chests during daily rocket tests. As a fifth grader, I had no idea how my new hometown was blazing a path for my future – as well as shaping the history of the world. Twenty years before my family arrived in Huntsville, the Allies had declared victory over the Nazis in World War II. A team of 120 German rocket scientists and engineers, led by Wernher von Braun, were allowed to choose whether to surrender to the Russians or the Americans. When they chose the Americans, they were enlisted to help build the U.S. Army’s missile defense program. Because the Department of Defense had already located its missile program at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, von Braun’s team eventually ended up here. From their new home in the Tennessee Valley, the German team, along with growing numbers of American-born scientists and engineers, didn’t just build rockets for Army use. They also developed plans for exploring space and built rockets that served as the foundation for the American space program for years to come. Even today, the missile defense system we depend on is based on technology developed by the von Braun team of German and American scientists and engineers at Redstone Arsenal.
Building a Foundation The Huntsville rocket team started by building missiles, but the team of German and American scientists and engineers always had larger ambitions. After the Soviet Union shocked the world by launching Sputnik, the world’s first artificial satellite, in 1957, the von Braun team was prepared to compete. Three months later, they launched the first American satellite into orbit. In 1958, NASA was formed to direct nonmilitary space activities. In 1960, the Marshall Space Flight Center, NASA’s largest center, opened in Huntsville when the Army transferred almost 5,000 civilian employees, $100 million worth of buildings and equipment and 1,840 acres of land to NASA.
STS-135 lit up on the launch pad for its final mission in 2011. (Photo courtesy of NASA/Bill Ingalls)
NASA employees and Huntsville-based contractors developed the Saturn launch vehicles that enabled travel to the moon. (Photo by Eric Schultz)
With the infrastructure in place, Huntsville became the centerpiece of the race to the moon during the 1960s. The Apollo program, which placed the first humans on the moon in 1969 and in subsequent trips through 1972, owed its success to Huntsville-based engineers. NASA employees and Huntsville-based contractors developed the Saturn launch vehicles that enabled travel to the moon.
Forging an Identity By the time my family arrived in Huntsville in the mid-1960s, the city had already established itself as a center of aerospace activity. The city built a reputation as the United States’ main hub for space research, and proudly adopted “Rocket City” as its nickname. With its burgeoning identity as a hotbed of cutting-edge research and progress in aerospace, the Huntsville community and Redstone Arsenal became the location of choice for the country’s best and brightest aerospace engineers and scientists. 192
Growing up in the shadow of the Apollo program and its successes – with many childhood friends who were the children of German rocket scientists – gave me an appreciation for the field of engineering and the promises it holds. By the time I graduated college with a degree in engineering, NASA was no longer sending astronauts to the moon. I moved to Texas to take an engineering job, but kept my eyes on my hometown. Groundbreaking aerospace work continued in Huntsville, and when the first female astronauts were hired, I knew I had to go back. In the early 1980s, I returned to Huntsville to work as an aerospace engineer at Marshall and to earn a Ph.D. at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). And in 1987, I became an astronaut, earning my way aboard three space shuttle missions – Endeavour in 1992, Discovery in 1994, and Discovery again in 1997. As I orbited Earth from more than 200 miles above, I could see the twinkling nighttime lights of the cities and towns below. When I found the lights of the huge
above: Throughout the history of American space exploration, the
Marshall Space Flight Center and the people of Huntsville have played vital roles in the aerospace industry. (Photo courtesy of MSFC/Fred
below: The Apollo program, which placed the
first humans on the moon in 1969 and in subsequent trips through 1972, owed its success to Huntsville-based engineers. (Photo by Eric Schultz)
Photo courtesy of NASA
Atlanta metropolis, I would always look to the west in the foothills of the Appalachians, and find the twinkling lights of Huntsville – the city I call home and the city that made my space travel, and the space travel of a nation, possible. Throughout the history of American space exploration, the Marshall Space Flight Center and the people of Huntsville have played vital roles in the aerospace industry. Not only did Huntsville-based teams take the lead in designing and building space shuttle 194
propulsion systems and external tanks, they have also been responsible for payloads and related crew training; design and assembly of the International Space Station; and computers, networks and information management. Today, Huntsville scientists and engineers are playing a crucial role in building NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), which will be the agency’s most powerful rocket and will enable astronauts to explore destinations far into the solar system.
above: Dr. Jan Davis on the aft flight deck of the Space Shuttle
below: The twinkling lights of Huntsville can be seen in this image â€“
Discovery during her third trip into space on STS-85. (Photo courtesy
the city that made Dr. Davisâ€™ space travel, and the space travel of a nation, possible. (Photo courtesy of NASA)
Looking to the Future In recent decades, Huntsville has wisely worked to diversify its economic base, planting seeds in the fields of health, biotechnology and other industries. But there’s no denying that the modern city of Huntsville was largely built on the twin industries of space and defense. While the city’s economic base started with political decisions to locate missile defense and aerospace installations here, private industry followed. Huntsville has become an ideal place to launch and build a small business. And although many of the smartest scientific and engineering minds originally came here out of rocket fever, they stayed because of the high quality of life. Huntsville doesn’t just offer a dazzling array of cultural activities and natural beauty for a city its size. With proximity to the Department of Defense, NASA, and several universities, it also offers businesses a great pool of talent, along with testing facilities and other unique capabilities. Its rich history in the space program ensures that Huntsville will always have an important role to play in American aerospace. However, those of us who built and expanded the U.S. space program are all getting older, and the time is right for new leaders and bright minds to step up and take the reins. My hope is that more young people, especially young women, will take interest in careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to blaze a continuing pathway into space. As we work to build the SLS rocket, we continue this city’s long legacy of aerospace success. Huntsville has held a central role in just about every major program related to human space travel – and a new generation of highly educated, curious students in the area ensures that the tradition will continue.
Not only did Huntsville-based teams take the lead in designing and building space shuttle propulsion systems and external tanks, they have also been responsible for payloads and related crew training; design and assembly of the International Space Station; and computers, networks and information management. (Left photo courtesy of NASA. Above photo shows the SLS rocket rendering courtesy of Boeing.)
DEFENSE: SUPPORTING THE WARFIGHTER By Mark McCarter
f you squint a little bit and let your imagination roam, it could simply be a bank of telemarketers sitting there, tethered to their consoles with headsets, computer screens staring back at them. They are inside Marshall Space Flight Centerâ€™s Building 4663, roughly the size of a mid-major college basketball arena, with two dozen 55-inch monitors forming a massive video wall, an observation area for visitors and its own luncheonette. Rather than making phone calls that interrupt your dinner, these employees are making connections with a $150 billion chunk of elaborate machinery that zips along 250 miles above the Earth. The Payload Operations Integration Center, housed in Building 4663, is in 24-hour, 365-day-a-year contact with the crew on the International Space Station. The ground crew in Huntsville collects data, monitors video feeds, shares information and responds with data analysis for the space station crew, who spend as much as a third of its their hours dedicated to scientific research. Itâ€™s just one of hundreds of different activities going on at any given time when you can take a peek behind the fence at Redstone Arsenal, where Marshall Space Flight Center is located.
Flight controllers plan and coordinate research on the station and are on-hand 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to help astronauts and scientists on the ground with hundreds of investigations. (Photo left courtesy of NASA/MSFC, photo above, courtesy of MSFC/Fred Deaton)
Despite the vast number of employees, what goes on behind the fences at Redstone Arsenal is still very much a mystery to outsiders. (Photo courtesy of Redstone Test Center)
Through the Payload Operations Integration Center, America’s connection to space goes through Huntsville. Through the city’s defense industry, from cybersecurity to missiles, America’s security is assured and enhanced by Huntsville. More than 45,000 people are employed in the aerospace and defense industries in Huntsville, which has the highest per-capita ratio of engineers and technology workers in the country. 200
The epicenter for North Alabama’s vibrant and varied aerospace and defense programs is Redstone Arsenal, a 38,125-acre site that encompasses a sizeable wedge of Huntsville and Madison County in the southwest quadrant of the city. Redstone is the area’s largest employer, served by a workforce of more than 35,000. Operations there are responsible for upwards of $50 billion annually in contracts, and they manage annual budgets of more than $120 billion.
More than 45,000 people are employed in the aerospace and defense industries in Huntsville, which has the highest per-capita ratio of engineers and technology workers in the country. (Photo opposite page, above., courtesy of Northrup Grumman, photo opposite page, below,courtesy of MSFC/ NASA, photo above, courtesy of Boeing, photo below, courtesy of US Army)
above: Many of the companies located
below: Bridging the gap from the private
right: The U.S. Army, which, beyond the
in Cummings Research Park, like S3, are affiliated with the aerospace or defense industries, either as contractors supporting government work at Redstone Arsenal or as stand-alone entities. (Photo courtesy of S3)
sector to Redstone Arsenal is Redstone Gateway, a state of the art office and mixed-use park. (Photo courtesy of Jim
Arsenal’s role as a garrison command, has its Materiel Command headquartered there, along with the Aviation & Missile Command, Space & Missile Defense Command and many other operations. (Photo courtesy of US Army)
Wilson & Associates)
“Redstone Arsenal remains an important (economic) driver – and we should not be afraid of that or apologetic,” Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle says. “We have worked hard … to leverage the intellect and talent that stems from Redstone to expand our economic base. It’s working.” Cummings Research Park, created in 1961 and now the second-largest research park in America, sprawls on a 3,800-acre tract near the Arsenal and houses nearly 300 companies. Many of those are affiliated with the aerospace or defense industries, either as contractors
supporting government work at Redstone Arsenal or as stand-alone entities. Most of the bold-faced names in those industries – Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, GE Aviation, General Dynamics, Teledyne Brown, Raytheon – have a presence in Huntsville. The United Launch Alliance is headquartered in the neighboring city of Decatur, just west across the Tennessee River. It is a joint effort between Lockheed Martin and Boeing to build Atlas and Delta rocket launch vehicles for NASA, the Department of Defense and
commercial customers, including the next incarnation of Atlas vehicle for future human spaceflight. Bridging the gap from the private sector to Redstone Arsenal is Redstone Gateway, a state of the art office and mixed-use park being developed as a joint venture by Corporate Office Property Trust and Jim Wilson & Associates, LLC, in partnership with the U. S. Army and Redstone Arsenal. The 468-acre, master planned project is located adjacent to Interstate 565 at Gate 9, the main gate into Redstone Arsenal. The business park, which will ultimately contain 4.6 million square feet of space, has Class A office buildings as well as retail and hospitality amenities to support Redstone Arsenal employees and visitors. Boeing and DRS Technologies are a part of the business park today. Despite the vast number of employees, what goes on behind the fences at Redstone Arsenal is still very much a mystery to outsiders. It is a U.S. Army facility, but it’s also something of a landlord, housing myriad operations. The moniker “Team Redstone” has been adopted to unify and define the facility. There are more than 70 tenants, or teammates. Here are a few standouts:
• NASA, whose Marshall Space Flight Center joins Houston’s Johnson Space Flight Center and Florida’s John F. Kennedy Space Center as one of its key centers. It plays a diverse role, from design and assembly to mission support.
• The U.S. Army, which, beyond the Arsenal’s role as a garrison command, has its Materiel Command headquartered there, along with the Aviation & Missile Command, Space & Missile Defense Command and many other operations.
• The FBI, with its Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center and Hazardous Devices School
• The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, with its National Center for Explosive Training & Research. A key figure in securing the growth of Redstone Arsenal is a former college hockey player turned lawyer. Joe Ritch was asked to become chairman of Huntsville’s Defense Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) initiative in 1994 as the U.S. government began looking for ways to economize its military programs. While other bases endured severe cuts or were shuttered, under Ritch’s leadership, Huntsville’s BRAC effort led to relocation of many agencies to Redstone Arsenal and the arrival of some 5,000 new workers in the community. BRAC encouraged political support for the Huntsville area and was a clearinghouse of sorts to provide information and assistance to potential new residents. As the U.S. government’s fiscal priorities remain fluid, the BRAC effort will continue, assuring more victories for Team Redstone. Says Ritch, “We’re convinced this is the best place (in the U.S.) to have programs like this.” 203
Innovative Solutions for Defenders of Our Freedom
ulistaâ€™s primary location is Madison County, Alabama; strategically positioned near Huntsville, Alabama, home of the US Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) located on Redstone Arsenal, PEO Aviation, NASA Marshall Space Center, Missile Defense Agency, Space Missile Defense Command, and many other Government organizations that are located within this unique geographic area. In addition to this strategic customer base, Yulista leases aircraft hangar facilities with a combined 60,000 square feet at the Madison County Executive Airport in Meridianville, Alabama. Two of the hangars at the airport are dedicated to military aircraft modifications and the other two are used primarily for commercial and general aviation work. These facilities, combined with our subject matter experts, provide all subsidiary companies under Yulista Holding, LLC the necessary tools and resources for a complete aviation back-shop for repairs, upgrades, and painting of aircraft components. Yulista maximizes these resources to expand capabilities and offer technical, logistic, management, and overall cradle-to-grave support of complex ground, aviation and other weapon system programs. Yulista understands that Army Aviation is an essential element of both the present and future battlefield. In supporting this mission, our aviation roots run deep providing a reputation of responsiveness and customer focus. Yulista performs aviation integration efforts supporting the Prototype Integration Facility (PIF) at Redstone Arsenal, AL. The PIFâ€™s primary role is providing rapid response solutions to our military. Initially, both the PIF and Yulista accomplished minor modifications to weapon systems, primarily limited to integration of commercial-off-the-shelf hardware. Over the past 12 years, Yulista has experienced continuous growth of experience with all aircraft platforms
and the nature and complexities of modifications to every type of Army aviation asset. Our maintenance teams deploy worldwide to modify, repair and install Modification Work Orders on U.S. produced aircraft for PIF efforts, often in combat zones. Increasingly, foreign customers are using the PIF to improve and modernize their aircraft via Foreign Military Sales (FMS). Yulistaâ€™s competencies now encompass all aspects of the product realization process from requirements definition to integration onto rotary and fixed wing aviation assets as well as ground, maritime, and unmanned systems. These efforts entail improving combat system performance through technology insertion involving military systems of all types, with aviation as our primary focus. The PIF has provided Yulista the opportunity to expand its abilities beyond aviation with non-aviation technical support services to a wide range of Government, DOD, and FMS customers. Yulista currently manages over 800 employees and an industry team of over 250 subcontractors and 1,100 material vendors managing the execution of over 5,000 individual task orders for the PIF resulting in approximately 450 improved and fielded new capabilities. On any given day, we average over 230 on-going programs/projects with
dedicated managers and key technical staff. Yulista has grown rapidly via the PIF primarily due to repeat customers. Yulista also has experience in maintenance and capability improvements integrated into aircraft, ground vehicles and Missile Systems by installation and maintenance teams at various CONUS and OCONUS locations, often in austere sites such as Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries in the Middle and Far East. We continue to build on experience gained from current contracts performing Organizational, Intermediate/Field, and Depot/ Sustainment level maintenance and modification across a broad range of weapon systems with highly experienced, low risk maintenance solutions. Our performance on current Government contracts reflects a keen understanding of all aspects of the maintenance environment. Yulista employs adaptation, innovation, efficiency, and takes a dedicated path in identifying the most effective means and methods of achieving the desired net results. Yulista provides technically qualified aviation maintenance personnel and services to support Army’s Field Test Directorate’s (AFTD) mission to include planning, conducting, analyzing, and reporting on airworthiness qualification and developmental testing of Army aircraft, aviation systems, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), and associated aviation support equipment for the Army, DOD, and other agencies, FMS customers, and private industry at Redstone Test Center (RTC) on Redstone Arsenal. This contract’s purpose is to service and maintain about 60 rotary and fixed wing aircraft organic to and/or in use by the AFTD to perform its testing mission providing multi-level aviation maintenance support to the RTC’s organizational fleet of operational and test aircraft. Yulista’s team consists of about 175 personnel to include subcontractors. Yulista also provides training solutions and security support services as well as warehousing and logistics
support services. As part of Yulista’s strategic focus in future years, we plan to continue to develop and expand upon its existing logistics consulting services and other aviation related capabilities by seeking future business opportunities in logistics, supply chain management, training, security, platform maintenance and overhaul, and other technical support services in support of federal/commercial requirements. Yulista will continue to provide high quality support to our existing customers while concurrently aggressively marketing to expand our business base.
Yulista’s Impact on Aviation Systems Recently, Yulista converted the UH-60L to the UH60V configuration by incorporating a digital cockpit. To begin, we reviewed the Government’s requirements and specifications, conducted a competition to select the integrated avionics solution provider, and currently manage project execution. Yulista will deliver three Engineering Development Model aircraft, supporting Technical Data
Package (TDP), and updated technical and training materials to support the prototype and qualification efforts to upgrade the UH-60L fleet.Â This TDP will provide the Corpus Christi Army Depot UH-60L Recapitialization line with the engineering and modification data required to accomplish fleet-wide conversion to a single aircraft cockpit configuration that is expected to reduce training and transition requirements for all UH-60 pilots. The most extensive and technically challenging aviation modification program conducted by Yulista for the PIF was the Kiowa Warrior OH-58F Cockpit and Sensor Upgrade Program. This effort involved multiple subcontractors and was a major Army Aviation aircraft modernization project to
convert the OH-58D to an OH-58F model extending service life until 2025. This involved the overhaul, recapitalization, RESET, modernization and delivery of components, systems, subsystems and associated software and hardware for this aircraft. Yulista led the design, integration, and testing of 29 total upgrades that included a digital cockpit, digital Hellfire and 2.75-inch rocket interface, nosemounted FLIR, laser designator and aircraft survivability upgrades, which improved armament and lethality, sustainability, performance, communication/ identification interoperability, advanced sensors, and survivability. Yulistaâ€™s modification efforts are not limited to rotary wing aircraft; fixed wing capabilities include performing the upgrade of the NAVAIR C-26 aircraft to meet Global Air Traffic Management (GATM) standards and included program management, engineering and aircraft modification tasks. As part of the task to complete aircraft GATM modification to the C-26E configuration, Yulista was required to identify and develop any deviations from or changes to STC SA0009MC-D (Pro Line 21 Avionics System).
Vehicles Yulista has also has supported work on the Multi Mission Launcher, a mobile, ground-based weapon system designed to acquire, track, engage and defeat Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), Cruise Missiles and Rockets, Artillery and Mortars (RAM). The MML system consists of one modified M1157 Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) dump truck and one M1095 Communications/Power Trailer. The MML is capable of launching the AIM 9X missile and future IFPC missile variants and is capable of having an azimuth slew rate of 180 degrees in four seconds.
Yulista plays an important role in developing enhanced systems for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles. We have prototyped and deployed advanced systems to counter the IED threat using the Cougar 6X6 (MRAP) platform vehicle. Enhanced capabilities include a robot deployment system, advanced weaponry, with a suite of IED countermeasure devices. Our focus on the development of advanced vehicle systems and capabilities also include: Soldier and asset protection, route and mine clearance, command and control, emergency response, site defense, surveillance, and perimeter security. The Robot Deployment System has been engineered as a multi-use system capable of stowing and deploying the Talon and PackBot series of robots. Its design allows the soldier to safely stow, deploy, and complete the mission from the protected interior of the MRAP vehicle.
Training and Simulators In June 2010, Yulista was awarded its first contract outside the purview of the PIF providing the manufacturing and aviation integration for the CH-47 Transportable Flight Proficiency Simulator (TFPS) Systems. TFPS is a transportable training system capable of simulating ground, takeoff, flight, operational, and landing characteristics of the aircraft under a wide range of realistic environmental conditions providing initial and proficiency training of pilots. Yulista also has proven expertise in the development and engineering of other training systems such as the Cargo Engineering Analysis Cockpit trainer, Iraqi Bell 206B trainer, UH-60 Cockpit Emergency Procedures trainer, Armed 407 training
aids and Sky Eagle Apache Block III Maintenance Training Aircraft subsystems.
Quality Yulista considers our commitment to quality the key to our growth. With Yulista subsidiaries achieving such certifications as FAA Part 145 Certified Repair Stations and ISO 9001:2008, AS9100, and AS9110 certifications, we assure our customers the highest possible quality with built-in procedures to ensure accountability and continuous proactive improvement to both processes and products. Our companies employ FAA licensed mechanics and electricians and our Ground/Flight Operations are compliant to DCMA 8210.1. Our Quality Control Programs were developed in compliance with these standards to maintain a consistent quality product, prevent non-conformances, focus on customer satisfaction, and pursue continual process improvement.
Commitment to the Future Over the past several years, Yulista’s capabilities have grown tremendously, resulting in recognition as an industry leader in the modernization and service life extension of all types of aircraft. With Yulista’s support, the PIF has received eight “US Army Top 10 Greatest Invention Awards.” The above examples are only representative, and not inclusive, of all ongoing aircraft modification and maintenance programs at Yulista and clearly depict the innovative, high-tech nature of the work we are capable of performing and the ongoing support we hope to provide our country’s defenders.
DAVIDSON TECHNOLOGIES INC.
s a young man growing up in rural Alabama, Julian Davidson worked the cotton fields and attended a small school where he learned reading, writing, and arithmetic. But something inside of him yearned for more knowledge. At 17, Julian joined the U.S. Navy and served on a gun ship where he loaded heavy ammunition into gun turrets. After leaving the Navy, Julian attended college, earning a degree in Electrical Engineering from Auburn University in 1950. This launched a career which spanned nearly 7 decades. In 1961, Julian went to work for the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System Organization as an aerospace research engineer, where he was called upon to brief high-level members of the Department of Defense and Congress. By the late 1960’s, Julian was considered a well-versed missile defense veteran. Julian, known today as the “Father of Missile Defense”, continued to break new ground in the Missile Defense Systems arena. Julian met his wife Dorothy while on a business trip to Germany in 1979. As a mathematician and entrepreneurial-minded person, Dorothy was living in Germany and working with the German Ministry of Defense. After writing letters overseas for two years, they married and established the ideal partnership. They lived in Virginia until 1992 when they moved to the Huntsville area where Davidson Technologies, Inc., (DTI) was launched. Julian skillfully developed and expanded DTI until his death in 2013. Dr. Dorothy S. Davidson, with her own background in engineering, has taken up the DTI reins and continues to build on Julian’s legacy of excellence and ingenuity.
Now, with 250 high level subject matter experts and support personnel at the ready, DTI is a crucial partner in defending the U.S. and its warfighters around the world. DTI supports missile defense with unique expertise in core capabilities including cyber security and information assurance, which have become among the nationâ€™s most pressing defense elements. As the threat continues to evolve, DTI continues to meet the challenge with distinct and innovative solutions to complex national defense challenges. Dr. Julian Davidson and Dr. Dorothy S. Davidson have enhanced the growth and development of the Huntsville community through their generous bequests, which have helped build the Davidson Center for the Arts and the Davidson Center for Space Exploration. They have supported the Huntsville Symphony, Alabama colleges and universities, the Huntsville Museum of Art and countless other worthy causes. Dr. Dorothy Davidson will continue to enrich Huntsville-area living with her support of the upcoming Cook Museum in Decatur, the future Huntsville Botanical Garden expansion and the Huntsville-Madison Public Library.
Excellence in Innovation. Superior Advantage.
n 1974, Dynetics staked their claim on the growing business landscape in Huntsville with a vision to advance technology for the future and a commitment to solving the hard problems. More than 40 years later, the Dynetics name is synonymous with excellence, superior ethics and quality culture.
Excellence from the Beginning Dynetics’ founders launched the company to support the strategic objectives of their customers. In an opportunity-rich environment, they concentrated initial efforts on using their expertise in military radars and sensors. They benefited from a region teeming with technical talent eager to join them and quickly expanded into areas supporting full sensor systems and missile systems. With complete local ownership, they were able to make critical decisions rapidly. Customers enjoyed the flexibility to adapt to rapidly changing priorities with more efficiency, making solutions more cost-effective. These abilities became increasingly more important in the fluid space and defense environment of the time and allowed Dynetics to meet evolving specialized needs in a way few contractors could. One such need came to the U.S. military just prior to the beginning of the Iraq war. The company received a task related to the design, development, testing, and delivery on the critical Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb program – with a timeline of three months. The Dynetics team stepped up to the plate, met and exceeded the requirements, and delivered within the extremely short timeframe. Another specialized requirement came from NASA for the project FASTSAT – developing a small satellite capable of
This gantry mill is where Dynetics manufactures the large, heavy parts needed to meet and exceed the requirements of their aerospace customers. 210
Dynetics developed a small satellite for NASA’s project FASTSAT, which remained in orbit for two years and doubled the amount of functionality expected.
taking diverse payloads into orbit. The objectives involved sustaining orbit for one year. Again, Dynetics met all the technical and compressed timeline requirements. And again, the product exceeded the customers’ expectations – the satellite remained in orbit for two years, giving the program twice the amount of functionality expected.
Systematic Growth As the business opportunities continued to grow, so did Dynetics. As the first tenant of Cummings Research Park West, Dynetics further established its presence as an anchor in the Huntsville business community. It became known as a home-town, home-grown, high-tech place for high-caliber employees to work in a culture entrenched in excellence. By building on the foundation of expertise in sensor technology, engineers made advancements in a range of sensor technology areas, including radar, electro-optical, infrared, acoustics, and other specialized solutions. They also grew capacity in munitions design and ancillary products resulting in durable weapons able to penetrate many feet of concrete and provide the highest lethality of the missile. In the area of manufacturing, Dynetics developed capability for high-end prototyping and low-rate production. By perpetually increasing in-house capability, the company created further expansion opportunities into
Dynetics was the first tenant of Cummings Research Park West and covers 75 acres.
government and commercial markets, allowing continued growth in more diverse areas of products and services. All this while sustaining an enviable atmosphere of enrichment for employees.
Expanded Opportunities Dynetics continued to increase their reputation for providing scientific, engineering, prototyping, and manufacturing excellence. Business grew through programs for unmanned aerial systems, space launch systems, cybersecurity, and even sensors for the automotive industry that enable manufacturers to test electronics on every vehicle before it leaves the assembly line. The company advanced technologies with world-class research and development teams focused on the future. They were able to create cutting-edge new applications to meet commercial customer needs in new areas – cyber risk management, IT threat mitigation, energy management and critical infrastructure security including long-range perimeter protection for airports, power plants, and more. The R&D teams also worked to transfer viable space technology into the commercial market in areas such as launch systems and satellites. Small satellites are rapidly emerging as a solution for commercial imaging, telecommunications and weather markets. New technology has enabled sensors and microwave communications systems to be miniaturized making these solutions possible. These new small satellite constellations can provide near global coverage and lower latency than possible before at a fraction of the cost. More efficient launch systems are a key to making it possible. Customers in countless industries can gain cost-
effective access to huge amounts of data collection and data sharing. The sky is literally the limit. Work continues to provide solutions across the board in defense, intelligence, missiles, sensors, space, automotive manufacturing, aviation, cybersecurity, and physical security – to name a few areas in which the company works. Dynetics provides the highest quality expertise combined with responsiveness and affordability.
The Dynetics Advantage
How is the company able to do all this? Team members are more than just experienced professionals with specialized expertise – they are the owners. As a 100% employee-owned local company, Dynetics has the added benefit of a workforce of employees with a personal stake in corporate success. Everyone focuses on the business at hand without the distraction of meeting profit numbers for external shareholders. With their size, sprawling facilities, and financial strength, Dynetics gives customers all the benefits of a large corporation to support complex systems covering extensive scopes of work, while investing millions in ongoing internal research and development for the future. The company is also small enough to adapt processes for customer mission success, meet needs and requirements with flexibility and speed, while delivering efficiency and affordability. In short, Dynetics delivers the best of all corporate worlds – small, medium, and large – combined with uncompromised excellence and ethics in every facet of the company. It’s the Dynetics Advantage. 211
SYSTEM STUDIES & SIMULATION, INC. (S3) W
hen founder Jan Smith began S3 in 1991 in Huntsville, Alabama, she brought to life her vision of a technical services company that has now successfully delivered mission support for soldiers for a quarter century. In recent years, the company has expanded into 35 states and grown to 550 employees, $90M in annual revenue, 10 prime contract vehicles, and 240 subcontractors. Achieving initial success in weapon systems simulation and modeling, the company rapidly added expertise in programmatics; systems engineering, analysis, and integration; cyber and information assurance; training and logistics; test and evaluation; and flight operations in support of industry leading technology programs for missiles and aerospace. That early success led to US and Partner Nation programs for Afghanistan, Australia, Iraq, Kuwait, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, and more recently, allied countries in Africa.
Theater Missile Defense S3 has developed significant innovations for conducting target systems analysis, range support integration, mission execution, and strategic launch oversight for the integrated pairing of PATRIOT, AEGIS, and THAAD Missile Systems. Jan Smith, S3 CEO, is an Alabama native educated at Jacksonville State University. She began her career as an associate software engineer in support of Boeing for NASA’s space missions, CSC for Army “Star Wars,” and served as a Vice President of Nichols Research prior to launching S3. Her system studies and simulation background prepared her well for S3’s contract base. right:
S3’s journey in the defense industry began with innovative acquisition support to US Army technologically advanced weapon systems. S3 engineers, analysts, and system specialists have provided product and service solutions to the Missile Defense Agency; Space and Missile Defense/Army Forces Strategic Command; and fourteen project offices within the following Program Executive Offices: PEO Missiles and Space; PEO Aviation; PEO Intelligence, Electronic Warfare & Sensors; PEO Command, Control, Communications-Tactical; Aviation Missile Research Development and Engineering Center; and the Aviation and Missile Command. S3’s notable support includes 15 successful Army and OSD level program acquisition and urgent fielding decisions in the past five years, requiring integration of technical, logistics, test, programmatic, information enterprise, international, and advanced technology programs. Today, 75% of S3 operations are aviation focused and S3 is perhaps best known for its highly diversified aviation planning, program management, systems fielding, training, and operations that include aircrew member training, manned-unmanned systems testing, and new equipment fielding for advanced versions of the CH-47, UH-60, UH-72, and AH-64 helicopters. Seeking diversification, S3 successfully launched its commercial aviation division in 2007 under wholly owned subsidiary, Kachemak Bay Flying Service (KBFS). Today, this organization conducts aerial fire-fighting, air transport, fixed and rotary wing aircraft qualification instruction, environmental surveys, night vision goggles training, and avionics installation and repair. KBFS is certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for CFR 14 Parts 133 (Rotorcraft External Load Operations); 135 (Air Carrier); 137 (Agriculture Aircraft Operations); 141 (Flight Training Academy); and 145 (Repair Station). In 2013, KBFS developed and implemented turn-key training programs for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft for the USAF Special Operations Command. Other innovative programs to be added next year include multiple applications of Unmanned Aircraft Systems in support of commercial utilities, law enforcement, and homeland critical infrastructure surveillance.
left: President Jim Barclay served in a variety of command and staff positions in the US Army. He achieved the rank of Lieutenant General and was Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8 before retiring in January, 2015. He also served as the Commanding General of the US Army Aviation Center of Excellence. His aviation experience was a perfect fit for S3. below, left:
AH-64E Longbow Apache Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) bottom MQ-1C Grey Wolf Unmanned Aircraft System Support to acquisition and training programs for DoD Weapon Systems is S3’s core business. below, right:
Quality, Ethics, and Safety in Everyday Business S3 achieved certifications in ISO 9001:2000 and AS9100 in 2006 and built its Quality Management System around that program. S3’s full-time Corporate Safety Officer, FAA certified in Safety Management Systems, developed programs that successfully assess, report, and implement safety improvements at more than 50 worksites. S3’s numerous safety awards are particularly significant considering S3 has logged more than 175,000 flight hours in US military and Partner Nation advanced aircraft, trained more than 5,000 aircrew members, and conducted combined arms live fire training for 3,000 US and allied soldiers.
Committed to the Communities Served and the Soldiers Who Defend Our Freedom S3 is one of Huntsville’s best corporate neighbors and appreciates the many accolades bestowed upon the company by its customers and the communities served. The company gives back to these communities by sharing its success through corporate initiatives for local causes, family support programs, and leadership participation on Non-Profit Boards. Additionally, S3’s staff is 80% veterans offering a strong advocacy group within the company for remembering those who served.
A Bright Future S3 began its journey in Huntsville, AL in a community that embraces small business and provides unique opportunities to thrive. With seasoned leaders, more than two decades of proven performance, and customer confidence in their capabilities, S3 has successfully transitioned to a mid-size company without minimizing its commitment to quality. Competitive pricing, high performance standards, innovation, responsiveness, and quality solutions have enabled retention of long term customers
over the company’s twenty-five year history. “We have diversified our business base; improved our technologies; developed mutually supportive partnerships with employees, customers and teammates; made quality, ethics, and safety enduring priorities; and aggressively pursued innovative and effective solutions for our customers,” CEO Smith says. “And as it was when this journey began, the ultimate measure of our success remains customer satisfaction.” 213
he name Boeing invokes instant worldwide recognition and leads the aerospace industry as a constant force in taking innovation to the next level. In 1962, the commercial aviation giant established a small team of rocket designers to work with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Dr. Werner von Braun, director of Huntsville’s Marshall Space Flight Center. With a makeshift headquarters in the old Twickenham Hotel, Boeing engineers worked with German rocket scientists to develop the first stage of the mighty Saturn V space launch vehicle. As NASA moved toward putting man on the moon, Boeing’s role increased until the company had responsibility for integrating the entire Saturn rocket. Just four years after sending a small team of engineers to support the beginnings of the American space program, Boeing employment reached 4,500 in Huntsville in 1966 – working tirelessly throughout several phases of the Apollo program to design the Saturn V in Huntsville that would be built in Boeing facilities in New Orleans. In 1969, NASA and Boeing realized von Braun’s and America’s dream of landing on the moon. On future missions, astronauts deployed and operated Boeing’s Lunar Rover to broaden the ability to retrieve samples and add to scientific discovery. During the entire course of the Apollo program, Boeing was there – supporting NASA’s accomplishments every step of the way. Even after the enormously successful lunar landing program ended and Boeing’s employment
declined, the company maintained its corporate presence in Huntsville to preserve its commitment to space exploration and the aerospace industry. By the 1980s, Boeing’s footprint increased again to work on defense programs including test equipment for Redstone Arsenal and B-1 bomber and KC-135 tanker cockpit 214
simulators for the U.S. Air Force. After announcing the new corporate complex in Jetplex Industrial Park in 1984, Boeing won the contract to design NASA’s International Space Station. This expansion continued Boeing’s involvement in national programs and innovations – a role that has continued in Huntsville for decades. Concurrently working on the Space Station and defense efforts such as the Avenger and aviation simulation, Boeing continued to grow. In the 1990s, Boeing merged with McDonnell Douglas and purchased Rockwell/Rocketdyne Aerospace – increasing its footprint even more. In 1998, Boeing was awarded the Missile Defense Agency’s Ground-Based Midcourse Defense contract to develop the United States’ only defense against longrange ballistic missile threats. Boeing teams in Huntsville also produce the intricate seekers for Patriot missiles – the critical component that enables the missiles to intercept and destroy tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and hostile aircraft. The company also secured the Space Launch System contract with NASA, working to develop our nation’s future heavy launch vehicle for the space program. More recently, Boeing established its new research and technology hub in Huntsville to benefit Boeing commercial airplanes and defense lines of businesses. The focus on simulation and decision analytics and metals and chemical technology enhances networks of industry and government research centers, designed to solve some of the aerospace industry’s most difficult challenges. The company continues to characterize prominence and excellence, significantly impacting the nation’s vital missile defense and space technology programs.
Since 1962, Boeing has defined its commitment to the Huntsville customer base with the same innovation that propelled the aviation giant to the forefront of manufacturing commercial airliners. Whether for NASA or the Department of Defense, the latest in cutting-edge technologies have underpinned design, production, and services. With a diversity of products and programs supporting the Department of Defense and NASA, its prominent position has created a rich environment for engagement in all aspects of the Huntsville community. Whether partnering with universities on research for the newest technologies, cultivating the workforce to meet the demands of highly complex and technical programs, or impacting community programs through contributions and volunteering, Boeing employees donate tens of thousands of volunteer hours each year to give back to the community that supports them. The company takes an active interest in education, creating and sustaining multiple efforts at all school levels to help students prepare more thoroughly for higher education and workforce ready programs. When it comes to involving the business community, Boeing leads the way. Being a prime contractor on a number of programs creates a continual need to involve hundreds of small businesses, suppliers, and vendors across the state in multiple ways. Having access to the best and brightest small businesses to complete the teams for large contracts provides more comprehensive, low-cost solutions for the customers. Boeingâ€™s efforts throughout the community do not go unnoticed. Awards such as Company of the Year, Philanthropist of the Year, Manufacturer of the Year and many other local, regional, and national honors recognize the companyâ€™s contributions not only in business, but also in the cultural and non-profit arenas.
As for the future? Boeing will continue to grow its operations to meet emerging customer needs through its diverse platform of products, modeling and simulation, and its design center, always striving to improve products through research, development, and new technologies that solve requirements and create safer flight. The years to come will demonstrate even more impact all over the world from things that originate in Huntsville. For more than five decades of the companyâ€™s 100-year existence, Boeing has remained a resolute presence in the region, generating substantial economic benefit through employee presence, supplier relationships, and quality of life engagement. Boeing. The name defining programs of national significance from Huntsville, Alabama.
Innovation Starts Here
ogiCore is “readiness accelerated!” Since 2002, LogiCore Corporation has provided logistics and engineering services to the Department of Defense (DoD) by developing tactical weapon systems, delivering them to the warfighter, and maintaining a readiness level that ensures the weapon systems, and the military personnel that man them, are available to protect the people and the interests of the United States of America.
LogiCore Operations Team member in LogiCore HQ’s Gallery
“Readiness Accelerated” is the motto coined by Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer Miranda Bouldin Frost to encapsulate the company’s mission – to ensure the Department of Defense is fully prepared to deter war and to protect the security of the United States. LogiCore provides logistics, engineering, and scientific solutions to military services and DoD Components throughout the United States – including Huntsville, Alabama and the national capital region – and in foreign countries in support
LogiCore Vice President/COO Fred Frost (center right) with, left to right, Madison Mayor Troy Trulock, guest speaker from the Department of Homeland Security Robin Williams, and Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, at LogiCore-sponsored Cyber Security Awareness event.
of US Foreign Military Sales projects and contingency or combat operations. LogiCore deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. Headquartered in the Appalachian foothills of Huntsville, Alabama, the LogiCore campus is centrally located in one of the world’s leading science and technology business parks – Cummings Research Park – just minutes away from Redstone Arsenal, Alabama and the Huntsville/ Madison County International Airport. The state-of-the-art headquarters facilities provide LogiCore’s customers private office and collaborative work spaces, conference rooms, an Event Hall, an auditorium, and a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) with conference room and computer laboratory. Sustainability, a key system attribute in designing military weapon systems, was also a key consideration in the design and construction of LogiCore’s new headquarters facility. To minimize facility maintenance and repair costs, and to maximize energy efficiency, the building is clad in zinc and stone. Zinc is a weatherproof, corrosion resistant, fully recyclable, and maintenance-free material that has a lifespan of 80-100 years. The material takes half the energy to produce from ore than steel or copper, and a quarter of the energy required for aluminum. The extruded aluminum soffit system finished to look like wood gives the warmth and aesthetic of natural wood without the continual maintenance. Energy-efficient LED and high-frequency florescent lighting, occupancy sensors, and low-flow flush valves are just a few of the energyefficient features incorporated into the facilities. The linear shape of the buildings and the extent of windows allow for natural lighting throughout creates a pleasant and healthy work environment. The energy-efficient glass lets in daylight while keeping out heat or cold. The concept of collaboration and visibility is accomplished by interior glass walls and doors that maximize visual communication. Offices and collaborative spaces are bathed in natural light from the exterior floor-to-ceiling windows, while bathrooms, storage rooms, electrical rooms, the SCIF, and other areas where natural light is less important, are positioned in the core of the facility where there are no windows. This allowed LogiCore to provide natural light in 98% of its work spaces. LogiCore gives back to the community. Inspire & Achieve Corporation is LogiCore’s non-profit charity of choice. It was founded by Bouldin-Frost to encourage K-12 students to study science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Over $300,000 has been contributed by LogiCore Corporation to support Inspire & Achieve STEM initiatives. Over the past ten years, LogiCore and Inspire & Achieve have awarded 84 merit-based $1,500 scholarships, seven $250 grants, and 44 laptop computers to college
LogiCore Corporate Headquarters campus, Cummings Research Park, Huntsville.
bound students from the targeted Alabama counties in the Huntsville metropolitan area – Madison County, Morgan County, Limestone County, and Lawrence County. In addition to the Inspire & Achieve-managed scholarship program, LogiCore provides scholarship funding directly to colleges and universities. It contributes to the annual Alabama A&M University Black Tie Scholarship Gala and it has established scholarships at four 4-year undergraduate schools: Spelman College, the University of Alabama in Huntsville, the University of Alabama, and Auburn University. The university-managed scholarships are awarded annually to college freshman based on criteria established at each university. LogiCore is committed to helping students excel in STEM. Their outreach is extended by funding other non-profits that complement the STEM-focused mission. The organizations include The Harris Home for Children (a foster care institution dedicated to training and caring for neglected and dependent adolescent males and females), the Guide Right Program of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity
Incorporated (a national service program that provides youth educational and occupational guidance including mentoring, college preparatory programs, and tutoring), Girls Inc., the Boys and Girls Club, the Julius R. Scruggs Child Development Center and Academy, Sparkman High School, Hazel Green High School, Lawrence County High School, and other public and private non-profit organizations and schools. LogiCore is serving today and planning for tomorrow. The diversity in LogiCore’s multi-disciplined workforce creates a balanced synergistic team that uses scientific principles to get to the ‘core’ of problems and develop effective and efficient solutions. LogiCore’s family-oriented culture recognizes people as its most valuable asset. The spirit of family is cultivated by communing at corporatesponsored business and community events, and by celebrating each employee’s spiritual gift. “God has given each of us a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” 1 Peter 4:10.
LogiCore Founder, President/CEO Miranda Bouldin-Frost.
Inspire & Achieve merit-based STEM scholarship recipients 217
The Company with a Heart
he PeopleTec name describes its focus – People and Technology. The tagline defines it further – “People First. Technology Always.” But perhaps the most compelling corporate characteristic is less obvious in the name. This company cares. Cares about its customers. Cares about its employees. Cares about the community. Cares about the men and women putting themselves in harm’s way every day to protect our nation’s freedom.
As second-generation Huntsville aerospace professionals, Terry Jennings and Doug Scalf founded PeopleTec in 2005 with the vision of establishing a company that combined the value of quality people with the advantage of technical expertise to provide consummate support to the warfighter. They succeeded. Building on their positive experiences at Quality Research, Inc., both founders were determined to preserve the intimacy and flexibility of a small business environment while offering the very best in technical excellence. They believed that creating an exciting and challenging work environment would allow them to build a team of the “best and brightest” to meet critical needs for their customers. They have remained people-centric from the very beginning and have upheld that philosophy throughout their years of operation. From executing the first contract with the National Guard to becoming a prime contractor within five years, PeopleTec preserved its solid commitment to customer and employee satisfaction. The company continued growing
by adding new customers in numerous Army, Air Force, and Navy commands and other civilian federal sector clients, including the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This growth and expansion within a short period earned PeopleTec multiple appearances on the prestigious Inc. Magazine List of 5,000 fastest-growing private U.S. companies. The company’s rapid progress in the industry strengthened the founders’ determination to adhere to the tenets of integrity, quality, and caring for people on all levels. They continued to promote excellence throughout all facets of the company by enabling employees to exceed customer expectations.
As the tagline states, PeopleTec puts its people first, knowing that employees who are challenged and satisfied in their jobs will provide high quality support to customers – this principle is the heart of PeopleTec. Because of its positive work atmosphere, excellent employee benefits, engaging and consensus-building management structure, solid technical team environment, family-oriented culture and flexible career paths, highcaliber employees gravitate to PeopleTec and remain there. They believe it is not just a job; it is a career. In fact, it is really a calling – supporting the warfighter by developing innovative solutions to some of the nation’s most challenging issues. With a retention rate of greater than 90% over the life of the company, it is clear that employees feel empowered 218
through teamwork, mutual trust and respect. As proof, employee nominations have earned PeopleTec the Best Places to Work in Huntsville/Madison County Award multiple times. But beyond the employees, the company’s commitment to people extends to its customers – from the customers supported on a daily basis to the warfighters in the field. Each and every one is important, and all benefit from the very best of PeopleTec’s technology, innovation and commitment to excellence.
PeopleTec provides mission critical support to its customers by focusing work in five core competencies – diversified engineering, modeling and simulation, cyber security and intelligence, rapid prototyping and program support. By offering industry-leading capabilities in each area, PeopleTec delivers exceptional service through innovative and cost-effective solutions with the ultimate goal of benefitting the warfighter. Each area of expertise features PeopleTec employees who are technically superior in their fields. People who are dedicated to their work, people who care about the ultimate goal of securing the nation’s defense, and people who make sure they sustain the highest level of service on every task,
every day. Customers know the company’s people work with integrity and are committed to the mission. PeopleTec also equips its employees with a solid business infrastructure with cutting-edge resources and support, giving them the assurance and tools necessary to maintain job performance at the highest level without disruption. Just another way PeopleTec puts its people first by ensuring they have the best technology and internal support available. By expanding operations to other geographic locations including Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the D.C. metro area as well as other military installations, PeopleTec ensures immediate access to the professional talent and resources to support their customers’ needs. People and technology – both at the customers’ fingertips.
The dual focus of people and technology allows PeopleTec to provide its customers with exceptional expertise. Concentrating on employees and customers with service ingrained in the most advanced technologies means the company cares about much more than just business. PeopleTec cares about excellence, quality, ethics, integrity, and value. It shows in everything the company does – from participating in community organizations to providing unwavering support for the family of an employee called up by the National Guard to serve his country, PeopleTec proves that caring is the ultimate foundation on which everything stands. This company will most certainly continue to make a difference. 219
CEPEDA SYSTEMS & SOFTWARE ANALYSIS, INC. | Rooted in Faith, Growing in Service T
rees – a symbol of life and a reminder of God’s creation – serve as the corporate icon. Deep roots, winding branches, strength and character. The perfect representation of an extraordinary company whose very nature is engineering excellence.
A Remarkable Journey
On its face, the mere series of events that led to this company’s inception is a fascinating story. But it’s far more than that. From South America to Washington, D.C., to Alabama – one woman’s path to establishing her business had divine beginnings and an unwavering devotion to excellence. When asked why she founded Cepeda Systems & Software Analysis, President/CEO Sandra Cepeda’s answer is rather surprising. She replies emphatically that God led her to do it. Originally from Bogota, Colombia, Cepeda came to the United States to study English as a second language in Washington. Once her program was complete, she was ready to return to South America, but instead got the opportunity to attend Auburn University. She couldn’t imagine what life would be like in Alabama, but came to love it as she studied computer engineering. Following graduation, she was ready to return to Colombia again, but one of her professors owned an engineering business in Auburn and convinced her to stay and work for him. When he decided to expand his operations to Huntsville, Cepeda jumped at the chance to experience more of Alabama in the technology capital of the South. Once she moved, she was no longer ready to go back to Colombia. She knew she had found a second home.
pictured left to right:
Ron Poteat, Mayor Tommy Battle, Helen Housch, Sandra Cepeda, Linda Smith and Robert Cox at Cepeda’s 10-year Anniversary Ribbon Cutting in 2011.
Rooted in Faith
After working in engineering and management supporting the Department of Defense for most of her career, Cepeda got the opportunity to join a commercial firm. Eventually, her employer wanted her to relocate to the Washington D.C. area. Although the move would have meant a step up, she didn’t want to leave Huntsville. So she had a choice to make – a choice she left to God. In 2001, she allowed her faith to be her guide and went out on her own. She founded Cepeda Systems & Software Analysis (CSSA) and worked as its only employee providing engineering support to the Army’s Software Engineering Directorate. Over time, the customer wanted an increased level of service, so she hired talent to meet her clients’ needs. More involvement led to more opportunity, which led to more customers, which led to more employees, which led to more revenue. A company of one turned into a thriving small business. Cepeda’s roots of faith permeated the company and provided the principles of service and the mechanism for growth.
Software engineers, Catherine Evans and Glen Riden, work at a customer site. Customers know they can trust CSSA to provide excellent technical work and to do the right thing, resulting in a higher level of success and satisfaction. 220
CSSA continued to grow by providing solid solutions. Through contracts serving the Army, NASA, and other government customers, the company built on its bedrock of complex software and systems engineering. The flexible small business environment enabled CSSA to expand by meeting customer requirements for maximum performance at minimum cost.
Employees gather for CSSA’s All-Hands Meeting in 2015.
In addition to steady growth in engineering programs, CSSA added highly specialized services and invaluable expertise in the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) model. As one of the original authors of CMMI, CSSA created a program of coaching, training, and appraisals to assist government and commercial customers in implementing best practices for practical, value-added software product development and engineering service delivery in various domains. CSSA achieved a 100% success rate in coaching companies to achieve their target CMMI ratings on schedule and under cost, generating high demand for providing extensive process improvement knowledge and training to customers large and small – locally, nationally, and internationally.
Reaping the Rewards and Giving Back
CSSA has earned a host of awards including the 2013 Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce Technology Small Business of the Year, the 2014 U.S. Chamber of Commerce Blue Ribbon Award, the 2016 Best Places to Work Award, and the NASA MSFC 2016 Small Business Contractor of the Year. Business Manager Linda Smith also earned designation as the Best Places to Work’s Most Valuable Employee in both 2014 and 2015. CSSA strives to give back to others financially, personally, and professionally. In 2013, the CSSA Community Outreach Program was established, designating an employee to serve in the community by volunteering at local non-profits. CSSA employees also enjoy participating in fundraisers and awareness events for important causes in the community.
pictured left to right:
CSSA team members Cheri Bowab, Nicole Knaupp, Linda Smith, Helen Housch, Sandra Cepeda, Keith Boland, Samantha Brinkley and Drew Justice at the 2016 Best Places to Work Awards luncheon.
Regardless of the nature of service or the size of the contract, CSSA maintains its commitment to exceed expectations and act as trusted advisors. Customers know they can trust the company to provide excellent technical work and to do the right thing, resulting in a higher level of success and satisfaction. CSSA is grateful and honored for the opportunity to serve each of its customers. To sustain the high standards of performance, the people of CSSA are committed to honoring God in everything they do, and they don’t mind saying so. In fact, they want to say so. Just as its tree depicts strength and growth, so does CSSA – a shining example of a journey of faith and growth through grace. 221
INTUITIVE RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION (INTUITIVE) | Excellence Built on Integrity A
clear vision, fair, ethical business model, and instinct – ingredients for incredible success.
Defining the Culture Intuitive Research and Technology Corporation (INTUITIVE) is an aerospace engineering and analysis firm headquartered in Cummings Research Park. INTUITIVE employees are located throughout the world providing innovative solutions to its numerous government and commercial customers. INTUITIVE’s business model has always been about its employees, its customers and giving back to the community. INTUITIVE has built a world-class organization, founded on recruiting the finest available talent and providing the best benefits and work environment. Adding to the depth of expertise, they created a corporate culture of ethical principles and uncompromising integrity. Recognized with awards both nationally and locally, INTUITIVE has set itself apart as a great workplace by consistently focusing on employee needs ranging from corporate benefits to personal recognition. Employees are encouraged to grow both professionally and personally through education and training, as well as maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. By recruiting the best and brightest, the company is a strong team that works together, providing support to customers and to each other. The result – an exemplary business approach and stunning success.
Standing Above the Competition From the beginning, INTUITIVE has focused on 1) providing their customers with exceptional services, quality products and unparalleled customer support, and 2) providing challenging and rewarding work for employees and a place that fosters their innovation and creativity. Each member of INTUITIVE’s diverse team plays a vital role in customer service making sure their customers’ success and growth are sustained with every project. Their pool of talent allows them the flexibility to quickly assemble specialized teams that can rapidly respond to and solve customer challenges. The company demonstrates its leadership continually in aerospace, engineering, and analysis across the complete spectrum of systems and equipment. Technologies change 222
so rapidly, companies must offer employees regular training and creative projects to keep their skill set current. INTUITIVE recognizes interesting and challenging work as a key element to employee satisfaction. Various disciplines such as Electrical Engineering, Software, Cyber Security and Mechanical Engineering have Communities of Practice (CoPs) where employees in a common disciplines exchange ideas and lessons learned. Many of the ideas for new Internal Research and Development projects are spawned as a result of these CoPs. INTUITIVE empowers employees to provide their experience and expertise while working in an environment that fosters personal innovation and creativity. Company facilities include specialized labs that are regularly reconfigured to incorporate the latest innovative technologies. An Engineering System Support Lab (ESSL) supports mechanical, structural, and electrical performance design, modeling, and analysis, a long-time core competency of INTUITIVE. Their Additive Manufacturing Lab enables designers to quickly fabricate prototypes. The Immersive Sensing of Reality Modeling and Simulation Lab facilitates developers creating immersive virtual learning environments. Seeking and maintaining continuing excellence is the heart of the corporate philosophy. INTUITIVE demonstrates its commitment to quality with its ISO 9001:2008 and AS9100C registered Quality Management System which documents the company’s business practices, to better satisfy the requirements and expectations of their customers and improve the overall management of the company. The result again – a business model that provides customers with only the highest level of technical excellence and superior performance. INTUITIVE holds a high regard for human values and importance of the company in the community. A passion for their community goes hand in hand with their successful business. INTUITIVE’s fundamental principles form the company’s culture – its way of living set in place by its founders; qualities passed along from one leader to the next.
Believe. Inspire. Deliver. A vision realized for Intuitive Research and Technology Corporation.
AEROJET ROCKETDYNE I
n many ways, rocket science is at the core of what employees do every day at Aerojet Rocketdyne. It’s what differentiates the company from others. Through its innovative products and people, Aerojet Rocketdyne plays a major role in pushing the boundaries of space and defending the country’s freedom. Aerojet Rocketdyne engineers and technicians are hard at work building propulsion and power systems for the next generation space exploration systems, including propulsion for a new space exploration capsule, called Orion, and rocket engines for both stages of the Space Launch System (SLS). Orion is designed to carry more people farther into space for longer periods of time and to withstand higher levels of radiation and re-entry speeds than Apollo. The SLS will grow to be even bigger than the Apollo Saturn V rocket that took humans where no humans had been before. The company has supported NASA with propulsion systems since the inception of NASA and the creation of Marshall Space Flight Center, and is incredibly proud to be such a valuable member of the NASA industry teams for Orion and SLS.
left to right:
Former Rocketdyne President Sam Hoffman, former NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Director Dr. Wernher von Braun, and former NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Deputy Director Dr. Eberhard Rees tour the company’s facilities.
Aerojet Rocketdyne’s history in Huntsville runs deep. The company’s involvement with Redstone Arsenal and the Department of Defense dates back to the late 1940s, more than 70 years ago, with subsequent work supporting the Army Ballistic Missile Agency and Dr. Wernher von Braun. With a physical presence in Huntsville for the past 40 years, Aerojet Rocketdyne and its employees have been heavily involved in the community, through volunteerism and sponsorships that support various nonprofits, universities and STEM outreach and education efforts to help inspire the next generation of rocket scientists.
Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion engineer works on setting up the Orion Crew Module Propulsion System Hot Fire Test Article used on the successful EFT-1 flight test.
Recognizing that assured access to space is imperative to the nation, Aerojet Rocketdyne is pleased to support the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle mission. The company is also building the AR1 engine, America’s next great rocket engine, to ensure that U.S. engines are used to launch national security payloads. Missile defense continues to be a high priority for the U.S. government and allies around the world. Since the nation’s first military rocket launches, Aerojet Rocketdyne has played a vital role in providing propulsion to power and guide interceptors on all major platforms, such as Standard Missile, Ground Based Interceptor, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, and Patriot.
Aerojet Rocketdyne Huntsville employees wear red to show their support for the American Heart Association’s annual National Wear Red Day. below:
Students compete to launch foam rockets as far as possible during Bring Your Child to Work Day at Aerojet Rocketdyne.
NORTHROP GRUMMAN I
n 1942, aviation pioneer Jack Northrop designed the ground-breaking P-61 Black Widow, the first American night interceptor, unofficially credited with the last Allied victory before the Japanese surrender. Designed around its onboard radar, the P-61 was an aviation first – the first designbuilt “system-of-systems” aircraft. The company Jack founded, today known as Northrop Grumman, continues in that same strong tradition of systems engineering and integration excellence, across the globe and here in Huntsville. With 1,300 employees spread across seven locations in Huntsville and Madison, the company’s local operations focus predominantly on software development and systems engineering: understanding systems that are composed of various other systems and integrating them effectively for the benefit of our military. In fact, the integration of complex systems in areas such as aviation, satellite ground stations and air and missile defense hits what you could call a “sweet spot” for the company. Not only does Northrop Grumman have decades of experience performing this highly sophisticated work, it’s also a critically important part of the company’s business strategy. Northrop Grumman’s large presence in Huntsville can be linked to the presence of other organizations that helped put the city on the map, such as the U.S. Army, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, and the Missile Defense Agency. The company is developing the next-generation Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System, giving the Army a leap ahead of the capability of today. Northrop Grumman is also a strategic partner on the industry team developing and sustaining the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense System, which is deployed to defend the U.S. against ballistic missile attack. But the company’s role here goes far beyond enabling U.S. and allied forces to accomplish their missions. “We’re deeply integrated in this community, not just in the business sense, but in our commitment to helping the community and its citizens,” says Kevin Campbell, Northrop Grumman’s corporate lead executive for Huntsville. Many employees are involved as volunteers in health and human services organizations. The corporation provides grants to local non-profit organizations and funding to various civic and military-based events to help them be successful. Northrop Grumman also has strong partnerships with local educational institutions, including the University of Alabama Huntsville and Discovery Middle School, where the company sponsors a diverse set of initiatives that focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. That interconnectedness with the surrounding area extends to the business community as well. Northrop
Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for the US Army’s revolution Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS). With its truly open systems architecture and a common, government-owned interface, IBCS enables integration of current and future sensors and weapon systems and interoperability with joint command and control and the ballistic missile defense system.
Grumman contracts with more than 225 local suppliers who are key players in programs ensuring mission success for our men and women in uniform. It’s a legacy that would make Jack Northrop – whose designs were often many years ahead of their time – quite proud.
Students from Alabama A&M University, Grissom High School and New Century Technology High School proudly display their Northrop Grumman backpacks they received after participating in a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) tour at the Northrop Grumman facility in Huntsville. Photo by: Erica Hopkins
AGILE INFORMATION SERVICES Big Business Capability for Small Business Environments
nformation technology – innovative by definition. Ever changing. Ever evolving. Ever more complex. Staying on the leading edge of IT systems requires dedication, flexibility, and adaptability – all hallmarks of Agile Information Services.
Recognizing a Growing Need
In 2005, the founders of Agile Information Services saw an expanding need for expert capability in IT services in a large segment of the marketplace – small and midsized businesses. A need for IT support to improve daily operations. A need for IT solutions to increase efficiency. A need to create effective security systems for critical data protection. The market needed the kind of service usually found in large corporate settings, but not readily available in smaller business settings. Agile set about to change the paradigm of IT systems to give small businesses up-to-date technologies for a greater competitive advantage. With a team built on years of business experience and corporate IT knowledge, Agile levels the playing field. In addition to providing technical expertise and strong responsiveness to specific needs, Agile also takes the time to learn about each customer’s business models and individual needs. By understanding client goals and objectives, IT requirements, and potential vulnerabilities, Agile can create the right levels of security for critical formation and ensure smooth day-to-day operations. Customers are then free to concentrate on running their core businesses while Agile covers the IT systems. Clients also enjoy a significant advantage from Agile’s diverse client base. With customers in health care, manufacturing, accounting, legal practice, retail, real estate, construction, non-profit, and government, Agile has the ability to “cross-pollinate” new ideas for the best service across industries. Every client benefits from the integrated knowledge and best practices in IT problem-solving.
Gaines Gravlee, president and owner of Agile Information Services
expand its portfolio of services and find new ways to reduce security threats and identify issues before they become problems.
Living Up to Its Name
The ability to adapt to the market. The flexibility to turn on a dime. The knowledge base to create resourceful solutions. Agile Information Services gives its customers all that and more every single day.
Staying Ahead of the Curve
In an industry where change is the norm, Agile Information Services finds new and inventive ways to give customers the right mix of technologies for improved IT experiences and better results. Every advance in technology presents a new opportunity to implement improvements for clients. Always early adopters of the newest technologies and ideas, Agile constantly researches and evaluates the latest trends to find options for implementing them in small business environments. By staying proactive, Agile can 225
L-3 IN HUNTSVILLE
ore capabilities. Core commitment. Core talent. Core values. These are the L-3 components of core strength.
Capabilities and Commitment L-3 is a global company with operations coast to coast, as well as in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Asia, and the Middle East – among other key locations. Along with its international locations, the company selected Huntsville as the site for a corporate domestic office outside of its New York headquarters and Washington operations. Why? To put the full, universal resources of the company at the fingertips of customers here. L-3’s Huntsville office serves as a single point of contact for government customers and original equipment manufacturers in the region. Specialization in aviation products and platforms, aircraft maintenance and service, and logistics support make L-3 the go-to provider for comprehensive aviation solutions. Serving the Department of Defense, NASA, the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Security Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, and others, L-3 operates as a prime contractor, integrator, supplier, and service provider. In short, the company meets unique customer needs – large and small. Specializing in aerospace systems and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance work, L-3 is right at home in Huntsville, while also providing an expansive range of electronic systems used on military and commercial platforms. Leveraging these extensive capabilities provides many advantages to customers. Whether for warfighters, first responders, or the Transportation Security Administration, the company delivers life-saving technologies. For instance, L-3 links manned helicopters to unmanned platforms and enhances terrain searches and finding enemies without putting human lives in danger. Sensors and imaging systems on aircraft of all types enable “seeing” the areas of greatest threat with much less risk and greater accuracy of response. The company also provides
state-of-the-art flight simulation and training services to a wide array of military customers. L-3 also impacts security on a daily basis through many applications. Products such as airport security and cargo screening equipment, cameras and recording systems for public safety organizations, and secure communications for military use increase safety worldwide.
Talent and Values Company-wide, L-3 is focused on ethics, and operates first and foremost with integrity, excellence and accountability. Customers worldwide receive top performance and delivery built on the highest level of ethical conduct. Supporting many programs in Huntsville, L-3’s people are some of the most dedicated, knowledgeable and experienced in the industry. They also take good corporate citizenship very seriously and participate extensively in supporting local business and non-profit organizations.
Strength L-3 – core capabilities, commitment, talent, values – core strength living and working in Huntsville.
nou SYSTEMS, INC.
Solutions with Insight
n unusual name for a unique approach – crafted by a team of experts bringing the heritage of national research and development laboratories to Huntsville.
A Team with Unmatched Expertise When nou Systems was founded in 2012, the four founders had one overriding motivation – service to the nation. By bringing together unrivaled proficiency in electrical engineering, physics, structural engineering, mathematics, and computer science, they formed a renowned team within the missile defense arena to continue to safeguard the country’s most critical defense assets. Dr. Brent Romine, Dr. William Brower, and Dr. Frank Mello along with many other current team members worked together previously in a joint consortium of Federally Funded Research and Development Centers and University Affiliated Research Centers . The three Ph.D.s had represented various organizations supporting the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) on the Ballistic Missile Defense Systems (BMDS) Capability Assessment Team. While part of the assessment program, they evaluated the entire network of missile components for capability and limitations as well as the global system’s overall ability to defend the United States and its allies. After years of collaborating, they knew they wanted to work together on a permanent basis while maintaining superior service to MDA and the nation. They also knew that Huntsville was the right place to set up shop, so they joined forces with Becky Romine to form a Woman-owned Small Business, headquartered in Huntsville, with personnel supporting in Colorado Springs, CO; Lexington, MA; El Paso, TX; and the national capital region.
What’s in the Name
nou Systems, Inc. management team and their spouses attend the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce Small Business Awards event.
customers while making the nation and its allies safer by ensuring that our missile systems work properly and are well characterized. The deep knowledge of missile defense and radar systems combined with the collaborative culture preserved from the nation’s top research and development laboratories produced great results. High quality work produced immediate success that resulted in rapid growth of 100% or more during each of their first three years of operation. nou Systems has been in a constant state of growth since its beginning. Combining a talented workforce and a rigorous approach to problem solving, the company has certainly found the right formula for success. And the service to the nation continues.
Since the very nature of missile defense system evaluation involves problem-solving at the highest levels, the company wanted a name to convey the unique ability to solve complex problems. Their research led to a most memorable moniker. While the word “nous” is a somewhat obscure English and Greek word conveying the idea of practical intelligence, the corporate logo represents their approach to problem solving and generating genuine insight through analysis and synthesis.
Putting the Expertise to Work Upon opening its doors for business, nou Systems partnered with a prime contractor to submit a bid on a task order to support the BMDS assessment community as the founders had done in the past. After winning the bid, the company set out to provide the best value to its
Team Members participating in the 2016 American Heart Association Heart Walk. 227
R2C SUPPORT SERVICES Dedicated to Defense and Downtown Huntsville
hether around the world or around the corner, R2C Support Services has an impact. As a small business in defense and government contracting, this award-winning company not only makes a difference supporting its customers, it also makes a difference energizing downtown – a first for Huntsville.
History Robert Wilson founded R2C Support Services in 2011 in order to focus intently on technology support and outstanding client service. After decades of experience in aviation and aerospace in the Army and the Army National Guard, he put his expertise in government contracting to work and put together a team of talent to provide unique, tailored solutions in engineering logistics support. R2C secured an initial opportunity to create a path for weapons system sustainment. Working closely with the government customer, the company took existing program requirements and re-engineered a new weapon system with enhanced capability and a full technical data package. The program saved the Army customer more than $23 million and established R2C as a go-to resource for creative and cost-effective solutions. Building on the formula of superior service plus significant cost savings, R2C has realized its vision of supporting mission-critical needs of America’s warfighters in many areas. With extensive capability in systems engineering, integration, program support, testing and evaluation, logistics, modeling, training, and rapid prototyping, R2C meets program requirements both as a prime and subcontractor. R2C provides across-the-board proficiency in both hardware and software while also leveraging engineering expertise to overcome logistical issues and extend equipment life cycles. Because of its size, the company also offers many additional advantages to its customers
including rapid response time, administrative flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. In short, R2C finds ways to achieve a wide range of program goals while saving its customers money.
A Dual Commitment Although the majority of similar companies locate on the western side of the city, R2C Support Services brought the first defense contractor to the thriving “Live, Work, Play” atmosphere of downtown Huntsville. Overlooking Big Spring Park, R2C’s office provides employees with the opportunity to be a part of the vibrancy of working within walking distance to so many different amenities and activities. Offering a different kind of work experience and supporting Huntsville’s revitalization initiative are important aspects of meeting corporate goals to be a solid contributor to the community, both in location and in active involvement in non-profit service organizations. For R2C Support Services, it’s the best of both worlds.
The Power of Global Expertise
rom Hoover Dam to the Olympic Park in Rio, from Dubai International Airport and the new World Trade Center in New York City, to support for Department of Defense operations – AECOM fuses global expertise in science, engineering, construction, design, operations, maintenance and finance to address pressing environmental, social and infrastructure needs.
Built to Deliver a Better World As the world’s premier, fully integrated infrastructure firm, AECOM serves clients on seven continents and in more than 150 countries, with innovative engineering design solutions to the world’s most complex challenges. AECOM understands the importance of fresh water, clean and reliable energy, efficient transportation systems and industrial facilities, healthy buildings, communities, and cities, and stable and secure governments. Whether building iconic skyscrapers, planning new cities, restoring damaged environments, or connecting people and economies with roads, bridges, tunnels, and transit systems, the company creates local solutions informed by global expertise.
Supporting Local Assets AECOM helps communities like Redstone Arsenal and Huntsville build for the present and the future. Working with the U.S. Army, NASA and other agencies in the Huntsville region, AECOM supports a range of design, construction and management programs. Through Huntsville’s cyber security, geospatial, energy information, and sustainability programs, AECOM expertise is supporting and helping to expand initiatives that are propelling economic progress, revitalizing key infrastructure, strengthening government initiatives and improving quality of life.
Olympic Park, Rio
other professionals — working in concert, drawing on global experience, to find innovative solutions to local challenges. And all right here. AECOM. Helping Hunstville become an even greater community.
Another Huntsville First Huntsville has the opportunity to lead with AECOM expertise in Smart City technology. Capitalizing on the success of AECOM’s partnerships with more than 650 cities around the world, Huntsville may begin using integrated information and communication technology to maintain growth while planning for long- term infrastructure and sustainability needs. Huntsville roadways, bike paths, neighborhood enhancements, water infrastructure and other resources will all work together to enhance the community and maintain growth through coordinated planning and programs.
Global Leadership for a Local Advantage AECOM draws together teams of engineers, planners, architects, landscape architects, environmental specialists, economists, scientists, construction, cost specialists and
One World Trade Center 229
Providing Technical Solutions to Business Problems
nlike many of the local entrepreneurs who perform work for the Department of Defense, Kim Lewis did not come from a military background. Instead, she spent 10 years working in private industry—managing and implementing healthcare technology projects—before she started her business, PROJECTXYZ, in 2002. Five years later, her husband, Larry Lewis, joined her in the business, bringing his experience in government contracting. With a combination of experience in both federal and industry projects, the Lewises and PROJECTXYZ are able to bring a unique perspective and a wide arsenal of skills and techniques to approach problems and deliver results for federal and commercial customers. The company provides expertise in Lifecycle Logistics, Engineering, Information Technology, and Alternative Energy. PROJECTXYZ employs more than 50 people in the Huntsville area and serves customers in various locations throughout the United States and internationally. For instance, the company provides legacy missile system support for several missile platforms still in use by our foreign military partners. One way PROJECTXYZ brings value to its customers is through internal research via their technology labs. Larry states, “From the outset, Kim and I wanted to create an organization that is constantly researching, evaluating, and creating technology solutions that can make our customers more efficient. To that end, we invest a large portion of our corporate resources into our technology labs.” Projects in the technology lab have included the development of a solar farm with high performance computer infrastructure using the Cell chip technology; the creation of a virtualization infrastructure for modeling and
Kim and Larry Lewis
simulation; the deployment of a wireless networking system to bring internet connectivity to a small area in Limestone County; and the development of a solar farm in the Town of Triana. PROJECTXYZ is also engaged in several obsolescence engineering projects that will provide new technical capabilities to legacy missile system platforms. “Huntsville has been a great place to grow our business because here, you can get direct contact with many government customers,” Kim Lewis says. “And there are so many companies here with experience in government contracting that there are a lot of mentors and resources to help you succeed in that area.” The Lewises and PROJECTXYZ have made it a priority to give back to the community by serving on nonprofit boards and mentoring other entrepreneurs. In 2014, the Lewises purchased the BizTech building, which had long housed a business incubator for high-tech startups. They renamed the building The Entrepreneurial Center and began working to recruit and mentor more dynamic small businesses. “The growth we’ve experienced with PROJECTXYZ has allowed us to make investments in the community, such as purchasing the BizTech building,” Lewis says. “We are passionate about investing in other local startups and helping them become successful. A vibrant business community is part of what makes Huntsville such a great place to be, and we want to do our part to sustain that.”
ORBITAL ATK O
rbital ATK is proud to be part of Huntsville and Madison County, providing state-of-the-art propulsion for the most advanced rockets in the world.
Space Exploration From the Apollo era through the space shuttle program, Orbital ATK has supported Marshall Space Flight Center’s mission of space exploration and discovery. The shared mission continues with NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion crew module, ushering in a new era of human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit. Designed for crew or cargo missions, SLS is capable of sending explorers to deep space destinations, including Mars. Orbital ATK’s five-segment solid rocket boosters – the largest and most powerful on the planet – generate the majority of the thrust needed by SLS to escape Earth’s gravity. These next-generation boosters leverage 30 years of space shuttle flight heritage and cutting-edge technologies to meet robust SLS mission requirements. For crew safety, Orion features a Launch Abort System (LAS) to lift the crew module away from the launch vehicle if a problem occurs during launch or ascent. Our Launch Abort Motor activates within milliseconds to pull the crew to safety while our Attitude Control Motor orients the Orion spacecraft for safe recovery.
Protecting Our Nation and Our Allies Orbital ATK proudly supports the Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) mission to develop, test and field an integrated missile defense system to protect the United States and our allies against aggression. As an industry-leading provider of suborbital launch vehicles for our nation’s missile defense systems, in the last 10 years, Orbital ATK has conducted more than 75 launches for MDA, the U.S. Air Force, Army, and Navy, and allied nations. Their interceptor boosters for MDA’s Ground-based Midcourse Defense segment intercept and destroy long-
Orbital ATK’s five-segment solid rocket boosters for NASA’s Space Launch System undergo rigorous inspection processes to confirm flight readiness and are ground tested to qualify new materials or processes.
range enemy missiles while their reliable target vehicles provide high-fidelity facsimiles of missile threats in testing missile defense systems. MDA’s Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System relies on their high-performance Mk 136 Third Stage Rocket Motor to propel the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) against short-to-intermediate range ballistic missiles. Orbital ATK is a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies. Headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, Orbital ATK employs approximately 12,000 people in 18 states across the U.S. and in several international locations. For more information, visit www.orbitalatk.com.
below, left: Both the Launch Abort Motor and Attitude Control Motor have successfully met test objectives. below, right: Orbital ATK’s Third Stage Rocket Motor has performed above expectations on flight tests, including successful hit-to-kill engagement tests. Today, both the U.S. and Japanese navies have deployed the SM-3 missile with its TSRM third stage on Aegisequipped ships.
Covering the Technology Spectrum
hat began as a passion for entrepreneurship became a mechanism to bring fiber-optic networks to Huntsville and then to supporting software engineering for Army Aviation. Always on the cutting edge - Always improving technology - WaveLink provides the critical links.
From Internet to Aviation In 2001, Huntsville native Tamela Gibbs responded to a telecommunications need for extending national fiber optics and cable networks to improve internet service in Huntsville. Bringing “fiber to the curb” created a greater demand for data center security and software to protect the added bandwidth, and WaveLink answered the call. “WaveLink” joined two essential elements of communications – waves in the electromagnetic spectrum and links that combine expertise in knowledge management and cyber engineering. The emerging small business stepped up to develop new software to bolster the telecommunications industry and meet critical needs for secured data. After the dot-com decline, Gibbs kept her company and continued to look for the right opportunity to put WaveLink’s expertise back in play. That break came in 2007 with a subcontract to provide software engineering and configuration/data management services for an AMCOM project office. Gibbs’ background in business planning along with operating systems proficiency Tamela Gibbs, CEO of WaveLink Inc. was the right combination of skills to propel WaveLink into the arena of engineering and technical services for aviation survivability. Husband Paul Gibbs joined the company as VP of Engineering to support contracts with the Program Executive Office for Aviation, Missile Defense Agency, and other federal agencies. As the company grew, Tamela systematically replaced herself in various roles such as security officer, accountant, human resources manager, and company IT manager. While she ran day-to-day operations and interfaced with the business community, Paul moved from full-time contract support to providing subject matter expertise on customer programs while serving the corporate office as chief technical strategist and business development coordinator. This synergistic combination of skills continues to thrive today. 232
A Different Kind of Connectivity WaveLink is taking avionics software to a new level, developing software based upon open architecture standards to bring efficiency and interoperability to military aircraft survivability systems. The company works continually to develop advanced capabilities in every aspect of the software lifecycle – development, integration, testing, fielding and sustainment. All with the agility of a small business able to quickly respond to customer needs. Ultimately WaveLink’s unique expertise and software engineering innovations dramatically increase survivability for soldiers in the field while saving valuable time and reducing costs. Covering the broad spectrum of communications - from network lines to aviation platforms - through innovations in technology to protect aircraft and soldiers alike, WaveLink has demonstrated the ability to connect critical infrastructure for its customers every day.
Established Leadership in Technology Excellence and Innovation Defense. Energy. Space. Environment.
ESE Research has been solving some of the nation’s most complex technical problems for decades.
A Distinguished History As one of Huntsville’s most respected small businesses, DESE Research provides the added advantage of a familyowned and managed enterprise. Dr. Wally Kirkpatrick, DESE founder and CEO, and Michael Kirkpatrick, DESE President, actively lead the company and set the course of excellence in providing scientific and engineering services to government agencies and major prime contractors. The company culture of rewarding its employees contributes to the recruitment and retention of top tier professionals. DESE founder and CEO Dr. Wally Kirkpatrick served with distinction in the U.S. Army and then enjoyed an extensive career as a Civil Service executive with the Army Missile Command, the BMD Advanced Technology Center and several other government agencies. His Civil Service assignments included AMRDEC; headquarters, Department of the Army; the Office of the Secretary of Defense; and as a professional committee staffer, U.S. Senate. He held key leadership positions in the development of the hit-to-kill missile defense technologies that are the foundation of today’s missile defense systems. Dr. Kirkpatrick left the government service in 1982, and leveraged his extensive experience in national security strategy and technology programs to launch DESE Research. Concentrating initially on missile defense technologies and systems, DESE has grown with expanded capabilities with a first-class scientific and engineering workforce.
Technical Strength The DESE team has pioneered a variety of innovative solutions to solve challenging technical issues. Some leading innovations have come in the fields of systems engineering, flight dynamics, cyber security, ground-based and sea-based missile defense, space-based systems, and supply chain decomposition, visibility and data analytics. In short – DESE has a legacy of solving complex technology challenges.
Dr. Wally Kirkpatrick, DESE founder and CEO
Michael Kirkpatrick, DESE President
Leadership Legacy While staying on the cutting edge of technology development, the Kirkpatricks have also been leaders in the community service and philanthropy. The list of recognitions and awards proves it. Dr. Kirkpatrick has been involved in most every civic and philanthropic group of his five-decade career in Huntsville, including the Government Combined Federal Campaign, Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Board, President of the United Way Board, leadership on the Rotary Club Board, Association of the United States Army, The National Defense Industrial Association, and many others. While serving as President, NDIA he led efforts to establish the highly coveted Medaris Award. Following his father’s example, Michael Kirkpatrick is also highly engaged in community service. Dr. Kirkpatrick’s awards include the Chamber of Commerce Executive of the Year, and the Gnosis Award (for the most outstanding research and published work on strategic military thought and leadership). The Gnosis Award was presented in person by hydrogen bomb inventor Dr. Edward Teller in the U.S. House of Representatives. With a long established legacy of technical excellence, innovation, and community leadership, DESE Research is a prime example of the outstanding small businesses that thrive in the Huntsville community.
TORCH TECHNOLOGIES T
orch Technologies is a growing small business that is 100 percent employee owned. Torch is an aerospace and defense company founded in the Rocket City– a town known for its major role in supporting Department of Defense missions for more than 75 years. Since 2002, Torch has made a name for itself through its focus on delivering excellent customer support, empowering its workforce through employee ownership, and giving back to its community. Torch’s mission is focused on developing and maintaining longstanding customer partnerships. Torch strives to exceed customer expectations by delivering quality technical services, competitive costs, and ethical business practices. Torch continues to grow its DoD customer base in the U.S. and abroad by providing research, development, and engineering services in support of the warfighter and their critical mission. Torch’s co-founders, Bill Roark and Don Holder, envisioned a business that would become an employee owned company through which its employees would have better control of their destinies. Torch is now a 100 percent employee owned company with more than 550 employees and an annual revenue of $233 million in 2015. It has always been important to Torch employees to be “a partner in the community, not just a taker,” CEO and co-founder Bill Roark said. “Giving back to the community is something that was important to the employees from the beginning– and still is.” Torch employees have taken ownership not only of the company, but also their charitable giving. In 2005, Torch employees created Torch Helps, a 100 percent employee-funded 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is “to carry the torch for others in our community” by awarding quarterly grants of up to $10,000. In 2015, Torch Helps hit the $500,000 donation mark, entirely funded through employee contributions. Collectively,
above: CEO Bill Roark presents the inaugural gift to initiate the Catalyst
Fund of the Community Foundation of Huntsville/Madison County. below:
Torch employee owners at Huntsville headquarters.
through corporate giving and Torch Helps, Torch has donated over $2 million to the local community. Torch has been recognized both locally and nationally over the past decade for its business performance, workplace environment, and ethical business practices. In 2016, Torch was named one of the 25 Best Small Companies in America by Forbes, and one of the 20 Best Workplaces for Consulting and Professional Services by Great Place to Work and Fortune magazine. Torch is a three-time recipient of the Better Business Bureau of North Alabama’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, a peer-nominated competition, and the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County’s Best Places to Work. With a strong commitment to its employee owners, customers, and community, Torch is lighting the pathway of freedom.
235 Photo courtesy of NASA
DESIGNS ON THE FUTURE By Mark McCarter
atercress is a small, green, aquatic plant that primarily grows in springs or lazy bodies of water, of which there was no shortage in these parts. It can help make a good salad. It does not necessarily make for a great economy. For years, Huntsville was the Watercress Capital of the World. Might as well be Rutabaga City U.S.A. or the Yam Capital of America. Not exactly the sort of moniker that sends tourists speeding your way or multinational businesses looking to set up shop. Of course, watercress was always the secondary crop to cotton, the king of ’em all in this state for scores of years. Huntsville was a self-sufficient cotton town in the early 20th century. Cotton fields spread like giant snowdrifts across the area. A number of mills, typically the city’s largest employers, turned the cotton into products. The mills were the hubs of communities, with families living, shopping and going to school in the shadows of the brick monoliths that were the textile plants. Then Huntsville started growing rockets. The Watercress Capital of the World became Rocket City U.S.A. Though there has been an evolution in the past half-century with the de-emphasis on manned space travel, Huntsville has continued to thrive and lead in a high-tech world. As Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle says, “We are a town of tinkers, thinkers, dreamers and doers – the sons and daughters of engineers who pioneered space travel.” The 1950s brought the arrival of Dr. Wernher von Braun and his team of German scientists. Securing that brain trust was one of America’s great spoils from World War II. The team was initially assigned to a bleak part of Texas, but relocated to Huntsville for a number of reasons. First, there was the Redstone Arsenal property, where valuable contributions were made during World War II but which had become obsolete and more a burden than asset. Second, there was the proximity of the Tennessee River for use as a transportation convenience and, with the emergence of TVA, a provider of cheap electricity. Third, there was the environment, the temperate climate and green, mountainous terrain that appealed to the Germans wistful for their homelands. There was no small amount of difficulty in blending. German scientists were being placed side-by-side with American military,
ADTRAN is bringing the innovation of Huntsville to the world and the synergies of the world back to Huntsville. (Photo courtesy of ADTRAN) 237
The 1950s brought the arrival of Dr. Wernher von Braun and his team of German scientists. (Photo courtesy of NASA) 238
In 1967, President John F. Kennedy vowed that America would send a man safely to the moon by the end of the decade. (Photo courtesy of NASA)
former military personnel and U.S. citizen contractors. Because of the uniqueness of the situation and with von Braun at the helm, most of the attention was directed toward the Germans. Ed Buckbee, an author and former aide to von Braun, maintains the “unsung heroes” of the early days of NASA were the American engineers whose contributions were equally significant to the success of the space program. And it would be nothing unusual to learn that a man who repaired spindles at Dallas Mill might, a decade later, be welding together the cage in which a monkey would be strapped for an experimental flight into space. President John F. Kennedy’s May 1961 speech in Houston, in which he vowed that America would send a man safely to the moon by the end of the decade, became the catalyst for explosive growth in Huntsville. Watercress was forgotten. NASA’s operation grew, and
with it came the dandelion effect of hundreds of support companies and contractors establishing a permanent presence in Huntsville. The manned space flight program was a national priority and curiosity, and von Braun led the way. The Saturn V that delivered the Apollo capsule to the moon was created in Huntsville. Von Braun and JFK, two men of extraordinary charisma, shared a vision and a kinship. JFK made visits to Huntsville. Von Braun frequently flew to Washington. On von Braun’s detailed calendar, there was an appointment for von Braun and JFK to meet at the White House on November 24, 1963. Two days before they could reunite, Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. The mission of space was never the same after Kennedy’s death and later when von Braun was shunted off to a Washington desk, detached from the hands-on process in which he thrived in Huntsville. 239
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, officially opened the doors of its newest environmentally friendly facility -- one set to house the program office leading development of the Space Launch System, the nation’s next flagship launch vehicle.(Photo courtesy of NASA/ MSFC Emmett Given)
However, decades after that first Mercury launch of Alan Shepard and after years of economic and leadership challenges, NASA remains an essential part of Huntsville’s workforce. Marshall Space Flight Center, Redstone Arsenal and the attendant aerospace and missile defense companies that support the work are the city’s major economic drivers. Marshall has a workforce of nearly 6,000 employees with an annual budget approaching $2 billion. Marshall Space Flight Center was instrumental in the development of Skylab, the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and is the command post for the International Space Station’s Payload Operations. It has been tasked with a leadership role in the next evolution of space travel, the Space Launch System, 240
which is developing launch and spaceflight vehicles for missions beyond low-Earth orbit. If man is indeed to reach Mars, the first steps will be taken in Huntsville, just as were the first steps toward the moon. Redstone Arsenal, on which Marshall Space Flight Center is located, envelopes 38,125 acres and has a workforce of 35,000, nearly all of whom are now government civilians or contractors. There are more than 70 tenants on the property. Redstone is a major site for the U.S. missile defense program, the home of the U.S. Army Materiel Command as well as centers for FBI and Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms operations. The ATF’s bomb squad training facilities and the bomb database are there, the organization’s “hub for everything we do with explosive and fire and arson,” explains Special Agent
The second and final qualification motor (QM-2) test for the Space Launch Systemâ€™s booster is seen, Tuesday, June 28, 2016, at Orbital ATK Propulsion Systems test facilities in Promontory, Utah. During the Space Launch System flight the boosters will provide more than 75 percent of the thrust needed to escape the gravitational pull of the Earth, the first step on NASAâ€™s Journey to Mars. (Photo courtesy of NASA/Bill Ingalls)
241 Photo courtesy of NASA
Redstone is a major site for the U.S. missile defense program and the home of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. (Photo courtesy of Team Redstone)
Photo courtesy of Redstone Test Center
The SMD Symposium is the leading educational, professional development and networking event in the space and missile defense community. (Photo by Eric Schultz)
in Charge Donald Robinson. Regularly, area residents will hear – or even feel – a boom from an ATF test or detonation. Von Braun’s vision extended beyond the space program. He envisioned what he called an “intellectual footprint,” and that has come to fruition in Cummings Research Park, once a large cotton field. He encouraged local business leaders Milton Cummings and Joseph Moquin to acquire the 3,000-acre parcel of land convenient to Redstone and Marshall Space Flight Center. Von Braun was also instrumental in the evolution of the University of Alabama in Huntsville as a research institution. Cummings’ Brown Engineering became the first tenant in Cummings Research Park. By its 50th anniversary in 2012, more than 300 companies had a presence there, employing more than 20,000 people. Boeing, Adtran, Northrop Grumman and SAIC are among the largest employers at Cummings, and the multi-national software company Intergraph Hexagon is nearby.
In the spring of 2016, a 50-year master plan for Cummings Research Park was unveiled. It includes not only the welcoming of new companies but also housing, restaurants and retail locations on the site. On smaller campuses and in resurrected old buildings, the high-tech world is fueled by the imagination of young entrepreneurs. One of the most dynamic is Huntsville West, on the site of an old elementary school, in which start-up companies are nourished with affordable workspace and infrastructure. Brandon Kruse, a prodigy who created his own company as a teenager, bought the school property and opened what he jokingly calls “a flophouse for entrepreneurs.” BizTech, a 20,000-square-foot facility near Cummings Research Park, hosts a wide range of companies, from marketing to transportation, software to missile defense. Huntsville City Schools, which was established as one of the nation’s pioneers in digital learning when students’ outdated textbooks were replaced by laptops and tablets, has assumed a major responsibility 243
Photo courtesy of NASA/MSFC
Hurricane Matthew captured in this photo from the International Space Station (Photo courtesy of NASA) 246
above: There are many specialized programs that encourage STEM,
below: Huntsville is leading the way on another new frontier through
like the Greenpower program, in which students design, build and race electronically powered go-karts, is recognized internationally.
(Photo courtesy of HudsonAlpha)
HudsonAlpha Institute of Biotechnology, also located at Cummings.
(Photo courtesy of Huntsville City Schools)
in assuring its graduates are prepared to enter the technology field. There are many specialized programs that encourage STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – education in intriguing ways. There is a cybersecurity curriculum in place, and the system’s Greenpower program, in which students design, build and race electronically powered go-karts, is recognized internationally. Huntsville is leading the way on another new frontier through HudsonAlpha Institute of Biotechnology, also located at Cummings. It is one of the country’s leaders in the growing field of biotechnology and genomic research.
“With the talent and ability we have in Huntsville, we are destined to reach new heights in this arena,” Battle said. “HudsonAlpha is growing several small companies that will continue to enhance our current corporate ecosystem, and when you factor in our strong public and private schools, colleges and universities, we have the right ingredients to become the next great biotech hub.” Huntsville learned from watercress. You can’t just grow one thing and expect to grow yourself.
SIERRA NEVADA CORPORATION Combining Innovation, Aviation & Space Exploration to Reach Great Heights
he city of Huntsville and surrounding communities serve as a hub for key Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) customers and partners. As the high-tech company, named one of “The World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Space,” prepares for its 249-mile journey into space, SNC draws on more than a half-century of experience in aviation, aerospace and technology to propel the company’s “space plane” all the way to low-Earth orbit. Founded in the Golden Age of space exploration, the privately held aerospace and defense company – with three key business areas located in Huntsville – was tapped by NASA in early 2016 to service the International Space Station (ISS) using its mini-shuttle spacecraft, Dream Chaser®. For the first time since the retirement of the space shuttle, the world will once again see a winged spacecraft with the ability to land on nearly any runway in the world – possibly including Huntsville International Airport – bringing home to Earth both cargo and scientific materials.
SNC, with offices in Huntsville, has been honored as one of “The World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Space,” by Fast Company magazine.
“The company was started in 1963 and the founder had a huge passion for high-performance aviation and landing systems,” explained SNC owner and President Eren Ozmen. “When Fatih and I took over in 1994, we took his legacy and jumped into meaningful future aviation programs by starting work with the U.S. Air Force. From there, we’ve relied on relationships, trust and our tremendously skilled SNC family to guide us into areas where we can have the most impact. Through the years, aviation technology has continued to be one of those areas.” “Our mission is to help humanity,” said Fatih Ozmen, SNC owner and CEO. “We have been to Mars 12 times, grown vegetables in space, kept the world safe and saved so many lives. We have improved health-care delivery through telemedicine, while also helping our environment through green energy projects. This is truly technology at its best.”
On Dreaming and Doing
In January 2016, SNC was awarded a share of NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 2 contract to service the International Space Station using SNC’s own space shuttle, the Dream Chaser® spacecraft. 248
Since his start at SNC as an engineering intern, Fatih Ozmen has developed cutting-edge technology and aviation programs as one of the company’s core business areas, and as a personal passion. “Discovering new things is very important to Fatih and that’s a big part of why he went into engineering – because of that passion,” added Eren. “I also believe that’s why SNC has traveled the path it has – this path of aviation and new technology.” This combination of discipline and dreams has brought 19 acquisitions, growing the company’s aviation portfolio and its workforce, which now stands at nearly 3,000 worldwide, including Huntsville, which is home to engineers, and aviation and aerospace specialists.
The SNC Scorpion® is a fully integrated multi-role aircraft capable of maritime, border patrol, law enforcement and other specialized ISR missions.
Among the products SNC produces locally are degraded visual environment systems and telemedicine technology used for medical evacuations. In addition, many of SNC’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems are provided out of the location as are advanced spacecraft, space vehicles, and spacecraft subsystems for both commercial and government customers. A study is currently underway to determine the feasibility of landing SNC’s Dream Chaser spacecraft at Huntsville International Airport. Capitalizing not only on acquisitions but also on partnerships and the formation of new subsidiaries, SNC has continued to grow exponentially since adding Huntsville to the family in 2012. Since then, its employee count has risen by 30 percent and locations have taken root in Germany, England and Turkey, with key expansions in aviation and intellectual property.
So as one might guess, while the Dream Chaser is just earning its wings, SNC has long been part of aerospace history as it has grown from just a handful of people into a multi-billion-dollar technology and aerospace business. Its valued employees and partners in Alabama have played a key role in helping make this dream a reality. “This idea that you can build something – invent a piece of technology – that can literally take you to the moon, or to the International Space Station, or even to Mars, is just incredible. It’s something that has piqued my interest for many, many years,” added Fatih. “And with the rapid advancement of technology combined with the incredible talent we have at SNC, I know that we can make it happen. Our Dream Chaser will do it.”
And all this, while traveling to Mars… While servicing the ISS may be a first for the Dream Chaser program, NASA’s CRS2 mission doesn’t mark SNC’s first voyage into space. SNC components are preparing to make their 13th trip to Mars as part of the Mars 2020 mission. The Mars 2020 rover will investigate key questions about the habitability of Mars and assess natural resources and hazards in preparation for future human expeditions to the planet. Under the new contracts, SNC will design and manufacture the descent brake, as well as actuators for the robotic arm and sample caching system. SNC has also been part of another critical component of the evaluation of habitability of Mars with the deployable vegetable production system affectionately known as ORBITEC “VEGGIE.” The system requires minimal mass, power, volume and stowage while providing a fresh supply of food during extended trips into space using custom lighting, atmospheric and water control systems. During its historic stay on the ISS, VEGGIE produced both lettuce and flowers.
SNC has participated in the evaluation of long-term space habitability with the deployable vegetable production system, ORBITEC “VEGGIE,” which grew Zinnias on the ISS. Photo Credit: NASA. 249
Forever at the Forefront
e are in the right place...the right industry...and we have the right people.” – Mark C. Smith
The Right Industry After the breakup of the Bell Telephone Operating System monopoly in 1984, Huntsville businessmen Mark Smith and Lonnie McMillian saw an incredible opportunity. The court-ordered divestiture created a sudden and extraordinary demand to supply network equipment to the newly created Regional Bell Operating companies (RBOCs) as well as to more than 1,300 independent telephone companies. Smith was already familiar with the industry, having established Universal Data Systems – a telecommunications company with specialization in analog modems. The breakup of the AT&T monopoly gave the two entrepreneurs a unique chance to help define the telecommunications of the future, so they founded ADTRAN in 1985 to do just that. In January of 1986, seven employees were poised to take on the challenge of leading the way in an environment of constant change.
The Right Place After considering several factors, Smith and McMillian chose Huntsville as the right location for their new company. The North Alabama region had many assets – access to a stable workforce, a high quality of life, and a low cost of living. They knew they had the right formula for success. In view of NASA’s 36-story Saturn V rocket, ADTRAN built its headquarters in Cummings Research Park (CRP) as
Tom Stanton has been the CEO of ADTRAN since 2005. and Chairman of the Board since 2007.
one of the earliest tenants of the park’s western expansion. By bringing a growing commercial operation to the park, ADTRAN added diversification to the large concentration of space and defense industries in Huntsville. The 82-acre corporate site became an anchor of CRP West with more than 1 million square feet of research, engineering, office, and manufacturing space. The landmark campus actually became indicative of future development for alternative industries, such as biotech and other research facilities that followed suit and located in the park. In fact, ADTRAN’s influence on economic diversification and on Cummings Research Park was so great that the last street installed in the second largest research park in the country bears the name “Mark C. Smith Drive” – a living legacy to an unwavering commitment to this community.
Leading with Innovation
ADTRAN built its headquarters in Cummings Research Park (CRP) as one of the earliest tenants of the park’s western expansion. 250
During the telecom industry diversification, ADTRAN stayed a step ahead of the game by providing exactly what the industry needed – when and where the needs emerged. This was particularly important as communications shifted at a rapid pace and moved from analog to digital technologies. To meet the sudden demand for equipment at the outset, ADTRAN quickly expanded its products to a full line of access equipment for service providers. As the enterprise network evolved, the company continued to lead the way by developing products for use at customer sites. Throughout every market transition, ADTRAN has preserved the ability to adapt quickly and lead the industry
The Patent Wall recognizes the individual inventors who have helped ADTRAN succeed. ADTRAN holds more patents than any
other company headquartered in the state and generates 60% more patents per research dollar than the industry average.
shifts – voice to data, data to internet, internet to gigabit, hardware to software. Every step of the way, the company has played a pivotal role in innovation within the industry.
Having such tremendous technical expertise deeply embedded within the company combined with young talent has generated an unequaled ability to remain the industry leader.
The Right People ADTRAN grew its product line and operational capability by maximizing its access to the rich population of some of the best and brightest engineers in the world – not only in the existing pool of Huntsville talent, but also by training the next generation of first-class employees through its co-op program. The company built an extensive student program by partnering with multiple universities with strong programs in engineering. From its inception, recruiting and retaining the highest caliber employees has been a hallmark of the company’s success. The more than 2,000 ADTRAN employees worldwide share the pioneering spirit of the founders, along with a constant quest for innovation – a corporate culture that has produced some of the greatest achievements possible. The Patent Wall standing proudly at corporate headquarters is a testament to the entrepreneurial nature of the company. It recognizes the individual inventors who have helped the company succeed. In fact, ADTRAN holds more patents than any other company headquartered in the state and generates 60% more patents per research dollar than the industry average.
Global Expansion Now a global company, with major R&D Centers in the United States, Germany and India, the company serves customers in 68 countries. The company’s ultimate goal in the new age of Gigabit communications is to enable communities around the world to accomplish new things by giving them the necessary infrastructure, regardless of where they are or the size of their communities. New Gigabit communications solutions are transforming the way people of the world live, work, and play by ensuring that everyone has access to the same advantages. As the demand increases for higher speeds and greater bandwidth, ADTRAN continues to be at the forefront of new technologies in the global broadband communications industry. This remarkable company will continue to define the way of the future by bringing the innovation of Huntsville to the world and the synergies of the world back to Huntsville. The right industry in the right place with the right people for the right reasons. ADTRAN. 251
Cutting-Edge Design Manufacturing and Service
rom manufacturing microwaves to establishing call center superiority – LG Electronics Alabama has been on the forefront of technology and service since the beginning Known first in Huntsville as GoldStar, Korea’s innovator of consumer electronics chose North Alabama as the site to establish its first overseas manufacturing complex to
LG’s initial enterprise proved highly successful, but as the business landscape changed, so did LG Electronics – this time, by transitioning from a manufacturing operation to the leading electronics service center for LG in North America. In the manner of excellence that surrounds LG Electronics, the company did not simply establish a call center; it transformed the Alabama facility to the epicenter of the best customer service in the industry. From Huntsville, LG employees now support the U.S. and Canada by managing the company’s service network – taking repair calls, routing service parts, and responding to needs in the most beneficial way to the customer. As it has always done with cutting-edge electronics design, LG defines the cutting edge of service through fullchannel integration including calls, chats, social media, and more – talking to the customer on the customer’s terms. Using more and more inventive techniques, LG Electronics Alabama manages multiple call centers scattered around the country and the region.
Specialized Services meet the demand for GoldStar microwaves, televisions, and videotapes throughout North, South, and Central America. Selecting the site followed extensive research of multiple locations throughout the country, but Huntsville proved to be the ideal choice. Many factors influenced the decision including a rail extension to the plant, the foreign trade zone, proximity to Huntsville International Airport and Interstate 65, access to quality parts and vendors, and availability of a well-trained workforce. Goldstar broke ground in June of 1981 and opened the first building in July of 1982.
With a host of unique corporate acronyms including BST (Business Support Technician), ACP (Advanced Care Program), and DMST (Direct Mobile Service Technician), LG Electronics works to gives its customers an unsurpassed ownership advantage. Always striving to shorten response time between the call and the final solution, employees work in an array of technology-managed divisions to reach all levels of the LG customer base. One division of the customer service team involves business-to-business support. Large corporate customers of products such as televisions, air conditioners, commercial monitors, digital signage, and solar panels require specific types of service as specialized as the products themselves. For instance, providing television service support for a global hotel chain involves applying expertise in integration with existing equipment, understanding specific characteristics of virtually countless cable and satellite providers, and evaluating many other variables as individual as each location. LG has the perfect solution – BSTs, or Business Support Technicians. By going to the large corporate customers and other businesses, BSTs are able to learn unique, essential details about each customer’s needs. Not only can the technicians resolve electronics equipment issues, but they can also educate the customers on the products they have and how to optimize operation of new and existing equipment. LG goes one step further and works to create customized software to improve integration for customer components. With the constant goal of making things as
seamless as possible, business and corporate customers reap the benefits through individualized solutions and LG’s other key differentiators in the service industry. Joining customized integration in business support is the ACP – LG’s Advanced Care Program that focuses on providing the most outstanding service available. This proactive advancement in service involves regular on-site visits to LG customers to examine all integrated equipment and find ways to improve product performance. For individual consumers, the applicable letters are DMST. The company arms its Direct Mobile Service Technicians with cutting-edge training, creating service experts in LG products with the latest technology. In addition, national GPS tracking systems provide real-time location data that allow team members in Alabama to dispatch the closest technician to a customer if tele-service solutions cannot correct the problem. With more than two decades of focus on improving service to all customers, LG has developed the most effective ways to serve the most customers with the quickest response time in the industry while always striving to improve.
The Future of LG Service
In its enduring quest for faster service and higher quality, LG will continue to engage new technology. Resolving an increasing number of issues remotely will enable giving more attention to every customer in a shorter amount of time. Technologies such as dedicated teleservice, remote diagnosis, mobile repair, and downloadable
Kyumoon Yu, President
apps for issue resolution will continue to increase in order to maximize efficiency and cost savings for customers. As for Alabama operations? LG Electronics will continue to build on the decades of excellence in the region while aspiring to set the standard for the very best customer service available anywhere in the world. Rest assured that LG Electronics will be on the cutting edge of the next innovation in customer service. Life’s Good.
Blazing Huntsville’s Technology Trail
n 1969, while Huntsville was engrossed in NASA’s Apollo program and the world watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon, a group of former IBM and NASA engineers founded a consulting company. This company would eventually become Intergraph Corporation and be a foundational part of Huntsville’s technology economy by leading the city’s development as a premier destination for high-tech, defense and aeronautics companies. Over the years, Intergraph transitioned from manufacturing computer hardware to developing software and was acquired in 2010 by Hexagon, a leading global provider of information technologies that drive quality and productivity across geospatial and industrial enterprise applications. Hexagon employs about 16,000 employees worldwide and approximately 1,200 in the Huntsville area. Its campus in Madison serves as the headquarters for its Process, Power & Marine and Safety & Infrastructure businesses. “As a global company specializing in geospatial and industrial enterprise technology, Hexagon has been able to build on the technical capabilities that have been here in Huntsville since 1969,” says Steven Cost, president, Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure. “Hexagon’s Huntsville-area office is a key location for developing market-leading software that is deployed around the globe.”
Reaching the Markets
Today, Hexagon (formerly Intergraph) Process, Power & Marine (PP&M) is the world’s leading provider of enterprise engineering software enabling smarter design and operation of plants, ships and offshore facilities. PP&M serves the manufacturing, shipbuilding, and oil and gas industries, as well as the building information market. Its software is used for design, construction and materials management functions. Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure provides software for public safety agencies, utility companies, transportation departments and other public and private-sector organizations. Its dispatching software for 911 call centers and first responders is a market leader, used across North America, Europe, and Asia by thousands of police, fire and emergency medical services departments.
Establishing a Landmark
While the company has long been a beacon in the local technology economy, its new office, which opened in 2014, established a physical landmark that will stand the test of time. The 232,000-square-foot, $58 million facility features state-of-the-art office space, as well as a coffee shop, the MegaBytes Café, lakeside terraces, a stocked lake, and other amenities. The campus also features a Wellness Center with softball, baseball and soccer fields and tennis courts. 254
“Our headquarters facility has become an important recruiting tool to attract top-notch employees, and it is becoming a hub of new development in the Madison area,” says Scott Moore, chief financial officer and chief operating officer, Hexagon PP&M. “The company has always been an integral part of the county’s growth, and we want to continue that into the future.”
An Innovative Family Enterprise
hat began as just an idea while three brothers waited for glue to dry grew to become a cutting-edge, high-tech company. By maximizing their talents, they are dedicated to solving complex problems for customers and using the latest innovations in engineering and electronics technology.
A Unique Beginning The Becnel brothers have always had a penchant for creating things and solving problems. As Mark and Daniel worked on building an airplane at an airshow in Oshkosh, they tossed around ideas for a future business. While the glue dried on the wing rib, they settled on calling their company “RadioBro” – a name that would apply to any electronics or other engineering venture. Twins Mark and Eric were graduate students in aerospace engineering at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and members of the Space Hardware Club. They spearheaded a project launching a small spacecraft, ChargerSat-1, which launched to orbit in 2013. Building on their experiences, their ideas were transformed into a commercial entity. Mark and Eric brought in their brother Daniel, who had a commercial aviation sales background, to create RadioBro. With Mark’s expertise in science and team management, Eric’s talent in embedded systems and generating new concepts, and Daniel’s business operations and development acumen, the Becnel brothers brought together a compelling team of employees to make their dream a reality. Four years after that day at the airshow, RadioBro opened for business.
Blazing New Trails in Miniature Electronics Using Huntsville’s knowledge base in space science and local production resources, RadioBro concentrated initially in the small spacecraft market with expertise in reliable, miniature electronics. The company soon added strong capability in aircraft applications and earned customer confidence by formulating pioneering answers to some of the toughest customer problems. Whether its software, electronics, production management, weather ballooning, new electronics for aircraft, or even a concept demonstration of RFID wireless tracking for the International Space Station, RadioBro works with its customer to understand the problem and create the most viable, cost-effective solution. Innovation is a way of life.
Mark and Eric Becnel, Michael Mercier / UAH
electronics systems to the highest standards at a responsive speed, generating complex systems to solve problems in days and weeks as opposed to months and years. Their products are replacing components that once required computer racks with solutions the size of cell phones -- more compact, more robust, more versatile, application-specific products that interface faster onto multiple platforms. This young company is moving product lines into the modern age and growing into a strong, multi-national organization while remaining part of the innovation hub of Huntsville. RadioBro – from a dream to reality. A company of talented brothers indeed.
Improving Speed and Size RadioBro’s advantages to customers are time-to-market and modern electronics solutions. The company develops 255
The Right Agility to Deliver
mall business flexibility. Large business understanding. A three-pronged approach. These are the elements of success for PPT Solutions and its customers.
Three Rights Having gained experience with direct government support, a small business, and a large business, President/ CEO Jim Reeb founded PPT Solutions in 2005 with support from Chief Administrative Officer Sandy Hill. The two entrepreneurs had one objective in mind – have the flexibility to take immediate action to deliver quality solutions for their customers. They knew providing the best solutions meant having agility, and that meant building a company based on three pillars. The right People. The right Processes. The right Technologies.
Getting Started Initially, the company provided a unique capability. As a team member on an existing contract, PPT helped define the organizational policy for software metrics and built processes and procedures around those metrics. For one year, Reeb and Hill kept operations small, traveling between customer locations and home offices. As demand increased, they needed formal offices to facilitate expanding the capability. New customers wanted software verification and validation support along with software safety evaluations – especially for aviation system software.
Adding More Rights Maintaining the right growth rate, PPT continued to subcontract. Reeb and Hill concentrated on steady progress and building a solid foundation of internal processes
to create the ability to deliver more support to more customers. In 2014, the company added the Department of Homeland Security to its customer base by becoming a prime contractor. Continuing to cultivate capability in software assurance and cyber security, PPT worked to increase software security to eliminate back-door vulnerability at the application level – a critical security measure more important than ever. Additionally, PPT collaborated with the customer to develop and implement a Software Airworthiness and Safety Lab – a project using a mathematical approach to proving the correctness, soundness, and safety of complex aviation software systems. PPT’s ultimate goal is to keep government assets safe and secure with improved software capability while protecting the aviators, passengers, and cargo.
The Right Priorities PPT Solutions keeps its priorities straight. Many times, the company makes key decisions with customer benefit in mind rather than corporate benefit – providing the best value for every service or product. Along with the right business decisions, PPT also makes the right choices in community involvement. Whether developing a custom software tool to help teachers get vital classroom supplies and volunteers for school programs, providing monetary support and sweat equity for many local non-profit organizations, or using expertise while serving on non-profit boards – the people of PPT are there to make a difference. The three prongs of People, Processes, Technology – the right elements working together to achieve optimum performance. Every time. 256
TELEDYNE BROWN ENGINEERING Innovation Everywhere You Look
rom missiles and rockets soaring through space to underwater vehicles gliding through the ocean, Teledyne Brown Engineering has been delivering innovative technologies from Huntsville for over 60 years. It is a company built on the foundation of making the world a better and safer place to live. Teledyne Brown Engineering’s inception began with Dr. Wernher von Braun’s quest for skilled engineers in the Huntsville area to support Redstone’s surface-to-surface missile development for the U.S. Army. The answer to this call was the formation of Alabama Engineering and Tool Company. Eventually under the forward thinking leadership of two executives, Milton Cummings and Joe Moquin, the company began and was the first tenant of Cummings Research Park. This business park continues to be one of the world’s leading science and technology research parks, is the second largest in the U.S. and fourth largest of its kind in the world. The company was later brought into the Teledyne Technologies family in 1967, giving them access to additional capabilities including extensive R&D resources, sophisticated instrumentation, advanced electronics, and cutting-edge digital imaging products to strengthen their full life cycle, world class engineering and advanced manufacturing capabilities. Teledyne Brown Engineering firmly believes in and adheres to its roots in the space and defense community. The company has supported essentially every major U.S. space initiative, beginning with Jupiter and extending through the Space Shuttle, International Space Station, and Constellation programs. Teledyne Brown Engineering is expanding its space innovations to commercial space with the Multi-User System for Earth Sensing (MUSES) Platform. This is the first Earth observation platform of its kind used to commercialize the International Space Station. The company also continues its heritage in our nation’s defense and has been involved in nearly every U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense program. Its technology-based solutions are supporting the DoD and Missile Defense communities worldwide on a daily basis.
Multi-User System for Earth Sensing (MUSES)
Teledyne Brown Engineering has built upon its experience and long-standing history providing advanced solutions in complex environments extending and evolving its capabilities over 60 years. Its high levels of quality standards and certifications allow the company to supply complex hardware and systems for the nuclear, renewables and energy industries. Teledyne Brown Engineering has also built a solid portfolio of advanced systems and hardware for marine applications, such as the Shallow Water Combat Submersible, the most recent Navy SEAL delivery vehicle. For over six decades, their strength in both systems engineering and advanced manufacturing has distinguished Teledyne Brown Engineering as a leader in providing innovative systems, integration, operations and advanced manufacturing solutions. From the depths of the ocean to the furthest reaches of space, Teledyne Brown Engineering continues to solve complex problems in complex places.
Shallow Water Combat Submersible 257
MADE IN HUNTSVILLE By Chris Welch
any successful companies have made Huntsville a hub for manufacturing and distribution in Alabama, not to mention a source of pride, income and employment for decades. Boeing, Teledyne Brown, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Lockheed Martin and Toyota Motor Manufacturing are just a few of our industrial stars. Now, Polaris, GE Aviation and Remington are being welcomed into Madison County with open arms, especially by the 35,000 or so who will gain employment from them being here. “This was part of the seven-year (growth) strategy,” Mayor Tommy Battle said. “We realized not everyone in Huntsville is a rocket scientist or engineer and we needed advanced skilled manufacturing jobs, too. We’ve had people like GE Aviation come in with over 300 jobs and Remington come with 2,000 jobs and Polaris came in with another 2,000 jobs. And every one of those jobs is a 2.5 multiplier, and creates 2.5 more jobs in the service industry. All those created about 35,000 jobs in north Alabama and south Tennessee.” “Huntsville is well-known for its high concentration of engineers, many of them working out at Redstone Arsenal, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, and Cummings Research Park,” said Alabama state Sen. Arthur Orr. “But Huntsville also boasts many advanced manufacturing companies, including Toyota and Remington Outdoor Co., the nation’s oldest firearms manufacturer. Polaris is a company who prides itself on its engineering prowess, so we all agree that they are a perfect fit for Huntsville.” GE Aviation, an operating unit for GE and the world-leading provider of jet engines, components and integrated systems for commercial and military aircraft, is investing more than $200 million to build two adjacent facilities on 100 acres in Huntsville. One will mass-produce silicon carbide materials – the first such operation in the U.S. – the other will manufacture unidirectional ceramic matrix composite tape for CMC components in jet engines and land-based gas turbines. When the factories are operational later this decade, they are expected to employ up to 300 people and grow the commercial manufacturing footprint in the aviation industry. “Establishing the new GE factories in Alabama is a very significant step in developing the supply chain we need in order to produce CMC components in large volume,” said Sanjay Correa, vice president, CMC Program at GE Aviation. GE Aviation is a natural fit for Huntsville, Battle said. “GE Aviation is an innovation company, and Huntsville is an innovation city. The announcement of GE Aviation is just the latest chapter in that history of innovation. The products that will be manufactured here represent the future of aerospace.” from left to right, Wayne Arrington, Gerald Clayton and Ryan MacKrell, all of The Boeing Company, work on setting up the avionics system in flight configuration in the Systems Integration and Test Facility at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. The units, which have powered up successfully and will undergo testing, will guide the most powerful rocket ever built -- NASA’s Space Launch System. (Photo courtesy Boeing)
GE Aviation, an operating unit for GE and the world-leading provider of jet engines, components and integrated systems for commercial and military aircraft, is investing more than $200 million to build two adjacent facilities on 100 acres in Huntsville. (Photo courtesy of GE)
Remington has been around for more than 200 years – since 1816 – and is the oldest firearms manufacturer in the country, but it’s new to Huntsville. The company expanded the old Chrysler building. “With the acquisition of this facility, we plan to create 2,000 jobs in Huntsville over the next decade,” said George Kollitides, chairman and CEO of Remington Outdoor Co. “This additional capacity is essential to fulfill demand and introduce new products.” Remington chose Huntsville over 24 other sites in its quest to find a suitable location for a 900,000-square-foot facility. Polaris, the leading producer of off-road vehicles, including all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles and sideby-side vehicles, is also new to Huntsville and will create up to 2,000 jobs over the next seven years. 260
The 600,000-square-foot facility comprises a capital investment of up to $142 million with the campus fully operational by 2017. Officials with Polaris said Huntsville was the ideal pick for its new facilities because of the city’s skilled workforce, a history of technology and innovation, existing utility infrastructure, and local, state and regional support. “Huntsville is located in close proximity to our customers. There is great talent to pull employees from, and Huntsville is located in a major transportation hub for easy in-and-out movement of production parts and completed products. The Legislative team in the area has worked well with us,” said Marlys Knutson, spokesman for Polaris. “We are very pleased with our decision to come to Huntsville. All of our expectations are being realized.” Polaris represents Huntsville’s first major advanced
Polaris, the leading producer of off -road vehicles, including all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles and side- by-side vehicles, is also new to Huntsville and will create up to 2,000 jobs over the next seven years. (Photo courtesy of Polaris / Alabama Department of Commerce)
opposite page: Huntsville’s Toyota plant is the only one to produce the
above: Many successful companies have made Huntsville a hub
4-cylinder, V6 and V8 engines under one roof, making it among the largest Toyota engine plants in the world. (Photo courtesy of TMMA)
for manufacturing and distribution in Alabama, including Aerojet Rocketdyne. (Photo courtesy of Aerojet Rocketdyne)
manufacturing project in the annexed areas of Limestone County. It provides another key facility in what has clearly emerged as a premier jobs corridor for the region. The magnitude of the Polaris facility is expected to draw more suppliers to the area, further diversifying Huntsville’s strong economic job base. It will also bring opportunities for existing businesses to earn work. “This new facility will complement our already strong and growing North American manufacturing footprint by reducing pressure on our existing facilities and enable each to remain focused on their current product lines as we continue to meet the demand for our innovative, quality products,” said Ken Pucel, a Polaris executive vice president.
The Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Alabama, Inc. plant broke ground in 2001 on Cottonvalley Drive in Huntsville. It employs approximately 1,370 employees and has distinguished itself not just in the U.S., but worldwide. For example, it’s the only Toyota plant to produce the 4-cylinder, V6 and V8 engines under one roof, making it among the largest Toyota engine plants in the world. Also, it’s one of only two designated “model sustainable plants” in North America, making it a benchmark for other Toyota facilities in environmental achievements. “We look to the Alabama plant as a leader. Every challenge it has faced, the team there exceeds any and all expectations,” said Osamu Ushio, executive vice president of operations and manufacturing, Toyota Motor 263
The engines produced at the plant go into seven Toyota vehicles built in North America: Camry (Americaâ€™s best-selling car), RAV4, Highlander, Sequoia, Tacoma, Tundra and Venza. (Photo courtesy of TMMA)
Teledyne Brown Engineering is the primary contractor supporting NASA’s critical payload operations integration function. (Photo courtesy of NASA/Emmett Given)
to the V6 production. That brings total plant investment to $864 million since the 2001 groundbreaking. The goal is for the Huntsville facility to become the “engine capital of the world.” Here are two reasons why expectations for Toyota Alabama are so high: The engines produced at the plant go into seven Toyota vehicles built in North America:
Photo courtesy of the Huntsville / Madison County Chamber of Commerce.
Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. “That is why we continue to invest so much into the facility. They have what it takes to be successful – a strong group of team members who are dedicated to quality and safety.” In the last 10 years, the plant has taken on five major investments and four expansions. In 2015, the plant completed a $230 million project that involved a boost
preceding pages: NASA Small Satellite Duo deploys from Space Station
above: Aerojet Rocketdyne is just one of Huntsville and Madison
into Earth Orbit. (Photo courtesy of NASA)
County’s industrial stars. (Photo courtesy of Aerojet Rocketdyne)
Camry (America’s best-selling car), RAV4, Highlander, Sequoia, Tacoma, Tundra and Venza. Spend two shifts in the plant, and you’ll see a lot of horsepower – nearly 2,500 engines are built each day with an annual capacity of 710,000 engines. Teledyne Brown Engineering was the first hightechnology firm established in Huntsville to assist Wernher von Braun and his rocket team in developing the Redstone rocket. Since 1953, Brown Engineering has supported essentially every major U.S. space initiative, beginning with Jupiter and extending through the space shuttle, International Space Station and Constellation programs. It has also provided services and specialty hardware for the European Space Agency and the Russian and Japanese space programs and is the primary contractor supporting NASA’s critical payload operations integration function as well as ongoing microgravity research and development efforts. Teledyne Brown is expanding the commercial side of its space business with the Multi-User System for Earth Sensing, or MUSES, an Earth-observation platform that will be installed on the exterior of the International Space Station and support
up to four remote sensing instruments or other payloads simultaneously. Boeing has been a low-cost, high-technology center of excellence responsible for advancements in science and engineering in Huntsville since 1962. The company has added a 7,000-square-foot research and technology facility, the Center for Applied Simulation and Analytics (CASA). This new lab space serves as a hub for Boeing, its research partners and academic collaborators to create and develop simulation and analytics technologies, providing advanced simulation of Boeing products from concepts through operations. “This lab will help us create flexible and affordable environments for modeling, simulation and analytics research,” said Steve Swaine, leader of the Boeing Research & Technology–Alabama research center and director of support and analytics technology. “Our goal is to bring the best and brightest in the support and analytics industry together in one location and give them all the tools they need to create the most effective simulations and analysis methods for validating new technologies.”
The facility consists of seven individual laboratories and a large collaboration center that provides an immersive environment for technology development and customer interaction. It takes advantage of Boeing’s extensive worldwide capabilities to enable geographically distributed teams to provide advanced math, analytics and simulation technology to improve the effectiveness and efficiency across the life cycle of Boeing products and services. “The growth in BR&T-Alabama shows that Huntsville is a leader in technological advancement,” Mayor Battle said. “Advanced analytics skills are needed to create the next-generation capabilities in aerospace. With up to 300 jobs opening up over the next two years, Boeing is capitalizing on the talent, ability and incredibly educated workforce we have in Huntsville, further demonstrating why Huntsville is a great destination for talented engineers and technicians.” The BR&T–Alabama research center includes metals and fracture technology, chemical technology and many new or expanded labs, such as radio frequency systems, advanced systems integration, vehicle management systems integration, composites lab and advanced electromechanical technologies. For over five decades, Boeing in Huntsville has been involved in space technology, systems engineering and missile defense. The company worked on programs
such as the Saturn S-1C booster rocket that delivered man to the moon, the Lunar Roving Vehicle that allowed astronauts to explore the moon’s surface, the International Space Station and U.S. troop support through performance-based logistics. So, what draws these advanced manufacturing companies to Huntsville? “Our infrastructure and our 18-minute commute are two of the reasons,” Battle said. “A 36-minute road trip is a lot better than the two-hour trip you have in places like Atlanta and other big cities. As Ed Heffernan with Polaris said when he looked at our 10-year capital plan, ‘We saw that you (the city) were investing in (yourself ) with $450 million in roads over the next 10 years.’ “That’s part of the infrastructure we maintain so Polaris will continue to have good roads to transport their product. Also, companies look at things like the art museum, symphony, quality of life and also the cost of living. Boeing saved $400 million by moving their engineers here from Seattle. You compete for engineers just like anything else. Also, it’s good to have the educational side, not only for the employees’ children but also the colleges to educate the labor needed.” below: Boeing has been a low-cost, high-technology center
of excellence responsible for advancements in science and engineering in Huntsville since 1962. (Photo courtesy of Boeing)
DRS TECHNOLOGIES | Leading the Way in Electronics D
RS Technologies is simply astounding – from its fascinating history to its range of electronics capabilities. As one of the oldest companies in Huntsville, they have helped shape the business landscape and stayed on the cutting edge of technology products and research with a solid commitment to superior solutions.
Beginnings with Redstone The company’s Huntsville history goes back six decades to 1952, making it one of Huntsville’s oldest corporate residents, when DRS Technologies was the Chrysler Corporation with headquarters in Detroit. The Army Ballistic Missile Agency needed expertise in building complicated electronics solutions from product design through testing to manufacturing the final product – the Redstone rocket. Who better than a successful auto manufacturer with the most advanced electronics capability of the time? Chrysler sent a team of 50 to establish offices in Huntsville and accept the challenge of working to engineer, develop, integrate, and test the new rocket. The company ultimately manufactured 128 Redstone missiles – a great achievement that proved to be a defining strategic asset for the nation’s defense. The success of the Redstone rocket led to the company’s support of the Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided (TOW) anti-tank missile program and to manufacturing more than 10,000 of the critical guided missiles for Redstone Arsenal. This weapon has continued to
stand the test of time through modifications and upgrades and is still one of the most important weapons worldwide. Because of extreme versatility in launching from the ground, vehicles, and helicopters, TOW missiles remain in service 270
in more than 45 militaries integrated on more than 15,000 platforms across the globe. With such stellar performance on Army missile programs, Chrysler also earned prominent participation in the nation’s evolving spaceflight program, as the early Mercury spacecraft used Redstone rockets as boosters to launch the capsules into orbit. From there, the company became more integrated into a wide variety of NASA’s activities and served as the prime contractor for the Saturn 1B, profoundly impacting the future of manned spaceflight. At the end of the Apollo program, company employment dropped from 1,800 to 120. Engineers turned their attention to designing radios, dash clusters and other automotive electronics – a move that resulted in a large Huntsville-based automotive supplier for more than 40 years. The company also returned to supporting defense programs through electronics testing and diagnostics with the M1 Abrams armored vehicle program. The Huntsville operation evolved along with the armored combat technology and continued to grow. In 1997, the division separated from Chrysler to continue its focus on defense opportunities. Several name and ownership changes followed, including acquisition by Veritas Capital in 1999, IDT in 2001, and finally DRS Technologies in 2003.
Staying Power Throughout the many changes in corporate ownership and identities, the foundation of superior service has remained constant. By keeping the needs of customers and employees at the forefront, DRS emerged with an expertly trained and experienced workforce that boasts an overall employee retention rate of 95% and where nearly 30% of the employees have 30 years of service or more. Preserving the knowledge base and specialized skill sets has allowed DRS Huntsville to maintain long-term customer relationships while meeting the demands of new electronics systems development. Other mature programs have sustained viability through multiple upgrades, which have extended product life cycles and maximized investment. For decades, DRS has played a dual role on a wide range of electronic systems for combat and tactical vehicles. When developing new systems, each successive generation has been smaller, more capable, and less expensive than its predecessors and created increased flexibility and functionality. At the same time, the company has also developed, fielded, and supported advanced diagnostics systems that can also be retrofitted to maintain vehicles with older technology. In both cases, the systems have reduced the cost for the Army’s combat vehicle fleet.
The company was also a leader in hybrid powertrain development for the Army and still builds vehicular electric power systems that allow a medium-sized truck to generate enough power for a small street of houses. As the Army’s energy requirements develop, DRS advances solutions right along with them. The staying power comes from a constant state of evolution grounded in longevity and workforce stability. Products, technology, and business policies all advance to meet the changing demands of the business base – the company can turn on a dime to modernize and enhance products whenever and wherever needed. Agility and adaptability keep DRS at the forefront of electronics readiness for ultimate warfighter support.
What’s Ahead A move to new facilities in Redstone Gateway gave DRS Huntsville increased capability with state-of-the-art labs, vehicle research and integration bays, prototype production facilities, and unique collaboration spaces for teams to focus on new product development or time-sensitive tasks. With ability to accommodate all phases of product life cycles, DRS Huntsville can go from concept to design all the way through full-rate production. While DRS Technologies is a large global company, the Huntsville operation alone is large enough to carry extensive capability, but small enough to maintain flexibility in supporting the ever-changing demands of the battlespace. By building on the successful technology applications of the past, this corporate division can move its products into the next phase with innovations critical to Huntsville and the nation’s future. For more information about DRS Technologies, please visit www.drs.com. 271
TOYOTA MOTOR MANUFACTURING ALABAMA A Gem for Huntsville
t began as “Project Diamond”– the economic development code name given this major manufacturing opportunity. Even as elected and business leaders came together to help bring the sensational project to fruition, it was hard to know just how priceless this diamond really was. It would bring extensive economic benefit to the community, region, and state and would prove to be virtually unmatched in so many areas. Since establishing in Huntsville in 2001, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama has become not only a major economic engine for North Alabama, but has also come to be known as Toyota’s “Engine Capital of the World.” This designation puts Huntsville in a class by itself because it is the only plant in Toyota’s vast global network to build 4-cylinder, V6, and V8 engines under one roof – a product of sustained growth and systematic commitment to the region. Over the course of five major investments totaling more than $864 million since breaking ground, the company has created in excess of 1,300 local direct jobs. Employees come from roughly 20 different counties in Alabama and Tennessee representing 14 countries, 32 U.S. states, and represent 20 different languages spoken, creating a team that is diversity at its best. That team of diversity, ingenuity, and dedication to excellence has propelled Toyota Alabama to the forefront by shipping to six of seven Toyota plants in North America and building engines for eight of the twelve vehicles built in North America including Canada and Mexico – all from
a 200-acre campus with 1.1 million square feet in North Huntsville. Local company executives credit the community for providing the right environment. The general manager of administration explained, “Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama is proud to call Huntsville home. Local elected officials and economic development organizations support a business-friendly climate that has encouraged our continued growth and development.” In addition to fueling economic growth for the region, Toyota also leads in corporate citizenship across North Alabama through innovative programs in workforce development, environmental sustainability, and community involvement. Specifically, • Growing a qualified pipeline of skilled technicians by partnering with Calhoun Community College and other businesses to bring a successful manufacturing training program to Alabama. • Focusing award-winning environmental sustainability efforts to become the first zero landfill plant as well as one of two model sustainable Toyota plants in North America. • Giving back to the region through volunteering, donating over $5 million to local non-profit organizations, and serving on community boards. From the very first days of this exceptional economic development project, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama has proven to be a jewel with many facets for Huntsville, and its brilliance continues to shine.
273 Photo courtesy of Sierra Nevada Corporation
TRANSPORTATION & UTILITIES
GLOBAL CONNECTIVITY By Mark McCarter
he desire and necessity of rapid communication and effective connectivity is as old as mankind itself. As the globe grows smaller, that communication becomes increasingly more important. As we grow smarter and more innovative as a people, that connectivity becomes increasingly more remarkable. Huntsville, in its role as a medium-sized city with an enormous place on the global scale, is at the forefront of communication and connectivity, for both its businesses and its citizens. Huntsville has joined an exclusive fraternity as a “Gig City” with its initiative to deliver high-speed broadband through an elaborate fiber-optic system, stressing its affordable cost to subscribers. The system will provide Internet service that can be up to 100 times faster than systems previously in use. But it’s more than just a way to help people download cat videos and check Facebook more quickly. The fiber optics will bring a more effective operation for logistics and safety, from traffic lights to emergency services. To compare, typical in-home Internet service has a bandwidth speed of somewhere between 10 and 20 megabits per second. With Internet Fiber to the Home, it will grow to at least 50 to 100 megabits per second and beyond to 1 gigabit per second. The Gig City plan was unveiled by Mayor Tommy Battle in 2014, though the city had been involved in laying fiber-optic lines for nearly two decades. Although some critics questioned the appropriateness of the city’s active involvement in the process, Harrison Diamond, the city’s business affairs officer, offered a logical response: “What is the government good at doing? Building infrastructure. Fiber today is no less an infrastructure need than roads, water, sewer and electricity.” “Fiber to the home is the Internet infrastructure for the 21st century,” Battle said. “It will become the benchmark for cities vying for talent.”
Huntsville, in its role as a medium-sized city with an enormous place on the global scale, is at the forefront of communication and connectivity, for both its businesses and its citizens. (Photo courtesy of the Port of Huntsville)
Gig City is a partnership between the City of Huntsville and Huntsville Utilities. The utilities company invested $55 million to $60 million in building the network, with a four-year plan to be able to reach all its customers. Unlike utility companies in other cities that launched similar projects, Huntsville Utilities is not in the Internet service provider business. It is simply leasing its dark fiber to other companies. That decision reflects its financial commitment to its customers in two ways. One, leasing the fiber-optic lines defrays the project costs and keeps them from being passed along to the customer. Two, as numerous providers will utilize the system to serve their customers, the competitive marketplace will keep prices lower. After Huntsville Utilities installed its first fiber-optic line early in the 21st century, the company quickly recognized the need to further expand their fiber network to meet rapidly growing data and communication needs. As they build this vital network, Huntsville will have excess dark fiber capacity that will be available for lease by interested parties, such as Google Fiber.
above: Huntsville Utilities is the entity responsible for
installation and maintenance of the fiber-optic lines. (Photo courtesy of Huntsville Utilities) right: The Gig City plan was unveiled by Mayor Tommy
Battle in 2014, though the city had been involved in laying fiber-optic lines for nearly two decades. (Photo courtesy of the Alabama Department of Commerce)
Google, long synonymous with Internet activity, announced in the summer of 2015 a new presence in North Alabama. The company is building a $600 million data center in Stevenson, an hour east of Huntsville. The call center will be on the site of TVA’s Widow’s Creek Fossil Plant, a 63-year-old facility that was being retired as TVA shifted its emphasis from coal-powered operations. 278
Then Google Fiber, a high-speed Internet and television provider, went all-in as the first major player in Huntsville’s Gig City advancement. “Our citizens need and deserve competitive opportunities for connectivity with the highest possible speeds at the lowest possible cost,” Battle said. “Google Fiber is committed to the same goal.”
“While we welcome Google Fiber, our network will be open to incumbent providers and new companies,” Diamond said. “In the end, we believe this dark fiber model will encourage more providers to enter our market. More providers mean more competition, and that means better prices and better services for customers.” As the entity responsible for installation and maintenance of the fiber-optic lines, Huntsville Utilities has a new challenge and opportunity for an historic company. Within 18 years after John Hunt founded the city on the site of Big Spring in 1805, the Huntsville Waterworks was founded, the first public water system in the state. It was sold to the city in 1858; then in 1887 the city began delivering electrical service. From those bases has grown a company of more than 600 employees that serves, according to September 2015 figures, 179,380 electric customers, 92,919 water customers and 51,277 gas customers. It has been an award-winning operation for its clean water, customer service, safety and financial stability. The source of power in the Huntsville area has primarily been the hydroelectric network of Tennessee Valley Authority, but private enterprise has been leading the way for more sustainable energy such as solar power. TVA reached a power-purchase agreement with a solar farm in northwest Alabama, and part of its agreement with Google for the Stevenson facility is for the use of sustainable energy. Various Huntsville companies have begun building solar farms or providing solar panels to individual customers. Redstone Arsenal is at the forefront of the city’s mega-industries, announcing a 66-acre solar farm that will provide 18,000 megawatt hours per year. left: Google is building a $600 million data center in Stevenson, an hour east of Huntsville. (Photo
courtesy of Google / Alabama Department of Commerce) below: Huntsville has joined an exclusive fraternity as a “Gig City” with its initiative to deliver
high-speed broadband through an elaborate fiber-optic system, stressing its affordable cost to subscribers.
above: Huntsville International Airport serves a vital role in travel and
connectivity. Whether it be through fiber-optic lines or jets, the entire globe is within easy reach of Huntsville. (Photo courtesy of the Port of Huntsville) left: Huntsville International Airport serves more than one million customers annually with non-stop flights to nine other cities from which connections may be made to every major airport in the world. (Photo courtesy of the Port of Huntsville)
While high speed Internet enables Huntsvilleâ€™s citizens and companies to instantly connect with others nationally and internationally, there remains the obvious demand for face-to-face communication. Business must still often be conducted in person. Traveling from Point A to Point B is an essential part of connectivity, whether that means traveling across town or around the world. On the local level, transportation infrastructure has been a high priority. Huntsvillians have seen far too many neighboring cities become a transportation equivalent to dial-up Internet when it comes to moving their people around. A major point of emphasis for Battle is â€œquality of life,â€? and that includes the amount of time commuters must spend traveling to and from work. The average Huntsville commute is less than 20 minutes. Keeping that travel time at a minimum means more time at home, more productivity at work and less impact on the environment. To address existing challenges and be proactive against future challenges, Huntsville 281
developed a Restore Our Roads partnership with Alabama’s Department of Transportation. It is a $250 million, decade-long plan funded by the state and a one-cent city sales tax increase implemented in 2014, developed primarily to widening and improving roads and bridges that are most heavily traveled. The expansion of communities into far-reaching parts of the area created a demand for what were two-lane country roads in the late 1990s to become major thoroughfares in the 2010s. Funneling 35,000 employees daily onto Redstone Arsenal is a constant challenge. Traffic connectivity is a piece of “The BIG Picture,” an ambitious, citizen-fueled initiative that best positions Huntsville for the future. A number of town hall meetings have been held in which residents voice their opinions on what they’d like to see in the city’s evolution, how they’d like to see business space most efficiently developed and the environment in which they want to live. Studies show, despite the urge for broad connectivity, a trend toward more insulated, self-sufficient neighborhoods, in which residents can live, work and play. Dennis Masden, the city’s manager of urban and long-range planning, says, “I like to make sure that we plan in the three prongs: that you take care of market, you take care of land use and you take care of transportation. All three of those are very inter-related.” Much of the citizens’ input on The BIG Picture has been on the latter, to encourage not only road improvements but more efficient rapid transit – a monorail from downtown to Cummings Research Park, a high-speed train to Birmingham. It’ll be interesting to see what the future holds there in the complicated dance between imagination and economic reality.
above: The Port of Huntsville remains
the major national and global gateway into the area, through both Huntsville International Airport and the International IntermodalCenter, through which air and rail cargo is moved. (Photo courtesy of the Port of Huntsville) opposite page: Various Huntsville
companies have begun building solar farms or providing solar panels to individual customers. Redstone Arsenal is at the forefront of the city’s megaindustries, announcing a 66-acre solar farm that will provide 18,000 megawatt hours per year. (Photo courtesy of Team Redstone)
The Port of Huntsville remains the major national and global gateway into the area, through both Huntsville International Airport and the International Intermodal Center, through which air and rail cargo is moved. The latter is a U.S. Customs Port of Entry and has been ranked in the top 15 in the United States for international cargo. 284
Huntsville International Airport serves more than one million customers annually with nonstop flights to nine other cities from which connections may be made to every major airport in the world. A recent capital improvement project enhanced customer service, parking and modernized the facility that first opened in 1967. The airport is ranked in the top 100 in the nation,
and though the majority of its travel is business-related, airport officials have worked continuously to bring lowcost carriers to the city to better serve leisure travel. Air travel, like the Internet, is all about speed and efficiency. Huntsville International Airport serves a vital role in travel and connectivity. Whether it be through
fiber-optic lines or jets, the entire globe is within easy reach of Huntsville. above: Traffic connectivity is a piece of â€œThe BIG Picture,â€? an ambitious,
citizen-fueled initiative that best positions Huntsville for the future. (Photo by Eric Schultz)
THE PORT OF HUNTSVILLE T
he Port of Huntsville bridges Huntsville, Alabama to countries all over the world and makes this a highly sought after location for businesses, industries and travelers alike. Home to the Huntsville International Airport (HSV), Jetplex Industrial Park (JIP) and the International Intermodal Center (IIC), the Port of Huntsville creates efficient and economical solutions for customers and helps stimulate the local economy through a strong transportation infrastructure, global connectivity and innovative improvements.
Economic Growth The Port of Huntsville plays a major role in the economic growth and development of the Tennessee Valley region. A large factor helping to stimulate growth is the Jetplex Industrial Park, centrally located in one of the fastest growing high technology communities in the United States. From this strategic southeastern location, the 4,000-acre JIP offers a rare combination of air, rail and truck transportation,
as well as a high-quality workforce available within a 50-mile / 45-minute commuting radius throughout North Alabama and portions of southern Tennessee. The Jetplex Industrial Park is an ideal location for companies focusing on automotive suppliers, electronics, aviation/aerospace, office and lab, aircraft MRO, unmanned aerial systems and warehouse or distribution centers. With on-site U.S. Customs and Border Protection and ForeignTrade Zone No. 83, the Port of Huntsville’s Jetplex Industrial Park offers an inviting and lucrative solution to customers looking to relocate, or expand operations.
Connecting On A Global Scale The International Intermodal Center, located in the Port of Huntsville’s Global Logistics Park, provides a single hub location specializing in receiving, transferring, storing and distributing international and domestic cargo via air, rail and highway. The IIC rail terminal is served by Norfolk Southern, with dedicated stacktrain service to and from both east coast and west coast ports. U.S. Customs and Border Protection port inspectors, USDA inspectors, freight forwarders and customs brokers are all located on-site. Highly accessible via the interstate highway system, the Port of Huntsville is strategically located to serve the Tennessee Valley region and beyond. Huntsville International Airport is ranked as the 16th, among United States airports for international air cargo volume. This is due largely to the partnership that has lasted over 25 years between the Port of Huntsville and Panalpina. “Our partnership with Panalpina is a vital component in marketing the city of Huntsville for economic development in the global arena,” said Richard Tucker, Executive Director of the Port of Huntsville. Cargo carriers located at HSV are Atlas Air, Cargolux Airlines, Federal Express, Panalpina and UPS. This high-tech air cargo market is served by domestic and international all-cargo carriers. International nonstop service is available to Europe, Mexico, Hong Kong and Sao Paulo, Brazil. With nearly 300,000 square feet for receiving, storing, transferring and distributing domestic and international air cargo, Huntsville International Airport is a prime location for international air cargo services. HSV offers nationwide pickup and delivery service, ground support equipment, 5,250 and 11,000 square feet of cold storage space and operates 24 hours a day.
Innovation Jetplex Industrial Park offers an ideal setup for customers looking to relocate, or expand operations. Photo by: The McComm Group / Freedom Light Productions
Huntsville International Airport constantly strives to stay in the forefront of aviation technology. In 2015, HSV became the first airport in the southeast to begin incorporating glass jet bridges. A jet bridge is the passenger’s first or
final experience at an airport. “Airports play a key role as a provider of connectivity,” said Mark Jones, President of ThyssenKrupp Airport Systems. ”We are proud to premier the ThyssenKrupp Apron Drive Crystal Bridge at the Huntsville International Airport. The cutting-edge design offers a visually appealing look while continuing to simultaneously deliver a strategic security element.” More technology helping passengers at HSV is the electronic boarding passes. Accepted by all airlines, as well as at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening checkpoint at HSV, electronic boarding passes allow passengers to check-in with their smart phones, eliminating the need for paper tickets. This technology validates the authenticity of the boarding passes of airline passengers while also heightening the ability to detect fraudulent boarding passes, improving customer service and reducing paper use.
HSV Moves You Huntsville International Airport is the largest commercial airport in North Alabama, serving more than 1.2 million passengers annually. HSV is known throughout its 18-county service region for outstanding customer service, state-of-the-art technology and convenience. Unlike larger metropolitan areas, the airspace at HSV is uncongested and allows for faster landing and take-off times. HSV has nonstop service to nine destinations, including Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston and two airports in Washington D.C. – Dulles and
In 2015, Huntsville International Airport became the first airport in the southeast to begin incorporating glass jet bridges. Photo by: The McComm Group / Freedom Light Productions
National. The airport is quick and easy to navigate, and very convenient to all the attractions and businesses located in North Alabama. Major capital improvements to the baggage claim area, parking deck, public waiting, security check-in and Four Points by Sheraton Hotel – all help to make the traveler’s experience at HSV more enjoyable. Fly Smart. Fly HSV!
The partnership between the Port of Huntsville and Panalpina, that has lasted more than 25 years, makes HSV the 16th largest airport in the United States for international air cargo freight. Photo by: The McComm Group / Freedom Light Productions 287
THE SEEDS OF INNOVATION By Mark McCarter
rive west from downtown Huntsville on I-565 and you’ll see the enormous Saturn V rocket to your left, a reminder of the city’s legacy in space exploration. A few more miles and you’ll pass Huntsville International Airport. Perhaps coming in for a landing is a commercial flight from Washington, D.C., or a cargo plane that began its route halfway around the globe. Not far from there, buzzing low and loud like some giant yellow insect, comes another plane, swooping and then suddenly rising, circling and swooping again on a rollercoaster ride that comes so close to the ground you feel as if you could reach up and touch it. In a quick aerial display, you find the essence of greater Huntsville and Madison County. Yes, there is the space history. Yes, there are the ties that make it a global community. But with a simple, single-engine, crop-duster airplane, there is the reminder of the area’s vibrant role in the agricultural world. “As we continue to grow in Madison County and welcome new businesses and new neighbors, we need to remember our heritage,” said Dale Strong, chairman of the Madison County Commission. “One of the best benefits that agriculture has given our county is the leadership and their collection of backgrounds and experiences in agriculture. They are a major part of why our area is so special.” One in every nine members of the Madison County workforce is involved in agribusiness. There are more than 1,100 farms in the county, though the number may be somewhat deceptive as it includes hobbyist farms and others that are not the primary source of income for the owners. Nonetheless, of the 515,149 acres in Madison County, farmland consumes nearly 200,000 acres and timberland more than 177,000 acres. Madison County farmers benefit from topography that is more generous than other counties in North Alabama. Though Huntsville is watched over by the long ridge of Monte Sano and Green Mountain, the area is relatively flat as it spills toward the Tennessee River or stretches toward the Tennessee line, especially compared to the mountainous areas of Marshall County to the south or Jackson County to the east.
One in every nine members of the Madison County workforce is involved in agribusiness and there are more than 1,100 farms in the county. 289
Madison County farmers benefit from topography that is more generous than other counties in North Alabama. (Photo by Eric Schultz)
According to the most recent figures from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, agribusiness had a $1.8 billion annual economic impact in Madison County with 25,061 workers employed in the industry. As agriculture is a $40 billion business in Alabama annually, Huntsville and the surrounding environs make a significant contribution. With growing synergy between agriculture and hightech and the expansion of companies like Aviagen – the world’s largest poultry breeding company, whose world headquarters are in Huntsville’s Cummings Research Park
“One of the best benefits that agriculture has given our county is the leadership and their collection of backgrounds and experiences in agriculture. They are a major part of why our area is so special.” Dale Strong 291
Agriculture has a promising future, a vibrant present and a past that has been crucial to the area. (Photo courtesy of Tennessee Valley Research and Extension Center)
– those numbers are expected to increase in decades to come. Agriculture has a promising future, a vibrant present and a past that has been crucial to the area. “Agriculture has always played a major role in the economy of Madison County,” Strong said. “When new settlers came to the county in the early 1800s, they looked for fertile ground and flowing water to establish their new homes. They were able to find both in Madison County.” Cotton has long been considered Alabama’s preeminent cash crop, and the greater Huntsville area has a long past, present and future wrapped up in cotton. For decades, Huntsville was a self-sufficient cotton town. The crop grew throughout the area, then was refined and made into textile products at a number of large mills. It was traded in businesses that surrounded the courthouse square just above Big Spring, where Huntsville was founded. The mills are long closed, but the cotton industry, even without the mills, remains vigorous. One in every 292
13 bales of cotton produced in Alabama comes from Madison County. It’s first in the state in production, with 48,400 bales produced, according to the most recent statistics. Madison County may have a national reputation for being a mid-South version of Silicon Valley, but it’s still 82nd in the nation in cotton production, according to National Cotton Council figures. However, cotton is hardly the only major cash crop in the area. Huntsville is No. 1 in Alabama in corn production (4,659,000 bushels) and No. 2 in soybeans (2,372,000 bushels). With some 19,400 head of cattle, Madison County is 25th in the state. The land itself is valuable. At $23.50 per acre in pasture rental, that’s well above state average, and its $66.50 per acre for non-irrigated cropland is seventh-best in the state, and $13 above average. “It was King Cotton, and I don’t mean dating back to the 1800s,” began Mark Hall, the extension specialist at the Tennessee Valley Research and Extension Center.
One in every 13 bales of cotton produced in Alabama comes from Madison County. It’s first in the state in production, with 48,400 bales produced, according to the most recent statistics. (Photo courtesy of Tennessee Valley Research and Extension Center)
Huntsville-based Aviagen powers the poultry industry. (Photo courtesy of Aviagen)
“I mean, as recently as 2005, it was cotton, cotton, cotton, cotton everywhere.” Then, as Hall explained, in 2008, grain prices rose. There was a four-fold increase in corn prices as cotton remained steady “and farmers shifted from cotton to corn and soybeans.” There was a pleasing collateral benefit to that. Wildlife increased. Deer, eagles, hawks and other animals found edible plants – yes, sometimes to the frustration of farmers – rather than cotton, and “they were able to thrive and reproduce,” Hall said. The extension center is located in Belle Mina, a small community in the eastern part of Limestone County, only a few miles from Madison County and the portions of Huntsville that stretch into Limestone. The Belle Mina property was donated to Auburn University (then Alabama Polytechnic Institute) in the 1930s to be a research farm. 293
According to the most recent figures from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, agribusiness has a $1.8 billion annual economic impact in Madison County with 25,061 workers employed in the industry. (Photo (above) by Eric Schultz and (left) Sarah Belanger) opposite page: With some 19,400
head of cattle, Madison County is 25th in the state. (Photo courtesy of Alabama Cattlemanâ€™s Association)
above: With the use of satellites and GPS-enabled equipment –
opposite page: Of the 515,149 acres in Madison County, farmland
that NASA and our military defense neighbors have put in space – farmers depend on that equipment almost as much as the rain.
consumes nearly 200,000 acres and timberland more than 177,000 acres. (Photo courtesy of AFA)
(Photo courtesy of Dynetics)
“We do plots, and we look at all kinds of different agricultural practices,” Hall said. “We look at irrigation and how to time irrigation and what crops to plant and how to grow them. We look at different fertility methods to use to get different yields. Anything you can think of.” The results are published, and the center is used as a clearinghouse for information. As Hall said, “We let farmers know, ‘Here’s how you can improve your production and make a better living.” Despite the vast differences between two of the Huntsville area’s most historic and prominent industries – space exploration and agriculture – there’s a synergy between the two. No longer is the Farmer’s Almanac 296
the Bible for weather and crop advice. Technology built and perfected in the area is a boon to agriculture. Satellites whose launch was facilitated in the area offer data. HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, known primarily for its work with the human genome in the medical spectrum, has been a national leader in improving crops through genomic research. “There’s a book called ‘The Rational Optimist’ about how technology makes things better,” Hall said. “It is getting better, in a variety of ways, to help farmers.” “It’s interesting how the new economy drivers of the 21st century continue to help our heritage of agriculture,” Strong said. “NASA has helped change the way we farm.
opposite page: Agriculture is a $40 billion business in Alabama annually
above: HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, known primarily for
and Huntsville and the surrounding environments make a significant contribution. (Photo by Eric Schultz)
its work with the human genome in the medical spectrum, has been a national leader in improving crops through genomic research. (Photo courtesy of HudsonAlpha)
With the use of satellites and GPS-enabled equipment – that NASA and our military defense neighbors have put in space – farmers depend on that equipment almost as much as the rain.” Farmers still look to the sky to see what the weather will bring, but it’s a much more distant vantage point from which they are advised on even greater matters. It’s a device launched by rockets that tells the farmers when and where to plant and tells a crop duster when and where it’s best to fly. It’s called “precision ag” in the business. As important as any option on a piece of farm equipment is a GPS tracking system. As important as anything in a farmer’s home or office is a computer that records the most productive pieces of land, “to know how much you’re getting per acre and where the good spots are and where the bad spots are,” Hall said. “Now you can go back to the exact point. You have GPS coordinates. Instead of ‘Turn where the big tree use to be,’ you plug it in and go right to it.”
Technology enables researchers at the experimental station at Belle Mina to speed up the process. A project that may have taken three or four years in the past to collect enough data to make recommendations to farmers has been cut to a comparative hiccup of time, “and every year it gets better and better and there’s more potential,” Hall said. But every year, Huntsville and Madison County get bigger and bigger in population growth and development. The area of farmland is shrinking, surrendering to subdivisions and shopping centers. Once again, though, technology comes into play. “Precision ag” can assure a higher yield on fewer acres. To be both rational and optimistic, the industry of agriculture that was at the core of the area’s past seems assured to be just as vibrant and productive in its future.
Poultry Innovation Starts Here
recent article in Bloomberg Business touted Huntsville as one of the cities that will “power” the U.S. economy. In the same way that Huntsville powers the economy through abundant high-tech talent and businesses that benefit from it, Huntsville-based Aviagen powers the poultry industry. Also, in the same way that Huntsville began as an ordinary cotton farming community, Aviagen also took root from humble beginnings. Its original brand emerged in 1923 when two Connecticut farmers pieced together their first chicken house from a discarded piano crate. Today, Aviagen is the world’s leading poultry breeding company, providing premier breeding stock to commercial chicken producers on virtually every continent. The company benefits the poultry industry with extensive experience and knowledge, as well as a commitment to continuous innovation. These qualities converge in a foremost class of robust, top-quality breeding birds that customers have come to rely on.
Global reach, local touch Since its humble origins, Aviagen has flourished into a thriving global enterprise. It employs more than 4,000 culturally and linguistically diverse people from 40 countries. Because they work and live in the local communities, Aviagen’s employees are fully in tune with the regions they serve and have a special interest in their success. Whether supporting a small hatchery in rural Alabama or a major production base in Europe, Aviagen offers world-class service with a personal touch.
achievement. Additionally, its specialty breeding stock portfolio meets an array of market requirements. This variety in breeding stock offers product choices to fit unique needs, whether the customer’s end use is the fast food or retail market.
Breeding innovation Aviagen invests heavily in R&D, with significant annual contributions to breeding research. The consistent focus of this research is poultry health and well-being, bird performance, disease resistance, biosecurity and environmental responsibility. Birds are cared for in facilities and hatcheries built to rigorous modern standards and incorporating state-of-the-art technology and equipment. Steady gains in the proficiency of Aviagen birds are realized through a balanced selection program. Genetic experts simultaneously select specific broiler (meat type chicken) and breeder traits that have direct market benefits, including feed efficiency, high meat yield, favorable growth rate and livability. The end result is strong, healthy birds with distinguished performance.
All the right people Choice in variety Aviagen’s popular commercial brands – Arbor Acres®, Indian River® and Ross® – are the most trusted names in the poultry industry and each has a proven record of 300
Aviagen’s global team of veterinarians, geneticists, nutritionists and hatchery specialists are the most educated and experienced in the industry. Complementing this expert team is world-class customer service, driven by highly skilled, innovative and caring people. It is this spirit of care that earns the loyalty of Aviagen customers across the globe.
Care for poultry
Aviagen: Innovation with care
Aviagen goes above and beyond to ensure the overall health and welfare of its birds. Strict welfare policies and procedures meet and exceed those set by industry organizations. Progressive improvements in nutrition and environmental management stimulate performance, while at the same time optimizing the health and comfort of the birds. Due to intense biosecurity standards, Aviagen products are trusted globally. In fact, Aviagen UK became the first breeding company to be awarded compartment status by the World Organization for Animal Health. This means, in the event of an outbreak of bird illness, its facilities are approved for safe and secure global poultry exportation to countries that recognize compartmentalization.
Aviagen leads the way in supplying the world with healthy and robust poultry breeding stock. Working with customers and distributors, it makes continuous progress toward meeting dynamic market demands. Through infinite innovation, Aviagen raises the bar in poultry performance, health and welfare. It does so while treating its people, its birds and their environment with special care. Thatâ€™s how Aviagen enjoys a globally expanding customer base and will remain the poultry industryâ€™s supplier of choice.
Care for the planet and its people In addition to caring for its birds, Aviagen cares for the planet. Thatâ€™s why sustainability is a core company value. Through focused efforts, Aviagen effectively supports its business and people, while guarding the integrity of the planet. Toward this goal, internal production processes are continually fine-tuned, as social responsibility is promoted throughout global operations. As a result, the natural world is protected and preserved, and the ever-expanding global population has access to a reliable, healthy and affordable protein source.
Educate the future Maintaining a tradition of continuing innovation, Aviagen places education as a top strategic priority. Globally based schools, seminars and workshops are designed to meet the exclusive needs of customers, while also shaping the next generation of poultry professionals. These ongoing training events draw from an ever-expanding pool of expertise, and offer a venue for education, hands-on training and idea exchange. 301
ENTREPRENEURS, CREATIVES & MAKERS
INNOVATE HARD. LIVE EASY. By Chris Welch
im Hudson took an old shoe and textiles factory and turned it into the largest privately owned arts facility in the country, featuring everything from recycled art to bourbon mash whiskey. Brandon Kruse bought an old school and transformed it into what he calls a “flophouse for entrepreneurs.” And Randy Schrimsher transformed the old Stone Middle School into a bright new craft brewery/ entertainment/retail complex. These three projects are just a glimpse of the many entrepreneurial enterprises that are a fundamental component of Huntsville’s economic foundation. Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said you can find entrepreneurs all over Huntsville and Madison County. “There’s a whole plethora of innovative companies around here,” Battle said. Not surprisingly, the same guy who is the founder/ president of HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology – Jim Hudson – got Lowe Mill going. “It didn’t happen overnight,” Battle said of Lowe Mill. “It took a lot of work and investment. You have to take your hat off to Jim Hudson.” Step inside the 100-plus-year-old Lowe Mill Arts & Entertainment building and be amazed by the creativity and life that have been breathed into this once dying warehouse. Where a textile mill once operated are now 127 studios and over 200 artists. Where once 25,000 spindles turned locally grown cotton into textiles are now recycled art and one of the South’s hottest tea companies, Piper & Leaf, recently featured in Southern Living. Where there were once boots made for soldiers in Vietnam are now classic vinyl records, 3-D printers and graphics, and custom-made guitars used by musicians like Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes and Grammy-winning songwriter Gary Nichols from Muscle Shoals. Over 3,000 people routinely travel the rustic, wooden floors in Lowe Mill on Saturdays to check out the artists and their products, listen to music and make their tummies happy at – where else? – the Happy Tummy restaurant. “A lot of people want to say we’re incubators for art in our
RocketHatch works to unleash the untapped entrepreneurial potential of North Alabama through an open, inclusive and collaborative startup community. (Scott Roberts / Omni Photography) 303
above: Where once 25,000 spindles turned locally grown cotton
into textiles are now recycled art and one of the South’s hottest tea companies, Piper & Leaf. (Photo by Eric Schultz) left: Step inside the 100-plus-year-old Lowe Mill Arts & Entertainment building and be amazed by the creativity and life that have been breathed into this once dying warehouse. (Photo by
community,” said Sarah Cole, media director for Lowe Mill. “But I think we’re more innovators trying to expose art to the public. Huntsville is a great place for it when it comes to innovation, creativity and expanding your horizons. I know a lot of people talk about the rockets and science, but I think there’s a lot more than that here.” For his part, Hudson says: “After visiting the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia in 1979, I promised myself that someday I would help create something like it in Huntsville. The availability of the Lowe Mill at the right time in my life gave me the chance. In the beginning Grace Billiter and I led the effort creating Lowe Mill Arts and Entertainment, adding the Flying Monkey Art Center and some 30 artist studios. The recent phenomenal success of Lowe Mill is the result of the outstanding leadership of (Lowe Mill executive director) Marcia 305
Campus No. 805 is a 13-acre mixed-use development project in the former Stone Middle School building that is now home to Yellowhammer and Straight to Ale craft breweries, a public recreational lawn and restaurants. (Photos by Eric Schultz)
Freeland and my son Jimmy. Today the Mill is the largest such center in the world with over 200 studios and a rich variety of art, food, drink and entertainment.” It’s free to enter Lowe Mill, and the works and shows are very affordable. On the first floor you’ll find places like the Superpowered Studios, featuring comic book illustrators who work for the legendary Stan Lee of Marvel Comics, and Tangled String Studios, where you can hear Grammy-winning artists perform and purchase the same kind of guitars they play. “Lowe Mill is very accommodating to creativity,” said Tangled String Studios owner Danny Davis. “I’d say the currency of the place is creativity. When I worked at NASA, the currency over there was knowledge. The other thing is the Mill draws somebody in-tune to what’s going on over here. It’s not 306
your run-of-the-mill entertainment. It’s a little different, unique, and Huntsville is evolving right before your eyes.” Down the street from Lowe Mill in west Huntsville is another entrepreneurial wonder. Who could have ever imagined a building that originally housed Butler High School (which opened in 1952) and then Stone Middle School would now be cranking out craft beer and offering entertainment and shopping options? But that’s what’s happening at Campus No. 805, located near the intersection of Triana Boulevard, Clinton Avenue and Governors Drive and named for the 35805 zip code. Campus No. 805 is a 13-acre mixed-use development project that is home to Yellowhammer and Straight to Ale craft breweries, a public recreational lawn, restaurants like Lone Goose Saloon, Bubba’s Silver Spoon Catering,
Earth and Stone Wood Fired Pizza and Stone Event Rental. The development, billing itself as the South’s premier craft brewery and entertainment venue, also includes a 16,000-square-foot retail building that features local boutique stores, coffee houses, restaurants and retail shops. “We wanted a name that properly honored the history of the facility and the neighborhood around it,” said Randy Schrimsher, Campus No. 805’s developer along with Roark. “The name Campus No. 805 not only gives us a unique and accurate way to describe the entire campus development, but also allows us to honor the neighborhood around it and the generations of Huntsvillians that walked through its halls. Campus No. 805 has the opportunity to be a game-changing destination for west Huntsville and
our entire city. The project is developing a great deal of enthusiasm in the community, and we’re working to make sure that continues.” Two years ago, Brandon Kruse purchased the old West Huntsville Elementary School to create an incubator for the entrepreneurial types in Huntsville. He named it Huntsville West and offers affordable ($100 a month) office space and related infrastructure for organizations and individuals. Kruse explains that Huntsville is the only city where someone can come up and pitch ideas about how they can solve world hunger with genetically modified plants, or how they can build aircraft engines that are 50 percent more efficient, or how they started a cube satellite startup in their garage – and you have to believe them. 307
Lowe Mill houses 127 studios and over 200 artists. right: Jonny Scull, painter
(Photo by Eric Schultz) below: Conor Oâ€™Brien, painter
(Photo by Eric Schultz)
Schamban (Photo by Eric Schultz) left: David Nuttall, Artimaps (Photo by Eric
Rocket Hatch, which partners with and is located at Huntsville West, started at the beginning of 2014 as an idea of a group of entrepreneurial individuals with backgrounds in creative, social and tech startups. (Photos courtesy of RocketHatch)
“Huntsville is the only city where someone can come up and pitch ideas about how they can solve world hunger with genetically modified plants, or how they can build aircraft engines that are 50 percent more efficient, or how they started a cube satellite startup in their garage – and you have to believe them.” Brandon Kruse 310
Kruse also has big plans for the old Westlawn school. “The idea behind Westlawn is to have hardware-based ecosystem, with makers and tinkerers making up the majority of the users. The second piece is our ever-developing food culture in Huntsville. We want to do a culinary program, a commissary kitchen and a food court (made up of small vendors trying to get their start). I am very excited about the developments. Should be coming along about this time next year.” Rocket Hatch, which partners with and is located at Huntsville West, started at the beginning of 2014 as an idea of a group of entrepreneurial individuals with backgrounds in creative, social and tech startups. “We saw the need for a support community for entrepreneurs that wanted to focus their efforts in the commercial space, leveraging modern technologies and business frameworks to launch new companies that could create value locally
while selling globally,” said CEO Antonio Montoya. “Many of us had seen first hand the startup movement taking hold around the world and transforming it rapidly. We understood that starting a business in 2014 was way different than just a decade ago.” Technology-driven disruption continued to accelerate and Montoya knew he wanted to join in the new wave of businesses leading the way, but did not want to leave Huntsville to do so. “We knew Huntsville had all the critical elements to be a thriving startup ecosystem. However, disruptive commercial startups were not common and the few that existed were disconnected to the local scene.” In May of 2014, Rocket Hatch was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with the mission to unleash the untapped entrepreneurial potential of North Alabama through an open, inclusive and collaborative startup community. A little over two years later they have had thousands of people attending their events, hundreds of thousands of dollars injected in Huntsville’s economy and over 100 entrepreneurs have been served by their programs. Most importantly, new players have emerged and old players have re-engaged giving tremendous
visibility to our community not just locally but regionally. “This more than anything pushes us to continue with our mission because it will take the whole community to come together to help nurture and grow local startups,” Montoya said. Huntsville Open Tech Coffee or HOTCoffee is another avenue where anyone interested in technology startups can come together to share needs, news and ideas with like-minded people. It’s held every other Friday from 7:45 to 9:30 a.m. at HudsonAlpha. The group began as an initiative by the ICE Lab at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and states: “The combination of a legacy of innovation since 1969 and before, and living the good life in Huntsville led to our mantra for Huntsville’s entrepreneurial ecosystem: Innovate Hard. Live Easy.” RadioBro is a space and aviation technology startup launched two years ago in Madison by twin brothers Mark and Eric Becnel while graduate students at UAH. RadioBro is a design and manufacturing company providing miniature electronic systems for aerospace and commercial customers. The team leverages technology and product design techniques for space-grade testing. The company, which now has offices in Research Park
RadioBro now has offices in Research Park and Bremen, Germany and produced its first product, a mini- satellite communications transceiver, in 2014 and has other products planned. (Photo courtesy of Radio Bro / Alabama Department of Commerce)
and Bremen, Germany, produced its first product, a minisatellite communications transceiver, in 2014 and has other products planned. Larry and Kim Lewis have added their entrepreneurial spirit to not one, but two businesses – PROJECTXYZ and BizTech. In 2002 the Lewises started PROJECTXYZ, an energy company named Huntsville’s 2015 Small Business Company of the Year with 51-250 employees and a 2016 Blue Ribbon Award Winner as one of the country’s top 100 small businesses from the National Chamber of Commerce. The company expanded into engineering, logistics, and information technology solutions focused on the Department of Defense. Looking “for ways to diversify our business or strengthen our competitive advantage with our existing customers,” the Lewises purchased the BizTech building as a potential home for PROJECTXYZ. BizTech was the city’s first technology incubator. “Our purchase of the building gave BizTech new life and a chance to figure out its place in Huntsville’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Larry. “Issues I saw with the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Huntsville included a lack of communication between individuals 312
and organizations supporting entrepreneurs, and a lack of organized angel investment activity to support startups. BizTech was one of the groups that created Innovate Huntsville (innovatehsv.com). This was the first time that many members of Huntsville’s entrepreneurial ecosystem came together to shine a spotlight on entrepreneurs and the resources here to support them.” To address the funding/investment issue, BizTech led the creation of Angels of North Alabama (ANA), an open membership group of angel investors that holds regular meetings for entrepreneurs seeking to raise capital for their businesses. “We want to use our leadership and network of individuals and resources to continue to help Huntsville grow.” The University of Alabama in Huntsville’s reputation – plus its designation as a Carnegie Foundation Very High Research University – attracts professors who not only want to solve technical problems, but also profit from their inventions and innovations. In 2007, the university established the Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) to help research professors at the university’s laboratories commercialize the results of their research.
above: Jeff Irons of Irons Distillery describes his
product as “small batch whiskey hand-crafted by one man” and is located in Lowe Mill. (Photo by Eric Schultz)
“We want to use our leadership and network of individuals and resources to continue to help Huntsville grow.” Kim and Larry Lewis of PROJECTXYZ and Biztech
This has led to UAH’s plans to construct an “Innovation to Invention Center” on the campus to facilitate commercialization of such intellectual capital. Ray Vaughn, UAH’s vice president for research and economic development, believes the OTC is part of the effort to recruit and retain valuable faculty. “We have to be able to stimulate the more entrepreneurial of our faculty,” Vaughn said. “They will leave if you don’t give them the opportunity to express their entrepreneurial spirit.” As you can see, Huntsville and Madison County is made up of more than just rocket scientists and engineers. The innovative spirit that pulses through the city is spurring people to innovate things from warehouses to technology. And it all starts here. 313
CORPORATE SPONSOR INDEX 256 Magazine PO Box 18911 Huntsville, AL 35804 Ph: (256) 783-4501 256magazine.com pg. 40 ADTRAN 901 Explorer Blvd Huntsville, AL 35806 Ph: (256) 963-6739 adtran.com pp. 250-251 AECOM 310 Bridge Street Suite 300 Huntsville, AL 35806 Ph: (256) 585-6908 aecom.com pg. 229 Aerojet Rocketdyne 555 Discovery Drive Huntsville, AL 35806 Ph: (256) 503-1977 rocket.com pg. 223 Agile Information Services 2905 Westcorp Blvd Suite 120 Huntsville, AL 35805 Ph: (256) 534-5011 agileis.com pg. 225 Alabama A&M University 309 Patton Building Normal, AL 35762 Ph: (256) 372-8344 Fax: (256) 372-8345 aamu.edu pp. 76-77 Alabama Colon & Gastro 4810 Whitesport Circle SW Suite 215 Huntsville, AL 35801 Ph: (256) 261-2826 alabamacolonandgastro.com pg. 106 Alabama Psychological Services Center, LLC 4800 Whitesport Circle, SW Suite 2 Huntsville, AL 35801-35803 Ph: (256) 533-9393 Fax: (256) 533-9690 alapsych.com pg. 107
Amanda Howard Real Estate 3005 L&N Drive Suite 1 Huntsville, AL 35801 Ph: (256) 799-9000 amandahowardrealestate.com pg. 126 The Auburn University Huntsville Research Center 530 Discovery Drive Huntsville, AL 35806 Ph: (256) 327-3158 auburn.edu pg. 83 Aviagen 920 Explorer Blvd. NW Huntsville, AL 35806 Ph: (256) 890-3800 aviagen.com pp. 300-301 Boeing 499 Boeing Blvd, SW MC JB-50 Huntsville, AL 35824 Ph: (256) 937-5632 boeing.com pp. 214-215
Community Foundation 225 Church Street NW Huntsville, AL 35801 Ph: (256) 535-2065 communityfoundationhsv.org pg. 39 Covenant Properties 1115 Church Street, Suite J Huntsville, AL 35801 Ph: (256) 533-3939 Fax: (256) 533-3999 covenant-properties.com pg. 186 Crestwood Medical Center 1 Hospital Drive Huntsville, AL 35801 Ph: (256) 429-4561 crestwoodmedcenter.com pp. 98-99 Currie Systems 3089 Leeman Ferry Road Huntsville, AL 35801 Ph: (256) 704-2877 curriesystems.com pg. 185
Broadway Group 216 West Side Square Huntsville, AL 35801 Ph: (256) 533-7287 Fax: (256) 533-7236 pp. 56-59
Cyn Sheaâ€™s Serving Hope 415 Church Street Suite E-5 Huntsville, AL 35801 Ph: (256) 882-2837 cynsheas.com pg. 158
Calhoun Community College 6250 Highway 31 North Tanner, AL 35671 Ph: (256) 306-2561 calhoun.edu pg. 80
Davidson Technologies, Inc. 530 Discovery Drive Huntsville, AL 35801 Ph: (256) 327-3150 davidson-tech.com pp. 208-209
Cepeda Systems & Software Analysis, Inc. 515 Sparkman Drive, NW Suite 301 Huntsville, AL 35816 Ph: (256) 428-8186 cepedasystems.com pp 220-221
DESE Research 315 Wynn Drive Suite 2 Huntsville, AL 35805 Ph: (256) 837-8004 dese.com pg. 233
Christine Wicks, Keller Williams InTown Partners 809 Shoney Drive Suite 108 Huntsville, AL 35801 Ph: (256) 656-4463 christinewicks.yourkwagent.com pp. 120-121
Downtown Huntsville, Inc. 127 Washington Street NE Huntsville, AL 35801 Ph: (256) 701-0818 downtownhuntsville.org pp. 60-61
Clearview Cancer Institute 3601 CCI Drive Huntsville, AL 35805 Ph: (256) 327-5830 clearviewcancer.com pp. 102-103
DRS Technologies 100 North Babcock Street Melborne, FL 35806 Ph: (256) 895-2000 drs.com pp. 270-271
CORPORATE SPONSOR INDEX Dynetics 1002 Explorer Blvd. Huntsville, AL 35806 Ph: (256) 713-5255 dynetics.com pp. 210-211 Embassy Suites 800 Monroe Street Huntsville, AL 35801 Ph: (256) 539-7373 Fax: (256) 539-7374 embassysuites3.hilton.com pp. 154-157 Garber Construction Company 3128 Johnson Road Huntsville, AL 35815 Ph: (256) 881-9995 Fax: (256) 881-4928 www.garbercc.com pg. 187 Grace Lutheran School 3321 Memorial Pkwy South Huntsville, AL 35801 Ph: (256) 881-0552 Fax: (256) 227-0563 gracelutheran-hsv.org pg. 82 Hexagon 305 Intergraph Way Madison, AL 35758 Ph: (256) 730-2000 Fax: (256) 730-2048 intergraph.com hexagongeospatial.com pg. 254 Hightower Twickenham 100 Church Street SW Suite 625 Huntsville, AL 35801 Ph: (256) 213-1150 hightoweradvisors.com/team/twickenham pg. 188 HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology 601 Genome Way Huntsville, AL 35806 Ph: (256) 327-0400 Fax: (256) 327-0976 hudsonalpha.org pg. 36 Huntsville Botanical Garden 4747 Bob Wallace Ave Huntsville, AL 35805 Ph: (256) 430-3572 Fax: (256) 830-5314 hsvbg.org pg. 159
Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau 500 Church Street Suite 1 Huntsville, AL 35801 Ph: (256) 551-2230 Fax: (256) 551-2324 huntsville.org pg. 160 Huntsville Hospital Health System 101 Sivley Road Huntsville, AL 35801 Ph: (256) 265-1000 huntsvillehospital.org pg. 104 Huntsville Utilities 112 Spragins Street Huntsville, AL 35801 Ph: (256) 535-1200 hsvutil.org pg. 37 Intuitive Research and Technology Corporation (INTUITIVE) 5030 Bradford Drive Building 2, Suite 205 Huntsville, AL 35805 Ph: (256) 922-9300 Fax: (256) 922-1122 irtc-hq.com pg. 222 J.F. Drake State Community & Technical College 3421 Meridian Street N Huntsville, AL 35811 Ph: (256) 539-8161 Fax: (256) 539-7383 drakestate.edu pp. 74-75 John Blue Realty 218 Randolph Avenue Suite B Huntsville, AL 35801 Ph: (256) 705-5475 Fax: (256) 705-5476 johnbluerealty.com pg. 184 L-3 in Huntsville 300 Voyager Way Huntsville, AL 35806 Ph: (256) 704-9681 Fax: (256) 704-9682 L-3com.com pg. 226 LG Electronics 201 James Record Rd Huntsville, AL 35824 Ph: (256) 772-6120 Fax: (256) 772-6129 lg.com/us pg. 252-253
Limbaugh Orthodontics 600 Airport Road Huntsville, AL 35802 Ph: (256) 882-6000 Fax: (256) 882-2767 limbaughortho.com pp. 96-97 LogiCore 345 Voyager Way Huntsville, AL 35806 Ph: (256) 533-5789 Fax: (256) 713-0418 logicorehsv.com pg. 216-217 Madison County Commission 100 North Side Square Madison County Courthouse Huntsville, AL 35801 Ph: (256) 532-3492 Fax: (256) 532-6994 madisoncountyal.gov pp. 174-177 Melvin, Bibb, Pinson & Segars, P.C. 303 Williams Avenue Suite 129 Huntsville, AL 35801 Ph: (256) 533-7040 Fax: (256) 533-7539 mbps-cpa.net pp. 182-183 Nektar Therapeutics 1112 Church Street Huntsville, AL 35801 Ph: (256) 533-4201 Fax: (256) 533-4805 nektar.com pp 34-35 Northrop Grumman 301 Voyager Way NW Huntsville, AL 35806 Ph: (256) 327-6501 Fax: (256) 964-5068 northropgrumman.com pg. 224 nou Systems, Inc. Ste 305 Huntsville, AL 35806 Ph: (256) 327-5541 nou-systems.com pg. 227 Oakwood University 7000 Adventist Blvd, NW Huntsville, AL 35896 Ph: (256) 726-7000 oakwood.edu pg. 81
CORPORATE SPONSOR INDEX Oral Arts Dental Laboratories 2700 Memorial Pkwy SW Huntsville, AL 35801 Ph: (256) 533-6670 oralartsdental.com pp. 100-101 Orbital ATK 620 Discovery Drive Building 2, Suite 200 Huntsville, AL 35806 Ph: (256) 428-5800 Fax: (256) 428-5901 www.orbitalatk.com pg. 231 PeopleTec 4901 Corporate Drive Suite 1 Huntsville, AL 35805 Ph: (256) 319-3800 Fax: (256) 319-3900 peopletec.com pp. 218-219 The Port of Huntsville 1000 Glenn Hearn Boulevard Huntsville, AL 35824 Ph: (256) 258-1977 Fax: (256) 258-1877 flyhuntsville.com pp. 286-287 PPT Solutions 4825 University Square Suite 6 Huntsville, AL 35816 Ph: (256) 319-1550 Fax: (256) 319-1551 pptsinc.com pg. 256 PROJECTXYZ, Inc. 1500 Perimeter Parkway Ste 426 Huntsville, AL 35806 Ph: (256) 721-9001 Fax: (256) 721-9960 projectxyz.com pg. 230 R2C Support Services 200 Westside Square 6th Floor Suite 604 Huntsville, AL 35801 Ph: (256) 799-2363 r2c-ss.com pg. 228 RadioBro 261 Palmer Road Madison, AL 35758 Ph: (256) 469-8249 radiobro.com pg. 255
Rosenblum Realty 2314 Memorial Parkway Huntsville, AL 35801 Ph: (256) 539-9501 Fax: (256) 539-9505 rosenblumrealty.com pp. 122-123 Russ Russell Commercial Real Estate 923 SW Merchants Walk, Huntsville, AL 35801 Ph: (256) 536-7777 russrussell.com pg. 189 System Studies & Simluation, Inc. (SÂł) 615 Discovery Drive Huntsville, AL 35806 Ph: (256) 539-1700 Fax: (256) 539-8015 s3inc.com pp. 212-213 Samples Properties 525 Madison Street Suite 205 Huntsville, AL 35801 Ph: (256) 533-0003 Fax: (256) 532-1257 samplesproperties.com pg. 180-181 ServisFirst Bank 401 Meridian Street Suite 100 Huntsville, AL 35801 Ph: (256) 722-7800 Fax: (256) 722-7810 servisfirstbank.com pp. 178-179 Sierra Nevada Corporation 1525 Perimeter Parkway Suite 270 Huntsville, AL 35806 Ph: (256) 217-2950 Fax: (775) 358-2264 sncorp.com pp. 248-249 The Smith Family Clinic for Genomic Medicine 701 McMillian Way NW Ste A Huntsville, AL 35806 Ph: (256) 327-9640 Fax: (256) 327-9699 smithfamilyclinic.org pg. 105 Teledyne Brown Engineering 300 Sparkman Drive Huntsville, AL 35805 Ph: (256) 726-1385 Fax: (256) 726-3114 tbe.com pg. 257
Torch Technologies 4035 Chris Drive Ste C Huntsville, AL 35802 Ph: (256) 319-6000 Fax: (256) 319-6369 torchtechnologies.com pg. 234 Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama 1 Cottonvalley Drive Huntsville, AL 35810 Ph: (256) 746-5000 Fax: (256) 746-5906 toyota.com pg. 272 Turner Construction 336 James Record Road Huntsville, AL 35824 Ph: (256) 461-6700 turnerconstruction.com pg. 38 The University of Alabama in Huntsville 370 Shelbie King Hall Huntsville, AL 35899 Ph: (256) 824-6340 Fax: (256) 824-6538 uah.edu pp. 78-79 The Village of Providence 7 Town Center Drive Huntsville, AL 35806 Ph: (256) 704-3333 villageofprovidence.com pp. 124-125 Von Braun Center 700 Monroe Street Huntsville, AL 35801 Ph: (256) 533-1953 Fax: (256) 564-8494 vonbrauncenter.com pg. 161 WaveLink 7800 Madison Blvd Ste 504 Huntsville, AL 35806-3606 Ph: (256) 776-7216 Fax: (256) 270-9404 wavelinkinc.com pg. 232 Yulista 631 Discovery Drive Huntsville, AL 35806 Ph: (256) 713-1360 Fax: (256) 713-0710 yulista.com pp. 204-207
SOURCES City of Vision & Innovation Tommy Battle and Kelly Schrimsher, Office of the Mayor of Huntsville Erin Koshut, Director of Cummings Research Park The Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/ Madison County Ray Garner, UAH Chief of Staff and Director of Community Relations Maureen Mack, HudsonAlpha Senior Director of Marketing and Communications Downtown: Center of it All Chad Emerson, CEO of Downtown Huntsville, Inc. Mayor Tommy Battle, City of Huntsville Grant Heath, The Kaffeeklatsch Coffee Bar Jim Hudson, CEO of HudsonAlpha Charlie Sealy, Sealy Management Dough Smith, AM Booth’s Lumberyard Education Ray Garner, UAH Chief of Staff Office of the President Jermaine Saintjones, A&M Director for the Office of Marketing and Public Relations Janet Kincherlow-Martin, Assistant to the Calhoun President for Public Affairs, Community Relations and Special Events Rena Anderson, Huntsville City Schools Director of Community Engagement Health Huntsville Hospital Burr Ingram, VP of Communications & Marketing Crestwood Hospital Lori Light, Director of Marketing & Public Relations The Surgery Center of Huntsville Clearview Cancer Institute clearviewcancer. com The Smith Family Clinic for Genomic Medicine, Carol Aiken, CMM CPAR Clinical Operations Administrator UAB School of Medicine, Huntsville Regional Medical Campus uabhuntsville.com Fox Army Health Center redstone.amedd. army.mil Huntsville Veterans Affairs Clinic Communities & Neighborhoods The Washington Post “Most Happy Cities” Huntsville is ranked one of the Happiest Cities in the country (September 2014)
Livability.com Huntsville ranked #1 in Top 10 “Best Affordable Places to Live” (February 2016) 2014 United States Census Bureau Hubert Thieblot, CEO of Curse, Inc. Homer Hickam Mayor Tommy Battle, City of Huntsville Charlie Sealy, Sealy Management Group The Village of Providence
Outdoors & Recreation
Tommy Battle and Kelly Schrimsher, Office of the Mayor of Huntsville The Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/ Madison County Huntsville/Madison County Visitors and Convention Bureau Polaris Polaris.com GE Aviation geaviation.com Remington Remington.com Toyota Motor Engineering Plant of Huntsville Toyota.com Teledyne Brown Engineering Teledyne.com Boeing boeing.com
Marie Bostick, Director of Huntsville Land Trust Cathie Mayne, Marketing Director Huntsville Land Trust Mayor Tommy Battle, City of Huntsville “Playful City USA” (KaBOOM! 2013) Arts & Entertainment Chad Emerson, CEO of Downtown Huntsville Inc. “Microwave” Dave Gallaher Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau Tommy Battle, Mayor, City of Huntsville Homer Hickam Arts Huntsville, Daniela Perallon, Marketing/ Public Relations for Arts Huntsville The U.S. Space and Rocket Center Carol Jones, Director of Visitor Services for the Huntsville Botanical Garden Huntsville Museum of Art Huntsville Symphony Early Works Children’s Museum, Constitution Hall Village, Huntsville Depot Burritt on the Mountain
Mayor Tommy Battle, City of Huntsville Ed Buckbee, former NASA Public Relations Harrison Diamond, City of Huntsville HudsonAlpha redstone.army.mil nasa.org Manufacturing
Connectivity Mayor Tommy Battle, City of Huntsville Harrison Diamond, City of Huntsville Huntsville Utilities Jana Kuner, Huntsville Airport Dennis Madsen, City of Huntsville Barbi Peek, Huntsville Airport Kelly Schrimser, City of Huntsville TVA.org Agribusiness
MSFC History Office, NASA Encyclopedia of Alabama Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/ Madison County City of Huntsville
Alabama Cooperative Extension Service Mark Hall, Extension Specialist at the Tennessee Valley Research and Extension Center HudsonAlpha National Cotton Council Dale Strong, Madison County Commission Chair
Aerospace and Defense
Creatives, Makers & Entrepreneurs
Dr. Jan Davis Mayor Tommy Battle, City of Huntsville “Dr. Space” by Bob Ward Ed Buckbee, former NASA Public Relations Leadership Huntsville Joe Ritch, BRAC John Southerland, Former Cummings Research Park Director redstone.army.mil nasa.org
Jim Hudson, CEO of HudsonAlpha Brandon Kruse, Huntsville West Mayor Tommy Battle, City of Huntsville Sarah Cole, Media Director Lowe Mill Randy Schrimsher, Developer Antonio Montoya, CEO of RocketHatch Mark Becnel, RadioBro Larry & Kim Lewis, Project XYZ / BizTech Ray Vaughan, UAH VP for Research and Economic Development
318 Photo by Eric Schultz
AUTHORS & PHOTOGRAPHERS Chris Welch Chris Welch is an award-winning veteran newspaper reporter with over 36 years of experience. He was selected by his peers as The National Association of Writers’ Top Writer for Alabama in 1985 and was winner of numerous other writing awards while at The Huntsville Times. He has interviewed the likes of Bear Bryant, Joe DiMaggio and Bo Jackson in the sports world to Billy Bob Thornton, Alice Cooper and Homer Hickam in the entertainment world to Tommy Battle, Gov. Bob Riley and others in the political world. Dr. Jan Davis Dr. Jan Davis, a veteran of three space-flights, is one of Huntsville’s own. Jan received her Ph.D. from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and began her NASA career as an aerospace engineer at Marshall Space Flight Center. She has worked directly with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and the Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility (AXAF).
Patricia McCarter Patricia McCarter worked as a writer and photographer at newspapers across the Southeast for more than 20 years, including a decade at The Huntsville Times. Currently, she is a global marketing content manager at Intergraph Process, Power & Marine in Madison, Alabama. Nancy Mann Jackson Independent writer Nancy Mann Jackson writes about business, finance, education and health for a number of corporate clients and publications. Her work has appeared in Entrepreneur, CNBC.com, CNNMoney.com, Fortune.com, DailyWorth, AARP Bulletin, Working Mother, Smithsonian.com and a number of other outlets. Before she began freelancing full-time, she worked as an editor in New York and an English teacher in Georgia and Birmingham. She lives in Huntsville with her husband and three boys. Eric Schultz
Barbara Nash Barbara is President of Barbara Nash & Associates, LLC where she leads an organizational positioning firm in identifying, developing, and executing fully integrated strategic communications, business development, and market engagement strategies. Barbara has more than 25 years in the field of strategic communications, public relations, crisis mitigation, and business development and has amassed multiple local, state, national, and international honors and awards. She is a member of the Public Relations Society of America and holds Universal Accreditation in Public Relations. She is also a member of PRSA’s Counselors Academy, PRSA of Alabama, Rotary International, and the Alumni Association of Leadership Huntsville/Madison County (Class 15). Mark McCarter Mark McCarter is a long-time journalist and the author of two books. He was an awardwinning writer at The Huntsville Times for 18 years, serving as sports columnist and later as metro columnist, and was special contributor at WHNT News 19. His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Fortune, The Sporting News, USA Today and other publications.
If something big is happening in the Tennessee Valley, you can be sure that local legend Eric Schultz will be there with his camera. Whether you know Schultz by name or not, if you’ve ever opened up The Huntsville Times you are more than familiar with his work. Who better than this sharpeyed Huntsville native to document the cultural events, sports victories, human interest stories, and natural beauty of our region? Though readers of Huntsville Times will already be familiar with Eric’s striking photojournalism, Schultz’s studio at Lowe Mill also offers high-quality reproductions of creative and noncommercial images captured throughout his many adventures in Huntsville and beyond. Come peer behind this naturally curious artist’s lens in his second floor Studio 2018, at Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment. Thanks to Marty Sellars, Donald Christian, Sarah Belanger, Randall Belk and the Huntsville/Madison County CVB for providing photographs. Also special thanks to NASA/MSFC and the Redstone Test Center for the use of their photographs.
Photo by Eric Schultz
HUNTSVILLE & MADISON COUNTY
INNOVATION STARTS HERE
“Teamwork and Innovation. These two characteristics help define the most dynamic cities, governments and companies. These essential ingredients are at the heart of what makes Huntsville a success and why innovation starts here. ” — Mayor Tommy Battle
PR I N T E D IN C AN ADA