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Better Together At Bradley, we combine legal experience and knowledge with a sophisticated understanding of the industries that drive Huntsville. We use our talents, judgment, work ethic, and experience to come up with practical, strategic solutions specifically tailored to our clients’ business operations. We go above and beyond expectations to help our clients meet their goals. Our Huntsville attorneys leverage a broad range of perspectives to help achieve the results that we expect and our clients demand.

200 Clinton Ave. W | Suite 900 | Huntsville, AL 35801 | 256.517.5100 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., 256.517.5142,, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, 200 Clinton Avenue West, Suite 900, Huntsville, AL 35801. Š2018

Cough. Sniffles. Col Fever. Sore Throat. R Pain.GET Congestion. A IN. Ear GET Pain.OUT. Reactions. GET WELL . Respiratory. Cough. Cold. Flu shot. Musc njuries. Fever. Shing Throat. Rash. Back Congestion. Allergie Reactions. Upper Re Muscle/Joint Injurie That’s what patients get at the Employee Health Clinic at Research Park. We’re a fast, convenient, dependable primary care clinic serving businesses near Cummings Research Park and Redstone Arsenal. We are an employer-specific clinic, not open to the public, which makes us an excellent benefit to offer employees and their families. The clinic is led by board-certified physician, Dr. David Huff, who’s been practicing medicine in Huntsville for 35 years. Interested in viewing the clinic and learning more about how this clinic can work for your organization? Call (256) 265-0066 today to schedule your tour. Clinic hours: Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.

7047 Old Madison Pike, Suite 330 Huntsville, AL 35806

welcome new chamber members Joined in July 2018 The Aerospace Corporation Air Degree Joined in August 2018 Allstate Insurance Company - Tony F. Hodge ATECH Inc. Advanced Pressure Washing, LLC AUM Foundation Alabama Real Estate Solutions - Commercial Division Bonefish Grill #7202 Apex Packaging & Industrial Supply, LLC Brennan Movers Avauntis Incorporated Corporate Tax Advisors, Inc. Bluewood Productions Crossflow Technologies, Inc. Citizens Bank & Trust Don Kennedy and Sons Structural Solutions Edward Jones - Brad Wallace, Financial Advisor EgoBoost Incorporated EWA Electronic Warrior Services Focus Physiotherapy Huntsville Fitness for Life, LLC Focus Physiotherapy Huntsville West Grace, Matthews & Debro, LLC Gregory Construction Hall Communications Guest Associates, Inc. Huntsville Christian Business The Highland Group Integrated Management Solutions, Inc. Holt Custom Homes, LLC KBM Enterprises, Inc. HRC INCOSE Latreuo Luxury Homes John Gully Lewis and Son Roofing and Construction, Inc. King B Farm Marmon Consulting M & J Industries, Inc. NerdsToGo MikeWill, Inc. P Max Solutions Office Furniture Outlet Performance Strategies Group, LLC The Platinum Koi Tattoo Studio Pottery Barn Rowland Safety & Supply, Inc. Publix - The Pinnacle at Providence Store #1612 -Monrovia Waste Away Dumpster Service, LLC Publix - The Shoppes at Redstone Square - Store # 1629 QuantiTech, Inc. Resolution, LLC Shirkness Capital Steve Murphree, D.M.D. Straitsys, Inc. Teaching Factory, Inc. Theatre Huntsville Tobias Kelley State Farm Tropical Smoothie Cafe - Cecil Ashburn Veryable Virtuoso Living, a JCF Residential Property Watermark at Bridge Street Town Centre

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


initiatives oct 2018









EXECUTIVE COUNCIL BBVA Compass ■ Crestwood Medical Center ■ Dynetics, Inc. ■ General Atomics Electromagnetics Lockheed Martin Corporation ■ Northrop Grumman Corporation ■ PNC Bank ■ SAIC SES - Science and Engineering Services, LLC ■ Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc. ■ Yulista

CHAMBER TRUSTEES AEgis Technologies Group ■ Aerojet Rocketdyne ■ Akima, LLC ■ Bailey-Harris Construction ■ Bill Penney Toyota/Mitsubishi Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Alabama ■ Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. ■ Five Stones Research Corporation ■ Intrepid ■ INTUITIVE Jerry Damson Honda Acura ■ KBRwyle ■ Landers McLarty Dodge Chrysler Jeep ■ Lanier Ford Shaver & Payne P.C. ■ PARSONS Raytheon Company ■ S3, Inc. ■ Sealy Management Company, Inc. ■ SportsMED Orthopaedic Surgery & Spine Center ■ Synovus ■ Torch Technologies

PROGRESS PARTNERS Ability Plus ■ Anglin Reichmann Armstrong ■ ASRC Federal ■ B. L. Harbert International, LLC ■ Baron Services, Inc. ■ BASF Corporation ■ BB&T ■ Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP Brown Precision, Inc. ■ Colliers International ■ Connected Logistics (LogC2) ■ Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT) ■ Davidson Technologies, Inc. ■ Google Fiber Huntsville-Madison County Builders Assoc. ■ IBERIABANK ■ J Smith Lanier & Co., a Marsh McLennan Agency LLC company ■ Keel Point, LLC ■ L3 Technologies ■ LMI ■ LogiCore Progress Bank ■ Radiance Technologies ■ RE/MAX Alliance ■ SCI Technology, Inc. ■ SELEX Galileo Inc. ■ ServisFirst Bank ■ Sirote & Permutt, PC ■ Spirit Coach, LLC Steak-Out (Rosie’s Restaurants, Inc., & Right Way Restaurants, Inc.) ■ The Orthopaedic Center (TOC) ■ Turner Construction Company ■ Wells Fargo Bank ■ Woody Anderson Ford PROGRESS INVESTORS 4SITE, Inc. ■ AECOM ■ Alpha Beta Technologies, Inc. ■ All Points Logistics, LLC ■ Amanda Howard | Sotheby’s International Realty ■ Averbuch Realty / Enterprises ■ BancorpSouth ■ BRPH Architects-Engineers, Inc. Bryant Bank ■ Canvas, Inc. ■ CB&S Bank ■ Century Automotive ■ CFD Research Corporation ■ CGI Federal ■ Coast Personnel Services ■ Croy Engineering, LLC ■ DC Blox, Inc. ■ deciBel Research ■ Deloitte LLP DESE Research, Inc. ■ Digium, Inc. ■ Engineering Design Technologies/EDT-THA Architecture ■ Express Employment Professionals ■ Fernandez Financial Group ■ FITE Building Company ■ FLS Translation & Interpreting Fountain, Parker, Harbarger & Associates, LLC ■ Garver ■ HEMSI ■ Hiley Cars Huntsville ■ Huntsville Botanical Garden ■ Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau ■ Huntsville Tractor & Equipment, Inc. INTERFUZE Corporation ■ Investor’s Resource – Raymond James Financial Services ■ IronMountain Solutions • Legend Realty – Jim Hoekenschneider ■ LINE-X, LLC ■ The Lioce Group, Inc. ■ LSINC Corporation MAG Aerospace ■ MSB Analytics, Inc. ■ National Bank of Commerce ■ nLogic, LLC ■ North Alabama Multiple Listing Service ■ PALCO ■ PFM Financial Advisors LLC ■ PHOENIX ■ PROJECTXYZ, Inc. ■ QTEC Aerospace Ready Mix USA ■ Renasant Bank ■ RJ Young Company ■ S&ME, Inc. ■ Sigmatech, Inc. ■ Systems Products and Solutions, Inc. ■ Technicolor ■ TriVector Services, Inc. ■ Troy 7, Inc. ■ U.S. Space & Rocket Center Valor Communities ■ Venturi, Inc. ■ Warren Averett, LLC ■ West Huntsville Land Co., Inc. ■ Wilmer & Lee, P.A. ■ Worxtime an Equifax Company


oct 2018 initiatives



Go do what you do. We’ll take care of your banking. | #goindependent | 877.865.5050

Member FDIC

oct 2018



Stars of the Masquerade:

10 12 14 17 18 20 28 31 34 38

Celebrating the Russell G. Brown Executive Leadership Award winner Lynn Troy and the rest of the 2018 Small Business Award winners

manufacturing partnerships e.d.highlights regionalfocus workforce worldventure

editorial staff publisher


Chip Cherry, CCE



Claire Aiello


editorial designer

Kristi Sherrard

communityoutreach 4 5 30 40

contributing writers

Amanda Berkey Jill Jensen Pam Marmon Mike Ward

Welcome New Chamber Members HREGI Investors HREGI Profile: AEgis Technologies Group Doing Your Part

8 Message from the President | Board Listing 36 Community Profile 42 Chamber Staff | Associated Organizations

ad sales Kristy Drake

Richard Bigoney

Tina Blankenship

Keith Johnson The mission of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber is to prepare, develop and promote our community for economic growth.

(additional contact information on page 42)

Chamber members: You are encouraged to contribute ideas for our publications, including Initiatives magazine. Please send items to The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber maintains editorial control. A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

oct 2018 initiatives


Huntsville/Madison County Chamber

Executive Committee and Board of Directors 2018 Executive Committee Gary Bolton, Chair, ADTRAN, Inc. Kim Lewis, Chair-Elect, PROJECTXYZ, Inc. Joe Newberry, Immediate Past Chair, Redstone Federal Credit Union

Ron Poteat, Chamber Foundation Chair, Regions Bank Greg Brown, Secretary/Treasurer, Brown Precision, Inc. Kevin Byrnes, Vice Chair, Economic Development &

A Message from

Chip Cherry

Dear Chamber Investors, Community Leaders and Friends: Few things are more important than helping a young person make a more informed choice about a career. Key influencers in this process are parents and teachers. Key supporters are the counselors and career coaches. How can the business community support the students, influencers, and supporters? We can provide resources and insights into career paths, which will allow our young people the opportunity to make informed decisions. There is a consistent theme with the businesses and industries that expand in our region – their applicant pools are comprised of a significant number of underemployed individuals. In many cases these men and women are in entry level jobs and want to move up to a better position, one that will allow them to support themselves and their families. Our goal is to assist students, their teachers, parents, and others in their support group as they evaluate career options while they are still in school and can make choices that place them in a better position when they enter the job market. In short, we want to be a member of the team that helps them make choices while they still have time to maximize their educational opportunities. The first step in becoming a more effective member of the career awareness team was to provide Industry Insights, professional development opportunities for the counselors, career coaches, and career prep teachers in our area public school systems. To date, we have held 10 sessions for more than 250 educators, showing careers from construction to cybersecurity. See page 28 for a recent visit to the new Aerojet Rocketdyne Advanced Manufacturing Plant being built in North Huntsville. The next step was launching an enhanced with career exploration capabilities. I encourage you to visit the site and let us know what you think. During the Small Business Awards, we recognized many outstanding businesses and individuals as contenders and winners. Having grown up with entrepreneurs, I appreciate the challenges of running a small business and the passion it takes to succeed. You have both our support and admiration. I will end with a salute to Lynn Troy, the recipient of the 2018 Russell G. Brown Leadership Award. Lynn is an amazing person and true community leader. Congratulations Lynn – well deserved! I look forward to seeing you at a Chamber event soon!

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


initiatives oct 2018

Industry Relations, Raytheon Company

Alicia Ryan, Vice Chair, Government & Public Affairs, LSINC Corporation

Rose Allen, Vice Chair, HREGI, INTERFUZE Corporation Jeff Gronberg, Vice Chair, Marketing & Communications, deciBel Research, Inc.

Frank Williams, Vice Chair, Membership, Landers McLarty Dodge Chrysler Jeep

Hank Isenberg, Vice Chair, Small Business & Events, IronMountain Solutions

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

Penny Billings, Chair-Appointed, BancorpSouth - Huntsville Mark Curran, Chair-Appointed, L3 Technologies, Inc. David Fernandes, Chair-Appointed, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama, Inc.

Mayor Tommy Battle, Ex-Officio Member, City of Huntsville Mayor Paul Finley, Ex-Officio Member, City of Madison Chairman Dale Strong, Ex-Officio Member, Madison County Commission

Tracy Marion, General Counsel, Lanier Ford Shaver & Payne, P.C. Chip Cherry, President & CEO, Huntsville/Madison Co. Chamber

Elected Board Mike Alvarez, Venturi, Inc. Bill Bailey, Radiance Technologies, Inc. James Barclay Mark Becnel, RadioBro Corporation Blake Bentley, SportsMED Orthopaedic Surgery and Spine Center David Bier, Anglin Reichmann Snellgrove & Armstrong, PC Lynn Collyar, Deloitte LLP Deke Damson, Jerry Damson Honda Acura Dr. Dorothy Davidson, Davidson Technologies, Inc. John Eagan, BB&T Joe Fehrenbach, Mynaric USA Trip Ferguson, LSINC Corporation Gene Goldman, BWX Technologies, Inc. Joni Green, Five Stones Research Corporation Mike Gullion, SCI Technology – a Sanmina company John Hall, All Points Logistics, LLC Steve Hill, AEgis Technologies Group Josh Herren, Yulista Lee Holland, Turner Construction Company Tharon Honeycutt, MSB Analytics, Inc. John Jordan, KBRwyle Sean Kelly, Regions Bank David King, Dynetics, Inc. Bob McCaleb, Northrop Grumman Corporation Janice Migliore, PALCO Craig Naudain, SAIC Chris Pape, Lanier Ford Shaver & Payne, P.C. Alana Parker, Rocket City Drywall & Supply, Inc. Leigh Pegues, PNC Bank Jim Rogers, Lockheed Martin Corporation Jeff Samz, Huntsville Hospital Dr. Gurmej Sandhu, Sigmatech, Inc. Sameer Singhal, CFD Research Corporation Beth Sippel, First Commercial Bank Robert “Bob” Smith, Booz Allen Hamilton Cynthia Streams, Domino’s (Valley Pizza, Inc.) Tim Thornton, nLogic, Inc. Lynn Troy, Troy 7, Inc. Ken Tucker, The Boeing Company Dr. Karockas Watkins, Ability Plus, Inc. Mike Watkins, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama Dennis Weese, Line-X LLC Danny Windham, Digium, Inc. A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

PINK. It’s not just a color, It’s a call to action.

Schedule your annual screening mammogram today! Screening Mammograms are available at our Huntsville and Madison locations! To schedule your mammogram, please call 256-429-4888. Madison • Crestwood Madison Outpatient Center 20 Hughes Road Huntsville • Crestwood Women’s Center 185 Chateau Drive *For a list of risk factors and American Cancer Society recommendations, visit Appointments are on a first-come, first-served basis. An order from a physician or qualified healthcare provider is not required, but the patient must provide a physician/provider name when an appointment is made. If the patient does not have a physician/provider, a list will be provided for selection. All mammogram reports will be sent to the physician/provider, and the patient is responsible for follow-up. Check with your insurance provider to confirm coverage for a screening mammogram.


On the Cutting Edge New Director, Improvements at Alabama Robotics Technology Park


he Alabama Robotics Technology Park in Tanner, Alabama is one of the most innovative training centers in the country. Opened in 2010, the Alabama RTP is going through a complete transition and focus as we move towards its 10th anniversary. The initial concept of the RTP was simple: workers from manufacturers all over Alabama train with the latest robots and automation tools free of charge. It is another incentive the state has to offer when it comes to landing economic development projects. Today, that incentive continues but with new concepts and tools to improve the reach of the RTP. The Robotics Technology Park’s mission is to provide a technically trained, highly skilled, and educated workforce for automation and robotics, to assist public and private entities in developing new robotics systems and technologies, and to promote the creation, growth, or expansion of companies through innovative technology solutions.

The OMRON exhibit is just one training area students can use at AIDT’s Robotics Technology Park in Tanner.


initiatives oct 2018

Part of the rebranding effort involves new leadership. Kristi Bain has been hired as the new AIDT Assistant Director for North Alabama. Technology is ever changing, and to remain technologically relevant the RTP has to change as well. New robotic technologies are being installed in the park to help further the education aspects of the park. This will allow RTP to remain beneficial to current Alabama employers looking Bain for specific robotics education. Some of the new technologies being introduced at the park include: comprehensive 3D printing and modeling curriculum, vision classes and quality control as well as virtual and augmented reality training. In addition, the Toyota FAME (Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education) project will now be based at the Alabama Robotics Technology Park. This program includes a two-year technical Associate degree that combines cutting-edge curriculum that entails advanced manufacturing technology, paid work experience, along with learning highly sought-after business principles and best practices of a world class manufacturer; in essence creating a pipeline of highly skilled workers. The initial local offices for the Mazda-Toyota project will also be housed at RTP until they move to their permanent location. Not all of the changes are happening inside the brick and mortar facilities. A rebranding effort is underway with the RTP Mobile Training Units introduced five years ago. A complete overhaul of the interior of the 53-foot semi-trailer will include new, interactive exhibits, simulator training for forklift safety and programmable robotics for students to interact with. The updated training lab is sponsored in part by FANUC, Miller, Universal Robots, and Technical Training AIDS, Inc. The new rebranded training lab will be available for schools this fall. Additionally, the smaller, more specialized mobile training lab is available for specific training and experiences at schools as well. This training A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION


A student learns Cognex and Keyence Vision. Vision systems are used in a multitude of applications including quality control, robot positioning and other places where visual data is needed.

lab will also undergo a complete overhaul and should be completed by the first quarter of 2019. Since June 2013, more than 130,000 school children from around Alabama have toured the RTP mobile training labs. “The changes and updates to the Alabama Robotics Technology Park are the natural progression of any training entity,” said Kristi Bain, AIDT Assistant Director for North Alabama. “It has been especially important to us, here at AIDT and to our partners, to keep enhancing and expanding the training and technology available at the RTP. It’s the only way to remain vital to our mission.” “With new companies moving to and existing companies expanding in Alabama, AIDT is continuously upgrading its skill set as a training organization,” said Ed Castile, Deputy Secretary of Commerce for Alabama’s Workforce Development Division and


Director of AIDT. “By staying on top of new technologies and advanced production processes, AIDT is able to keep producing a highly skilled, well-trained workforce and keep our clients safe, productive and profitable. We will continue to find ways to be innovative in our approach to training, developing and recruiting the workforce these industries require.” “The Alabama Robotics Technology Park is a shining example of public/private partnerships that encourages job growth in Alabama,” said Governor Kay Ivey. “The recruitment of jobs, the retention of companies and helping them to grow, and then the innovation and entrepreneurship, is integral for the continued success of Alabama.”

oct 2018 initiatives


partnerships At right (L-R): Gary Bolton, Kim Lewis and Gov. Kay Ivey Below (L-R): Mike Ward and David Arterburn, Director, Rotorcraft Systems Engineering and Simulation Center at UAH.

Trading Spaces Local Economic Development Takes Off at International Airshows


untsville has long been a premier aerospace and defense industry market hub, with virtually every top international aerospace company maintaining a presence in the region. Attracting and retaining those industry partners is an important part of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber’s economic development mission.

Since the mid-1980s, our community has used international air shows as a tool to help market itself to the broader international aerospace industrial base. Those efforts have primarily focused on two venues – the Paris Airshow at Le Borget (in odd numbered years) and, since 2004, the Farnborough Airshow (in even numbered years). Both shows are week-long events that combine a major trade exhibition for the aerospace and defense industries with a public airshow. The Farnborough event is held in mid-July at Farnborough Airport in Hampshire, England. The first five days (Monday to Friday) are dedicated exclusively to trade representatives (no public attendance allowed), and the final two days are then open to the public. The airshow is an important event in the international aerospace and defense industry calendar, providing an opportunity for key industry leaders, customers and community leaders to meet, and for industry to demonstrate the state-of-the-art technology in civilian and military aircraft to potential customers and investors. The show is also used for the announcement of new developments and orders, and to attract media coverage. At the heart of the community effort are the meetings our 12

initiatives oct 2018

representatives are able to arrange with key aerospace company officials, with whom it would otherwise be difficult to meet. This year’s Farnborough trip included more than 50 meetings with industry decision makers from both existing industry and potential new companies. The Community also hosted a reception, honoring Senators Richard Shelby and Doug Jones and Governor Kay Ivey at Kensington Palace which was attended by a “Who’s Who” of more than 300 aerospace industry leaders. “I was extremely impressed with the presence of the Alabama delegation and the number and quality of the economic development meetings held at the international airshow in Farnborough,” observed Gary Bolton, 2018 Chairman of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber Board of Directors. “Everything was highly coordinated from the high level of engagement from our Congressional leaders which included Senator Shelby, Senator Jones, former Congressman Cramer and a number of other national leaders as well as our State leadership with Governor Kay Ivey and Secretary Greg Canfield and certainly the tremendous community leadership from Huntsville International Airport and the Chamber.” Since the late 1990s, the State of Alabama has joined the marketing effort, as have a number of other communities from across our state. Other states have also begun to take advantage of this unique meeting and marketing opportunity. Over two dozen states participated in this year’s Farnborough Airshow. Chair-elect Kim Lewis said, “You have no idea of the magnitude of the Airshow until you’re able to see it in person.” Lewis continued, “Attending the Farnborough Airshow was a great opportunity for me to see what North Alabama does to help build economic development in our area. It was impressive to see how hard we are working and the high level of cooperation among our partners.” During this year’s show, BAE Systems announced plans for a $45.5 million expansion in the Huntsville market. Previous airshow meetings have produced announcements from Sierra Nevada Corporation, Boeing, Raytheon and many others that have brought new or expanded growth to Huntsville/Madison County. “The BAE Systems announcement at Farnborough in July was the culmination of several years of discussions, developing relationships, and building trust, both at the airshows and at home,” said Lucia Cape, the Chamber’s Senior Vice President for Economic Development. “Many of our meetings are not tied to an active project but help keep our community in the minds of decision makers when new opportunities arise.” Mike Ward A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

e.d.highlights snap: On September 4, Target held a ‘Go Live Celebration’ to mark the opening of a new expansion to its distribution center in Huntsville/ Limestone County. Target is adding more than 200 jobs to support the new growth. Managers thanked employees for a job well done – and they had a visit from the company’s mascot, Bullseye. Pictured: Bullseye; John Hamilton, Huntsville City Administrator; and Angelica Graves, Senior Director of Distribution for Target.

Baseball is Back! You can see progress at the site of the new baseball stadium in Madison. The team now has a name – the Rocket City Trash Pandas – and Turner Construction Company’s North Alabama office recently began construction on the new multi-use facility that will be home to the area’s new minor league team. The $46 million stadium will be located within the Town Madison development off of I-565, next to the new Zierdt Road interchange. The new stadium will hold about 7,000 people. In addition to Minor League Baseball, it will also host soccer, football, concerts and other events. The stadium is scheduled to be complete in December 2019. ∏

VT Miltope opens new HQ in Huntsville Dirt is turning... A new $45.5 million project is now underway in Cummings Research Park. BAE Systems broke ground on its new expansion on September 10. It will be at the corner of Old Madison Pike and Jan Davis Drive, and is expected to be complete in 2019. The new 83,000-square-foot facility will include engineering development space, manufacturing space and Department of Defense lab space. The 20-acre site will also provide room for future growth. ∏

On September 12, VT Miltope welcomed the business community as it opened its new headquarters on Old Madison Pike NW in Huntsville. The company has locations in Hope Hull, Alabama and Colorado. It is a market leader in ruggedized computers and wireless networking for tactical and aviation applications. “Our company is setting a new course with a new vision. As we build upon and enhance our current core product lines, we’ll be expanding into new related products and markets,” said Jack Haley, CEO and President of VT Miltope. “That’s why Huntsville is the perfect setting for our new headquarters. It gives us much closer contact with our key military and corporate customers as well as access to a highly skilled workforce.” ∏

25 local companies make prestigious Inc. 5000 List The Inc. 5000 list shows the fastest-growing private companies in America, and for 2018, more than two dozen businesses in Huntsville and Madison show they’re keeping up quite a pace. Cintel shows nearly 2000 percent growth, making the list for the first time. Yorktown Systems Group and Hill Technical Solutions show more than 600 percent growth. Two companies, Torch


initiatives oct 2018


compiled by Claire Aiello

Technologies and nLogic, have been on the list for several consecutive years – Torch Technologies 12 times, and nLogic nine times. nLogic CEO Tim Thornton remarked, “This recognition would not be possible without the hard work, dedication, and professionalism of all the nLogic employee-owners. I am grateful to Torch’s CEO, Bill Roark, who has served as my mentor. I owe a huge debt of gratitude for the foundations of excellence he established at Torch, and that we proudly carry on at nLogic.” Bill Roark, CEO and co-founder of Torch Technologies, stated, “At Torch, we value our commitment to our employee-owners, to our customers, and to our community. I am proud of what our employee-owners have accomplished, and I am proud of the success that nLogic employee-owners now enjoy. Although our companies are now on different paths, it is satisfying to see our common approach to business continues to result in success for the employee-owners at both companies.” LSINC and TriVector Services both made the Inc. 5000 list for the first time. To see all the local companies and their standings, visit ∏

MTMUS Reception welcomes new Huntsville leadership We were very pleased to welcome executives from Mazda-Toyota Manufacturing, U.S.A. for a reception in September. Masashi Aihara, President of MTMUS, and Hironori Kagohashi, executive general manager of Toyota and MTMUS’s executive vice president, both visited Huntsville to get oriented with the community and meet with key leaders. Construction on the new plant will begin soon, and both men will be based in Huntsville. ∏

PARSONS opens Huntsville addition PARSONS recently opened its new high bay integration facility at its location on Diamond Drive in Huntsville. The 25,000-square-foot building went up over the last year and will allow the company to expand its portfolio of work, including software and hardware integration, for customers in the defense, intelligence and infrastructure sectors, as well as research and development needs for the corporation’s technology solutions such as the ZEUS Laser Neutralization System. ∏ A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

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9/6/18 12:30 PM

regionalfocus Below: Leaders from education, government, business and industry share ideas at the 2018 North Alabama Economic Development Summit.

Workforce & Recruiting: Key Topics at North Alabama Economic Development Summit


eaders from across the region gathered September 4-5 at the Shoals Marriott for the 2018 North Alabama Economic Development Summit. The group included elected representatives, business leaders, educators, and others involved in workforce development, industry recruitment, and talent retention as we work to support and grow our region. Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield was the keynote speaker. He discussed how Alabama’s economic development strategy has evolved since 2011, including Accelerate Alabama, the Made in Alabama brand, and several of the state’s workforce readiness programs. Harry Schmidt and Stephen Surles presented an overview of TVA’s Economic Development division and how this work relates to the agency’s overall mission. Darin Buelow, a Real Estate and Location Strategy Practice Leader with Deloitte Consulting, talked about myths and realities of site selection. He pulled the curtain off the process, showing what his company looks for when they scout new locations for a client. Buelow also revealed some surprising details about how America’s opioid epidemic applies to site selection. Companies now have access to county-specific data from the Centers for Disease Control on opioid-related prescriptions and deaths. He said this data may eliminate areas from consideration, because companies believe it points to the number of candidates who could pass a drug test. Right now, our region is not as badly hit by the opioid epidemic as many communities across the United States, but it is definitely an indicator to keep our eyes on. Ron Poteat, Chair of the Chamber Foundation, and Jill Jensen, Workforce Development Director, showed new improvements to and demonstrated the new capabilities of the career section. They also took input from attendees on how to fine-tune the site. The summit closed with intensive small group sessions. Participants were tasked with developing plans to help North Alabama improve our competitive position and to develop ideas to accelerate talent attraction and workforce development. We’ll report findings and implementation plans soon. Claire Aiello A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

oct 2018 initiatives


workforce Free app now available on iTunes or Google Play:

Smart Moves 6,000+ Students Attend 2018 College & Career Fair


ver the course of two days, more than 6,000 high school juniors and seniors from Huntsville City Schools, Madison City Schools and Madison County Schools attended the annual College and Career Fair August 30-31 at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). The Schools Foundation and the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber worked together with UAH to provide high school students with this exciting opportunity for young people in our region. Students had the opportunity to meet with more than 90 twoand four-year schools from across the southeast. In addition, 30 companies attended to speak with students about their work and the career paths available in a variety of industries. “The UAH event is great because it offers options not just for kids looking to go on to college but also for kids who want to go directly into the workforce,” said Scott Northcutt, a parent of a Grissom High School student who attended. “Between the local businesses, the military, technical schools, two-year and four-year colleges, something was there to appeal to nearly every kid who walked through the doors.” The focus on exposing students to wide range of career pathways available was shared across industries that attended. SCI Technology shared opportunities in aerospace and defense. H.C. Blake encouraged students to consider a career as a plumber, HVAC technician, or an electrician. Arts Huntsville discussed ways students could turn their interest in the arts into a career. Turner Construction encouraged young people to consider one of


initiatives oct 2018

the many opportunities in the construction industry. “We hope that the Fair opens the eyes of young people to see the world of possibility that is open to them, and helps students to choose careers that align with their interests and the opportunities in local industries,” said Lucia Cape, the Chamber’s Senior Vice President of Economic Development, Industry Relations & Workforce. “North Alabama is a smart place to work because we have great jobs in a diverse range of industries that require a diverse range of skills.” New and Improved One of the other exciting opportunities for students at the College and Career Fair was the opportunity to check out the new – our region’s exciting new career exploration, job search, and skill development platform that debuted at the Fair. The website continues to list local career opportunities and internships as it did before, but has been retooled to address our region’s growing workforce needs. The new website is much more interactive and includes videos with real insight from people in different types of jobs. It also allows users to explore career paths and salaries, apply for jobs, get online training, and check out colleges. This platform targets three groups of people – young people making decisions about their careers, the un- and under-employed in our community who are looking to move into a career, and individuals who are open to relocating to the region and are looking for jobs.


Interested in getting involved with this effort? Here are three ways your company can benefit from ASmartPlace: Jobs: If your company has an applicant tracking system (RSS feed, API, SFTP or other), we can link to it and ensure that your jobs are posted on and linked to your company profile. If you don’t have an applicant tracking system, you can create your own account in asmartplace. com to post jobs, review resumes and create a company profile. Company Profile: Have a promotional video that shares a bit about your company and the work you do? We want to use it to share on your profile! Send it to us and we will make sure it is viewed by students and others looking for work.

And don’t forget – you can share with anyone you think may be interested. ASmartPlace is available as an app, too! T ype in asmartplace on iTunes or Google Play to download it for free. Claire Aiello & Jill Jensen

Videos: Want your company to market career pathways available to our community? We are filming 2-3 minute videos of people in careers to post on the platform – and we’d love to interview one of your employees!

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oct 2018 initiatives



35 Years & Counting North Alabama International Trade Association Continues Mission


rom global broadband infrastructure solutions and tactical aerospace and defense training systems in the Middle East and Europe – to breeder chicks and weather radar systems in Asia, North Alabama products and services are increasingly found and sought after around the world! Thirty-five years ago, a group of proactive business and community leaders came together to determine how Madison County and its businesses could take advantage of an emerging global marketplace. This group realized that education was essential to facilitating trade, and their work led to the creation of the North Alabama International Trade Association (NAITA) in 1983. The Madison County Commission embraced this vision and provided the framework and support for NAITA to become the regional resource for international trade development. NAITA, a nonprofit business-driven membership organization, continues to provide advocacy, training, and networking for market diversification outside our borders to promote economic growth in North Alabama. Dale Strong, Chairman of the Madison County Commission and a key partner of NAITA, explains, “Trade brings increased jobs, revenue, and economic diversification to Madison County and neighboring communities. Exports are vital to economic growth, and NAITA’s trade education and advocacy help expand our reach around the globe.” Board members representing regional industry and economic development entities guide NAITA’s strategy. Diversified companies, such as ADTRAN, Aladdin Light Lift, Aviagen, Baron Services, Hexagon (formerly home-grown Intergraph), PPG Aerospace, PZI International Consulting, and RUAG Space USA are represented, along with service providers, including the Port of Huntsville, Panalpina, and the Shoals Economic Development Authority. NAITA provides international trade seminars and training on export controls and compliance, foreign military sales (FMS), global logistics and finance, targeted overseas markets, free trade agreements, and the mechanics of exporting and importing. Education is significant in facilitating global growth, and the trade association has hosted nationally-sponsored and recognized conferences. “The Madison County Commission International Trade Development Center, NAITA’s local government partner, provides research, one-on-one counseling, and assistance with export controls and compliance – critical for North Alabama’s aerospace, defense and high-tech companies,” said Anne Burkett, NAITA Executive Director, and Director of Planning & Economic Development for the Madison County Commission.


initiatives oct 2018

Governor Kay Ivey honored NAITA with the 2018 Governor’s Trade Excellence Award. Additional education and networking highlights this year include What Lies Ahead for NAFTA? – the NAITA Conversation on Trade, featuring representatives from the Canadian and Mexican governments; a program on the European Union (EU)’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR); the NAITA Trade Compliance Roundtable featuring a return appearance by the former Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration (the author of Export Control Reform); the International Trade Summit in Washington, DC, in conjunction with the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber’s Annual DC Trip; FMS briefings, including industry updates from the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command (USASAC); the 7th Annual Global Supply Chain & Logistics Summit in partnership with the Export Alabama Alliance; and culminating with the 35th Anniversary World Trade Day Luncheon Celebration on November 1, 2018.

Plans are underway to continue NAITA’s efforts. As HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and other life sciences firms grow, NAITA stands ready to assist in launching these firms into the international marketplace. An exciting partnership initiative will be announced soon! Please contact Anne Burkett, NAITA Executive Director, at 256532-3505 or visit for information and to take advantage of global opportunities. NAITA is pleased to collaborate with our trade partners and with companies across North Alabama to further expand the availability of local and regional products and services around the globe. Article contributed by Amanda P. Berkey, Senior International Trade Specialist, Madison County Commission Department of Planning & Economic Development A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

EXPANDING OUR TEAM IN HUNTSVILLE IBERIABANK is pleased to introduce several key additions to our local team as well as several promotions. Nancy Dollar, SVP, Commercial Relationship Manager. Nancy has 23 years of banking experience with expertise in complex credit, underwriting and managing large C&I relationships. She most recently joined us from Synovus in Huntsville.

Alison Cannon – SVP, Commercial Relationship Manager. Alison has 16 years of banking experience with expertise in underwriting, Commercial Real Estate and managing C&I relationships. She most recently joined us from FirstBank in Huntsville.

Chris Jackson, AVP, Commercial Portfolio Manager. Chris has 10 years of banking experience. He will focus on managing credit and building new C&I and small business client relationships. Chris most recently joined us from ServisFirst Bank in Huntsville. Stephanie Hendon, VP, Private Banking Relationship Manager. Stephanie has 14 years of banking experience and expertise in working with high net worth clients. Stephanie has been with IBERIABANK for 4 years managing our Mayfair office.

Tara Thome, Bank Officer, Loan Portfolio Manager. Tara has 18 years of banking experience. She has been with IBERIABANK since February of 2011 serving as a Client Relationship Assistant. We are pleased to have Tara expand her role and client relationship management responsibilities. Melissa Lang, Client Relationship Assistant. Melissa has 15 years of retail and management experience. She has been with IBERIABANK since 2016. We are pleased to have Melissa transition to our Private Banking Team as Client Relationship Assistant.

We welcome our newest associates to our Huntsville team. Each associate has a wealth of banking knowledge, solid client relationship management experience and a deep understanding of the market which will help us continue to deliver superior financial solutions and unrivaled client service to our local clients.

Special Moment as Lynn Troy named Executive Winner by Claire Aiello Troy said she was completely shocked to hear her name called as the 2018 winner of the Russell G. Brown Executive Leadership Award at the Small Business Awards Celebration on August 14. Troy climbed the stairs and said she was shaking as emcee Hank Isenberg took her hand and gently reminded her to breathe. “I was stunned,” Troy said. 22

initiatives oct 2018




Above pics (L-R): Troy with Dr. Teresa Orok, Executive Director for Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Economic Development, Alabama A&M University; Troy with Dr. Jason Greene, Dean of the College of Business, The University of Alabama in Huntsville. Weeks later, she says she’s still in awe. Like many Southern ladies, Troy said she is working on thank you notes for many people who have sent congratulations and gifts. “I’m incredibly honored. I think the outpouring, even from the other contenders – everyone’s kindness and support for me has been overwhelming,” said Troy. “I feel blessed to live in Huntsville and be a part of this community. I think across the board, people are supportive of each other’s success.” There were 24 contenders, all active community leaders and CEOs with impressive resumés. Troy said several of them are her close friends and colleagues.

Leadership & Culture Growing up in Arab, Alabama, and a proud UAH alumnus, Troy is the CEO of Troy 7, Inc. and part owner of Rocket Republic Brewing Co. Both companies are making news – Rocket Republic recently hosted the announcement party for the new Rocket City Trash Pandas baseball team, and they’re hoping to sell beer in the new stadium once it’s built. Troy 7, Inc. is a woman-owned small aerospace engineering corporation supporting missile defense and space flight missions. It has won a Best Places To Work® award for the past six years. “Professionally, winning the Best Places to Work® award is what I am most proud of,” Troy said without hesitation. “I think the reason that means so much to our entire leadership team, not just to me, is because we really, really believe in taking care of our Troy 7 family. Everybody wins if our employees are happy.” Troy said she firmly believes in reading employee comments from the surveys. “I always go back and dissect these. Are my women happy? Are my male employees happy? My young employees – am I taking care of my millennials? I’m constantly taking that report apart, deconstructing it,” Troy said. “The employees take the time to put the comments in there, so I want to pore over them and improve where we can. It is our report card every year, for the leadership of Troy 7.” Troy said she looks forward to engaging with the University of Alabama in Huntsville and Alabama A&M University over the next year, as part of her win. By the way, Troy was recently named to the Alabama Media Group’s 2018 Women Who Shape the State. Thirty women were named to the group, including Lisa Williams of Huntsville. A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

Russell G. Brown: A Reflection The annual award is named after one of Huntsville’s longtime business and community leaders – being the first recipient of the Chamber’s Executive of the Year award in 1986. Russell G. Brown was co-founder and CEO of DP Associates, after having worked at Northrop Grumman. Brown was a native of Knoxville and moved to Huntsville in 1965, joining Northrop Grumman as an information processing analyst on projects for Marshall Space Flight Center. Over the next 40 years, he served in many roles, including numerous committees and task forces for Huntsville City Schools, Alabama A&M University, J.F. Drake State Community & Technical College, Oakwood University, and the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He was also a board member for Leadership Alabama and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. Brown also served as board chair of Huntsville Hospital, the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber, and the Huntsville Planning Commission. “He was a great leader, and he helped transform the face of the city through his work on the commission,” said former Huntsville Mayor Steve Hettinger. Brown was an example of a servant/leader who was active with church and civic activities while still leading his own company. “I don’t know how he kept all those fronts going,” Hettinger added. Brown died of pancreatic cancer in 2010 at the age of 66. Source:

~ more Stars of the Masquerade on pages 24-27 oct 2018 initiatives




#SBA2018 It’s one of our favorite nights of the year – the Small Business Awards! We were delighted to celebrate with you on August 14. Check out the 2018 honorees on pages 26-27...


initiatives oct 2018


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Masquerade Memories, from page 24

The awards were presented by Hank Isenberg, Chamber Vice Chair of Small Business & Events, and President of IronMountain Solutions.

Young Professional of the Year:

Culinary Business of the Year:

Nonprofit of the Year:

Emerging Business of the Year:

Technology Business of the Year:

Government Contracting – Professional Services Business of the Year:

Professional Services Business of the Year:

Government Contracting – Technology Business of the Year:

Kristina Sexton, NXTSTEP Family Law, P.C.

Downtown Rescue Mission

Summit Information Solutions, Inc.

Capstone Realty


initiatives oct 2018

Earth and Stone Wood Fired Pizza

Rocket City Digital


Canvas, Inc.


Service Business of the Year:


Matt Curtis Real Estate, Inc.

Local “Creative” of the Year

Pizzelle’s Confections, LLC

Medical Practice of the Year:

Flint River Dental

Woman-Owned Business of the Year:

Canvas, Inc. (pictured left)

Russell G. Brown Executive Leadership Award:

Lynn Troy, Troy 7, Inc.


oct 2018 initiatives



Construction Primer Recent Industry Insights Covers Multiple Opportunities


ere at the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber, we work to ensure that businesses are successful. We do this in many ways – some address immediate business needs, like lobbying on behalf of our businesses’ interests, and some of them are much longer term. One of those longer-term focuses is ensuring that our businesses have adequate supply of workforce. In order to do this, we have developed an Industry Insights program to share knowledge about career opportunities in North Alabama with educators and nonprofit representatives. We work with different partners to give participants a close look at jobs available in different fields. This way, they can take their experience and share it with young people considering their futures.

Lee Holland, Turner’s Huntsville Business Manager, spoke with teachers, career coaches, and others about how the project has unfolded and how subcontractors were carefully selected, based on past performances, resources, and ability to meet the schedule. These include plumbers, electricians, iron workers, mechanical contractors, concrete companies, as well as others who specialize in fire protection, storm drainage, and sanitation. “This process is very schedule-driven,” said Holland. “We had a very rainy spring, and workers are now on site six days a week to keep on schedule.” There has been no lost time, though – meaning no injuries. Denny Lulfs, Superintendent, and Justin Lanfair, Project Manager, pressed the importance of safety training with each person on site – and constant communication with different groups of workers to get their input on what’s going well, and what needs improvement. “Every injury is preventable. The goal is not just to finish on time, but to finish injury free,” said Holland. “It’s creating a culture of awareness – it all ties together. A clean job site is a safe job site.” After the talk, the group toured inside the building under construction, inside the massive concrete walls now in place. Lulfs showed how plans are being made for utility lines, a reinforced storm room in the center, a testing structure outside, and more.

Discussions with Industry Professionals

On August 20, our topic was construction. Participants had the opportunity to go on a tour of a construction site and hear from a variety of construction industry professionals.

Touring New Advanced Manufacturing Facility Participants had the exciting opportunity to go on the job with Turner Construction at the new Aerojet Rocketdyne Advanced Manufacturing Facility being built in North Huntsville Industrial Park. 28

initiatives oct 2018

Later that day at the Chamber, participants heard from others involved in construction, including Wendy Lee of LeeHouse Homebuilding, Larry Durham of Durham Heating & Air, Rocky Rose of Turner Construction, and Kristine Harding of KPS Group. The afternoon discussions had three main goals: (1) Sharing with participants an idea of the wide range of opportunities and compensation for careers in construction; (2) Emphasizing skills young people should be practicing now to be successful in their careers; and (3) Encouraging participants to change the “stigma” around craft training and forgoing or postponing a 4-year degree. One of the most spirited discussions was focused on the imporA HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

Above: A group of about 20 educators and nonprofit representatives toured the Aerojet Rocketdyne construction site in North Huntsville on August 20. Turner Construction representatives explained how the process is unfolding day by day. At left: Workers show us the different parts of the building under construction, including the testing structure located next to the plant.

tance of soft skills. Our panelists were all in agreement – careers in construction provide great opportunities for young people, but you have to dress appropriately for your job interview, look your boss in the eye, and show up on time. They encouraged the group to talk with students about developing soft skills. Without soft skills, the young people will struggle to find success in any career, not just in construction.

Future Sessions Who attends Industry Insights programs? We invite educators


in our three public school systems, career coaches from across North Alabama, and nonprofit representatives who do workforce development. If you know anyone in these categories who would be interested in a future outing, please email Georgina Chapman: Upcoming scheduled events for 2019 include a look at the hospitality industry on February 12 and Supply Chain Logistics on April 14.

Claire Aiello & Jill Jensen

oct 2018 initiatives



Steve Hill, AEgis Technologies Group Q: What sets your company apart from the rest of the local pack? A: At AEgis Technologies, we sincerely value and invest in our people to build careers, not jobs. We provide a beneficial work environment and flexibility that is family friendly, and we pursue projects that truly make a difference – we love technical challenges. As such, our focus is on developing high technology solutions that solve our customers’ most challenging problems and ensure their success. We work hard at innovation – constantly striving to improve products, services, and training solutions by creatively implementing leading or bleeding edge technology and processes. Our team has made recent exceptional advances in Virtual Reality Simulation and Training, Gaming, Directed Energy, Satellite Communications, and Big Data Interoperability. We also love our community and feel it’s both a responsibility and an honor to pay it forward.

Q: Why does AEgis support HREGI, the Huntsville Regional Economic Growth Initiative? A: We have a civic responsibility to be involved in our community in a meaningful way. At AEgis, we really believe that a rising tide raises all boats, and our HREGI investment is paying strong dividends to our community and to AEgis. The Chamber is doing an outstanding job utilizing their resources to lead the exceptional economic development in North Alabama in recent years. Chamber initiatives in workforce development, education and training; impacting government agendas and funding for our region; providing partnership and networking opportunities and supporting small business are all top notch and valuable to our company.

Q: Has being a member of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber helped your company? A: Absolutely! Strong economic growth and impacting government agendas and funding have led directly to the growth of our company. Our community’s growth, additional jobs, and tax base have allowed north Alabama leadership to invest in numerous enrichment projects – truly making Huntsville/Madison/Madison County a great place to live and work. Our employees love the area, so retention is very high, and the enhanced reputation of our community through national and international recognition has made recruiting top talent much easier than in the past – both of these factors are great for business!

Building in the Community for over 60 years

#1 builder of healthcare facilities in the U.S.

$2B in healthcare construction annually

HREGI Investor

336 James Record Road | Huntsville, AL | 256.461.6700 |


initiatives oct 2018



Higher Standards Advice on Improving Your Company’s Employee Culture


he nomination process is now open for the 2019 Best Places to Work® Awards, which will be held April 16, 2019 at the Von Braun Center. These awards are determined by employees, and we often hear from companies who want to know how to improve their workplace culture. Nominate a company (including yours) at

they have more frequent interactions. Create opportunities for cross-functional teams to connect. Companies that cultivate an environment where friendships at work can flourish benefit from more engaged employees, which is linked to increase in performance.

3 Keys to Cultivate the Best Place to Work

Recall the last time you played a video game. As the game progressed, the challenges increased. In the workplace, many employees experience a decrease in job difficulty as they master the skills. What can we learn from playing video games? We know what the goals are, we get immediate feedback on our performance, and we are recognized when we experience success. We become more competent as the game increases in difficulty, we learn new skills, and we grow in competence. Imagine that model at your workplace.

What do the ‘best places to work for’ have in common? Perhaps that they are distinctly different yet uniquely in tune with their culture and the set of behaviors that form their organization. While there is much scientific research on this topic, many organizations neglect the application of best practices in the workplace. You can change that! If you lead an organization or a team, how are you applying scientifically based research to create an environment where people thrive? In the book, The Best Place to Work, Ron Friedman, who is a social psychologist with an emphasis on human behavior, provides the user guide to workplace psychology. The book bursts with scientific research and offers practical application to bridge the gap between science and the workplace. Friedman states, “Psychological needs are at the heart of employee engagement.” What people need is psychologically fulfilling experiences. They need to feel competent at work, connected to the people they work with, and experience autonomy in how they perform their work. Here are the top three scientifically based actions any company can incorporate into their organizational culture:

1. You need to encourage friendships at work. People have a fundamental need for connection. We need to know that those who we work with appreciate us and value our contributions. People are more likely to become friends when A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

2. You need to make jobs grow more challenging.

3. You need to allow for autonomy at work. Do you want to be in control of your destiny? Most people would answer ‘yes’. Autonomy is about allowing your employees to feel empowered to do the work. You can share how the work adds value to the organization and your clients and ask open-ended questions such as “What can I do to help you lead this?” People who find autonomy in their work feel empowered and in control, which leads to more fulfilling work experience and higher engagement. Has your organization successfully incorporated connection, challenge, and autonomy in the workplace?

Article contributed by Pam Marmon, founder of Marmon Consulting, a growth management firm that helps growing companies scale by providing strategy and execution to break the growth barrier. To read the full article, go to

~ more about Best Places to Work® on page 32 oct 2018 initiatives


Best Places, from page 31

Listening Skills Insights from Both an Experienced and First-time Winner


ntuitive Research and Technology Corporation in Huntsville has won a Best Places To Work® Award for the past 11 years. You might say they have the process down pat, but INTUITIVE President Vergenia Shelton says the survey provides extremely valuable data every year, and they use it to compare to past years. “We take into consideration what our employees have to say, and then we choose a course of action based on their wants, needs, and desires,” said Shelton. “Receiving the data and being able to evaluate what our employees have to say has played an important role in building our culture and in being a consistent winner.” Shelton adds it is important for employees to be proud of where they work and excited about what they do. “This particular award is special to us because it takes into consideration how our employees feel about the company. This award validates that our people are happy in their workplace. The Best Place to Work award is so important because it symbolizes the hard work that our leadership and our employees put in to make INTUITIVE a great place to work.” Yellowhammer Brewing, Inc. won for the first time in 2018, and


initiatives oct 2018

the crowd went wild with applause. Owner Ethan Couch said it gave his team a big boost. “It meant a huge deal to me and my management team that we’re not just about making good beer, but that we are creating a positive environment for a new workforce in Huntsville,” said Couch. “It gave us all a pat on the back, but it also made us want to do more for our team. You have to live up to your awards!” Couch said getting employee feedback is very important. “That’s how we operate on a daily basis. Our best work and progress comes from experiential growth, learning from our mistakes, and making the most of our successes. The surveys definitely helped us steer the company in a new direction. He has one other piece of advice, too.  “It helps to have good beer at the end of a hard day’s work. It sounds funny, but that time we get to hang out together means a lot to everyone feeling like family. I won’t hesitate to help anyone on our team, and they have my back every day. It takes time, but the more we move as a team the more we are able to accomplish together,” Couch added.


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backstory At right: Von Braun tours President John F. Kennedy around the Marshall Space Flight Center. Below: Dr. Wernher von Braun in his office at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. He was the center’s first director.

American Hero Dr. Wernher von Braun: A Complicated Character


s a community with a number of buildings and facilities dedicated to the memory of Dr. Wernher von Braun, from time to time we are asked how we reconcile our community’s affection and respect for a man we see as an American hero who also worked for Nazi Germany.

The man at the center of humanity’s greatest technical achievement, landing a man safely on the Moon and returning him to Earth, was a complicated character with an equally complicated background. He was a musician, composer, writer, physicist, orator, engineer, leader, scientist, theologian, hero, and according to some, a villain. 34

initiatives oct 2018

His life’s story, from his early fixation on the cosmos and rocketry, to his role developing missiles – first for the Germans and later, missiles and spacecraft for the USA – is too convoluted to be anything other than reality. No writer of fiction would dare such an outrageous storyline. His superior intellect, passion for life, and leadership skills cannot be denied. The central question surrounding von Braun’s legacy then becomes how we choose to deal with his association with Hitler’s Nazi party, his role in the German military’s development of missiles, and his culpability in any of the atrocities committed by them. Some people have attempted to reframe the famous rocket scientist as an ardent Nazi and have raised moral questions concerning his complicity in certain activities. Much has been written about von Braun over the years, and it offers a rich history of the man and his place in history. First to the moral questions concerning von Braun’s role supporting the development of weapons for the German military and later for the U.S. It is a sad fact that many of our technological advances have military roots. The Wright brothers’ first contract to produce airplanes was with the U.S. Army. Alfred Nobel funded the Nobel Peace Prize with the proceeds from his development of dynamite and his family’s armaments business. Advances in metallurgy, chemistry, aviation, nuclear physics, ship building, and many other areas all owe some connection with the dark side of the human enterprise of war. Von Braun’s role in the development of missiles does not make him any more complicit than any of these other players in advancing the science of weapons. As men and nations have sought to defend themselves from one another and to exercise power over others, they have underwritten scientists and engineers to advance the instruments of war. Von Braun began his work for the German army long before Hitler initiated his invasion of its neighboring countries or the beginning of WWII. And so the question becomes: Are scientists and soldiers who develop and use materiel in wars caused by the leaders of their governments guilty of violating an unforgivable moral law? When asked this question in 1971, von Braun responded with the following: “I have often been asked how could I produce weapons of war, and I have read many essays on the moral aspects of this general question, which I guess is as old as war itself, and thus as old as A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

mankind. From my own experience, I can only say this: “when your country is at war, when friends are dying, when your family is in constant danger, when the bombs are bursting around you and you lose your own home, the concept of a just war becomes very vague and remote, and you strive to inflict on the enemy as much or more than you and your relatives and friends have suffered.” Of course, von Braun’s detractors wish to associate him with the evil objectives of the Nazi party and Hitler. Von Braun clearly never gave much thought to politics or the morality of his enterprise. He dreamed of space travel. He avoided joining the Nazi party until 1938, many years after


Hitler had risen to power (membership number 5,738,692), when the pressure to do so became unavoidable. Had von Braun been philosophically aligned with the ideals of the Nazis, joining earlier would have been expedient for his missile development efforts. He likewise avoided a commission in the Schutzstaffel, the “Blackshirt” branch of the “SS” until it became a “life or death decision,” according to those closest to von Braun. SS Reichsfuhrer Himmler persisted with demands that von Braun join his organization, and a rejection would have been an extremely dangerous show of disloyalty. After a third petition from Himmler, von Braun consented. He very simply chose to live. Even von Braun critic Dr. Michael Neufeld acknowledged that the Peenemünde rocket scientists were largely apolitical, “none shows any sign of having been a Nazi ideologue.” (Rocket and the Reich, p. 47) His dreams of space travel landed him in a Gestapo jail where he spent two weeks awaiting trial for remarks that he was more interested in the A-4 missile as a space vehicle than a weapon. He was released on probation shortly after his 32nd birthday in mid-trial when his Peenemünde commander secured an order from Hitler directing his release. He served two 90-day probationary periods – though von Braun’s position was precarious at best, from this time forward. The facts do not support the assertion that von Braun was anything other than a reluctant member of the Nazi party or that he was complicit in any of the atrocities. In a 1971 response to a letter addressed to him at NASA’s headquarters, von Braun said

continued on page 37

oct 2018 initiatives


communityprofile Population

Madison City of County Huntsville

City of Huntsville Madison Metro Area

Top Ten Employers: Huntsville & Madison County Redstone Arsenal* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35,866* Huntsville Hospital System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8,730

2010 Census





NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6,000

2018 Census est.





Huntsville City Schools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,079





The Boeing Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,600

% Growth

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

Households & Income # of Households




Avg. Household Income $81,399

$74,749 $111,800


Per Capita Income






Sources: U.S. Census Bureau (, 2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates

SAIC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,229 City of Huntsville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,206 The University of Alabama in Huntsville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,675 ADTRAN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,549 Source: Huntsville/Madison County Chamber *includes on-site contractors

Aerospace & Defense Huntsville/Madison County is home to the U.S. Army Redstone Arsenal and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center which combine to drive a thriving aerospace and defense technology industry. More than 41,000 people work at Redstone Arsenal and NASA, managing some of the country’s most important and sophisticated technology programs including missiles, aviation, and space exploration.

Research & Technology Huntsville’s Cummings Research Park has earned a reputation as a global leader in technology development. The second-largest science and

For more information, visit:

technology research park in the U.S., Cummings Research Park is home

and development.

to nearly 300 companies and 26,500 people involved in technology research

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initiatives oct 2018


American Hero, from page 35

“I do not remember ever having heard of a single incident of an atrocity [while working for the German army], let alone of deliberate mass killings of civilians. If you find this hard to believe, you have merely to ask yourself how long after the event it was that you first heard about the massacre at Mylai in Vietnam, and this in a country with a free press eager to unearth unpleasant facts, rather than in one with a rigidly controlled press determined to protect tightly held state secrets and to withhold anything from public purview that Hitler wanted the population not to know about… As you know, the extent of the actual suffering and the criminal mass slaughter of the Jewish people became known to the world only many months after the hostilities ended, and it was only then that I learned of these things myself. I was deeply shocked and have ever since been ashamed of having been associated with a regime that was capable of such brutality. And, along with many millions of my former fellow countrymen who learned about these atrocities only after the war was over, I know that our generation must accept our share of the guilt for what happened.” Von Braun became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1955, along with over 100 of his German compatriots, nearly 10 years to the day that he had surrendered to U.S. soldiers in Germany. On the occasion of his naturalization, General Holger Toftoy remarked that at the time they met at a schoolhouse in Germany, even though he “promised them no future,” this “great team of rocket engineers and scientists had achieved much.” And, in a moment of great


portending he added, “I am sure that the future holds even greater things for you.” Von Braun told locals that it was “one of the proudest and most significant days of my life… almost like getting married. I am very, very happy.” Von Braun’s work for the U.S. Army developing missiles helped to achieve an uneasy peace through the development of the U.S. counterbalance in the Cold War policy of Mutual Assured Destruction. Had the U.S. lacked the necessary nuclear missile potency to stand toe-to-toe with the Soviets, it is much more likely that Soviet aggression would have played itself out in a shooting war, which the U.S. would have been ill prepared to fight. Of course, the moon shot was the Cold War coup de grâce, delivered against the Soviets compliments of von Braun and company. In a speech at Belmont Abbey in 1971, von Braun said “Since time immemorial, there have always been men and women who felt a burning desire to know what was under the rock, beyond the hills, across the oceans. This restless breed now wants to know what makes an atom work; through what process life reproduces itself, or what is the geological history of the moon. But also there should not be a single great accomplishment in the history of mankind without faith. Any man who strives to accomplish something, needs a degree of faith in himself. And whenever he takes on a challenge that requires more moral strength that he can muster with his own limited mental and spiritual resources, he needs faith in God.” Mike Ward

oct 2018 initiatives



A Smart Place to Give Community Foundation Finds Plethora of Philanthropists


ompanies look at many factors when deciding where to locate: quality of life, a strong workforce, good schools, and affordable housing are just a few. Stuart Obermann, CEO and President of the Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville, said there is another aspect he’d like to see added to the list. “I think something that’s really important to everyone who lives here, but also valuable to companies considering locating to the Tennessee Valley, is that this is a very philanthropic community,” said Obermann. “Whether from individuals and certainly from our corporate community, we give back a lot.” The Community Foundation’s mission is to improve our community’s quality of life through philanthropy, and focuses on eight aspects to achieve this: emergency relief, education, basic needs, environment, health and wellness, neighborhoods and community, economy, and lifestyle. “Our belief is all of those categories affect how we perceive our quality of life and impact daily living, so we make grants in all of those areas. Most nonprofits either work in a single category, or perhaps two or three categories,” said Obermann. “That might be health and human services, that might be providing basic needs or feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, or education. What is unique about the Community Foundation is we aren’t working in any one field, we’re very broad. I like to say we take a holistic view of the quality of life of our community, and we believe that investing in all of these areas is necessary in order to move the needle in a positive way for everyone in our community.” The Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville was incorporated in 2008. In nine years, it has raised more than $27 million of charitable assets and has distributed, on behalf of donors, over $12 million in grant funding to nonprofit organizations. Although donors can contribute to any 501(c)(3) organization in the United States, many choose to invest their grant dollars locally, with more than 70 percent of grants remaining in Madison County to meet community needs. You might think corporations are the biggest givers in our area. Not so, said Obermann. Most of the philanthropy in Huntsville and Madison County comes from individuals and families.

Recent Move Until recently, the Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville leased office space in the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber 38

initiatives oct 2018

building. Earlier this year, it moved to a new location: 303 Williams Avenue, Suite 1031. As the nonprofit continues to grow, Obermann and his team want to make sure their mission reaches more people too, including companies who want to establish a vehicle for charitable giving as well as individuals.

L-R: Katie Woods, Ann Kvach, Stuart Obermann and Melissa Turner. Not pictured: Preeti Francis

Corporate Giving Network Each quarter, the foundation hosts meetings of the Corporate Giving Network, a professional network of business associates within the Greater Huntsville area who engage in corporate philanthropy and/or community relations. Obermann said the purpose of the group is to grow generosity by inspiring and supporting corporations who give back, and to encourage communication A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

and peer-to-peer networking. “We set this up because we found out everyone was going through grant applications and no one was talking to each other. If there is discussion and collaboration amongst the corporate funders, we can do a better job of strategically allocating resources to agencies and programs that can have the greatest impact, not just the ‘shiny objects’ that might be the most high-profile,” said Obermann. ERC, Incorporated is one company active in the Corporate Giving Network. Michele Armstrong, who handles charitable gifts and community outreach for the company, said it is helpful to get together with her peers to share best practices. “We talk about what’s worked to get our employees involved in different giving efforts,” said Armstrong. “Before this, we didn’t really talk amongst ourselves unless we ran into each other at conferences or other events.” In addition, ERC has two funds with the Community Foundation: the Helping Hands Fund, which supports local charities, and an Employee Hardship Fund, which helps employees who suffer financial hardship. “The benevolence [Employee Hardship] fund was the sole topic of our last meeting, because several companies are interested in doing this for their employees,” Armstrong added.

Sharing the Message More companies are seeing the importance of giving back, and Obermann said his team continues with outreach to make sure members of the community, especially new companies, know how to tap in to philanthropy. He adds this is an important aspect for young employees, to see their company contributing to worth-


while causes. “This new generation of donors wants to be more actively engaged with their companies’ charitable giving activities,” said Obermann. IronMountain Solutions recently established an employee giving fund through the Community Foundation. Even though the Employee Peaks Fund is just a few months old, the company just accepted applications from nonprofit organizations who would like to receive grant money. “We have several committees that do volunteer work, but there was a desire to do more,” said Will Mason, an IronMountain employee who also serves as the fund’s chair. “This fund is 100-percent employee supported. The company put up $10,000 to get things started, but with our contributions, we hope to reach $40,000 by the end of the year.” Obermann said the Community Foundation’s model allows for flexibility and transparency based on what local causes an individual or business would like to direct dollars to help. “Huntsville is a philanthropic community. Our corporations are a vital part of that – they’re very active, they love the community and our high quality of life, and many companies are very active in giving back to try to improve that quality of life,” said Obermann. “If that’s their philosophy, then the Community Foundation can help them achieve that in a way that it’s not a one-size-fits-all model. The one thing that truly makes Community Foundations unique is we have extreme flexibility in developing a vehicle (or a set of vehicles) or funds that meet the specific and unique charitable giving needs and culture of a company.”

Claire Aiello

oct 2018 initiatives



Volunteers Needed for The Wall That Heals Huntsville will host The Wall That Heals, a traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, November 1-4 at John Hunt Park. The Wall is free to the public and will be open 24 hours a day. It honors the more than three million Americans who served in the U.S. Armed Forces in the Vietnam War, displaying the names of more than 58,000 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice. There is also a mobile Education Center with exhibits to help visitors gain a better understanding of the legacy of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the collection of items left at the wall in Washington, D.C. Volunteers are needed to take shifts and serve in various roles. If your organization or company would like to help, please sign up at

Chamber Approves Position Statement Opposing Proposed Foreign Auto Tariffs

Helping people with disabilities achieve employment for over 45 years Helping businesses connect with motivated employees throughout North Alabama

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initiatives oct 2018

At our August Board of Directors meeting, the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber Board approved a position statement opposing proposed foreign auto tariffs. The position statement reviews the findings necessary to impose such a tariff and determines that the current situation does not meet the required threat to national security threshold. In order to impose tariffs, the Secretary of the Department of Commerce must determine that there is a threat to national security created by the importation of automobiles and parts. Absent such a threat to national security, there is no justification in the law for such tariffs. Imposing new taxes on foreign autos would impact many local companies, including automotive manufacturers and suppliers such as Toyota with substantial operations in the U.S. These types of jobs are growing in North Alabama, and we believe the tariffs would adversely impact the local, regional and national economy. We also feel these would cost jobs here in our region and around the U.S. We ask you, our Chamber members to contact our Congressional delegation and/or the Secretary of the Department of Commerce to make our voice stronger. We’ve posted direct email links, and our position statement in full on A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

Christmas in November

Visit   to learn how you can participate  and hear the inspiring story of Lincoln Village Ministry  from founder Mark Stearns on November 29th

BUILDING A BETTER HUNTSVILLE Your Trusted Partner for Life

100 Essex Court, Suite C, Madison, AL 35758. 256-772-4646. Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc. Investor’s Resource is not a registered broker/dealer and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services. Raymond James is not affiliated with Mark Stearns or Lincoln Village Ministry.

Huntsville/Madison County Chamber

STA FF Executive Staff

“Bryant Bank and

Mike Johnston are central partners of ours. Their trust and understanding of our unique and complex situations have been critical to our success.”

Chip Cherry, CCE, president & CEO Meghan Chambliss, executive assistant / economic development coordinator

Economic Development, Industry Relations & Workforce Lucia Cape, CCE, senior vice president Erin Koshut, executive director, Cummings Research Park Georgina Chapman, workforce director Lydia Pennington, industry relations director Ken Smith, research & information services director Will West, economic development project director

Government & Public Affairs Mike Ward, CCE, senior vice president Austin Bullock, program manager

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

Membership Kristy Drake, director, investor relations & ChamberON Donna McCrary, retention manager Richard Bigoney, account executive Tina Blankenship, account executive Keith Johnson, account executive

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

Finance & Administration Mary McNairy, vice president Kim Weeks, accounting specialist – receivables Lori Warner, accounting specialist – payables Joe Watson, facilities supervisor Annette Atchley, resource desk coordinator Gina Gonzalez, resource desk assistant

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

Associated Organizations



initiatives oct 2018




2018 Redstone Update sessions & luncheon




29 FEB

State of the City Address with Mayor Tommy Battle



04 FEB

Chamber’s Annual Holiday Open House



State of the County Address with Chairman Dale Strong

Annual Membership Meeting with keynote speaker: Chris Voss, former

FBI terrorist negotiator

State of the Schools cohosted by The Schools Foundation

06 MAR


Montgomery Trip Tuesday-Wednesday, March 26- 27


Washington DC Trip Sunday-Tuesday, May 5-7

05 For all upcoming events & workshops, please check:

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Initiatives - October 2018  
Initiatives - October 2018