Initiatives - June 2024

Page 1


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 general litigation, product liability litigation, pharmaceutical litigation, class action, labor and employment law, government affairs, public finance, utilities law, and the representation of municipalities, our attorneys can address the unique needs of every client. At Bradley, we’re focused on providing you with innovative solutions, dependable responsiveness and a deep commitment to success.

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: Benjamin W. Hutton, Esq., 256.517.5173,, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, 200 Clinton Avenue West, Suite 900, Huntsville, AL 35801. ©2024 Alabama | Florida | Georgia | Mississippi | North Carolina | Tennessee | Texas | Washington, D.C.

When it comes to visiting the people or places you love, don’t let back or neck pain get in the way.


new chamber members


Joined in March

24/7 Health Club and Wellness Center

A+ Storage-Research Park Huntsville

Attain at Bradford Creek

Black P.E.N.

Boresight US Inc

C3 Presents

Cherry Bekeart Advisory, LLC

China’s Creations

Country Financial - Andrea B. Brown Agency Owner

Definitive Valuations

Endictus Corp.

Harris Home For Children

KLA Schools of Huntsville

Legacy Health Chiropractic LLC

Lil Capones Italian Ristorante

LJ Roofing & Exteriors

Madison Luther Event Co

Oak Street Health


Powerhouse Plumbing Pros LLC

ProHealth Home Health

Pylant Estate Law

Sippin Bubbly and Brew, LLC


Sundown Aerospace LLC

Temporary Wall Systems Huntsville

Thrive Senior Living / Thrive at Jones Farm

Twice Daily/White Bison Coffee

UNITS Moving and Portable Storage of Huntsville

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

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 April

10th Planet Huntsville

1589 Residences

20/20 Eye Care



Culver’s of Hampton Cove

Document Destruction Services

Fleur de Leigh

Hotel Indigo Huntsville MidCity

IHOP - University Drive

La Esquina Cocina

Landscape Associates

Learning Zone

Longleaf Recovery Center - Huntsville

LP Services LLC

LunarLab Benefit LLC

Making Smiles Orthodontics

Masterpiece Engineering


NexTech Solutions LLC

Norma’s House Cleaning


Physicians Credentialing Services, LLC

Pinot’s Palette


ResourceMFG, An Employbridge Company

Revive Clinic

Service Steel, Inc.

Side by Side Home Care, LLC

Sikes & Carlton Corporation

Sleep in Heavenly Peace AL - Huntsville

The Cigar Box Guitar Store

UCP of Huntsville and Tennessee Valley, Inc.


Winsupply Huntsville - Bath & Kitchen Idea Center





For more information, contact


Bill Penney Toyota/Mitsubishi ■ BlueHalo ■ COPT Defense Properties

Crestwood Medical Center ■ Dynetics, A Leidos Company

Lockheed Martin Corporation ■ Raytheon, An RTX Business ■ SAIC

Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc. ■ Torch Technologies ■ Yulista


Five Stones Research Corporation ■ Intrepid Landers McLarty Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram ■ Lanier Ford Shaver & Payne P.C.

Parsons ■ S3, Inc. ■ Science and Engineering Services, LLC (SES)

Sealy Management Company, Inc. ■ SportsMED Orthopaedic Surgery & Spine Center

Synovus ■ The Westmoreland Company


Ability Plus, Inc. ■ Aerojet Rocketdyne, An L3Harris Technologies Company ■ Amazon ■ Anglin Reichmann Armstrong, P.C. ■ ASRC Federal ■ Baron Weather, Inc. ■ BASF Corporation ■ BL Harbert International, LLC ■ Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP ■ Canvas, Inc. ■ CFD Research Corporation ■ Colliers International ■ First Horizon ■ Freedom Real Estate & Capital, LLC ■ Goodwyn Mills Cawood, LLC ■ Huntsville/Madison County Builders Association ■ Huntsville Tractor & Equipment, Inc. ■ Integration Innovation, Inc. (i3) ■ Intuitive Research and Technology Corporation ■ IronMountain Solutions ■ Keel Point, LLC ■ Leonardo Electronics US Inc. ■ LSINC Corporation ■ Marsh & McLennan Agency, locally known as J. Smith Lanier & Co. ■ Pearce Construction Company ■ Radiance Technologies, Inc. ■ RE/MAX Alliance ■ Robins & Morton ■ ServisFirst Bank ■ SMX ■ SouthState Bank ■ Steak-Out (Rosie’s Restaurants, Inc., & Right Way Restaurants, Inc.) ■ United Community Bank ■ Venturi, LLC ■ Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP ■ Woody Anderson Ford


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

Kristy Drake, Vice
Investor Relations:
AS OF MAY 20, 2024

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.

editorial staff

publisher Chip Cherry, CCE

editor Claire Aiello

editorial designer Kristi Sherrard

contributing writers

Kayla Brown

Lucia Cape, CCE

Annie Davis

Ross Ivey

Deborah Storey


Kristy Drake

Lakeysha Brown

Military, space, telecommunications, biotechnology, diversified manufacturing, and a variety of emerging specialties provide challenging work in delightful surroundings. The area enjoys a favorable cost of living and quality of life. Mountains, lakes, woodlands, and the Tennessee River accommodate numerous recreational activities. A temperate climate enhances the season for outdoor sports, including worldclass golf, hiking, biking, and fishing. Major concerts, Broadway and



contribute to a wonderful way of life.

extensive permanent collections,
Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County, Inc. 225 Church St NW, Huntsville, AL 35801 • 256-535-2000
4 NEW CHAMBER MEMBERS | BECOMING A MEMBER 5 HREGI INVESTORS 8 MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT | BOARD LISTING 16 INDUSTRY VISITS with Ross Ivey 19 COMMUNITY PROFILE 25 WANT TO SCHEDULE A RIBBON CUTTING? 30 BLUE BIKES Bike Share Program now open in CRP 30 TAKE NOTE | Important Information about Chamber Invoices 34 SENIOR SPRINT | On Your Mark, Get Set, Go Get Employed! 38 CHAMBER STAFF | ASSOCIATED ORGS more for you 10 COMMUNITY HIGHLIGHTS | includes Huntsville Botanical Garden, Raytheon, and more 12 FILLING THE GAP | Local hospitals adding options to support the area’s growing medical needs 15 FINAL FRONTIER | Talking Huntsville’s Role in Space at Space Symposium 18 TAKE THE SURVEY! | You’re invited to take Community-Wide Needs Assessment 26 HREGI INVESTOR PROFILE | Jason Harper with Goodwyn Mills Cawood, LLC 27 SBA WINNER SPOTLIGHT | Bret Slaton Homes, 2023 Construction Company of the Year 28 PREPARING FOR SOUTH STAR | Two-day music festival coming to Huntsville September 28-29 29 SBA WINNER SPOTLIGHT | Pizzelle’s Confections, 2023 Hospitality Business of the Year 31 AND THE WINNERS ARE | 2024 Best Places to Work® Awards in pictures 35 SBA WINNER SPOTLIGHT | Red Sage Communications, 2023 Professional/Technical Business
pictures feature stories COVER STORY: AT YOUR
Small Business Ecosystem Now Online pages 20-24
| Von Braun Center, 2023 Arts & Recreation Business of the Year

a message from chip cherry


Dear Chamber Investors, Community Leaders, and Friends:

Our community is blessed to have a robust ecosystem supporting small business and entrepreneurial development. Our Small Business and Communications teams are working to ensure that members of these communities and those who are interested in starting new ventures can locate the resources they need with the launching of a new Small Business Resource Guide on our website. We need your help to ensure that we have covered all the bases. Please read the story on page 20 and check the guide on Let us know of additional resources we may have missed or information we can include that would make it better – there’s a link on the page there to contact us. Your input and guidance will help us fine-tune this resource to help those who form the foundation of our economy, our Small Businesses.

Congratulations to the Best Places to Work® award winners! We also extend a special salute to those who participated in the survey process. Being open to anonymous feedback is hard. Using feedback to make a good organization better is a hallmark of great companies. The Best Places to Work program is a wonderful opportunity to learn from our co-workers and from those who have improved their organizations by leveraging the information gained through the process.

I have shared in prior letters my admiration for the 1% who serve in the Armed Forces of the United States. I grew up in a community with a large Navy and Coast Guard presence, and a contingent of Marines. Students in my elementary school wore MIA/POW bracelets for Sailors, Soldiers, and Marines serving in Vietnam. Some of those captured or missing were the fathers of my classmates or were serving in their units. We are indebted to the Veterans of Vietnam and other conflicts for ensuring those who are serving our country today are treated with the respect they deserve.

I am very proud that our community recognizes our military, Veterans, Gold Star Families, civil servants, and contractors for their service to our country with a series of celebrations. I encourage you to join us during Armed Forces Celebration Week, June 8-15, and participate in a number of activities that will take place to honor these men and women and celebrate their service to our country. The updated list of events is at

I look forward to seeing you at a Chamber event soon!

HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER Executive Committee & Board of Directors


Sameer Singhal , Board Chair – CFD Research Corporation

Jeff Samz , Chair-Elect –Huntsville Hospital Health System

Lynn Troy, Immediate Past Chair – Troy7, Inc.

Ron Poteat , Board Chair, Chamber Foundation

Dr. Karockas Watkins, Secretary/Treasurer – Ability Plus, Inc. & Vision Excellence Company

Jami Peyton, Vice Chair, Economic Development – Canvas, Inc.

Ginger Harper, Vice Chair, Economic Inclusion & Diversity – First Horizon

Dave Cook , Vice Chair, Government & Public Affairs – Torch Technologies

Chrystal Morgan, Vice Chair, HREGI – The Boeing Company

Beth Sippel , Vice Chair, Investor Relations – Synovus

Ronnie Chronister, Vice Chair, Marketing & Communications –Lockheed Martin Corporation

Brett Crain, Vice Chair, Small Business – Huntsville Tractor & Equipment, Inc.

Jason Puckett, Vice Chair, Talent Initiatives – Toyota Alabama

Jeff Gronberg, Liaison, Redstone Regional Alliance – deciBel Research, Inc.

David Fernandes, Chair-Appointed – Mazda Toyota Manufacturing (MTM)

Tyce Hudson, Chair-Appointed – Freedom Real Estate and Capital, LLC

Srinath Yedla, Chair-Appointed – Yedla Management Company

Graham Burgess, Legal Counsel – Maynard Nexsen

Mayor Tommy Battle, Ex-officio Member – City of Huntsville

Mayor Paul Finley, Ex-officio Member – City of Madison

Chairman Mac McCutcheon, Ex-officio Member – Madison County Commission

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


Ted Baudendistel , InterFuze Corporation

Blake Bentley, SportsMED Orthopedic Surgery & Spine Center

Alka Bhargav, Aum Foundation

David Bier, Anglin Reichmann Armstrong, P.C.

Penny Billings , Cadence Bank

Jason Blount , Keel Point, LLC

Mark Brazeal , Mazda Toyota Manufacturing (MTM)

Katie Comer, Meta Platforms, Inc.

Michael Cox , Raytheon, An RTX Business

Dr. Patti Dare, Obsidian

Melissa Davis , MTA, Inc.

Tyler Evans , Aerojet Rocketdyne, An L3Harris Technologies Company

Kevin Fernandez , L2 Mindset

Greg Fortier, SAIC

Owen Franklin , Blue Summit Supplies

Greg Gaddy, Five Stones Research Corporation

Greg Hall , COPT Defense Properties

Scott Hall , Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc.

Josh Herren , Yulista

Jim Holtkamp, ServisFirst Bank

Laura Huckabee-Jennings , Transcend, The Fearless Company

Hank Isenberg , IronMountain Solutions

Michelle Jordan, TARCOG

Sean Kelly, Regions Bank

Tim King , Modern Technology Solutions, Inc. (MTSI)

Clint Kirkland , United Community Bank

Rich Kretzschmar, Integration Innovation, Inc. (i3)

James Lackey, Davidson

Todd May, KBR

Matt Meko, Booz Allen Hamilton

Stephanie Mell , ChurchStreet Family Businesses

Carey Miller, Deloitte LLP

Zack Penney, Bill Penney Toyota/Mitsubishi

Alicia Ryan , LSINC Corporation

Angie Sandritter, RippleWorx

Annie Saylor, Simulation Technologies, Inc.

Julie Schumacher, KODA Technologies Inc.

Vergenia Shelton , Intuitive Research and Technology Corporation

Wayne Sisco, Redstone Federal Credit Union

Nilmini Thompson , Systems Products and Solutions, Inc.

Henry Thornton , Meta Platforms, Inc.

Mike Watkins , Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama

Frank Williams II , Landers McLarty Subaru


Better living starts with taking good care of yourself. At Crestwood Medical Group, our healthcare providers take the time to identify your health risks and can help you prioritize good health. Regular checkups and age-appropriate screenings are important to be healthy now – and to stay well in the future. With same-day appointments and online scheduling, we make it easy to make an appointment right now. You can even see us from the comfort of home via telehealth. Put your health first and start living better right now. Make an appointment at or call (888) 280-2438.

living better. Make an
to start

community highlights

Huntsville Botanical Garden debuts new branding, programming, and more

You can definitely see a lot in bloom at Huntsville Botanical Garden (HBG), but not just nature. There is new branding, new evening programs, summer camps, and much more.

HBG debuted a new logo and website in May. Operational hours are extended from April through September, with new evening events on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings and longer hours on Saturdays and Sundays. Visit to see the fresh look and check the hours.

Membership also just became more accessible for those receiving food assistance (SNAP benefits). HBG recently added a Museums for All tier to its membership structure, allowing qualifying individuals and families one year of garden membership for $25, which has the same benefits as the Family membership. These include free daily admission to the Garden, discounts on special event tickets, reciprocal benefits at 340+ participating gardens nationwide, and much more.

“The Garden is a beautiful oasis in the middle of an amazing city, and we want as many people as possible to have the opportunity to enjoy it year-round,” said HBG CEO Susan Wagner. “Museums for All is a great way to experience the Garden one time at a reduced admission rate. But membership allows participants access to the same wonderful programs, events, camps, and Garden activities happening all year.”

Now through October, you can see Glass in Flight, which includes 21 breathtaking, largerthan-life glass sculptures that capture some of nature’s most beautiful pollinators such as butterflies, dragonflies, and bees. In 2025, the Garden will transform into a new mythical, magical realm, tentatively named the Mother Earth Troll Garden. The team is getting ready to host the work of world-renowned artist Thomas Dambo.

Raytheon begins $115M expansion on Redstone Arsenal

Raytheon, An RTX Business, broke ground on an expansion of its Redstone Raytheon Missile Integration Facility on April 23. The facility will be 26,000 square feet, increase space by more than 50 percent, and bring an estimated 185 jobs. This grows the company’s footprint in Alabama to 2,200 jobs

OSS Invests in ASCTE

Offset Strategic Services (OSS) also recently made a significant investment of $100,000 to the robotics program at the Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering (ASCTE). The donation came as a surprise during the school’s annual ceremony where graduating seniors reveal where they will attend college, and OSS CEO TJ Wright shared his news as well!

Reminder: Put Those Devices Away While Driving!

The City of Huntsville’s handsfree ordinance has been in effect since January 1, and the six-month grace period is just about over. Holding a wireless device behind the wheel became a primary offense late last year, and starting July 1, police can stop you and issue you a ticket.

The ordinance prohibits drivers from doing the following while operating a motor vehicle:

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

■ Watching, recording or capturing photo or video;

■ Engaging in voice-based communication while holding a wireless telecommunications device; or

■ Physically holding or otherwise supporting a wireless telecommunications device with any part of their body.

Emergency service professionals, law enforcement personnel, ambulance operators, and others are exempt. For more information, visit

Mean Green Mowing Machine

Current Electrical Generator Services, a leading provider of innovative electrical solutions, donated a Mean Green Electric Mower to the City of Arab in April.

The gift was spearheaded by Lynn and Donna Tidmore, the owners of Current Electrical and natives of Arab. They hope it helps revolutionize the city’s landscaping practices by embracing eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives.

“We hope to inspire other communities to prioritize environmental consciousness and efficiency in their maintenance operations,” said Lynn Tidmore.

Mean Green Electric Mowers operate with zero emissions and have low noise levels, among other benefits.

Gov. Kay Ivey spoke at the ceremony. “Some people call Huntsville the Rocket City, but I’ll raise that and say the brightest minds in aerospace and engineering call it home,” she said. Raytheon also donated $200,000 to the Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering at the ceremony. “I really believe in the legacy of this school, and students, you do so much for Huntsville,” Wright said. He encouraged seniors to continue pursuing their dreams in college.

New Skating Rink

In early May, the Huntsville Planning Commission approved a new skating rink for north Huntsville. Skate Huntsville will be located in Stoner Park, which is south of Stringfield Road and west of Pulaski Pike.

Rob Van Peursem of Nola | Van Peursem Architects described the new skating rink as a metal, open-air pavilion with new restrooms in a block structure. He added that the rink will have good connectivity to the ball fields at the park.

– fromAL.comreports

Chamber Earns Accreditation

The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber recently achieved accreditation from the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama. Kristy Drake and Mary McNairy, pictured left to right, accepted the award at the 2024 Executive Leadership Conference, which was held at the Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa on April 24.

The Alabama Accredited Chamber Program recognizes chambers that have achieved standards of excellence in organization, mission focus, professional administration, financial management, communications, and advocacy. The program is designed to promote public awareness of the Chamber of Commerce’s intent as a not-for-profit, community development-based, business membership organization by providing a peer review process of generally accepted Chamber of Commerce organizational benchmarks.

Ken Smith Honored by UAH

Meanwhile, the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) College of Business recently recognized the Chamber as a valued partner for its UAH Business Analytics Capstone Program. This is a graduate level program that provides students with real-world experience solving industry needs. Ken Smith, the Chamber’s senior director for Research & Information Services, has mentored teams of students each of the past five years.

L-R: Russ Dunford and Dr. Hieu Pham, leaders of the program; Ken Smith; and Dr. Jason Greene, Dean of the UAH College of Business.

Filling the Gap


Hospital, Crestwood Medical Center adding options to support the area’s growing medical needs

As our community grows, so does the need for medical care. We want to be able to find a doctor when we’re sick, someone we can trust. Both of our hospitals are adding new options while also supporting the development of healthcare professionals who can one day open offices of their own.

Crestwood Medical Center opened a Family Health & Wellness and New Family Residency Clinic on April 22, as CEO Matthew Banks (shown right) cut the ribbon along with Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and clinic staff.

The new clinic, located at 4800 Whitesport Circle SW, is led by Shaista Qureshi, MD, and Wanda Smith, CRNP, and includes eight family medicine physicians. This new clinic will provide more accessibility for primary care for local residents, including care for newborns, children, adolescents, and adults.

On May 23, Crestwood also opened a separate Internal Medicine Residency Clinic on campus at 165 Whitesport Drive with 12 resident physicians. Led by attending physician and Interim Program Director Rodney Holladay, MD, these physicians will care for patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, as well as acute care illnesses and wellness visits.

Banks. “These medical students will put their training to practice in these clinics and then hopefully set up their own clinic in our community afterwards.”

“A part of Crestwood’s mission is to enhance the well-being of our community, and our graduate medical education program is vital to providing more access to primary care in our community,” said

Huntsville Hospital Updates

Huntsville Hospital has a new clinic at Redstone Gateway. Its official name is Gateway Medical Clinic and opened on May 1. It will serve people ages 18 and older from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with lunch from noon to 1 p.m.

Services will include primary care, labs, ultrasounds, complete physicals for sports participation or employment, preventive medicine screenings, collaborative care of patients with chronic medical illnesses, and immunizations for those traveling to other countries.

Dr. Rachel Jones, a former Army Major, will head the clinic.

“Being given the opportunity to lead the premier clinic in the HH Physician Network is an honor and a privilege that I am very proud of,” Jones, a Huntsville native, said in a statement. “I will use all of my experiences – military and civilian – to help our team at Gateway strive to provide the absolute best in quality patient care for everyone in our wonderful community here in north Alabama.”

To make an appointment at either clinic, call 888-261-3422 or visit

Crestwood’s new freestanding Emergency Room in Harvest is also expected to open in early June.

after the Army by connecting them with employers who understand the skills, discipline, and work ethic that military service members bring to a business. It guarantees soldiers five job interviews, and one of these will be with Huntsville Hospital, which could lead to employment.

Huntsville Hospital also recently signed a partnership with the U.S. Army as part of the Partnership for Your Success (PaYS) program.

The PaYS program is designed to help soldiers prepare for a career

Since PaYS began in 2000, some 1,300 employers have partnered with the program.


The 39th Space Symposium was held April 8-11 in Colorado Springs, and for the third year, the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber was there with an exhibit. Hosted by the Space Foundation, Space Symposium is the premiere industry event for space professionals, attracting more than 12,000 attendees from 40-plus countries. The Symposium covers civil, defense, and commercial space for academic, industry, and government audiences.

“Space Symposium is the only conference where we can see all our space-related partners in one place,” said Lucia Cape, the Chamber’s SVP of Economic Development. “It’s the only domestic event where we have a physical presence outside of Huntsville, which is a reflection of its prominence in the space industry.”

The Chamber’s exhibit promotes Huntsville/ Madison County as ASmartPlace® to live, work, and play – with images of downtown Huntsville, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, the Rocket City Trash Pandas, and the Orion Amphitheater. Chamber staff Kayla Brown, director of Strategic Communications, and Annie Davis, director of Talent Initiatives, worked the booth and talked with hundreds of visitors about job opportunities and fun things to do in the Rocket City.

“It’s amazing the amount of people who are familiar with Huntsville’s work in the space industry, but it’s also amazing how many are not,” said Brown. “Having the opportunity to educate even more working professionals about the Rocket City and what we have to offer is a great job to have.”

Final Frontier Talking Huntsville’s Role in Space

As in previous years, the Chamber hosted a reception in honor of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center with remarks from Director Joseph Pelfrey. The Chamber also held meetings with Boeing, KBR, Blue Origin, and ULA, as well as others considering a Huntsville location.

The Chamber booth was visited by Apollo Astronaut Charlie Duke who was there promoting the Endeavor Scholarship, a program that brings students from around the world to Space Camp in Huntsville. Duke, the Lunar Module pilot for Apollo 16, has been to Huntsville many times, most recently with the Endeavor Scholars in 2023.

New this year, the Space Foundation hosted high school and college student groups for scheduled visits to Destination Booths. The Chamber volunteered to be a Destination Booth and hosted seven groups of 10 students who learned about Huntsville’s legacy in space exploration and current opportunities for them to consider.

The Chamber team was supported by Penny Townson, TVA regional specialist, and Christopher Udall, managing director of HudsonAlpha’s Ag-Tech Accelerator. Townson and Udall joined meetings and helped share the Rocket City story.

To help promote our presence and drive traffic to the booth, we ran ads on Facebook and LinkedIn announcing a giveaway for two VIP passes to Huntsville’s new music festival, South Star (see page 28). The campaign reached more than 70,000 people and resulted in more than 600 new visitors to

The 40th Space Symposium will be held April 5-8, 2024.




Schwarze Industries: 50 Years of Innovation and Excellence in Huntsville

Schwarze Industries LLC , a member of the Alamo Group, is proud to celebrate its 50th anniversary, marking half a century of business excellence in Huntsville, Ala. Founded in 1974, the company has grown significantly over the decades and is now a cornerstone of the local economy. Today, Schwarze Industries employs over 200 local residents, each contributing to the company’s reputation as a trusted and reliable provider in the industry.

As a leader in innovation, Schwarze Industries is excited to announce the launch of their first electric street sweeper, developed in partnership with the parent company’s Advanced Technology Center, also located in Huntsville. This launch represents a significant step forward in Schwarze’s commitment to sustainable and advanced technology solutions, reflecting their dedication to leading the industry into a new era of environmental consciousness and technological advancement.

Schwarze Industries is thrilled to invite the community to join them on August 20th for a special event, as they have been selected as the Alabama stop for the Association of Equipment

Performance Drone Works (PDW)

Performance Drone Works (PDW), creator of the world’s most mission-versatile small unmanned aerial system (sUAS), is a drone technology company revolutionizing small robotics for military and government operations. PDW is committed to delivering secure, reliable, and NDAA compliant solutions to meet the evolving needs of the defense industry.

PDW operates from two key locations in Huntsville and the surrounding area. The primary location on the Stovehouse campus focuses on research and development, as well as engineering, while a nearby facility handles manufacturing and testing. Established in 2020, the PDW team has over 80 employees and continues to grow.

Manufacturers (AEM) Manufacturing Express Bus tour. This event is a fantastic opportunity for the team to showcase their latest innovations and contributions to the manufacturing industry. Visitors will get an inside look at their operations and the advanced technologies that make Schwarze Industries a leader in their field. Please keep an eye on the Chamber’s weekly Mash-Up newsletter for more specifics closer to the date.

PDW’s recent recognition as a winner of the 2023 Huntsville/ Madison County Chamber’s Best Places to Work® underscores their dedication to fostering a culture of creativity and collaboration. They are proud to once again be contenders for 2024.

“Huntsville’s emergence as a hub for high-tech companies aligns with our success in attracting top talent from major technology centers across the United States,” said Preston Taylor, PDW’s Director of Business Operations. “I am honored to witness and contribute to our dynamic growth. Our ability to foster a supportive and innovative work environment is reflected in our expanding team and the recognition we continue to receive.”

PDW was recently awarded a $7M contract from the Special Operations Forces Acquisitions, Technology and Logistics (SOF AT&L) office for delivery of Blackwave, a next generation radio-system specifically designed to overcome contested and congested RF environments.

“The war in Ukraine has made it clear that drone systems must complete missions in highly contested environments where radio interference and unreliable GPS are the rule rather than the exception,” said Ryan Gury, PDW’s CEO.

For more information on PDW and their groundbreaking advancements, visit

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

You can contact Ross here:


Is your company adding 10 or more jobs?

Are you planning to purchase new equipment? Do you need a larger facility?

The Chamber can help! Call us before you invest. Contact Ross Ivey ( to learn about our existing industry program and how we can support your success!

Take the Survey!

You’re invited to take Community-Wide Needs Assessment


nited Way of Madison County has been functioning as a core organization responding to need in this community for 80 years. Once every 3-5 years, the local United Way conducts a major community-wide needs assessment to understand the challenges and struggles of our local Huntsville/Madison County community. It is time to gather new information, and you’re invited to give your input as part of this process.

The United Way of Madison County is partnering with Alabama A&M University to administer the collection of data, surveys and focus groups, and analyze the data.

Any resident of Madison County can participate through the Community-Wide Needs Assessment survey. This questionnaire is active on through June 30. The goal is to solicit responses from 5,000 people, because “the more answers, the better the data”, according to United Way President and CEO Daniel Kasambira. The responses from the needs assessment survey will be compared to factual statistics on the health and vitality of individuals and families in the community and results of targeted focus groups happening in May and June. Up to 15 focus groups are being organized now. If you’d like to go beyond the survey and contribute in a deeper community conversation, contact United Way of Madison County’s office at or by calling 256-536-0745.

For those who may not be able to participate due to a disability, access to technology, or a language barrier, they can reach out to United Way to arrange for an interview to collect their input and thoughts. In the survey, participants will be asked to assess the needs they see in their

neighborhood and in the larger community. Not only will you see categories such as housing, transportation, food insecurity, employment, and education – which are certainly concerns at this time in Huntsville and Madison County’s growth – but you’ll be able to insert needs you see that are not listed for a more comprehensive understanding.

Kasambira explained how the answers are used. “When we look at the cost of housing, rental prices, homelessness, hunger, and the different challenges that are ramping up right now, this study will give us concrete evidence of what the greatest needs are,” he said.

“When all of this data is analyzed, we will have solid evidence to identify emerging issues and trends and confirm the greatest needs we face as a community,” he added. “Those consensus findings will be shared widely with our community through an online and print report to drive smart strategic solutions which benefit us all. It will also inform how United Way invests locally over the next three years.”

Nonprofits and service organizations are able to use the findings to identify actual needs and as evidence when writing grants or requests for additional support to bring in more resources. Organizations, government leaders, and nonprofits can use the data to get a research-based pulse of the community’s needs. “Everyday people will be able to see the BIG issues we need to work on together and determine how they can be part of the solution as a volunteer, or as someone who can invest money to address some of these needs,” Kasambira explained.

The survey takes about 15 minutes. Please invite your friends, co-workers, and neighbors to take the assessment.


community profile




Source: Huntsville/Madison County Chamber *includes on-site contractors


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.


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.

U.S. Army/Redstone Arsenal 45,700 NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center 7,000 Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) 1,734 Huntsville Hospital ...................................... 11,149 Mazda Toyota Manufacturing (MTM) 4,000 The Boeing Company 3,411 Huntsville City Schools 3,000 Dynetics, A Leidos Company 2,946 Northrop Grumman Corporation ........................... 2,850 SAIC 2,746 City of Huntsville 2,589 Madison County Schools 2,389 Toyota Alabama 1,994 University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) ................... 1,979 Polaris Industries, Inc. 1,932 Lockheed Martin Corporation 1,685 Crestwood Medical Center 1,287 Blue Origin 1,235 Alabama A&M University ................................. 1,207 Amazon 1,100
For more information,
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau (, American Community Survey Estimates As of May 2024 MADISON CITY OF CITY OF HUNTSVILLE POPULATION COUNTY HUNTSVILLE MADISON METRO AREA 2010 Census 334,811 180,105 42,938 417,593 2022 Census 412,600 225,564 60,854 527,254 % Growth 23.2% 25.2% 41.7% 26.2%
# of Households 166,454 95,683 22,073 206,490 Avg. Household Income $109,789 $104,769 $132,478 $109,146 Per Capita Income $45,934 $45,819 $51,788 $44,601 WE'RE HIRING! MULITPLE LOCATIONS & EXPERIENCE LEVELS! YULISTA.COM/CAREERS

Fingertips At Your

For entrepreneurs who want to open a small business, coming up with the concept is easy compared to what’s next. Start-up money, a business plan, construction costs, insurance, marketing strategies and good workers are all pixels in the big picture of a successful small business.

There are a number of organizations in the Huntsville/Madison County area that are working to support and grow an ecosystem of resources for small business owners and entrepreneurs. The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber wants to make the community aware of those resources as well as make them more accessible; and we’ve done so by adding a new Small Business Resource page on our website. On this page, you will find resources available in the community that have been specifically designed to support small businesses and entrepreneurs, as well as helpful links to the Chamber’s Member Directory for services offered by member companies (many of them small businesses themselves).

The Chamber has incorporated a feedback mechanism which allows users to provide input, report issues, and suggest improvements. The Small Business Resource page is a living section that will be regularly updated to reflect the ever-evolving resources available to small business owners and entrepreneurs.


The webpage is organized by category. Here is a sampling of what you’ll see:


HudsonAlpha AgTech Accelerator

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, in partnership with the global venture firm and startup accelerator, gener8tor, offers a 12-week accelerator that invests in startups at the forefront of the agriculture technology industry.

To participate, companies go through a rigorous application and interview process before being selected. Once selected, startups (also called founders) go through what is best described as a

concierge business accelerator which connects them with an engaged program team, a global community, and regional resources from both HudsonAlpha and gener8tor. Participating founders receive comprehensive and individualized coaching along with access to gener8tor’s national network of mentors, customers, corporate partners and investors to help them secure customers, accelerate their revenue growth and attract additional funding.

Business Basics

Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

The Alabama SBDC helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. With 10 full-time locations statewide, and over 40 outreach locations, the SBDC is Alabama’s leading resource for business & entrepreneurial assistance.

The SBDC also offers the APEX Accelerator which serves as the bridge between small businesses and gov-

The Catalyst Center for Business & Entrepreneurship (The Catalyst)

The Catalyst serves entrepreneurs and small business owners in every stage of business. They provide training and events, business coaching, and online learning.

The Catalyst also hosts projects like the Women’s Business Center, which helps women start and grow small businesses in Alabama, as well as TechRich – a project designed to find,

ernment contracting. Both offer confidential business advising and professional development services at no cost. Through the SBDC, small businesses and entrepreneurs can also access the Capital Access Team and the Alabama International Trade Center.

The UAH SBDC/APEX Accelerator serves seven north Alabama counties from offices at the Chamber.

filter, and facilitate business opportunities by fueling collaboration, innovation, technology transfer, commercialization, and contracting opportunities among technology businesses. TechRich focuses on Government Contracting and Innovation and Technology; specifically meeting the needs of the defense and space technology industries.

continued on page 23

dec · 256.232.2260


Neighborhood Concepts Inc. (NCI)

Neighborhood Concepts Inc. (NCI) is a Huntsville-based nonprofit focused on strengthening neighborhoods through the creation of affordable housing and the advancement of economic opportunities.

NCI offers access to capital to small businesses and entrepreneurs in north Alabama through its CDFI subsidiary, the NCI Loan Fund.

“We manage a U.S. Treasury-certified revolving loan fund that offers access to capital to small businesses and entrepreneurs who are unable to access traditional financing,” said Executive Director Mary Ellen Judah.

Specifically, Neighborhood Concepts can offer loans up to $350,000 for business or real estate acquisition, working capital, inventory and equipment, and may assist with refinancing higher-interest business debt.


Although local banks and credit unions frequently send people to Neighborhood Concepts to find financing for new ideas, “entrepreneurs often first hear about our services from other small businesses in the area with whom we have worked and also when we are invited to speak at other local events,” said Judah.

To access these funds, small businesses and entrepreneurs must attend introductory classes on owning and operating a business. “We do expect all of our small businesses to repay the loan and will require the personal guarantee of all parties who own 20 percent or more of the business,” Judah said.

“For us, the real return lies in the ability to foster local small businesses who have historically struggled to access mainstream capital,” Judah added.

UAH, Invention to Innovation Center (I2C)

Aspiring small business owners will find a welcoming environment at the Invention to Innovation Center (I2C) at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, a regional initiative that fosters, promotes, and accelerates the commercialization of technology-based ventures through incubation, co-working, mentorship, funding, and strategic support.

In a multifaceted approach, I2C engages with various university departments to “tap into the innovative spirit of students, faculty, and researchers,” explained I2C Director Rigved Joshi, assistant vice president of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, and director of the Invention to Innovation Center.

I2C additionally participates in community events, industry forums and entrepreneurial networks to connect with potential innovators beyond the university.

Although people do reach out to the center, I2C also seeks out

individuals and companies who could benefit from its support. “Our resources, like access to state-of-the-art facilities and strategic support are tailored to address the diverse needs of new business owners at different stages of their entrepreneurial journey,” Joshi said.

Mentorship from experienced professionals, funding opportunities, group workshops, personalized training, networking, and legal and business development services are also available. “Our classes cover a wide range of topics, including business planning, market research, intellectual property protection, funding strategies, and marketing tactics,” said Joshi.

In addition to group sessions, entrepreneurs can also schedule one-on-one meetings with advisors to receive personalized advice. More than 50 startups and innovative projects have launched products and services and created jobs with I2C support.

JUN 2024 initiatives 23 A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION continued on page 24 continued from page 21


Huntsville/Madison County Chamber, Small Business Office

The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber’s Small Business Office is both an asset and a resource for members and the small business community at large.

“Our monthly programs and networking events help entrepreneurs and new or existing small business owners by offering skills training, informative presentations and opportunities to make connections needed to grow their businesses,” said Ashley Engles-Ross, the Chamber’s vice president for Small Business.

Examples of monthly programming include Breakfast and Biz, C-Suite presentations, Excel classes hosted in partnership with the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library, and professional development presentations on topics like the Corporate Transparency Act. We also offer a ‘Doing Business With’ series featuring organizations such as Huntsville Utilities, NASA, the FBI, and others.

Annual events such as the Best Places to Work® and Small Business Awards not only provide brand recognition, but also help businesses assess their corporate culture and boost their profile.


North AlabamaWorks!

The AlabamaWorks! website is the first place many job seekers consult when looking for work, but small businesses can also turn to the site for education, recruitment help, and more. Small business owners looking for training and educational resources offered by public schools, colleges, apprenticeships, technical schools, and more across the state are searchable with just a click.

Virtual recruiting through candidate search alerts, plus labor


Alabama Industrial Development Training (AIDT), a division of the Alabama Department of Commerce, is another great resource for small business owners. AIDT supports new and expanding Alabama businesses hiring 10 or more full-time, permanent employees with a minimum starting hourly wage.

market facts and online resumé searches are some of the other cutting-edge tools available through AlabamaWorks! Even those in the early stages of planning a new business will find all kinds of interesting trivia to explore, like occupational wage rates and labor market facts.

North AlabamaWorks! covers the 13-county workforce region in north Alabama, providing a direct link to education, training, and job placement to meet the needs of local employers.

AIDT provides free recruiting, screening, training and assessments for individuals in a pre-employment setting. Compa-

nies and individuals have an opportunity to truly evaluate each other with no obligation to offer or accept a job.

Additional services include industrial safety training, maintenance assessments and leadership development for companies and their employees. The Robotics Technology Park in Tanner provides robotic automation assistance and training. AIDT is currently constructing an electric vehicle technology training center.

Please pull up and click the Small Business Resources link at the top to view the new page.

continued from page 23

WANT TO SCHEDULE A Ribbon Cutting?

The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber often helps members with ribbon cuttings and other company events. In fact, we host several of these per week!

If you’d like to schedule one, please contact Crystal Baker, our Membership Retention Specialist, at 256-5352039 or . Be thinking of a few dates, and Crystal can check those to see if they’re clear of other events (we ask for four to six weeks’ notice, please). We’ll send you a form to complete and collect the $150 fee, then add your event to the schedule. We’ll bring the ribbon, the big scissors, and can also help with photos. We also invite our Chamber Ambassadors & Emissaries, who can help spread the word about your business.

We also post photos on our website, hsvchamber. org , and share these in our Member Connection newsletter.

We look forward to celebrating with you!

Greater Huntsville Humane Society Enable Madison County Invariant Corporation Valentina’s Pizzeria & Wine Bar
Rocket City AutoPlex
The Gallery Touronimo 24/7 Health Club and Wellness Center Eighth Street Community Evermore Homes MailPro Revive Clinic Tom Brown’s Restaurant The Vessel

Local insight. Financial strength. Serving Huntsville/ Madison County for 40 years.

Huntsville is on the rise, and we’re excited to be part of the momentum. At Synovus, we’ve been dedicated to elevating our customers and community for the past 40 years. Today, while this milestone is a reason to celebrate, our focus remains on moving forward – with valuable local insight, strength of financial services, and a vision to see your full potential. What are your personal or business goals? Call on Synovus. We have a team committed to help you get there. Featured – Our Commercial Banking Team


Q: Tell us about yourself. Are you from Huntsville, or did you move here from somewhere else?

I grew up in DeKalb County about 40 miles to the east of Huntsville and have always resided in north Alabama apart from two short stints in Montgomery and Washington, D.C. I earned my undergraduate and Masters degrees at Jacksonville State and my Ed.S. in Leadership from Berry College. My wife Juliana, our children, Silas, Lillian and Fiorella, and I live in Guntersville. And while we don’t technically live in Huntsville, like most communities in north Alabama, we feel like we are certainly in Huntsville’s orbit. Huntsville is where we come to shop, eat, enjoy a Trash Pandas game, and take our kiddos to Dave and Busters.

Q: Tell us about Goodwyn Mills Cawood and the type of work do you do. GMC is a comprehensive architectural and engineering firm. We do extensive work in both the public and private sectors, all over the Southeast. In my role in Governmental Affairs, I focus more on the public sector, acting as a liaison between our clients and our professionals across all of our disciplines. So, I spend a lot of time on the road traveling all over north Alabama and southern Tennessee working with cities, county commissions, and school boards to make sure the end product is exactly what they have in mind. For example, many may not know GMC’s projects include the new Huntsville City Hall, Buffalo Rock, FBI assets on Redstone, Blue Origin, and NASA buildings, to name a few.

Q: What would you like others to know about your business?

Part of our mission statement is that we help people build communities. While that might sound like just a slogan, we really do take the time and effort to make sure that new buildings and new growth feel organic to that community, all while advancing the local economy. We want the structures we engineer and design to reflect the character, personality and interests of the people in the community who will be using them. We are local, locally engaged, and committed to the successes of the Huntsville/Madison County region.

Q: What does Goodwyn Mills Cawood get from its membership in the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber?

The Chamber acts as a link that keeps us all connected and deeply engaged. Connection is so important both personally and professionally. When a community is connected, everyone can grow together. And while we certainly always hope and pray for good times, that connection can also help us all weather any storm that may come our way.

Q: Why do you support HREGI, the Huntsville Regional Economic Growth Initiative?

As I noted earlier, while I don’t live in Huntsville, it is the economic heart of this region. So, places like Guntersville, Athens, or Fayetteville depend on the health of the business climate in Huntsville. HREGI is not just a plan for Huntsville, it’s regional – that’s why I think it’s so important for Huntsville and this area to become even more of a technology/advancement hub. It’s a plan to make sure our region never gets complacent, and we continue to build and thrive.

Goodwyn Mills Cawood, LLC
Synovus Bank, Member FDIC. Beth Sippel Trent Clark Louis Michetti Markeisha Layne Investment products and services provided by Synovus are offered through Synovus Securities, Inc. (“SSI”), Synovus Trust Company, N.A. (“STC”) and Creative Financial Group, a division of SSI. Trust services for Synovus are provided by Synovus Trust Company, N.A. The registered broker-dealer offering brokerage products for Synovus is Synovus Securities, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC and an SEC Registered Advisor. Synovus Securities, Inc. is a subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp and an affiliate of Synovus Bank and Synovus Trust. Synovus Trust Company, N.A. is a subsidiary of Synovus Bank. NOT FDIC INSURED NO BANK GUARANTEE MAY LOSE VALUE

Construction Company of the Year: Bret Slaton Homes

When it comes to supporting economic growth and providing peace of mind, Bret Slaton Homes is the one to call. Beginning in the 1990’s, Slaton built his first Madison County home which ignited a passion for taking part in the Rocket City’s growth. Formerly known as Slaton Custom Homes, the company recently rebranded to better reflect its commitment to adapting to market needs. One of those needs includes disaster restoration.

“Dealing with the aftermath of a disaster can be incredibly stressful for homeowners,” Slaton said. “We not only restore damaged properties but also provide emotional relief and direction to families facing difficult circumstances.”

North Alabama is no stranger to severe weather and the insurance restoration work done by Bret Slaton Homes plays a crucial role in helping affected homeowners rebuild and recover. Slaton said the company’s participation in the Small Business Awards has provided valuable opportunities to allow them to continue to grow and spread the word about the restoration work they do.

“It signifies to customers, suppliers, and stakeholders that the company is trustworthy, reliable, and excels in its field,” said Slaton.

We are proud to have Bret Slaton Homes as a Small Business Award winner. You can learn more about their remodeling and restoration work at

JUN 2024 initiatives 27 A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION Huntsville. Your City. Your MBA. 100% Online, In-Person, Mix 2023 SMALL BUSINESS AWARDS

Preparing for South Star


music festival coming to Huntsville September 28-29

In just three months, we will witness the debut of a large-scale music festival in Huntsville. South Star will bring 20+ artists to John Hunt Park over two days, and tickets are available at

The addition of this new festival has created buzz about Huntsville in the music industry, according to City Music Officer Matt Mandrella. He said reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Lots of people in Huntsville, and outside of Huntsville, are excited about the lineup. A lot of these artists, it’s their first time playing in our market and for some of them, they attract too big of a crowd for the venues we have, so this festival is an opportunity for them to play here and that’s a great thing for music fans.”

Mandrella said the scale of production and fan experience will be at a level that our market has never had access to. “The two stages being built for South Star will be the largest stages that have ever been constructed in our city,” he said. “It’s hard to put your head around what they do, if you’ve never been to one of their festivals.”

C3 Presents has a lot of experience, too. Their work includes Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits Music Festival, Lollapalooza, and the NFL Draft.

Mandrella said there have been questions about how Huntsville will handle a large festival. “John Hunt Park is 450 acres, 100 acres larger than Grant Park in Chicago where Lollapalooza is held,” he explained. “That festival attracts 115,000 ticket buyers, where we are aiming for 30,000 in year one. This festival will grow as we grow, as we increase infrastructure and hotel capacity in Huntsville.”

“Not to mention, there were 60,000 people downtown a few weekends ago for multiple events,” he added. “We can do this.”

College Football Note

College football will also be in full swing that weekend, and C3 knows we take our SEC sports seriously. So, fans at the festival can catch the games in the giant South Star Sports Hall that will be set up onsite.

If you haven’t checked the schedules, Alabama hosts Georgia, and Auburn hosts Oklahoma on September 28.


Hospitality Business of the Year:

Pizzelle’s Confections

Having a ‘Wonder Woman’ mentality is certainly one way to find success in the busy and fast-growing hospitality industry. Pizzelle’s Confections owners Caitlin Lyon and Michelle Novosel are no strangers to the superhero mindset, and in fact, encourage it with their employees each week.

“We love the idea of recognizing our employees for going above and beyond, so every week the employee with the Wonder Woman figurine has to give her to someone else to recognize that employee for their hard work,” said Novosel.

As Hospitality Business of the Year, Pizzelle’s Confections has made a name for itself in the Huntsville community. Michelle said they “love to partner and collaborate with other local businesses and organizations” to help spread the word about their work while also supporting other small businesses.

“From chocolate bars with Kaffeeklatsch espresso beans, bonbons using Straight to Ale stout beer, strawberry ice cream using local strawberries, and even custom printed boxes, we do our best to source local ingredients and goods for our creations,” she added.

Hear more about these two sister owners and how they got their start in the chocolate/confections world on the new ASmartPlace® podcast, What’s So Smart .

For over 110 years, Paper Airplane has helped businesses soar with high-quality, custom-printed solutions. With our state-of-the-art production capabilities, we have the ability to turn any message into impactful print materials, including brochures, booklets, flyers, posters and more. Reach out to our dedicated team of experts today, and let us demonstrate how partnering with Paper Airplane can propel your business to new heights of success.

6-24 . .. . . . . .. ........ .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...... .. .. . ......... .... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ........ competition.customized @paprairplane Companyname 12345StreetCity,StateExample Example Example Offset Printing (1-6 color) Short to Long Run Quantities Pantone Color Matching Variable Data / Personalization Bindery & Finishing Digital Printing (256) 539-2279 2023 SMALL BUSINESS AWARDS

Blue Bikes Bike Share Program now open

in CRP

The City of Huntsville, Cummings Research Park, and Downtown Huntsville Inc. teamed up for an announcement on May 1 to kick off the 2024 Blue Bikes West There are three pilot locations inside the Park:

■ The Point @ Lake 4 Station: 900 Explorer Blvd NW

■ Discovery Station: 635 Discovery Drive

■ Enterprise Station: Near 1051 Enterprise Way (Enterprise/Discovery intersection)

“The bike stations are positioned near some of our largest companies, and we encourage people to take a ride during their lunchbreak (or to/from lunch), to a nearby meeting, or in the morning or afternoon when they might want to get some fresh air and spark an idea during some exercise,” said Erin Koshut, CRP Executive Director. Downtown Huntsville Inc. (DHI) is also celebrating its 10th anniversary of Blue Bikes Bike Share with new bikes at their stations. Both downtown and CRP bike share programs are sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama. Redstone Federal Credit Union is an additional sponsor of bikes within CRP.

To check out a bike at any station in CRP or downtown, download the Movatic app, available on the App Store and Google Play. Create an account, add a credit card and select membership or pay as you go. Then, scan the QR code or enter the bike number to unlock the bike from the rack. You can return the bike to any station. If the rack is full, riders should secure the bike to a fixed object nearby then submit a support ticket via the app in order to end their rental and dispatch a mechanic to retrieve the bike. Helmets are not provided at the bike stations, but we encourage riders to bring one and wear it.

Take Note

Important Information about Invoices

The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber’s Accounts Receivables Department has seen an increase in the number of notices recently about invoices and check payments being lost in the U.S. mail. In addition, we have also seen more emailed invoices not being received. Here are some tips and options to ensure that you receive our invoice and that we receive your payment.

Receiving Invoices

Ensure that your membership account information and billing contact is accurate and complete. You may login to your ChamberMaster account ( to make sure your company’s profile and people are up to date. If you need a login to ChamberMaster, please contact:

■ Crystal Baker, Membership Retention Specialist – (256) 535-2039 or

■ Kim Weeks, Accounting Specialist – Receivables – (256) 535-2013 or

Let us know if you prefer to receive invoices via U.S. mail or by email, and please be sure to let us know when your street address and/or email address change.

Also, please ask your company’s IT support to whitelist/allow , , and so our emails come through successfully.

Payment Options

If you have a login to your profile and have access to bill payment, you may view and pay invoices online. We are happy to provide a form for Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments. Credit card payments may be processed via phone by calling Kim Weeks, AR Specialist at 256-535-2013. We do not charge a fee for paying via card, but there is a 6% fee for card refunds. If you are paying via check, be sure to allow extra time for mail delivery.

The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber greatly appreciates your support and engagement!

– Chamber Staff

Best Places to Work ® Awards

May 14, 2024

The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber is pleased to announce this year’s winners for the 2024 Best Places to Work® Awards! The winners were announced during a luncheon on May 14 in the VBC Saturn Ballroom. These companies win based on results from employee surveys. This year, 223 local member companies were nominated, and employees from those companies filled out more than 9,000 online surveys about their workplaces. Companies use this employee feedback to improve their culture. Results are tabulated by Quantum Workplace and were kept confidential prior to the event. Thanks to our Presenting Sponsor, Synovus, and congratulations to our winners!

Emcees: Frank Williams II (above) and Henry Thornton (below)

Micro Category Winners

SILVER LEVEL: New Hope Children’s Clinic

BRONZE LEVEL: Ampersand Solutions Group, Inc.

Small Category Winners

SILVER LEVEL: Pinnacle Financial Partners, a Tennessee Bank

BRONZE LEVEL: Kids to Love Foundation

initiatives JUN 2024 32 A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION continued from page 31

Medium Category Winners

Large Category Winners

JUN 2024 initiatives 33 A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION continued on page 34
Intrepid, LLC BRONZE
Thompson Gray, Inc.

X-Large Category Winners

Senior Sprint Career Fair

On your mark, get set, go get employed!


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. This career fair creates a bridge from high school to the workforce and provides graduates with career and training opportunities right here in the Rocket City.

The 2024 Senior Sprint was held on April 30 at First Baptist Church in Huntsville. More than 200 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 34 employers. All 13 high schools from the three school districts were represented, and students from homeschool programs and private schools also attended. We collected feedback after the event, and 80 percent of employers said they plan to follow up with students to continue the hiring process. We know of at least one student who left the event with a job offer in hand!

The employers represented more than 10 different industries, offering students a wide range of career fields and job skillsets to explore. All employers who attend Senior Sprint must be willing to train and hire applicants upon graduation, and all offered opportunities in the greater Huntsville area. Special thanks to our Presenting Sponsor, the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau, and our Silver Sponsors, BASF Corporation and Mazda Toyota

Manufacturing (MTM), for their support of this event.

In addition to the 34 employers present, HATCH and the Alabama Career Center (Huntsville office) attended the event, providing supplemental training and career resources to students. Local photographer Jeff White also provided professional headshots at no cost to the students. It was quite a popular stop!

We are grateful for partnerships with First Baptist Church and the career coaches and educators from the Huntsville City, Madison City, and Madison County school systems who helped us to host such a successful event.

Congratulations to the Class of 2024!

– Annie Davis

continued from page 33
SILVER LEVEL: Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. BRONZE LEVEL: Integration Innovation Inc. (i3)

Professional/Technical Services Business of the Year: Red Sage Communications

Building up a strong reputation as a small business is no small feat, but Red Sage Communications has been working towards their global reach since they established their company in 2006. Recently, the company repositioned their focus to highlight the agency’s core strengths, which has helped them broaden their client reach and grow their business even more.

“Now that we’re through that period of self-reflection, we are doing as we would recommend many of our clients do,” said Michelle Stark, vice president of Sales & Marketing. “The number one thing we tell clients looking to grow is to be prepared to commit time and resources, so we’re practicing what we preach!”

The 2023 Professional/Technical Services Business of the Year category was stacked with several worthy contenders. Red Sage’s ability to exemplify resilience, innovation, and dedication to our community and beyond helped them stand out from the rest. They are now one of the fastest-growing agencies in the state, having almost quadrupled their staff size in the last seven years. They have also been recognized for their work by the American Advertising Federation and The New York Times

“We are proud to be part of a vibrant ecosystem that fosters growth and recognizes the remarkable contributions of diverse enterprises,”

said Abby Guasti, manager of Culture & Communications. “I firmly believe in the power of celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit that fuels our local business community.”


Are you ready to unlock your full potential in the world of business? Athens State University’s transfer-friendly programs give you the opportunity to pursue meaningful careers that will transform your life. Our affordable tuition, flexible formats, and varied program lengths provide a truly accessible education, and our faculty offers unparalleled availability and support to ensure you can reach your fullest potential. Whether you are interested in a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree, you will graduate from Athens State with the skills and confidence to seize a better, more stable future.

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At Athens State, it isn’t how you began your education that matters, it’s how you finish, and a strong finish is only the beginning.


Arts & Recreation Business of the Year: Von Braun Center

Aside from a big 50th anniversary this year, the Von Braun Center is also celebrating their win as the 2023 Arts & Recreation Business of the Year.

“What makes the Small Business Awards particularly special is that it’s a celebration of the people the organizations employ – the human assets that are the heart of every small business,” said Samantha Nielsen, director of Marketing and Public Relations.

According to Nielsen, finding success as a Small Business Award winner has a lot to do with the leadership and engagement of the organization. VBC leadership does a great job of showing employees gratitude through outlets like appreciation dinners and lunches, tickets to VBC signature events and even offsite retreats.

The VBC also recently opened the newly renovated North Hall, now known as Saturn Ballroom. The new ballroom has “guests and event planners thrilled,” according to Nielsen. The Chamber hosts several large events in this space every year.

You can learn about upcoming VBC events on their website at

JEFF WHITE PHOTOGRAPHY GOVCON & GLOBAL TRADE PRACTICE GROUP Law Elevated. Taking you F.A.R.ther. 200 West Side Square, Suite 100, Huntsville, AL 35801 BUTLERSNOW.COM AL | CO | D.C. | FL | GA | LA | MA | MS | NC | NM | NY | PA | SC | TN | TX | VA | UK | SG This ad authorized by Christopher R. Maddux, Chair, 1020 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 1400, Ridgeland, MS 39157. 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.

Since opening our doors 20 years ago, Redstone Village has proudly served Huntsville with a distinct blend of tradition and innovation fulfilling our founders’ vision of a community where seniors can enjoy freedom and fellowship with the assurance of future care.

As we continue to build on our strong foundation for years to come, we invite you to visit and discover our maintenance-free lifestyle with chef-prepared dining, wellness programming and a full schedule of activities at the area’s only locally owned and operated, not-for-profit Life Plan community in Huntsville.

Call (256) 633-4066 to schedule a visit and experience our exciting retirement lifestyle for yourself.

12000 Turnmeyer Drive SE | Huntsville, AL 35803 | Independent Living | Assisted Living | Memory Support | Skilled Care & Rehabilitation
OF EXCELLENCE. Celebrating
bright future.
Be a part of the

Building Huntsville and North Alabama for 40 years

At Robins & Morton, we unite decades of experience with innovative construction methods to deliver exceptional results.  We build safely and with integrity, committed to exceeding our clients’ expectations and leaving a lasting, positive impact on the communities where we live and work. Together, we’re building something great.

chamber staff


Executive Staff

Chip Cherry, CCE, president & CEO

Meghan Chambliss , director, governance support & special projects

Economic Development // CRP // Talent Initiatives

Lucia Cape , CCE, senior vice president

Erin Koshut , executive director, Cummings Research Park

Lyndsay Ferguson , vice president, talent initiatives

Ken Smith , senior director, research & information services

Ross Ivey, senior director, industry relations

Annie Davis , director, talent initiatives

Beth Zinn program manager, Driving Possibilities

Finance & Administration // Events

Mary McNairy, IOM, vice president

Joe Watson , facilities supervisor

Kim Weeks , accounting specialist – receivables

Dionne Scales , accounting & HR specialist

Diana Baccus , director, event management

Laura Carr, event specialist

Stefanie Smoot , resource desk coordinator

Government & Public Affairs

Mike Ward , CCE, senior vice president

Huntsville Regional Economic Growth Initiative (HREGI)

Kristy Drake , IOM, vice president, investor relations

Investor Relations // Membership

Kristy Drake , IOM, vice president, investor relations

Lakeysha Brown , director, membership & engagement

Richard Bigoney, membership account executive

Joy Albregts , membership account executive

Crystal Baker, retention specialist

Marketing & Communications

Claire Aiello , IOM, vice president

Kristi Sherrard , creative director

Kayla Brown , director, strategic communications

Hiroko Sedensky, web designer

Small Business // Economic Inclusion & Diversity

Ashley Engles-Ross , vice president, small business


initiatives JUN 2024 38 A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION 4900 University Square, Suite 2, Huntsville, AL 35816
Redstone Gateway Building 300

Washington DC Trip

April 7-9, 2024

We enjoyed our annual Chamber trip to Washington, D.C. This year, about 190 people from the Huntsville/Madison County business community joined us – making it our highest-attended trip ever! We met with several of our lawmakers, including Senators Katie Britt and Tommy Tuberville, Representatives Dale Strong, Robert Aderholt, Terri Sewell, and others. House Speaker Mike Johnson also spoke with our group. Thanks to those who joined us, and we look forward to building on this for next year.

Refer-A-Friend you could get a $10 gift card Get rewarded when you refer your friends to open a Redstone Checking account. Learn more at Promotion available 04/15/2024 – 12/31/2024. Membership required for RFCU products. Visit for membership information. Restrictions and other promotional requirements apply. RFCU is federally insured by NCUA.

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