Initiatives - December 2021

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DEC 2021

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

Joined in September 2021 Alabama Goodwill Industries Always Available Wholesales & Supply Services Services, LLC B&C Cleaning Professionals LLC Behavioral Health Group Huntsville Blue Skies Bryan Benefits Group CACI, Inc. - Federal Color Me Mine Floraison MedSpa LLC HireProHealth LLC Huntsville Venue Group Amphitheater LaunchTech, LLC Legacy Health Chiropractic LLC Morris South Mutual of Omaha PlayBig Digital Shee Atiká Enterprises, LLC Southern Broadcasting LLC Tactyne Systems International, Inc. Tucker Public Affairs, LLC Urgent Team Virginia’s Elderly Day Facility The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company

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

MEMBERS: Please check out to support gift card purchases through our local restaurants and retail stores. It is FREE to list your business there.

Joined in October 2021 Advanced Life Clinic All Shook Up Bar and Beverage Catering Applied Companies Inc Burns & McDonnell Engineering Company, Inc Capital Stewards Crutchfield Management Consulting LLC The Danny Kendall Johnson Foundation Emergent Performance Solutions ERA King Real Estate Flaws-N-All, Inc. Community Outreach Center Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown Huntsville Headshot HSV IEMME Consulting Research Park Wine Merchants Rockbox Fitness Sirius Staffing STAR Physical Therapy Systems Technology & Research, Inc. ThompsonGas Topgolf Huntsville

■ Priority communications to keep you updated on the latest business news and information impacting your business


initiatives dec 2021







Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT) ■ Crestwood Medical Center Dynetics, Inc. ■ General Atomics Electromagnetics Lockheed Martin Corporation ■ Meta ■ Raytheon Technologies SAIC ■ SES - Science and Engineering Services, LLC Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc. ■ Torch Technologies ■ Yulista



Akima, LLC ■ Bill Penney Toyota/Mitsubishi ■ Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. Five Stones Research Corporation ■ Intrepid ■ Jerry Damson Honda Acura KBR ■ Landers McLarty Dodge Chrysler Jeep ■ Lanier Ford Shaver & Payne P.C. Parsons ■ S3, Inc. ■ Sealy Management Company, Inc. SportsMED Orthopaedic Surgery & Spine Center ■ Synovus Turner Construction Company



Ability Plus, Inc. ■ Aerojet Rocketdyne ■ Amazon ■ Anglin Reichmann Armstrong, P.C. ■ ASRC Federal ■ B.L. Harbert International, LLC ■ Baron Services, Inc. ■ BASF Corporation ■ BB&T, now Truist ■ Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP ■ Brown Precision, Inc. ■ CFD Research Corporation ■ Colliers International ■ Connected Logistics (LogC2) ■ Corporate Tax Advisors Inc. ■ Davidson ■ First Horizon ■ Huntsville Botanical Garden ■ Huntsville Tractor & Equipment, Inc. ■ Integration Innovation, Inc. (i3) ■ Keel Point, LLC ■ Leonardo Electronics US Inc. ■ LSINC Corporation ■ Marsh & McLennan Agency, locally known as J. Smith Lanier & Co. ■ The Orthopaedic Center (TOC) ■ PNC Bank ■ Progress Bank ■ Radiance


Technologies, Inc. ■ RE/MAX Alliance ■ Robins & Morton ■ RUAG Space USA Inc. ■ South State Bank ■ Steak-Out (Rosie’s Restaurants, Inc., & Right Way Restaurants, Inc.) ■ Venturi, LLC ■ Woody Anderson Ford

PROGRESS INVESTORS Accenture Federal Services ■ Air Essentials, Inc. ■ Alpha Beta Technologies, Inc. ■ Amanda Howard | Sotheby’s International Realty ■ Avion Solutions ■ Averbuch Realty / Enterprises ■ Bailey-Harris Construction ■ BancorpSouth ■ Bell Textron Inc. ■ BRPH Architects-Engineers, Inc. ■ Bryant Bank ■ Cadence Bank ■ Canvas, Inc. ■ CB&S Bank


■ Century Automotive ■ CGI Federal ■ Coast Personnel Services ■ Corvid Technologies LLC ■ deciBel Research ■ Deloitte ■ DESE Research, Inc. ■ Express Employment Professionals ■ FITE Building Company ■ FLS Translation & Interpreting ■ Fountain, Parker, Harbarger & Associates, LLC ■ Freedom Real Estate & Capital, LLC ■ Garver, LLC ■ Hexagon US Federal ■ HEMSI ■ Hiley Automotive Group ■ Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau ■ INTERFUZE Corporation ■ Investor’s Resource ■ IronMountain Solutions ■ KODA Technologies Inc. ■ L3Harris ■ The Lioce Group, Inc. ■ MSB Analytics, Inc. ■ nLogic, LLC ■ PALCO ■ PHOENIX ■ Pinnacle Solutions, Inc. ■ PROJECTXYZ, Inc. ■ QTEC Aerospace ■ Quadrus Corporation ■ Renasant Bank ■ RJ Young Company ■ Rosenblum Realty, Inc. ■ S&ME, Inc. ■ Schoel Engineering Company, Inc. ■ ServisFirst Bank ■ Sigmatech, Inc. ■ Signalink, Inc. ■ Snelling ■ Systems Products and Solutions, Inc. ■ TriVector Services, Inc. ■ Troy 7, Inc. ■ TTL, Inc. ■ ■ Valor Communities ■ Van Valkenburgh & Wilkinson Properties, Inc. ■ Volkert, Inc. ■ Warren Averett, LLC ■ Wilmer & Lee, P.A.

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


dec 2021 initiatives


table of contents INITIATIVES MAGAZINE – DEC 2021

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



(see staff listing on page 38) Chamber members: You are encouraged to contribute ideas for our publications. Please send items to The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber maintains editorial control.

editorial staff

pages 20-24 How the 2020 Census Findings are Playing Out

feature stories

publisher Chip Cherry, CCE



ASmartPlace on the Road at Auburn University

editor Claire Aiello



Part 4 in our Economic Development Series

editorial designer Kristi Sherrard



2021 economic development growth despite the pandemic

contributing writers



Three Huntsville pioneers join Alabama Business Hall of Fame







Business expertise: growing communities, one business at a time



Huntsville celebrates our suffrage pioneers







Kayla Brown Lucia Cape Ray Garner Deborah Storey Mike Ward

advertising Kristy Drake

Jamie Russell

Introducing the 2021 winners Q&A with Ryan Murphy

New recruitment video available on Chamber website Toyota Alabama revs up production, debuting new twin-turbo V6 engines

Huntsville-made Toyota Corolla Cross officially in production, for sale locally

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




HREGI PROFILE: Air Essentials, Inc. with Joe Knoch




BE IN THE KNOW: Chamber communications offer wealth of information


THANK YOU: Recognizing our 2021 ChamberON volunteers


MARK YOUR CALENDAR: Upcoming Chamber events





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


dec 2021 initiatives


a message from chip cherry

Executive Committee & Board of Directors 2021


Executive Committee

Dear Chamber Investors, Community Leaders, and Friends: With Senator Shelby’s retirement from public service next year, there is much speculation as to the future of the Redstone Federal Center of Excellence. Redstone and the tenants located on the installation have benefited greatly by having Senator Shelby as their champion. He has hosted many Congressional Delegation (CODEL) visits to the installation so that members of Congress could gain a better understanding of the value Redstone brings to our country – providing support for space exploration, research, national defense, and protecting the homeland. Senator Shelby has worked across party lines and through numerous administrations to ensure that the leadership in DC understood the unique value proposition of Redstone to our Federal infrastructure. What is lost on those who are taking a snapshot of the current political environment is that our region has been a champion and an engaged host to Redstone for over 80 years. Regional leaders have for decades embraced Redstone and have consistently asked the question “how can we help enhance the value of Redstone to DoD and our Federal Partners?” The community, region, and State have never wavered in our commitment to ensuring that Redstone is a world class facility. Another factor that makes Redstone unique is the area’s rich history of solving seemingly insurmountable challenges. Huntsville evolved from a background rooted in cotton and textile manufacturing to become the Rocket City in 1953. Who would have imagined in 1940 that the Saturn V that would take humans to the Moon would be designed and built here? We are now a Federal Center of Excellence hosting a number of vital and critical activities that are making our Country safer from both domestic and international threats. We have been blessed to have Richard Shelby as a Champion, and he has done a very effective job building on the foundation laid by others who believe in the missions of more than 70 organizations/agencies located on Redstone. The reality is their missions, coupled with the synergies of their colocation and the unique expertise our region has that supports them, makes Redstone a unique Federal asset that benefits the Country and drives value to the taxpayers. That value will be what endures and ensures the long-term success of Redstone. We are also incredibly grateful for the cooperation and support of all of Alabama’s Congressional delegation. We remain engaged with them and their teams, and look forward to continued partnerships in the years to come. On behalf of the Chamber Team, I wish you and your family a blessed holiday season! I look forward to seeing you at a Chamber event soon.

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



initiatives dec 2021

Jeff Gronberg, Board Chair – deciBel Research, Inc. Greg Brown, Chair-elect – Brown Precision, Inc. Kevin Byrnes, Immediate Past Chair – Navigator International, LLC Ron Poteat, President, Chamber Foundation – Regions Bank Jeff Samz, Secretary/Treasurer – Huntsville Hospital Dr. Karockas Watkins, Vice Chair, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion – Ability Plus, Inc.

Lynn Troy, Vice Chair, Economic Development & Workforce – Troy 7, Inc. Craig Naudain, Vice Chair, Government & Public Affairs – SAIC Sameer Singhal, Vice Chair, HREGI – CFD Research Corporation McKinley James, Vice Chair, Marketing & Communications – Polaris Industries, Inc.

Jim Rogers, Vice Chair, Membership – Lockheed Martin Corporation Jami Peyton, Vice Chair, Small Business & Events – Canvas, Inc. Joe Ritch, Vice Chair, Tennessee Valley BRAC – Dentons Sirote PC April Mason, Chair-Appointed – Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama, Inc. Alicia Ryan, Chair-Appointed – LSINC Corporation Frank Williams, Chair-Appointed – Landers McLarty Dodge Chrysler Jeep

Mayor Tommy Battle, ex-officio member – City of Huntsville Mayor Paul Finley, ex-officio member – City of Madison Chairman Dale Strong, ex-officio member – Madison Co. Commission Chip Cherry, CCE, President & CEO, Huntsville/Madison County Chamber

Elected board Blake Bentley, SportsMED Orthopaedic Surgery and Spine Center David Bier, Anglin Reichmann Armstrong, P.C. Penny Billings, BancorpSouth - Huntsville Thomas Busby, South State Bank Katie Comer, Meta Huntsville Data Center Tom Conard, The Boeing Conpany Brett Crain, Huntsville Tractor & Equipment Inc. Melissa Davis, MTA, Inc. Mike Dewitz, Parsons John Eagan, BB&T, now Truist Kevin Fernandez, Fernandez Financial Group Owen Franklin, Franklin Creative Solutions Joni Green, Five Stones Research Corporation Ginger Harper, First Horizon Josh Herren, Yulista Jan Hess, Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc. Lee Holland, Freedom Real Estate and Capital, LLC Tharon Honeycutt, MSB Analytics, Inc. Amanda Howard, Amanda Howard | Sotheby’s International Realty Laura Huckabee-Jennings, Transcend, The Fearless Co. Lincoln Hudson, Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. Tyce Hudson, Turner Construction Company Hank Isenberg, IronMountain Solutions Lauren Johannesmeyer, Google Fiber, Huntsville Michelle Jordan, TARCOG Sean Kelly, Regions Bank Clint Kirkland, Progress Bank Todd May, KBR Bob McCaleb, Northrop Grumman Corporation Kevin McCombs, BAE Systems-Electronic Systems Alana Parker, Rocket City Drywall & Supply, Inc. Zack Penney, Bill Penney Toyota/Mitsubishi Chris Russell, Cadence Bank Beth Sippel, Synovus Wayne Sisco, Redstone Federal Credit Union Tom Stanton, ADTRAN, Inc. Sandra Stephens, Keel Point, LLC Mitch Stevison, Raytheon Technologies Nilmini Thompson, Systems Products and Solutions, Inc. Mark Vaporis, Intrepid Mike Watkins, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama John Watson, Torch Technologies A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

Looking for Convenient Healthcare? We’re accepting new patients. With 11 convenient locations throughout Madison County, Crestwood Medical Group offers primary care along with a variety of specialties to meet your family’s needs. We accept most major health plans. Find a complete list of locations and providers at

MEDICAL GROUP 1-888-261-3422 Online scheduling at


t long last, we were glad to finally gather with you for our Annual Membership Meeting, held on November 3 at the Von Braun Center. The event was postponed twice due to the pandemic, but it felt great to see each other in person once again! Kevin Byrnes, 2020 Chamber Board Chair, spoke about our community’s resilience through COVID, and various programs the Chamber hosted over the past year, most virtually. He also presented the Distinguished Service Award to Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, Madison Mayor Paul Finley, and Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong for their leadership through the pandemic (shown top left). “It takes talented leadership to help get through troublesome times. Leadership that is committed, involved, visible, and collaborative,” said Byrnes. “These three leaders were ever present, communicating, bringing the right talent and resources to assist local efforts.” The crowd also heard from Jeff Gronberg, 2021 Chamber Board Chair, about activities during the current year. He also previewed what’s ahead. We also debuted two videos during the event – one is about the community’s heroes who helped us through the pandemic, and the other is about Huntsville’s legacy of innovation. These are both available on and our social media channels, and we encourage you to share these in recruiting efforts for your company. We aim to have our next Annual Membership Meeting in late spring of 2022. – Claire Aiello


initiatives dec 2021


On the Road Again

ASmartPlace on the Road at Auburn University


n November 3, ASmartPlace took members on the road to Auburn University in hopes of linking students and Huntsville-area companies together. The goal of ASmartPlace on the Road is to help inform students, all across the state, of the amenities and benefits they will find when they live, work, and play in the Rocket City. Huntsville/Madison County Chamber’s Vice President of Workforce, Lyndsay Ferguson, kicked off the event by speaking to dozens of business and engineering students about the great opportunities north Alabama has to offer (photo top right). Outdoor activities such as hiking and canoeing, shopping, and the Rocket City Trash Pandas were all mentioned, and all well received. Many students who hail from our region said they even “learned a lot” about the area they grew up in. Following Ferguson’s presentation, lunch was served and networking began. Companies such as Dynetics, Trideum, and PFM Financial Advisors were in attendance and spoke with students one-

Building Huntsville and North Alabama for 36 years. As we celebrate our 75th anniversary, we also celebrate the communities that made it possible.

Huntsville Hospital Orthopedic & Spine Tower Huntsville, Alabama

4900 University Square, Suite 2, Huntsville, AL 35816


initiatives dec 2021

on-one about their future. Representatives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation were also there to share updates on the FBI’s growing presence here. Tall tables lined the Grand Hall of Auburn University’s Brown-Kopel Engineering Student Achievement Center, as employers eagerly awaited potential future candidates. With resumes in hand, students had 2.5 hours to speak to as many employers as possible and learn more about the incredible business and engineering opportunities offered in Huntsville and north Alabama. “Trideum appreciated the opportunity to talk to well-qualified Auburn students interested in careers in the north Alabama area,” said Chief Technologist Michael J. O’Connor. O’Connor is just one of several employers who were excited about the day. Trideum, along with other companies, spent most of the day explaining the work they do and what type of employees they are in search of now. “The event provided a great format for meeting and interacting with Auburn students. We look forward to following up with the students to discuss job opportunities,” O’Connor added. Students weren’t the only ones in attendance looking for information though. Auburn’s Harbert College of Business’ Corporate and Foundation Relations Officer Edward Reynolds was also in search of some ideas. Reynolds helps lead business students to communities he believes will benefit them. He was very excited for the event because he said Huntsville is a place he often recommends to his students. The November event helped him build personal relationships with Huntsville employers that he can recommend his students to in the future. Our neighbors in Morgan County assisted in the day as well by speaking to several students and faculty about the perks of moving to areas surrounding Huntsville. Executive Director of The E-Center, John Joseph IV gave great information to students about an incentive package Decatur offers to STEM graduates. Graduates who move into Decatur city limits are eligible for a student loan repayment program of up to $15,000. An application process is required, but if accepted, graduates can earn up to $3,000 a year. ASmartPlace was ecstatic to get back on the road after being put on hold from the pandemic. We are hoping to host more road events in the future, to help bring even more working people to our great community. For a look at all Huntsville has to offer, go to – Kayla Brown A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

Series by Deborah Storey


Local Attractions

Regional talent fuels Rocket City’s growth


usiness expansions in the Huntsville area are so common that they seem to appear organically, like overnight mushrooms. In 2020 alone, expansions of existing companies totaled more than a billion dollars. Look around at vehicle license plates the next time you drive into work. If you can decipher those county code prefixes, you’ll see commuters from Cullman County, DeKalb County, and even Tennessee driving to their Huntsville offices. As they sip coffee and munch on biscuits, those regional workers have no idea how important they are to a healthy Huntsville economy. The geographic area where employers draw their commuting workers is called a labor shed. The labor shed for the Huntsville metro area is huge – 16 counties, 11,144 square miles, and 1.3 million people. In attracting new businesses and helping exCape isting ones recruit, community leaders sell the big picture of the pool of available labor. Employers here can attract workers from Cullman to middle Tennessee. Employees within Madison County enjoy a commute that averages a third of that for larger metro areas. “We use that as a recruiting tool,” said Lucia Cape, Chamber senior vice president of Economic Development & Workforce. Many workers considering a move are “really glad to get a 20-minute commute,” she said. “That is a big deal when people make a decision to move here from somewhere else for a job,” she said. Without that daily 60-minute drive, “you make soccer practice and piano recitals after work, whereas before you would have had to either take leave or miss them.” North Alabama Works! is a nonprofit organization that helps fill jobs within a 13-county workforce region. It is one of seven regional workforce councils in the state under the brand Alabama Works, explained North Alabama Executive Director Stephanie McCulloch. Alabama Works formed in 2015 to support business and industry needs for workers. The Alabama Department of Labor uses the system to advertise jobs at “Employment opportunities are plentiful in north Alabama,” said McCulloch. “The state and region have done a great job of reA HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

cruiting companies to the area. North Alabama added 8,830 jobs from 2019 to 2020.” She said a 2019 study found that more than 25,000 people drive into Madison, Limestone, and Morgan counties, “where the primary job growth has been seen.” Chamber studies show that the Huntsville labor shed has added more than 66,000 people since 2010. The 16-county region that includes three Tennessee counties has roughly 600,000 employable people and 67,000 commuters to the Huntsville metro area. “We’ve added within our labor shed 32 people a day during 2020, during the worst year that you can imagine, and that’s so much more than we were attracting even in 2014 and 2015,” said Cape. Census figures show Huntsville grew to 215,006 people in April 2020. “This job growth that we have is a big part of that population growth,” she said. “We recruit high-paying jobs with benefits that are worth driving outside the county to get to. We estimate it’s about a minute per mile from outside Madison County to where you work within Madison County.” That means if you want to live by the lake in Guntersville, on the family farm in Cullman County, or on Monte Sano, it’s still less than an hour commute compared to much longer times elsewhere. “You’ve got a very wide geography to live in to be within that hour’s drive,” Cape said. Naturally, companies want to know if they have enough people to fill jobs before they expand offices or build plants in north Alabama. “Our workforce and the ability to draw across that 16-county labor shed is a key factor in making the first cut on a lot of economic development decisions,” Cape said. “If we show them we’re pulling from 16 counties, not just our metro, that allows us to continue to grow – not just big projects, but all kinds of new and expanding existing industry.” Huntsville’s enviable and ever-growing list of accolades helps. U.S. News & World Report ranks The Rocket City the third-best metro area in the country for livability. Huntsville is the most affordable place out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S. for the fourth year in a row. A study by Stessa found it leads all U.S. metros

continued on page 14 dec 2021 initiatives


in the rate of economic recovery for 2021, and SmartAsset named it No. 5 on a list of best places for career opportunities. “When people are relocating here, they’re moving all over that 16-county labor shed, even if they know that their job will be in Huntsville,” said Lyndsay Ferguson, Chamber vice president of Workforce. Some people who work on Redstone Arsenal live in Tennessee, she noted. Other drive to Huntsville jobs from the Muscle Shoals area or close to Nashville. Many live just outside the city. “You can live in a loft apartment or you can live on acres and acres of land and still be within that 20-minute commute time if you want to be,” Ferguson said. “When we think about workforce and we think about talent, we have to think about it regionally because it doesn’t just exist within the city limits.” Huntsville’s 10-year population growth of roughly 35,000 more people from 2010 to 2020 has been well-publicized for making it the largest city in the state. Since 2000, Huntsville has added more than 56,000 people.

Huntsville’s continued growth has raised questions about commuting times in the future, but community leaders are staying at least one step ahead with road improvements. The City of Huntsville has a $250 million Restore Our Roads cost-sharing agreement with the Alabama Department of Transportation. “I’d suggest that one of the biggest elements of quality of life is a quick and safe commute to and from work, school and our daily activities,” Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle has been quoted as saying. Ferguson said, “If you don’t increase infrastructure, you create a problem.” She added that the cities of Huntsville and Madison and Madison County have been addressing any traffic issues. Huntsville has been “very creative and forward thinking” about looking at “pain points that could affect commute time.” “Everybody’s coming together and meeting the challenges of this growth,” Cape added. “It’s the problem you want to have.” – Deborah Storey




Commuters into the Primary Employer Growth Areas COUNTY






























Sources: JobsEQ


initiatives dec 2021

Copyright © 2019 Deloitte Development LLC. All rights reserved.


Thriving Metro

2021 economic development growth despite the pandemic


espite the ongoing impacts of COVID on workforce and the supply chain, 2021 has brought job growth and investment in the Huntsville metro. As of the first week of November, with several decisions still in the final phase, we have announced 14 projects representing 1,047 jobs and $245,740,380 in capital investment. Three of these projects are in Huntsville/Limestone County, and 11 are in Huntsville/Madison County. Three announcements were new companies in our market – TPG, Inc., Amazon, and Orbital Effects. Expansions of existing companies include Maven Packaging, Matsu, CFD Research Corporation, Polaris, ATI, Kohler, KBR, Wilson Lumber, Special Aerospace Services, Dynetics, and Northrop Grumman. While other companies located or expanded in our area during 2021, these 14 are the projects that worked through the Chamber for state and local support. If your company is expanding or considering a new location in the Huntsville metro, be sure to contact the Chamber’s economic development team to see how we can help. Also -- check out available jobs for these and other companies at

Colorado-based Special Aerospace Services (SAS) broke ground in September on a 55,000-square-foot campus that will add 30 jobs to Cummings Research Park. SAS has had a presence in Huntsville since 2016. This expansion will enable them to conduct engineering, training, high-bay assembly, advanced manufacturing, and research.

Highlights of 2021 In February we announced that TPG, Inc., was relocating its headquarters from Omaha, Nebraska, to downtown Huntsville, creating 200 new jobs locally. TPG offers customer experience solutions to Fortune 1000 clients and pioneered independent quality assurance services in the customer service call center industry.

In September, Mazda Toyota Manufacturing unveiled the first vehicle made at its Huntsville plant, the Toyota Corolla Cross. This is the first of what will be 300,000 vehicles per year at the $2.3 billion facility.

CFD Research Corporation broke ground in May on 13,265 square feet of new space at their headquarters in Cummings Research Park. The addition will increase laboratory space for biomedical and energy research and development and enable new work in electronics, virology and biomechanics. It will include a Dry Room and a Clean Room for battery and biomedical product development and will double the size of their high performance computing.

Amazon opened its first warehouse in Huntsville in the Greenbrier region in Limestone County. The company celebrated the receipt of its first item in October, kicking off what is sure to be a busy holiday season. – Lucia Cape, cce


initiatives dec 2021



Joe Knoch, President Air Essentials, Inc.

Tell us about your company... Air Essentials is a HVAC company that has focused on indoor air quality since its inception and prides itself on giving honest assessments and outstanding customer service. We clean HVAC units and corresponding duct systems (commercial, industrial, medical, and residential) to rid them of dust, debris, mold, and other contaminants that most people do not want to even think about. We also offer other services from HVAC sales, service, and maintenance to chimney and dryer vent cleanings.

What would you like to share about your company and team? Air Essentials is a locally owned small business that has earned its reputation of being a leader in handling air quality issues in both the home and places of work. One way we do this is by investing in our employees to make sure our staff is continuously trained, certified, and that they maintain those certifications. Our staff is non-commission based, so they are never incentivized to sell something that our customers do not need. We also believe in giving back to the communities that we serve; from serving on boards from various nonprofits such as the Better Business Bureau of North Alabama, to the YMCA, and 305 8th St.

What challenges have you conquered during the pandemic? Truthfully, the pandemic was rough on us. Our core customers are those most concerned about air quality in their homes or workplaces; they are suffering from allergies, weakened immune systems, or just having dust issues or experiencing bad odors in their homes. The majority of those very customers with concerns were the most conscious about COVID-19 and its possible transmission, so they did not want others in their home during this time. For those that did allow us in, we followed all safety protocols recommended by the CDC. We also lost one lead technician due to illness and one to a career change. The pandemic limited our ability to interview for new employees. With plenty of prayer, perseverance, and use of the PPP program, we were able to manage through these difficulties – believing that the demand for our services would eventually be far beyond what it was prior to the pandemic. We are currently hiring!

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

Why should companies consider investing in HREGI? A HREGI investment is something one can actually see the results of their investment dollars by simply listening to or reading the news. Knowing the money you invest helps recruit new businesses and more skilled jobs to the area, plus helping ensure that the goal of an adequately trained workforce is in place, is rewarding in itself. A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

Synovus Bank, Member FDIC.

dec 2021 initiatives


Special Honors

Three Huntsville pioneers join Alabama Business Hall of Fame


e offer congratulations to Bob Baron, Joe Ritch, and Marcus Bendickson for their recent inductions into the Alabama Business Hall of Fame. All three are well known in the Huntsville business community. The ceremony was held on October 7 at The Haven in Birmingham. Bob Baron has enjoyed an extensive and successful weather career, both in broadcasting and in founding Baron Services, a weather solutions company. He spoke from the heart as he talked about the unique business environment across the state. “Alabama gave me an interesting career doing the things I love and saving lives,” Baron said. He also shared a piece of wisdom passed down to him from his father, who said you should surround yourself with experts who can give you good advice. Joe Ritch is an attorney and civic leader who has helped elevate the Huntsville area through his involvement in a number of organizations, including the Tennessee Valley BRAC Committee, now known as the Redstone Regional Alliance. The group is comprised of

13 communities in north Alabama and south-central Tennessee that advocates for Redstone Arsenal. Ritch was also the first Chairman of the Board of Directors, from Alabama, of the Tennessee Valley Authority and also chairman of its nuclear oversight committee. He is a current member of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber’s Executive Committee. Dr. Marcus Bendickson is the retired CEO and former Chairman of the Board of Dynetics, Inc., a leading provider of high-technology, mission-critical services and solutions to government and commercial customers. Dynetics is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Leidos and has over 2,500 employees throughout the United States. – Claire Aiello




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Madison County

City of Huntsville

City of Madison

Huntsville Metro Area

community profile

2010 Census






2020 Census









% Growth

Aerospace & Defense

# of Households





Avg. Household Income





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

Per Capita Income





Research & Technology


As of November 2021

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

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

Top 15 Employers: Huntsville & Madison County U.S. Army/Redstone Arsenal* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38,000 * Huntsville Hospital System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9,352 NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6,000 The Boeing Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,048 Huntsville City Schools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,000 Dynetics, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,796 SAIC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,746 Madison County Schools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,389 City of Huntsville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,206 Mazda Toyota Manufacturing USA, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,023 University of Alabama in Huntsville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,979 Northrop Grumman Corporation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,970 Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,800 Polaris Industries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,500 Lockheed Martin Corporation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,445 Source: Huntsville/Madison County Chamber

For more information, visit:

*includes on-site contractors

LET’S THRIVE TOGETHER At Warren Averett, we are grateful for our team members, who have proven that even through times of adversity and change, we can continue to provide A+ client service.

2 6 9

8 71 2+%





This holiday season, we are also thankful for those of you who have trusted us to partner alongside you this year, as well as the individuals and organizations that build up this community we call home. Thank you for trusting us with your professional services; but most importantly, thank you for letting us be a part of your life, vision and community. Happy Holidays!

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

101 Monroe Street NE | Huntsville, AL 35801 |





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How the 2020 Census Findings are Playing Out By Ray Garner

The biggest headlines that have resulted from the release of the 2020 Census data have been focused on the fact that Huntsville is now the biggest city in Alabama – moving ahead of Birmingham, which had been the state’s largest city for the 20th century. Huntsville has experienced tremendous growth between the 2010 Census and the 2020 Census. However, those numbers belie the trends that are taking place not only for the city but for many municipalities in the region. The population growth is revealed through a mountain of data and doesn’t take into account the enormous changes that are taking place in the greater Huntsville area, such as demographics, commerce, quality of life, diversity, and the area’s labor force. The numbers show Huntsville is home to more than 215,000 people, an increase of nearly 35,000 residents when compared to the 2010 census figure of 180,105. That is a growth rate of nearly 20 percent when you compare census results between 2010 and 2020. Meanwhile, Birmingham is shrinking, losing 11,500 people to 200,733 during the past decade, a drop of 5 percent. Birmingham’s population peaked in 1960 with more than 340,000 residents. Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle looked beyond the numbers while the news grabbed headlines about Huntsville being the largest city in Alabama. His view is that the community is focused on healthy and quality growth rather than the quantity of people moving into the area.

Battle said it was not unexpected that Huntsville was on its way to being the state’s largest city. “The numbers validate predictions we’ve heard for a while,” he said. Balance was the key word that was shared by others we interviewed for this article. While there are challenges that fast-paced growth may create for civic leaders, they all agree it’s better than the alternative and having to deal with population decline. “The investments we’ve made in our infrastructure, public safety, and quality of life make us attractive to job creators, from the largest industries to the smallest retail startups,” Mayor Battle said. “Jobs bring people. We’re happy they’ve chosen to make Huntsville their home, and together we’ll build on our strong foundation in the years to come.” Overall, the city’s population grew from 180,105 in 2010 to 215,006 in 2020. The data shows that the city has become more diverse during the past decade, too. The number of white residents increased from 108,618 in 2010 to 121,677 in 2020, but the percentage fell from 60.3 percent to 56.6 percent of the total population during that same time. Similarly, the African-American population experienced an increase in total numbers, going from 57,454 in 2010 to 63,035 during the same


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Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle

Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong

Madison Mayor Paul Finley

decade. However, the census shows the percentage of African-Americans fell slightly from 31.9 percent to 29.3 percent. This phenomenon is largely a result of the fast-paced increase in other ethnic groups, such as Hispanics, and individuals identified with two or more races. The city’s Hispanic population grew from 10,512 to 16,669, and residents that responded to the census report as two or more races jumped from 4,040 in 2010 to 15,706 in 2020. All five council districts showed various increases in growth. District 5 was the fastest growing district. These changes will result in some changes in the district lines. Those efforts are underway, with the first public presentation of the adjustments to the districts taking place in October at a Huntsville City Council meeting, and additional public hearings scheduled through mid-December. Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong said the growth is encouraging. “Madison County is a tremendous destination for those individuals seeking a new job and successful careers, in addition to an appealing location to put down roots and grow their families,” said Strong. “You can drive in any direction from Huntsville into Madison County, and it is inevitable that you’ll see newcomers filling the landscape.” The county commission has been soliciting and gathering community input, and there has been ample discussion at county commission meetings regarding possible changes. Three options have been developed for review from the community’s input to update districts for the Madison County Commission. Public input will continue to be sought through the end of the year, and the commission is expected to vote on new district maps in early 2022. In Madison, Mayor Paul Finley said the fast-growing suburban city has taken the appropriate steps to deal with rapid growth. He credits a cooperative spirit with Huntsville and Madison County for the job creation which has led to that city’s growth. “We work together to secure high quality jobs,” he said. Another factor is the type of residents who are drawn to Madison. “Not many communities are better building off their assets. We are a city of problem solvers.” Would you believe Madison just had 4,000 residents in 1980? It did – then it grew to 29,000 in the 2000 census, and 43,000 in 2010. The 2020 Census now reports 57,000 residents. Finley noted the city is handling these strong population gains through planning. “City leaders in Madison have been working with rapid growth for 40 years and have done an incredible job of building and sustaining an outstanding school system,” Finley added. “Madison is a great city to live in, especially if you have children.” Emily Peck, a lecturer who teaches state and local government at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), made note of the challenges of fast-growing areas. “We’re seeing some evidence of those challenges now,” she said. “One of the big issues will be keeping pace with the infrastructure.” This includes roads in many areas of the metropolitan areas but also school growth, which is more acute, and a particular challenge for Madison. “Ideally, housing growth will keep home ownership more affordable,” she said. As far as redistricting to maintain the one person–one vote philosophy, local government will not be the only group which will be affected by changing districts. Local boards of education and Alabama House and Senate districts will also be impacted, as well as the districts for Alabama’s seven congressional seats. The Alabama Legislature went into special session in late October to redraw these districts. The Justice Department will also review the proposed new districts. The process could take weeks or months.

continued on page 24


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What do the changing numbers mean? The impact of the census reports can have a long-term and wide-ranging impact on the region and the communities that make up the greater Huntsville area and north Alabama. First, and perhaps most beneficial, is that federal aid programs are often based on population. So, the increase in the number of residents will be applied to several federal programs where the additional funds will make their way to local citizens and will be spread into the economy. This could be particularly helpful in securing transportation dollars as municipalities try to maintain the infrastructure needs of cities and counties in the affected area. The larger census numbers will also help lure prized retailers into the area, according to Dr. Wafa Orman, associate business dean at UAH. “The greater Huntsville area is not only approaching 500,000 residents, but the rate of growth and the educational levels of the area are looked at favorably by retailers who have demographic experts who are always looking to expand the markets for these retailers.” “Companies want to be profitable, so they choose to locate in areas of a certain size. They don’t want to be in too small of a market,” Dr. Orman added. She said two recent examples are Trader Joe’s and The Cheesecake Factory. Retail development is important for a couple of reasons. It adds to a community’s quality of life as residents want to experience better choices, but newcomers also look to the type of retail presence that is available. Retail also plays a key role in Huntsville’s economy because the city gets a sizable portion of its budget from taxes on retail sales. The size and velocity of growth can also have a positive impact on improving the region’s industrial growth. The north Alabama region has been defined as a workforce region by the state of Alabama. It includes 13 counties in north Alabama and three counties in Tennessee. From a workforce perspective the region is defined as 50 to 60 miles from Huntsville/Madison/Madison County, which equates to an hour or less in travel time. While Huntsville’s metropolitan area is estimated to be 471,824, industry will not depend on boundaries such as city limits or county lines. Accordingly, the Tennessee Valley’s workforce region is estimated to be 1.3 million (read more about this topic on page 13). Meanwhile, civic leaders were all in agreement that being the biggest is not the objective. “Quality growth in targeted sectors provides the foundation for an economy that will be resilient and dynamic for generations to come,” said Chip Cherry, president & CEO of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber. As Huntsville Mayor Battle reasoned: “While we may be the biggest city in the state, we’re not going to stop striving to be the best in everything we do.” – Ray Garner


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Be in the Know

Chamber communications offer wealth of information


tay connected with us! Sign up for our newsletters, Mash-Up and Member Connection, on our website. Learn about the latest happenings in our community, from new facility ribbon cuttings to the latest on the COVID pandemic. We list all of our upcoming dates for Chamber events, such as our Professional Development Series, C-Suite Series, Ribbon Cuttings, Chamber luncheons, and more! We send out the Mash-Up every Monday, and this newsletter features recent business news, upcoming events we are hosting, job fairs, and other highlights. We also update you on Zoom calls we host frequently, which include discussions on hot topics such as the vaccine mandate, redistricting,


new recruiting videos we shared at our 86th Annual Membership Meeting, and more. You’ll also find a lot of information about what fellow members are offering in our Member Connection. This is distributed on the first and third Friday of every month, and features new member links, member flyers, special ceremonies, and more. You may submit flyers for the Member Connection – just email these to To sign up, visit and hover over the “News” tab. There, you’ll see “Newsletter Signup” at the top of the dropdown list. Just fill in your information, including your name and email address, and you can select which newsletters/mailing lists interest you. Other mailing lists include topics such as legislative updates, professional development, and small business networking events. – Kayla Brown

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The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber is pleased to announce this year’s winners for the annual Best Places To Work® Awards! The winners were announced during a luncheon on Oct. 25 at the Von Braun Center, with Synovus as the Presenting Sponsor. These companies win based on employee surveys, and it’s a serious matter of pride to win. In addition, Intuitive Research & Technology Corporation was the first company inaugurated to the Best Places to Work® Hall of Fame. This award is given to companies who have won for 10 or more years.



MICRO category winners (10-24 employees)

Boecore, Inc.

GOLD: Boecore, Inc. SILVER: Patriots International BRONZE: Radial Solutions, Inc. (RSi) Patriots International

Radial Solutions, Inc. (RSi)


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SMALL category winners (25-50 employees)


GOLD: KODA Technologies, Inc. SILVER: Phased n Research, Inc. BRONZE: Crossflow Technologies, Inc.

KODA Technologies, Inc.

Phased n Research, Inc.

Crossflow Technologies, Inc.

MEDIUM category winners (51-100 employees) GOLD: QTEC Aerospace SILVER: Canvas, Inc. BRONZE: Monte Sano Research Corporation continued on page 28 QTEC Aerospace


Monte Sano Research Corporation dec 2021 initiatives


LARGE category winners (101-250 employees)


GOLD: Simulation Technologies, Inc. (SimTech) SILVER: Thompson Gray, Inc. BRONZE: Intrepid



Thompson Gray, Inc.

X-LARGE category winners (251+ employees) GOLD: IronMountain Solutions SILVER: PeopleTec, Inc. BRONZE: Modern Technology Solutions, Inc. (MTSI) IronMountain Solutions

PeopleTec, Inc.


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Huntsville’s Orion Amphitheater Taking Shape by the Day Q&A with Ryan Murphy President, Huntsville Venue Group

Q : What is the status of the Amphitheater? A : The project is coming along really well at this point. Being able

to go out on the site now and climb into the seating bowl, seeing the backstage, loading dock, and concourse areas being built – it’s absolutely amazing. You can truly feel the size, scope, and even the intimacy of it at this point. Even throughout the pandemic, we’ve been fortunate to adapt the construction schedule and overall project to ideally be completed in a window of time that feels good.

Q : There has been a lot of excitement about the Orion Amphitheater locally. What are you hearing in the music circles?

A : There is such a groundswell of excitement here in the community

as well in the overall music community. We are lucky to have such a well rounded and talented group of people working on this project that you can’t help but get the attention of the entire music industry ... even if it’s the “what are those maniacs building down there?” Agents, artists, management, and so many people in the industry are really excited to see what we are doing down here.

The Orion Amphitheater team recently announced a landmark opening weekend, titled The First Waltz, to be held May 13-15, 2022. It will feature an all-star lineup of artists with ties to the state, including Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Brittany Howard, Drive-By Truckers, Emmylou Harris, and more. Huntsville musicians will also perform, including the Aeolians of Oakwood University, Kelvin Wooten & Deqn Sue, and Huntsville Community Drumline. A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

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The SBDC & PTAC at The University of Alabama in Huntsville serve seven Alabama counties: Limestone, Madison, Morgan, Cullman, Jackson, Marshall and DeKalb.


Business expertise: growing communities, one business at a time


he Huntsville/Madison County Chamber has a longstanding relationship with the SBDC and PTAC programs at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). They provide business resources and expertise for all types of business needs, funding, strategy, and planning. The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is funded in part by the Small Business Administration, and the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) is funded in part by the Defense Logistics Agency. Both have been helping local entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses with guidance in areas such as financial management, marketing strategies, government contracting and even cybersecurity, since the 1980s. The economic impact has been significant for not only Huntsville but our region and the State of Alabama as a whole.

PTAC serves as the bridge between small businesses and the federal government (and Prime Contractors) by providing technical assistance for individuals and companies seeking to do business with the local, city, state, or federal government. PTAC advisors help small businesses navigate the complex maze of opportunities called “government contracting.” “We serve all types of entrepreneurs: those with an idea on a napkin, those who want to start a food truck, or even a Biotech company who wants to develop cures for cancer. We have assisted retired generals who want to start a new consulting firm or want to develop cutting-edge defense innovations such as hypersonic aviation tech-


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nologies,” said SBDC Regional Director Hilary Claybourne. “We research, find the best resources, and make introductions for people to find answers to their business needs.” One significant benefit for many government contracting businesses is “bid match tracking.” This service allows small businesses to lay out their search criteria, their geographic interest, and what agencies they want to target. They then get customized, curated emails with potential opportunities to pursue. PTAC advisors help them to navigate the opportunities and provide guidance about the best direction to take their work. The SBDC/PTAC team hosts training and professional development events throughout the year that connect small businesses to each other throughout the larger community. One of these is the 13th Annual Small Business Matchmaker event that was held in October and November of 2021. This annual event helps small businesses connect with government agencies and larger Prime Contractors, allowing each to benefit from working together. The small business gets connected to a larger contractor, and the primes get to meet their small business setaside requirements with qualified small businesses. In a recent Chamber meeting, Claybourne spoke about her favorite success story from one of these Small Business Matchmaker events. A local small business they had been working with came to the event very well prepared to connect with the Prime Contractors in attendance. They met with such success that the company still comes every year to further their business growth and success. “It was his first year in business, and the owner came prepared. I cannot stress enough how important it is to come prepared,” said Claybourne. “Now, the CEO attributes over $40 million worth of government contracts to the relationships he made at that Matchmaker event. The magic begins with those relationships and networks built through these events.” The UAH SBDC/PTAC have many events throughout the year as well as one-on-one business advising. The Center has access to a national network with local expertise and serves the seven counties in northeast Alabama (Madison, Morgan, Marshall, Limestone, Cullman, Jackson and DeKalb Counties). The team and partnership is a great resource for our communities. Please visit events to register to take advantage of these terrific business resources to start or grow YOUR business! – Kayla Brown A HUNTSVILLE/MADISON COUNTY CHAMBER PUBLICATION

Hidden No More

Huntsville celebrates our suffrage pioneers


ix Black women who labored quietly for voting rights received a homecoming reception for the ages on a sunny October afternoon in William Hooper Councill Memorial Park, with the dedication of a historic marker that welcomed Mary Binford, Ellen Brandon, India Herndon, Lou Bertha Johnson, Celia Love, and Dora Lowery to their rightful place in Alabama history. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle joined community supporters and devoted family members on Oct. 24 to dedicate a historic marker recognizing six Black women allowed to register to vote in Madison County in 1920, following the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Historians estimate that 200,000 Alabama women registered to vote in 1920. Due to discriminatory provisions in Alabama’s 1901 Constitution, such as property ownership and arbitrary literacy tests, only 200 Black women were allowed to register. Huntsville’s Black suffragists were the product of a vibrant Black community formed in the aftermath of slavery whose members committed themselves to claiming the opportunities of freedom. They were “educators, business owners, philanthropists, community volunteers and the mothers of the Civil Rights Movement,” said Donna Castellano, executive director of the Historic Huntsville Foundation (HHF), who led the historic marker project. According to Castellano, the full tapestry of Alabama history only becomes visible when their stories become part of the narrative. Grandchildren and other family members of the suffragists traveled from New York, Baton Rouge, Chicago, and Atlanta to witness the unveiling of the historic marker honoring their ancestors. All were unaware of their grandmothers’ involvement in the suffrage movement until contacted by HHF representatives. Joan Carter, granddaughter of Mary Binford, compared the suffragists to “hidden figures,” pioneering women whose contributions to a great cause had been unknown. Three of the suffragists’ grandchildren spoke at the marker dedication, sharing personal recollections of the women they knew not as activists but as “Grandma.” Carter recalled visiting the Binford family home on Pearl Street where her grandmother’s kitchen was always stocked with lemonade and vanilla wafers. Herndon Spillman, grandson of India Herndon, mused that his


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grandmother’s commitment to voting rights must have been transmitted to her by her grandmother, Grandma Savannah, who had been enslaved. According to Spillman, Herndon learned to see her Blackness as an armor through the sense of identity passed down to her from her grandmother. Yvonne Lowery-Kennedy reminisced about visiting her grandmother, Dora Lowery, when Huntsville was still so small that she and her cousins could ride their bicycles from one end of town to the other. She recalled the words of her father, Civil Rights leader Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery, who taught that voting was not only a right but a moral obligation. Over 500 people from across the Tennessee Valley gathered in Councill Park to cheer the brave women who would not be denied their voting rights in 1920. Huntsville is the first Alabama city to dedicate a historic marker to Black suffragists. We hope our example inspires others to follow in our footsteps. – contributed by The Historic Huntsville Foundation

ABOVE: (L-R) Patsy Harris, Yvonne Lowery-Kennedy, Governor Kay Ivey, Donna Castellano, Dr. Herndon Spillman, Mayor Tommy Battle, Joan Carter, Rev. Dr. Kelley, Lakeside Methodist. TOP LEFT: Yvonne Lowery-Kennedy and family MIDDLE LEFT: Over 500 people gathered in Councill Memorial Park to honor Huntsville’s Black suffragists. LOWER LEFT: Members of Decatur’s youth program, Girls Connected 4 A Cause

THANK YOU, Huntsville!




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We want to say THANK YOU to our ChamberON volunteers who give a tremendous amount of their time to connect with Chamber members who are looking to be more actively engaged in the Chamber’s mission through sponsorship opportunities. Pictured (L-R): Lisa Abbott, Cadence Bank; Abby Lee Casey, Von Braun Center; Katie Bosarge Patterson, South Huntsville Main; Joe Knoch, Air Essentials, Inc.; Leslie McGill, Synovus; Camille Gardner, BlueHalo; Michelle Omenski, Keller Williams Realty; and Clint Kirkland, Progress Bank. Not pictured: Chris Russell, Cadence Bank; Patti Walker, First National Bank; and David Whitaker, RiVidium, Inc. Special thanks to Lisa and Clint who each achieved $100,000 in sales this year.


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Spread the Word

New recruitment video available on Chamber website


embers, we often create videos you can use in your company recruiting efforts – you can find these at We debuted our newest one at the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber’s 85th Annual Membership Meeting on November 3. Huntsville’s Legacy of Innovation: ASmartPlace showcases many of the things we know as residents, but reminds us what new people see with fresh eyes when they move here. This includes the types of job opportunities we offer, educational offerings, and amenities that enhance our quality of life, such as rivers, greenspaces, hiking and biking trails, restaurants, craft breweries, and more. The Rocket City has much to offer – help us share the news with people who might be considering a move here.

Expert bankers. Expert listeners.

Downtown Banking Center 401 Meridian Street, Suite 100 Huntsville, Alabama 35801 256.722.7800 Research Park Banking Center 1267 Enterprise Way, Suite A Huntsville, Alabama 35806 256.722.7880 | Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender


dec 2021 initiatives


Ready for Tundra

Toyota Alabama revs up production, debuting new twin-turbo V6 engines


ogether with state and community leaders, Toyota Alabama held an event on Oct. 18 to celebrate the first of Toyota’s latest engine products for the all-new 2022 Tundra to come off the production line. The new engines, a hybrid electric powered twin-turbo V6 engine and the gas-powered twin-turbo V6 engine, usher in the next era of powertrains being assembled in Huntsville. Toyota’s new twin-turbo V6 engine line was part of a $288 million investment that also added 450 new jobs. That represented the largest hiring need in Toyota Alabama’s history, boosting the plant’s total employment to 1,800 people. Completion of this project – originally announced in February 2019 – marked the fifth expansion at Toyota Alabama. Toyota Alabama’s total cumulative investment is $1.2 billion and now boasts an annual engine capacity of 900,000. Toyota Alabama is the sole producer of both engine models for the 2022 Tundra in North America, and team members build one-third of the engines for all Toyota vehicles in North America. This creates long-term employment stability for the plant’s 1,800 workers. “Our team members in Alabama recognize the confidence and trust Toyota places in us since we are the only plant selected to build engines for the all-new Tundra,” shared Jason Puckett, president of Toyota Alabama. “Launching the new twin-turbo V6 line and celebrating our 20th anniversary remind us here just how lucky we are to have such incredible team members who have made Toyota Alabama known as ‘the engine capital of the world’.” Toyota Alabama made two significant donations during the ceremony. One was a $25,000 donation to the Village of Promise, and

another was a $25,000 donation to the Singing River Trail. Toyota Alabama has a long history of giving back – it has donated a total of $700,000 locally in relief funds since the start of the COVID pandemic, and overall, since 2001, the company has given $12 million to local Huntsville-area nonprofits.

Huntsville-Made Vehicle Now For Sale! Toyota Corolla Cross officially in production and for sale at local dealerships


oyota’s Corolla Cross, made in Huntsville, is the first vehicle to come off the Apollo line at the Mazda Toyota Manufacturing (MTM) facility in Limestone County. It is officially in production, as Team ONE rolled the first vehicle into view on September 30. “Sweet


Home Alabama” played as the Corolla Cross came off the line, turned the corner, and parked in front of the cheering crowd. The ceremony featured company leaders, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, and an employee who shared how she joined MTM by way of an untraditional path. Kenyahtah Graham said her background included many fields other than manufacturing, but feels like she fits right in on the team. “I was nervous coming into it, because it seemed intimidating, but I helped build this,” said Graham. “You get to work with your team members, and you get supGraham port from the top down – our managers always make sure you get the help you need. There’s nothing to be nervous about.” Mark Brazeal, MTM’s VP of Administration, agreed. “If we are lucky, we will find 1,700 more Kenyahtahs,” he said. MTM is actively hiring – visit to apply today. The Toyota Corolla Cross is now available for sale at local dealerships. MTM is also preparing to make the all-new Mazda CX-50. The vehicle was revealed worldwide on November 15, and production should start in January. It will be built on the Discovery line, side-by-side with the Corolla Cross. – Claire Aiello dec 2021 initiatives



Executive Staff | also Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Chip Cherry, CCE, president & CEO Meghan Nazario, business administration specialist

Economic Development & Workforce Lucia Cape, CCE, senior vice president Erin Koshut, executive director, Cummings Research Park Lyndsay Ferguson, vice president, workforce

Helping manage the health of your employees Corporate Care is a comprehensive employer-focused

Ken Smith, senior director, research & information services

Finance & Administration

program from the Huntsville Hospital Health System. Our

Mary McNairy, vice president

staff expertise helps companies manage the health of their

Joe Watson, facilities supervisor

greatest asset — employees. With programs available

Kim Weeks, accounting specialist – receivables

in various counties in North Alabama, Corporate Care is

Stefanie Davis, resource desk coordinator

uniquely structured to be accessible to where employees live and/or work.

Government & Public Affairs Mike Ward, CCE, senior vice president • (256) 817-9999

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

Marketing & Communications

Newsweek’s 2021

Best Small Bank in Alabama

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

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

Event Management Amberly Kimbrough, event specialist

You Deserve A Bank That Delivers Beyond Expectations. Learn more about Alabama’s Best Small Bank at

Jennifer Prewitt, event coordinator



Downtown: 256-535-1045 | Southeast Huntsville: 256-217-5170 PERSONAL | PRIVATE | BUSINESS | MORTGAGE BANKING SERVICES

Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender. NLMS 582857.


initiatives dec 2021



he Chamber hosted its Annual Outing on October 26, our first in-person event since August. The Outing is a community tradition dating back more than 40 years, honoring the relationship with the leadership of those working on Redstone Arsenal. Over 330 people attended this year’s event. It could not have been a more perfect evening. The weather was exactly what you’d hope for on a crisp fall night. The venue at the pavilion at Ditto Landing offered great views of the Tennessee River and plenty of room to spread out in the outdoor spaces. Fresh Gulf seafood was driven up and prepared onsite by Georgia Roussos’ catering team from Mobile. Representative Mike Ball led the swing music with the backing of the “Bubbanauts.” Yellowhammer Brewing and Straight to Ale provided a great variety of locally brewed craft beers, and we even had Grissom students and alumni help serve food to the attendees! The evening ended with a terrific fireworks show. We’ve set the date for next year’s Outing for October 18. Mark your calendar now and plan to join us then! – Mike Ward, cce

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