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Since first putting down roots in Alabama in 1870, Bradley has grown to serve our clients’ changing needs. With nearly 550 attorneys in 10 offices, Bradley is strategically located across the highest economic growth region of the country – providing timely and costeffective services when and where our clients need us. Bradley is a national law firm with a global perspective. We represent clients in Huntsville, North Alabama, the U.S. and around the world with critical legal capabilities in a broad range of industries. Clients depend on us for innovative solutions, dependable responsiveness, and a deep commitment to success. Our Huntsville attorneys go above and beyond expectations to help our clients achieve their goals.




Named U.S. “Law Firm of the Year” for Construction Law for 2018 & 2020 by U.S. News & World Report



Represent six of the 10 largest banks and 16 of the 20 largest mortgage servicers in the U.S.


Handled economic development projects that invested $25 billion and created 30,000+ jobs in 30+ states


Ranked the 14th largest healthcare law firm in the U.S. by Modern Healthcare


Attorneys from across all offices listed in The Best Lawyers in America® for 2020

bradley.com | BIRMINGHAM | CHARLOTTE | DALLAS | HOUSTON | HUNTSVILLE | JACKSON | MONTGOMERY | NASHVILLE | TAMPA | WASHINGTON, D.C. No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING. Contact: Frank M. Caprio, Esq., 256.517.5142, fcaprio@bradley.com, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, 200 Clinton Avenue West, Suite 900, Huntsville, AL 35801. ©2020

Improving lives across the Tennessee Valley

We are the Huntsville Hospital Health System, a team committed to bringing better health care to you and your family. We’re all across the Tennessee Valley with more resources, more services and more locations — we’re improving lives, together.

Huntsville Hospital Health System includes Huntsville Hospital, Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children, Madison Hospital, Athens-Limestone Hospital, Decatur Morgan Hospitals, Helen Keller & Red Bay Hospitals, Marshall Medical Centers, Lawrence Medical Center, Russellville Hospital and Lincoln Health System in Tennessee.

welcome new chamber members Joined in January 2020 ACES Science Labs, llc Agency54 Aviles Brothers Landscaping, LLC

Joined in February 2020 5 Boys Apparel Air Med Care Network Alabama Climate Control

BlueCats US, LLC

Allure Ambience

Candy Cane Coated Candles

BorderHawk LLC

Challenger Defense Solutions

C Spire Business

Dental Care of Huntsville Dentistry Downtown with Dr. Rebecca Howell Diana Lockmiller - State Farm Direct Auto & Life Insurance - WalMart Huntsville Location Envistacom Expo Displays - Method One FiberRise Communications, LLC G3-Greater Guidance Group

Casino Knight ClearTrack HR LLC Country Financial - Mark Berryman Enercon Integrated Defense Solutions FMI Defense, LLC Integration, LLC JLG Insurance Services LLC Joseph Carter Realty

Innovate Huntsville Center

Kaboom Crash Media


Krab Kingz Huntsville

K&K Technical Group Le Macaron French Pastries - PASMI INC Lean Kitchen Company McCorqoudale Transfer Huntsville McWilliams Marketing Paradise Cleaning Service

Legacy of Hope Legend Realty, Tennessee Valley Girls - Janet South Legend Realty, Tennessee Valley Girls - Kim White Madison Grove Apartments & TH Marriott Huntsville Mr. Appliance of Huntsville

Partnership for a Drug-Free Community, Inc.

North Alabama Zoo & Aquarium

Pottery Barn

Partners in Performance America

Premier Urgent Care Inc. Proto Machine Works Publix - The Pinnacle at Providence Store #1612 - Monrovia

Penhall Company Property Management Inc, PMI North America Preferred Computer Services, Inc

Publix Supermarket #574 - Whitesburg Drive

Premier Business Properties

StoneCreek Dental Care

Primrose School of Madison

Systems Planning and Analysis (SPA) Taziki’s Mediterranean Café - Huntsville Tcherneshoff Consulting, Inc. TeamingPro

Renewal Salon Ruchi Restaurants Sirius Technical Services Soule Packaging Company Verizon Women4Women OBGYN, LLC

If you want to make a valuable investment in your business and the community, the Chamber is the place to start. Contact Donna McCrary, Membership Retention Manager: 256-535-2027 or dmccrary@hsvchamber.org.


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AS OF MARCH 12, 2020







EXECUTIVE COUNCIL BBVA Compass ■ Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT) ■ Crestwood Medical Center ■ Dynetics, Inc. General Atomics Electromagnetics ■ Lockheed Martin Corporation ■ Northrop Grumman Corporation ■ PNC Bank Raytheon Company ■ SAIC ■ SES - Science and Engineering Services, LLC ■ Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc. ■ Yulista

CHAMBER TRUSTEES AEgis Technologies Group ■ Akima, LLC ■ Bill Penney Toyota/Mitsubishi ■ Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. ■ Facebook Data Center Five Stones Research Corporation ■ Intrepid ■ Intuitive Research and Technology Corporation ■ Jerry Damson Honda Acura ■ KBR Landers McLarty Dodge Chrysler Jeep ■ Lanier Ford Shaver & Payne P.C. ■ PARSONS ■ S3, Inc. ■ Sealy Management Company, Inc. SportsMED Orthopaedic Surgery & Spine Center ■ Synovus ■ Torch Technologies ■ Turner Construction Company

PROGRESS PARTNERS Ability Plus ■ Aerojet Rocketdyne ■ Anglin Reichmann Armstrong ■ ASRC Federal ■ B. L. Harbert International, LLC ■ Baron Services, Inc. ■ BASF Corporation ■ BB&T Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP ■ Brown Precision, Inc. ■ CenterState Bank ■ Colliers International ■ Connected Logistics (LogC2) ■ Davidson Technologies, Inc. Huntsville Tractor & Equipment, Inc. ■ Huntsville-Madison County Builders Association ■ IBERIABANK ■ J Smith Lanier & Co., a Marsh McLennan Agency LLC company ■ Keel Point, LLC ■ L3Harris LMI ■ LogiCore ■ LSINC Corporation ■ The Orthopaedic Center (TOC) ■ Progress Bank ■ Radiance Technologies ■ RE/MAX Alliance ■ RUAG Space USA Inc. ■ Selex Galileo Inc. Spirit Coach, LLC ■ Steak-Out (Rosie’s Restaurants, Inc., & Right Way Restaurants, Inc.) ■ Verizon ■ Wells Fargo Bank ■ Woody Anderson Ford PROGRESS INVESTORS Air Essentials, Inc. ■ Alpha Beta Technologies, Inc. ■ Amanda Howard | Sotheby’s International Realty ■ Armstrong Relocation Company Huntsville LLC ■ Averbuch Realty / Enterprises ■ Bailey-Harris Construction ■ BancorpSouth BID DESIGNS, LLC ■ BRPH Architects-Engineers, Inc. ■ Bryant Bank ■ Canvas, Inc. ■ CB&S Bank ■ Century Automotive ■ CFD Research Corporation ■ CGI Federal ■ Coast Personnel Services ■ Continental Consulting Group Corporation (CCGC) Croy Engineering, LLC ■ DC Blox, Inc. ■ deciBel Research ■ Deloitte LLP ■ DESE Research, Inc. ■ Express Employment Professionals ■ Fernandez Financial Group ■ FITE Building Company ■ FLS Translation & Interpreting Fountain, Parker, Harbarger & Associates, LLC ■ Freedom Real Estate & Capital, LLC ■ Garver ■ HEMSI ■ Hexagon US Federal ■ Hiley Automotive Group ■ Huntsville Botanical Garden ■ Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau INTERFUZE Corporation ■ Investor’s Resource ■ IronMountain Solutions ■ The Karen Morris Team at Keller Williams Realty ■ Legend Realty – Jim Hoekenschneider ■ LINE-X, LLC ■ The Lioce Group, Inc. ■ MAG Aerospace ■ MSB Analytics, Inc. nLogic, LLC ■ PALCO ■ PFM Financial Advisors LLC ■ PHOENIX ■ Pinnacle Solutions, Inc. ■ PROJECTXYZ, Inc. ■ QTEC Aerospace ■ Quadrus Corporation ■ Ready Mix USA ■ Renasant Bank ■ RJ Young Company ■ Rosenblum Realty S&ME, Inc. ■ Schoel Engineering Company, Inc. ■ ServisFirst Bank ■ Sigmatech, Inc. ■ Signalink, Inc. ■ Snelling ■ Systems Products and Solutions, Inc. ■ TriVector Services, Inc. ■ Troy 7, Inc. ■ U.S. Space & Rocket Center ■ ValleyMLS.com Valor Communities ■ Van Valkenburgh & Wilkinson Properties, Inc. ■ Venturi, Inc. ■ Volkert, Inc. ■ Warren Averett, LLC ■ West Huntsville Land Co., Inc. ■ Wilmer & Lee, P.A.


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PAGES 20-22



Educator Engagement: Sharing workforce opps with students

Upcoming events postponed for health and safety reasons








Space Camp growing alumni chapters to continue USSRC’s mission


13 HREGI PROFILE: Tracy Jones with Century Automotive 14

BE COUNTED!: Calling on employers to encourage 2020 Census


HUNTSVILLE: A CITY IN THE MAKING: Part 2 – with Charles Younger

19 WORKFORCE: 2020 Second Chance Job Fair 23 WORKFORCE: Growing Alabama 24



LOCAL CONNECTIONS: COVID-19 testing & drug development



editorial staff publisher

Chip Cherry, CCE editor

Claire Aiello

30 ChamberON UPDATE

editorial designer


Kristi Sherrard

READY TO BUILD: North Alabama Homebuilding Academy

33 WORKFORCE: Fresh Start for ASmartPlace.com 34

SMALL BUSINESS: Q&A with Mission Multiplier's Jamie Miller



36 WORKFORCE: Hiring Our Heroes 38



OPEN FOR BUSINESS: Blue Origin opens Huntsville engine factory

contributing writers

Katelyn Sides Baker, Lucia Cape, Lira Frye, Deborah Storey, Wendy Reeves, Mike Ward ad sales Kristy Drake kdrake@hsvchamber.org

Richard Bigoney rbigoney@hsvchamber.org

Tina Blankenship tblankenship@hsvchamber.org

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

HSVchamber.org (additional contact information on page 38) Chamber members: You are encouraged to contribute ideas for our publications, including Initiatives magazine. Please send items to comms@hsvchamber.org. The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber maintains editorial control. A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

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Huntsville/Madison County Chamber

Executive Committee and Board of Directors 2020 Executive Committee

Kevin Byrnes, Chair, Navigator International, LLC Jeff Gronberg, Chair-elect, deciBel Research, Inc. Kim Lewis, Immediate Past Chair, PROJECTXYZ, Inc. Ron Poteat, President, Chamber Foundation, Regions Bank Laura Huckabee-Jennings, Secretary/Treasurer, Transcend LLC

Greg Brown, Vice Chair, Economic Development & Industry Relations, Brown Precision, Inc.

A Message from

Chip Cherry

Dear Chamber Investors, Community Leaders, and Friends: It’s amazing how quickly our focus and priorities can change. COVID-19 is impacting all aspects of our work and personal lives. We are all working to address the challenges of running our organizations while protecting the health of our Team members. We outline some of the changes we are implementing on p. 27. These include rescheduling several Chamber events, moving some of our small business classes to virtual-only, and moving meetings in our building to virtual-only for the time being. If you are planning to visit, please call first: 256-535-2000. We know many of your companies are taking similar precautions. We miss the opportunities to see you in person and look forward to re-engaging when the virus abates. Until that time, we will endeavor to provide you with useful and timely information on the Coronavirus via our website, hsvchamber.org, and on our social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. There is another ‘C’ word we need your help with – the Census. Companies, please help your employees understand the importance of responding, and please make it easy for them. Consider putting some computers in your breakroom, so they can respond during lunch, as some may not have internet access at home. It is essential that everyone is counted because billions of dollars in federal funding is at stake, as well as Congressional representation, and we want our voice to stay strong in Washington. One of the most important aspects of education and workforce development are the educators. The women and men who enter this field are passionate about their students and want to help them excel. Our cover story this month showcases some of local educators, and how they are engaging with the Chamber Foundation and The Schools Foundation to bring information about careers back to the classroom. Two of the ways we engage are through our Industry Insights visits and the free Career Prep curriculum on ASmartPlace.com. We salute the work these educators do, and we are committed to work with our partners to give them additional tools to enhance their effectiveness in the classroom. We look forward to seeing you again once the virus issue has abated and greeting you with the new and improved handshake – the elbow bump!

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


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Craig Naudain, Vice Chair, Government & Public Affairs, SAIC Jim Rogers, Vice Chair, HREGI, Lockheed Martin Corporation Frank Williams, Vice Chair, Marketing & Communications, Landers McLarty Dodge Chrysler Jeep

Lynn Troy, Vice Chair, Investor Relations, Troy 7, Inc. Sameer Singhal, Vice Chair, Small Business & Events, CFD Research Corporation

Joe Ritch, Vice Chair, Tennessee Valley BRAC, Sirote & Permutt, PC

Dr. Karockas Watkins, Vice Chair, Workforce, Ability Plus, Inc. Dr. Joe Green, Chair-Appointed, Whitespace Innovations, Inc. Alicia Ryan, Chair-Appointed, LSINC Corporation Mike Watkins, Chair-Appointed, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama

Mayor Tommy Battle, ex-officio member, City of Huntsville Mayor Paul Finley, ex-officio member, City of Madison Chairman Dale Strong, ex-officio member, Madison County Commission

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

Elected Board Blake Bentley, SportsMED Orthopaedic Surgery and Spine Center David Bier, Anglin Reichmann Armstrong, P.C. Penny Billings, BancorpSouth - Huntsville Melissa Davis, MTA, Inc. Mike Dewitz, PARSONS John Eagan, BB&T Kevin Fernandez, Fernandez Financial Group, LLC Owen Franklin, Blue Summit Supplies Joni Green, Five Stones Research Corporation Mike Gullion, Spur John Hall, All Points Logistics, LLC Ginger Harper, IBERIABANK Josh Herren, Yulista Lee Holland, Freedom Real Estate and Capital, LLC Tharon Honeycutt, MSB Analytics, Inc. Amanda Howard, Amanda Howard | Sotheby’s International Realty

Lincoln Hudson, Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. Hank Isenberg, IronMountain Solutions McKinley James, Polaris Industries, Inc. Lauren Johannesmeyer, Google Fiber, Huntsville Sean Kelly, Regions Bank April Mason, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama, Inc. Todd May, KBR Bob McCaleb, Northrop Grumman Corporation Kevin McCombs, Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc. Alana Parker, Rocket City Drywall & Supply, Inc. Zack Penney, Bill Penney Toyota/Mitsubishi Jami Peyton, Canvas, Inc. Chris Russell, Cadence Bank Jeff Samz, Huntsville Hospital Beth Sippel, Synovus Wayne Sisco, Redstone Federal Credit Union Tom Stanton, ADTRAN, Inc. Sandra Stephens, Keel Point, LLC Mitch Stevison, Raytheon Company Cynthia Streams, Domino's (Valley Pizza, Inc.) Margetta Thomas, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology Ken Tucker, The Boeing Company John Watson, Torch Technologies Dennis Weese, Line-X LLC Danny Windham, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

Companies Need Occupational Health Services. Crestwood Workers Care provides comprehensive Occupational Health services to businesses and industries across North Alabama. •

Physicals: OSHA-mandated, Pre-Employment, Post-Offer, & DOT

Medical Evaluations for Respirator Use & Respiratory Fit Testing

Audiometric Testing to Support Hearing Conservation Programs •

Deployment Readiness for all AORs through CRC •

Urine Drug Screening & Breath Alcohol Testing

Diagnosis and Treatment for Work-related Illness and Injuries

WORKERS CARE 7736 Madison Blvd, Suite 1



ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT HIGHLIGHTS SNAP: The Milken Institute recently released its 2020 ranking of America’s Best Performing Cities. The Huntsville metro gained 10 spots to rank #49 in the Top 50 best performing cities and was ranked #7 for high-tech employment concentration. The Milken Institute is one of the country’s leading economic think tanks and produces the report each year studying jobs, wages, and high-tech GDP to examine the key factors driving growth in U.S. metros. To download the complete report, visit hsvchamber.org/milken-2020.

Compiled by Claire Aiello

ASCTE, a new state magnet school in Huntsville, will open this fall in a temporary basis on Oakwood’s campus. Students will attend classes and be housed in dormitories there while the school’s permanent location is built at the corner of Bradford Drive and Wynn Drive in Cummings Research Park. ■

United Way of Madison County releases Needs Assessment Report Trideum Corporation debuts new Innovation Center Trideum Corporation celebrated the opening of its Innovation Center March 5, displaying a cool, creative new workspace in Cummings Research Park. The center includes a sleek design and sandbox centered on design from the user standpoint, and “a new environment for creatives to come in and have a great place to work and stay,” said President & CEO Van Sullivan. The new workspace also includes an escape room with observation lab and immersive VR technology. Trideum Corporation also marked 15 years in business, and Sullivan took time to honor the founding employees (pictured). It has also established Trideum Foundation, which supports local charities and encourages its people to be involved in giving back. The Foundation will hold the Grounds for Hope dinner on September 29, awarding scholarships to individuals and nonprofit organizations. There is also a concert on September 30 with Grammy Award winning artist and author Mark Lee of Third Day. Look for more details on these events soon. ■

Every three to five years, United Way of Madison County, to inform its own intentional work, and as a gift to our community, conducts the most extensive health and human services needs assessment available in our area. This report, available at www.uwmadisoncounty.org, documents critical needs and provides recommendations from our community on how to address those needs. It also serves as a tool and resource for community and nonprofit organizations for grant and planning purposes. It also can educate community-minded corporate and business entities. "As a vital, engaged leader, United Way is ready to take caring for our community to the next level,” said United Way of Madison County President & CEO Clay Vandiver. “In response to growth and the challenges and opportunities it brings, our community needs your ideas, your strengths, your heart and mind to protect our quality of life. Together, we can provide bright futures to those who come to live, work, and play in Madison County, Alabama.” ■

Trash Pandas’ Toyota Field ready for opener North Alabama is ready for the crack of the bat as minor league baseball finally returns! The $46 million Toyota Field is ready for the Rocket City Trash Pandas.

ASCTE announces new funding partnership with Northrop Grumman On March 3, the Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering (ASCTE) held an event at Oakwood University to announce a new corporate funding partnership. Northrop Grumman Foundation is a new Legacy donor for the school. The Foundation is dedicated to increasing STEM educational opportunities for students so they can fill future workforce needs for talented and diverse professionals. 10

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IN ALABAMA, DREAMS MATTER. Whether it’s a coffee shop in Opelika or a new restaurant in Florence, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama is proud to partner with businesses statewide, offering one of the lowest average family premiums in the nation among employers. We want business owners to keep their dreams alive while taking care of the employees they depend on.


Continued from page 10 –

Turner Construction Company and Hoar Construction announced completion of the stadium in late February, after being awarded the Certificate of Occupancy from the City of Madison, marking the official end of construction. Work on the multi-use facility began in July 2018, which is located within the Town Madison development off of I-565, next to the new Zierdt Road interchange. Turner’s North Alabama office served as construction manager agent for the City of Madison, partnering with general contractor Hoar Construction to complete the stadium on time and under budget. It may be finished by the time this magazine is published. The stadium can hold about 7,000 people and will host soccer, football, concerts, and other events in addition to Minor League Baseball. In addition, the club level and suite spaces will be used for meetings for companies and private groups, with a capacity of up to 400 people. ■

Chamber’s 2020 Montgomery Trip

We can help you get there from here. At Synovus, we combine valuable local insight with the financial strength and depth of services to meet almost any business need, large or small. Here is where we have the understanding to share your vision and the resources to help you get there. Let’s talk today. 1-888-SYNOVUS | synovus.com

Synovus Bank, Member FDIC.


initiatives apr 2020

Nearly 90 people traveled with us March 10–11 to Montgomery for our annual trip to meet with some of the key decision makers driving Alabama’s growth. We co-hosted our state government leader reception with the Decatur-Morgan County and Greater Limestone chambers of commerce. The Montgomery Trip also provides an opportunity to press the issues contained in the Chamber’s 2020 State Agenda with the legislative and executive branches of state government. This year’s Chamber State agenda focuses on 13 key issues: Pre-K–12 Education; Workforce Development; Workforce Recruitment; Higher Education; Bioscience; Medicaid Expansion; Road Infrastructure Improvements; Enhancing Alabama’s Economic Development Environment; Updating Alabama’s antiquated ABC laws; Stopping Predatory Lending; Development of Exploration Park; Extending Broadband; and Expanding Alabama’s Cybersecurity capabilities. Successful workforce development and recruitment efforts are critical issues for the region’s success. With approximately 27,000 jobs announced in the last 10 years, training our local workforce and attracting talent to this area is become “job one”, according to Chamber President & CEO Chip Cherry. “We must effectively execute our workforce efforts. We need everyone – Pre-K through postgraduate universities, including the two-year schools, contributing to help us fulfill the economic opportunities that we’ve been presented with,” said Cherry. “Likewise, we need to be on the road, telling the Huntsville story in a way that attracts people to the region.” In order for the region to keep up with the anticipated growth, the State Agenda also identifies key investments in road infrastructure and other factors that help to sustain the high quality of life that we currently enjoy. These investments include broadening access to our healthcare systems and broadband networks and further enhancing our cyber capabilities.



CENTURY AUTOMOTIVE Tell us about Century Automotive:


Century Automotive is a third generation, family-owned dealership that began in 1969 when my father, John Shields II, came to Huntsville to open Royal Chevrolet. It wasn’t long before the BMW and Isuzu brands were added to the dealership. In 1981, our Chevrolet franchise was sold and the Buick line was acquired, and this became our business mindset – to procure superior automotive lines to offer to our customers. We added Volvo in 1983, Jaguar and Land Rover in 2003, and Porsche in 2005 to become Century BMW, Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Porsche. Over the years we’ve been recognized as the Madison County Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year, the State of Alabama Retailer of the Year, and we’re very honored to have been named the Time Magazine Dealer of the Year. Q: What are some of the challenges you face in your industry? A: Since its beginnings, the auto industry has been constantly changing. From more horsepower to more cup holders

to start-up companies like DeLorean or Tesla to now ride share companies... some people look at these as disruptors, but we see them as the most exciting part of our business! Century’s business model is fluid, allowing us to quickly adapt to the new ways our customers want to buy and service their cars. For instance, we are beginning to see the rapid changeover from the traditional internal combustion engine to the BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle). By 2025 – just 5 years from now – over half of the models in our luxury segment will be fully electric powertrains!

Q: What value does Century Automotive gain from your HREGI investment? A: Huntsville and Madison County isn’t just where we do business, it’s our home. It’s been exciting to watch the growth and changes that have come to our community over the last 51 years. Being a part of HREGI allows us to help the Chamber promote the positive business environment we have here in north Alabama to others across the U.S. and around the globe. The updates we get help us as a business to stay abreast of plans and developments for the economic growth in the area. My father always said, “If you take care of your community, your community will take care of you” ... that’s why HREGI makes perfect sense to the Century Family!

“BASF wins by encouraging me to reach my full potential.” Join our winning teams: www.basf.us/alabama


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Be Counted! Huntsville/Madison County Employers: We’re Calling on You


he 2020 Census is now in full swing. Last month, you should have received an invitation in the mail at your home address to participate. Hopefully you’ve already responded, but we’re asking you to please help us take this a step further, especially if you’re an employer. The Census counts the population in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories. It is critical that Alabama gets an accurate count this year, because data collected now will be used over the next decade to make decisions about federal funding – including money for roads, schools, and community services. We’re talking about a lot of money – in fact, more than $685 billion in federal funding is tied to Census data, impacting 132 federal programs. In Alabama, that amounts to $1,567 per person per year. These programs include Medicare, SNAP, National School Lunch, Children’s Health Insurance Program, Pell Grants, Transit Formula Grants, and many more. In our state, part of the revenues from the new state gas tax going into effect over the next few years will be tied to population results from the 2020 Census. The 2020 count also impacts local redistricting for City Council and School Board elected offices, in addition to Alabama’s number of seats in the U.S. Congress. The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber is part of Huntsville’s “Complete Count Committee”, which also includes representatives from government, nonprofits, private industry, and citizens. The Chamber is supporting this effort through communications with employers. We’ve shared this messaging previously in Initiatives and IO, as well as our weekly newsletters and on social media. Hopefully you’ve seen it! Think about your workforce. For example, do you have young employees? If they are between 18 and 25 years old, they were children or in their early teens during the last Census count, and they may not realize how important the Census is. It is essential that everyone participates so Alabama gets an accurate count. In 2010, Alabama had a 75 percent response rate. We must do better this time. People may respond to the Census online, by phone, or by mail. Think of it this way – 10 minutes of your time, to fill out your Census form, can make a difference for the next 10 years. We’ve posted links on hsvchamber.org for printable Census material, including fliers you can post on your office bulletin board. You’ll also find graphics to use on social media channels and in company newsletters. Please help share the information on all platforms.


initiatives apr 2020

Census Day was observed nationwide on April 1. Here’s the upcoming timeline: ■ Throughout April: Census takers will begin visiting college students who live on campus, people living in senior centers, and others who live among large groups of people. Census takers will also begin conducting quality check interviews to help ensure an accurate count. ■ May-July: Census takers will begin visiting homes that haven’t responded to the 2020 Census to help make sure everyone is counted. ■ December: The Census Bureau will deliver apportionment counts to the President and Congress as required by law.

City’s Efforts to Get a Complete Count The City of Huntsville will hold several community events in the coming weeks to help people with Census form questions. Visit huntsvilleal.gov/census-2020 to find one near you. Huntsville has actually been working for several years to prepare for this Census. The team began by verifying Census addresses, making sure homes are where they’re supposed to be, because any mistakes in those records could risk the household to not be counted in the Census. The City has nearly 220 square miles and over 13,000 new housing units added since 2010, so that’s why this process started early. Huntsville has also formed a Hispanic-Latino Task Force to help boost participation in this important part of our community. The Task Force is connecting with Census “champions” in the Hispanic-Latino community to increase outreach and host Census events. The City is also working to increase awareness about the Census in low-count communities – areas of the City that have historically been hesitant to respond to the Census. “Every neighborhood and community deserves fair political representation, and is impacted by the programs that use Census data to allocate funding, so it’s important that every community has a complete and accurate count,” said James Vandiver, who works in Huntsville’s Planning Department and is helping to oversee Huntsville’s Complete Count. You can help! The City is looking for more Census champions in the community. Please tell your friends, neighbors, family, church groups, and other organizations about the Census. Encourage your church’s pastor to share it during Sunday’s sermon. We want everyone to fill out their forms and be counted this year. A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

Additional Support The Huntsville-Madison County Public Library (HMCPL) will be supporting Huntsville’s Complete Count efforts in a big way. The Library has a far-reaching geographic presence with 12 locations throughout Madison County, and aims to reach as many of the hard-to-count groups as possible through outreach services. In fact, 99 percent of the hard-to-count census tracts are located within five miles of a public library. This is the first year that the Census Bureau is using the internet to securely collect your information. Responding online helps conserve natural resources, save taxpayer money, and process data more efficiently. As of 2018, 10 percent of Madison County residents did not have a home computer and 18.7 percent did not have home internet access, resulting in approximately 68,000 people for whom the public library is their main connection to the rapidly digitizing world. With over 200 public computers between its 12 locations, the library is ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to participate: ■ The HMCPL has assistive technology at all 12 locations so people with certain visual, hearing, and certain physical impairments will be able to respond to the Census online. ■ The Downtown Library will be hosting one-on-one open computer labs with librarians in March. Spanish speakers will be available at those labs. ■ Partnering with Complete Count Committee to take the library’s mobile computer lab out to various locations. ■ Claire Aiello

Vice President, Marketing & Communications


Get Ready, Be Counted ■ More than $685 billion in federal funding is tied to Census data. ■ In Alabama, that amounts to $1,567 per person per year. ■ Only one Census form should be filled out per household. Even if there are multiple families in a household, only one form should be filled out. ■ Up to four mailers will be sent to each household in Huntsville, depending on how quickly the household responds to the Census. ■ If your household doesn’t self-respond, or the form submitted is incomplete, a Census Bureau employee will visit this summer to verify information in person.

Despite the importance of the 2020 Census, the Hispanic/Latino population has historically been a “low count” area for the City of Huntsville. Hispanic Latino Advisory Committee leader Ramon Santiago hopes to change that this year. Photo courtesy: City of Huntsville

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HUNTSVILLE: A CITY IN THE MAKING, PART 2 A year-long look at the unique history of Huntsville/Madison County and moving forward into 2020 and beyond.

Charles Younger

A Different Kind of R&D Legal research helped develop Cummings Research Park


s Huntsville’s footprint races toward becoming the largest city in Alabama, Charles “Charlie” Younger reflects on his role in helping lay the foundation for its growth with what is today the fourth largest research park in the world. Of the many projects Younger was involved with as Huntsville’s city attorney for more than 25 years, one of the most pivotal moments included creating the zoning ordinance that created Cummings Research Park. “Whatever I’ve done to help people with ideas or information to make some change in community policy, I feel so fortunate to have been able to do that,” Younger said. He’s still involved today, providing counsel to the Industrial Development Board.

Teledyne Brown Engineering in CRP (1962)

Nearly 60 years ago, Younger moved to Huntsville. He is one of five diverse and influential leaders the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber is featuring in this special series in Initiatives. Other contributors include Hundley Batts, W.F. Sanders, Jr., Julian Butler, and Loretta Spencer. Younger was born in 1932 in Columbus, Miss., about three hours southwest of the Rocket City. In 1961, he was hired as an assistant city attorney to work on the Research Park Ordinance for the City of Huntsville, a move that made the park possible despite the city lacking the resources to buy large quantities of land at the time. “One of the first questions I was confronted with by then City Attorney Jack Giles was to give my opinion of this proposed ordinance to zone about 4,000 acres of private land that could only be used for research and development,” he said. “There was really no precedent for that in the country.” Younger learned there were examples of research parks in North 16

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Carolina and California, which had involved private or public ownership of land for research and development. He used those as a guide. “The city planner was a very innovative person,” Younger said. “He proposed that we use performance standards instead of traditional zoning to regulate this land. The question was that a regulation of that type was so restrictive that it would amount to taking the property.” Younger didn’t think it would be a legal regulation. However, City Councilman Charles Cummings Jr., held a meeting with Younger and City Attorney Giles. “He said to the two of us – ‘This is so important to the community that we have to do it. I respect your opinion, but this is too important,’ and in my opinion, although the record may show a unanimous vote for the ordinance in March of 1962, I believe the sentiment on the council to pass the ordinance at best was 3-2.” One hundred percent of attorneys representing the landowners, who were principally farmers, argued against it privately. “I’m not sure how much of it was on the public record, but I assure you they were all adamantly opposed to it,” Younger said. Councilman Cummings told Giles and Younger that the council would adopt the ordinance, but directed the attorneys to find a nationally recognized expert, to take whatever time was needed and spare no expense to determine if and how it could work. “He said if that expert tells us at the end of a year that this is not a valid regulation, then we will repeal it. Then he got up and left the room,” Younger recalled. Younger had extensive education in planning and zoning and was right out of law school where he had been taught by a nationally recognized professor in the field. “So I said to Jack, there is no such thing as a nationally recognized expert, so I don’t know what we can do except just go and research the question and try to find a way to defend this ordinance or revise it to where we can defend it.” Younger says he spent his first year in Huntsville reading zoning cases from every state in the union – state and federal cases. It’s important to keep in mind, he said, that the U.S. Supreme Court first upheld zoning regulations in 1920. The validity of zoning was still relatively new. “I remember saying to the city council at the end of that year that I felt like I could defend the ordinance, and we tweaked it a little bit,” Younger says. “In March 1963, the city adopted a new – continued on page 18 A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

Continued from page 16 –

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comprehensive zoning ordinance, and part of the research park regulations were a part of that. It was modified somewhat from the one introduced in 1961, but here is what I concluded: “All zoning is based on there being a reasonable demand for usage, so it’s regulated in the community within the foreseeable future. Now that doesn’t mean next year or the next five years or even 10 years. That means for the life of the community,” Younger said. His justification example included someone going to a fishing community like Ketchikan, Alaska, and taking a large body of land and regulating it solely for cotton gins, cotton mills, and cotton warehouses, he said. That would be patently unconstitutional because it would be unreasonable – there would be no demand in Ketchikan in the foreseeable future for such uses. On the other hand, the same would be true for Huntsville if you tried to regulate a large body of land for fish canneries, processing plants, or warehouses. Then came the performance standards for Huntsville’s research park, having to do with vibrations and emissions of sound and radiation, etc. “As long as you could conform your use of the property in a manner that didn’t harm the neighbors unreasonably, then you could use it for research and development, and manufacturing that is related to research and development,” Younger said. There was another key component in bringing the new research park to life. The group who got together to create The University of Alabama in Huntsville Foundation was also crucial to the plan. Younger said the group began to buy up the property from the farmers and hold it for long periods of time, keeping it available for industry. The park was initially named Huntsville Research Park. At the time, Brown Engineering, headed by Milton K. Cummings and Joseph C. Moquin, was the first business to move in after company leaders purchased a 100-acre lot in 1962 at the end of the dirt road that developed into what is known today as Sparkman Drive. Today the company is known as Teledyne Brown Engineering and still remains an anchor tenant in the park. Councilman Cummings was a nephew to Milton Cummings, he said. “I can tell you for sure that we would have no research park ordinance without Charles Cummings Jr., so the name Cummings Research Park should really commemorate Milton and Charles Jr.,” he said. In the end, the research park was created through the public regulation of 4,000 acres of land. “There has never been a single acre added to that original boundary, and in my opinion, we implemented the plan by doing what North Carolina and California had done by someone actually taking title to the land and marketing it to users,” he said. It’s a remarkable thing today, he said. “It is said that we are the second largest research park in the country,” Younger said. “I would say if we take in the research and development occurring adjacent to the park on Redstone Arsenal, which I think someday needs to be annexed into the city, but if you take that into consideration, clearly we would have the largest research park probably in the world.” ■ Wendy Reeves Contributing Writer A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

Second Chance Job Fair Event returns for second year, connecting companies with job seekers


t’s all about opportunity – and that is the name of the game at the Second Chance Job Fair! The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber is excited to bring back this workforce event for a second year. We were at the Richard Showers Recreation Center in north Huntsville on March 5, welcoming more than 400 job seekers to meet with 60 companies and community organizations. Employers represented various industries, including manufacturing, hospitality, medical, home care, construction, finance, and staffing. The Second Chance Job Fair provides opportunities for individuals who are unemployed, underemployed, have dropped out of high school, who are not achieving their full potential, or are in need of a second career chance. We are proud to collaborate with the local Alabama Career Center, the Alabama Community College System, other nonprofits, and community agencies to present this event. The mission is to connect our local companies in finding capable workers and to empower members of our community by improving their quality of life and financial stability. We intend to hold these in different venues to present opportunities for different parts of our city. Employers, we’ll announce the fall date soon, and registration will open this summer. ■ Claire Aiello Vice President, Marketing & Communications

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Educator Engagement Chamber, partners share workforce opps with students by Deborah Storey To land economic big fish like the $1.6 billion Mazda Toyota manufacturing plant or the new $1 billion FBI office, a community must be able to offer a well-educated, highly trained workforce. With classes that prepare high school students for careers, top-tier training opportunities for teachers, career internships and more, the Huntsville/ Madison County Chamber and supporting businesses are giving local workers a competitive edge for great jobs.

Malcolm Parker teaches ninth grade biology at Huntsville High School. He was also asked to teach Career Prep shortly before the current school year began. He uses the free ASmartPlace Career Prep Curriculum that is custom-designed for north Alabama classrooms.

Career Prep Huntsville High teacher Malcolm Parker (pictured) remembers one of his students who was particularly shy. Instead of sharing presentations in front of the class, she would ask if she could do them one-on-one for him. Her class began studying career opportunities using the Chamber’s ASmartPlace.com workforce development and recruitment initiative. The website provides job listings, online training, career videos, courses and more for students, teachers, or anyone seeking job information. The student became so engrossed in researching cosmetology that “not only did she do one presentation, she’s done three” in front of the class, Parker said. Parker is in his third year teaching ninth-grade biology at Huntsville. He was recruited a week before class to lead the career preparation course using the ASmartPlace program custom-designed for north Alabama teachers. The 10-unit curriculum for eighth and ninth grades includes teacher and student guides along with quizzes, videos, and assessment tools. Teachers guide students through “basic things they need to know about careers, from making the right decisions, to planning their finances, going to college, even how to fill out documentation,” Parker said. “The students actually love it,” he added. “I wish I had something like this when I was a kid – to have a curriculum where I could have someone teach me some things to not make some mistakes.” Students also learn Huntsville history, how Cummings Research Park began, and the practical approach to getting local jobs – even in hot fields like cybersecurity. More than 54,000 students and almost 5,000 faculty members in Huntsville and Madison County are connected to ASmartPlace. The program “helped me to tap into a standardized curriculum that was able to help me educate my students and prepare them for real careers,” said Parker. Videos show local employees at work. “You don’t get to go and just walk into Boeing and talk to somebody,” said Parker. “To see


real people in our real city, that’s the next best thing to getting there.” Some students revised their original career goals during the class, Parker said, but for most, it “reinforced what they wanted to do.” “These students are able to see their way from the classroom to college to the boardroom or into their particular industry of choice,” he said. “They are ready to connect by a click of a button to real people in real industry positions who are teaching them about where they want to go.” He said ninth-grade students may know only if they want to attend Alabama or Auburn but leave the program “knowing how to get there.”

National Board Certification for Teachers With financial support from the local business community, teacher Jane Haithcock (pictured below) took advantage of a professional development opportunity to become certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. The Huntsville Committee of 100’s Creative Cities Fund and The Schools Foundation raised $200,000 for local teachers to pursue that elite designation, and presented it to the three school systems on Feb. 13. That will fund 100 teachers to go through certification. National Board Certification is a rigorous process as well as an expensive one. It is, as the saying goes, an investment in the future and our people.

Jane Haithcock teaches eighth grade language arts at Liberty Middle School in Madison and recently earned National Board Certification.

– continued on page 22 apr 2020 initiatives


Educator Engagement, continued from page 21 “The research shows that kids who are taught by board-certified teachers do receive almost an extra one to two months of instruction,” said Haithcock, who teaches eighth-grade language arts at Liberty Middle School in Madison. “That impact is even bigger for our migrating kids and people from lower socio-economic status.” Certified teachers really push themselves to make lessons more engaging, and students seem to enjoy the classes more, she said. One requirement is for teachers to film themselves in class. “It’s not a fun process,” Haithcock said. It shows “everything you do wrong.” “I like to think I give my kids plenty of time to think. I didn’t – not enough. I ignored almost the entire right side of my classroom,” she said.

Industry Insights: Teacher Tours Lead to Internships, Jobs for Students Through the Chamber’s Industry Insights program, Beverly Massa (pictured) helps her students by engaging with local companies for practical experience and vital internships. She is a Work-Based Learning Coordinator for Madison County Schools and has attended our industry field trips – taking pictures, asking questions, and learning about real opportunities to share with her students. These field trips give teachers, counselors, and career tech educators exposure to many types of work, including advanced manufacturing, robots at work in truck manufacturing, the inner workings of the Polaris Industries manufacturing plant, and careers on Redstone Arsenal. Additionally, educators have toured PPG Aerospace, visited Huntsville Hospital, and participated in sessions with HR representatives and industry leaders for roundtable discussions. One of Massa’s students landed an internship in cybersecurity as a result. Another discovered that working in healthcare doesn’t always require a four-year degree. She enrolled in phlebotomist training and is working in the field while continuing her education. “That is making a difference,” Massa said. For a well-rounded workforce, a trade is an important alternative to a four-year degree. One student who connected through the program is working as a plumber in constructing the Facebook Data Center and making $20 an hour. “For a senior in high school, that’s very good,” Massa said. “The Chamber workforce programs have generated a successful pipeline in connecting secondary and post-secondary education and businesses,” she said. “All the energy and funds that have been expended for Industry Insight experiences have and will continue to be beneficial for continued growth and success of our area.” 22

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“This one venture has made an impact on many educators, students, and business leaders,” Massa added.

SAIL through Summer Another local program helps students keep their learning momentum going through the summer. The Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville and The Schools Foundation fund the Summer Adventures in Learning collaborative, or SAIL. SAIL brings together funders and summer programs that share a quality assurance framework in order to better provide intentionally academic summer learning. Amy Mason (pictured) is principal of Madison County Elementary in Gurley, which has received SAIL grants for the last three years. “Without the support of SAIL and federal community learning center grants, our students would be at risk of losing three months of learning over the summer,” Mason said. Low-income area students are at particular risk of losing reading and math skills during the break, she said. “The energetic summer-camp style programming that we provide gives children the opportunity to build relationships with positive role models and to broaden their horizons for the possibilities for the future,” Mason said as she spoke at the 2020 State of the Schools event on February 13, hosted by the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber, The Chamber Foundation, and The Schools Foundation. Mason said one of her most memorable success stories involved a middle-school girl who had been homeless through the school year. By participating in the summer learning program, she was so inspired that she “believes she can really go to college,” Mason said.

Principally Speaking Network School principals need inspiration, too. The Schools Foundation hosts regular professional development opportunities through the Principally Speaking Network. Principals from across 20 school districts regularly attend and share best practices and learn from each other. Mason talked about a recent session at Campus 805. “It inspired me to return to my school with a full cup that is ready to pour back into the many stakeholders that we serve within our community,” Mason said. ■ Deborah Storey

Contributing Writer


Growing Alabama T

he Huntsville metro is booming, and that’s not just noise from the Arsenal. Jobs and capital investment peaked in 2018 with the Mazda Toyota announcement, but new and expanding companies continue to grow here. Based on a study by Deloitte, 14,000 new jobs will be created in Madison, Morgan, and Limestone counties over the next three years, plus an additional 11,000 positions that those jobs create. One thing all this growth has in common is the need for skilled, qualified workers. Deloitte suggests that we attract 50,000 people to meet this goal. There are several ways the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber is working to ensure that employers have a large enough pool of high-quality applicants. While the Chamber Foundation is focused on career awareness and preparation for high school students and their teachers, the Chamber’s economic development team is targeting un- and underemployed adults through the Second Chance Job Fair and recruiting from outside the community for positions that need higher education or job experience. The Chamber’s ASmartPlace on the Road trips to college campuses take employers to meet with students in a Huntsville-only environment so we can share quality of life information along with available jobs. A trip in 2019 to Auburn was very successful, and a trip to the University of Alabama will be held on April 8. Look for more of these in the spring and fall. But still to come is a national campaign to share our Smart

Place story with people who would be a good fit for our community. Our first event was scheduled to be the South by Southwest® technology trade expo in Austin, Texas. While this year’s event was canceled because of the Coronavirus, we learned a lot in the planning process and will be ready for 2021. As part of that effort, we redesigned asmartplace.com to include more information about living, working, playing, and learning in the region, and we have improved the job search features. Next up, we will be applying for a Growing Alabama credit through the State Department of Commerce that would fund a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math marketing program. Ours will target people who grew up in the region but left for college or careers, Space Camp alumni, and military who worked on Redstone Arsenal during their career. This campaign is expected to cost $1 million, and the credit is funded by individuals and businesses who opt to pay up to half of their state income tax liability toward the project. The Chamber board of directors will explore this in greater detail during our April board meeting, but please contact me at lcape@hsvchamber.org if you have questions or wish to contribute toward this program. ■ Lucia Cape Senior Vice President Economic Development, Industry Relations & Workforce

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84th Annual Membership Meeting Bobby Bradley: recipient of annual Distinguished Service Award


he Huntsville/Madison County Chamber hosted its 84th Annual Membership Meeting on February 18 at the Von Braun Center North Hall. During the event, our 2019 Board Chair Kim Lewis officially passed the gavel to our 2020 Board Chair Kevin Byrnes. In her last official act as chair, Lewis presented the Distinguished Service Award to Bobby Bradley. Bradley co-founded Village of Promise in 2011, an organization that works to address the needs of children and families in low-income neighborhoods in order to break the cycle of generational poverty.

“I was surprised and shocked, but also humbled and honored that the Chamber would designate me for this award, particularly since it has such a long list of highly regarded, respected, and accomplished winners in the past, so I feel honored to be on that list,” said Bradley. Bradley is a fourth generation Huntsvillian who graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1971. She returned to Huntsville to begin her career as a mathematician, computer programmer, and research analyst. In 1989, she formed Computer Systems Technology (CST) with two partners, building the business from three people to 1,000 employees. In 2003, CST was sold to SAIC. Bradley has served on boards for numerous community organizations and nonprofits, including the Huntsville Botanical 24

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Garden, United Way of Madison County, Lincoln Village, and many others. She is also a dedicated member of First Missionary Baptist Church. “I think in giving of your talents, you have to see a need that has to be met in the community, and a way you can apply your experience and gifts to meet the need,” said Bradley. “For me, it’s been about needs in different areas and wanting to see young people seeing their purpose in life, and getting the tools they need to do that.”

Keynote Speaker For several years, we’ve brought in speakers who aren’t local. We tried something different with this event, inviting Destin Sandlin to present the keynote address. Sandlin is from the Huntsville area and produces the video series Smarter Every Day on YouTube. To date, he has more than 7.7 million followers. Sandlin talked with the crowd about how he explores the world using science, and encouraged people to open their minds to new ideas in order to see the world differently. He related this to companies who are recruiting people from different areas to move to north Alabama. Our Annual Membership Meeting gives us the opportunity to present updates on the past year to members and community leaders, plus look ahead to what’s in store in the coming months. We also distributed our 2019 Annual Report to attendees, and it can be found at hsvchamber.org. We’ve included a few highlights here for you on the opposite page. Thank you for attending our event! ■ Claire Aiello


FROM THE 2019 ANNUAL REPORT The Chamber is the lead economic development organization for Huntsville/Madison County, one of the most dynamic economies in the United States.

Ranked in Top 10 for job growth, high tech jobs, income potential, and affordability in national media

3,015 NEW JOBS

Member Companies 101+ by Size employees 51-100





500 400

New Member Sales




300 200 100 0

2012 2013

2014 2015

2016 2017 2018 2019


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Local Connections Huntsville company helping develop test for COVID-19; UAB professor also co-develops drug to treat patients fighting virus


orth Alabama scientists are helping with the worldwide effort to develop new tests and treatment for the COVID-19 virus. Diatherix, located in Huntsville, is a certified CLIA laboratory, meaning it meets federal requirements to test for a variety of illnesses. It is located at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and is part of the international biological testing company Eurofins. Dr. Jeff Wisotzkey is Diatherix’ Chief Science Officer & Laboratory Director, and his team is responsible for testing human samples daily for the presence of Wisotzkey viruses and bacteria. Tests like those are called assays, and a group of such tests is called a panel. Diatherix has been working on an assay for COVID-19 since January, “as soon as it became more than an anomaly out of China and the genomic sequence of the virus was published,” Wisotzkey told AL.com reporter Lee Roop. Scientists have continued work daily to refine the testing, and FDA guidelines released in late February helped clear regulatory hurdles. They are also monitoring

work from other laboratories in order to make testing more successful, and available on a wider basis. The company developed a test for H1N1 flu with a similar urgent process a few years ago, but Wisotzkey acknowledged this case is more urgent. “We need to make sure we are able to take care of the patients in this country and abroad. To do that we need to provide fast, accurate, high throughput testing for this and other respiratory pathogens.”

UAB professor co-develops drug being used to treat coronavirus patients Dr. Richard Whitley of the University of Alabama at Birmingham co-developed the drug Remdesivir, which is being used to treat hundreds of Chinese patients with coronavirus. Whitley is a distinguished professor at UAB and the principal investigator of a study to develop treatments for emerging infectious diseases. Remdesivir was initially developed to treat MERS and was also found to be effective in treating SARS. UAB says hundreds of coronavirus patients were administered Remdesivir, but its effectiveness wouldn’t be known until April. ■ From AL.com reports, March 2020

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COVID-19 & the Chamber Upcoming events postponed for health and safety reasons


he situation with COVID-19, or Coronavirus, is developing daily. Doctors say the best way to lessen the impact of the virus is to keep distance from others and keep clean. Wash your hands frequently, and if you don’t feel well, stay home. They also stress most people who come in contact with COVID-19 will not require hospitalization. Please stay up to date through local news outlets, and through the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control. We are also updating hsvchamber.org and our social media channels as things develop in Huntsville/Madison County.

Supporting Small Businesses

■ Effective March 16, all meetings previously scheduled in our building will be held virtually. The staff member coordinating the meeting will contact participants with dial-in information.

■ We don’t want to close our office, but we also want to protect our workplace to keep our staff healthy. We will post signage in our lobby to encourage people to practice social distancing. If conditions with COVID-19 worsen, we will follow guidance from local and state health officials if we decide to temporarily close. Members, if you are planning to drop by, please call 256-535-2000 before you visit.

■ A number of our upcoming small business classes

will be held online. We will share login information with people who have registered, and look forward to offering this option to you.

■ We understand your company may have put travel

Small businesses need our support. They are vulnerable in times of economic downturn, and many have reported a sharp decrease in patrons lately due to concerns about illness. Some lost business from conventions canceling (for example, catering services). However, many of these companies are taking careful precautions to keep their place of business clear of germs. Please continue to support our stores and restaurants over the next several weeks. If you’d rather not dine in, consider ordering gift cards now, or ordering via take-out. We will be supporting our fellow members, and we ask you to do the same.

Changes for Chamber Events & Activities It’s essential that we all stay healthy and minimize the potential spread of illness. Many companies have already taken similar steps for employees in regards to travel and large meetings. After careful consideration and discussion with our leadership team, the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber will take the following precautions with upcoming events: A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

restrictions in place, or encouraged you not to attend large gatherings to limit the potential spread of illness. Additionally, state and federal recommendations include limiting gatherings and to practice social distancing. We are working to implement similar practices for our team members. Due to this factor, we are working to reschedule large Chamber events that are currently in the month of April. We’ll share more information on new dates soon.

■ Some networking meetings will be canceled. We will notify people who have registered of any changes, and post these on our website event listings, too.

■ Events involving local high school students during the month of April (for example, Intern for a Day and Senior Sprint) may be impacted. We will follow guidance from school systems in the coming weeks. If you’ve already registered for these events as a company or individual, we will communicate updates to you soon.

■ If you are considering having a company event such as a ribbon cutting, we would love to be part of your celebration. As the situation with COVID-19 continues to develop, we will make adjustments as needed and look forward to hosting ribbon cuttings in the near future. Feel free to contact our Membership team to assist with coordinating your upcoming event. ■ apr 2020 initiatives



SMDC’s New Leader LTG Daniel Karbler says command has never been more relevant


he man behind Army space and missile defense never expected to make the Army a career when he applied to the U.S. Military Academy. Lt. Gen. Daniel L. Karbler, commanding general of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC) and the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense, was looking for an inexpensive way to get an education. “My parents had put my two older sisters through college, and I didn’t want to put any financial burden on them,” he said. “West Point was free, guaranteed a job after graduation, and paid you while you were there.” To Karbler, that sounded like a great deal. Intending to complete a five-year commitment, he started his military career in 1987 when he commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Defense Artillery branch following his graduation from West Point. The Hartland, Wisconsin, native’s first assignment took him to Germany, followed by a deployment to Israel supporting Operation Desert Storm. That experience changed the course of his career. “I saw how the Patriot missile system worked, and it was phenomenal,” he said. “I loved what I was doing. This was combat, and I was hooked.” It was then Karbler said he decided to stay as long as the Army would keep him. Today, Karbler, the Army’s senior air defender and space operations expert, leads a team that develops and provides cuttingedge space, missile defense and high altitude capabilities for the warfighter and space and missile defense forces for the Army and the joint force. “At no other time in my 32-plus years in the Army has this command been more relevant,” said Karbler. At SMDC, Karbler leads roughly 2,800 Soldiers and civilians who perform missions in 23 locations across 11 time zones around the world, even aboard the International Space Station. “The talent pool that I see, and the dedication of the SMDC team is so incredible,” he said. “Our agile, innovative and empowered Soldiers and civilians are the heart of our team.” Karbler’s journey from platoon leader to commanding general provided multiple opportunities to lead and to serve in key positions. He credits his success to the foundation he received from family and friends in Wisconsin.


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“My parents taught me about hard work, humility, the importance of family, competition, and faith,” he said. “They were awesome role models: fair, firm and fun.” He also had countless mentors: teachers, Army officers, noncommissioned officers and civilians who provided him with great examples to follow. Their examples contributed to Karbler’s own vision of a good leader, one who shows common sense, approachability, a willingness to listen, job proficiency, a sense of humor and genuine care and concern for people. “They always took time to teach, coach and mentor me,” he said. “They also taught me the importance of maintaining relationships, in fact, many of the friendships I forged at West Point are still going strong 37 years later.” Choosing military service runs in Karbler’s family. His wife, Leah, served as a nurse in the U.S. Air Force for 26 years, and his daughter, Lauren, is on track to graduate in May from West Point, when she will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Defense Artillery. Karbler’s son, Tim, also plans to serve in the military. He has received appointments to the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and has been accepted to Notre Dame with a four-year Army ROTC scholarship. Karbler's career has taken him across the globe including multiple deployments to the Middle East; assignments to Texas, Oklahoma, Maryland, Nebraska, and Washington, D.C.; and finally to Huntsville, whose atmosphere made an impression on Karbler and his family. “Huntsville is great!” Karbler said. “It has a small town feel with big town amenities.” But more important than its amenities, Karbler said, is how Huntsville welcomes military families. “The best example I can provide is how Huntsville High School accepted our son, Tim,” he said. “It’s always hard to move to a new school, more so when it’s your senior year, but Tim said he’s made better friends here than at his previous high schools. “Huntsville and Team Redstone provided us such a warm welcome and made us feel part of the community,” he said. “That sums up Huntsville for us.” ■ Lira Frye

Contributing Writer – Director, Public Affairs U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

The Time is Now New ChamberON Campaign underway for future marketing opportunities


ur 2020-21 ChamberON Campaign is in high gear. If you’re not familiar with ChamberON, it provides you have the opportunity to position your brand to your target audience with cost-effective sponsorships. And, you’ll save money on your sponsorship purchase by making your selection during the campaign, which runs through June 30. We’re offering a number of sponsorship items for 2020-21: ■ Small Business & Networking events ■ Government & Public Affairs events, including luncheons with our elected leaders ■ Marketing & Communication items such as our website and digital communications


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■ Membership and community information packets ■ Education and Workforce events such as our Second Chance Job Fair Browse through our ChamberON catalog online: hsvchamber. org/chamberon Once various events are scheduled, we will notify companies who have booked ahead of time. If you're interested in making a purchase or getting more information, please contact one of our ChamberON Volunteers, listed on the webpage. Or, please contact Kristy Drake, the Chamber’s director of HREGI & ChamberON: kdrake@hsvchamber.org or 256-535-2036. ■


COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS Space Camp educators pose in front of the Pathfinder shuttle. Courtesy: U.S. Space & Rocket Center

Space Re-engaged Space Camp growing alumni chapters, continue USSRC’s mission


f you have been to Space Camp, or you’ve sent your child, you know it’s a life changing opportunity that opens your eyes to new worlds. At the same time, it also helps broaden your view of the world we call home. “Every single experience I had was different, and that’s what kept me coming back,” said Diana Hughes, who attended three times in her youth and recently went to an adult camp in 2019. “I loved meeting people from all over the country, and I even had roommates from different countries. It was inspiring to me, coming from a small town in Illinois, to meet people from all over and realize how big the world was.” Hughes is now the Alumni Engagement Specialist at Space Camp. Her background is in communications and social media, and when she was hired in August 2019, she started by managing social media for Space Camp alumni. She also has been working to update records of where alumni live, and now she is setting up chapters in several large cities to get people engaged with each other. There are chapters established for Atlanta, Chicago, New York City, Houston, Washington DC, Phoenix, and Huntsville, one of the larger groups. “We can share memories, but we can work on initiatives to promote the next generation of campers,” said Hughes. “There are a lot of exciting things happening at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and Space Camp.” There is definite opportunity for growth. Space Camp opened in 1982, and there are now more than 900,000 alumni worldwide. “We want to reach out to those alumni who go on different career paths and get them re-engaged,” said Hughes. Space Camp alumni help with many projects, including sharing the unique experience of what students learn. The Space Camp Alumni Association is a working board that helps fund Space Camp scholarships, as well as new buildings and restoration work on the USSRC campus. These include support for new facilities for U.S. Cyber Camp and an upcoming project to restore the Pathfinder Shuttle. Alumni events are scheduled in several different cities. The first was held earlier this month in Houston, and there are more soon. A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

Members of the Space Camp Alumni Association Board visit during Rocket City Summer Fest in 2019. Courtesy: U.S. Space & Rocket Center

Upcoming Space Camp Alumni Events April 18

Atlanta Chapter Meetup

April 25

USA Science and Engineering Festival, Washington, D.C. (volunteer event for alumni)

May 16

Phoenix Chapter Meetup

May 30 June 19 July 16-19

Washington, D.C. Chapter Meetup (at Air & Space Museum) New York City Chapter Meetup (at Intrepid Air, Sea, & Space Museum) Rocket City Summer Fest

Hughes is also planning events for Chicago and the Orlando/ Space Coast area. If you graduated from Space Camp and would like to become active in an alumni chapter, please email alumni@ spacecamp.com or visit spacecampalumni.com. ■ Claire Aiello

Vice President, Marketing & Communications apr 2020 initiatives



Ready to Build North Alabama Homebuilding Academy – Student Profiles


tudents at the North Alabama Homebuilding Academy (NAHA) have followed different paths, but they’re all learning important skills for jobs that are in demand in our area. The academy opened in January, and 13 students enrolled in the first session, taking classes two evenings per week. We visited in February to see how the students were progressing and talk with them about their journeys. Nathan is 19 and graduated from Sparkman High School. He is currently working in a grocery store and tried college for while, but said he didn’t care for it. Over the years, his father taught him how to build birdhouses, fix fences, and most recently, they worked together to gut and restore a house the family owned in Kentucky. Nathan said he enjoyed the work and enjoyed learning how to use the various tools. “My father asked me if I wanted to enroll in this class. I said absolutely, yes.” Vincent is 18, and was homeschooled. He learned about NAHA through an article on AL.com. “I’ve had experience with construction, mainly working with my family, farming, things like that. This interests me because I’m not looking for a job in an office, in a closed workspace. I’d rather work outside or with material,” Vincent said. He says he is interested in electrical/HVAC work, because he knows there is a high demand for this specialty. Many students in the first class were younger, but Derrick is a retired Army veteran with a background in logistics and healthcare. He is originally from Pennsylvania but moved to Huntsville in 2002 to work on Redstone Arsenal. He is now training for a new career at age 60. “I’ve always had an interest in building. I’ve never really built anything, but I’ve watched the various TV programs, and this class has allowed me to have the practical understanding of how building takes place.” Derrick acknowledges he is the oldest in the group but enjoys it. “Many of these guys are all born after 2000, but that’s okay.


initiatives apr 2020

It’s a good thing. It keeps you young! I feel great – I’m comfortable in the class, and I’ve learned a great deal. The equipment has changed since I took industrial arts in high school, and the refresher on fractions has been great.” On the evening we visited, Dr. Tommy Davis, NAHA administrator, and Justin Click, lead instructor, helped students brush up on adding/using fractions, because they need to be able to do that quickly when measuring or cutting. They also demonstrated proper safety techniques when using a miter saw. Students practiced measuring, cutting different angles on wood, and using a chalk line. The classes are free, and word is getting out. Since online applications went active, more than 460 people have applied. Nearly 25 percent are female. “This is a male-dominated industry, but women, I’ve seen how they can handle their own,” said Derrick. “I know some that could work rings around men, me included. It would be awesome to get women engaged in plumbing, electrical, carpentry, masonry. That would be a plus.” Another student, Thomas, is 18. He says he’s excited about his future and is considering becoming an electrician. “You can have fun working in this field, make lots of money because it’s very high demand, so that means higher pay, and you don’t have to go to college for four years and go into horrible debt just to get a job,” he said. “You might go to college and get a fouryear degree, then hear that no one will hire you because you don’t have any experience yet.” “Plus, this class is free – that’s one of the biggest pluses. You don’t have to pay for it,” Thomas added. The inaugural class graduated in mid-March. If you are interested in applying for a future session, visit gobuildyourfuture. com. ■ Claire Aiello Vice President, Marketing & Communications A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

Fresh Start New look, feel, and functionality for ASmartPlace.com


ave you noticed our new ASmartPlace.com site? It has a fresh new look and improved functionality. Our site better appeals to not only job seekers and students, but to people looking to relocate to the area. The site walks through what it is like to live, work, play, and learn in Huntsville/Madison County. Under Live, you can learn about our area, our different communities, and even click to see housing listings on ValleyMLS. Under Work, you can search for jobs, find local job fairs, see featured employers, and learn about our metro economy. Under Play, you can find out about all of the favorite spots in town as well as things to do, like hiking or attending a concert or sporting event. Under Learn, you can read about our school systems, our continuing education opportunities, and explore the Career Prep Curriculum. You will notice that students can now login to the career portal through the Smart Careers page, and job seekers can now search for jobs on the Find A Job page using a feed we have embedded from Indeed. Employers, you now no longer need to create a profile and upload jobs. We know that was an extra step for you, and we are glad to say that if your job is listed on Indeed, it will now appear our site! We also added a Featured Employers page. Employers, if you would like your company listed here for the entire year, reach out to us! This includes your company’s full color logo, a link, and a short company description. It is $1,000 to be added to the page, and we will be rotating who is listed at the top.


If you want your company logo (that is also linked to the link of your choice) on every single page throughout the site, consider becoming a site sponsor for $5,000 a year. This also lists you on the Featured Employers page. ASmartPlace.com is the site we direct everyone to when we are out speaking to college students or veterans, attending national conferences, and through all of our digital marketing efforts. If you are wanting job seekers and people looking to relocate to the area to notice your business/company, this is a great opportunity for you. If you have any questions about ASmartPlace.com, please reach out to Katelyn Sides Baker: kbaker@hsvchamber.org or 256-535-2020. â–

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Jamie Miller is president & CEO of Mission Multiplier, and a cybersecurity thought leader, philanthropist, husband and father.

Q&A with Jamie Miller Mission Multiplier named Government Contracting – Technology Business of the Year at the 2019 Small Business Awards Tell us about your community involvement:

What sets your business apart from others in the field?

I’m constantly working to connect with others, drive new thinking, and advocate for enhanced cybersecurity and innovation. For my Mission Multiplier team, clients and business partners, I work to serve them. Our name, Mission Multiplier, encapsulates this objective perfectly. My focus is on simultaneously improving the mission of our clients, our team, and our community. This is achieved by investing in and growing our staff, and by focusing on developing innovative cybersecurity products and solutions that solve our client’s challenges, while at the same time giving back to the community in a unique way. For every hour a Mission Multiplier employee works on a billable project, a percent of the profit gets directed to a local charity of the employee’s choice. In this way, each employee knows that they are not just working to support their careers and the business, but also that they are directly supporting the local community – and more importantly, an organization and cause that they are passionate about. In essence, our employees are not just working for a paycheck. They are working for something bigger than themselves, and something personally important to them. In this way, each person and organization involved becomes a Mission Multiplier.

The field of cybersecurity is growing at an exponential rate, so competition in our market is significant. Therefore, for Mission Multiplier to differentiate itself, we had to offer something special and different for our customers and vendors. We achieve that through our culture, which is rooted in: giving back to the community; providing access to innovative cybersecurity solutions; and the opportunity to work with trusted, honest, and reliable business partners who are passionate about cybersecurity. Fundamentally, what sets us apart is our innovative cybersecurity solutions and our unique business model that is centered around giving back to the community. Community giving and investing in the community was just something that I believed in and wanted to do for the local community. The first time I realized how much this unique feature of our business raised the stakes in our levels of customer satisfaction was when one of our first clients said that our corporate culture and unique business model based on giving back was “the kicker that sealed the deal,” which led to a large prime contract with TVA. Since then, we have continued to hear from others that our approach has “gotten their attention” and has been a significant factor in the explosive growth of our company.

How'd you know it was the right time to start a business?

What was your reaction to winning a Small Business Award?

To be completely honest, the decision to start Mission Multiplier wasn’t really tied to any one eureka moment, but more of a reaction to a series of events and moments of clarity and inspiration. A series of events drove my wife and myself to move to Huntsville from Washington, DC over six years ago, and while I was still working for a company based in the Washington, DC area, I lost the feeling of connection with the work that I was doing, and I didn’t feel like I had the advocacy of my leadership combined with the belief that I could not continue to learn and grow at the rate that I desired. At that time, I also saw our move to Huntsville as a huge opportunity to define and execute a new vision for myself and our family, and to create the type of future and community that we wanted for our young and growing family. The decision to start Mission Multiplier was not an easy one, and was discussed at length with my wife; although we collectively decided that “going for it” was worth the emotional and financial stress that it would create.

Utter and complete shock! Earlier that day, I told my team that we should be grateful to be named a finalist, and that we should revel in the fact that our company name was alongside some really amazing and notable companies, but I honestly said that we “were very much the underdog”. Boy, did I have to eat my words after the shock wore off! In the moment, though, there was complete disbelief – although our team shouted with surprise and glee at the announcement. While walking up to the stage, I had no idea what to say – and I still don’t remember my exact words – although I know that I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Gratitude to my family, our Mission Multiplier Team, and the entire Huntsville community for being recognized for our positive impact.


initiatives apr 2020

Mark your calendar for the 2020 Small Business Awards Celebration, scheduled for August 11 at the Von Braun Center North Hall. More details to come soon! ■ A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION


Madison City of City of Huntsville County Huntsville Madison Metro Area

2010 Census


180,105 42,938


2018 Census est.


199,808 50,440


% Growth





COMMUNITY PROFILE Top Ten Employers: Huntsville & Madison County Redstone Arsenal* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38,000* Huntsville Hospital System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9,228 NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6,000

Households & Income # of Households


Avg. Household Income Per Capita Income

Huntsville City Schools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,000




$79,715 $115,779


SAIC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,746


$34,089 $43,917


Madison County Schools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,389

As of January 2020


Sources: U.S. Census Bureau (www.census.gov), 2018 American Community Survey Estimates

The Boeing Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,900

City of Huntsville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,206 Dynetics, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,030 The University of Alabama in Huntsville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,660 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. More than 43,500 people work at Redstone Arsenal and NASA, managing some of the country’s most important and sophisticated technology programs including missiles, aviation, and space exploration.

Research & Technology For more information, visit:



Huntsville’s Cummings Research Park has earned a reputation as a global leader in technology development. The second-largest science and technology research park in the U.S., Cummings Research Park is home to nearly 300 companies and 26,500 people involved in technology research and development.

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MILITARY WORKFORCE Laura Ruiz is a Hiring Our Heroes corporate fellow at Lockheed Martin in Huntsville. She is from Fort Bliss, Texas. Here, she works with John Hall, systems engineering manager.

Hiring Our Heroes Consider this free program to find transitioning military candidates and assess their skills before hiring


iring Our Heroes hosted an info session at the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber in early February, and more than 80 people attended from 60 different companies in our area. Hiring Our Heroes Executive Director Chuck Hodges talked to attendees about their Corporate Fellowship Program, which started five years ago. This program provides transitioning service members with professional training and hands-on experience in the civilian workforce while still on active-duty service. What’s interesting – this program is FREE to employers. It has grown significantly, too. In 2015, 76 fellows participated in the program at two locations. This past year, 893 fellows went through the program at 16 locations. That is a lot of growth over four years!

Chuck Hodges, executive director of Hiring Our Heroes, talks about how the fellowship program works during an event at the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber on Feb. 5.


initiatives apr 2020

“Hiring Our Heroes’ mission is to connect military talent with employers who value the experience and training received during military service,” said Hodges. “The fellowship program is successful because it allows the candidates and the employers the opportunity to see if the position is a good fit – in skills and culture – on both sides. This enables not only job placement, but a career trajectory for men and women as they transition out of the military.” So how does this work? Transitioning service members must apply on Hiring Our Heroes’ website to be in the program. They are required to have either a two or four-year degree with additional years of experience. They sign up for this program at least six months before they transition out of service, and the applicants undergo a selective screening process, including interviews with host companies. Companies can sign up to be hosts at hiringourheroes.org/fellowships/corporatefellows. It is a very simple and easy process. The main requirement is that you have an open position this fellow could potentially fill after completing the fellowship. Once Hiring Our Heroes knows which companies are participating and what jobs they are looking to fill, they release resumés to the companies and release the companies to the fellows. At that point, it’s like match.com between employers and fellows, and the interviews begin. The fellowship features a 12-week syllabus and runs three times a year at select military installations and in host cities around the country. Fellowship candidates are carefully matched with participating companies based on the specific skills of the candidate and the preferences of both parties. They work for your company during the fellowship at no cost to you. You don’t pay them, and you don’t even need to provide them benefits because they are still covered and paid through the military. Remember, they are still active duty. This program allows the candidate to experience the work environment and gives the employer an opportunity to determine if the candidate's skill set and aspirations are a match. A hire is not A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

Redstone Gateway 8000, Huntsville, Alabama

Redstone Federal Credit Union, Huntsville, Alabama

required, but this program was made to place service members into great jobs after they transition out of the military. Hiring Our Heroes has a 90 percent job offer rate, which means this program is working for both transitioning service members and employers. There are a handful of Huntsville/Madison County companies already participating in the program. Currently, Lockheed Martin is hosting a fellow, Laura Ruiz. She is from Fort Bliss, Texas, and is enjoying her stay in the Rocket City so far. We visited her on the job in February to ask about her experience. “Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program is an outstanding program,” said Ruiz, Hiring Our Heroes corporate fellow. “It really gives you the opportunity to get experience with a company before you get out into the real world. From all of the interactions I have had with my peers who are also currently in the program, it is a great opportunity.” “The program is very good. It gives great access to a talent pool that we don’t always have access to,” said John Hall, systems engineering manager at Lockheed Martin. “Laura came to us with a clearance and experience with the military and that environment. She was able to jump right in and get right to work instead of some employees where you have to bring them up to speed on the program or wait for their clearance to go through.” Lockheed Martin has been participating in the program for three years, and this is the first fellow they have hosted at their Huntsville location. “Just from my experience, there are so many service members who love Huntsville and who have been to Huntsville for training, and they want to either retire here or come here as a potential job location,” said Ruiz.

Proud to be part of

HUNTSVILLE since 1985 General Contractor 4900 University Square, Suite 2, Huntsville, AL 35816 www.robinsmorton.com

Upcoming Fellowship Opportunities: 2020

COHORT 3 (August 24–November 12)


COHORT 1 (January 11–April 2)

Interested in having access to a talent pool with military experience and clearances? This free program is for you. Check out hiringourheroes.org/fellowships/corporatefellows for more information or to sign up for the program. ■ Katelyn Sides Baker Workforce Recruitment Director A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

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Huntsville/Madison County Chamber

STA FF Executive Staff

Chip Cherry, CCE, president & CEO Meghan Chambliss, executive assistant

Economic Development, Industry Relations & Workforce Lucia Cape, CCE, senior vice president Erin Koshut, executive director, Cummings Research Park Katelyn Sides Baker, workforce recruitment director Lydia Pennington, industry relations director John Roberts, economic development project director Ken Smith, research & information services director Julia Kaye, marketing & events coordinator

Government & Public Affairs Mike Ward, CCE, senior vice president Amberly Kimbrough, events coordinator

Marketing & Communications Claire Aiello, vice president Kristi Sherrard, graphic designer Hiroko Sedensky, web designer

Small Business & Events Pammie Jimmar, IOM, vice president Devon Elston, coordinator

Finance & Administration Mary McNairy, vice president Kim Weeks, accounting specialist – receivables Lori Warner, accounting specialist – payables Joe Watson, facilities supervisor Sarah Blackmon, administrative coordinator Tiffany Boyd, resource desk coordinator

Investor Relations Amber Greenwood, vice president Kristy Drake, director, HREGI & ChamberON Donna McCrary, retention manager Richard Bigoney, account executive Tina Blankenship, account executive

Chamber Foundation Georgina Chapman, workforce development director Kent Ballard, Jr., workforce education specialist

Huntsville/Madison County Chamber 225 Church Street NW, Huntsville, AL 35801 phone 256-535-2000 | fax 256-535-2015


Associated Organizations

theschoolsfoundation.org uah.edu/sbdc


initiatives apr 2020


L-R: Huntsville/Madison County Chamber Board Chair Kevin Byrnes, Clayco CEO Bob Clark, Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong, U.S. Congressman Mo Brooks, Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith, U.S. Senator Doug Jones, U.S. Congressman Robert Aderholt, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield, and Cummings Research Park Executive Director Erin Koshut. Photos by Jeff White Photography.

Blue Origin opens Huntsville engine factory B

lue Origin opened its rocket engine production facility in Huntsville on February 17. The world-class engine manufacturing facility in The Rocket City will conduct high rate production of the BE-4 and BE-3U engines. These engines will undergo testing at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) on the historic Test Stand 4670. BE-7, the company’s lunar landing engine, is also currently in test at MSFC. “At the core of every successful launch vehicle program are the engines that power those vehicles to space. Early on in Blue Origin’s history, we made a crucial decision to invest in developing the next generation of reusable rocket engines,” said Bob Smith, CEO of Blue Origin. “Now, it’s an exciting time for Blue, our partners, and this country – we are on the path to deliver on our promise to end the reliance on Russian-made engines – and it’s all happening right here, right now, in the great state of Alabama. We couldn’t be prouder to call this our home for engine production.” Blue will add more than 300 jobs to the local economy with an investment of over $200 million in the facility. The facility itself was built in a little more than a year. The BE-4, which is under development, is made for both commercial and government missions. It will power Blue Origin’s New Glenn rocket as well as the United Launch Alliance’s new Vulcan A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

rocket, which is being produced at ULA’s factory in Decatur. Blue Origin expects to deliver the first two production BE-4 engines this year for static hot-fire tests after integration with Vulcan. “Blue Origin’s decision to locate its BE-4 engine manufacturing center in Huntsville reflects the deep and longstanding capabilities in the city that became the cradle of the nation’s rocket program,” said Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield. “Huntsville is a hub of innovation in every facet of aerospace, making it the perfect home for this Blue Origin facility.” ■

apr 2020 initiatives


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Cash Management I Merchant Services I Business Loans & Accounts

Call us to get started or visit redfcu.org/trust Must be RFCUÂŽ member or Membership Partner to open a business checking account or use any service. A business share account must be opened in the business name in order to obtain a business loan. Minimum opening deposits, account balances, and transaction fees apply to some business accounts. Must be eligible for membership and open a share savings account to become a member. A $5.00 minimum balance is required to open the share savings account and must be maintained in the share savings account at all times. Fees apply to Cash Management services and Merchant services. Loans subject to credit approval. RFCU is an Equal Credit Opportunity Lender.


This credit union is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration.

Profile for Huntsville/Madison County Chamber

Initiatives - April 2020  

Educator Engagement: Sharing workforce opps with students

Initiatives - April 2020  

Educator Engagement: Sharing workforce opps with students