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Humphrey’s Bar & Grill

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U.S. Space & Rocket Center


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table of contents

2018 Guide To

HUNTSVILLE Madison County, Alabama

This publication was produced by Advance Central Services Alabama on behalf of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber whose outstanding cooperation we gratefully acknowledge.

Editorial and advertising offices located at 200 Westside Square, Suite 100 Huntsville, AL 35801 EDITOR Terry Schrimscher Advance Central Services Alabama ART DIRECTOR Michelle Moeck Advance Central Services Alabama ADVERTISING SALES Carl Bates cbates@acsal.com Advance Central Services Alabama

Chamber Executive Committee. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chamber Board of Directors. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chamber News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

• ChamberON Technology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . • By the Numbers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . • The Power of the Chamber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Economic Development. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Technology. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

For membership information, contact: Huntsville/Madison County Chamber 225 Church Street NW Huntsville, AL 35801 256.535.2000 phone 256.535.2015 fax hsvchamber.org

Education. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Copyright©2017 Huntsville/Madison County Chamber All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. All photos provided by Alabama Media Group unless otherwise noted.


Letter from the 2018 Board Chair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

For more information about this publication Advance Central Services Alabama 1731 First Avenue North Birmingham, AL 35203 205.325.2237

The Discover Huntsville/Madison County magazine is published and distributed free of charge to members of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber and to various businesses and individuals who are engaged in business or who reside in Huntsville/Madison County, Alabama. The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber also uses the Discover Huntsville/Madison County magazine as a marketing resource to provide to individuals and businesses requesting more information about moving their business or residence to Huntsville/Madison County.

• hsvchamber.org

7 8 10 12 14 18 20 22 26 34 42 46 56 60 68 74 76 82 86

Chamber Staff. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The Arts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Real Estate. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Community . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Healthcare . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Life Sciences. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Things to Do in Huntsville/Madison County. . . . . . . . . Dining & Retail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sustainability. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

chamber staff business/industry HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER



Kim Savage, accounting specialist – receivables Lori Warner, accounting specialist – payables Joe Watson, facilities supervisor

Kristi Sherrard, graphic designer

Chip Cherry, CCE, president & CEO

Hiroko Sedensky, web designer

Amy Locke, executive assistant


Annette Atchley, resource desk coordinator

Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville


Margarita Horton, resource desk assistant

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, INDUSTRY RELATIONS & WORKFORCE Lucia Cape, CCE, senior vice president Jill Bruton, workforce development director Erin Koshut, Cummings Research Park director Lydia Pennington, industry relations director

Will West, project manager

FINANCE & ADMINISTRATION Mary McNairy, vice president

Claire Aiello, director


Ken Smith, research & information services director

GOVERNMENT & PUBLIC AFFAIRS Mike Ward, CCE, senior vice president

Robert Recker, senior vice president, investor relations


Donna McCrary, membership retention manager

The Schools Foundation

Kristy Drake, ChamberON & investor relations manager

UAH Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

Tina Blankenship, membership account executive



Tiffany Miller, membership account executive


Eloise Stanley, membership account executive

225 Church Street NW Huntsville, AL 35801 phone 256-535-2000 fax 256-535-2015 HSVchamber.org

SMALL BUSINESS & EVENTS Pammie Jimmar, IOM, vice president Devon Elston, coordinator

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Discover Huntsville/Madison County 2018 •


2018 chair letter

Dear Friend of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber and our greater community, Thank you for choosing to learn more about our thriving area. This annual publication showcases some of the incredible talent and drive exemplified by Chamber members and partners. More than a listing of companies, events and neighborhoods, this compilation provides a glimpse into the passion of the people of the Huntsville/Madison County area. The essence of our economy is jobs, providing the foundation for our quality of life. The Chamber is the lead economic development entity for our area, and markets Huntsville/Madison County to the world. Helping existing industry expand and attracting new industry is a key goal of our Chamber. Jobs mean income for our municipalities, our employers, and our citizens. Please take note of our companies and partners, which are diverse in industry, size and workforce. Please also note the investors in the Huntsville Regional Economic Growth Initiative (HREGI). They help the Chamber in recruiting, expanding and promoting the Huntsville/ Madison County area. Speaking of workforce, how does the Chamber prepare our community? The Chamber’s Foundation is the vehicle that exposes children of all ages to careers and trades – trades which maintain the quality and diversity of our workforce. When you combine training and continued education for all people, the result is a prepared and sustainable workforce, ready for any industry and company. Biotech, advanced manufacturing, engineering, finance and all levels of education – each of these are essential in our workforce. This edition of the Guide to Huntsville/ Madison County highlights large and small companies with diverse products and award-winning processes. With our excellent quality of life, low-cost living and diverse jobs, our ability to manage local and regional relationships is of critical importance. Our Chamber maintains a collaborative spirit, reaching out across city, county and state lines. The governmental, non-profit, consulting, economic development and Chamber-based organizations we deal with daily all contribute to our success – and we contribute to theirs. Our business community includes Redstone Arsenal, Marshall Space Flight Center, and the technology companies in Cummings Research Park. Assisting and collaborating with these, as well as regional chambers of commerce and public partners, continue to raise the bar for all citizens. Great things don’t happen by chance. The information in this publication represents a great team effort which has been going on for many years. Our community needs you and your contributions. I encourage you to consider personal or professional membership in the Huntsville/ Madison County Chamber. Your investment of money, time and talent will make a difference, and we will be a better people because of your involvement. Enjoy this publication, and please let us know how we may further assist you. Highest regards, Gary Bolton 2018 Board Chair Huntsville/Madison County Chamber


• hsvchamber.org

2018 chamber executive commitee

Kim Lewis

vice president, global marketing, ADTRAN, Inc.

chief executive officer, PROJECTXYZ, Inc.

Board Chair


president/chief executive officer, Redstone Federal Credit Union

Kevin Byrnes

Joe Newberry

Ron Poteat

Greg Brown

Immediate Past Chair

Chamber Foundation Chair


Alicia Ryan

Frank Williams

Hank Isenberg

Jeff Gronberg

Vice Chair – Economic Development & Industry Relations

Vice Chair – Government & Public Affairs

Vice Chair – Membership

Vice Chair – Small Business & Events

Vice Chair – Marketing & Communications

Rose Allen

Joe Ritch

Penny Billings

Mark Curran

David Fernandes

Vice Chair – Huntsville Regional Economic Growth Initiative (HREGI)

Vice Chair – TVBRAC


vice president, army programs/HSV operations, L3 Technologies, Inc.

Tommy Battle

Paul Finley

Dale Strong

Tracy Marion

Ex-Officio Member

Ex-Officio Member

Ex-Officio Member

General Counsel

vice president & center executive, Raytheon Company

president, INTERFUZE Corp.

mayor, City of Huntsville

10 • hsvchamber.org

chief executive officer, LSINC Corporation

attorney, Sirote & Permutt, PC

mayor, City of Madison

general manager, Landers McLarty Dodge Chrysler Jeep

division president, BancorpSouth - Huntsville

chairman, Madison County Commission

north alabama area executive, Regions Bank

president, IronMountain Solutions


attorney, Lanier Ford Shaver & Payne, P.C.

CFO / Co-CEO, Brown Precision, Inc.

president, deciBel Research, Inc.

president, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama, Inc. Chair-Appointed

Chip Cherry, CCE president &chief executive officer, Huntsville/Madison County Chamber

RE AL-07643351-01

Gary Bolton

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2018 chamber board of directors

Mike Alvarez

Bill Bailey

James Barclay

Mark Becnel

Blake Bentley

Eric Blackwell

Lynn Collyar

Deke Damson

Dr. Dorothy Davidson

John Eagan

Venturi, Inc.

Polaris Industries, Inc.

Joe Fehrenbach Mynaric USA

Steve Hill

Deloitte LLP

Trip Ferguson U.S. Space & Rocket Center

AEgis Technologies Group

12 • hsvchamber.org

Radiance Technologies, Inc.

S3, Inc.

Jerry Damson Honda Acura

Gene Goldman Leidos

Lee Holland

Turner Construction

RadioBro Corporation

Davidson Technologies, Inc.

Joni Green

Five Stones Research Corporation

Tharon Honeycutt MSB Analytics, Inc.


Mike Gullion

SCI Technology, Inc.

John Jordan KBRwyle

SportsMed Orthopaedic Surgery and Spine Center

Sean Kelly

Regions Bank

John Hall

All Points Logistics, LLC

2018 chamber board of directors

David King

Bob McCaleb

Janice Migliore

Craig Naudain

Chris Pape

Alana Parker

Leigh Pegues

Jim Rogers

Jeff Samz

Dr. Gurmej Sandhu

Dynetics, Inc.

Rocket City Drywall & Supply, Inc.

Sameer Singhal CFD Research Corporation

Beth Sippel

Northrop Grumman Corporation

PNC Bank

First Commercial Bank

Ken Tucker

The Boeing Company

PALCO Telecom Service, Inc.

Lockheed Martin Corporation

Robert Smith Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc.

Karockas Watkins Ability Plus, Inc.


Huntsville Hospital

Cynthia Streams Domino’s (Valley Pizza, Inc.)

Mike Watkins

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama

Sigmatech, Inc.

Tim Thornton nLogic, Inc.

Dennis Weese Line-X, LLC

Lanier Ford Shaver & Payne P.C.

Lynn Troy Troy 7, Inc.

Danny Windham Digium, Inc.

Discover Huntsville/Madison County 2018 • 13

chamber news


2017 Chair Chamber Board of Directors by Kimberly Ballard

A Redstone Federal Credit Union president & CEO Joe Newberry thrived in his role as the Chamber’s 2017 Board Chair, focusing on the Chamber’s long-term Strategic Plan.

lifelong resident of Huntsville and involved with the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber since 1987, Redstone Federal Credit Union president and CEO Joe Newberry stepped into his new position as the Chamber’s 2017 Board Chair with a long-term strategic agenda for 2017. Newberry’s career in the financial industry spans more than 39 years, beginning with 18 years with First American Savings and Loan Association in Huntsville. He joined Redstone Federal Credit Union (RFCU) 20 years ago, but spent a few months in 2007 as president and CEO of Achieva Credit Union in Clearwater, Florida. Missing home, he returned to RFCU in January 2008 to become its fourth President and CEO. Newberry is an active member of the Huntsville community, recognized and awarded for his community service with the local chapter of United Way, the American Red Cross, the Rotary Club of Greater Huntsville, The Schools Foundation, and the Alabama Space Science Exhibit Commission (U.S. Space & Rocket Center). In 2012, he was a recipient of the Martin Luther King Unity Award. “I got involved with the Chamber in 1987 when my boss, who was also chairman of the Chamber, asked me to create a team to sell Chamber memberships,” Newberry recalls. “I discovered that without an aggressive Chamber promoting economic development, businesses coming into this area that we call “A Smart Place”, companies will simply go somewhere else.”

Joe Newberry making remarks.

Newberry’s team broke the record for selling memberships, which had been set at the time by Huntsville’s Ray Pearman of Ray Pearman Lincoln. “I had breakfast with Ray several times, and I will never forget him telling me that if you really value your community, you will value your Chamber. They bring economic development to your community, along with rising tax revenues that pay for infrastructure like roads and parks. Those things affect your family and quality of life.” Now many years later, Newberry stands by that advice. “Tennessee Valley businesses owe it to their employees, their children, and future generations to build a healthy economy. The Chamber – with support from City, County, State, and Federal resources – is the catalyst that makes it happen.” continued on page 16

14 • hsvchamber.org

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Discover Huntsville/Madison County 2018 • 15

chamber news continued from page 14

However, he admits the Chamber faces some challenges. “I believe it is the Chamber Board of Directors’ job to provide leadership, direction, and guidance,” he says. “That involves providing an updated strategic plan the Chamber staff can execute on a day-today basis, based on our being a regional Chamber. “A lot has changed since the existing plan was written,” he continues. “The Tennessee Valley is unique in that we have a large commuter base that draws from more than a dozen surrounding counties, including Southern Tennessee. That makes us a regional Chamber with Madison County as the hub. Many people who work in Huntsville, live in Lincoln County, Tennessee, Athens, or Cullman, Alabama. They care about the quality of living in those communities as well.” Newberry says Huntsville already has a great deal of synergy with these communities. “I know Huntsville Mayor Tommy Bat-

tle believes we need to work with all of these communities as well because they overflow into Madison County,” he says. “It gives us an incentive to work with them, and them with us, to create a win-win situation.” One of the questions he hopes to answer is: With more than 2,100 Chamber members representing a variety of different business sectors, how do we continue to add value to that membership, year after year? Another challenge ahead is sector diversity. “Fifty percent of our economy is based on DoD and NASA,” says Newberry. “Many factors can change that rather quickly, so the Chamber is always assertively looking at ways to diversify. A good example of us effectively doing that is in advanced manufacturing. “ With companies like Polaris, Remington, Boeing and GE Aviation expanding or coming into the Tennessee Valley, he says the Chamber must continue to cultivate the smartest people. “Success produces more success, and yet that approach creates work-

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force challenges. We are all the time trying to develop an up-and-coming workforce for the needs we have,” Newberry explains. “We must continue to build on our highly skilled economic workforce well into the future.” Coming from a man who cut his teeth on Chamber membership, Newberry has an interesting take on its priorities. “To me, it’s not about getting a certain number of members. It’s adding value to the existing membership and showing other non-members there is real value in it, regardless of the business sector, or size of your business. “Unfortunately, I don’t think our members take advantage of all our Chamber’s resources and capabilities,” Newberry concludes. “There is a wealth of practical and strategic information available through the Chamber to help businesses grow and build relationships with customers and potential customers. We have to make sure that is out front.”

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chamber news business/industry


technology! ChamberON Sponsorships Embrace Technology While Adding Value to Chamber Memberships by Kimberly Ballard


hamber members who invest in the vision of a Tennessee Valley empowered by economic growth and quality of life, now have an excellent tool for sharing that idea through the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber’s ChamberON annual sponsorship campaign. Now three years in, ChamberON replaced the traditional Total Resource Cam“ChamberON addressed the paigns (TRC) used reality of today’s marketplace by chamber organizations in the past, with a and acknowledges that over dynamic new membertime, technology has changed focused approach that embraces technology in and marketing capabilities the digital age and helps change.” the Chamber better customize sponsorships -Kristy Drake, ChamberON & Investor to fit company needs. Relations Manager “ChamberON addressed the reality of today’s marketplace 18 • hsvchamber.org

and acknowledges that over time, technology has changed and marketing capabilities change,” replied Kristy Drake, ChamberON & Investor Relations Manager. “In keeping with our long-term strategic plan going forward that focuses on adding extra value to all our Chamber membership, we can now offer a lot more bang for your buck.” During the annual meeting of the Association of Chamber Executives (ACCE) in Savannah, Georgia in 2016, the HMCC’s ChamberON sponsorship catalog was recognized as the gold standard for what other chambers across the country should strive for, in their transition from traditional TRCs. “We have something for everybody, from small to large businesses, as well as enterprises like the Department of Defense (DoD), NASA, and Fortune 500 companies. Our sponsorships range from $35 to $15,000 and all of them are useful marketing tools for our members,” says Drake. ChamberON campaigns begin in mid-March and run through June at which time

business/industry chamber news

discounted pricing is available; however, members can buy sponsorships outside of those dates based on availability. The ChamberON approach has eliminated the need for the 50 to 80 membervolunteers needed to help sell sponsorships during campaign season, bringing the process down to 12 very focused volunteers overseen by Drake. “ChamberON is about us building relationships with our members,” says Drake. “Sponsors get to know their personal volunteer, but they also know they can come to me or to Robert Recker, Senior Vice President of Investor Relations, who will answer their questions about sponsorships and events. We will help determine exactly what the member wants and what kind of budget they have to invest.” By maintaining the nuts and bolts that make up the foundation of the old TRC program, HMCC’s ChamberON has refreshed and retooled it with more digital online marketing opportunities, which members understand are more effective than mailing out a postcard with the company’s logo on it. “Not only do members understand the need for change, but they are excited about it,” says Drake. “We had a campaign goal last year of $900,000 and we hit $922,000. That is 102 percent of our goal which is impressive for only our second year.” HMCC’s digital marketing pieces are the first sponsorships to sell out because they have the largest reach and biggest audience. Drake says it has happened several times that members who ‘wait to think about it’, often miss out because the odds are that sponsorship won’t be available for long. The good news is there are well over a thousand sponsorship opportunities available in the ChamberON catalog, from 30-second video announcements on Chamber videos, to presenting sponsorships for the annual State of the City Address, which draws more than 1,200 people every year. With over 2,000 members currently, Drake admits it takes time to reach everyone with these opportunities. “There is

still a large portion of members who aren’t familiar with all the Chamber has to offer. We are working to make sure we reach everybody. “We also want people to know that the money we make from these sponsorships doesn’t go into the Chamber’s coffers,” she laughs. “It goes toward bringing in important and often high profile speakers like

Senator Richard Shelby and Governor Kay Ivey as well as special keynote speakers for the Annual Membership Meeting. Those events reach a lot of people. Sponsors of Senator Shelby’s Washington Update at the VBC every year know they are going to have a huge audience made up of very active and engaged members, business leaders, and business executives.”

Discover Huntsville/Madison County 2018 • 19

chamber news business/industry

By the numbers MADISON COUNTY




2010 Census





2016 Census Est.









# of Households





Average Household Income





Per Capita Income






% Growth


Sources: U.S. Census Bureau (census.gov), 2015 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates

TOP TEN EMPLOYERS Redstone Arsenal* Huntsville Hospital System

35,866* 7,129

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center*


Huntsville City Schools


The Boeing Company


Madison County Schools 2,389 SAIC 2,229 City of Huntsville


The University of Alabama in Huntsville




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

20 • hsvchamber.org

Huntsville Municipal Building Street Address: 308 Fountain Circle Huntsville, AL 35801 huntsvilleal.gov Mayor’s office 256-427-5000 huntsvilleal.gov/mayor Police 256-427-7001 hsvpolice.com Fire 256-722-7120 hsvcity.com/fire Municipal Court 256-427-7810 huntsvilleal.gov/ municipalcourt Animal Control 256-883-3782 huntsvilleal.gov/animal

Operations Office huntsvilleal.gov/mayor/ city_admin.php Public Works 256-883-3944 huntsvilleal.gov/PWO Engineering 256-427-5300 huntsvilleal.gov/ engineering

Finance 256-427-5080 huntsvilleal.gov/ finance City Clerk 256-427-5088 huntsvilleal.gov/clerk Human Resources 256-427-5240 huntsvilleal.gov/HR

Inspection Services 256-427-5336 huntsvilleal.gov/inspection

Library 256-532-5940 hmcpl.org

Development Office 256-427-5400 huntsvilleal.gov/comdev

Garbage Pickup 256-883-3964 huntsvilleal.gov/PWO/ GrbgTrsh.php

Parks and Recreation 256-564-8026 huntsvilleal.gov/recreation Revenue 256-427-5067 huntsvilleal.gov/clerk

IT/Support Services 256-427-6700 huntsvilleal.gov/ITS




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chamber news

The Power of the Chamber

By Kimberly Ballard


n the almost impossible task of being all things to all people, the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber (HMCC) builds its foundation on three stable pillars that allow them to be all things to all businesses! By providing a myriad of training and business-related educational programs and networking events; actively pursuing an aggressive economic development force that works to attract and retain businesses and workers to the Tennessee Valley; and acting as a powerful and effective governmental affairs watchdog; HMCC is indeed capable of meeting the unique needs of small, middle-market, and large companies across the business spectrum.

SMALL BUSINESS & INDIVIDUAL MEMBERSHIP Surprisingly, 70 percent of the nearly 2,100 members of the Chamber consist of small business owners, entrepreneurs, start-ups, and high growth ‘gazelle’ companies The Chamber facilitates with fewer than 20 employees. By aligning a small business with introductions between the HMCC, members can get member companies known help with their most basic needs, according to Robert Recker, to share common goals ... Senior Vice President of Investor Relations. 22 • hsvchamber.org

“The Chamber provides educational events and seminars intended to help employers develop or improve employee skill sets, learn how to use software, write business plans, and get advice on any number of issues from taxation to making sure you are compliant with the Affordable Care Act, which will save a small company thousands of dollars in fines,” Recker explains. “We also provide venues for teaching business owners and managers how to use social media to enhance their brand awareness, thus making it easier to attract new customers; and we hold larger events like Best Places to Work® and the Small Business Awards to recognize the success and the growth of those companies.” Furthermore, the Chamber provides an unprecedented means for gaining a stronger foothold in the community through networking like Breakfast & Biz, Business & Brews, and SchmoozaPalooza, to name a few. “The Chamber provides a warm lead for small businesses who join because they want to connect with other members and be as supportive of the community as possible,” says Recker. “Most networking events are free or carry a nominal fee to cover the cost of food and beverage or the occasional travel fee for a presenter, which is a whole lot less expensive than taking out an ad, putting up a billboard, or running radio and TV spots.”

chamber news

The Chamber itself also facilitates introductions between member companies known to share common goals or to introduce smaller companies to larger companies with whom they can provide value products and services. Occasional programs like the Chamber Factor connect the medical community together; and for companies with sales staffs, the Chamber provides an enjoyable opportunity for networking. MIDDLE-MARKET BUSINESS MEMBERSHIP By far the most diverse group of Chamber members are middle-market companies with revenues totaling between $10 million and $1 billion dollars a year in sales. They are divided into three categories to customize the membership to their needs: those with annual sales revenues of $10 to $50 million; those with $50 million to $100,000; and the larger group with revenues between $100,000 and $1 billion annually. “Obviously, these companies have different needs, even within the middlemarket group,” says Recker. “Many at the lower end of the scale operate like a traditional family-owned small business, and they join the Chamber for the same reasons as small businesses ‒ they want to connect ‒ but their products and services do not cater to small business. Instead, many of them seek work from much larger companies and the Chamber works to bring these companies together.” The $50 to 100 million dollar companies spend money in R&D, recruit nationally for talent, and traditionally have a Board of Advisors to help guide them. “This group invests more in their employees and are more involved in business organizations, trade associations, and their local Chamber,” says Recker. “The larger of those middle-market companies have revenues of between $100 million and $1 billion annually and are made up of multinational companies with sophisticated supply chains; they spend a lot of money in R&D; and they traditionally grow not only through organic growth, but also through acquisitions and mergers. “The Chamber has a different set of goals for these companies who operate more like a large corporation.”

LARGE CORPORATE MEMBERSHIP Contrary to popular belief, large corporations are a small but healthy segment of the Chamber’s membership. Recker says they benefit from membership because they believe in the power of the Chamber in terms of growing the local economy through economic development, and they have the resources to positively affect the local economy.

Recker explains, “Large corporations are actively involved in leadership roles within their organizations as well as others. They make excellent HREGI (Huntsville Regional Economic Growth Initiative) investors who, in addition to their membership dues, invest money to help fund economic development work and leverage resources for attraction and retention projects here in Huntsville.”

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chamber news In just the past three years, HREGI investments have brought Polaris, Remington Outdoor, and GE Aviation to Huntsville. “These three companies added a billion dollars in payroll to the community,” says Recker. “Their employees are buying cars and homes, renting apartments, and shopping for groceries and clothing and dining out in restaurants. That money is filtered back into the economy and creates opportunities for businesses of all sizes.” GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS WATCHDOG The final but all-important leg of the Chamber’s foundation is built around governmental affairs. Acting like a watchdog for the North Alabama region, the Chamber advocates for all size businesses to make sure they are not unfairly burdened by regulation and taxation. “It’s important that we cultivate an environment that allows businesses to flourish” says Mike Ward, the Chamber’s Senior Vice President for Government & Public Affairs. “Nearly half of the local economy is impacted by federal spending on Redstone

Arsenal. We want to protect that sector with favorable policies in Washington, D.C. and support the Arsenal at the state and local level with the necessary infrastructure.” A good example of how HMCC stepped in to help change or update regulations for small business occurred when Huntsville

first began opening microbreweries here in Huntsville. Working with a local, grassroots nonprofit organization named Free the Hops, they successfully lobbied and won three legislative challenges to Ala-

bama’s alcohol laws to raise the alcohol-byvolume limits from 6 percent to 13.9 percent for beer. It also gave microbreweries the ability to operate outside the brewpub restrictions so they could hold beer-tasting events, allows guests to take beer off the premises, and increased container size limits to exceed 16 oz. “Now, Huntsville has the most microbreweries in the state of Alabama,” says Ward. “Whether it’s helping small businesses fight back against overly zealous regulators or helping to secure $10 M in funding for the new U.S. Cyber Camp at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, the Chamber is an advocate for our business community, both large and small.” “We are blessed with many outstanding elected officials who represent our region,” Ward added. “Working together with them, we are able to quickly identify threats or impediments to our growth and develop solutions to allow our region to continue to prosper.”

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Alabama A & M University

Service is Sovereignty • Founded 1875

Start Here, Go Anywhere! TOP 10 REASONS TO CHOOSE AAMU... 1


NEW DEGREE PROGRAMS AAMU has added new degree programs in Systems Materiel Engineering, Construction Management, Cultural Studies, General Music, Entrepreneurship, Sport Management, Communication Specialist, Plant Biotechnology, Animal Bio-Health Technology, Kinesiology and concentrations/minors in undergraduate Biomedical Engineering, Nuclear Engineering and Plant Biotechnology.

UNIVERSITY DESIGNATIONS AAMU is one of the 15 universities in Alabama to be designated a “Best Value College” based upon its affordability, graduation rates, acceptance rate and return on investment. It’s also been named a “Military Friendly School” for being one of the elite schools doing the most to embrace the nation’s military personnel.






Thanks to its popular annual Putcha Venkateswarlu Memorial Lecture, AAMU is the only university in the nation to host a Nobel Laureate each of the past 18 years.

The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) recognized AAMU as the recipient of the 1890 Research Award because it achieved the largest increase in federal research funding and research dollar acquisition.

CONFUCIUS INSTITUTE AAMU is home to one of only 107 Confucius Institutes at a college or university in the nation, one of only four sites at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and one of only three in Alabama.










With an operating budget of $190 million, AAMU has an economic impact of over $350 million statewide and $228 million in the region. It employs over 800 employees, and AAMU is among the Top 20 employers in North Alabama.

As a result of sound fiscal management and conservative projections, AAMU is in its best financial condition in more than a decade, as measured by the Composite Financial Index (CFI). A CFI of 3.0 is the threshold for financial health and for AAMU the index is 3.2.

The University secured a $96 million financing package which restructured existing debt saving about $400,000 per year. The package also provides $30 million for the construction of a new 580-bed student residence hall.

The Imagine the Future Capital Campaign has received over $20 million in philanthropic support, surpassing its original goal of $16.25 million. A new goal has been set for the amount of $22,187,500.

DEGREE PRODUCTION RANKINGS Between 2013-15, AAMU ranked in the Top 10 in producing minority graduates in Mathematics and Statistics, Communications Technologies, Engineering, Agriculture, Biology and Physical Sciences. In Education, AAMU ranks No. 3 in the nation in the production of black male teachers.


Discover Huntsville/Madison County 2018 • 25

economic development

New Business is taking off in

Huntsville Cited by National Sources as a Hot Spot for Economic Growth & Workforce Stability, North Alabama is the New Magnet for Advanced Manufacturing by Kimberly Ballard


ear after year, respected national business publications and professional industry resources rank Huntsville, Alabama as a prime location for starting a new business and expanding existing business, especially in STEM-related industries, and increasingly more often in the area of advanced manufacturing. In 2016 alone, more than 15 media sources including the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Business Insider all heaped accolades on Huntsville as a leading contender Business Facilities, for fast business growth, worknamed Huntsville their force capability, and a low cost of living, when compared to like-size top-ranked metro for STEM technology hubs. Business Facilities, a leading Growth Leaders. location source for corporate site selectors and economic develop26 • hsvchamber.org

ment professionals named Huntsville their topranked metro for STEM Growth Leaders. Owned by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), the publication reports that Huntsville has replaced Cincinnati, OH as the least expensive U.S. office market with reported operating expenses averaging just $4.15 per square-foot (psf). “Locations [like Huntsville] that have an available workforce with STEM skills are going to be hard to beat in the competition for projects in 21st century growth sectors,” says BF Editor-in-Chief, Jack Rogers. Site Selection Magazine, which targets expansion planning decision-makers ranks Alabama among the Top 10 states for a positive business climate; while the Associated General Contractors of America (AGCA) says Huntsville leads the nation in new construction job growth.

U.S. Space & Rocket Center

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Huntsville International Airport

economic development

(Above) The Huntsville Mega Site is located in the TVA service area of North Alabama, and the site is certified as development-ready site with central access to major Southeastern U.S. Markets.

These economic factors, along with aggressive but effective support from the City of Huntsville, the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber, and active local business leaders, are responsible for bringing four major manufacturing companies to the area within the past 18 months. Polaris Industries, GE Aviation, RUAG Aerospace, and the Sierra Nevada Corporation have already begun expanding operations in the area. Furthermore, Huntsville International Airport, a significant logistical attraction for these international companies, is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017. Equally exciting is the Chamber’s announcement that it has available its first certified Huntsville Mega Site, providing shortcuts for site selectors seeking a large manufacturing facility. HUNTSVILLE MEGA SITE The City of Huntsville, in partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the Limestone County Commission (LCC), and the Chamber are offering one of the South’s premier certified Mega Sites. Sponsored by TVA and certified by McCallum Sweeney Consulting, the 1,252-acre site located off Powell Road in Limestone County gives Huntsville the ability to compete internationally for large manufacturing projects. Having undergone a series of due diligence studies to determine the capacity of 28 • hsvchamber.org

the land to accommodate a manufacturing operation, and asserting that no damage would be done to the environmental, historical, or cultural nature of the surrounding area, certification criteria requires that the site be at least 1,000 acres with Interstate access; must have the potential for rail service; and sufficient utility service capable of serving a major manufacturing company. Having this certification sends a green light to site selectors that all the “homework” has been done and there are no obstacles for development. This significantly speeds up the timetable, making the final decision process easier. The Huntsville Mega Site is in the heart of the industrial development expansion zone for the North Alabama region. “Our certified mega site is in an industrial corridor that has both the labor pool and the quality of life that would support a large, high-profile operation,” says Lucia Cape, Senior Vice President of Economic Development at the HMCC. “A certified site means less time and less risk to a company when locating a project, so our mega site is very attractive to manufacturers who need a lot of acreage and don’t have a lot of time.” “With this certification in hand, the Huntsville Mega Site is well positioned for a wide range of large-scale projects from major companies based around the world,” said former Alabama Governor Robert Bentley.

“The Huntsville area has been a main driver of growth for the state, and this will make it even more attractive for new investment and well-paying jobs.” “The certification is our international calling card telling global manufacturers we are open for business and a prime place for industry and jobs,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. “This site should attract a high tech, high end company for worldwide customers.” TVA president and CEO Bill Johnson says, “This announcement is an important step in bringing more jobs and investment to northern Alabama, but its impact extends much further. The entire economy of the Tennessee Valley is a seamless web of communities that support and strengthen each other, so the creation of the Huntsville Mega Site is a victory for the entire Valley.” POLARIS INDUSTRIES Polaris Industries committed to employing 1,700 workers in the coming years as they expand their new 900,000 square foot stateof-the-art plant off Greenbriar Parkway in Limestone County. Beginning production in May 2016, they finished a 180,000-square foot warehouse expansion, and have hired more than 480 workers since opening, putting them on pace to meet their commitment to the state of Alabama as they ramp up for increased production.

economic development

Having started in 1965 building “snow machines” to get across the snowy tundra of Minnesota near the Canadian border, Polaris quickly expanded into building allterrain (ATV) side-by-side sports vehicles, off-roading utility vehicles (UTV), motorcycles, and 3-wheel autocycles like the Slingshot, which was released in 2014 and now only manufactured at the Huntsville site. They also carry a full line of Polaris PG&A parts, accessories, and apparel. One of the obvious standouts about the factory is the extent of handcrafting. “This facility was set up to manufacture predominantly Polaris Ranger Utility Vehicles,” says Human Resources Manager, Phillip Ray. “We manufacture everything from cutting and bending the steel tubes to welding it together with the frame and assembling all the components, but we are not nearly as automated as the car industry.” The Polaris site offers many features unique only to the Huntsville. Beginning in January 2017, they began conducting self-guided tours along the catwalks lining the factory floor that are open to the public. On the mezzanine, visitors can watch a high-quality movie telling the Polaris story. “We try to make it a family-friendly environment,” says Ray. “On Friends & Family night we had free Ranger Rides on the track we built out front. It is very controlled with drivers who take the kids and adults out for a little off-road experience.” In January 2017, the site rolled out their Way-Out Program where team members check out units for the weekend. “Safety is very important so we have extensive safety training for team members and their families before they check out a vehicle,” says Ray. “Understanding the riding experience is part of our culture and through our value improvement process we expect all team members to provide recommendations for improvement on our plant processes and on the units so we can continue to improve.” Ray says they have had enormous support with recruiting and hiring efforts. “We have been overwhelmed by the local reception of Polaris moving into the neighborhood,” he says. “We have been very impressed with the workforce, predominantly hiring locals depending on the skill

requirements of the position, but we also transplant new folks into the area.” New workers and their families mean more tax dollars coming into north Alabama! HUNTSVILLE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT’S 50TH ANNIVERSARY Over the past 50 years, Huntsville International Airport (HSV) has played an exceptional role in helping Huntsville attract large international and Fortune 500 companies to the area. Part of the Port of Huntsville, HSV has steadily grown in size while improving travel accommodations and flight availability. But Jetplex Industrial Park and its direct runway access, Foreign Trade Zone status, on-site U.S. Customs, and International Intermodal Center (IIC) make HSV ideal for expanding Maintenance Repair and Operations (MRO) and distribution operations in a single hub. IIC provides a wide range of services including receiving, transferring, storing and distributing air, rail, and highway

cargo both domestically and internationally. In 2017, HSV marked its 50th anniversary, not so much by celebrating its own milestones but by celebrating those who have made such long-term success possible: the people of Huntsville. “We want to give back to the community that has given us so much,” says Jana Kuner, Public Relations Manager at HSV. To “kick off ” the celebration, HSV “teamed” up with Rocket 95.1 in a 50 Tickets for 50 Year Anniversary promotion in which fans could win tickets to Auburn and Alabama football games. Giving back took on a bit of a different meaning when HSV hosted Wings for Autism, a program designed to ease the stress of flying for autistic individuals and their families. During the HSV event, participants and family members went through the process of boarding a flight, from ticketing to security to sitting around and waiting to board. They even boarded a Delta Air Lines plane and taxied around.

Cotton Picking on airport land

Huntsville International Airport

Discover Huntsville/Madison County 2018 • 29

economic development

The event gave families impacted by autism a chance to explore and familiarize themselves with the airport prior to traveling, Kuner said. HSV is also publishing a 50th anniversary commemorative book that will not only tell the history of the airport, but also features members of the community and how they reflect the spirit of thousands of customers who pass through the airport every year. There have been many milestones for Huntsville’s Airport in the past 50 years. In 1956, HSV formed its first Aviation Board of Directors. In 1961, the Alabama State Legislature created Alabama’s first Airport Authority at HSV, but they did not acquire the land and begin construction on the airport until 1964. They started with 3,040 acres of cotton fields. Huntsville International Airport opened for business on October 29, 1967, followed by the opening of Huntsville Aviation that same year. In 1974, boosted by the success of the Apollo space program and recognition that Huntsville’s science and technology could be a major economic booster for the City, Onan became the first tenant in a fledging Jetplex Industrial Park. In 1978, the airport extended its East Runway to 8,000 feet in anticipation of future growth that began manifesting itself throughout the 1980s with the granting of U.S. Customs Port of Entry status in 1980; the assignation of Foreign Trade Zone No. 83, the International Intermodal

First Airport Tower

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Early International Intermodal Center

Center air cargo ramp opening, and the Boeing Company opening in the Jetplex Industrial Park, all in 1983. In 1986, the International Intermodal Center rail center opened in partnership with Norfolk Southern. For the first time, regularly scheduled air cargo jet operations ensued. A flourish of activities marked far-reaching growth for the airport during the 1990s. A 10-gate concourse with jet bridges opened in 1990 and in 1992, they extended the East runway again to 10,000 feet, acquired an additional 3,000 acres for expansion, and celebrated its 1-millionth passenger! All Huntsville was abuzz when in 1994, the Space Shuttle Columbia landed at HSV, and the excitement was repeated in 1999 when Air France’s Concorde landed here. Since the turn of the millennium, HSV has flourished. They opened a new 1,600-space, six-level parking deck in 2000. More than 100,000 people attended the Blue Angels Airshow in 2003. In 2005, the Port Authority began a $60 million, 5-year terminal expansion project that included renovating concessions; again, expanding the parking deck; extending baggage claim to include an expansion of

the passenger waiting area; and extending the West Runway to 12,600 feet making it the second-longest runway in the Southeast. Since 2006, the Base Closure and Realignment (BRAC) process has brought thousands of jobs and people to North Alabama. That is the backdrop for the last ten years. HSV competed an $18 million expansion to the International Intermodal Center and began construction of a $22 million, 243-foot control tower in 2008. They opened the airport’s first passenger security screening checkpoint and again expanded the parking deck adding 1,300 parking spaces. In 2010, Phase I of the Port’s $25 million baggage claim renovation and expansion project was completed, expanding the rental car offices, creating a Huntsville community mural, adding two jumbotrons, and a security system with a state-of-theart Communications Center. In 2011, the final phases of the five-year, $92 million capital improvement project began with the demolition of the old baggage claim; new construction to tie the terminal building to the new baggage claim area; the installation of new escalators and a glass

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economic development elevator; the completion of a second elevated crosswalk from the parking deck; and the expansion of the front of the terminal. TSA introduced Pre√™ in 2013; contracted for 100 percent glass jet bridges in 2014; and in 2015, at the Paris Air Show, a coalition of community leadership announced plans to initiate a series of preliminary studies to assess the feasibility of landing Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser spacecraft at HSV! SIERRA NEVADA CORPORATION’S DREAM CHASER SPACECRAFT When the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) partnered with the City of Huntsville in 2015 to help develop a market for the company’s Dream Chaser® spacecraft, Huntsville business leaders “took a leap of faith” in believing SNC could build it. Designed to provide low-cost, safe, and reliable transportation to and from low-Earth orbit destinations like the International Space Station (ISS), NASA awarded SNC a Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS2) contract in January 2016 while they

were still in the testing stages. The contract tasked the Dream Chaser with transporting six pressurized and unpressurized cargo supply missions to and from the ISS with return and disposal services from year 2019 through year 2024. This agreement meant the Dream Chaser could move to the next stages, including choosing a landing site. “While all Dream Chaser CRS2 cargo missions will land at Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility, SNC developed the Landing Site Designation (LSD) process to provide locations around the world the opportunity to assess the feasibility of landing the Dream Chaser spacecraft onsite,” says Mary Serafin, marketing support & executive administrator II for SNC’s Space Systems. Huntsville was a top contender for the opportunity and in 2015, SNC pledged to help prime the Huntsville market for the spacecraft, conducting a study on behalf of HSV demonstrating the compatibility of landing the Dream Chaser spacecraft on the

“If successful, HSV would be the first commercial service airport to acquire the permission and ability to accommodate Dream Chaser spacecraft landings.”

existing runway and taxiway environments. The local study identified four hurdles: the required licenses for the craft and airport; environmental impact approval; Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval of the landing path; and recognition of possible runway damage. “We’ve found nothing that would indicate those items are not satisfactory for going forward,” says HSV Director of Operations, Kevin Vandeberg. “Right now, Huntsville is the only community we’re moving forward with a (landing) license on,” says SNC vice president, John Roth. In March 2016, the HMCC hosted a workshop where 70 space industry partners discussed business opportunities associated with Dream Chaser’s potential landing at HSV. Among the project team are well-known space pioneering entities like Teledyne Brown Engineering, the Huntsville Airport Authority, and the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), who secured funding to conduct additional feasibility studies in 2016, followed by the submission to the FAA for a commercial landing license. If successful, HSV would be the first commercial service airport to acquire the permission and ability to accommodate Dream Chaser spacecraft landings. Dream Chaser will launch into orbit atop an Atlas V rocket built by United Launch Alliance (ULA) in Decatur. It must be ready to fly in 2019, Roth said, but NASA may not order its first mission until 2020 or later. “Our launch vehicle is being built down the street, and Lockheed Martin is a big subcontractor, building the composite structure for our vehicle,” says Roth. “This is really all about how do we bring economic development into Huntsville.” RUAG SPACE USA, INC. With their large composite manufacturing facility opened January 2, 2017 in Decatur, RUAG Space USA opened their U.S. business headquarters in Huntsville in 2015 where they are conveniently located near Cummings Research Park with easy access to Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) and Redstone Arsenal. (Left) Rendering of SNC’s Dream Chaser Spacecraft and Cargo Module In Orbit

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economic development

Architect’s rendering of Huntsville GE Aviation Plant

Known as the “Boeing of Europe”, RUAG is a leading supplier of products for the space industry in Europe, with their US counterpart RUAG Space USA specializing in building fairings for the next generation of rocket launchers. The fairings are the external composite structure added to rocket launchers to increase streamlining and reduce drag, especially on a high-performance spacecraft. The Huntsville office is important because it supports company growth throughout the United States with marketing, finance, IT, compliance, sales, business development, and business operations all under one roof. “With its rich history in aerospace and innovation, Huntsville and the surrounding communities offer a prosperous environment for growth and future collaboration,” says Peter Guggenbach, CEO of RUAG Space. “While we intend to continue utilizing our company’s heritage and building upon the many years of continued successes from our parent company, this office, as well as all future U.S. facilities, will function independently as a U.S. business, staffed by 100 percent U.S. employees,” says Ernest Roybal, President of RUAG Space USA. Currently, the Huntsville and Decatur workforce is 30 and growing to about 100 by the end of 2017 with a mixture of local workers highly qualified for advanced manufacturing in the aerospace sector, but they are also recruiting new workers from other areas of the country as well as moving workers from their locations in Colorado and Florida when needed.

What is exciting about their position in North Alabama is that those hiring projections are based on RUAG’s current business plan, but does not account for all the new business they are actively pursuing. With new opportunities and future growth, at both the Huntsville and Decatur locations. As they grow the manufacturing side, the business support staff grows with it. “The Chamber is thrilled to welcome RUAG Space USA to Huntsville,” says the Chamber’s Lucia Cape. “We are actively recruiting international companies to establish U.S. headquarters here, particularly in the aerospace industry, because of the proximity to customers, partnership opportunities, and available skilled workforce. RUAG’s decision supports our strategy and helps build the case for more international growth in Huntsville.” GE AVIATION The rise in the use of composite materials in the aviation industry has increased the demand for advanced manufacturing capabilities and a skilled workforce. GE has over 80 manufacturing facilities globally, but their philosophy for selecting only pro-business environments where there is a stable and competent workforce and substantial community engagement, fits seamlessly into North Alabama’s reputation as a pioneer in the aviation and aerospace industries. As the new generation of rocket launchers and aircraft engines have demanded innovation, GE Aviation has stepped up their game by investing $200 million to build two factories in Huntsville located on 100

acres of property off Greenbriar Parkway where they will mass-produce silicon carbide (SiC) materials used in the manufacturing of ceramic matrix composite components (CMCs) for jet engines. Producing CMCs requires complex processing steps using a synthetically produced compound of silicon and carbon. The two unique GE Aviation factories will be involved in separate steps of the process - the production of SiC ceramic fibers and the production of SiC ceramic tape. According to GE Aviation Executive Plant Leader Jon Lyford, hiring employees and prepping for production began in 2016. “Our factory should be complete in September 2017 followed by the integration of equipment, which will take about nine months. We will be delivering product in 2018,” says Lyford. “By 2017, we will have a workforce of more than 50 employees with a goal of being up to 300 between the two Huntsville plants in just a few years.” “This GE facility puts a global spotlight on Huntsville as a leader in the most progressive, ceramic matrix composite technologies,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. “Our community is proud to provide the talent, support, and environment for this revolutionary advancement in materials.” Once the Huntsville plant is operational, it will sell fiber to the U.S. Department of Defense, GE businesses, Safran, and other outside customers subject to U.S. regulations. The Huntsville plant will be the first U.S.based factory in GE’s manufacturing family to produce the proprietary SiC ceramic fiber on a large industrial scale.

Discover Huntsville/Madison County 2018 • 33


Redstone Arsenal By Madoline Markham


016 marked the 75th anniversary of Huntsville’s largest economic driver, Redstone Arsenal. The 38,000-acre “Pentagon South” houses more than 72 agencies including the headquarters of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, Aviation and Missile Command, Space & Missile Defense Command, Missile Defense Agency, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, and training and development centers for the FBI and ATF, among other facilities. Altogether, nearly 38,000 people manage more than $50 billion in federal budgets within the arsenal. Originally opened in 1941 on the eve of the U.S.’s entry to World War II as the Army’s chemical weapons development site, Redstone Arsenal shut down operations and planned to auction off the property in 1949. However, Maj. Gen. Holger Toftoy redirected plans with his idea to bring all rocket and missile work to one location. “General, you can see I’m on my knees about this project,” Toftoy told Gen. Matthew Ridgeway, according to a Huntsville During the Vietnam War, Times article from 2011. The site offered about 900 buildRedstone worked to keep ings on 35,000 acres far from American troops safe and the city limits, ripe for the research and development of develop new technologies. rockets and missiles.

Redstone Arsenal’s most recent addition to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification is for building 4400 on Martin Road, which includes the Army Materiel Command and Army Security Assistance Command headquarters. (Photo Credit: Melody Sandlin)

34 • hsvchamber.org

Toftoy directed a then-secret “Operation Paperclip” that brought Dr. Wernher von Braun and his German rocket team to Fort Bliss, Texas, after World War II, and before long that team was transferred to Huntsville. In 1950, Huntsville Arsenal and Redstone Arsenal combined, and the roots of what are now the Space and Missile Defense Command, the Missile Defense Agency, and the Missile Space Intelligence Center began on the site. At the time that President Eisenhower approved the transfer of all Army spacerelated activities to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center on Redstone Arsenal in 1960—25 percent of the Army’s budget was handled at Redstone. During the Vietnam War, Redstone worked to keep American troops safe and develop new technologies. During the Cold War in the 1980s, it developed the Pershing Two, which became the focal point for negotiations for the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia in 1987. Its later systems, the Hellfire and Patriot, would play key roles in the Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and be credited with saving many soldiers’ lives. Following the 2005 round of BRAC, several Army headquarters operations relocated to Redstone, including the U.S. Army Materiel Command; the Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, and the bulk of Missile Defense Agency.


The new headquarters for TEDAC -- Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center at Redstone Arsenal. (Paul Gattis/pgattis@al.com)

Redstone is the epicenter for Army aviation and missile defense with design, development, engineering, testing, and life-cycle management all onsite. FBI EXPANSION UNDERWAY AT REDSTONE The Federal Bureau of Investigation is expanding its footprint at Redstone Arsenal. Its plans include about 1,800 acres at the Army base in addition to operations that currently support about 40,000 jobs through the Hazardous Devices School and the Terrorist Explosive Devices Analytical Center (TEDAC). The FBI has described the site as a possible new “center of gravity” for the bureau. The 2017 expansion includes three buildings with a combined price tag of $28 million: a 28,500-square-foot collaboration center, a 28,000-square foot-repository, and a 700-square-foot visitor screening facility. A $27.5 million expansion of their Hazardous Devices School is also underway at the south end of the arsenal. TEDAC, which relocated from Quantico, Virginia, in 2016, collects, catalogs, analyzes, exploits, and stores terrorist improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The Hazardous Devices School trains personnel, including all public safety bomb technicians, from across the country. “We see this as an opportunity to expand the FBI’s headquarters components, maybe move a lot of those folks here, too,”

said then FBI Director James Comey during a visit to Huntsville in 2016. “They don’t need to be sitting in Washington to be effective. A whole lot of our support organizations need good office space, great community support and this is that kind of space. Further details of the FBI expansion have yet to be announced. “I have long been an ardent supporter of the FBI and its assets, such as the Hazardous Device School and the Terrorist Explosive

TEDAC, which relocated from Quantico, Virginia, in 2016, collects, catalogs, analyzes, exploits, and stores terrorist improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Device Analytical Center at Redstone Arsenal, that play a critical role in safeguarding our nation,” said U.S. Senator Richard Shelby. “As the FBI continues to map out its plans for the future, I welcome efforts to expand its presence in north Alabama.” NASA’S MSFC BUILDING THE MOST POWERFUL ROCKET TO DATE, AMONG OTHER PROJECTS Since 1960, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight

Center has played a key role in enabling space exploration. They designed and built the Saturn V rocket and others used for the Apollo missions along with sections of the International Space Station. Marshall has also developed spacecraft, hardware, and instruments for NASA Great Observatories such as the Chandra X-ray Observatory and Hubble Space. As one of NASA’s largest field centers, Marshall has more than 6,000 civil service and contractor employees with an annual economic impact of $7 billion. SPACE LAUNCH SYSTEM Currently NASA Marshall is leading development of the Space Launch System (SLS), the most powerful rocket built. It will carry humans, cargo, and science further into deep space than we have reached before. SLS accounts for nearly 65% of all Marshall’s economic impacts at the national level; altogether it supports approximately 25,000 jobs nationally and generates a total economic impact of $4.7 billion. “Saturn V was one of the most mesmerizing machines of the previous generation, and ignited the curiosity and imagination of people around the world. It put humans on a new world, never before touched or explored,” said Anton Kolomeits, a mechanical engineer working on the SLS. “Space Launch System is the vehicle that promises to

Discover Huntsville/Madison County 2018 • 35


build on that legacy and return astronauts to the cutting edge of deep-space exploration. SLS missions will be the ‘Apollo 11’ of the modern age – human footprints will make an appearance on a new celestial body, Mars.” SLS’s initial configuration, Block 1, which has a lifting capacity of 77 tons, is scheduled for its first full-scale test flight with an Orion spacecraft in 2018. In March 2017

The first SLS mission will venture into a distant lunar retrograde orbit, with additional propulsion moves, a flyby of the moon, and return trajectory burns. It will test maneuvers and the environment of space for future missions that will go deeper space. “To send humans and even more cargo farther away from Earth than ever before, NASA decided to add a more powerful upper stage—the upper part of the rocket that continues to operate after launch and ascent,” said Kent Chojnacki, exploration upper stage (EUS) team lead and preliminary design review manager. The exploration upper stage will use an 8.4-meter diameter liquid

elements of the SLS core will undergo stress tests at Marshall that simulate what it will undergo during launch and flight. SPACE STATION SUPPORT AND MORE In addition to work on the SLS, Marshall’s Payload Operations Integration Center plays a key role in operations of the International Space Station, which is orbiting earth with its crew every 90 minutes and will continue to do so until 2024. The center coordinates and integrates all scientific and commercial experiments on the station for every hour of every day, partnering with control centers worldwide to plan, synchro-

The new Building 4220 sits in the same main complex as other Marshall Space Flight Center management offices including headquarters Building 4200. (Left) This prototype for a future astronaut suit will sit in the lobby along with other artifacts and models to emphasize this is a building working on human space flight, not robotic probes.

NASA tested the new RS-25 engine controller that will be used on SLS’s first flight, and two more engines are scheduled for testing later in 2017. On SLS four RS-25 engines will fire simultaneously to provide 2 million pounds of thrust in conjunction with two solid rocket boosters for the launch. “The importance of this testing cannot be overemphasized,” A-1 Test Director Jeff Henderson said. “Each test has specific objectives to determine how the engine will respond. The goal is to learn as much as we can about the performance of the engine.”

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hydrogen tank and a 5.5-meter diameter liquid oxygen tank. This stage is under construction at the Michoud Assembly Facility, which Marshall manages. It uses a 170-foot-tall, 78-foot-wide welding tool, the largest used for spacecraft in the world. Once built, the EUS will undergo qualification testing at Marshall to ensure the hardware can withstand the stresses it will face during its launch. The next upgrade, Block 1B, will have a 115-ton lift capacity for more ambitious mission. Later Block II, which will have a 143-ton lift capacity, will be created for journeys to Mars and other new missions across the solar system. For all stages, the rocket will use a liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propulsion system, and the propellant tanks and

nize, and monitor science activities. “We planned research for NASA’s shuttle missions years in advance, but those missions were short,” Carmen Price, payload operations manager, told Space Daily. “To support space station science, we needed the same 24-hour-a-day support, but it had to be for 365 days a year—a lot longer than two weeks.” Marshall also designed and supports the station’s Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS). The ECLSS system eliminates the need to restock water and oxygen from Earth by filtering and recycling water and air instead of depending entirely on resupply missions, along with providing data for life support for future space-faring vehicles on long-duration missions. Additionally, Marshall designed an Earth science observatory rack for the space station that helps researchers keep watch


over Earth and capture detailed images and information about the planet. Work with SLS and International Space Station are far from all that happens at Marshall. When the James Webb Space Telescope launches in 2018, it will be in part because the X-ray & Cryogenic Facility at Marshall tested its cryogenic vacuum-chamber. The telescope will enable researchers to look back in time, studying the earliest formation and evolution of stars and galaxies. Another recent launch based on Marshall research, the OSIRIS-Rex (Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer), will reach Bennu, a near-Earth asteroid, in 2018 to take samples for study. It will return to Earth in 2023. Likewise, Strofio, a unique mass spectrometer, will determine the chemical composition of Mercury’s surface following its 2018 launch. Marshall’s work doesn’t go without notice, either. As just one example, the center was awarded NASA’s 2016 Small Business Administrator’s Cup for its work with

In addition to rocket development, Marshall is involved in numerous other efforts, including supporting all U.S. scientific research conducted aboard the International Space Station. (photo: nasa.gov)

industry partners to spinoff space technology and adapt it for new applications across medical, communications, safety, transportation, and other industries. All in all, Marshall is creating and advancing technologies for space transportation and propulsion as well as space

systems and research. Nearly 60 years into its work, its engineers, scientists, and researchers are poised to continue to make breakthroughs in space and science for many decades to come. To learn more, visit nasa.gov/centers/ marshall/.

PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT For over 35 years, we have expanded our footprint in the Jetplex Industrial Park by developing numerous commercial and industrial properties. Each property we develop is thoroughly researched, planned and executed. We have extensive experience in land acquisition, project management and construction of corporate facilities, allowing us to provide build-to-suit services to our clients in need of office or industrial space. We currently develop both Greenfield site projects and purchase facilities to remodel and re-lease. Our most recent property acquisition is a 20,785 square foot industrial building (124 Electronics Circle) within Jetplex Industrial Park.


Laurel Bailey Chief Operating Officer Laurel Bailey is a graduate of Birmingham Southern College and UAB Business School. After working in Public Accounting for 3 years, she returned to Huntsville to work for Industrial Properties of the South. She is on the City of Madison Industrial Development Board and is the past President of BOMA ( Building Owners and Managers) North Alabama and is very active in the commercial real estate community.

Our IPS team has grown our portfolio to over 1.3 million square feet of office and industrial space across Huntsville/Madison County. We work to build relationships with each one of our clients to truly understand their needs and objectives, and we take a full-service approach to every assignment. Since we lease our own properties, we also employ our own full-service maintenance team in charge of managing the day-to-day operations of each facility. We also understand the importance of timely and responsive service. A 24/7 call line is available to ensure that each building is covered in the event of after-hours emergencies.

For more information regarding our commercial real estate services, please contact us today. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

256.461.7482 • www.industrialpropertiesofthesouth.com • 9668 Madison Blvd. Suite 100 • Madison, AL 35758 Discover Huntsville/Madison County 2018 • 37




Master Plan Envisions 21st Century Collaboration and Entrepreneurship HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology.

By Madoline Markham


or 55 years, Cummings Research Park (CRP) has solved some of the world’s most complex issues. Now, a new 50-year Master Plan is ushering CRP into its next era, building on its essential role to national and international research, engineering, and development, and supporting future entrepreneurs.

THE VISION Since 1962, the innovation center of CRP has recruited private companies, who are partnering with Department of Defense and NASA, to locate near operations at Redstone Arsenal for efficient collaboration. Today, CRP is the second largest research park in the U.S. and fourth largest in the world. It is home to Fortune 500 companies, high-tech enterprises, U.S. space and defense agencies, a Huntsville...is in a prime business incubator (soon to be two), position to “Power the U.S. and higher-education institutions. Together, the Park is the largest Economy” in the coming driver of the community’s economy years. outside of Redstone Arsenal. “The city is making sure we - Bloomberg Business set aside a place for those indus-

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tries to grow and for them to serve the economy,” said John Hamilton, CRP board member, and City Administrator for the City of Huntsville. “As demands for the built environment have changed, changes need to occur within the Park to accommodate that.” That’s where the Master Plan comes in, envisioning how to facilitate growth of building and lab space and other amenities for workforce development for the next 50-60 years. “It lays out a vision of what’s possible, and the market over time will determine what gets delivered,” Hamilton said. Parks, greenways, and pedestrian pathways will connect the business spaces and create a healthy and active landscape to shape workforce development. Walkability and public retail spaces will allow for more convenient collaboration between companies. The green spaces will also boast public art that is indicative of types of products and technology that businesses in the park have created and will continue to create. “We want to create a stronger sense of community and collaboration within the park, whether it’s creating physical spaces for people to collaborate in pocket parks and greenways or inside buildings outfitted with col-

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laboration areas,” said Erin Koshut, Cummings Research Park Director for the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber. “We want companies of all scales and sizes regardless of where they are in their stage of growth to have spaces, places, and programming to support their work.” DISTRICT BY DISTRICT The Master Plan is laid out by different districts in the Park. A new Start-up District in CRP East will feature a dense research and development center to promote growth of new high-technology businesses in their early stages and cultivate a culture of grassroots experimentation and entrepreneurship. CRP East will be the most flexible area of the Park and also the most affordable, with warehouses converted into office and fabrication spaces that can respond to the changing needs of young companies. It will also leverage its proximity to the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and Calhoun Community College. As a part of this area, the former Chrysler plant would be transformed into Maker/Hacker Village, to offer facilities, equipment, and programs for creativity around cyber-physical endeavors, fabrication, and prototyping. Koshut said she is most excited to see the Maker/Hacker Village come to life. “It really allows us to begin to grow companies inside park starting at a smaller scale,” she said. “That area also allows us the ability to have a stronger connection with UAH going forward.” Nearby the high-density Scale-Up District will support the growth of small, medium, and large scientific and high-tech companies in single or multi-tenant buildings. Aging, outmoded, and/ or underutilized land and buildings along Bradford Drive, Wynn Drive, and Research Drive would be redeveloped to create an urban framework for parcel-by-parcel redevelopment. The district will offer more than just office space as well. “[CRP] will be a more dense urban development than a spread-out suburban feel,” Hamilton said. “Ultimately, it will allow denser development of companies that brings more value to real estate, which we think helps grow economy. We think that as the area becomes more populated, it will drive the economy further and further up.” Two mixed-use nodes will offer business and lifestyle services, including cafes and restaurants as well as limited housing. Both the new mixed-use amenities and new businesses will join existing anchors of the area like Teledyne Brown Engineering, Lockheed Martin, and UAH’s Severe Weather

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Institute and Radar & Lightning Laboratories (SWIRLL). The Corporate District will build on the legacy of the CRP West as a low-density parklike environment for medium-to-large, stable high-tech industries, including some of the most important high-tech worldwide organizations like ADTRAN, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, and Dynetics, to name a few. New development will take place on previously undeveloped parcels on the western edge of the Park. Multi-tenancy will be allowed but restricted, and businesses will be able to access a new network of trails and parks as well as a small mixed-use node. Large corporate campuses can design their own campuses to meet their needs, but all must have a publicly accessible open space. Some also act as landmarks at each entry point into the Cummings Corporate District. THE BIG PICTURE Overall the plan seeks to serve a wider and more diverse range of company needs including those of the eventual graduates of incubator and accelerator programs throughout CRP. It also seeks to create a sense of place and community with regular patterns of communication, shared planning, and activities to advance the goals of the Park. Outside of the Park’s physical development, networking events will lead to more in-depth knowledge of leaders in emerging technologies as well as allow access to national and international contacts in these industries. Some of these events already exist through organizations like Rocket Hatch, a virtual accelerator that runs business plan pitches, plans networking events, and mobilizes early investors, and Hot Coffee networking events that are offered for the tech and entrepreneurial community. BizTech, a collaboration with the City of Huntsville and the city’s longest-running incubator, will continue its work in CRP, and UAH has a new incubator coming online, the Innovation-toInvention Center. Events and details like way finding, signage, cleanliness and security will also create a greater sense of place and community. “To have a vibrant research and tech park makes a real impact on the community,” Koshut said. “We want it be a place where innovation and technology take place, one that is even more beautiful than it is now, and more connected in the community in which it sits. It contributes to the growth and success of our community as a whole.”

Over the next one to two years, you will start to see CRP’s new logo and messaging on signage in the park. The Maker/Hacker Village and some of the mixed-use facilities should be developed within the next five years or so as well. “The excitement in this plan has generated new interest in the Park already,” Koshut said. “We are hoping to see some new and expanding company announcements in 12 to 24 months.”

Research Park Association holds annual meeting at CRP Huntsville’s Cummings Research Park, the second largest research park in the country hosted the annual meeting for its professional association in the fall of 2017. The Association of University Research Parks (AURP) has about 140 international members who came to CRP and Huntsville to attend the event. “It’s special for us to host this conference for the first time given that we are the second largest research park and have never hosted it,” said Erin Koshut, Cummings Research Park Director for the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber. “Having it entirely in the Park was really phenomenal.” Around 250 leading research park directors and university economic developers from across the U.S. and world learned more about CRP. “It was a great opportunity to showcase our Park and the City of Huntsville as well as the companies and technologies that make our Park and our city so special,” Koshut added. The conference was held at the Westin at Bridge Street Town Centre and included a tour of CRP and a few other special events. The conference coincided with the 55th anniversary of the Park.

Left to right: John Hamilton, City Administrator for the City of Huntsville, Erin Koshut, Director of Cummings Research Park and Mason Ailstock, President of the AURP Board of Directors. CRP was honored with AURP’s Developing Communities of Innovation Award at the 2017 Conference.

the arts

State of the Arts: This organization promotes cultural excellence in Huntsville/Madison County By June Mathews


n 2016, The Arts Council transitioned to a different name to better reflect the nonprofit’s mission in Huntsville. The 55-year-old organization is now known as Arts Huntsville, a name Executive Director Allison Dillon-Jauken hopes will encompass the area’s growing arts, entertainment and cultural sectors. “We have an incredibly vibrant arts scene and we want to ensure greater local, regional and national engagement with our artists and cultural organization,” she said in a statement. “While we honor our history as The Arts Council, we recognize that we are not an elected government body nor an exclusive organization. We can more effectively market our great regional arts scene as Arts Huntsville.” Founded in October 1962 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Arts Huntsville provides programs “We have an incredibly and services designed to vibrant arts scene and we advance the arts in Huntsville and Madison County. want to ensure greater Children through adults from Arts Huntsville’s local, regional and national benefit four core programs: • Arts Community engagement with our artists Support & Promotions and cultural organization. • Arts Education • Community Events Executive Director Allison Dillon-Jauken • Public Art 42 • hsvchamber.org

Arts Huntsville also serves as an umbrella organization for Huntsville’s Arts Assembly, which today includes over 250 arts organizations, individual artists, arts patrons, and other arts-

Panoply 2017 at Big Spring International Park West

minded nonprofits, companies, and technical and professional organizations. Arts Huntsville is responsible for the awardwinning Panoply Arts Festival, a 35-year-old annual event that features art, music and more in Big Spring Park. A partnership with the City

the arts

of Huntsville produces Concerts in the Park, a summer series featuring local musicians and bands, presented free to the public. Other Arts Huntsville projects include the art@TAC gallery in the halls of the Von Braun Center and the SPACES Sculpture Trail. Thanks to an Our Town grant by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2012, a Public Art Master Plan was developed for Huntsville, the first of its kind in Alabama. Arts Huntsville’s programs and services are made possible through the generosity of individual, corporate and foundation supporters and the City of Huntsville, Madison County, the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information on Arts Huntsville’s many activities and how you can get involved, visit artshuntsville.org.

SPACES Sculpture Trail - Alabama A&M - Wrapped Arc by Fred Crist.

SPACES Sculpture Trail - Madison Main Street - A Carpenters Dream by Kevin Vanek.

Panoply 2017 at Big Spring International Park West

Arts Huntsville Pumpkin Patch contest in downtown Huntsville.

Discover Huntsville/Madison County 2018 • 43

the arts The Huntsville Community Drumline

Arts Huntsville awards $100,000 in grants to local nonprofit organizations In early 2017, Arts Huntsville presented $100,000 in grants to “nurture artistic excellence, encourage public access to arts and cultural programming, expand arts education opportunities and develop the organizational capacity of Huntsville’s nonprofit arts and cultural organizations.” The five-year-old Arts & Cultural Grant Program received $100,000 last year in pass-through funding from the City of Huntsville in its fiscal 2017 budget. Arts Huntsville then accepted grant applications from member organizations before a panel of citizens reviewed the proposals. A total of 18 applications were submitted, and the following groups received awards:

Broadway Theatre League Tennessee Valley Jazz Society

Broadway Theatre League

Broadway Theatre League

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Alabama Youth Ballet, $6,526 2016-17 Performing Season Ars Nova, $4,291 2017 Performances and Outreach Broadway Theatre League, $9,896 2016-17 Live Educational Theatrical Shows Community Ballet Association, $7,496, 2017 Performances and Discover Dance Fantasy Playhouse Children’s Theater, $9,565 2016-17 Season and Academy Huntsville Chamber Music Guild, $6,364 2016-17 Concert Series and Education Outreach Huntsville Community Chorus, $7,576 2017 Performance Season Huntsville Community Drumline, $7,496 2017 All-Area Youth Drumline Huntsville Literary Association, $7,334 2017 Shakespeare and Young Writers Contest Huntsville Master Chorale, $5,461 2016-17 Concert Series Huntsville Youth Orchestra, $3,525 2017 Concert Series Independent Musical Productions, $9,499 2017 Production of Ragtime Merrimack Hall Performing Arts Center, $9,773 2017 Happy Days Concert Series Tennessee Valley Jazz Society, $3,041 2017 Gospel, Blues and Jazz Music Series Twickenham Fest, $2,157 2017 Twickenham Musical Festival

the arts

Panoply 2017 at Big Spring International Park West



that’s sky rocketing Education As An Economic Driver & Workforce Development Tool By Kimberly Ballard


untsville was ranked the No. 1 destination for college graduates entering science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields in 2016 for the second year in a row, thanks to a robust job market and the potential for handsome paychecks, according NerdWallet. “Huntsville … Huntsville was ranked the to boasts higher-than-average #1 destination for college STEM salaries. Of the 330 cities we analyzed, the average STEM graduates entering science, salary was $84,222; in Huntsville, technology, engineering and it was $95,150,” the article said. This is all because Huntsville math (STEM) fields in 2016. makes education a major economic driver and a powerful workforce development tool. Cultivated from an early age in all forms of science, technology, engineering, and applied mathematics (STEM), every day children are using real-world applications like computer programming, advanced manufacturing, 3D gaming, and research 46 • hsvchamber.org

& development in their classes and schoolwork. By the time they reach 10th grade, many of them are taking college-level classes that permit them to enter institutions of higher learning as sophomores and juniors. These young people are armed with versatility and finely developed skills that make them prime candidates for excellent paying jobs with the thousands of technology companies in north Alabama. In the Huntsville City school system alone, Career Readiness Certifications and scholarship levels are up double and triple digits. In the City of Madison, a suburban community linked to Huntsville via Cummings Research Park (CRP), the clear majority of residents work in highly skilled technical jobs, and nearly 60 percent of graduates earn college scholarships. From Mayor Tommy Battle’s Cyber Initiative to Redstone Arsenal’s dependency on cyber security, students have been prepped to participate in national competitions on how to defend virtual networks and mobile devices from professional


aggressors, as well as digital forensics and digital crime. STARTING YOUNG Huntsville, Madison, and Madison County schools were recently featured in Achieving Tomorrow’s Voices, a program of the U.S. Chamber Foundation that highlights the impact educators, administrators, community leaders, parents, and businesses can have when they join forces to help students succeed. A series of videos featured all of these different members of the community and how they work together to educate the next generation. “I left teaching for about three years to work at NASA, and when I returned, I tried to bring as much passion and humor, silliness, and excitement as I could to inspire students to participate in class,” said Jeremy Raper, physics and engineering teacher at Bob Jones High School. “I’m a big proponent of project-based learning where it’s not just ‘sit and listen to me talk,’ but rather ‘let’s get you up and get you moving!’ This is partly why I created an engineering academy in our high school. It includes three classes that allow students to get a general idea of what engineering is like, plus a half-day internship where they actually go and work at an engineering company.” Dynetics CEO Dave King talked about his company sponsoring a robotics competition. “The really cool thing is not only do participants learn a lot, technically, about how to build a robot, how a robot functions, how you might get the most out of it, but there’s also a big teamwork element,” he said. “The competition is based upon solving a real-world problem. We tried to help them understand this is exactly the kind of thing that you would be doing if you came to this company. Of course, (they are) slightly different situations, but these are exactly the kinds of procedures and things that you need to learn to do this for a living.” In Madison City Schools, middle schoolers participate in expanding STEM programs that provide curricular courses in health sciences, robotics, and computer science and extracurricular offerings in GreenPower and Cyberpatriot. The Huntsville City Schools Green Power Program allows students to compete locally, nationally and internationally.

Beginning in elementary school, the In Madison County Schools, a new GreenPower elective teaches students how partnership with Intuitive Research and to design, build, market, and race an actual Technology Corporation (INTUITIVE) racecar, cast in carbon fiber using a $300,000 allows engineers to work alongside educators autoclave; and built using an $800,000 plastic to design and implement a curriculum and metal 3D printer. Encompassing all focused on electrical engineering and the STEM areas and more, the cars top out mechanical engineering disciplines. at 40 to 45 mph, but are designed more for1 6/24/2016 1:46:25 The HSV_Chamber_BUS_Guide_Yulista2016.pdf PMclasses started in the fall of 2017 endurance than speed. at Madison County High School and will









Discover Huntsville/Madison County 2018 • 47


Discovery eighth graders gave an open house to show and talk about what they are learning. They boasted about their robotic creations, GoPro videography, alternative fuel demonstrations, banners made on a large format printer, toys shaped by a 3-D printer and even being able to fly a simulator from Huntsville to Chicago.

later expand to other schools. Participating students will take a nine-week course on electrical engineering followed by a course on mechanical design. INTUITIVE will provide workshops/trainings for the high school teachers as well as in-class mentorship to students through the courses and the hardware and software for the courses. “Our students will be exposed to new ideas and new technology,” says Madison County Schools Superintendent Matt Massey. “This partnership with INTUITIVE has the potential to give our students a head start on continued STEM educational opportunities and rewarding STEM careers.” In addition to engineering courses, gaming technology is popular in all three school systems. Starting in elementary school, kids learn programming, which requires a high level of literacy in mathematics. Beginning with something simple like coding bumblebees to navigate through a maze, by the time they’ve reached high school, these kids know how to create 3D games, almost guaranteeing a good paying job in Huntsville where 3D gaming, modeling, and simulation are a large part of industry. AN EASY TRANSITION TO COLLEGIATE AND CORPORATE WORK With high school sophomores beginning their college education through dual enrollment, which may allow them to skip the first 48 • hsvchamber.org

year or two of college, flexibility and online classes make it convenient for traditional and nontraditional students to get bachelor degrees in highly technical fields. Six major colleges and universities in and around Huntsville have long implemented workforce development programs that increase the chances of college graduates, especially in the STEM fields, going directly into jobs in their professions. According to Mayor Battle, these unique opportunities are the driving force behind Huntsville’s engineering superiority. “Our institutes of higher learning like UAH, Alabama A&M, Calhoun, Drake State, and Oakwood University are key to providing a sustainable engineering workforce here in Huntsville,” he says. “Those schools are filling the pipeline with talented young people to replace today’s workforce as they age out and retire.” According to Rena Anderson, Director of Community Engagement, HCS is forming education partnerships with local corporations and Team Redstone to ensure all schools are teaching the skills needed for students to be able to reach success in their college years, and to go directly into the workforce. “Such partnerships include U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) with whom we are collaborating STEMrelated programs to help students in the

Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing fields,” says Anderson. “This education partnership allows AMRDEC to collaborate with Huntsville City Schools to use the school system’s machines for real-world projects,” says AMRDEC Executive Director James Lackey. “Projects to prototype components and parts for aviation and missile system designs can be assigned for students to manufacture.” The new partnership promotes academic achievement in preparation for global workforce competitiveness and is expected to strengthen student, educator, and engineering education capabilities. In addition, the district partners with UAH on its College Academy, allowing their students to learn from professors and to take courses on their campus as high school juniors and seniors, and it partners with Huntsville Hospital for its health sciences curriculum and SAIC for its cyber security curriculum. Furthermore, HCS opened a new College Academy Magnet Program at Jemison High School in partnership with UAH that allows students to graduate high school with 60+ college credits if they attend the academy for four full years. To apply, students must demonstrate their ability to handle the rigors of an accelerated program through criteria such as grade point average, standardized tests scores, and successful completion of Algebra I by the end of 8th grade. They must


also complete an interview process, demonstrate maturity, and provide recommendations from individuals such as principals, teachers, or guidance counselors. Madison City also has hundreds of partnerships with business and industry that allow students to participate in internships, field trips, and site visits from business partners who assist with programs. Its high schools have more than a dozen different career tech programs in the fields of medical, engineering, construction, computer science, arts, and human services. CALHOUN COMMUNITY COLLEGE’S FAME PROGRAM FOR ADVANCED MANUFACTURING Calhoun Community College (CCC) has partnered with Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama (TMMA) to create the Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) program designed to provide a two-year technical Associate degree that combines an advanced manufacturing technology curriculum with paid working experience, and introduces the student to real-world business principles and best practices as implemented by a world class manufacturer. Over two years, students can earn as much as $33,500, enough to cover a student’s education expenses if managed correctly. Potential grants and financial aid are also available. AMT is one of several education-work initiatives under the Alabama Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) umbrella comprised of 12 north Alabama companies including

Calhoun Community College exemplifies the two-year college mission of commitment to excellence in teaching and service and is the region’s leader in education and workforce development.

TMMA; AsahiKasei; Brown Precision, Inc; Custom Polymers, Inc.; EFI Automotive; Georgia Pacific Corrugated; Matsu Alabama; Packaging Corporation of America; Plasma Processes; Snap-On; Sonoco; and Steelcase. Highly selective and limited to 15 students, applicants must meet

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The Lodge

Discover Huntsville/Madison County 2018 • 49


high academic standards, pass a placement and entrance exam, and go through a job interview process not unlike that of any standard employee, to be accepted. The FAME programs benefits these companies because they need industrial maintenance technicians, but it offers many advantages to the student too, who want to work while pursuing a degree. Students must perform per the job description, and can be fired if they do not. UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA HUNTSVILLE (UAH) SWAP PROGRAM Few U.S. college programs have direct access to technological analysis, testing, research, and development like UAH. Surrounded by Fortune 500 companies, engineering firms, Redstone Arsenal (RSA) with its U.S. Army research and development centers, and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), capable engineering graduates do not have to look far to find work after graduation. Students Working with the Army in Parallel (SWAP) began in the Systems Management and Production Center (SMAP) at UAH. Part of UAH’s local economic development efforts at the college level, SWAP benefits students by allowing them to work part-time or on an entry-level basis, on everyday R&D projects for the Army on Redstone Arsenal (RSA). Unlike many internships with no pay, SWAP students are paid by UAH, who is paid by the contractor, who is usually the Army. SWAP makes these students viable and competitive in the workplace. 50 • hsvchamber.org

SWAP takes qualified students from UAH, Alabama A&M, Athens State, Calhoun CC, Wallace State CC, and JF Drake State Technical College. STEM AND RESEARCH FOCUS AT ALABAMA A&M UNIVERSITY STEM is also an integral part of academic programs at Alabama A&M University, a historically black university near downtown Huntsville. The annual AAMU STEM Day provides a forum for undergraduate and graduate students in the College of Agricultural, Life, and Natural Science and the College of Engineering, Technology, and Physical Sciences to showcase their research contributions. The day is part of the school’s commitment to excellence and innovation in STEM through research and experiential learning opportunities that provide mentorship and collaboration. Alabama A&M students also benefit from hands-on experiences such as a one-day workshop held in Thomaston, a small town in Alabama’s Black Belt region. Research assistant professor Buddhi Raj Gyawali and assistant professor Swagata “Ban” Banerjee, both of the College of Agricultural, Life and Natural Sciences, addressed a group of landowners to learn the perception of landowners on the inclusion of goats in their pastures and forestry lands. Select students joined them for this opportunity to educate the limited-resource landowners about the benefits of raising goats in an agroforestry system as a likely alternative for generating income, as well as

exploring chances for collaborative research partnerships with Alabama A&M, Tuskegee University, and local organizations and agencies. The student participants gained a better understanding of the current issues facing minority landowners, exploring internship opportunities with local organizations and agencies, interviewing landowners and establishing networks. TECHNICAL EMPHASIS AT DRAKE STATE At J.F. Drake State Community and Technical College, a two-year public institution, graduates with technical associate degrees in computer information systems, electrical engineering technology, and business programs can enter the workforce following graduation or transfer to Alabama A&M University, Oakwood University, Athens State University and the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Its students participate in a satellite tracking station for capturing and forwarding micro-sized satellite telemetry in partnership with NASA, an amateur radio station for the wireless communications curriculum that serves as a FEMA relay station during local weather watch activities, and 3-D engineering for rapid prototyping and 3-D printing. In addition, its hand-on educational programs extend into a culinary arts program, multiple curriculum options in computer and information technology, and pioneering work in training new employees for jobs in renewable energy.




(Above) Lee/New Century Technology High School (NCTHS) is Huntsville City Schools’ only magnet high school with an emphasis in STEM education.

Educational Work Programs That Open Doors to Success in STEM Professions By Kimberly Ballard


untsville/Madison County has experienced significant employment growth in recent years. In order to attract quality talent, local education is considered a major economic driver and a powerful workforce development tool. It begins as early as PreK in elementary schools and flows outward. Madison County, Madison City, and Huntsville City Schools often develop creative programs to actively engage young people in the learning process and even challenge them with opportunities to earn enough credits by the time they are juniors in high school to enter college as a sophomore!

HUNTSVILLE CITY SCHOOLS In Huntsville City Schools (HCS), graduation rates are at 88 percent, and since 2012, Career Readiness Certifications have increased by over 1,000 percent and scholSouthern Living named arship levels by more than 60 percent. Huntsville the #1 Best College Students from all six HCS high schools have been recogTown, one of 20 “true hidden nized for their achievements on gems” of the South. the ACT. AP students earn $50 for a College Readiness Benchmark score in English, math, science, and/or reading, and they can earn $100 for benchmarking on the Composite Score. Checks 52 • hsvchamber.org

totaling $178,600 were presented to 887 students for their achievements on the ACT. Sixty-three percent of students in the Class of 2017 qualified for an ACT incentive, which represents a 4 percent increase from 2016. Many of those students were also a part of a group of several hundred students who were awarded $159,700 in checks for achievements in AP classes. The HCS Class of 2017 outperformed their peers with higher “College Ready” benchmark scores than the Alabama average, and from other states with 100 percent ACT participation. The ACT assessments provide the district with the ability to gauge student college and career readiness to provide valuable insight into classroom instruction. The HCS System is a model school system, drawing educators from more than 80 school systems nationwide who come to visit and see how it is done. Currently, HCS is 100 percent digital, and it was the first school system in the country to achieve this. All students in third grade and up are issued laptops they can take home to use for school work, and younger students use iPads in the classroom. They attribute their success to blanket interconnectivity and a cloud-based learning management system which brings real-world application, competition, and fun into the school curriculum. The school system also pays for Wi-Fi hot spots


on the school buses with the longest routes, and partnered with the city to install it in community parks and recreational centers. As a result of its use on buses, the systems saw a 75 percent decrease in disciplinary issues. Students can also check out a Wi-Fi hotspot from school media centers if they don’t have access to the internet at home. HCS offers 24 Advanced Placement Courses and 57 percent of HCS high school students are taking an AP, IB, or honors course. HCS is the only system in Alabama with a Middle Years Gifted Program, Project Lead the Way Program in all schools, and a complete program of International Baccalaureate instruction. MADISON CITY SCHOOLS Madison is a suburban community linked to Huntsville via Cummings Research Park (CRP) where 69 percent of residents hold bachelor’s or advanced degrees and work in highly skilled technical jobs. One of the fastest growing school systems in the state, it has an operating budget of $73 million and consists of two high schools, two middle schools, seven elementary schools, and a new Pre-K center. Enrollment for the start of 2016-17 surpassed 10,000 students. Madison City Schools has a 97 percent graduation rate, which is the third best in state. Their students’ average ACT score in 2016 was 23.5, compared to the state average of 19.1 and national aver-

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Owens Cross Roads School fourth-graders Nancijane Goode, MaHaley Mann and Xavier Redwine use iPads to work math problems in class.

age of 20.8. Sixty percent of their 2016 graduates walked across the stage with scholarships averaging over $38,000 each, and 92 percent of graduates pursue post-secondary education. In addition to its academic reputation, one hallmark of Madison City Schools has historically been its strong culture of giving. Schools are active in community service projects and giving to various causes like St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, area food banks and homeless shelters, blood drives, homecoming floats with charitable themes, and others.

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Discover Huntsville/Madison County 2018 • 53


Madison City Schools central office on Celtic Drive

In all Madison City elementary schools, students in grades K to 3 receive Spanish instruction along with strong enrichment programs and outside-the-box offerings like chess. They also receive STEM education and use outdoor classrooms. Madison City has a rotating block in its middle schools that shifts the class sequence weekly and provides broader electives opportunities. For high schoolers, a “zero” and “5 block” option offers courses that transcend the traditional school day. This “Options Open” concept, along with online and blended class options, particularly helps students who want to pick up a credit, explore an interest, or work around other things in their schedule such as a job or family. Its high schools also have a special schedule that takes the hectic life of a teenager into account by building in the daily Refuel extended lunch period at James Clemens High School and the weekly Patriot Path at Bob Jones High School. Madison City offers 30 AP classes in its schools, which is among the highest across public high schools in America. Competitive athletic programs and strong fine arts programs give students a broad array of options in theater, visual, and performing arts. Many of the faculty and students from Madison City Schools have been recog-

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nized for prestigious awards including Mill Creek Elementary teacher Lisa Large who won a 2016 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching; the Math Team at Liberty Middle School placed first in regional competition and third in the state; Rainbow Elementary had two chess teams that won first and second place in both the K-3 and the K-6 divisions at the state scholastic chess tournament in March 2016; five students from Bob Jones High School were recognized for Excellence in Arts at the March 2016 Board of Education meeting; and Madison City Board of Education President Dr. Terri Johnson was nominated as an All-State School Board member nominee to the Alabama Association of School Boards. MADISON COUNTY SCHOOLS According to Superintendent Matt Massey with the Madison County School System, there are nine large school systems in Alabama with more than 17,000 students. “There is a big gap between number nine and number ten, so we compare


ourselves to the big nine,” says Massey. “We are the eighth largest in the state and based on Aspire scores, we are number one in 21 out of 24 categories among grades three through eight.” Madison County Schools also puts special emphasis on summer learning. “By focusing on those who show signs of accomplishment, but who may be considered at-risk based on chronic absenteeism, boredom, or other factors, the county puts them through a leadership program with Leadership Huntsville that turns them into advocates for their own education,” says Massey. “So far it has spread to five schools affecting about 500 kids, and we have been very successful changing the outcomes for students with all the indicators for dropping out of school. We had one student who was absent 40 times last year and after going through Leadership Academy, was absent less than five days this entire year and his test scores are up.” Madison County Schools officially launched Canvas to more than 19,000

students and 1,400 teachers at the beginning of the 2015 school year. One of the first testaments to the impact of Canvas came during an e-learning experiment during traditional teacher professional development days, which were half-days for students. District leadership allowed students to have remote access so they could complete their coursework on Canvas from home, a library, or a coffee shop to mitigate poor attendance rates on these days. The experiment was a big hit, substantially lowering absenteeism and giving teachers a full day for PD. “The Internet and cloud connectivity is part of life for kids today,” Massey says. “We are one of the first K through 12 school systems to use Canvas, and by 2017, we will have filled a big technology gap that has needed to be filled for several years.” PRIVATE SCHOOLS The Huntsville Madison Private Schools Association represents over

20 private, religiously-affiliated, or independent schools located in Huntsville/Madison County. Most of these schools have state-certified teachers and are accredited. Smaller student-teacher ratios ensure more individual attention and they demand a higher level of academic performance. Private schools also offer a safe school environment and usually promote moral values and discipline in a strict atmosphere. While many private schools address learning disabilities, faith-based preferences, and even programs for troubled teens, they are known for providing parents and students with a variety of education alternatives, including day care, pre-kindergarten, and kindergarten through grade 12. Many of these schools administer standardized testing programs, such as the Stanford Achievement Test (SAT), to evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching and curriculum, and require state-certified teachers accredited by the Alabama Board of Education.

Children learn shapes and numbers in Spanish during Ms. Bethany Powell’s kindergarten Spanish class at Horizon Elementary, in Madison, Ala.

A group of Madison students play chess as part of the district’s growing chess program. A new online tool will help bring the program to more students. (Madison City Schools)

ISSA President Ben McGee speaks with middle schoolers on kicking off the Mad City Cyber Club at Discovery Middle.

Discover Huntsville/Madison County 2018 • 55

real estate

Why live in Huntsville/Madison County? By Melissa Gerrish


untsville is currently the state’s third largest city, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and is on track to the become the largest city in Alabama. It is home to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, Campus 805 (a hot spot for craft beer enthusiasts), Huntsville Museum of Art, the Von Braun Center, Ditto Landing, Monte Sano State Park, among many other popular destinations. Amanda Howard, founder and CEO of Amanda Howard Real Estate in Huntsville, polled her real estate team to find out why their clients choose Huntsville, and polled the team of real estate relocation specialists who work closely with clients as they plan, research, visit, Huntsville is currently the and ultimately make the move to “Their response was state’s third largest city, Huntsville. a tie between Huntsville’s lower according to the U.S. Census cost of living, lower taxes, and the benefit of big city amenities paired Bureau, and is on track to with a smaller hometown feel,” become the largest city in Howard said. ’Why choose Huntsville?’ I Alabama. grew up here, moved away and then came back, said Realtor 56 • hsvchamber.org

Jonathan Stinson with the Stinson Real Estate Group at Keller Williams. “My wife and I decided to do that because this is home and we wanted to move closer to family and friends. Most of the homebuyers I work with come here for jobs,” Stinson said. “They stay because Huntsville has assembled an eclectic group of residents -- thanks to the variety of work available, which attracts people from all across the globe -- that has given the community a unique collection of recreational activities, which allow new residents to find something that interest them, make friends and quickly feel at home.”

real estate

“At Amanda Howard Real Estate we have a dedicated team of relocation specialists trained to anticipate the needs of clients considering a corporate or personal move to north Alabama,” said Howard. “We’ve spent time and resources compiling answers to the most commonly asked questions relocating families often ask. We offer an extensive list of concierge services for our relocating clients including customized personal area tours, local area stats and information packets, and spousal support during visits” According to amandahowardrealestate.com, Huntsville offers a wide range of housing options. “The majority of the homes are moderately priced family homes. The average home sells for approximately $132,000, and the low property taxes and living costs have attracted many young families to this city. Most new construction sites feature affordable, kid-friendly planned communities to accommodate this influx of young professionals and their families.” Howard says some of the reasons Huntsville is attractive to clients is because of the following:

10. Easy proximity to major cities and recreation areas 11. Warm weather from northern climates “The ability to quickly connect with a community can be hard to find, but not here,” Stinson said. For more information, go to at kwhsv. com

(Right) SPACES Sculpture Trail (Bottom) Huntsville Botanical Garden New Visitors Center

1. Cost of living 2. Lower taxes 3. Hometown feel, big city amenities 4. Culturally diverse melting pot 5. Quality of life 6. Closer to family 7. Outdoor activities 8. Schools 9. Job opportunities for spouse Discover Huntsville/Madison County 2018 • 57

real estate


MidCity An architect’s rendering of MidCity

By Melissa Gerrish


idCity Huntsville is located on a 100-acre site at the intersection of Research Park Boulevard and University Drive in the midst of Cummings Research Park and just minutes from downtown. Once completed, MidCity will include a total of 350,000 square feet of specialty retail, at least 150,000 square feet of high-tech office space, a wide range of dining options, a 100-plus room hotel and 560 residential units. At least 70 percent of the businesses at MidCity will be new-to-market, according to midcityhuntsville.com. “The project is invested in improving quality of life for the area,” said Odie Fakhouri with RCP Properties. “The MidCity master plan reOnce completed, MidCity veals a series of interconnected will include a total of 350,000 spaces and gathering places square feet of specialty retail, packed with opportunities to engage and discover.” It will inat least 150,000 square feet of clude an outdoor amphitheater high-tech office space, a wide for live concerts and events, a hub in a 38-acre range of dining options, a recreational park that will incorporate rock 100-plus room hotel and 560 climbing walls, a kayak center residential units. and a running and biking path that encircles the lake.

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According to Fakhouri, Topgolf is slated to open the first week of December. Fakhouri said the hightech driving range will feature a 53,000-square-foot venue and 72 climate-controlled hitting bays. Other Topgolf features include: * Full-service restaurant and bars; * Private event spaces and meeting rooms; * Rooftop terrace with fire pit; and * Free Wi-Fi Also, at MidCity Huntsville is The Camp -- an outdoor leisure destination where food, art and entertainment come together. “We are continuing with the land work -- moving dirt to elevations needed and bringing infrastructure/utilities to the building pads,” Fakhouri said. “The next building under construction will be High Point Climbing and Fitness.” The facility will offer 30,000 square feet of climbing for kids to the more experienced climber. “The technology/office component at MidCity is exciting,” Fakhouri said. “It’ll offer companies a place to work that is full of amenities, inspiring spaces and opportunities to collaborate,” he said. “We will be announcing details of the residential components in the next couple months as well.” For more information about MidCity, visit midcityhuntsville.com.

real estate

An architect’s rendering of MidCity

“The MidCity master plan reveals a series of interconnected spaces and gathering places packed with opportunities to engage and discover.”

Discover Huntsville/Madison County 2018 • 59



revitalization The Huntsville Skyline at night.

Once Revitalized, Downtown Huntsville is Now Experiencing an Exciting New 21st Century Skyline by Kimberly Ballard


hen the City of Huntsville adopted their first Downtown Master Plan decades ago, designed to “comprehensively revitalize” its City center, that plan would undergo several updates over the next 25 years as Huntsville rejuvenated the City into an innovative and energetic place to live, work, and play. However, since 2014, it is almost impossible to continue to use the term “revitalization” to describe the progress. Instead, Downtown Huntsville is deeply entrenched in redevelopment strategies that have already, and will continue to change Huntsville’s City skyline, and provide residential and commercial spaces that are conducive to an upscale, urban lifestyle.

Downtown Huntsville is deeply entrenched in redevelopment strategies that have already, and will continue to change Huntsville’s City skyline, and provide residential and commercial spaces that are conducive to an upscale, urban lifestyle. 60 • hsvchamber.org

BIG SPRING PARK In September 2016, long-needed repairs began to fix the lagoon’s collapsing seawalls and repair broken and uneven sidewalks. Workers shored up erosion that had decreased water flow and performed upgrades to the park’s electrical infrastructure, which had been insufficient in terms of providing enough “juice” for park events. With the installation of grain feeders, even the resident ducks benefited. “For just 25 cents, you get a handful of grain – just the right amount for our waterfowl,” said Animal Services Director Dr. Karen Sheppard. “It is healthier for the animals and reduces byproduct as a result of overfeeding.” In the interest of saving time and money, much of the work was performed by city workers with in-house crews. The park needed to be ready for the annual Panoply arts festival in late April, and everyone concerned worked hard to make it happen. The project was a joint effort between the City of Huntsville’s departments of Public Works, Engineering, Landscape Management, General Services, and private contractor Miller and Miller.


The project was designed by OMI, Garver Engineers and Tetra Tech. “Big Spring Park is a beloved gathering spot for our residents and visitors,” says Mayor Tommy Battle. “It is well used, and we are glad to be able to make the necessary improvements and repairs to bring it back to a high-quality standard.” DOWNTOWN HUNTSVILLE, INC. EVENTS Huntsville residents are rediscovering Downtown Huntsville as an active place to live, work, and play! Coordinated and promoted by Downtown Huntsville, Inc., there are numerous family-friendly events available, all centered around Huntsville’s historic Downtown Square and Big Spring Park. Downtown Huntsville has something for all ages. Fine and casual dining, art museums and concerts, the Von Braun Center Convention and Entertainment complex, craft beer tap rooms, diverse retail outlets, and dozens of eclectic events keep the City hopping. Several miles of hiking, walking, and mountain bike trails are accessible from the City’s center for those who enjoy an outdoor lifestyle.

Other events include Winter Warmer Week, the Grotto Lights Concert Series, the Panoply Arts Festival, Retro Winter Games, Rocket City Brewfest, and the Huntsville Museum of Art’s ice-skating rink open every year during the Christmas Holidays. Acoustic Squared, Light + Innovation + Technology (LIT), Art Walk, the Craft Beer Trail, the Human Foosball tournament, Pop Up Putt-Putt tournament, and the Park Experience all take place just steps from the Historic Square and Historic Train Depot & Museum. Residents flock to the Food Truck Rallies where they can sample artisan delights at the weekly Street Food Gatherings, or visit the craft beer breweries where you can sample dozens of uniquely flavored beers in the half dozen tap rooms in the City. Art and music lovers will find the Huntsville Museum of Art, Earlyworks Children Museum, Constitution Village with its seasonal Santa’s Village; the Historic Depot Museum, the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, Broadway Theater League, Huntsville Ballet, Theatre Huntsville, Fantasy Playhouse, and many other

cultural resources performing in the city center. Even sports lovers will find Downtown home to Division 1 Hockey. THE AVENUE The Avenue is a collection of 197 loft apartments and 21,000 square feet of ground floor retail space that opened Fall 2016 right in the heart of Downtown. The $35 million development is part of an overall redevelopment strategy to provide more upscale residential living to the city center. Many transplanted engineers and young professionals who move to Huntsville from large cities like Washington DC, Boston, and New York City are attracted to upscale urban living and a bustling lifestyle. Located on Jefferson Street, the Avenue offers studio apartments starting at $850 a month, priced up to 3-bedroom luxury apartments for $1,950 month. Designed with stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, ultra-plush carpeting and hardwood flooring, with 9-foot and 14-foot ceilings, The Avenue surrounds an outdoor courtyard with a fire pit, saltwater swimming pool, gallery space, and a 24-hour fitness center.

Big Spring Park Japanese Bridge.

Discover Huntsville/Madison County 2018 • 61


The Avenue, downtown Huntsville’s newest mixed-use development, is nearing completion and ready to announce its first retail tenant: Church Street Purveyor.

It all sits atop an upscale dining and retail shopping experience that is unique to Huntsville. CITYCENTRE AT BIG SPRING Despite construction delays, the CityCentre at Big Spring is moving forward and promises to be loaded with “cool concepts that will offer a different experience downtown,” according to Odie Fakhouri, Director of Acquisitions and Asset Management with project developer RCP Company. Featuring 50,000 square feet of retail space and upscale homes, the $100 million project calls for structured streetlevel parking, pedestrian crossings, bike pathway, walkways, and a linear park that connects residents and visitors to Big Spring Park, the Von Braun Center, Twickenham Square, and the medical district. CityCentre will also feature regional and local cuisine in a 12,000-squre-foot artisan food hall named The Public Market, which is designed to be a “snapshot of a community’s culinary and cultural identity.” Located in the epicenter of downtown Huntsville, CityCentre at Big Spring is conveniently positioned to improve pedestrian traffic and enhance accessibility to City-sponsored activities. New renderings of CityCentre at Big Spring. (Courtesy of the City of Huntsville)

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Planned amenities include concierge and valet services, as well as atmospheric lighting, music, and events intended to engage residents, office workers, guests, and shoppers. Phase I of the two-phase project will showcase a 150-unit boutique AC Hotel by Marriott, customized for Huntsville with new restaurants, rooftop bars, and outdoor terraces overlooking Big Spring Park. Phase 1 also includes 31,000-squarefeet of retail space; 53,000-square-feet of office and office loft space; and 200 apartments totaling approximately $70 million. Phase II will include a 130-key urban hotel, and approximately 50,000-squarefeet of mixed commercial/office loft space totaling about $30 million. The development will involve narrowing Williams Street to give access

to Big Spring Park and increase open space so events like outdoor concerts, art in the park, and other family activities are convenient to residents, workers, and visitors. Comfortable, shaded seating areas and restaurants with alfresco dining will accommodate at least two “jewel box restaurants”, public art, landscaping, and hardscapes. RCP is also planning to create a new epicenter or “high tech hub” for the technology community that may include a business “accelerator” to attract entrepreneurs, capital, and talent that will drive economic growth and stimulate a technological workforce. The Phase II retail component will include boutique shops and wellness and dining facilities.

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Discover Huntsville/Madison County 2018 • 63


Our abundant



esearch abounds on the benefits of parks and “greenspace.” The Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence has research to prove parks draw visitors who spend money. Proximity to parks increases home values and increases tax revenue. Greenspaces capture rainwater and runoff and reduce stormwater management costs. Plant life helps clean the air and reduce pollution costs. But citizens benefit most from having a park nearby. In a time when obesity rates are on the rise, having nearby greenspace can help promote physical and mental well-being. Finding a park is not a problem for those who live in Huntsville and Madison. Between the two cities, there are more than 80 areas to play, relax or get away from it all just minutes from most homes. From big city recreation facilities to neighborhood parks, there is plenty to choose from in Huntsville, Madison and Madison County. HUNTSVILLE CITY PARKS Aldridge Creek Greenway

1100 Mt. Gap Road, 35803 103.55 acres Contact: Jay Cloys 256-883-3292 Amenities: Walking trail. Jogging, bicycling and rollerblading are allowed. Pets on leash only.

2560 Redstone Road, 35803 30.05 acres Contact: Jay Cloys 256-883-3292 Amenities: Soccer, baseball and softball fields, tennis courts, playground, restrooms and concessions, pavilion

Archer Park

Bicentennial Park

3315 Archer Drive, 35805 3.62 acres Amenities: Tennis courts, playground, softball field, pavilion

Beirne Avenue Park

Between the two cities there are more than 80 areas to play and relax

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Bell Mountain Park

330 Beirne Ave., 35801 1.68 acres Contact: Tony Hughes 256-883-3291 Amenities: Baseball and softball fields, tennis courts, playground

315 Fountain Circle, 35801 0.3 acres Contact: Parks and Recreation 256-564-8023 Amenities: Passive greenspace, splash pad

Big Cove Creek Greenway

Old Highway 431, 35763 53.4 acres Contact: Tony Hughes 256-883-3291 Amenities: Walking trail, outdoor exercise equipment

Big Spring Park

200 Church St., 35801 17.96 acres Contact: Eric Enchelmayer 256-883-3296 Amenities: Passive greenspace

Brahan Spring Park

500 Drake Ave., 35801 169.62 acres Contact: Ralph Battle 256-883-3736 Amenities: Soccer, softball and baseball fields, volleyball, tennis and horseshoe courts, disc golf, splash pad, playground, restrooms, concessions, pavilion

Buchanan Park

10044 Fielding Drive, 35803 3.97 acres Contact: Jay Cloys 256-883-3292 Amenities: Outdoor basketball courts, tennis courts, soccer fields, multipurpose fields, playground, pavilion

community community

California Street Park

708 California St., 35801 2 acres Contact: Paul Jensen 256-883-3754 Amenities: Outdoor basketball courts, tennis courts, playground, restrooms, pavilion

Capshaw Road (proposed)

63 acres Contact: David DeLisser 256-882-7514 Amenities: Passive walking trail

Calvary Hill Park

2800 Poplar Ave., 35816 6.91 acres Contact: Tony Hughes 256-883-3291 Amenities: Baseball, softball and football fields, concessions, pavilion

Chaney Thompson Property Park

(under development) 15935 Chaney Thompson Road 52 acres

Chelsea Park

2851 Chelsea Lane, 35805 3.5 acres Contact: Brian Wilson 256-883-3290 Amenities: Softball field, outdoor basketball court, pavilion, playground

Cove Park

834 Old Highway 431, 35763 98.04 acres Contact: Tony Hughes 256-883-3291 Amenities: Baseball, softball and soccer fields, multipurpose field, concessions, pavilion, playground, restrooms

Creekwood Park

360A Harvestwood Ct, 35758 71.88 acres Contact: David DeLisser 256-882-7514 Amenities: Passive greenspace, restrooms, pavilions, playgound

Cross Country Running Park Jaycee Way, 35801 Contact: Eric Enchelmayer 256-883-3296 Amenities: Outdoor exercise equipment, restrooms

Dog Spot

200 Cleveland Ave., 35801 1.5 acres Contact: David DeLisser 256-882-7514 Amenities: Passive greenspace

Dr. Richard Showers Sr. Park 4600 Blue Spring Road 35810 17.7 acres Contact: Brian Wilson 256-883-3290 Amenities: Baseball and softball fields, playground, restrooms, concessions, pavilion

Everybody Can Play Playground and Splash Pad

Hays Nature Preserve

3771 Ivy Ave. Southwest Contact: Ralph Battle 256-883-3736 Amenities: Pavilion, playground, restrooms, splash pad

7153 Highway 431 S., 35763 552.35 acres Contact: Denise Taylor 256-427-5116 Amenities: Walking trail, restrooms

Fern Bell/Fern Gully Park

Hermitage Park

6900 Whitesburg Drive, 35802 14.2 acres Contact: Paul Jensen 256-883-3754 Amenities: Baseball, soccer and softball fields, multipurpose fields, concessions, pavilion, playground, restrooms

Goldsmith Schiffman Wildlife Sanctuary

Taylor and Terry Drake Roads 375.70 acres Contact: Denise Taylor 256-427-5116 Amenities: Passive greenspace

Halsey Park

435 White St., 35801 0.20 acres Contact: Tony Hughes 256-883-3291 Amenities: Passive greenspace

Hastings Park

2801 Hastings Road, 35801 0.34 acres Contact: Paul Jensen 256-883-3754 Amenities: Playground

915 Kennamer Drive, 35801 4.11 acres Contact: Paul Jensen 256-883-3754 Amenities: Tennis courts, pavilion, playground

Hillendale Park

2811 Holmes Ave., 35816 0.39 acres Contact: Tony Hughes 256-883-3291 Amenities: Playground, pavilion

Holmes Avenue Park

2910 Holmes Ave., 35816 2.59 acres Contact: Tony Hughes 256-883-3291 Amenities: Softball field, outdoor basketball court, pavilion, playground

Indian Creek Greenway Slaughter Road, 35758 61.68 acres Contact: David DeLisser 256-882-7514 Amenities: Walking trail

Southside Park and dog park opened March 2015 on Chaney Thompson Road in Huntsville.

Discover Huntsville/Madison County 2018 • 65


James C. Crawford Park

3915 Melody Lane, 35811 8.33 acres Contact: Brian Wilson 256-883-3290 Amenities: Baseball field, outdoor basketball court, pavilion, playground, restrooms

Jim Marek Park

Merrimack Mill Village 1 acres 256-564-8024 Amenities: Pavilion, playground

John Hunt Park

2151 Airport Road, 35801 428.01 acres Contact: Paul Jensen 256-883-3754 Amenities: Baseball, softball and soccer fields, multipurpose field, concessions, restrooms, walking trail, outdoor exercise equipment

Jones Farm Park

Carl T. Jones Drive, 35802 33 acres Contact: Jay Cloys 256-883-3292 Amenities: Walking trail, pavilions

Ken Johnston Park

1100 Mt. Gap Road, 35803 18.36 acres Contact: Jay Cloys 256-883-3292 Amenities: Playground, pavilion, restrooms, outdoor exercise equipment

Knox Creek Park

180 Greenbank Drive, 35757 26.76 acres Contact: David DeLisser 256-882-7514 Amenities: Outdoor basketball courts, pavilion, playground

Lakewood Park

2225 York Road, 35810 32.45 acres Contact: Brian Wilson 256-883-3290 Amenities: Baseball and softball fields, multipurpose field, tennis courts, concessions, pavilion, playground, restrooms, walking trail

Lewter Park

McGucken Park

13020 Bailey Cove, 35803 37.10 acres Contact: Jay Cloys 256-883-3292 Amenities: Baseball, soccer, football and softball fields, outdoor basketball court, multipurpose fields, tennis courts, concessions, pavilions, playground, restrooms

Meadow Hill Park

Medaris Road, 35810 1.06 acres Amenities: Soccer and softball fields, playground, pavilion

Merrimack Park

1501 Wellman Ave., 35801 0.52 acres Contact: Tony Hughes 256-883-3291 Amenities: Outdoor basketball courts, playground

3501 Triana Blvd. SW, 35805 46.80 acres Contact: Herbert Tamale 256-883-3903 Amenities: Soccer fields, concessions, pavilions, playground, restroom

Maple Hill Park

Oak Park

1351 McClung Ave., 35801 8.64 acres Contact: Tony Hughes 256-883-3291 Amenities: Pavilion, playground, softball field

Maplewood Park

2250 Oakwood Ave., 35810 9.30 acres Contact: Tony Hughes 256-883-3291 Amenities: Baseball and softball fields, outdoor basketball courts, concessions, pavilion, playground,

4943 North Memorial Pkwy, 35810 9.5 acres Contact: Brian Wilson 256-883-3290 Amenities: Softball field, pavilion, playground, restroom

Oakmont Park

7620 Logan Drive, 35802 13.68 acres Contact: Paul Jensen 256-883-3754 Amenities: Soccer and softball fields, outdoor basketball courts, multipurpose fields, tennis courts, pavilion, playground, restrooms, disc golf

Mastin Lake Park

Ogden Martin Park

Kids’ Space

Mayfair Park

Kent Robertson Park

2100 Airport Road, 35801 Contact: Eric Enchelmayer 256-883-3296 Amenities: Playground, pavilion, restrooms

Kiwanis Soccer Park

4201 Bob Wallace Ave., 35805 6.39 acres Contact: Brian Wilson 256-883-3290 Amenities: Soccer fields

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3315 Watson Drive, 35810 31.73 acres Contact: Brian Wilson 256-883-3290 Amenities: Baseball and soccer fields, outdoor basketball court, tennis courts, concessions, playground, pavilion, restrooms 550 Thornton Ave., 35801 8.88 acres Contact: Paul Jensen 256-883-3754 Amenities: Baseball and soccer fields, concessions, pavilions, playgrounds

2224 Euclid, 35810 3.72 acres Contact: David DeLisser 256-882-7514 Amenities: Playground 5251 Triana Blvd., 35805 2.50 acres Contact: Brian Wilson 256-883-3290 Amenities: Softball and multipurpose fields, playground

Optimist Park

703 Oakwood Ave., 35811 8.50 acres Contact: Tony Hughes 256-883-3291 Amenities: Baseball field, concessions, pavilion, playground, restroom

Philpot Park

1211 Philpot Ave., 35811 4 acres Contact: Tony Hughes 256-883-3291 Amenities: Outdoor basketball court, tennis courts, pavilion, playground

Pine Park

3951 Pine Ave., 35805 2.34 acres Contact: Brian Wilson 256-883-3290 Amenities: Playground

Robert E. “Bud” Cramer Jr. Park

600 Meridian St. SE, 35801 2.80 acres Contact: Tony Hughes 256-883-3291 Amenities: Playground, walking trail

Sandhurst Park

2928 Green Cove Road SW, 35803 17.10 acres Contact: Jay Cloys 256-883-3292 Amenities: Baseball, soccer and softball fields, outdoor basketball court, concessions, pavilions, playground, restroom

Scenic Overlook

2251 Governors Drive SE, 35801 4.50 acres Amenities: Passive greenspace

Scenic View Park

2705 Scenic View Drive, 35810 5.10 acres Contact: Brian Wilson 256-883-3290 Amenities: Softball and soccer fields, pavilion, playground

Sherwood Park

325 Town & Country Dr., 35806 5 acres Contact: Brian Wilson 256-883-3290 Amenities: Softball and soccer fields, pavilion, playground, walking trail, outdoor exercise equipment

Skate Park

200 Cleveland Ave., 35801 0.66 acres Contact: David DeLisser 256-882-7514


Stoner Park

3715 Bragg St., 35810 67.62 acres Contact: Brian Wilson 256-883-3290 Amenities: Baseball, softball, football and soccer fields, multipurpose field, tennis courts, concessions, pavilions, playgrounds, restrooms

University Park


135 Manningham Drive, 35758 1.52 acres Amenities: Pavilions, picnic area, playground, volleyball

Ashley Park

(two entrances) 214 Ashley Way, or 121 Wellington Drive, 35758 3.2 acres Amenities: Basketball, picnic area, playground

4419 Saundra Lane, 35805 10.74 acres Contact: Brian Wilson 256-883-3290 Amenities: Baseball and softball fields, concessions, pavilions, playgrounds, restrooms, tennis courts

122 Jay Drive, 35758 3.1 acres Amenities: Playground

Veterans Park

Cambridge Park

200 Monroe St., 35801 2.64 acres Contact: David DeLisser 256-882-7514 Amenities: Passive greenspace

Wade Mountain Preserve

9500 Spragins Hollow Road NW, 35810 559 acres Contact: David DeLisser 256-882-7514 Amenities: Passive greenspace

Willow Park

1928 Aftonbrae Drive, 35803 9.34 acres Contact: Jay Cloys 256-883-3292 Amenities: Softball fields, multipurpose fields, tennis courts, pavilion, playground, restrooms, walking trail

Windsor Manor Park

6500 Pisgah Drive, 35810 7.99 acres Contact: Brian Wilson 256-883-3290 Amenities: Softball field, outdoor basketball and tennis courts, pavilion, playground

Zierdt Road Park (proposed) Zierdt Road 52 acres Contact: David DeLisser 256-882-7514 Amenities: Passive greenspace

Brass Oak Park

Governors Park

Rickwood Park

Hardiman Place Park

Rollingwood Park

101 Bibb Dr., 35758 4 acres Amenities: Picnic area, playground 113 Beerli Road, 35758 0.5 acres

Home Place Park

130 Shorter St., 35758 2.26 acres Amenities: Grill, playground, soccer field

Joe Phillips Park

154 Joe Phillips Road, 35758 0.5 acres Amenities: Open space

Leathertree Park 2

696 Cambridge Drive, 35758 0.5 acres Amenities: Picnic area

25 Gillespie Road, 35758 5.07 acres Amenities: Grill, open space, picnic area, playground

Carter Park

Madison Point Park

450 Carter Drive, 35758 2.53 acres Amenities: Grill, picnic area, playground

Cedars Park

121 Shadow Ridge Drive, 35758 1.48 acres Amenities: Playground

Chadrick Park

521 Brenda Drive, 35758 4.3 acres Amenities: Basketball, picnic area, playground

Collinwood Park

139 Whisperwood Lane, 35758 2.32 acres Amenities: Picnic area, playground

Madison Trace Park

127 Progress Lane, 35758 0.91 acres Amenities: Playground

Mandolin Park

208 Thomas Drive, 35758 0.525 acres Amenities: Open space

Mill Creek Park

232 Jarrett Drive, 35758 1 acre Amenities: Open space

141 Teal Park Lane, 35758 2.75 acres Amenities: Basketball, open space, playground

Dublin Memorial Park

Mill Creek Dog Park

8324 Madison Pike, 35758 60 acres Contact: 256-772-9300 Amenities: indoor basketball, volleyball, indoor and outdoor pools, walking trail, soccer fields, disc golf course, tennis courts, playground, concessions, fishing, restrooms

Fieldcrest Park

102 Brandon Drive, 35758 4 acres Amenities: Picnic area, playground

38 Balch Road, 35758 1.43 acres Amenities: Open space

Palmer Park

574 Palmer Road, 35758 Contact: 256-772-9300 Amenities: Baseball, softball, football and soccer fields, concessions, restrooms, pavilions, playground

481 Mose Chapel Road, 35758 2.5 acres Amenities: Basketball, open space, playground, soccer 163 Liberty Drive, 35758 1.71 acres Amenities: Open space, pavilions, picnic area

Shelton Park

1025 Shelton Road, 35758 2.98 acres Amenities: Open space, pavilions, picnic area, playground

Silver Creek Park

108 Donash Circle, 35758 2.77 acres Amenities: Open space

Stavemill Park

786 Sienna Vista Drive, 35758 4.98 acres Amenities: Open space, picnic area, playground, soccer

Stewart Park

100 Stewart St., 35758 0.22 acres Amenities: Basketball, grill, picnic area, playground

Stoneridge Park

190 Stoneway Trail, 35758 65 acres plus Amenities: Playground, walking trails

Sweetbriar Park

144 Steele Drive, 35758 3.96 acres Amenities: Open space

West Highlands Park Gooch Lane, 35758 2.5 acres Amenities: Picnic area

Westgate Park

276 Pine Ridge Drive, 35758 3.05 acres Amenities: Picnic area, playground

Windsor Parke

Amsterdam Place, 35758 0.5 acres Amenities: Playground

Rainbow Mountain Park 250 Carter Road, 35758 1.52 acres Amenities: Walking trails

Discover Huntsville/Madison County 2018 •



Growth & Technology lead the way in Huntsville

Healthcare By Madoline Markham

CRESTWOOD MEDICAL CENTER EXPANDS ER & OTHER MEDICAL FACILITIES The $5.5 million expansion of Crestwood Medical Center’s Emergency Department is just one of the many ways the medical center is working to transform healthcare in the community. The new ER facility, which debuted in 2015, features 17 additional private exam rooms, with additional triage and waiting room space along with a full renovation of its previously existing space and a more comfortable waiting area. Patients have also found more privacy at registration and an improved experience from their entry to their discharge home—all with the same experienced staff they have long known. As of late 2015, the hospital was also planning to add 30 acute care beds in a $8.9 million, 21,300-square-foot expansions project. The new private rooms would be located in a previously unfinished space on the fourth floor of Crestwood’s East patient tower, but no updated on the project has been released. The relatively new CrestAccording to the Cost of wood Wound & Hyperbaric clinic is offering Living Index, healthcare costs Medicine patients access to the latest in Huntsville are lower than outpatient clinical wound care and hyperbaric medicine, using the national average by 4.5 a variety of clinical treatments, percentage points and lower therapies, and support services to treat chronic wounds. than that of four out of five More than 8 million people in the U.S. suffer from chronic comparable U.S. technology wounds where healing has been communities. impeded by such diseases and 68 • hsvchamber.org

conditions as diabetes, obesity, aging, and the late effects of radiation therapy. Likely candidates for treatment at the new center are those suffering from diabetic ulcers, pressure ulcers, infections, radiation injuries to soft tissue and bone, compromised skin grafts and flaps, and wounds that haven’t healed within 30 days. Crestwood has been recognized for more than its facilities, too. The medical center received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment and success in ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence. “A stroke patient loses 1.9 million neurons each minute stroke treatment is delayed. This recognition further demonstrates our commitment to delivering stroke treatments to patients quickly and safely,” said Lori Light, Crestwood Director of Marketing & Communications. “Crestwood continues to strive for excellence in the acute treatment of stroke patients. The recognition from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke further reinforces our team’s hard work.” According to the American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, someone dies of a stroke every four minutes, and nearly 800,000


Crestwood Medical Center

people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year. Crestwood earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure patients at a set level for a designated period. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama also designated Crestwood Medical Center as one of the first hospitals to receive the Blue Distinction Center for Maternity Care designation, a new designation under the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. The program evaluates hospitals on several quality measures, including the percentage of newborns that fall into the category of early elective delivery, an ongoing concern in the medical community. In addition, hospitals that receive this designation agreed to meet requirements that align with principles that support evidence-based practices of care, as well as having initiated programs to promote successful breastfeeding. “We are proud to receive this recognition confirming our commitment to one-on-one expert care and industry best-practices, ensuring healthy outcomes for mommy and baby,” said Molly Harvey, manager of Crestwood Women’s Services. “For parents, choosing where to deliver their baby can be overwhelming. The Blue Distinction program offers assurance that the designated facilities can provide the

quality maternity care their looking for.” Additionally, for multiple years Crestwood Medical Center has been named a Top Performer on Key Quality Measures by The Joint Commission, the nation’s leading accreditor of health care organizations. The honor recognizes hospitals that excel at meeting the Commission’s stringent measurements for exemplary patient care. Crestwood was recognized for its excellence in accountability measure performance for heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, and surgical care. Only 1,224 – or approximately one-third – of eligible hospitals in the United States achieved this distinction for attaining and sustaining excellence in certain clinical measures. “We are proud of our physicians and clinical staff for their hard work to provide safe, effective care across the hospital,” said Edith Aguayo, M.D., Crestwood Medical Center. “The Joint Commission’s recognition of our efforts is very gratifying for our entire team.” HUNTSVILLE HOSPITAL OPENS HEART INSTITUTE, CONTINUES TO PRIORITIZE PATIENT CARE The Huntsville Hospital Health System has grown over the past few years as its hospitals and other providers are working to improve local, community-based health care for the residents of the Tennessee

Valley. In its facilities, including Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children and Madison Hospital, it provides 941 acute care beds. In 2015, the system admitted around 60,000 patients and saw around 157,000 emergency room visits, conducted around 37,000 surgeries, and witnessed 5,000 births. U.S. News & World Report rated Huntsville Hospital Alabama’s No. 2 hospital for 2016-17 and gave it the magazine’s “High Performing” label for abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), colon cancer surgery, heart bypass surgery, heart failure, hip replacement, and knee replacement. In addition, its cardiac surgery, orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery programs were ranked among the best in the nation for 2017 by Healthgrades, an online resource for comprehensive information about hospitals and physicians. The hospital’s new Heart Institute, which opened in 2016, is designed to be a front door for the nationally-ranked cardiovascular program. A spacious reception area and lobby welcomes patients who come for heart catheterizations, cardiac interventions, pacemaker implants, nuclear stress tests, and other outpatient cardiac procedures will have access to a. A 37-bed Cardiac Short Stay area with individual rooms enables patients to be prepped for procedures and to spend time recovering afterward. The unit boasts sound-absorbing flooring and ceiling tiles to keep things quiet for patients. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reinvent the cardiac program,” said Chris Thornton, RN, Cath Lab and Cardiac Short Stay Director. “The new space is going to allow us to take care of patients more efficiently and get their procedures done in more timely fashion, which translates to a quicker recovery.” The hospital hired six additional nurses, four cardiovascular techs and a secretary to help staff the Heart Institute. More than 50 cardiologists are authorized to perform procedures in the adjacent cardiac labs. Huntsville Hospital’s cardiovascular program is ranked among the Top 50 programs nationally by both Truven Health Analytics and Healthgrades. Its Vein Center also recently became

Discover Huntsville/Madison County 2018 • 69


Huntsville Hospital Heart Center. Courtesy Huntsville Hospital.

the only accredited vein center in Alabama thanks to approval by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC) seal of approval. The accreditation is specifically for the Vein Center’s treatment of varicose veins, which occur when the valves in leg veins stop functioning properly, causing blood to pool in the legs. Left untreated, varicose veins can lead to a more serious condition called chronic venous insufficiency. “The IAC is very stringent on procedural standards,” said Director of Cardiology Services Josh Hewiett. “You know if you’re going to an accredited vein center that it’s a high-quality facility.” The Vein Center is part of Huntsville Hospital Heart Center’s new Vascular and Vein Center, which offers radiofrequency ablation, sclerotherapy and phlebectomy procedures to treat varicose and spider veins. In addition to these new areas and 70 • hsvchamber.org

certifications, Huntsville Hospital is always working to better its patient care. For example, Brian Buchmann, BSN, MBA, director of its Family Practice Unit, developed a program of “patient companions” volunteers to sit with patients who are at a high risk of falling to the floor and hurting themselves. Each volunteer spends three hours a week with his or her assigned patient, providing conversation and friendship and helping with simple tasks. Before the program, the unit averaged 4.3 patient falls per month, but now that number has been cut almost in half. “It’s been a great success,” said Director of Volunteer Services Pat Legg. “It has certainly helped improve the overall patient experience.” Over at Huntsville Hospital’s Women & Children facility, patient care is also a high priority. The facility is one of only three children’s hospitals in the state with

more than a dozen pediatric subspecialties on the medical staff, and it is one of seven outpatient clinics of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. With the arrival of board-certified OB-GYN Celso Hernandez, MD, in 2016, its Maternal Fetal Medicine program now offers around-the-clock assistance with high-risk pregnancies. He and Margaret F. Carter, MD, are the area’s only fulltime Maternal Fetal Medicine specialists. “Our role really isn’t to deliver babies,” Dr. Hernandez said. “It’s to assist OB-GYN physicians in the management of any type of complication with the mother or baby, or both. We’re there to help improve maternal and neonatal outcomes in the community.” The hospital’s Maternal Fetal Medicine program, which received certification though the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, offers highly specialized medical evaluation and treat-


(Top) Nick Volker, first child saved by DNA sequencing at opening ceremony for the Smith Family Clinic, the world’s first clinic dedicated to the practice of genomic medicine. (Top) The HudsonAlpha Institute of Biotechnology’s campus is located in Huntsville, Ala.

(Bottom) Tour of the Smith Family Clinic, the world’s first clinic dedicated to the practice of genomic medicine located at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, Ala.

(Left) Senior scientist Marie Kirby looks at pancreatic cancer cell culture using cell imaging system. The cell culture is used to test toxic effects of drugs using DNA binding elements to validate genome sequencing studies.

ment for women with high-risk conditions during their pregnancy. Reasons might include being pregnant with multiples, maternal age over 35, preterm labor, abnormal placenta, chronic medical condition such as diabetes or hypertension, and previous pregnancy complications. Dr. Carter and Dr. Hernandez are supported by a highly-trained team of clinical specialists including a nurse practitioner, registered medical sonographers, a registered nurse and certified medical assistants. HUDSONALPHA LEADS GENETIC TESTING PROGRAM FOR CANCER Historically genetic tests for cancer risk have solely been conducted based on personal and family cancer history, but in recent years the scientific community has questioned whether to also test people whose history is not alarming but who might still be unknowingly harbor-

ing a genetic risk factor. To explore this in the Huntsville area, the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is offering testing for hereditary cancer risk to individuals for free or at reduced costs. The Information is Power program was launched in October 2015 in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness month and offered free testing to 30-year-old females in Madison County. For its second year, the program brought on additional sponsors including Redstone Federal Credit Union and expanded the offering to 30-year-old women and men in Madison, Jackson, Limestone, Marshall, and Morgan counties. The test also is being offered at a reduced cost of $129 to adults 19 and over in those five counties. As of a year and a half into the program, researchers have found most people turn up negative results, meaning that a genetic risk factor that is known to increase cancer risk was not

found. However, in about 3% of those tested, a genetic change indicating an increase in cancer risk is identified. The most recent numbers show that more than 2,000 people have participated in the initiative. “For the people who do get a positive result it can be highly impactful,” said Kelly East, Certified Genetic Counselor and Clinical Applications Lead for HudsonAlpha. “I’m personally really interested in looking back at the personal and family cancer history of these positive patients. How many of them would have been offered testing the traditional way?” To date, a little over half of the individuals who had a genetic risk factor identified don’t meet traditional testing criteria because they either have little to no personal or family history of cancer. “That tells us that we are identifying people who wouldn’t be screened the traditional way,” East said. “In

Discover Huntsville/Madison County 2018 • 71


addition, we are identifying genetic risk factors in people who do have a strong family history but haven’t yet pursued testing. We are trying to get to the bottom of why this is the case, if they had been offered the testing and declined it or if they were not offered it. A recurring theme in these conversations is that patients were offered testing years ago when it was a very expensive test and not well covered by insurance. Over time this kind of genetic testing has become more well covered by insurance but in many cases these high-risk patients are not re-offered testing.” The test, developed and offered by Kailos Genetics, tests a panel of genes including BRCA1 and BRCA2, in which genetic changes are linked to an increased risk of breast, ovarian, and other cancers. A positive test doesn’t necessarily mean an individual will be diagnosed with cancer, and a negative test doesn’t mean an individual will be cancer-free. However, the results of the test can better inform medical decisions for not only whoever is being tested but also for their family members who share their genetic information. Ultimately, HudsonAlpha hopes to learn from this initiative, as well as other on-going research studies, more about how cancer develops with the goal of developing new strategies to prevent cancer development or diagnosis it at an earlier, more treatable stage. Heading the Huntsville Hospital System is like running a small city, said CEO David Spillers.

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life sciences

Caring for America’s


INT thr thr lat ov

(Above) New Huntsville VA Clinic. (Left) Atrium/waiting area. Tour of new Huntsville VA Clinic. (Below/top) Ribbon cutting for new VA Clinic. (Below/bottom) Keynote speaker Congressman Mo Brooks at opening ceremony/ ribbon cutting for new Huntsville VA Clinic.

By June Mathews

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So Sy De Co

Other advantages include ample parking, reduced wait times for patients and, according to Birmingham VA Medical Center Director Thomas Smith, room enough for expansion in the years to come. “We’re also ensuring that the facilities in our network are fully utilizing the Veterans Choice Act,” he said. The Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act was signed into law by President Obama in 2014, has assisted the VA in ensuring more timely access to healthcare for veterans and providing them with quality services closer to home. The Huntsville clinic provides primary care, mental and women’s health services, audiology, physical therapy, optometry, radiology and an on-site pharmacy for clients. Veterans requiring cardiac, orthopedic and other types of specialized care are referred to the Birmingham VA Medical Center. For more information, call (256) 5353100 or visit birmingham.va.gov/locations/ huntsville.asp.




edical care for military veterans in the Huntsville area took a giant leap forward in 2015 with the opening of a new 47,800 square-foot VA Outpatient Clinic at 500 Markaview Road N.W. The facility brought the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Madison/Decatur and Huntsville community-based outpatient clinics together under one roof. “The veteran population in northern Alabama has grown rapidly and continues to grow and will be growing for the foreseeable future,” said William Harper, then acting director of the Birmingham VA Medical Center, during the Huntsville clinic’s opening ceremonies. His words proved nothing short of prophetic. Since it opened, the Huntsville clinic has become one of the fastest-growing VA clinics in Alabama, vastly increasing primary care capacity for veterans in the Huntsville/Madison County area. It also brought expanded services and new specialty care clinics to the Tennessee Valley region, saving many veterans the time and trouble of traveling to Birmingham for treatment.

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Research Park



8 8 things to do

Things To Do in Huntsville/Madison Co.

Big Spring Park



Big Spring Park is the crown jewel of downtown and is centered around a spring-fed lagoon fed by the same spring that John Hunt used when he settled among the native American Indians in 1805. Grotto Lights Concert Series is a must-see in Downtown Huntsville. The park is also notable as the venue for the Panoply Arts Festival, held the last full weekend in April. downtownhuntsville.org/downtown-outdoors/

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Home to Space Camp® and Aviation Challenge® Camp, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center (USSRC) is the most comprehensive U.S. manned spaceflight hardware museum in the world. From America’s first satellite, Explorer I, to next generation space vehicles like Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser, the museum showcases the past, present and future of human spaceflight. The U.S. Space & Rocket Center serves as the Official NASA Visitor Center for Marshall Space Flight Center and is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.


The USSRC is more than just artifacts! Experience the physics of astronaut training like never before in simulators like Space ShotTM and G-Force. The Spacedome IMAX® Theater transports you to different worlds with amazing documentary films like Hubble, and live demonstrations in the Discovery Theater will have you seeing space science in a whole new light.

Apollo 16


Space Camp


Monte Sano State Park Monte Sano State Park is located near Huntsville in northeast Alabama. In Spanish, Monte Sano means “Mountain of Health.” In the late 1800s, visitors from across the United States came for “the season” to experience and enjoy Monte Sano’s fresh air, spectacular views and mineral springs. alapark.com/monte-sano-state-park


Discover Huntsville/Madison County 2018 • 77

8 things to do

The Veterans Memorial Museum The Veterans Memorial Museum displays more than 30 historical military vehicles from World War I to the present, as well as tableaus, artifacts, and other memorabilia dating back to the Revolutionary War.


World War II uniforms, Civil War items and Revolutionary War items on display.

Military Jeeps and vehicles of all varieties.

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The EarlyWorks Family of Museums

Three museums—one incredible adventure!



Civil War soldiers, a Talking Tree, and whimmy diddles—see them all at the EarlyWorks Family of Museums: Alabama Constitution Village, the Huntsville Depot and Museum, and EarlyWorks Children’s History Museum. These three museums in the heart of historic downtown Huntsville will take you on a journey back in time. Experience history in unique settings such as a 46-foot keel boat, an 1860’s era depot or the cabinet shop where delegates met to discuss and draft the constitution for statehood in 1819. earlyworks.com

46 EarlyWorks Children’s Museum


The Huntsville Depot and Museum Alabama Constitution Village

Burritt on the Mountain Burritt on the Mountain has been referred to as a “Jewel on the Mountain.” Start with Dr. William Henry Burritt’s eclectic mansion, add a historic park with restored 19th century houses including barnyard and animals, and finally throw in the artistic side with concerts, plays and exhibits, and you have a delightful mixture of old and new for young and old!


Discover Huntsville/Madison County 2018 • 79


8 things to do


Scarecrow Trail

Huntsville Botanical Garden Huntsville Botanical Garden is open year-round and features the nation’s largest open-air butterfly house, a picture-perfect aquatic garden, spectacular nature trails, numerous specialty gardens—including an interactive children’s garden—and a variety of plant collections. The garden is home to five distinct festivals each year: Beaks & Barks, Huntsville Blooms, Summer Butterfly House, Fall Scarecrow Trail and Holiday Galaxy of Lights. You’ll soon see why they say “There’s always something growing on at Huntsville Botanical Garden.”


Glass Conservatory, Huntsville Botanical Garden Guest Center.

Galaxy of Lights

Huntsville Botanical Garden Guest Center 80 • hsvchamber.org

8 8 things to do

Madison County Nature Trail


Located atop Green Mountain in southeast Huntsville, high above the noise of the city, a mood of quiet tranquility envelopes the 72-acre park. Open free to the public each day from seven in the morning until thirty minutes prior to sunset, this convenient escape from urban life encompasses Sky Lake, a 1.5 mile walking trail, pavilion, chapel, picnic tables, covered bridge and accessible restrooms. madisoncountyal.gov/services/ naturetrail.shtml

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dining & retail

You want it?

We’ve Got it! New Mixed Use, Crazy About Craft Beer, & Boutique Shopping … Huntsville/Madison County Has It All By Kimberly Ballard


n a November 2016 article titled, “Tech Jobs, Cheaper Housing: The New Silicon Cities,”—The Wall Street Journal suggests readers try Huntsville instead of Austin, Texas. But what makes Huntsville/ Madison County so special? Well for starters, we have a lower cost of living; we’re surrounded by natural beauty (in 2016, REI Co-Op named Huntsville one of the Top 5 Destinations to Get You Psyched for Hiking); and families can slow down and enjoy life. National media outlets have discovered this southern gem and have fixed their spotlights on Huntsville/Madison County because of our diverse culture, cultural offerings, and a We are talking about dynamic strong sense of place. This is why many retail, and Downtown companies who have relocated to our region have stimulated the need, even Huntsville isn’t the only demand, for a higher quality of living. In other words, in a city where part of the city that has it aerospace, engineering, biotech, ‘Goin’ On’! advanced manufacturing and defense have a stronghold on our flourishing economy, it’s easy to overlook the obvi82 • hsvchamber.org

ous. Huntsville/Madison County families are growing, and coming from more diverse, global backgrounds. They are the driving force for expanded and more authentic regional and international cuisine, have a flair for broader art and design, and seek a healthier lifestyle, and and a sense of place. Huntsville/Madison County has embraced its growth and is responding with new, mixed-use developments, more boutique shopping and restaurants—and craft beer. BRIDGE STREET TOWN CENTRE When Bridge Street Town Centre opened in 2007, it was rightfully touted as the first shopping center of its kind in the Huntsville/Madison County area. A decade later, this elegant lifestyle center remains a destination for anyone looking for more than just your average shopping trip. Bridge Street is an experience. The premier mixed-use lifestyle in North Alabama, Bridge Street features more than 70 upscale shops and restaurants, the 210-room Westin Huntsville Hotel and the 14-screen Monaco Pictures/Cinemark with

dining & retail newly-installed Luxury Lounger seating. Other amenities include a five-acre lake, a walking trail, a carousel, fountains and green open spaces. With its compelling mix of Old World architecture and contemporary flair, Bridge Street attracts millions of visitors a year and is a sparkling jewel in the crown of Huntsville’s Cummings Research Park, the second largest research park in the country and the fourth largest in the world. Though the development retains its original beauty and charm, Bridge Street Town Centre has grown and changed over the past decade to suit the population it serves. New specialty shops and national retailers such as Belk and Dick’s Sporting Goods have joined the retail community, the restaurant scene continues to expand in terms of size and variety, and office space has become an integral part of the mix. Another recent change is the addition of Element Huntsville to the hotel complex. An extended-stay hotel, Element is part of a dualproperty arrangement with the Westin brand – the first of its kind in the U.S. – and features 68 suites with full kitchens, free breakfast and an on-site grocery option for extended-stay guests.

Element shares its first floor with the Westin Hotel, but the two have separate entrances, lobbies, check-in desks and elevators. But even as its work, play and stay components thrive, living at Bridge Street is about to take a major step forward. In mid-2017, an Indianapolis-based group, Watermark Residential, announced the development of 244 luxury apartment units, ranging in size from one to three bedrooms, on a 7.6-acre parcel of land just northwest of Bridge Street on Governors West. The complex will consist of two ultra-stylish, four-story buildings with about 120 apartments each and will be connected to Bridge Street Town Centre by a pedestrian bridge. Planned amenities include 50 detached garages, in-unit laundry, a valet trash service, nine-foot ceilings, and a resort-style pool, as well as a fitness center. The units will also feature granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances. Units are scheduled for availability by October 2018 with construction set for completion by early 2019. Watermark representatives said the company chose to invest in Huntsville because of its strong retail growth and employment stability.

DOWNTOWN MIX-USE DEVELOPMENTS Several mix-use developments have also sprung up in downtown Huntsville recently. Church Street Purveyor restaurant and bar opened at the base of The Avenue, a 197-unit loft complex that is expecting more retailers to move in soon alongside a new public art display by sculpture artist Christopher Fennell. Nearby, The Garage at Clinton Row repurposed a section of the first floor of an old garage on Clinton Avenue into retail parcels. Its new tenants include clothing boutiques Elitaire and Indigo Shoppe, a first brick-andmortar shop for Frios Gourmet Pops, and upscale men’s shop, Roosevelt & Co. “The whole purpose of doing this is to help support what’s already in downtown Huntsville and bring more foot traffic,” Crunkleton & Associates Principal Wesley Crunkleton says of The Garage at Clinton Row. “We’re going to make sure that the mix of tenants really makes sense not just for this project itself but for downtown Huntsville, so there’s a real cohesiveness and synergy among the retailers that are making the investment to come downtown.”

(Left) Carousel at Bridge Street Town Centre. (Right) Renderings of the new Element hotel at The Westin at Bridge Street Town Centre in Huntsville.

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dining & retail

Down Clinton Avenue at Lowry Street, the 13-acre Campus No. 805 is located in the former Stone Middle School campus. The arts and entertainment center is home to the Salty Nut brewery and Yellowhammer Brewing, as well as Stone Event Center, a Speak Easy, Rock N Roll Sushi, Earth and Stone Wood Fired Pizza, and several other establishments. Also downtown, the former Holiday Inn hotel site is undergoing transformation into the CityCentre at Big Spring. In addition to 240 upscale multi-family units, the property will feature two hotels, and an artisanal food hall called The Public Market that is inspired by Ponce City Market in Atlanta and will serve as a snapshot of the community’s culinary and cultural identity. Within the CityCentre at Big Spring property, Marriott’s AC Hotels will open its 10th property with a 150-unit, six-story Europeaninspired boutique-style hotel. It will offer a standalone restaurant, bar and rooftop deck for the public in addition to hotel patrons. The approximately 50,000 square feet of retail will include Wahlburgers, a gourmet burger restaurant started in Boston by the Yellowhammer Taproom, Huntsville.

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brother of actor Mark Wahlburg, and other local and regional cuisine. Additionally, pedestrian crossings, bike pathways, walkways and a linear park will connect the retail and residential areas to Big Spring Park, the Von Braun Center, Twickenham Square, the medical district and other properties. SHOPS AT MERCHANTS WALK A few miles away from the downtown developments, the new Shops at Merchants Walk is at the heart of the Memorial Parkway corridor. The 90,000-square-foot high-end boutique shopping and dining development is anchored by the only Whole Foods Market in North Alabama.

The Shops at Merchants Walk are an extension of the already vibrant Parkway Place Mall, and is convenient to affluent neighborhoods in Southeast Huntsville and the busy medical district. Eighty percent of the tenants are new to the Huntsville market. They include Farm Burger, Lululemon, Spa Sydell, Mountain High Outfitters, Orange Theory Fitness, The Masters Hair Salon, Amazing Lash, Local Taco, Envy, Dress Up, and Maki Fresh. Phase II of Merchant’s Square has broken ground and will offer even more boutique shops and restaurants that are compatible with Whole Foods. Chuy’s, a hugely popular Tex Mex chain out of Austin, and ULTA Beauty are among retailers coming to the space, and the development will include 41,500 square feet of commercial space in total. Huntsville City Council will spend $3 million on a new 300unit parking deck, and in return the city projects that the development will generate $19 million in tax dollars over the next 20 years. WE’RE CRAZY ABOUT CRAFT BEER Huntsville has found much success with the craft beer craze. One of the reasons that Huntsville/Madison County has more craft breweries per capita in the state is the herculean effort put forth by many Huntsville brewmasters, including Carie Partain, who is vice president of Free the Hops. Partain and other lobbied and won three legislative challenges to Alabama’s alcohol laws so craft beer brewers and taprooms could evolve, expand and grow. But, Leslie Bruton, Communications Director at Straight to Ale and Straight to Ale Brands says the success is partly due to engineers and technical professionals in

dining & retail

Huntsville/Madison County who simply like to roll up their sleeves and create stuff. “A lot of the people in the business here in Huntsville are engineers, and many of them were homebrewing beer as a hobby anyway,” she says. “Figuring out ways to do things is part of who they are and brewing gives them a lot of freedom to experiment with the process.” Located at Campus 805 in Downtown Huntsville, Straight to Ale is also home to Ale’s Kitchen located in their taproom, and they share space with Ronnie Raygun’s Arcade, Huntsville Urban Bike Share (HUBS), and Board & Brew, a board game rental company. Their bestsellers are Monkeynaut India Pale Ale (IPA), Brother Joseph’s Belgium style, and seasonal brews like Rocket City Red Irish ale. David Smith, tap manager at Rocket Republic Brewing in Madison agrees with Bruton. “Huntsville/Madison County is an eclectic cultural mecca with tastes and ideas from all around the world,” he says. “I think craft beer is probably the fastest growing business in North Alabama and it has really taken off since Free the Hops was successful in changing legislation.” Rocket Republic carries 15 different craft beers on tap and all of them sell well, but if he had to pick favorites, Vapor Trail Cream Ale and Mach 1 IPA top the list of bestsellers. There is no doubt Huntsville brewmasters take advantage of that benefit, creating beers like Rocket Republic Brewing Company’s Peanut Butter Astronaut and Mango Habanero, and Green Bus Brewing’s Tiramisu Milkstout. Other ingredients that have been tried — fresh strawberries with mustard seed, and mushroom brew. According to Jason Sledd of Green Bus in Huntsville, “We have a little different business model in that we only sell our own brews and we are always experimenting with flavors like our unique English brew with Earl Grey Tea added, and Bus-A-Move Pumpkin Peach Ale.” Their best sellers are Hop Bus IPA, which is heavy on the hops; Dominant Red, and Camper Van Blonde. Rocket Republic carries 15 different craft beers on tap and all of them sell well, but if he had to pick favorites, Vapor Trail Cream Ale and Mach 1 IPA top the list of bestsellers. Damon Eubanks of Wish You Were Beer, who was also a sponsor of the Free the Hops

lobby effort, says they even sell Redstone Meadery made from fermented honey — Yep! Just like the Medieval Kings drank! They also have Love Child Sour Ale, and apple ciders that are popular with those looking for a gluten-free diet. “All of our local craft beers are big sellers,” says Eubanks. “We also see a rise in popularity of the German beers as well.” Some of their brews include Smutty Nose, Old Brown Dog, and Arrogant Bastard Loved By Few. Ethan Couch at Yellowhammer Brewing says the craft beer scene has far exceeded expectations and the more creative you can be, the more fun you can have. “Unlike liquor, the yeast ferments in two to three weeks, so that is when the taste is freshest,” he says. “Our head brewmaster has been homebrewing for a long time and we have been experimenting with barrel aging beers but our Belgium White, Hops Fell Hops Lager, Midnight Special Black Lager, and Rebellion Red Lager are our bestsellers.”

The Liquor Express and Craft Beer Storeowner Bill Johnston says the store’s design was inspired by Huntsville’s craft beer movement. “Huntsville has become a real destination for craft beer lovers and we want people to know about the great things happening here, especially in our local breweries,” Johnston says. Indeed, Huntsville’s increasingly diverse population is flocking not only to its craft breweries but also to the innovative mix-use developments mentioned in this article. All of these diverse additions are sure to further enhance all why so many people call Huntsville home. Located at the corner of Pratt Avenue and Memorial Parkway near Five Points, Owner Bill Johnston says the store’s design was inspired by the craft movement in beverages. “Huntsville has become a real destination for craft beer lovers and we want people to know about the great things happening here, especially in our local breweries.”

Straight to Ale Craft Beers. Illudium - Old Ale Bourbon Barrel Aged Laika Stout Cabernet Barrel Aged Laika Stout Velvet Evil- Old Ale Straight to Ale in Huntsville.

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Operation Green Team Above: Hundreds of people ventured to downtown outside Huntsville City Hall for Operation Green Team’s tomato and cucumber plant giveaway. In addition to plants, the organization passed out boxes of Glad garbage bags, hotdog lunches and popcorn.

Promoting a cleaner, healthier, more beautiful community By June Mathews


magine a city where everyone in it is health conscious, environmentally aware and personally invested in making their community a better, more beautiful place to live. Thanks to Operation Green Team and its director, Joy McKee, Huntsville is moving closer to being that city every day. Once known as the Clean Community Office, which was established in 1977, Operation Green Team encourages individuals and businesses to look for and implement small changes in their everyday habits that will conserve resources, help the environment and improve life for their community now It’s neighborhoods coming and in the future. “Everybody can do together and making our something,” said McKee, city beautiful, green and “and little bitty steps make a difference, whether it’s in sustainable. recycling, whether it’s in litter prevention, whether it’s in

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grafitti… It’s neighborhoods coming together and making our city beautiful, green and sustainable.” Operation Green Team is a city-funded organization governed by a volunteer board of directors. And each year, tens of thousands additional volunteers donate hundreds of


Operation Green Team leader Joy McKee shows off a blanket made from plastic shopping bags at the Nov. 6, 2014, Huntsville City Council meeting. Looking on is Mayor Tommy Battle. McKee’s group is soliciting volunteers to knit at least 500 shopping bag blankets for the homeless.

thousands of hours to planning and implementing events, programs and other activities Operation Green Team is affiliated with Keep America Beautiful, Inc., a national nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring and educating people to “take action every day to improve and beautify their community

environment.” Established by a group of New York City corporate and civic leaders in 1953, the program brings together public and private sectors to promote clean, green and healthy communities. Through its affiliation with the national program, Operation Green Team is able to offer resources for teaching youth about the environment and how to manage waste responsible ways. An overall goal of Operation Green Team is to make Huntsville a role model for other communities in terms of landscape beauty, cleanliness and environmental consciousness. “It’s about the little things we can do,” McKee said. “We teach our community that even just turning off your light switch makes a difference. We want our community to know that the little things add up to be the big things.” To learn more about Operation Green Team and you can get involved, visit huntsvilleal.gov/environment/greenteam.

Operation Green Team Overview Education & Awareness • Litter Prevention • Sustainability & Initiatives • Waste Reduction and Recycling • Youth Education Nature Preserves • Learn about Goldsmith Schiffman Wildlife Sanctuary and Hays Nature Preserve Programs • Adopt-A-Mile • Downtown Sparkle Team • Neighborhood Pride • Plastic Cap Recycling Contest for Schools

Discover Huntsville/Madison County 2018 • 87

Huntsville/Madison County Chamber

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Jason N. Johnson

Profile for Huntsville/Madison County Chamber

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Discover Huntsville