Initiatives - June 2022

Page 1

JUN 2022


UP!, page 20


Sponsored by

Focused On You When it comes to managing the challenges facing your business, it’s critical to partner with a legal team that has a sophisticated understanding of your goals. As a full-service law firm with extensive experience in intellectual property, life sciences, corporate, tax, construction, government contracts, class actions, and complex litigation, our attorneys address the unique needs of our clients in Huntsville, across the country and around the world. At Bradley, we’re focused on providing you with innovative solutions, dependable responsiveness and a deep commitment to success.

For more information, visit our website


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,, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, 200 Clinton Avenue West, Suite 900, Huntsville, AL 35801. ©2021

Let’s get you doing the things you love. Trust one of the best orthopedic and spine teams in America while you experience your care in our new Orthopedic & Spine Tower at Huntsville Hospital.

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


Joined in March 5R Design, P.C. Acuant Alabama Property Management, Inc. Amphenol Tecvox, LLC Cookie Fix Huntsville Destination Huntsville Dreamland BBQ Huntsville D-Tecs Detective Services Edward Jones - Stephanie Hendon, CRPC®, Financial Advisor Fifth Third Bank, N.A. Howard Technology Solutions Huntsville College Preparatory School Jan-Pro Koniag Government Services (KGS) Lifestyle Journey from Head 2 Toe Meyer & Lee Fine Jewelry Millennium Corporation Montana Property Group MWB Restaurants, LLC Pool Scouts of Huntsville Royal Funeral Home, Inc. SALT FACTORY PUB Senior Helpers Serco North America Solid Ground Counseling Center Technology for Energy Corporation The Tutoring Center, Huntsville TMS Therapy of Huntsville U.S. Auto Sales VOUS Salon Retreat Walls Machine Co.

Joined in April Alabama Central Credit Union Challenger Defense Solutions LLC Especially by Eileen, Fine Art, Graphic Design and Interior Decorating GoMobile Tires Henry House at Clift Farm Apartments Holtz Leather Co INDUS Technology, Inc. Interweave Technologies Lawn Man Lockton Companies Mac & Snacks, LLC Mb Solutions, Inc. MEMBERS: Please check out PCI Productions to support gift card purchases through our local restaurants and retail stores. It is FREE to list Petsense your business there. Revolved Realty Rocket City Shuttles Singing River Dentistry Smash My Trash Summit Funding, Inc. Teambuilderz (Huntsville Dream Center) The Cyber Consultant, LLC The Nature Conservancy in Alabama The Southern Decorista Tile Liquidators Tint World Womack Machine Supply Company

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


initiatives JUN 2022




AS OF MAY 18, 2022



Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT) ■ Crestwood Medical Center Dynetics, Inc. ■ Lockheed Martin Corporation PNC Bank ■ Raytheon Technologies ■ SAIC Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc. ■ Torch Technologies ■ Yulista

CHAMBER TRUSTEES Akima, LLC ■ Bill Penney Toyota/Mitsubishi ■ Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. Five Stones Research Corporation ■ Intrepid ■ Jerry Damson Honda Acura ■ KBR Landers McLarty Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram ■ Lanier Ford Shaver & Payne P.C. Parsons ■ S3, Inc. ■ Sealy Management Company, Inc. SES - Science and Engineering Services, LLC ■ SportsMED Synovus ■ Turner Construction Company


PROGRESS PARTNERS Ability Plus, Inc. ■ Aerojet Rocketdyne ■ Amazon ■ Anglin Reichmann Armstrong, P.C. ■ ASRC Federal ■ Baron Weather, Inc. ■ BASF Corporation ■ BL Harbert International, LLC ■ Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP ■ Brown Precision, Inc. ■ CFD Research Corporation ■ Colliers International ■ Corporate Tax Advisors Inc. ■ Davidson ■ First Horizon ■ Freedom Real Estate & Capital, LLC ■ Huntsville Botanical Garden ■ Huntsville Tractor & Equipment, Inc. ■ Integration Innovation, Inc. (i3) ■ IronMountain Solutions ■ Keel Point, LLC ■


Leonardo Electronics US Inc. ■ LSINC Corporation ■ Marsh & McLennan Agency, locally known as J. Smith Lanier & Co. ■ The Orthopaedic Center (TOC) ■ Progress Bank ■ Radiance Technologies, Inc. ■ RE/MAX Alliance ■ Robins & Morton ■ RUAG Space USA Inc. ■ ServisFirst Bank ■ SouthState Bank ■ Steak-Out (Rosie’s Restaurants, Inc., & Right Way Restaurants, Inc.) ■ Truist Bank ■ Venturi, LLC ■ Woody Anderson Ford

PROGRESS INVESTORS Accenture Federal Services ■ Air Essentials, Inc. ■ Alpha Beta Technologies, Inc. ■ Amanda Howard | Sotheby’s


International Realty ■ Avion Solutions ■ Averbuch Realty / Enterprises ■ Bailey-Harris Construction ■ Bell Textron Inc. ■ BRPH Architects-Engineers, Inc. ■ Bryant Bank ■ Cadence Bank ■ Canvas, Inc. ■ CB&S Bank ■ Century Automotive ■ CGI Federal ■ Coast Personnel Services ■ Corvid Technologies LLC ■ deciBel Research ■ Deloitte ■ DESE Research, Inc. ■ Express Employment Professionals ■ FITE Building Company ■ FLS Translation & Interpreting ■ Fountain, Parker, Harbarger & Associates, LLC ■ Garver, LLC ■ Hexagon US Federal ■ HEMSI ■ Hiley Automotive Group ■ Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau ■ INTERFUZE Corporation ■ Investor’s Resource ■ KODA Technologies Inc. ■ L3Harris ■ The Lioce Group, Inc. ■ MSB Analytics, Inc. ■ nLogic, LLC ■ PALCO ■ Phoenix ■ Pinnacle Solutions, Inc. ■ PROJECTXYZ, Inc. ■ QTEC Aerospace ■ Quadrus Corporation ■ Renasant Bank ■ RJ Young Company ■ Rosenblum Realty, Inc. ■ Schoel Engineering Company, Inc. ■ Sigmatech, Inc. ■ Signalink, Inc. ■ Snelling ■ Systems Products and Solutions, Inc. ■ Transcend, The Fearless Company ■ TriVector Services, Inc. ■ Troy 7, Inc. ■ TTL, Inc. ■ ■ Valor Communities ■ Van Valkenburgh & Wilkinson Properties, Inc. ■ Volkert, Inc. ■ Warren Averett, LLC ■ Wilmer & Lee, P.A.

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


JUN 2022 initiatives


ALWAYS Looking FORWARD For 75 years Bank Independent’s team of professionals have been putting their experience to work to serve you, your business, and your banking needs. We have earned the trust of our neighbors by investing locally, in our technology and in our team members. You can rely on our experience to provide steady financial strength and knowledgeable guidance for years to come.

75 Years of Service. Our next 75 years start NOW.

BIBANK.COM | MEMBER FDIC | 877.865.5050

table of contents INITIATIVES MAGAZINE – JUN 2022

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


(see staff listing on page 38)


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

pages 20-24 The Orion Amphitheater kicks off with The First Waltz weekend

on the cover John Paul White on stage at The Orion Photo by Kayla Brown

feature stories 10




editor Claire Aiello



editorial designer Kristi Sherrard



contributing writers



HSV approved to land commercial space vehicles



UAH receives initial approval for major engineering building












Laughlin Service Funeral Home, Limbaugh Orthodontics

Kristy Drake



College football coming to Toyota Field on October 15



editorial staff publisher Chip Cherry, CCE

Kayla Brown Lucia Cape, CCE Annie Davis Ashley Engles-Ross Lyndsay Ferguson Kelly Schrimsher Mike Ward, CCE

Jamie Russell

86th Annual Member Meeting takes on the future

10th Annual State of the Schools encourages companies to keep engaged Construction underway on new City Hall

Para-cycling races return to Rocket City

Drake State & Huntsville Hospital get strong response for new program Checking for ‘Best Place for Working Parents’ designation

Child care remains a workforce discussion

Raising the Rocket City’s profile at the 2022 Space Symposium

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

more for you 4




















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


JUN 2022 initiatives


a message from chip cherry

Executive Committee & Board of Directors 2022


Executive Committee

Dear Chamber Investors, Community Leaders, and Friends: We often have people and communities ask us what is the secret to our region’s success. At the core, the answer is vision, strategy, collaboration, and leadership. It begins with the understanding that the region is analogous to a Gordian knot, the success of one political subdivision is tied to its neighbors. This concept has become part of our DNA in large part due to our legacy of banding together to support Redstone – the economic engine that powers half of our region’s economy and represents roughly 10 percent of Alabama’s GDP. When you build on this foundation with vision focused on creating a world class quality of place, strong public education, and an economy with opportunities throughout the socioeconomic spectrum, you arrive where we are now – we’ve been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as the Best Place to Live in the United States! Congratulations to the cities of Huntsville, Madison, and Athens, and the counties of Madison and Limestone – the municipalities in the Huntsville MSA. Quality of place additions such as The Orion Amphitheatre, Trash Pandas/Toyota Field, MidCity, improvements to local parks and recreation facilities, entertainment districts, coupled with great local schools make us attractive as a location for those who want to begin a career, raise a family, relocate or start a business. The diversification of our economy is providing job opportunities for all of our region’s citizens. A strong public-private partnership working in concert for decades has created a dynamic region, the results of which are amazing! We have an engineering and problem-solving mindset in our community, and it is certainly one of our strengths. It helps us analyze data, study the trends, and look over the horizon to anticipate what we need to put in motion today to ensure we are the type of community we want to be tomorrow. I encourage you to engage in the journey to ensure that we create the community we want and you deserve! Congratulations to our 2022 Distinguished Service Award Winner Joe Newberry. Joe’s selfless commitment has contributed to the growth and development of our region in a big way. I encourage you to read about him and the award on page 10. I look forward to seeing you at a Chamber event soon!

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



initiatives JUN 2022

Greg Brown, Board Chair – Brown Precision, Inc. Lynn Troy, Chair-elect – Troy 7, Inc. Jeff Gronberg, Immediate Past Chair – deciBel Research, Inc. Ron Poteat, President, Chamber Foundation – Regions Bank Jeff Samz, Secretary/Treasurer – Huntsville Hospital Michelle Jordan, Vice Chair, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion – TARCOG Sameer Singhal, Vice Chair, Economic Development & Workforce – CFD Research Corporation

Ronnie Chronister, Vice Chair, Government & Public Affairs – Dynetics, Inc.

Dr. Karockas Watkins, Vice Chair, HREGI – Ability Plus, Inc. Blake Bentley, Vice Chair, Investor Relations – SportsMED Jim Rogers, Vice Chair, Marketing & Communications – Lockheed Martin Joe Ritch, Vice Chair, Redstone Regional Alliance – Dentons Sirote PC Jami Peyton, Vice Chair, Small Business – Canvas, Inc. Sean Kelly, Chair-Appointed – Regions Bank Jason Puckett, Chair-Appointed – Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama Frank Williams, Chair-Appointed – Landers McLarty Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram

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

Elected board Ted Baudendistel, INTERFUZE Corporation David Bier, Anglin Reichmann Armstrong, P.C. Penny Billings, Cadence Bank G.W. Boon, Modern Technology Solutions, Inc. (MTSI) Thomas Busby, SouthState Bank Katie Comer, Meta Platforms, Inc. Tom Conard, The Boeing Company Brett Crain, Huntsville Tractor & Equipment, Inc. Dr. Patti Dare, Raytheon Technologies Melissa Davis, MTA, Inc. Kevin Fernandez, Fernandez Financial Group, LLC Greg Fortier, SAIC Owen Franklin, Blue Summit Supplies Joni Green, Five Stones Research Corporation Ginger Harper, First Horizon Josh Herren, Yulista Jan Hess, Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc. Tharon Honeycutt, MSB Analytics, Inc. Laura Huckabee-Jennings, Transcend, The Fearless Company Lincoln Hudson, Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. Tyce Hudson, Freedom Real Estate and Capital, LLC Hank Isenberg, IronMountain Solutions Clint Kirkland, Progress Bank Rich Kretzschmar, Integration Innovation, Inc. (i3) James Lackey, Parsons Todd May, KBR Bob McCaleb, Northrop Grumman Corporation Craig Naudain, The Naudain Group, LLC Nadia Niakossary, RCP Companies Alana Parker, Rocket City Drywall & Supply, Inc. Meredith Payne, Davidson Zack Penney, Bill Penney Toyota/Mitsubishi Chris Russell, Linscomb & Williams Alicia Ryan, LSINC Corporation Beth Sippel, Synovus Wayne Sisco, Redstone Federal Credit Union Tom Stanton, ADTRAN, Inc. Sandra Stephens, Keel Point, LLC Mitch Stevison, Mercury Systems, Inc. Nilmini Thompson, Systems Products and Solutions, Inc. Mark Vaporis, Intrepid Mike Watkins, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama John Watson, Torch Technologies A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

Minutes still matter in an


Don’t delay

health care. Chest pain, severe abdominal pain, headache, high Chest pain, severe abdominal pain, headache, high fever and other symptoms often need fast medical care, fever and other symptoms often need fast medical care, so please don’t delay getting care in an emergency. With so please don’t delay getting care in an emergency. With screening for everyone, enhanced cleaning, masking and screening for everyone, enhanced cleaning, masking and social distancing, we are taking extra precautions to help keep social distancing, we are taking extra precautions to help keep our safe – and ready to care for for our emergency emergencyrooms rooms safe – and ready to care

Learn more at Learn more at emergency. or call 911 in an or call 911 in an emergency.

Strategic Foresight

86th Annual Member Meeting takes on the future


ow often do you get to hear from a futurist? Better yet, do you know what a futurist is? If you don’t, you’re not alone. Several may have googled it on March 24, as we prepared to hear from our keynote speaker at the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber’s 86th Annual Membership Meeting. Rebecca Ryan acknowledged it’s a common question from audiences, and explained just as a historian looks back, a futurist looks ahead to help leaders think around the next corner and become more future-ready. Ryan’s work includes helping company leaders and government officials outline strategies in urban planning, economic development, and workforce development to ensure communities are well equipped for future trends and challenges. “What are the signals of the future that you’re seeing?” Ryan asked the crowd. “The future is not a mysterious dark room with a boogeyman. If we pay attention in a different way, we can start to see how weak signals can become bigger and become stronger trends.”

Distinguished Service Award Our 2021 Board Chair Jeff Gronberg, who is president and CEO of deciBel Research, wrapped up his service as the Chamber’s lead volunteer. In his last official act, Gronberg presented the Distinguished Service Award to Joe Newberry, president and CEO of Redstone Federal Credit Union. This is the highest honor the Chamber bestows to a deserving volunteer in the Huntsville/Madison County community. “Joe is incredibly deserving, but also one of the most humble people I know,” said Gronberg. “Not only does he direct a great organization with fantastic people, he leads by example, demonstrating how we should all be servant leaders in the community.” In addition to his business role, Newberry has an extensive record of community service, including volunteer roles with the American Red Cross, United Way, Rotary Club, U.S. Space & Rocket Center, and Alabama Constitution Village Foundation. “I believe in this Chamber,” said Newberry. “I love this Chamber. I love the collaboration of coming together to make so many great things happen in our community.” Gronberg officially passed the gavel to Greg Brown, our 2022 Board Chair. Brown is co-CEO and CFO of Brown Precision, Inc. – Claire Aiello

FROM TOP: (L-R) Jeff Gronberg, Rebecca Ryan, and Greg Brown; A crowd of about 900 attended the event in the VBC North Hall; Ryan discusses her work as a futurist; and 2022 Distinguished Service Award winner Joe Newberry and his family.


initiatives JUN 2022


EMPLOYEES' STYLES CHANGE OVER THE YEARS. BUT IT'S THEIR CHANGING HEALTHCARE NEEDS THAT REALLY MATTER. We’ve offered affordable healthcare coverage options to companies for decades. It’s peace of mind for your team and you.

Pay Attention

10th Annual State of the Schools encourages companies to keep engaged


e are proud to reach the tenth year for our State of the Schools event, in partnership with The Schools Foundation and our three public school systems. On April 20, approximately 450 business and community leaders gathered at the Jackson Center to hear from superintendents, teachers, and students about the efforts taking place in our schools to prepare the future workforce. Combined, about 56,000 students attend Huntsville City Schools, Madison County Schools, and Madison City Schools. Educators encouraged businesses to keep engaged and asked for their support, particularly for teachers. Three teachers addressed the crowd, one from each system. Dr. Sarah Adams, Jodi Jones, and Chanel Leslie are all National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT), which is the most respected professional certification available in K-12 education. Research shows NBCTs provide numerous benefits: they increase student achievement, improve classroom management, and produce a higher return on investment for their schools and community. In our local systems, they also earn a pay supplement of between $5,000 and $10,000 per year. Pursuing the certification takes time and money, though – it costs about $2,000 per teacher. There is a local fundraising effort called “Raise Your Hand” through the Creative Cities Fund, Huntsville Committee of 100, and The Schools Foundation to add 500 new NBCTs to our three school systems. Leslie, a teacher at The Academy for Academics and Arts, posed it this way: “Why not? Support the people who are creating the workforce you need. It just makes good business sense.” Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong came with a surprise – a $100,000 a check for Raise Your Hand.

Superintendent Update Allen Perkins, superintendent of Madison County Schools, echoed support for instructors. “A teacher is the single most important factor in a child’s success,” he said, explaining that one teacher can be A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

the person who notices a child may be having challenges outside of school and light a spark in the student to push through. Perkins is concluding his service as superintendent; he was appointed in 2019 and announced earlier this year he would not seek election.

Above: At the State of the Schools event, Chairman Dale Strong presented $100,000 to The Schools Foundation on behalf of the Madison County Commission. The funds will help local teachers pursue National Board Certification. Christie Finley, superintendent of Huntsville City Schools, shared that teacher retention and hiring is a key focus right now for her district – including nurturing interest in students who might want to teach one day. Columbia High School and Huntsville High School both have Future Teachers of America programs. Finley also said HCS career tech programs have grown to the point where hundreds of students are on a wait list for next school year, calling it “a good problem that needs a solution.” Dr. Ed Nichols, superintendent of Madison City Schools, pushed business leaders to look for more ways to collaborate. His district started a welding program this year, in a trailer supplied by AIDT. Soon, 19 of these students will join the team at Polaris. Even better news – Nichols said 52 students have signed up for the program next year. – Claire Aiello JUN 2022 initiatives


Years in the Making

Construction underway on new City Hall


he City of Huntsville hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking on April 11 to celebrate construction of its new $90 million municipal complex. The seven-story building and parking garage is being built on a 1.8-acre site across the street from the present City Hall on Fountain Circle. “The new municipal building will be 2.5 times larger than our present City Hall,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. “When it opens in about two years, we will finally be able to bring departments back together under one roof. It will allow us to work more efficiently, make offices more convenient for residents to access, and will be a far better use of taxpayer dollars.” Jeffrey Brewer, CEO of Goodwyn Mills Cawood (GMC), worked with City leaders for several years to help design a building that would meet the needs of a growing City. “We believe the new City Hall will provide the City with a building that mirrors the caliber of services it provides to its citizens every day,” Brewer said. “GMC is proud to be a part of this project that will be a point of pride for our community for years to come.” Turner Construction began prepping the site to go vertical in February. The company’s first task was to demolish the old municipal parking deck, a project Turner had built for the City in the 1960s. “This project demonstrates the continued collaboration between the City of Huntsville and Turner Construction, along with the talented team at Goodwyn Mills Cawood,” said Turner Business Manager Brendan McCormick. “It demonstrates the dynamic leadership from the City of Huntsville, shifting to meet the needs of a growing City, and it represents a legacy for Turner, building in the City we’ve called home since the 1950s.” Once the new City Hall opens, the current municipal building will be demolished. Mayor Battle announced he is recommending to City Council the site become part of Big Spring Park.


initiatives JUN 2022

“With the growth we’re experiencing downtown, we need more places to play,” Mayor Battle said. “This property will allow us to expand Big Spring Park and provide more public space for everyone to enjoy.” The Mayor said his administrative team has started working on ideas on how to shape the new addition to Big Spring Park. There will be ample public input opportunities for residents to offer their thoughts and ideas on the park plan. – Contributed by Kelly Schrimsher Communication Director, City of Huntsville

The groundbreaking took place on a rainy April 11, and you can already see significant progress on the site two months later.



Adam Stacy

regional manager

BL Harbert International

Tell us about your company... BL Harbert International is a diversified construction company working in the U.S. and abroad. The company is one of the country’s most influential contractors, a leader in sustainable construction, and a top design-builder.

What types of moves are you making in the Huntsville/Madison County market? We have recently renovated our office located in the Downtown Square and are extremely excited to see it grow. We have a long history of working in the Huntsville area with clients such as the U.S. Government and several private defense contractors. Our office positions us to support our clients and grow in the Huntsville market.

What are some of the challenges you face in your business, and how do you work to overcome them? Every industry, including construction, is facing similar issues in hiring. Before COVID, the construction industry faced a skills gap with many aging workers retiring. To help counter that, we have focused on building relationships with trade schools and community colleges to create awareness about commercial construction opportunities. Additionally, we have invested in craft trade programs and doubled our recruiting efforts.

You’ve joined the Chamber’s Huntsville Regional Economic Growth Initiative, or HREGI. What would you say to other companies considering this type of investment? Supporting HREGI has been an eye-opening experience. This particular Chamber has one of the strongest reputations in the state. These investments draw the business leaders closer together in a collaborative way and allow the Chamber to pursue critical growth initiatives that ultimately make our business environment and communities better. I would say the investment is a no-brainer; it is well worth it.


Complex businesses demand expert banking solutions. That’s where we come in. At Synovus, we mean business. From commercial financing and capital market expertise to treasury services and international expansion assistance, we have the banking solutions to successfully address your complex business needs. Find out how we can help you. 1-888-SYNOVUS |

Synovus Bank, Member FDIC.

JUN 2022 initiatives



Toyota Alabama announces large expansion Toyota Alabama announced on April 19 it will invest $222 million in its local facility, creating a new four-cylinder production line with the capacity to produce engines for both combustion and hybrid electric powertrains. Additionally, the Huntsville facility will expand its footprint by 114,000 square feet, which marks the plant’s sixth building expansion since 2003. Toyota Alabama has the capacity to build 900,000 engines annually and represents a nearly $1.5 billion investment. supply constraints, on the solar business. The solar panel decision does not affect LG’s other extensive operations in Huntsville, where the company has been located for 40 years. Today, Huntsville is home to LG’s U.S. customer service headquarters with more than 500 local positions working for or supporting its operations. The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber applauds LG’s support of its employees and is happy the company remains committed to its long presence and investment in Huntsville.

Amazon debuts new facility

LG helps solar employees find new options New opportunities are on the horizon for about 220 Huntsville workers who are impacted by the closure of LG’s solar panel manufacturing division. On April 26-27, LG hosted a job fair specifically for these employees with recruiters from other local companies who are interested in hiring them. These included YKTA, Mazda Toyota Manufacturing (MTM), Futaba, TBAKI, Buffalo Rock, EOS, Hyosung USA, Asahi Kasei Plastics North America, Marelli, Randstad USA, and others. LG’s washing machine production factory also had a representative there to talk with employees who might be interested in staying with the company and relocating to Clarksville, Tenn. In February, LG Electronics headquarters in South Korea announced that the company is exiting the global solar panel business. The decision, approved by the LG Board of Directors, followed a comprehensive review of the impact of increasing material and logistics costs, as well as severe

Amazon held a ribbon cutting ceremony on April 11 to officially open its new fulfillment center on Greenbriar Road in Limestone County. The facility originally opened in November. Several state and local leaders joined plant leadership at the ceremony, including Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth, State Sen. Arthur Orr, House Majority Leader Mac McCutcheon, State Representative Parker Moore, Limestone County Commissioner Jason Black, and Madison Mayor Paul Finley.

Lifetime Achievement Honors In early April, Eula Battle was posthumously given the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award during a ceremony at Oakwood University. This is the highest civil award bestowed by the President of the United States in recognition of volunteerism. Eula’s son, Drew Battle, accepted the award on behalf of the family, and Free 2 Teach staff and board members were also in attendance along with other family members. “She used Free 2 Teach as an opportunity to put funds back into teachers’ pockets,” said Battle. “Free 2 Teach has given over $7 million to area teachers and children, and that is a huge accomplishment.” Eula Battle founded Free 2 Teach after working for 31 years as a schoolteacher. The nonprofit organization supplies free school materials to local teachers. Eula died in October 2020 after a bout with cancer. Two fellow recipients at the ceremony included Dr. Prudence Pollard and Brenda Martin.


initiatives JUN 2022


Making history In March, Cathy Stender, head of Woody Anderson Ford in Huntsville, became the first woman inducted into Ford’s Dealer Hall of Fame. The group is prestigious, with just 31 dealers. Stender was inducted during a private reception with company executives, fellow dealers, and the Ford family.

Property Management Your Business... Becomes Our Business We specialize in property management plans that protect your investment and maximize your returns. We oversee the financial and physical health of each property, ensuring that each minor repair or major improvement is completed efficiently. We develop and maintain excellent landlord and tenant relationships. Consistent and exceptional management does not happen by accident; it results from purposed objectives, standards, disciplines, and controls. In short, we manage each property as if the investment were our own; in the end, your business becomes our business.

Bailey Cove

“To qualify, the honoree must be regarded as a true heroine by Ford Motor Company, loved by their customers, revered by their employees, fixtures in their communities, and respected by their fellow dealers,” according to Ford Motor Company Vice President Andrew Frick. “They must also be longtime dealers that are consistently top performers year in and year out.” Congratulations to Cathy and the Woody Anderson Ford team!

SBA honors Greg Brown & Alice Lessmann On May 3, Tom Todt, district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Alabama office, visited Huntsville to present awards to Greg Brown and Alice Lessmann. Brown is co-CEO of Brown Precision and was named Alabama Small Business Person of the Year. He is also the 2022 Board Chair for the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber. Lessmann, who is CEO of Signalink, was recognized with the District Director’s Award. She is a past chair of the Chamber’s Women’s Business Council.

NAI Chase is certified as an Accredited Management Organization (AM) by the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) – a certification awarded to only a select group of elite firms nationwide.

Meadow Green


The Tower

Stovehouse Lincoln Mill

Rock the Vote event brings together candidates, interested voters The Huntsville Committee of 100 Young Professionals hosted a successful Rock the Vote event on April 24 at Stovehouse. About 400 attendees had the opportunity to meet over 40 candidates running for office, and there was also the opportunity to register to vote for the May 24 primary elections. The next voting date is June 21, for the primary runoffs, and the general election is in November. There are also municipal elections this year, on August 23.

• • • •

Property Management Asset Management Property Accounting Corporate Facilities Management

• Tenant Relations • Construction Management • Lease Administration

(256) 539-1686



JUN 2022 initiatives



Madison County

City of Huntsville

City of Madison

Huntsville Metro Area

community profile

2010 Census






2021 Census









% Growth HOUSEHOLDS & INCOME # of Households





Avg. Household Income





Per Capita Income





As of May 2022

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

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

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

Top 15 Employers: Huntsville & Madison County U.S. Army/Redstone Arsenal* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38,000 * Huntsville Hospital System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9,352 NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6,000 The Boeing Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,048 Hexagon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,000 Huntsville City Schools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,000 Dynetics, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,946 SAIC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,746 Madison County Schools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,389 City of Huntsville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,206 Mazda Toyota Manufacturing USA, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,023 University of Alabama in Huntsville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,979 Northrop Grumman Corporation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,970 Polaris Industries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,849 Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,800 Source: Huntsville/Madison County Chamber


For more information, visit:

*includes on-site contractors

JUN 2022 initiatives





By Kayla Brown

When we first learned that The Orion Amphitheater would be built in the MidCity District, there was great excitement throughout the community, but also a huge project ahead. It’s not just about building the venue, but attracting acts to play there in the weeks and months ahead, and growing bigger buzz for the years to come. continued on page 22


JUN 2022 initiatives



t didn’t take long for The Orion team to announce some major headlining artists, including Dave Matthews Band, REO Speedwagon, Kenny Chesney, and plenty more. The interest in this brand new amphitheater suddenly saw a surge, and The Orion team quickly realized their work was just beginning. The first weekend of May kicked off The Orion’s debut concert with Huntsville Hospital Foundation’s 33rd Annual Huntsville Classic. Headlining the event was American country music artist Jake Owen, known for his songs such as “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” “Beachin’,” and “Anywhere With You.” The Foundation made history as the first official concert inside the European-style amphitheater, which also sits inside Cummings Research Park. The following weekend, May 13-15, included an extensive north Alabama tribute known as The First Waltz. All artists who performed had some sort of strong tie to the regional area, making the experience one of a kind. The three-day event featured performances from The Aeolians of Oakwood University, Brittany Howard, Driveby Truckers, Element XI, Emmylou Harris, Huntsville Community Drumline, Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit, John Paul White, Kelvin Wooten & Deqn Sue, Mavis Staples, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, The N.E.I.G.H.B.O.R.S., Translee, and Waxahatchee. The First Waltz was an idea that stemmed from the rich history of music found in our region. Friday night, as the sun began to set, locals began to crowd into the newly-opened amphitheater. Employees lined the parking lots and gates, ready to receive tickets and answer questions. As the bowl began to fill up, the atmosphere quickly came alive with sounds of excitement and wonder from guests who knew they were part of history. The First Waltz was executed as smoothly as the team could hope, but getting to this point took many years of planning and execution. Ryan Murphy, president and general manager of Huntsville Venue Group, said projects like these don’t come around that often, and when he heard about the opportunity, he had to be a part of it.

Hiring the Team & Deciding on the Design


Putting together the first concert series was just a small part of the giant picture the team at The Orion has in store for the community. Murphy and the team immediately got to work recruiting some of the country’s top talent to assist in making it all happen. “This has been four years in the making. City leaders didn’t want your typical run-of-the-mill, normal amphitheater. They wanted something that had long-lasting appeal and effect, and could grow,” Murphy said. Creating a state-of-the-art facility was the first order of business. Murphy said the process to create the design of The Orion was a “pretty involved” process that took place three and a half years ago. Since Huntsville is known for its innovation and technology, Murphy said he originally envisioned a futuristic amphitheater, say, one that might resemble a spaceship. So when it was first proposed to be a “classical-style” venue, Murphy said he was hesitant, but he then realized the amphitheater would stand out among our rapidly growing community that boasts space intelligence. The classical design was quickly embraced by the Huntsville Venue Group, and then discussions led to how Huntsville culture would be tied into it all. Murphy said the amphitheater’s exterior is inspired by venues built thousands of years ago, but the technology inside is

Top: Aerial view of The Orion 10 days before opening | Middle: The First Waltz promotional art Bottom: North Alabama legend and co-founder of Muscle Shoals Sound Studio David Hood joined Mavis Staples on the bass at The Orion.


initiatives JUN 2022


inspired by the innovation and technology found in Huntsville today. “If you think about thousands of years ago, when they’re building structures like this, they didn’t have amplified sound,” Murphy explained. “The acoustics and the experience relied on the geometry of the architecture. So to be able to take that and combine it with the innovation and technology lends itself to an amazing experience.”



Smoothing Out the Bumps With design and construction underway, The Orion team quickly prepared to handle guests who purchased tickets for The First Waltz, while also coordinating with musical acts, lining up additional shows, and promoting ticket sales. The first concerts ran smoothly, and artists and fans were complimentary of the new venue. Prior to his time in Huntsville, Murphy was an award-winning amphitheater operator in St. Augustine, Fla. He said his experience with that project came in handy, in planning and consideration for parking, traffic, sound impacts, and many other elements. Murphy said his team was “very mindful of all of that” when it came to creating this vision, working closely with the nearby community and businesses to ensure a smooth transition for all involved. “That includes the ability to have the different concessions throughout the bowl, the food village, like how things are laid out, the flow of the patrons’ experience. Everything has been thought of,” he said. The plan to work with the surrounding area will hopefully help alleviate problems not just now, but also five to 10 years into the future. “I dare say we’ve gotten just about everything right at this point, but I’m welcoming the 100,000 people this year to tell us one way or the other,” Murphy added.

Creating Buzz Murphy said one of the toughest challenges when it comes to projects like this is making sure the community understands the value in it. Arguably more important than that is creating that buzz throughout the music industry, too. With Atlanta and Nashville not too far away, Huntsville is a great stepping stone for local artists to use on their way to the next level. Murphy said The Orion can help bridge the gap between those larger markets and our smaller local music scene. “We’re going to do a lot more local music productions, whether it be in South Apollo Park or other Murphy flexible opportunities we have,” Murphy said. Along with the local scene, the team at The Orion is trying to attract larger-named artists to the Rocket City. This doesn’t just boost venue attendance, Murphy explained – adding in bigger names will help build up The Orion’s reputation in the overall music industry. In doing so, Murphy hopes to see more music industry leaders who can possibly offer opportunity to our local talent. “With a venue like this, you start bringing in industries you’ve never seen before. For instance, we are able to get young kids that never thought they’d be able to stay in Huntsville, to be in the industry. They thought they’d have to leave for Atlanta or Nashville, but low and behold they get to be trained here as a stage hand or in guest services, so that’s a huge part of it,” Murphy said.



A first line of defense for your business that works to shield devices from web-based threats.

Wi-Fi Build a better brand experience with fast, reliable Wi-Fi internet access for data hungry customers.


CALL 800-479-2091 TODAY Mediacom Business Advanced Data Security requires Mediacom Business Internet for additional monthly charge. Bundle Mediacom Business Wi-Fi service ($15/mo.) with Advanced Data Security ($15/mo.) for $20/mo. For 1 year; thereafter, the standard rate of $15/mo. shall apply for both services. Price does not include taxes, and other amounts required by law to be collected or paid.. Advanced Data Security service does not help prevent access to malicious internet sites if connected via a public Wi-Fi. Go to for full terms and conditions. © 2022 Mediacom Communications Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


JUN 2022 initiatives


The First Waltz welcomed Athens native Brittany Howard (left), the Huntsville Community Drumline (center), and The N.E.I.G.H.B.O.R.S. from Limestone County.

Enhancing Quality of Life Outside of the opportunities for locals to open the door to the music industry, The Orion will also open up the door to outsiders looking for a new place to visit. Tourism is a growing part of our community right now, and the amphitheater is assisting in that. Though big cities like Atlanta, Nashville, or Birmingham aren’t too far away, we like to think Huntsville offers something those others don’t: a small town feel. The Rocket City is a rapidly growing community, but as fast as it is growing, the small town vibes continue to be embraced. “With the addition of The Orion, and the hard work of Ryan Mur-


initiatives JUN 2022


phy and the Huntsville Venue Group, there’s even more to offer visitors,” said Judy Ryals, president and CEO of the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Huntsville is one of the first cities to have a music officer on the team. Visitors will enjoy the variety of options for lodging, dining, and shopping, which will have a very positive economic impact during their stay.” Larger named artists such as Earth, Wind & Fire or Luke Bryan will draw much more attention to Huntsville, and will bring in more money and business to our local economy. The boost in local business will help Huntsville’s economic development continue to thrive. – Kayla Brown


Touch-Down Ready

HSV approved to land commercial space vehicles


untsville International Airport has been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to allow commercial space vehicles to land here. In fact, HSV is the first commercial airport in the U.S. approved as a reentry site to receive a space vehicle landing. “Huntsville has propelled us into another historic first for our state with the award of the commercial space vehicle reentry license for Huntsville International Airport,” said Gov. Kay Ivey. “We appreciate CREDIT: NASA the collaboration exhibited by our public and private partners to make this a reality.” The concept of a space vehicle landing began in 2014 with a consortium of public and private partners including Huntsville International Airport, Teledyne Brown Engineering, Sierra Space, RS&H, the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber, the City of Huntsville, Madison County, the City of Madison, The University of Alabama in Huntsville, the Military Stability Foundation and the State of Alabama.


“The landing of Dream Chaser® at Huntsville International Airport is part of a vision for economic development that continues our legacy in space science and taps into our workforce expertise and assets developed for the International Space Station,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. Initially, the obtaining of the FAA license is specific to Dream Chaser; however, this proof of concept supports other space reentry vehicles, and each would require additional FAA licensing. Sierra Space has been awarded six missions by NASA to resupply the International Space Station via uncrewed vehicles. The effort includes obtaining the FAA License to Operate a Reentry Site and a Reentry Vehicle License. With the approval of the Reentry Site License, the team continues pursuing the Reentry Vehicle License anticipated to be submitted in June of 2022. Potentially, the FAA could grant the Dream Chaser the option to land at HSV starting in 2023. – Staff Reports

JUN 2022 initiatives


Alabama Update April 14, 2022


labama Gov. Kay Ivey addressed a crowd of nearly 1,000 business and community leaders at the Chamber’s Alabama Update luncheon on April 14. Special thanks to our presenting sponsor, LSINC Corporation. During her luncheon address, the governor announced over $112 million in critical road projects for the region. The projects Ivey announced and the associated costs are as follows: ■ Widening Interstate 565 from County Line Road to Wall Triana Highway: $11,700,000 ■ Widening U.S. 72 West from Providence Main to Nance Road: $50,000,000 ■ Widening Alabama 53 from Taurus Drive to Harvest Road: $50,000,000

The State funding for the roadwork will come from the Rebuild Alabama Act. The City of Huntsville and Madison County Commission partnered to provide a 40 percent match to the state’s 60 percent pledge in funding for the projects. In addition to the road projects, Gov. Ivey also touted the region’s continued strong economic growth.

Upcoming Events The Chamber will host our State of the County Address featuring Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong on August 2. Registration for that event is expected to open on July 5. The Chamber will host a Washington Update event featuring Senator Richard Shelby on September 19. Registration for this breakfast will open on August 22. – Mike Ward, cce


initiatives JUN 2022


Investing in Communities

See all Huntsville’s winners at

First Horizon awarded $1 million to 57 small businesses across six states as part of the Back to Business contest designed to celebrate resilient businesses in the communities we serve. Congratulations to the Rocket City’s winners! Strong businesses are the cornerstone of strong communities, and championing those businesses is at the heart of everything we do. First Horizon is here as a partner, providing capital and counsel to local businesses. We look forward to working with these exceptional companies and supporting the Huntsville community. ©2022 First Horizon Bank. Member FDIC.

Below: Conceptual view of Engineering Building Expansion (Phase 1) and the renovated, existing building (Phase 2) from John Wright Drive. Renderings are conceptual and subject to change. All projects are subject to the approval of the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees.

Peak Performance

UAH receives initial approval from board of trustees for major engineering building


he first phase of a new engineering building project at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) received conceptual approval from the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees on April 8. This initial approval authorizes UAH to formally proceed with planning the construction of an 80,000-square-foot, multistory academic and research facility that will accommodate the College of Engineering’s growth and greatly enhance the advanced research and development capabilities of UAH’s faculty, staff and students. “Elevating UAH to reach its highest potential is a top priority of the University of Alabama System and the Board of Trustees,” said UA System Chancellor Finis St. John. “UAH’s transformation is well underway, thanks to the vision of the Board, the leadership of UAH interim president Dr. Chuck Karr and the resounding support from the Huntsville community and local leaders. We are especially grateful to the Alabama State Legislature for supporting this transformative project and passing one of the most significant appropriations in UAH’s history.” Expanding and enhancing UAH’s engineering facility will advance the university’s flagship program, promote collaborative learning, and foster innovation in fast-growing technical areas that UAH currently supports, such as unmanned aerial systems, big data, hypersonics and artificial intelligence. The College of Engineering plays a pivotal role in driving econom-


initiatives JUN 2022

ic development and supporting high-tech industry, space and defense needs. The powerful synergy between UAH, Redstone Arsenal and Cummings Research Park forms the hub of the southern technology corridor. With a rapidly expanding technological industry, Huntsville has one of the most technical workforces in the U.S. and one of the highest numbers of engineers per capita. “Building on the remarkable momentum in Huntsville, it is critical for UAH to continue fulfilling the region’s educational, workforce and research needs,” said UAH interim president Dr. Chuck Karr. “A new engineering building will help us drive impactful research efforts and recruit and graduate exceptional students that meet the area's growing high-tech workforce needs. I am grateful for and excited about the opportunity to provide this remarkable facility for our outstanding students, faculty, and staff.” Phase I of the engineering building project includes plans for new construction that will replace Wernher von Braun Research Hall, which was constructed in 1964. The new facility will be located west of the existing Engineering Building, adjacent to the campus lake along John Wright Drive. The Phase I preliminary project budget of $59.3 million would be funded by a variety of sources, including state appropriated funds, gifts and reserve funds. The Alabama State Legislature voted to appropriate $18 million of state supplemental funds towards UAH’s engineering building project. A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

Ready, Set, Get Employed

Event attracts high school seniors for job opportunities


s graduation marks the last hurdle for many high school seniors to cross the finish line and move toward the next step in their career paths, it can be daunting for those who have not made firm post-graduation plans. The Senior Sprint Career Fair is designed with those seniors in mind. For many students, the absence of knowledge prevents them from making firm future-based decisions. This career fair creates a bridge from high school to the workforce and provides graduates with many different career and training opportunities right here in the Rocket City. The 2022 Senior Sprint was held on April 26 at Optimist Recreation Center. More than 150 high school seniors from the Huntsville City, Madison City, and Madison County school districts attended Senior Sprint, where they had the opportunity to speak and interview with 35 employers. All 13 high schools from the three school districts were

represented, and some students even left the event with job offers in hand! The employers represented more than 10 different industries, offering students a wide range of career fields and job skillsets to explore. Any employer who attends Senior Sprint must be willing to train and hire graduating seniors, and all companies offered opportunities in the Huntsville community and surrounding areas. Special thanks to our Presenting Sponsor, Mazda Toyota Manufacturing (MTM), and our Gold Sponsor, Drake State Community and Technical College, for their support of this event. We are grateful for our partnerships with the City of Huntsville’s Parks and Recreation department and the career coaches and educators from Huntsville City, Madison City, and Madison County school systems who helped us to host such a successful event. – Annie Davis

PRODUCTS AT YOUR SERVICE At ServisFirst Bank, all our products and services were designed with you in mind. Your personal banker will work with you to find the right, competitive solutions to fit your needs and vision of success. Downtown Banking Center 401 Meridian Street, Suite 100 Huntsville, AL 35801 256.722.7800

Research Park Banking Center 1267 Enterprise Way, Suite A Huntsville, AL 35806 256.722.7880



JUN 2022 initiatives


Welcome Fellows Hiring Our Heroes in the Rocket City


n 2021, the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber and Chamber Foundation began a partnership with Hiring Our Heroes, a program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, to help veterans, service members, and military spouses find meaningful careers in the Huntsville region. Last month, the Corporate Fellowship Program welcomed 15 Fellows into its second cohort of 2022. This program pairs transitioning service personnel with a company for a fully funded 12week fellowship program. Participants represent Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard service members who are transitioning from active duty service. They will be hosted by local companies including Redmond Construction Company, LLC; The Boeing Company; and Deloitte. Upon completion of the fellowship program, companies can offer a permanent position.

The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber also engages in hiring events and programs throughout the country to connect transitioning service men and women with career opportunities in our community. John Olshefski is a corporate executive on loan to the Chamber this year from Huntsville Utilities, and he recently visited Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune to talk with transitioning service members about job opportunities in the Rocket City. Joining him on the road were two partner companies: Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama and YKTA. “It was a great experience, and it really took me back in time as we interacted with so many bright and enthusiastic men and women, taking charge of their future,” shared Rafael Charris, a fellow veteran and current Environmental, Health and Safety Manager for YKTA. The Corporate Fellowship Program and Career Summit event are part of the Chamber’s efforts with Hiring Our Heroes. Interested in hosting a fellow, participating in future career summits, and becoming a sponsor with this program? Contact John Olshefski at jolshefski@ or Lyndsay Ferguson at – Staff Reports


initiatives JUN 2022


Proclamation Signing Monday, June 27 • 8 a.m. • Veterans Memorial, downtown Huntsville (Rain location: Huntsville/Madison County Chamber)

AFC Concert in the Park Monday, June 27 • 6:30 p.m. • Big Spring Park, downtown Huntsville


(Rain location for concert: VBC South Hall) Maneuver Center of Excellence Band • Fireworks at dark (weather permitting) Fireworks Sponsors: Presenting Sponsor: Lockheed Martin Corporation Gold: Meta Platforms, Inc.

Community Softball Game Tuesday, June 28 • 6 p.m. • Toyota Field* in Madison Team Redstone vs. Community Leaders Free admission & parking – gates open at 5:30 p.m. *no-cash stadium – concessions available; clear bag policy Presenting Sponsor: Systems Products and Solutions, Inc. (SPS)


Armed Forces Celebration Luncheon Wednesday, June 27 • Noon • VBC South Hall Ballrooms Presenting Sponsor: Northrop Grumman Corporation Register @

AUSA's iron mike golf tournament Friday, July 1 • 8 a.m. • The Links at Redstone

SCHEDULE SUBJECT TO CHANGE. For updates – as well as information on area

attractions with military discounts – please visit A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

JUN 2022 initiatives



Pedal for the Medal Para-cycling races return to Rocket City


e were honored to host the country’s top para-cyclists, plus a handful of international athletes April 8-10 in Huntsville for the 2022 U.S. Paralympics Cycling Open, presented by Toyota. This was the second year for the event to be held in the Rocket City, and we added a new event: a handcycle relay on Friday evening in Big Spring Park. Despite the cold temperatures that dipped in, the event was a success, and safe, thanks to a lot of coordination with Huntsville Police, downtown businesses, and volunteers. Thank you for helping us showcase these athletes! Then, we returned to Cummings Research Park for time trials on Saturday and road races on Sunday. These were Team USA qualifying events for World Cup races in Europe this summer. Thank you to all the community organizations and sponsors for your support to present these races, and the volunteers who manned the course at every turn. The athletes said they were excited to return to Huntsville and enjoyed another warm welcome. We look forward to sharing more para-cycling opportunities with you soon! – Claire Aiello


initiatives JUN 2022




COMMUNITY PARTNERS City of Huntsville Public Works, Parks & Recreation, Landscape Management, Police & Fire Departments Huntsville Sports Commission • HEMSI • Huntsville Utilities • Google Fiber Polaris • Downtown Huntsville, Inc. • Huntsville Hospital • Crestwood Medical Center The Orthopaedic Center (TOC) • SportsMED • Huntsville City Schools & Columbia High School Businesses in both downtown Huntsville (around Big Spring Park) and in CRP

100% Online | In-person | Mix



11:14 AM JUN3/10/22 2022 initiatives


Building Huntsville and North Alabama for 37 years

LPN Launch Drake State & Huntsville Hospital get strong response for new program

The Orion Amphitheater Huntsville, Alabama

4900 University Square, Suite 2, Huntsville, AL 35816


here is a high need for more Licensed Practical Nurses in our local hospitals, and Huntsville Hospital and J.F. Drake State Community & Technical College are partnering to help find and train more of them. In March, Drake State and Huntsville Hospital announced a new LPN Launch Program. Students admitted into the program will receive financial assistance from Huntsville Hospital for up to $15,000 for tuition, fees, books, and other expenses. The instruction is three semesters, and in exchange for the assistance, students will commit to work for three years as an LPN at Huntsville Hospital. “We have a shortage of nurses in Alabama which is exacerbated by the pandemic. Huntsville Hospital approached Drake State about training LPNs. Drake had received a grant from ACCS (the Alabama Community College System) to implement a stand-alone LPN program, so the collaboration was serendipitous,” said Dr. Alice Raymond, Drake State’s Division Chair of Health Sciences (pictured right). There is already tremendous interest in the program. By early April, Drake State had received more than 1,000 inquiries, according to a school spokesperson. Drake State held an information session at Campus 805 on March 31 and had strong attendance. Prospects were able to apply on site with help from school recruiters, and the first session is now full. Classes will begin August 17, 2022. Drake State will admit new students into the LPN Launch program in the fall and spring semesters each year. – Claire Aiello


initiatives JUN 2022


Bragging Rights

Checking for ‘Best Place for Working Parents’ designation


n 2019, the Chamber collaborated with regional partners to conduct a Labor Study to identify opportunities and challenges related to the workforce pipeline. Led by Deloitte, the study pinpointed areas of focus for the future workforce pipeline, including topics like housing and childcare. Since that time, the Chamber has led efforts addressing childcare concerns and engaged the business community in this work. As a next step, the Chamber Foundation is partnering with the national Best Place for Working Parents® (BP4WP) program. This program offers real-time designations to businesses of all sizes whose familyfriendly policies qualify through a first-of-its-kind, 3-minute online self-assessment. The platform aims to offer local business leaders the opportunity to instantly determine whether their organization qualifies to earn a BP4WP designation, positioning them among the leading family-friendly businesses in the U.S. Originating in Fort Worth in 2020, the confidential online business self-assessment allows businesses of all sizes to tout innovative practices that are helping today’s working parents provide for their families, and adapt and thrive at work during extraordinary times. The BP4WP assessment highlights only the top 10 research-backed policies proven to benefit working parents AND businesses’ bottom line. It provides a real-time dashboard of how a business fares against other businesses of like size and industry across each of the top 10 family-friendly practices in their region. While family-friendly policies have a direct impact on working

parents, local and national research proves that there is also a serious business case for being family-friendly: ■ 83 percent of millennials would leave one job for another with stronger family-friendly supports. ■ Replacing an employee costs an employer six to nine months of that employee’s salary. ■ Over 60 percent of working parents said child care issues have caused them to miss work. ■ Employers lose $13 billion annually due to child care challenges faced by their workforce. Ashley Engles-Ross, the Chamber’s VP of Small Business, recently attended BP4WP’s first annual summit to hear best practices from certified companies and partner organizations from across the country. Speakers ranged from large companies like JP Morgan Chase and, to smaller companies like Sigmapro. Common themes that employers emphasized as focus areas to successfully grow, retain, and recruit were to develop a family friendly culture, provide opportunities for employees to be heard, and to be inclusive, flexible, and creative. To complete the 3-minute self-assessment, access real-time dashboard results, and see if your business qualifies for the Best Place for Working Parents® designation, visit – Staff Reports

Change Needed

Child care remains a workforce discussion


he past two years have affirmed that child care is pivotal to the Huntsville region’s economic stability, post-COVID recovery, and the healthy development of the future workforce. While the pandemic put a spotlight on that reality, this is a topic that the Chamber has been focused on for several years. In 2019, the first Child Care Summit was held in collaboration with the Alabama Partnership for Children followed by a subsequent event in November 2021. Most recently, the Chamber commissioned a Huntsville Metro Market Study to dig deeper into the current child care landscape in our community and opportunities to help it succeed into the future. On average, one third of an organization’s workforce has children, meaning Huntsville regional employers are dependent on efficient child care infrastructure for their organizations to function, grow, and A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

thrive. The market 2022 study, conducted by TOOTRiS, was presented to stakeholders at the Chamber on April 22. Interviews were conducted with 30 of the 127 licensed child care providers in Huntsville to understand their current landscape and challenges. Funding and staffing remain the primary concerns for local providers, often resulting in lengthy waitlists and vacant slots in certain situations. The study also provided recommendations and best practices to increase funding in the Huntsville market. The Chamber will continue to engage employers, community partners, and others to advocate for funding and innovative solutions to support high quality child care offerings in our region. To learn more about the Chamber’s child care efforts and the market report, contact Lyndsay Ferguson at – Staff Reports JUN 2022 initiatives


Compassionate Career

Laughlin Service Funeral Home: Service Business of the Year


aughlin Service Funeral Home & Crematory has been serving Huntsville-area families for 154 years. It has been in its current location on Bob Wallace Avenue since 1948. In this line of work, the team must stay flexible, according to Vice President and Business Manager Sarah Chappell, who says she sees it as a ministry. “If it’s a family I know, I’m glad to be able to help in a way not everyone can,” said Chappell. “If you don’t know the family, you need to be able to earn their trust in a very short amount of time.” The last few years have been tough for the team, especially navigating through COVID and restrictions that were placed on funerals in the early stages of the pandemic. “COVID made what we do really hard,” she recalled. “When people come to see us, they need a hug, they need reassurance. Not only with not being able to hug, to keep your distance, mask, not having the facial expressions to show your concern. The mandates, with only so many people allowed at a funeral or visitation, people didn’t know what to do. Should I have a funeral for my loved one? Who should come if only 10 people are allowed, including the minister and funeral director?

“This has been an incredibly tough time for our folks,” Chappell added. “I can’t say enough about their hard work, dedication, compassion, even in the worst of times. It is a very stressful profession but also very rewarding. If they weren’t so dedicated, we couldn’t have made it through the past few years. It takes a special person, because you have to be compassionate, a good listener. You need to direct families, but you have to listen to what they want to make their situation meaningful.” Chappell tries to share about careers in this field with those who might be interested, including career fairs and working with teachers/ school counselors to identify compassionate students. She also talks with people in the medical field, or ministers who might be retiring. “People do this because they want to help people,” Chappell said. Chappell said there are all sorts of positions at a funeral home, many of which involve working with families to pre-plan, or line up arrangements. She emphasized some of these don’t involve the prep room. “You hire a wedding planner ... this is similar, coordinating and keeping up with details. You’re hiring a funeral planner to help honor and memorialize your loved one.” – Claire Aiello

Play Together, Stay Together

Limbaugh Orthodontics named 2021 Medical Practice of the Year


laiming the title of “Medical Practice of the Year” was an extremely humbling experience for Limbaugh Orthodontics. The office of Dr. Lindsay Limbaugh makes it their mission to provide every patient with optimal orthodontic care while delivering an amazing patient experience. But maintaining that mission among a workplace is not always the easiest feat. Dr. Limbaugh said that she always makes it a point to have time with her team outside of the office too, which helps employee morale. “It truly helps get to know each other on a more personal level — that then creates better bonding at work. We typically go shopping together, and we’re currently getting ready to leave on our annual beach-bonding trip,” she said. It comes as no surprise that her strategy to retain her employees has paid off. According to Dr. Limbaugh, winning a 2021 Small Business Award was an honor, but being a contender was the first step. “I feel that being nominated is validation for my team for all of the hard work and care that they give to each of our patients,” she said. Dr. Limbaugh (pictured) credits the Chamber with helping her see that success. Her website boasts several patient testimonials and offers lots of great information for her new and existing patients. Through the team she has built and her relationships made through


initiatives JUN 2022

the Chamber, Dr. Limbaugh says she is grateful for her time in Huntsville and hopes to continue seeing out her mission. “I would absolutely encourage any and all small business to be involved with the Chamber. There are so many opportunities to become involved and meet like-minded business leaders. And it is always such a fun night at the Small Business Awards ceremony!” – Kayla Brown


Pigskin on the Diamond

College football coming to Toyota Field on October 15


ou know Madison’s Toyota Field is home to the Rocket City Trash Pandas, and since it opened, it has hosted more than 275 non-baseball events, including fairs, Christmas lights shows, concerts, and even high school proms. Soon, a goal post will be added for a Division I college football game. The University of North Alabama will host Jacksonville State at Toyota Field on Saturday, Oct. 15. Tickets are on sale for UNA and Trash Pandas season ticket holders, and they will go on sale for the public in July. “The Madison/Huntsville market is key for the University of North Alabama – we have a large concentration of alumni living here, and there are also many outstanding students in this area who are poten-

tial UNA students,” said Dr. Ken Kitts, UNA president. “Due to demographic trends, Madison County is now our second-largest feeder county for incoming students, with nearby Limestone and Morgan counties also factoring very prominently in our growth.” It’s not easy to turn a baseball field into a football field. The game will actually be played in one direction. It is being modeled after a Big Ten matchup that took place in Wrigley Field in 2010, between Northwestern and Illinois. “All offensive drives, kickoffs, and extra points will be headed towards the first base dugout,” explained Dr. Josh Looney, UNA athletics director. “We were able to get the proper approvals from the NCAA and ASUN conference to make that happen, and we’re excited to do so.” The game will be televised on ESPN+, which will help us share the Rocket City’s story further. “This gives us the opportunity to spread the word about the many great things there are to do in the Madison/Huntsville area, and open doors to generate even more business and show our community to tourists,” said Judy Ryals, president/CEO of the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Ryals encouraged people visiting the area to book hotel rooms ahead of time and consider visiting some of the sites the morning before kickoff. – Claire Aiello

SOLUTIONS BEYOND TRADITIONAL ACCOUNTING We often begin relationships with traditional tax or audit services, but clients quickly realize we can offer so much more. By listening to your needs, we connect you with our experts to help accomplish what’s important to you. From technology solutions and regulatory compliance, to managing staffing needs, Warren Averett can provide a broad range of innovative solutions tailored to you. We’re here for you.

S. RAY WHITE, JR., CPA Huntsville Managing Member 256.713.2686

101 Monroe Street NE | Huntsville, AL 35801 |


JUN 2022 initiatives


Space Town Raising the Rocket City’s profile at the 2022 Space Symposium


Executive Staff | also Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Chip Cherry, CCE, president & CEO


he 37th Space Symposium was held in Colorado Springs from April 4-7. This global conference and exhibition draws more than 10,000 space professionals from civil, defense, and commercial space industries. After being canceled in 2020 and postponed with reduced capacity in 2021, the 2022 Space Symposium was back in full force. Hosted by the Space Foundation, the event includes more than 300 exhibitors. The Chamber has attended the symposium for 20 years, and this year we partnered with the Redstone Regional Alliance to have a booth. Our booth design included the logos of the space-related organizations on Redstone Arsenal and pictures of the aerospace products designed, developed, and managed in the Huntsville area. Our “quality of life” media headlines were also included alongside a large monitor that played the Chamber’s “Legacy of Innovation” video in a loop during exhibit hall hours, promoting Huntsville as ASmartPlace®. This year’s Huntsville team included Mayor Tommy Battle, Chip Cherry, Lucia Cape, and Mike Ward from the Chamber; and Will West from TVA. The booth was staffed by the Chamber’s Communications and Social Media Specialist Kayla Brown and the Chamber’s Director of Talent Initiatives Annie Davis.

Meghan Chambliss, business administration specialist

Economic Development & Workforce Lucia Cape, CCE, senior vice president Erin Koshut, executive director, Cummings Research Park Lyndsay Ferguson, vice president, workforce Ken Smith, senior director, research & information services Connor Bradford, project manager Annie Davis, director of talent initiatives

Finance & Administration Mary McNairy, vice president Joe Watson, facilities supervisor Kim Weeks, accounting specialist – receivables Jennifer Prewitt, event coordinator Stefanie Davis, resource desk coordinator

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

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

Investor Relations Kristy Drake, vice president, investor relations Richard Bigoney, account executive Jamie Russell, investor relations support & program specialist Crystal Baker, retention specialist

Marketing & Communications The team participated in more than 30 meetings and events over the course of the symposium, and the booth attracted hundreds of visitors. A highlight of the week was a presentation at our booth (pictured) by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center Associate Director Larry Leopard on Powering the Future of Space Exploration. Following the presentation, the Chamber and the Redstone Regional Alliance hosted a reception. Having a booth at the symposium raised our profile among attendees, many who said they didn’t think of Huntsville as a space town. We were able to answer questions about moving to Huntsville, available jobs, and growth in our community. Booth swag is a big part of exhibits, and ours went fast! The foam rockets labeled with ASmartPlace and our website were the first to go, followed by our branded Rocket City tangles, a fidget toy and puzzle in our ASmartPlace colors. With our ongoing growth in the local space economy, the Space Symposium will continue to be an important event for business relations and marketing for the Huntsville region. The Chamber has applied for a booth at the 38th Space Symposium which will be held April 17-20, 2023. – Lucia Cape, cce


initiatives JUN 2022

Claire Aiello, vice president Hiroko Sedensky, web designer Kristi Sherrard, graphic designer Kayla Brown, communications & social media specialist

Small Business Ashley Engles-Ross, vice president



The graduate degree that works for you.

Start this August in Huntsville 205.348.4501

Big Goals for Your Business? We’ll help you achieve them. Whether your business is starting out or building up, Redstone provides the tools your business needs to succeed. Plus, enjoy lower fees and better rates on business accounts and loans. • Full suite of business accounts & loans • Robust merchant services • Cash management tools • Easy account access with online and mobile banking

Visit or call to get started Must be Redstone Federal Credit Union® (RFCU®) member or Membership Partner to open a business checking account, obtain a loan, 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 may apply to certain Cash Management and Merchant Services. See website for more details. Loans subject to credit approval. RFCU is an Equal Credit Opportunity Lender. Must have business online banking with username and password to access various products and services. Underwriting requirements apply to some services. Other restrictions may apply. Third-party message, data, and/or Internet service provider rates may apply for mobile banking, and some alerts; check with your carrier for more information.

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


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.