Initiatives - February 2024

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FEB 2024

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If you want to make a valuable investment in your business and the community, the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber is the place to start. Contact Crystal Baker, Membership Retention Specialist: 256-535-2039 or

Joined in December Joined in November 9th & Seminole Huntsville Partners, LLC AFS Applied Technology Solutions, Inc. Architecture Unlimited Athenian BPI Media Group, Inc. Canadian Executive Search Group Culver’s Five Star Painting Gutter Gliders, LLC Huntsville Painting LLC Madison Counseling Associates, LLC McGriff Tire Co., Inc. Memorial Village Nations Lending NextOp Pacific Pearl Kitchen Park Properties Real Estate, Inc. Prestige Alarm & Specialty Products, Inc. PURE Property Management of Alabama | Huntsville Resource Associates of Nevada, Inc. Rocket City Autoplex Slimmher Techpeer, LLC The Ark Pet Spa & Hotel The I Am Greater Foundation Inc. The Lackey Law Firm T-Mobile - University Drive TRE Group brokered by EXP Realty Northern Branch LLC Valentina’s Pizzeria & Wine Bar Yukon West Solutions

5 Star Development LLC Advantage Trailer Rentals Arcspace Studio Blue Orbit Sign Studio Chicken Salad Chick Concordia Technologies, Inc. Dottie Sue’s Ernst & Young LLP Exiger FPC of Huntsville - Technology Industry Recruiting Herb Stokes Photography Hive Group, LLC. Homeowners Financial Group HORNE Independent Musical Productions Koniag Government Services (KGS) KUDZUKIAN, LLC Landings HSV, LLC Madison County Real Estate Investors Association, LLC MWB Restaurants, LLC / Whataburger - University Drive North Wind Group Ryker’s Rainbow Science Spark Varicosity Vein Center of Madison Zula Modern Med Spa

Become a Chamber Member In addition to investing in the economic growth of the entire region, as a Chamber member, you receive a variety of important benefits: ■ Build business relationships, create partnerships, and grow your business ■ Listing in the online Membership Directory ■ Specially designed professional development programs to grow your talent and strengthen your business ■ Brand exposure through the Chamber’s multimedia platforms to fellow member companies and the region’s business community ■ Priority communications to keep you updated on the latest business news and information impacting your business


initiatives FEB 2024




AS OF JANUARY 23, 2024

EXECUTIVE COUNCIL Bill Penney Toyota/Mitsubishi ■ BlueHalo COPT Defense Properties ■ Crestwood Medical Center ■ Dynetics, Inc. Lockheed Martin Corporation ■ Raytheon, An RTX Business ■ SAIC


Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc. ■ Torch Technologies ■ Yulista

CHAMBER TRUSTEES Five Stones Research Corporation ■ Intrepid Landers McLarty Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram ■ Lanier Ford Shaver & Payne P.C. Parsons ■ S3, Inc. ■ Science and Engineering Services, LLC (SES) Sealy Management Company, Inc. ■ SportsMED Orthopaedic Surgery & Spine Center


Synovus ■ The Westmoreland Company

PROGRESS PARTNERS Ability Plus, Inc. ■ Aerojet Rocketdyne, An L3Harris Technologies Company ■ Amazon ■ Anglin Reichmann Armstrong, P.C. ■ ASRC Federal ■ Baron Weather, Inc. ■ BASF Corporation ■ BL Harbert International, LLC ■ Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP ■ Brown Precision, Inc. ■ Canvas, Inc. ■ CFD Research Corporation ■ Colliers International ■ First Horizon ■ Freedom Real Estate & Capital, LLC ■ Goodwyn Mills Cawood, LLC ■ Huntsville/Madison County Builders Association ■ Huntsville Tractor & Equipment, Inc. ■ Integration Innovation, Inc. (i3) ■ Intuitive Research and Technology Corporation ■ IronMountain


Solutions ■ Keel Point, LLC ■ Leonardo Electronics US Inc. ■ LSINC Corporation ■ Marsh & McLennan Agency, locally known as J. Smith Lanier & Co. ■ The Orthopaedic Center (TOC) ■ Pearce Construction Company ■ Radiance Technologies, Inc. ■ RE/MAX Alliance ■ Robins & Morton ■ ServisFirst Bank ■ SMX ■ SouthState Bank ■ Steak-Out (Rosie’s Restaurants, Inc., & Right Way Restaurants, Inc.) ■ United Community Bank ■ Venturi, LLC ■ Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP ■ Woody Anderson Ford



Accenture Federal Services ■ Air Essentials, Inc. ■ Alpha Beta Technologies, Inc. ■ Averbuch Realty / Enterprises ■ Avion Solutions ■ Bailey-Harris Construction ■ BRPH Architects-Engineers, Inc. ■ Bryant Bank ■ Cadence Bank ■ CB&S Bank ■ Century Automotive ■ Convergint ■ Corvid Technologies LLC ■ deciBel Research, Inc. ■ Deloitte LLP ■ DESE Research, Inc. ■ Express Employment Professionals ■ FITE Building Company ■ FLS Translation & Interpreting ■ Fountain, Parker, Harbarger & Associates, LLC ■ Garver, LLC ■ GTEC ■ Hexagon US Federal ■ HEMSI ■ Hiley Automotive Group ■ Huntsville Botanical Garden ■ Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau ■ Industrial Properties of the South ■ InterFuze Corporation ■ Investor’s Resource ■ L3Harris ■ The Lioce Group, Inc. ■ Modern Technology Solutions, Inc. (MTSI) ■ MSB Analytics, Inc. ■ nLogic, LLC ■ PALCO ■ Phoenix ■ PROJECTXYZ, Inc. ■ QTEC Aerospace ■ Quadrus Corporation ■ Renasant Bank ■ RJ Young Company ■ Rosenblum Realty, Inc. ■ S&ME, Inc. ■ Schoel ■ Shee Atiká Enterprises, LLC ■ Signalink, Inc. ■ Systems Products and Solutions, Inc. ■ Textron Inc. ■ Transcend, The Fearless Company ■ Troy7, Inc. ■ Truist Bank ■ TTL, Inc. ■ ■ Valor Communities ■ Van Valkenburgh & Wilkinson Properties, Inc. ■ Volkert, Inc. ■ Warren Averett, LLC ■ Wilmer & Lee, P.A.

For more information, contact Kristy Drake, Vice President, Investor Relations: 256-535-2036 or


FEB 2024 initiatives


We’re invested in YOU.


table of contents INITIATIVES MAGAZINE – FEB 2024

Mission: To prepare, develop, and promote our community for economic growth.


(see staff listing on page 34)


Chamber members: You are encouraged to contribute ideas for our publications. Please send items to The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber maintains editorial control.

Takeaways from New York-based Pace Public Relations

pages 18-23

on the cover Image by Sparrow Digital Media & Kristi Sherrard

feature stories 10

COMMUNITY HIGHLIGHTS | includes Auria, Habitat for Humanity, and Designs by Essence

publisher Chip Cherry, CCE


SBA WINNER SPOTLIGHT | Mb Solutions, 2023 Minority Business of the Year

editor Claire Aiello


REFLECTING ON 2023 | Lynn Troy recounts her year as Chamber board chair

editorial designer Kristi Sherrard


COMMITTED TO GIVING BACK | Sameer Singhal ready to serve and lead in 2024

contributing writers


REDSTONE Q&A | Janeen DiGuiseppi, Assistant Director, FBI Insider Threat Division


SBA WINNER SPOTLIGHT | Village of Promise, 2023 Nonprofit of the Year


HREGI INVESTOR PROFILE | Jada Leo with The Westmoreland Company, Inc.


CARRYING THE TORCH FORWARD | WBC is gearing up for another great year!


MEET OUR 2024 LEADS | These four head up the Chamber’s Ambassador & Emissary programs


SBA WINNER SPOTLIGHT | Terica Pope, 2023 Young Professional of the Year


NEW TO HUNTSVILLE? | Here’s what you need to know

editorial staff

Kayla Brown Ashley Engles-Ross Zach Hester Ross Ivey Jill O’Neill

advertising Kristy Drake

Lakeysha Brown

HUNTSVILLE MADISON COUNTY ALABAMA Military, space, telecommunications, biotechnology, diversified manufacturing, and a variety of emerging specialties provide challenging work in delightful surroundings. The area enjoys a favorable cost of living and quality of life. Mountains, lakes, woodlands, and the Tennessee River accommodate numerous recreational activities. A temperate climate enhances the season for outdoor sports, including worldclass golf, hiking, biking, and fishing. Major concerts, Broadway and symphony performances, extensive permanent collections, and traveling exhibitions contribute to a wonderful way of life.

more for you 4











2024 CHAMBER BOARD in photos






BEST PLACES TO WORK SURVEYS OPEN | Encourage employees to fill out by March 8



Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County, Inc. 225 Church St NW, Huntsville, AL 35801 • 256-535-2000


FEB 2024 initiatives


a message from chip cherry HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER

Dear Chamber Investors, Community Leaders, and Friends: Our visitors and prospects often comment on how surprised they are with our community. They say they had no idea companies in our community do this or that, to being amazed by the arts, entertainment, and outdoor activities available here. They talk about the vibe and sense of place. When brainstorming about possible feature articles for this issue, we thought about the work Pace Public Relations is doing for a joint effort between the City of Huntsville, the Port of Huntsville, the Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber. Pace PR is working with us to help share story ideas with national media, and our relationship with Pace is structured so that members of their team visit our community multiple times a year. During those visits, they learn about different aspects of our region and gain insights that can only be developed by being on the ground in our community. So, back to the feature for this edition. We thought you would enjoy the insights and perceptions of a professional public relations team that, prior to eight months ago, had little awareness of the Huntsville region. Often it takes the fresh eyes of outsiders to see what we take for granted, and to also help share our story further. I hope you enjoy the article that begins on page 18. I’ve adopted a key phrase and term from our colleagues on Redstone Arsenal. The phrase is “no plan survives contact with the enemy,” and the term is “Battle Buddy.” While we don’t go to battle, and rarely do we engage the enemy – the concept is the same. My volunteer leadership and I are partners, working together to implement the business plan and, with our colleagues, to build a strong regional economy. I value their insights and treasure their guidance. A huge thank you to Lynn Troy for her leadership and partnership! We are blessed with a great group of volunteer leaders. I look forward to a great year with Sameer Singhal as the 2024 Chair of the Chamber. Thank you for engaging with the Chamber to make 2023 an amazing year. I encourage you to take a few minutes to review the Chamber’s 2023 Annual Report, posted on . Your engagement and support empower the Chamber to proactively engage with our partners to create a dynamic regional economy. I look forward to seeing you at a Chamber event soon!

Chip Cherry, CCE President & CEO Huntsville/Madison County Chamber


initiatives FEB 2024


LEADERSHIP 2024 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Sameer Singhal, Board Chair – CFD Research Corporation Jeff Samz, Chair-Elect –Huntsville Hospital Health System Lynn Troy, Immediate Past Chair – Troy7, Inc. Ron Poteat, Board Chair, Chamber Foundation Dr. Karockas Watkins, Secretary/Treasurer – Ability Plus, Inc. Jami Peyton, Vice Chair, Economic Development – Canvas, Inc. Ginger Harper, Vice Chair, Economic Inclusion & Diversity – First Horizon David Cook, Vice Chair, Government & Public Affairs – Torch Technologies Chrystal Morgan, Vice Chair, HREGI – The Boeing Company Beth Sippel, Vice Chair, Investor Relations – Synovus Ronnie Chronister, Vice Chair, Marketing & Communications – Lockheed Martin Corporation

Brett Crain, Vice Chair, Small Business – Huntsville Tractor & Equipment, Inc. Jason Puckett, Vice Chair, Talent Initiatives – Toyota Alabama Jeff Gronberg, Liaison, Redstone Regional Alliance – deciBel Research, Inc. David Fernandes, Chair-Appointed – Mazda Toyota Manufacturing (MTM) Tyce Hudson, Chair-Appointed – Freedom Real Estate and Capital, LLC Srinath Yedla, Chair-Appointed – Yedla Management Company Graham Burgess, Legal Counsel – Maynard Nexsen Mayor Tommy Battle, Ex-officio Member – City of Huntsville Mayor Paul Finley, Ex-officio Member – City of Madison Chairman Mac McCutcheon, Ex-officio Member – Madison County Commission Chip Cherry, CCE, President & CEO, Huntsville/Madison County Chamber

ELECTED BOARD Ted Baudendistel , InterFuze Corporation Blake Bentley, SportsMED Orthopedic Surgery & Spine Center Alka Bhargav, Aum Foundation David Bier, Anglin Reichmann Armstrong, P.C. Penny Billings, Cadence Bank Jason Blount, Keel Point, LLC Mark Brazeal , Mazda Toyota Manufacturing (MTM) Katie Comer, Meta Platforms, Inc. Michael Cox , Raytheon, An RTX Business Dr. Patti Dare, Davidson Melissa Davis, MTA, Inc. Tyler Evans, Aerojet Rocketdyne, An L3Harris Technologies Company Kevin Fernandez, L2 Mindset Greg Fortier, SAIC Owen Franklin, Blue Summit Supplies Greg Gaddy, Five Stones Research Corporation Greg Hall , COPT Defense Properties Scott Hall , Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc. Josh Herren, Yulista Jim Holtkamp, ServisFirst Bank Laura Huckabee-Jennings, Transcend, The Fearless Company Hank Isenberg, IronMountain Solutions Michelle Jordan, TARCOG Sean Kelly, Regions Bank Tim King, Modern Technology Solutions, Inc. (MTSI) Clint Kirkland, United Community Bank Rich Kretzschmar, Integration Innovation, Inc. (i3) James Lackey, Parsons Todd May, KBR Matt Meko, Booz Allen Hamilton Stephanie Mell , ChurchStreet Family Businesses Carey Miller, Deloitte LLP Zack Penney, Bill Penney Toyota/Mitsubishi Alicia Ryan, LSINC Corporation Angie Sandritter, RippleWorx Annie Saylor, Simulation Technologies, Inc. Julie Schumacher, KODA Technologies Inc. Wayne Sisco, Redstone Federal Credit Union Nilmini Thompson, Systems Products and Solutions, Inc. Henry Thornton, Meta Platforms, Inc. Mike Watkins, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama Frank Williams II, Landers McLarty Subaru A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

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community highlights COMPILED BY CLAIRE AIELLO

Hands-free driving law in effect in Huntsville

Auria hosts ribbon cutting, reveals new brand

The Rocket City’s new hands-free ordinance has been on the books since January 1, and there is a six-month grace period with heightened awareness about the law. After this time, motorists found holding any wireless telecommunications device while operating a vehicle could face fines. The ordinance, sponsored by Huntsville City Council President David Little with assistance from the Huntsville Police Department (HPD), was voted into law by City Council on Oct. 12, 2023. The goal of the legislation is to enable law enforcement to treat a handheld wireless communication device violation as a primary instead of a secondary offense. HPD Chief Kirk Giles said he fully supports the new law. By reducing the number of distracted driving-related wrecks in Huntsville, Giles said the ordinance will help to protect the health, safety and welfare of the Huntsville community. “Making Huntsville safer by decreasing the number of people using wireless telecommunication devices while driving is a no-brainer,” he said. “When a motorist is focused on something else, such as a phone or GPS, instead of driving, they not only put themselves at risk of serious injury or death, but everyone else on the road as well.” Under the new law, it is illegal to do any of the following while operating a motor vehicle:

Auria held an event on January 10 at its Huntsville location to announce that Boecore, Orbit Logic, Ascension, and La Jolla Logic are uniting under this single new brand. “As Auria, we are positioned to be a leading force in building solutions for complex space, defense, and cyber operations,” said Tom Dickson, president of Auria. “Our new brand reflects the excellence, innovation, and commitment that each of our companies brings to the table.” Auria offers solutions and rapidly deployable products to power critical space and national security missions with enhanced speed, precision, and security.

■ Use a wireless telecommunications device to write, send, read or otherwise engage in any text-based communication;

Local balloon artist and designer Essence Nesbitt recently traveled to London for an international charity event featuring more than 80 artists. The Big Build hosted balloon designers from all over the world to build amazing balloon designs! Once the build is complete, the public buys tickets to see the balloons in person, and funds go to charities.

■ Watch, record or capture photo or video; ■ Engage in voice-based communication while holding a wireless telecommunications device; or

Huntsville Balloon Artist Participates in “The Big Build”

■ Physically hold or otherwise support a wireless telecommunications device with any part of their body. You may still use your device to call 9-1-1 to report an emergency. More information is posted on

Habitat for Humanity Dedicates Two New Homes

Front Row announces Phase One in downtown Huntsville ‘Front Row’ is now under construction in the initial phase in downtown Huntsville, on Clinton Avenue across from the Von Braun Center. This is the site of the former Coca-Cola bottling plant, and the lot has been vacant for nearly a decade. The $220 million first phase of Front Row is one of the largest and most highly anticipated projects in the Southeast. The 11+ acre mixed-use development will include two six-story buildings housing the residential, office, and retail components with a central urban green space for outdoor dining, community activations, and public art. In all, this will include 545 high-end residential units, 36,000 square feet of modern Class-A office space, and 47,000 square feet of premier retail space. Retail space is expected to be ready in late 2025, and apartments and office space are to follow and be move-in-ready by early 2026. Additional phases, including plans for a boutique hotel, a Class A office tower, luxury condos, and more will be disclosed at a future date.


On January 6, Habitat for Humanity of the River Valley dedicated two newly completed homes to two partner families. The homes are on Andros Drive SW and Nassau Drive SW. Congratulations to Vicki and Cynthia and their hardworking families on their new homes! Habitat for Humanity of the River Valley has served over 300 families in Madison and Limestone counties since being established in 1987 to help underserved families achieve their dream of affordable homeownership. The organization partners with families who make between 25 percent and 60 percent of the AMI (Area Median Income).


initiatives FEB 2024



Minority Business of the Year: Mb Solutions s we celebrate the contributions made by our peers in honor of Black History Month, we wanted to kick off the year by highlighting our Small Business Award winner for Minority Business of the Year. Mb Solutions, located off Perimeter Parkway in Huntsville, focuses on providing services such as logistics, cyber security, strategic planning, and engineering in support of Department of Defense (DoD) operations. In addition to their finish as Minority Business of the Year, Mb Solutions was also a contender for Veteran-Owned, Woman-Owned, and Engineering/Defense Business of the Year. They have also been a contender for the last five years for the Chamber’s Best Places to Work® Awards. Rosalyn D. Thompson-Blackwell is the president and CEO of Mb Solutions. She founded the company after serving as a U.S. Army officer for 23 years, where she learned the skills to create a business and be unapologetically herself. Her background also includes a Master’s degree and an Executive Education from Harvard University, as well as a Certification in Strategic Leadership from Cornell University. Thompson-Blackwell also founded the Miles Blackwell Foundation with her partner, Derrick Blackwell, in honor of their son Miles who tragically passed. The foundation connects youth in the community with resources to encourage growth through education and service. Her employees at Mb Solutions actively volunteer and help her reach her goal of making the Huntsville community an even better place to work, live, and play.



Roderick Herron, executive vice president for Mb Solutions

Mb Solutions is currently hiring in many positions. See what’s available at – Kayla Brown

Photo credit: NASA/SpaceX

April 21 – 23, 2024 // Huntsville, AL


FEB 2024 initiatives



Crate Pros Do you need to ship something that won’t fit in a normal box? Look no further than Crate Pros – a logistics solutions provider that designs and builds custom wooden crates with fabricated foam inserts. Most of their work supports the industrial manufacturing and aerospace & defense sectors; however, the Huntsville location has also become active in supporting the automotive industry. Crate Pros can even come on site to measure, design, and build your shipping container. Tim Slicker, general manager, and Eric Polk, director of operations, explained that these shipping containers provide turnkey solutions for exporting large and difficult-to-transport items outside of the U.S. They have all the needed credentials such as the ISPM-15 Certification that is needed to clear customs compliance. Crate Pros recently received their first Prime contract to support PEO Missiles & Space on Redstone and will be constructing over 25,000 custom missile crates within the next year! Visit

International Paper Did you happen to receive any packages from Amazon over the holiday season? There’s a good chance the box that it was shipped in was made from cardboard sheets formed and cut from International Paper in Huntsville ( International Paper is the world leader in paper and pulp manufacturing, and the Huntsville location has been in operation since 1969. This facility is not a mill, but a further processing location that receives the scraps from other IP locations to form and cut them into large cardboard sheets. These sheets are then sent to other locations to be formed into boxes. I recently met with Plant Supervisor Brandon Sarnowski. He provided an excellent tour and detailed the possibility for upward career advancement. He started as a production worker out of high school and worked his way up to a supervisor position.

T&W Operations Inventory management is a necessity of doing business, but it doesn’t have to be daunting and time consuming. What if I told you about a local Huntsville company that can reduce your inventory tracking down to mere seconds, with 100 percent accuracy and visibility with $0 shrinkage? T&W Operations is a local RFID solutions company that can show your company how to achieve this type of result. Their integrated software solution can interface with your existing MRP system, and they can provide you with a customized solution for your business. From hardware to software, they offer a complete solution to your inventory needs. T&W also provides the technical support necessary to use the device(s) and trains on how to utilize the software to increase efficiency. The RFID technology can be implemented for across a variety of industry sectors. Visit for more information and to request a demonstration.

Ross Ivey is the senior director of Industry Relations for the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber. As part of managing the existing industry program, he is responsible for meeting with existing member companies all while establishing relationships to provide various forms of support. Ross learns all about the cool happenings of local Huntsville companies, and he will share some of that information here in each issue of Initiatives! You can contact Ross here:


initiatives FEB 2024


Reflecting on 2023

Lynn Troy recounts her year as Chamber board chair


f you’ve met Lynn Troy, you’ll agree with us that she is a smart businesswoman, and is also positive, friendly, and welcoming. Those are certainly great qualities for the lead volunteer of the Huntsville/ Madison County Chamber! Lynn admitted she was nervous at the start of the year as some of the big events started to unfold. “We’ve had so many events and so many wonderful people that have been supportive and kind to me,” said Troy. “It’s really been a growth year for me personally to be able to stand in front of a room full of people of various sizes with so many key leaders and dignitaries in our community. I’ve been embraced in a way that I feel much more confident now than I did at the beginning.” Our chair is very visible throughout the year, and we asked Lynn which events stood out to her. She noted the ribbon cutting on April 10, 2023 at Marathon Targets where Mayor Tommy Battle and Congressman Dale Strong raced robots to cut the ribbon. “That was super fun, and a very unique and memorable ribbon cutting,” Troy recalled. Troy also participated in advance meetings in Montgomery and Washington, D.C. with our state and federal legislators and their staffs, as our team presented the Chamber’s annual agendas. “It’s that one-on-one time, that real conversation – and the appreciation you get that these are real people who really care,” said Troy. “So many people seem to have negative opinions of people who are in office and what their intentions are, but when you have the opportunity over the course of a year to meet with so many of them and sit one-on-one with them, you learn they are passionate about helping the constituents they serve. It was really fun and insightful for me to be a part of that, because I’ve always loved politics. The behind-the-scenes part was really a highlight for me.” Crafting the state and federal agendas is a gargantuan task each year, but this is an essential part of the Chamber’s mission to update our delegation and their staffers on what is important to the Huntsville/Madison County community and the region. “We want the elected officials and their staffers to know how the business community feels about an issue. I don’t think anybody appreciates how many hours it takes to craft those agendas, unless they’re part of those teams,” explained Troy. “But what’s interesting is that competitors come together and sit at a table and collectively agree on what that content should be, particularly with the federal agenda.


initiatives FEB 2024

The committee articulates the issues in a way that the staffers and the people helping write the legislation can interpret and use it.” Troy also recalled the Paris Air Show trip in June. “I was probably the only rookie on the trip, and everyone told me I didn’t get the ‘real’ air show experience because Mayor Battle was recovering from an injury that afforded us a shuttle directly from the hotel to the Show, so we didn’t have to walk a country mile in the heat,” said Troy. “When we arrived at the Show, with Paris hosting the next summer Olympics, we were excited to discover the exhibition center was air conditioned! Apparently, that is not usually the case. Everyone told me I was so lucky!” “Those were long days,” Troy added. “It’s not a party trip. There are certainly a lot of receptions, handshaking, dressing up, and seeing very beautiful sites and landmarks in a beautiful city. But you are up early and out of the hotel, and you don’t get back until very late at night. It was very interesting and fun to see everybody in that setting, especially with the level of conversations.” “Sen. Katie Britt and Congressman Dale Strong had their families there. Getting to see them all together and talk with them about life in D.C. even though we were in Paris – it was truly surreal.” Now that Lynn’s tenure as chair is finished, she has new priorities for her company, Troy7, Inc. As president, she manages day-to-day operations, and the company is moving to Yulista’s HQ at Redstone Gateway in May. She’s also busy pursuing new opportunities since Troy7’s 8(a) designation was awarded in July 2023. Lynn thanks Troy7 and Yulista for the grace they’ve shown throughout the year. “They never complained about the demands of my time with the Chamber,” she said. “They celebrated it, and I plan in 2024 to give it my all to thank them.” Mayor Battle has also appointed Troy as co-chair of Huntsville’s new AI Task Force, to study this rapidly growing technology in order to get in front of it from a workforce and community perspective. She also serves as Vice Chair for the Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville and serves on the Von Braun Center and the UAH Foundation boards. “I’ll have plenty of things to do, but I will miss it, and I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have served as the Chair of the Chamber. It is truly one of the highlights of my professional career,” Troy said. – Claire Aiello A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

Committed to Giving Back

Sameer Singhal ready to serve and lead in 2024


ameer Singhal is the 2024 Chair for the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber. As president and CEO of CFD Research, a hightech small business established in Huntsville in 1987 by his parents, Ashok and Sangeeta Singhal, Sameer guides a team that has grown to over 250 employees. From its inception, CFD Research has focused on developing innovative technology solutions to solve some of the nation’s biggest problems, serving clients like the DoD, NASA, and NIH. In his role as president and CEO, Singhal shapes the company’s direction and vision, ensuring every team member has the tools needed for success while staying true to the customer’s mission. His focus on employee well-being was reinforced last year when CFD Research successfully transitioned to being a 100 percent ESOP company, granting ownership of the company to each employee.

As Chamber Chair, Singhal is committed to advancing the Chamber’s goals, working closely with Chamber CEO Chip Cherry and the dedicated staff on fulfilling the Chamber’s 2024 Business Plan. At the insistence of his father, Sameer joined the Chamber Board of Directors in 2017. Sameer’s involvement expanded in 2020 when he joined the Executive Committee and witnessed the Chamber’s adaptability as it shifted all programming to virtual format at the height of Covid. For example, does anyone remember Flat Sameer? “If you don’t remember it, it was something fun we did when I helped host the Best Places to Work® Awards virtually,” Sameer explained. “Due to social distancing, we created a cut-out for the pictures with award winners (see lower photo). Flat Sameer is a little bit taller than me, and he made his way back to my office for the past few years. He’s definitely a conversation starter!” Singhal says his various roles with the Chamber have given him a deep appreciation for its significant contributions, from business recruitment and infrastructure upgrades to education and healthcare. “To me, the Chamber’s greatest strength is its collaboration with the City of Huntsville, Madison County, City of Madison, and other local governments to benefit the region,” said Singhal. “It’s critical that we work together to speak with a united voice.” He added that his active participation in the State and Federal Agenda processes has allowed him to witness this collaboration firsthand, where a mix of large businesses, small businesses, and government enCFD Research held a formal ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony in 2022 for its $8M expansion in Huntsville. The new lab space is dedicated in honor of CFD Research’s late founder, Dr. Ashok K. Singhal, who founded the company from the basement of his home in 1987. tities develop talking points on crucial regional issues. Entering 2024, Singhal said he is looking forward to playing a more integral role in the growth of the Huntsville community. Having witnessed the city’s remarkable evolution since his childhood, from the construction of roads like I-565, Carl T. Jones, and Cecil Ashburn, to the relocation of the Army’s Aviation Command, construction of Bridge Street, and the revitalization of downtown, he recognizes the opportunities and growth the city has provided for both his company and family. “I am driven by a deep sense of gratitude, and I’m committed to giving back to the community that has played a crucial role in my personal and professional journey,” said Singhal. “I am thrilled and honored to serve as the 2024 Chair for the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber.” Left: Avion Solutions’ Chad Donald with Flat Sameer. A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

FEB 2024 initiatives


Redstone Q&A:

Janeen DiGuiseppi, Assistant Director, FBI Insider Threat Division Tell us about yourself... Prior to transferring to Huntsville, I had the honor of serving as the Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the FBI’s Albany Field Office where I led FBI field operations in 32 counties in upstate New York as well as in Vermont. Being an SAC is one of the most rewarding leadership positions you can hold as an Agent because you have the most engagement with the communities you are serving. I thought I would retire from Albany, but when the opportunity was presented to lead the FBI’s Insider Threat Division in Huntsville, I couldn’t pass it up. I’ve had an amazing 25-year career with the FBI that began in 1999 in the Salt Lake City Field Office where I worked violent crime, drug, and public corruption violations. I spent almost eight years there before serving in the Middle East as an Assistant Legal Attaché in Baghdad, Iraq, for a year and a half. Then I returned to Salt Lake where I was assigned to the DEA’s Drug Diversion Task Force, before being promoted as a Supervisory Special Agent in Kabul, Afghanistan, as the FBI’s biometric lead. After Kabul, I transferred to the Memphis Field Office where I supervised the public corruption and civil rights programs and the Violent Crimes Against Children/ Child Exploitation Task Force. From Memphis, I transferred to FBI Headquarters (HQ) in Washington, DC, where I was promoted to Assistant Section Chief of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section in the Criminal Investigative Division. While at HQ, I later served as the Chief of Staff to the Assistant Director of the Criminal Division. I finished out my HQ time as the Assistant Section Chief of the Transnational Organized Crime — Eastern Hemisphere Section. From FBI HQ, I transferred to the Denver Field Office as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge over the intelligence and surveillance programs, the Rocky Mountain Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory, and the Wyoming resident agencies. After two years in Denver, I was selected as the Section Chief of the FBI’s Training Division’s Curriculum Management Section located in Quantico, VA. Prior to joining the FBI, I served over eight years as an officer in the U.S. Air Force. In August 2023, FBI Director Christopher Wray named me the Assistant Director (AD) of the FBI’s Insider Threat Division. Q.What is your role with the FBI and its growing presence in Huntsville? I am one of two ADs here at Redstone Arsenal, along with my counterpart Johnnie Sharp, AD of the IT Infrastructure Division. It is my job to lead the organization’s insider threat efforts and ensure we work in concert with the rest of the enterprise and trusted partners to detect potential insider threats and to prevent risks originating from within the organization. I am responsible for driving the strategic direction to identify and mitigate insider threat risk to the organization. I am an advocate for building and strengthening partnerships with private and public entities. My goal is to continue maturing the program to identify future threats and develop innovative techniques to address threats early. The Huntsville community serves as a huge resource to our team as it is forward leaning and has the highly skilled talent needed for our growth. My position was previously located in Washington, DC, along with most other Assistant Director positions. By placing a second Assistant Director in Huntsville, this further emphasizes the FBI’s commitment to the investment and continued growth at Redstone Arsenal. 16

initiatives FEB 2024

Q.What benefit for the FBI and your employees do you see for moving the entire Insider Threat division to Redstone Arsenal? Over the last two years, this division transitioned its employees from Washington, DC to Redstone Arsenal, which offers the FBI an advanced tech talent pool to recruit and retain highly desired skillsets to expand our workforce. The FBI aims to integrate our team with the advanced technical and innovative community that is here in Huntsville. Additionally, Redstone Arsenal also offers us opportunities to build new partnerships to share ideas and collaborate. Employees are enjoying the high quality of life as Huntsville has been repeatedly voted as a top “best place to live.” Employees are quickly and happily adapting to their new lifestyle here, including but not limited to, shorter commute times, more time with family, developing new friendships, and exploring their new communities. The FBI has invested in building state-of-the art facilities at Redstone Arsenal that present new opportunities to build our capabilities and support our vision of becoming the FBI’s innovation and technology center of excellence. Q.What’s next for the FBI here, locally? On our North Campus, we are building a Technology District, which has become the epicenter of the FBI’s technology infrastructure and tool development, centralizing our tech talent and tools in a connected Campus environment. In June 2022, the Operations Building opened, accommodating approximately 1,300 personnel and bringing a strong HQ posture that focuses on driving actionable intelligence to the field. Additionally, Technology Building 1 opened in 2022. Network monitoring and insider threat detection has become essential to safeguarding our intelligence and information. Looking to the immediate future, the Innovation Center will be opening in the Spring of 2024, which will house cyber, digital forensics, and advanced training. This facility will provide state-of-the-art technology dedicated to training, cyber threat intelligence, and data analytics to help the FBI meet the rapidly changing threat landscape. We will also be opening a new kinetic cyber range, virtual reality environments, classroom, classrooms with enhanced audio/visual capabilities, and numerous labs and workspaces. The kinetic cyber range will teach students through hands-on, real-life scenarios that span a wide range of basic and advanced digital forensic collection scenarios. Students will also be able to simulate realistic operational environments to better understand vulnerable entry points and recommend changes to block future intrusion attempts. Facilities like these make the Bureau better positioned to carry out our mission and help us attract the talented agents, analysts and technicians who will carry us into the future. Q.What are your thoughts on the Rocket City now that you’re here? I’ve been in Huntsville for almost five months now, and I love it! The Huntsville community is very welcoming, and there is so much to do in the area. I was fortunate to buy a home in a great neighborhood where my four-legged daughter, Leila, and I can walk and explore the area. I moved from New York which I thought would be a difficult transition because of an amazing team and some very close friends, but the people in Huntsville made it easy. I have a new team of dedicated, hardworking, and professional colleagues who have welcomed me, so I have no complaints. I look forward to building my life here (although I’d love to see a Macy’s ).




Madison County

City of Huntsville

City of Madison

Huntsville Metro Area


2010 Census





2022 Census





% Growth





HOUSEHOLDS & INCOME # of Households





Avg. Household Income





Per Capita Income





As of January 2024

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau (, American Community Survey Estimates

Top 15 Employers: Huntsville & Madison County U.S. Army/Redstone Arsenal* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38,000 * Huntsville Hospital System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11,149 NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6,000 Mazda Toyota Manufacturing (MTM) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4,000 The Boeing Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,048 Huntsville City Schools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,000 Dynetics, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,946 SAIC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,746 City of Huntsville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,589 Madison County Schools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,389 Northrop Grumman Corporation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,266 University of Alabama in Huntsville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,979 Polaris Industries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,932 Toyota Alabama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,800 Lockheed Martin Corporation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,685 Source: Huntsville/Madison County Chamber

*includes on-site contractors

Aerospace & Defense Huntsville/Madison County is home to the U.S. Army Redstone Arsenal and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center which combine to drive a thriving aerospace and defense technology industry. Currently, 44,000 people work at Redstone Arsenal and NASA, managing some of the country’s most important and sophisticated technology programs.

Research & Technology Huntsville’s Cummings Research Park (CRP) has earned a reputation as a global leader in technology development. The second-largest science and technology research park in the U.S., CRP is home to 320 companies and 26,500 people involved in technology research and development.

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FEB 2024 initiatives


Annie Scranton, founder & president of Pace Public Relations

Everyone that we met or talked to spoke about Huntsville with such positivity, and had nothing but great things to say both about their city and the people that live there.

– Caroline Kropke Pace PR

Pace PR’s Jill O’Neill & Isabella Silber



Since mid-2023, the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber has been working with Pace Public Relations, a PR firm based in New York, to help increase positive awareness of the Rocket City. Partners in this effort are the City of Huntsville, the Port of Huntsville, and Huntsville-Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau. We live and work here, and we certainly see how special North Alabama is, but we felt it would be helpful to incorporate outside perspective in sharing our story as we work to grow the region. So, we asked the Pace PR team to write our cover story for February. They have visited Huntsville five times so far and have more visits scheduled. continued on page 20


dec 2023 initiatives


continued from page 19

First Impressions Having never stepped foot in the “Rocket City” when we embarked on our PR campaign for Huntsville, our initial expectations centered around Huntsville’s history and role in space exploration. However, what struck us first was the rich cultural tapestry and quality of life that the community enjoys. Mayor Tommy Battle’s commitment to enhancing walkability, fostering the arts, and nurturing a sense of balance and excellence in the city left a lasting impression. The abundance of smart, highly skilled people showcased the city’s unique character from our first visit. Even our Uber driver was a former astrophysics professor!

Community Pride & Growth Claire Aiello, VP of Marketing & Communcations for the Chamber and Pace PR’s Jill O’Neill

One of the details that stood out most was the palpable sense of community pride that transcended physical spaces. The intentional urban planning, vibrant downtown, sports complexes, and the flourishing music ecosystem collectively create a city that residents are genuinely proud to call home, and they are eager to share that. The inclusive approach of the local government, actively involving the community in the city’s planning process, is certainly a factor here. It seems like everyone that we have come across feels a part of the significant growth that has happened over the last decade.

Favorite Things We’ve Seen

L-R: Pace PR’s Rose Levy, Isabella Silber, Jill O’Neill, and Caroline Kropke


initiatives FEB 2024

Huntsville offers something for everyone, regardless of interests, age, or income. The city’s music, sports, culinary, and art scenes are thriving. Most of the locals we spoke with mentioned the positive change that has occurred over the last decade, and the overwhelming sentiment is that they expect to see even more development in the near future. We were particularly captivated by the adaptive reuse projects, transforming spaces like a converted high school into an entertainment destination (Campus No. 805) or the transformation of a former textile mill into a thriving community arts facility (Lowe Mill Arts Center). These projects showcase the city’s creativity in preserving important pieces of the city’s history while providing unique cultural and recreational opportunities for the residents. We encountered beer brewers and bespoke guitar builders who translated their skills at NASA into “second acts.” This is not a story you can find anywhere else. Not only are there a plethora of community members who have experience working on rockets, but as retirees, several of them have translated those skills into cultural endeavors that give back to the city. We now consider this a “quintessential” Huntsville experience. At HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, we were able to get a glimpse of the advancements in genomic science that will shape our future. What impacted us most was, again, the benefit that the Huntsville location in Cummings Research Park offers to the entrepreneurs and scientists collaborating on the ground. Whether at a coffee shop with the Mayor or learning about community involvement at the Orion Amphitheater, our interactions emphasized the approachability of local figures and the city’s commitment to quality of life. Every aspect of Huntsville seems intentionally geared toward fostering a thriving community. Also, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention our trips to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, where we got to fulfill our childhood dreams of going to Space Camp! A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

What Makes This Area Attractive to Newcomers? Huntsville’s attractiveness to newcomers lies in its diverse range of opportunities. With companies actively moving to the city and a surplus of job openings across various industries, Huntsville promises opportunities for both personal and professional growth. Both the public and private sectors in Huntsville form a cooperative community, rather than a competitive one. We have heard countless examples of businesses who attribute their growth to being located in Huntsville. Beyond the expected defense and aerospace industries, Huntsville has a thriving music and arts scene, making it an ideal destination for creatives and music lovers. By investing in the music audit, the city was able to increase quality of life and harness the power of music for economic development and jobs. There are hiking trails just a short bike ride from downtown as well as a brand new sports complex at John Hunt Park, with the new Huntsville City Football Club playing at Wicks Family Field at Joe Davis Stadium. There are also numerous walkable destinations throughout the city. The development of the Cummings Research Park area is a perfect example of the intentionality that the city puts into planning, providing bike lanes, restaurants, and entertainment options just five minutes from most company campuses. The emphasis on work life balance is clear. At the Orion Amphitheater, residents can see their favorite A-list artists in a world-class venue. Not only is there not a bad seat in the house, the methodical approach to sustainability is something that none of us have experienced before. Sadly, we have not been to a concert yet, but it is on our list! The more that we learn, we find ourselves asking, “Is there anything Huntsville DOESN’T have?”

I can’t wait to see a concert at the Orion! It’s such a win for the city. Previously, residents would travel hours to see their favorite big-name musicians. Now, artists like Lana Del Ray, Phish, Kenny Chesney and Dierks Bentley (to name a FEW) are performing right in their backyard.


– Isabella Silber Pace PR

What Makes People Want to Stay?


Space Camp was so awesome! I grew up loving the movie Space Camp, so visiting in real life was really fun and brought out the kid in me. I can confidently say that when our daughter is old enough, w e’ll be enrolling in family space camp!

– Annie Scranton Pace PR


According to U.S. News & World Report’s data analysis in 2023, Huntsville ranked #2 as Best Place to Live and #1 as Best Place to Raise a Family. Those are very strong rankings. Oftentimes, such lists are built from sweeping public data that doesn’t tell a full story: most affordable, most friendly to working from home, etc. Huntsville surpasses SO many stories that can only be told by data – the quality of life that makes it the best place to live is real, but it’s not a simple result that can be easily scraped on the internet. The welcoming community combined with access to cultural and leisure activities make it easy for newcomers to integrate and contribute to something greater than themselves. The city’s ongoing growth, driven by collaborative efforts and community involvement, instills a feeling of collective excitement. Positive changes are happening constantly, and when you’re here you are a part of it. Actions that run the gamut from hiring the first city-appointed music officer in the nation to enacting the popular purple cup initiative showcase a city that listens to its residents and actively involves them in shaping its future.

What Do People Not Realize About Huntsville? Outsiders don’t realize that what’s happening here has a ripple effect throughout the rest of the world. We met with officials at Team Redstone, where key decisions are being made to protect U.S. interests both at home and overseas. We learned about NASA’s work in Huntsville that is taking astronauts back to the Moon, and eventually, even Mars. These endeavors have contributed not only to the

continued on page 22 FEB 2024 initiatives


continued from page 21 workforce, but to local culture. The residents are very proud of this work, as they should be! Huntsville attracts a diverse group of people from around the world, contributing unique perspectives, ideas, and ideologies. More than 50 percent of residents were not born here, but moved to Huntsville to build their lives. Many may not realize the breadth of opportunities available across industries, extending beyond the renowned aerospace and defense sectors. Look at all the development in advanced manufacturing. Huntsville, and Alabama, are doing groundbreaking work for the automotive sector. Historically, Huntsville has been able to sustain the culture of innovation that was responsible for its growth in the first place. From STEM education to a potential pipeline of jobs that create generational IP and wealth in the state, Huntsville is able to build on the skills that will shape the future.

Why an Outsider’s Perspective Matters Our fresh viewpoint allows us to share the untold story of Huntsville and its uniqueness with authenticity. The first question that many people in Huntsville ask us is, “So… what did you expect when you got here?” It’s important to acknowledge the fact that people can have biases about what they think Alabama is about. The same goes for our hometown of New York City. This gives us an opportunity to build on the blank slate that we came here with, and to generate conversations with national media from our own experiences. Our job is to highlight Huntsville’s national and global impact and elevate its standing as one of the best places to live in the United States.

Pace PR staff visiting with Carter Wells at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Cummings Research Park.


initiatives FEB 2024


A city’s design influences our health and quality of life, for better or worse, and in ways we might not even realize. Touching down in Huntsville, it was immediately apparent how intentional the City has been in implementing specific design strategies that will enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors alike. The communitydriven master plan for more walkability, more parks, a revitalized downtown, thriving cultural hub, and more, are just a few of the many examples for how Huntsville is leading the way in active design.

– Rose Levy Pace PR

Why It’s Important to Get Noticed in a Busy World

What Can We Do Better?

Huntsville continues to advance with initiatives in space travel, genomics, communications, aerospace, and defense. These are achievements that need to be acknowledged to educate the world about what is being done here and how it impacts our day-to-day lives. People in Huntsville already know it, but when we arrived, we had no idea just how dynamic the city would be.

As we continue our PR campaign, we’re committed to showcasing the growth, innovation, and community that make Huntsville such a remarkable city, dispelling misconceptions, and showcasing its significance on a national and global scale. When asked what Huntsville could do better, the only thing that comes to mind is making it closer to New York. But maybe we’re biased. – Jill O’Neill, Pace Public Relations


FEB 2024 initiatives



Nonprofit of the Year: Village of Promise ecoming Nonprofit of the Year literally takes a village. This year’s winner, Village of Promise, said winning this award will really help set them apart from the other amazing nonprofit organizations in our area. “Our community does great, high-level work across the board. North Alabama really is a special place to call home, and we were humbled to ultimately be named the winner,” said CEO Dana Gillis. Village of Promise ( is a Family Advancement Center that empowers families to break the cycle of poverty. Using a targeted, multigenerational approach, their mission is to provide age-based and need-related programming so families can conquer challenges, achieve dreams, and contribute to their community. “Many days while working in support of our mission, it can feel like we are building the airplane while it’s already in flight – and while we do have planning in place to propel our strategic plan and organizational initiatives forward, we will continually pivot to best serve our families and to remain a valuable community partner,” said Gillis. Prior to his days serving Huntsville/Madison County, Gillis served as a special agent of the FBI for 24 years. “I also married a special agent, so I guess that makes us the original Mr. & Mrs. Smith!,” he said. While his endeavors were not always directly related to law enforcement, they were always connected to serving. In his undergraduate journey, he started out as a Music Major (bassoonist), but



L-R: Village of Promise CEO Dana Gillis and Board Secretary/Co-founder Bobby Bradley

eventually made the switch to journalism, which in the end helped elevate his career as a special agent. Now as the CEO of Village of Promise, Gillis is driven to elevate his community the best way he can through one family at a time. “Being part of Village of Promise is more like a calling than work,” he shared. – Kayla Brown

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initiatives FEB 2024



Upward Momentum Jada Leo


The Westmoreland Company, Inc.

Q: Tell us about yourself. Are you from Huntsville, or did you move here from somewhere else? My family moved to Huntsville from Texas in 1963 when my father took a job at Redstone Arsenal. Shortly thereafter my mother formed the Leo Agency, which became a leading residential real estate firm. As I grew up, so did Huntsville. It was an exciting period with Huntsville playing a key role in the effort to win the space race and to put a man on the Moon. I graduated from Virgil “Gus” Grissom High School in 1974 and The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) in 1979. My real estate career started at age 19 with residential sales, then to residential development and home building, ultimately moving into industrial and commercial development. Q: Tell us about The Westmoreland Company. What kind of work do you do? Since 1990, we have been a real estate solutions company. Our primary business is the development and leasing of build-to-suit industrial and commercial buildings. Our clients tell us what they need in terms of a building and generally where they want it. We acquire the land, design and build the building to meet their needs. Our work is nationwide with completed projects in 30 U.S. states and five Canadian provinces. Our current projects range between 100,000 square feet and 500,000 square feet in size. Q: What would you like others to know about your business? Being successful in our industry requires highly competitive rents, professional execution of construction, and a long-term philosophy of service to the client. If your firm is looking for projected costs for a new industrial distribution or assembly facility, give us a call. Your Chief Financial Officer will be glad you did. Q: You mentioned you’d like to make a bigger investment in Huntsville. Why? The Huntsville/Madison County area is our home, and one of the most unique markets in the country. We believe the next 30 years of growth will exceed all expectations. To serve the need for industrial space, we have acquired significant parcels of industrial land to develop projects for our clients. We stand ready to use our expertise to serve our community today. Q: Why do you choose to support HREGI, the Chamber’s Huntsville Regional Economic Growth Initiative? The cornerstones of our current economic success were laid decades ago by community business leaders. Since that time, business leaders have continued to step up. Today, we face intense competition from communities who want what we have. By supporting HREGI, we at The Westmoreland Company are doing our part to demonstrate the dedication and enthusiasm we have for the economic growth of the Huntsville/Madison County area. A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

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Sameer Singhal


President & CEO, CFD Research Corporation

Jeff Samz

Lynn Troy

Ron Poteat

Dr. Karockas Watkins

CEO, Huntsville Hospital Health System

President, Troy7, Inc.


CEO/President/Executive Director, Ability Plus, Inc.



Immediate Past Chair

Chair, Chamber Foundation

Secretary / Treasurer

Jami Peyton

Ginger Harper

David Cook

Chrystal Morgan

Beth Sippel

Ronnie Chronister

CEO, Canvas, Inc.

SVP, Private Client Group Manager, First Horizon

Senior Vice President, Torch Technologies

Director of Gov. Operations, The Boeing Company

Market President, Synovus

VP, Army Program Integration, Lockheed Martin Corporation

VICE CHAIR, Economic Development

VICE CHAIR, Economic Inclusion & Diversity

VICE CHAIR, Government & Public Affairs


VICE CHAIR, Investor Relations

VICE CHAIR, Marketing & Communications

Brett Crain

Jason Puckett

Jeff Gronberg

David Fernandes

Tyce Hudson

Srinath Yedla

President, Huntsville Tractor & Equipment, Inc.

President, Toyota Alabama

CEO, deciBel Research, Inc.

Senior VP, Mazda Toyota Manufacturing (MTM)

Project Director, Freedom Real Estate and Capital, LLC

President & CEO, Yedla Management Company

VICE CHAIR, Small Business

VICE CHAIR, Talent Initiatives

LIAISON, Redstone Regional Alliance




Graham Burgess

Tommy Battle

Paul Finley

Mac McCutcheon

Chip Cherry, CCE

Shareholder, Maynard Nexsen

Mayor, City of Huntsville

Mayor, City of Madison

Chairman, Madison County Commission

President & CEO, Huntsville/ Madison County Chamber





initiatives OCT FEB 2024 2023




Blake Bentley SportsMED Orthopedic Surgery & Spine Center

Alka Bhargav Aum Foundation

David Bier Anglin Reichmann Armstrong, P.C.

Penny Billings

Tyler Evans

Michelle Jordan

Alicia Ryan

An L3Harris Technologies Co.


LSINC Corporation

Kevin Fernandez

Sean Kelly Regions Bank

Angie Sandritter

L2 Mindset

Aerojet Rocketdyne,

Gregory Fortier SAIC

Owen Franklin

Clint Kirkland

Blue Summit Supplies

United Community Bank

Greg Gaddy

Rich Kretzschmar

Vergenia Shelton

Integration Innovation, Inc. (i3)

Intuitive Research and Technology Corporation

Cadence Bank

Jason Blount

Greg Hall

Keel Point, LLC

COPT Defense Properties

Mark Brazeal

Scott Hall

Wayne Sisco Redstone Federal Credit Union

Nilmini Thompson

Matt Meko

Henry Thornton


Booz Allen Hamilton

Meta Platforms, Inc.

Stephanie Mell

Mike Watkins

ChurchStreet Family Businesses

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama

Carey Miller

Frank Williams II

Deloitte LLP

Landers McLarty Subaru

Jim Holtkamp ServisFirst Bank

Laura Huckabee-Jennings


Transcend, The Fearless Company

Melissa Davis

Hank Isenberg

MTA, Inc.

IronMountain Solutions


Todd May

KODA Technologies Inc.

Josh Herren

Katie Comer

Patti Dare


Julie Schumacher

Systems Products and Solutions, Inc. (SPS)

Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc.

Raytheon, An RTX Business

James Lackey

Simulation Technologies, Inc.


Mazda Toyota Manufacturing (MTM)

Michael Cox

Annie Saylor

Modern Technology Solutions, Inc. (MTSI)

Five Stones Research Corporation

Meta Platforms, Inc.

Tim King


Zack Penney Bill Penney Toyota/ Mitsubishi

FEB 2024 initiatives


Carrying the Torch Forward

Women’s Business Council is gearing up for another great year!


2023 Wine Down with Women Who Lead

2023 WBC: Women in Missile Defense

t is a new year which means new members to the Women’s Business Council (WBC) of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber. The WBC assists in attaining the Mission and Vision of the Chamber by providing a platform for networking, mentoring, and leadership development for women in business. Members of the Council are women who own and/or lead their company, and know firsthand the value of networking, finding a good mentor, and the affirmation, confidence, and inspiration that comes from hearing from other females in leadership roles in the community. You may recognize this year’s WBC Chair, Vicki Morris. She is the principal and CEO of Face to Face Marketing, a marketing firm that specializes in graphic design, website services, social media services, and offers corporate training. In addition to her company, she actively engages with the community by hosting her own networking group – Regional Innovators Sustaining the Ecosystem, also known as R.I.S.E, is an area director for BNI, is a member of the National Small BusiMorris ness Association’s Leadership Council, and was the first African American to chair the Women Honoring Women event for the WEDC Foundation. Morris is passionate about women in business and was quoted in The Madison Record as saying, “women-owned businesses are a part of the small business economy, and if you know anything about business, small businesses drive the local, regional, and national economy. So, if you know a woman-owned business, please give them your patronage.” Morris has helped shape the 2024 programming offered by the WBC, and she partners with other organizations in the community to provide training for small businesses on the value of, and how to best market, their business. The WBC’s 2024 program calendar offers opportunities for women to meet other women succeeding in their chosen fields, celebrate women in leadership, and establish relationships with other women in business in our community. Look for these events in the first quarter of 2024: ■ Tuesday, Feb. 20 – WBC: Portrait of Success luncheon with Kimberly Byrge, the winner of the 2023 Small Business Awards Woman-Owned Business of the Year ■ March –Celebrate Women’s History Month with proclamation signings recognizing the contributions of Women Business Owners ■ Thursday, March 21 – WBC luncheon with guest speaker Helena Duncan, president of the Alabama Business Council

2023 WBC Luncheon with Dr. Pat Sims


initiatives FEB 2024

Throughout the rest of the year, be on the lookout for additional luncheons with prominent female business leaders, Wine Down with Women Who Lead, and more! – Ashley Engles-Ross A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

Voting in 2024 I

t is an election year, and there are several dates coming soon. This year will include the presidential race, plus several state and county races, and some municipal (city) races. Go ahead and plug in these dates on your calendar: March 5 ■ Statewide Primary Election March 26 ■ House District 10 Special Election ■ (This is just for residents of District 10) April 16 ■ Statewide Primary Runoff Election (if needed)

April 23 ■ State Senate District 9 Special General Election ■ (This is just for residents of District 9) August 27 ■ City of Huntsville Municipal Election ■ Mayor; Districts 1 & 5 for both City Council & Huntsville Board of Education November 5 ■ General Election

Visit for lots of voting information. There, you can check your district, register to vote or update your voter registration if you’ve moved recently. – Claire Aiello


FEB 2024 initiatives


Meet Our 2024 Leads

These four head up the Chamber’s Ambassador & Emissary programs


ur Ambassador and Emissary programs allow Chamber members to become more engaged with the community. Chamber Ambassadors are individual volunteers who help represent and promote the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber, and you see them at many events throughout the community! They also promote their own business to other companies. Chamber Emissaries are also volunteers and are chosen to act as messengers on behalf of the Chamber to advocate to current members. Milam Kristin Milam and Luchie Wooten are our Lead Ambassadors. Wooten, a three-time 2023 Ambassador of the Month, is a branch center manager at First Horizon, where she is passionate about helping boost her team’s growth and development. Wooten was born and raised in the Philippines, where most of her family still lives. “While growing up in a Filipino household, Wooten my parents always taught me to use obstacles as strength to achieve my dreams and aspirations,” Wooten said. “My


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mom always says ‘go lang ng go,’ which means, ‘just go, go, go!’” That mindset has encouraged Wooten to connect with several businesses and fully utilize her position as a Chamber Ambassador. It has even helped her connect with fellow lead Ambassador Milam. Milam is a Realtor and property manager for Rosenblum Realty, where she helps clients manage their real estate investments, and helps buyers and sellers achieve real estate dreams in the residential, commercial, and multi-unit markets. “I really enjoy being able to serve my community by being a leading advocate for Huntsville,” said Milam. “I take great pride in being a genuine resource for newcomers to Huntsville and enjoy mentoring those who want to get more involved in all that this beautiful city has to offer. I do this by showing others how they can get involved in the Chamber and the community to benefit not only their business, but their own personal development as well.” Stewart Schuerr and Abby Lee Casey are our Lead Emissaries. In their work, Schuerr is the division president of J.T. Ray Company, where he oversees sales and customer relationships, and helps various businesses with office efficiencies via software or hardware decisions. Casey is the director of sponsorship sales at the Von Braun Center (VBC), selling sponsorships to VBC-owned events and selling on-site Schuerr advertising and marketing opportunities on VBC premises. The two facilitate Emissary meetings and leadership for all current emissaries to ensure Chamber members are well-informed on how to get the most out of their membership. “It takes a commitment from all of us to make the Emissary program a success,” said Schuerr, Casey who has been involved in the Chamber since 2015. “As an Emissary and ChamberON volunteer, I have learned that networking, continued education, and community involvement is the best way to build the necessary relationships to grow our community and the businesses within it,” said Casey. “With the understanding of the importance of relationships, I am not only able to grow my role at the VBC, but I am able to help other businesses do the same.” We are always looking to grow our programs. Visit hsvchamber. org for more information on joining the Chamber’s Ambassadors & Emissaries or contact Lakeysha Brown: or 256-535-2038. – Kayla Brown A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION


Young Professional of the Year: Terica Pope ecoming a Small Business Winner as a company is one thing, but for this winner, this award amplifies true professionalism as an individual. Our Young Professional of the Year winner exemplifies not only being a leader within the Huntsville community, but also shows how to utilize a supportive team to accomplish the company’s goals. Terica Pope is the director of housing operations for the Huntsville Housing Authority (HHA). Her department serves over 1,300 households that almost 2,900 people call home. Their goal is to provide affordable and safe housing to those who need it. “These individuals range from low-to-moderate income, some elderly, some disabled, some mixed generation, and even singles benefit from the housing that we provide daily,” Pope said. “The families that we serve are mirrors of the community we live in. It is about more than managing apartment buildings.” Pope said her mission, along with HHA’s, cannot be done alone. Her team helps make these services possible. But as a young professional, Pope has made sure her professional services are seen among those in the business community. “There is pressure to find your place and ensure you are indeed seen for what you offer the workforce, especially your place of employment,” Pope said. “I try my best to move intentionally. In everything I do, when it’s all said and done, if I do it correctly, I desire that my work, how I do it, and who it positively affects be a voice of reason.” Winning this Small Business Award has now opened the door for more visibility.



L-R: Event emcee Victoria Jones presenting the award to HHA’s Terica Pope

“Winning an award like Young Professional of the Year is liberating,” said Pope. “It gives you a voice and makes people who wouldn’t usually look your way want to know more about you.” We are very proud of the work being done by Pope and the rest of the HHA staff. If you would like to learn more about the services they provide, visit – Kayla Brown

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FEB 2024 initiatives


UPCOMING CHAMBER EVENTS Portrait of Success Tuesday, Feb. 20 • Chamber Presenting Sponsor: Signalink, Inc.

Tuesday, Feb. 27 • Jackson Center Presenting Sponsor: Regions Bank Event Partner: The Schools Foundation

– Business After Hours events–

Thursday, Feb. 15 • 5-7 p.m. • The Venue at Oak Place Thursday, March 14 • 5-7 p.m. Conference USA Basketball Championship • VBC Propst Arena Networking Presenting Sponsor: Easyl Engraving

Friday, March 1 USSRC Davidson Center with Sen. Katie Britt

Presenting Sponsor: COPT Defense Properties

– Professional Development Series–

The Power of AI for Business Success Thursday, Feb. 15 • Panel Discussion

Quickbooks with UAH Tuesday, March 26 University of Alabama

Thursday, March 7

DE&I Initiatives in the Workplace Tuesday, March 19


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Best Places to Work : Surveys Open Encourage employees to fill out surveys by March 8


n our last issue of Initiatives, we announced the launch of the 2024 Best Places to Work®. It’s a great opportunity for companies to engage in some friendly competition and a chance to be recognized as a place where people love to work. Held annually, Best Places to Work honors superior organizations where voices are heard, cultures are thriving, and employees are engaged! The Best Places to Work program allows you to assess your employees’ perceptions of your workplace quickly and easily. The assessment will give you insight into your organization’s strengths and weaknesses from the eyes of your employees. Nominations for companies close February 9, so you have just a few days left to nominate a company! If your company has been nominated, the point of contact identified during the nomination process should have received an email from Quantum Workplace to create your company profile, upload emails, and launch the survey. These will go to your employees, who have through March 8 to complete them. The survey contains 30 scored questions across six categories: Communication and Resources, Manager Effectiveness, Team Dynamics, Individual Needs, Personal Engagement, and Trust in Leadership. If you would like, surveys can be customized to gather feedback unique to your organization. You can add scaled and/or open-ended questions to let employees share answers in their own words. Surveys are available to full-time and part-time employees, and all participating companies will receive access to an online summary report. To be eligible to be a contender for our Best Places to Work Awards, your employees must complete the survey! To gather statistically sound results and to be eligible to be a contender, companies must reach a minimum level of employee participation (based on total number of employees). We will announce the contenders on April 5. Be sure to join us for the Best Places to Work® Awards on Tuesday, May 14 at the Von Braun Center! We look forward to celebrating with you. Registration will open soon on – Claire Aiello & Ashley Engles-Ross

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FEB 2024 initiatives



Executive Staff Chip Cherry, CCE, president & CEO Meghan Chambliss, director, governance support & special projects

Economic Development // CRP // Talent Initiatives Lucia Cape, CCE, senior vice president Erin Koshut, executive director, Cummings Research Park Lyndsay Ferguson, vice president, talent initiatives Ken Smith, senior director, research & information services Ross Ivey, senior director, industry relations Annie Davis, director, talent initiatives Beth Zinn, program manager, Driving Possibilities

Finance & Administration // Events Mary McNairy, IOM, vice president Joe Watson, facilities supervisor Kim Weeks, accounting specialist – receivables Dionne Scales, accounting & HR specialist Diana Baccus, director, event management Laura Carr, event specialist Stefanie Smoot, resource desk coordinator

Government & Public Affairs Mike Ward, CCE, senior vice president

Huntsville Regional Economic Growth Initiative (HREGI) Kristy Drake, IOM, vice president, investor relations

Investor Relations // Membership Kristy Drake, IOM, vice president, investor relations Lakeysha Brown, director, member engagement Richard Bigoney, membership account executive Crystal Baker, retention specialist

Marketing & Communications

At Work

Claire Aiello, IOM, vice president Kristi Sherrard, creative director Kayla Brown, director, strategic communications Hiroko Sedensky, web designer


Program options include: • Blood work • Bilateral blood pressure • Additional biometrics • Confidential counseling • Heart-healthy nutrition class

Ask us about customized programs!

Small Business // Economic Inclusion & Diversity Ashley Engles-Ross, vice president, small business

(256) 265-0068



initiatives FEB 2024


New to Huntsville? Here’s what you need to know The City of Huntsville welcomed 3,261 new residents between July 2021 and July 2022, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. It doesn’t take a mathematician to see our city is growing. As Huntsville works to manage its growth in a smart, measured way, it’s important that newcomers know how to navigate their City government. Here’s a beginner’s guide to getting to know Huntsville. For all resources mentioned here, please visit

KNOW YOUR FIRST RESPONDERS First things first, you should know who to call in case of an emergency. This includes the Huntsville Police Department (HPD), Huntsville Fire & Rescue (HFR), and Huntsville-Madison County Emergency Management Agency (EMA). In a true emergency, it’s normal to call 911; however, each of these agencies has a non-emergency line for the other operations they handle in the City: ■ Huntsville Police Department: 256-722-7100 ■ Huntsville Fire & Rescue: 256-722-7210 ■ Huntsville-Madison County EMA: 256-427-5130 HPD also has specific lines for accident reports, crisis intervention, and reported drug activity.

GET AROUND TOWN Getting around the Rocket City has never been easier. With Huntsville Transit and over 70 miles of greenways and bike routes galore, there are countless options to maneuver Huntsville with or without a vehicle. Huntsville Transit offers multiple services for residents. Access is a specialized, door-to-door paratransit service, while Orbit is available to everyone at bus stops across the City. Ride-sharing services through CommuteSmart are also available to alleviate heavy traffic during your morning and evening commute. Huntsville’s bus system, Orbit, operates Monday–Friday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you’re hoping to take the scenic route to your destination, look no further than Huntsville’s greenways. Through the City’s partnership with the Land Trust of North Alabama, trails, paved pathways and pedestrian/bike streets connect Huntsville residents to each other.

STAY CONNECTED If you need to report service requests like potholes, a lost pet, or broken parking meters – look no further than Huntsville Connect. The free mobile and web application is the perfect way to find a fix through photos and real-time feedback. It even allows you to report situations confidentially. Huntsville Connect also notifies you when the issue is resolved. The app is available for download on Google Play or the App Store.

FIND YOUR COUNCIL MEMBER Make sure you know who your City Council representative is – and how to contact them when the need arises. Current members of the Huntsville City Council are Devyn Keith, David Little, Jennie Robinson, Bill Kling, and John Meredith. City Council meetings are held on the second and fourth Thursday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in the 1st Floor Chambers of City Hall, 308 Fountain Circle. Meetings are open to the public in-person, broadcast on HSVTV (Comcast 1088/16 or WOW 42), and streamed live via You should also find your polling location when you move into your new home. To register to vote or update your address, visit

HAVE FUN! Once you’re settled in, it’s time to explore and see all the City of Huntsville has to offer! Spend time outdoors at one of the City’s 65+ parks that span over 3,000 acres. Our parks range from small green spaces to massive multiuse areas with playgrounds and plenty of activities. If you’re hoping to stay indoors, look no further than our recreation centers. With centers scattered across the City, there are opportunities for everyone to have fun – sometimes right outside their front door. Recreation center activities include everything from swimming, sports, and disc golf to games and computer classes. In addition, Huntsville boasts numerous museums, walking trails and greenways, theaters, art exhibits, restaurants, and much more. For more information about being a Rocket City resident, download the Resident Toolkit ( or follow the City of Huntsville on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. – Zach Hester, City of Huntsville

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