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Initiatives April 2015


The type of service you provide is the type of service we’re offering.

When you practice medicine, you’re practicing one-on-one service. At ServisFirst we applied that same idea to our Private Banking Accounts. So in addition to the competitive interest rates on accounts and loans, our Private Banking also comes with a banker dedicated to your needs. We thought you could appreciate that.

ATLANTA • BIRMINGHAM • CHARLESTON • DOTHAN • HUNTSVILLE MOBILE • MONTGOMERY • NASHVILLE • PENSACOLA Paula Renfroe - SVP Private Banking Officer 256.722.7834 office • 256.337.9666 cell • NMLS# 776285 Amanda Weaver - VP Private Banking Officer 256.722.7824 office • 256.701.7755 cell • NMLS# 780767 DeLynn Gower - Private Banking Officer 256.722.7812 office • 256.701.0581 cell • NMLS # 1076567

256.722.7800 • 205.949.0302 Member FDIC Equal Housing Lender


401 Meridian Street, Ste. 100 • Huntsville, AL 35801

April 2015 Initiatives

Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender


We are stronger and better when we work together. That’s the reason for Huntsville Hospital Health System. Good for our patients. Good for communities. Huntsville Hospital Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children Madison Hospital Decatur Morgan Hospital Athens-Limestone Hospital Helen Keller Hospital Red Bay Hospital Lawrence Medical Center Curae Health (Russellville, Haleyville & Winfield)

101 Sivley Road • Huntsville, AL 35801

Initiatives April 2015


Thanks to Our Investors Huntsville Regional Economic Growth Initiative

Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County

Development Partner ($220,000+ annually)

City of Huntsville Development Council ($120,000+ annually)

Huntsville Utilities Chairman’s Council ($75,000+ annually)

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama, Inc. President’s Circle

($50,000+ annually)

Huntsville Hospital Madison County Commission Regions Bank Tennessee Valley Authority

Chamber Trustees ($10,000+ annually) AEgis Technologies Group Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Alabama Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. DynCorp International Dynetics, Inc. First Commercial Bank Intuitive Research and Technology Corporation

Progress Partners

Jerry Damson, Inc. L-3 Communications Corporation – Huntsville Operations Landers McLarty Corporation Northrop Grumman Corporation PARSONS Raytheon Company Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc.

($5,000+ annually)

Ability Plus ASRC Federal Analytical Services Baron Services, Inc. BASF Corporation Beason & Nalley, Inc. Bill Penney Toyota-Mitsubishi BlueCreek Investment Partners Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP Cadence Bank Coates Transportation Group Colliers International Connected Logistics Consolidated Construction Company Davidson Technologies, Inc. ERC, Inc. Huntsville-Madison County Builders Association

iBERIABANK IronMountain Solutions LEAN Frog Business Solutions, Inc. Logicore MJLM Engineering & Technical Services MTS, Inc. The Orthopaedic Center Progress Bank Radiance Technologies Rosie’s Restaurants, Inc., & Right Way Restaurants, Inc. (dba Steak Out) SELEX Galileo Inc. Torch Technologies Turner Vencore, Inc. Woody Anderson Ford

Leadership Forum ($25,000+ annually) ADTRAN, Inc. The Boeing Company City of Madison Emerson Network Power - Avocent Redstone Federal Credit Union Remington Outdoor Company

Executive Council ($15,000+ annually) BB&T BBVA Compass CINRAM Crestwood Medical Center Intergraph Corporation Lockheed Martin Corporation PNC Bank Port of Huntsville Qualitest Pharmaceuticals SES - Science and Engineering Services, LLC 4

April 2015 Initiatives

Progress Investors ($2,500+ annually) 4SITE, Inc. AECOM Alpha Beta Technologies, Inc. Amanda Howard Real Estate Anglin Reichmann Snellgrove & Armstrong, PC Averbuch Realty Co., Inc. – Scott Averbuch Aviagen, Inc. BancorpSouth Brown Precision, Inc. Bryant Bank CB&S Bank Century Automotive CFD Research Corporation Coast Personnel Services deciBel Research Decisive Analytics Corporation Deloitte LLP DESE Research, Inc. Digium, Inc. Ducommun Miltec Elliott Davis Decosimo Fite Building Company, Inc. Foreign Language Services Fountain, Parker, Harbarger

HEMSI Huntsville Botanical Garden Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau Huntsville Tractor & Equipment, Inc. Investor’s Resource/Raymond James Kudzu Productions, Inc. The Lioce Group, Inc. Littlejohn Engineering Associates, Inc. Moog, Inc. North Alabama Multiple Listing Service PeopleTec, Inc. PHOENIX PROJECTXYZ, Inc. Public Financial Management, Inc. Qualis Corporation Renasant Bank RJ Young ServisFirst Bank Sierra Lobo, Inc. Sigmatech, Inc. Synapse Wireless, Inc. Systems Products and Solutions, Inc. West Huntsville Land Co., Inc.

Welcome New Chamber Members Joined in January 2015

Joined in February 2015

AIAA Greater Huntsville Section 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing Association AR Recycling Academy Termite & Pest Control, Inc. B & C Irrigation Systems Alabama Center For Sustainable Energy Beaute Nail Spa AMRO Fabricating Corp Bishop’s Flowers Amtec Corporation Brightstar Care of Huntsville / Madison AXION Corp. Carrie’s Kitchen Blue Plate Cafe - Memorial Pkwy SW City of Guntersville Compliance Specialists, Inc. DirecTV, Inc. The Cozy Cow FASTSIGNS of Huntsville Cruise Planners American Express Travel Fluidtrol Process Technologies, Inc. Easy Money H & R Block - Twickenham EOIR Technologies Holston Gases EyeCare Associates, Inc. - Dr. Kenneth R. Winton Huntsville Chapter, Military Officers Fleet Care of America Association of America HighTower Twickenham Huntsville Dermatology Solutions HoneyBaked Ham Company Huntsville Quarter Midget Association Huntsville Swim Association Ignite! Digital Marketing Group Iron Tribe Fitness IHOP - Madison JCJ Property Solutions IHOP - University Drive Laser Fabrication and Machine Co., Inc. Jo Jo’s Restaurant & Catering Lett Technology Larry King Mobile Home, Inc. Lizzy B’s Bakery & Deli, LLC Learning Express of Huntsville Alabama McAllister Tool & Machine McCurdy Animal Hospital North Alabama Kids Directory Netivity Nothing Bundt Cake Network Services & Support, Inc. Pizzelle’s Confections Newk’s of Whitesburg RC Hobbies Nogginhed Tshirt Co. Re/Max Alliance Huntsville Rocket Republic Brewing Company, Inc. Restoring Bodies Fitness & Nutrition Services Sanmina Roebuck Sales & Auction Shane’s Rib Shack South Eagle Affiliates Southbrew, LLC Supercuts - Huntsville at Twickenham Square Tri-State Metals Company, Inc. Taxcorp,LLC U.S. Army Redstone Directorate of Family TCU Consulting Services, LLC and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Tech Knowlogy Solutions Valley Chic Boutique Tek Systems Verizon Wireless - 4922 University Dr. Valley Storm Shelters LLC Walmart Market #7342 Walmart 231/431 N Walmart Store #433 If you want to make a valuable investment in your We Chunk Junk business and the community, contact Donna McCrary: 256-535-2027 or Which Wich Superior Sandwich - Jones Valley Initiatives April 2015



April 2015 Initiatives


Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County

april 2015

cover story Downtown Huntsvile LIT event, photo by

Lighting the Pathway Torch Technologies Creating New Sense of Place in South Huntsville beginning on page 16 Rendering provided by Torch Technologies


Courtesy of Ditto Landing

including CFDRC, Raytheon Missile Systems, Yellowhammer Brewing Co., Rocket Hatch, Downtown Huntsville, PROJECTXYZ, Tec-Masters, IERUS Technologies, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Victory Solutions, The Boeing Company, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama and Spherion Staffing

Courtesy of the Huntsville Botanical Garden

Huntsville/Madison County, Alabama is located in the middle of the southeastern United States, with more than four million people within a 100-mile radius. The Huntsville community is the economic hub of the northern Alabama/ southern Tennessee region. Huntsville/Madison County’s economy is one of the strongest in the nation, with low unemployment, strong job growth and income levels leading the region. Business growth and investment from U.S. and international companies have made it one of the country’s top “hot spots” for growing a business and raising a family.

Government & Public Affairs 10 Did You Know? 12 SBA Winners in the spotlight 14, 26, 28 Future Workforce 20 Economic Development Highlights 22


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

contact Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County 225 Church Street NW, Huntsville, AL 35801 main line: 256.535.2000 fax: 256.535.2015



Submissions for editorial content are not accepted. Information in this and other Chamber publications is at the discretion of the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County. Advertising inquiries go through The Huntsville Times.

And the Winner Is... Business Communications 101

27 31

developments HREGI Investors Listing New Chamber Members A Message from the President Chamber Board Listing Community Profile Chamber Insight Chamber Staff Listing

4 5 8 8 15 21 29

editorial staff

Publisher Chip Cherry, cce Executive Editor Carrie Rice

Editorial Designer Kristi Sherrard ontributing Writers Lucia Cape, Carrie Rice, C Elizabeth Saba & Mike Ward Photography Chamber of Commerce staff, publications/archive, or Shutterstock unless otherwise noted Advertising Sales Jane Katona, Alabama Media Group Initiatives April 2015


Chamber of Commerce

Executive Committee and Board of Directors 2015 Executive Committee

A Message from Chip Cherry Dear Chamber of Commerce Investors, Community Leaders and Friends: We will celebrate the foundation of enterprise in our country during the month of May – Small Business. Celebrating the achievements of small business is one of my favorite things! I have gained an appreciation of what it takes to be successful in a small business from watching my two grandfathers run theirs – one was a carpet cleaning and flooring company and the other transitioned from a small farming operation to owning a country store. My father started a wholesale carpet company when I was twelve, which later grew into a retail floor covering center. Watching them go through the long hours of work, the struggles of making payrolls, paying suppliers, collecting debts, doing paperwork, planning ad campaigns, and trying to find ways to win market share were all priceless experiences. What was truly enlightening was the more personal side of what many see as a glamorous life style. I heard my Mom and Dad arguing over the decision to re-mortgage the house to secure more working capital for the business. I also know that they endured the hardships of having to miss a paycheck to ensure that there was enough in the account for the employees’ checks to clear. I spent many evenings and weekends helping my Dad with tasks at work because there were simply not enough hours in the day to get it all done. I remember the joy in his eyes when he gave his employees a holiday bonus even though he did not have enough to give one to himself. While I appreciate the challenges all businesses face, I have a special place in my heart for Small Business. The week of May 4-8 we celebrate the impact that small businesses have on our community. I encourage you to trade local and patronize our many small businesses. Trading locally supports those businesses that reinvest in our community through sponsorships of little league teams, local schools, and social/ service organizations. To all of our small business owners, I want to express my gratitude for the role you play in making this community a great place to live, work, play, and raise a family. We appreciate you! Your biggest fan!

Chip Cherry, CCE

President & CEO Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County


April 2015 Initiatives

Rey Almodóvar, Chair, INTUITIVE Rose Allen, Chair-elect, Booz Allen Hamilton Robert Mayes, Immediate Past Chair, BlueCreek Investment Partners Ron Poteat, Chamber Foundation Chair, Regions Bank Cynthia Streams, Secretary/Treasurer, Domino’s Pizza (Valley Pizza) Joe Newberry, Vice Chair - Economic Development & Industry Relations, Redstone Federal Credit Union

Jim Rogers, Vice Chair - Government & Public Affairs, Lockheed Martin Gary Bolton, Vice Chair - Membership, ADTRAN Emily Lauder, Vice Chair - Workforce & Education, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama

Tharon Honeycutt, Vice Chair - Small Business & Events, MSB Analytics Kim Lewis, Vice Chair - Marketing & Communications, PROJECTXYZ Penny Billings, Vice Chair - Member Engagement, BancorpSouth Mayor Tommy Battle, Chair-Appointed, City of Huntsville Mark Curran, Chair-Appointed, L-3 Communications Corp. - HSV Ops Trip Ferguson, Chair-Appointed, Remington Outdoor Company Chairman Dale Strong, Chair-Appointed, Madison County Commission Mayor Troy Trulock, Chair-Appointed, City of Madison Danny Windham, Chair-Appointed, Digium Chip Cherry, President & CEO, Chamber of Commerce Elected Board Dr. Robert Altenkirch, The University of Alabama in Huntsville Bob Baron, Baron Services Dr. Marc Bendickson, Dynetics Miranda Bouldin, LogiCore Greg Bragg, Consolidated Construction Company Greg Brown, Brown Precision Janet Brown, Belk Micah Bullard, Turner Construction Kevin Byrnes, Raytheon Company Frank Caprio, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings Michael Cox, PARSONS Angel Crespo, Raytheon Redstone Missile Integration Facility Dorothy Davidson, Davidson Technologies Gene Goldman, Aerojet Rocketdyne Jeff Gronberg, deciBel Research Mike Gullion, SCI Technology – a Sanmina company John Gully, SAIC Jan Hess, Teledyne Brown Engineering Steve Hill, AEgis Technologies Group Dr. Pam Hudson, Crestwood Medical Center Dr. Andrew Hugine, Alabama A&M University Jeremiah Knight, JXC Consulting Group Janice Migliore, PALCO Telecom Service Jim Owens, FirstBank Alicia Ryan, LSINC Dr. Gurmej Sandhu, Sigmatech Charlie Sealy, Sealy Management Company Andrew Shambarger, BB&T Crystal Shell, WILL Technology E.J. Sinclair, SES - Science and Engineering Services Dr. Ashok Singhal, CFD Research Corporation David Spillers, Huntsville Hospital Mike Stanfield, Ducommun Miltec Nilmini Thompson, Systems Products and Solutions Tim Thornton, nLogic Frank Williams, Landers McLarty Dodge Chrysler Jeep

Speakers Wanted: Your expertise is needed The Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County has set up a Speaker Portal – designed to receive submissions from applicants who would like to serve as a speaker for certain Chamber programs. The Speaker Portal is open to Chamber members in good standing who would enhance our programs and have something of value to say and present to our audiences.

We are seeking local, regional and national speakers who are engaged in dynamic work. If you are someone who has a compelling topic, story, project or idea, we want to hear about it. Speakers who not only challenge and energize, but explore the rare, the extraordinary ‌ the uncommon.

For more about this process and how to apply, please visit

Initiatives April 2015


Government & Public Affairs Prepping for annual Montgomery, Washington trips


he first half of the year tends to be the busiest time for the Chamber’s government and public affairs division, including several key events, development of our legislative agendas and a number of important meetings. Under the leadership of National Government Committee Chair Kevin Byrnes and Co-Chair Gene Goldman, the Chamber’s Federal Agenda was approved by the Chamber board of directors at the March 14 meeting. A small group of the Chamber’s leadership, including Chamber Chairman Rey Almodóvar, Kevin Byrnes, Chamber President & CEO Chip Cherry and Sr. VP for Gov’t and Public Affairs, Mike Ward, traveled to Washington DC on March 4 to present the Agenda to the members of the Congressional delegation. The Agenda focuses on seven key items: support for our U.S. Human Space Flight & Exploration Policy; support for our Space and Air/Missile Defense Mission area; support for the Army Aviation S&T funding; support for our unique bioscience activities; support for the regional role in cyber security and supply chain risk management; and improvements to local infrastructure and opposition to EPA’s proposed ozone rule changes. The Chamber Board also approved the State Agenda at their March meeting. State Government Committee Chairman Ken Tucker and Co-Chair Joe Vallely led the effort to prepare the State Agenda. This year’s agenda focused on updating Alabama’s economic development incentives; support for Pre-K-12 Education – including the Alabama College and Career Ready Standards; support workforce development initiatives; investments in higher education, includ10

April 2015 Initiatives

ing increased support for UAH and Alabama A&M’s STEM programs; improvements in local infrastructure; preparing Alabama for the next round of BRAC; support for biosciences; expansion of Alabama’s Medicaid program; providing for limited production breweries to apply for licenses to allow limited onsite sales for off-site consumption; creating a fair marketplace environment for retailers located in Alabama vis-à-vis internet sales; and enhancing the telecommunications infrastruc-

Bentley has been scheduled for May 13. The Chamber’s annual Montgomery and Washington DC trips are set for early and mid-April. The speaker line-up for each of these events was very strong. The Montgomery Trip featured meetings with and presentations by Governor Bentley; Speaker of the House of Representatives Mike Hubbard; the Superintendent of the State Board of Education, Dr. Tommy Bice; Dr. Mark Heinrich, Chancellor Department

Group photo of those attending the 2014 Washington DC Trip with the Chamber of Commerce. ture. The State Government Committee and key Chamber leaders met with the members of the Madison County Legislative Delegation on March 9 to review the State Agenda. The month of March included separate Washington Update briefings with Congressman Brooks and Senator Shelby. Each event attracted nearly 1,000 Chamber members and guests. The Chamber’s Update series of briefings continues to be some of best attended events hosted by the Chamber each year. An Alabama Update with Governor Robert

of Postsecondary Education; the Alabama Department of Commerce and members of the Alabama Legislature. The DC Trip will include meetings with the members of the Alabama Congressional Delegation and presentations from Michael O’Hanlon with the Brookings Institute; Knight Kiplinger with the Kiplinger Newsletter; Robert Lightfoot, the Associate Administrator of NASA as well as several other key Government and business leaders. • Mike Ward

Initiatives April 2015


Local Stories of Success She’s All That Boutique Three years ago, Tara Furlough, CEO of Tara Manufacturing, had a dream to start a business that would employ teenage girls from under-resourced communities and empower them to dream big. Now open in Owens Cross Road, She’s All That Boutique offers teenage girls a chance to change their lives forever. The boutique offers the newest styles of clothes, jewelry, accessories, and even furniture. Proceeds from the store go to the Wings of Faith Foundation, which helps support the girls on their path to higher education. As a member of the CARE Center Board and a mother of two girls, Tara became aware of the lack of programs for teenage girls in the community. She observed that although some girls have a tremendous drive to succeed, they lack family support or the resources necessary to pursue higher education. “I started a summer mentoring program at Tara Manufacturing to work with teenage girls in the community,” says Tara. “But

I realized that we could have more of an influence if we could work with the girls yearround.” Thus, the idea for the She’s All That Boutique was born. It would be a place where teenage girls could work and be inspired year-round. A place where the girls would have a mentor cheering them on, where they could learn business skills and how to pursue their dreams. Students are employed at the boutique during their four-years at New Hope High School. Each girl is paired with a mentor, a woman in the community who has a story to share and the desire to empower. “The girls have an integral role in the boutique, from designing the store, from budgeting, to going to market to purchase items, to running the day-to-day operations,” says Tara. “They learn not only business skills, but life skills from their mentors. And we end up learning just as much from the girls. Their strength is inspiring. ” The first three girls that went through the program helped to build the business from the ground up. They graduated from New Hope High School in 2014, and received support from the foundation to attend college. Each is the first in their families to attend college and each has a current GPA of 3.1 and higher. She’s All That now employs 10 girls from New Hope High School. Tara plans to open another location to serve girls in Cincinnati, Ohio in June 2015. Humbly displayed inside the boutique is a sign depicting the Butterfly Effect. It illustrates how the ripple of your influence can affect another, and this is amplified when paid forward. For more information about the boutique, to donate or volunteer, or to become a mentor, visit

Consumer Fuels Inc. (CFI) Even before the Mercury Seven Astronauts and Russian Cosmonauts, there were the pre-astronauts. These men touched the edge of space, testing the ability of human beings to function in the harsh conditions of high altitude. Three Manhigh missions sent three Americans into the stratosphere in capsules via helium balloons. As Pilot of Manhigh III in 1958, Air Force Lieutenant Clifton McClure soared to 99,700 feet where he could discern the curvature of the Earth. After being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in September 1960, McClure and his family moved to Huntsville. While working with NASA to develop procedures for training astronauts underwater to simulate weightlessness, McClure founded a scuba diving school. He later launched a company that modified scuba equipment to supply breathing air to personnel performing hazardous materials removal throughout the United States. This company, Consumer Fuels Inc. (CFI), operates in Huntsville to this 12

April 2015 Initiatives

day, refurbishing Military Equipment to protect Americans. During my visit to Consumer Fuels, I met Clifton “Dan” McClure, the son of Clifton McClure. Dan and his mother, Laurie McClure, are carrying on his father’s legacy by restoring military equipment to support warfighter intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities as well as electronic warfare and missile system support. CFI provided support to Raytheon’s Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment (RAID) system during the development of the first RAID tower mounted systems in 2003. The RAID program consists of a combination of cameras and surveillance equipment positioned on high towers and aerostats, in order to monitor and protect important areas. CFI refurbished and modernized about 40 military towers, and adapted the military support equipment to the commercial tower Raytheon supplied as the program grew. More than 600 RAID systems have been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan to provide force protection.

Editor’s Note: Elizabeth Saba manages the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County’s business retention and expansion services. She meets with existing companies and conducts executive interviews to identify trends related to the current business climate, workforce development challenges and infrastructure needs. Information and data from these interviews help the Chamber keep the Huntsville Metro area competitive and to create and sustain a business climate conducive to the growth of the local industry base. The Did You Know? section shows interesting tidbits about the local industries ranging from advanced manufacturing, to aerospace/defense, to biotechnology and beyond.

compiled by Elizabeth Saba

T&W Operations Between a myriad of clothes, kitchen utensils and technology gizmos, it is not uncommon for me to forget about specific things I own. I am guilty of not maximizing the effectiveness of my “stuff.” One local company that helps others track, manage, and maximize their resources is T&W Operations. I had the pleasure of meeting Rebecca Goodwin, Director of Creative Services at T&W, to learn more about the company and how it is striving to expand its vision to serve a variety of clients. Beginning in 2004, T&W Operations has supported acquisition and life cycle management of DoD weapons systems and equipment programs. T&W provides asset management support to the Robotics Logistic Support Center, tracking repair parts, maintenance actions and training for ground robotic exploding ordnance disposal systems for the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force via a web-based solution called COLTS (Catalog Order Logistic Tracking System). By automating the tracking of the robots and their parts through the database, the redeployment of these robots is expedited and the more warfighters are protected in the field. It has also worked with Science and Engineering Services, Inc. to support the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Catalog, Order and Logistic Tracking System (UASCOLTS) program. T&W is now utilizing its expertise in asset management to expand its vision to serve non-DoD clients. One of its clients is Huntsville City Schools. During the 2013-2014 school year, T&W Operations helped Huntsville City Schools save more than $800,000 through asset management. By completing a system-wide inventory of the contents of the schools, the district could pinpoint and sell underutilized resources such as books, furniture and recyclables. Of that, $500,000 alone was saved by identifying surplus assets within the school district and redistributing them in lieu of new purchases.

ONE MORE SERVICE MEMBER GETS TO GO HOME: Here lies the remains of a TALON ROBOT that successfully encountered an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), a Warfighters worst enemy. T&W is also building upon its logistics and software capabilities by partnering with the commercial sector. In 2013, T&W partnered with Fujitsu as one of the nation’s first authorized resellers of Fujitsu’s PalmSecure biometric technology, which uses palm vein sensors to authenticate the identity of an individual. By using near-infrared light to capture a user’s palm vein pattern, Fujitsu’s PalmSecure technology generates a unique biometric template that is matched against the vein patterns of registered users. Actively flowing blood inside the veins is required for authentication, so forgery is virtually impossible. PalmSecure as well as other biometric devices are the future of tracking and securing your “stuff.” Biometric authentication proves that it is you trying to access your secure spaces and data and not an imposter. T&W’s software developers write the code that creates the bridge between Fujitsu’s PalmSecure and other applications. T&W provides labor and support services for logistics operations to both government and commercial clients, as well as information technology and management services. Its mission is to leverage emerging technology with out-of-the-box thinking to provide smart and creative solutions to government, civic, and commercial customers. For more information, visit

As a subcontractor to Raytheon on the Patriot RECAP program, CFI provided support for several design cost reviews. CFI also provided technical risk evaluations for obsolete parts. CFI assisted Raytheon with concept formulation and acquisition strategy for multiple components of the existing Patriot batteries. The system can counter threats from tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and advanced aircraft, and is continuously upgraded to keep ahead of evolving threats. CFI has been honored for their subcontracting work excellence through Raytheon Supplier Excellence 4 Star Awards in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012 placing them in the top half percent in terms of supplier quality. On the horizon for CFI is continued expansion into design, build, re-capitalization of all types of military shelters, aircraft ground support equipment, and logistics kits and components. “The best part of our business is the satisfaction we get from soldier feedback that they liked using our products, that they made their job easier, and helped keep them safe,” says Laurie McClure. CFI specializes in the restoration of shelters, power generation equipment, aircraft ground handling equipment, expandable vans, and aircraft medical fixtures. Its mission is to provide the best equipment and services, on time, within budget, every time and build it with service to and performance for the soldier as Job One. For more information, visit • Initiatives April 2015


in the spotlight:

2014 Small Business of the Year:

Business/Professional Services category A Brief Company History... We started LEAN Frog in February 2009 working with small businesses to optimize process and organizational efficiency and effectiveness. At the beginning, LEAN Frog was a sole proprietorship with me getting initial contracts with manufacturing companies that I worked in the afternoons and weekends while remaining employed with Eaton. By August, I had enough work to leave Eaton and focus full-time on LEAN Frog. One of our clients referred us to a local, large, public school system. At the time, the school system was more than $17 million in the red, departments were disconnected, and adequate process controls were missing. We quickly assembled a team of experienced workmates and together began an intensive implementation of Lean Six Sigma (LSS), a method of optimizing process and organizational efficiency and effectiveness. Today, LEAN Frog has 10 full-time employees, works with more than 15 public school systems (including that initial system) across Alabama and Tennessee.

last four years, our total service catalogue has identified more than $80 million in potential savings for Alabama Schools of which just under $20 million in savings have been implemented. This equates to LEAN Frog covering the total cost of more than 235 students at the state’s current average spending rate per pupil ($8,354). LEAN Frog has implemented or assisted in the implementation of Alternative Breakfast Programs that have resulted in over 10,000 students receiving a wholesome breakfast each school day.

What are your company’s greatest achievements?


We are most proud of the improvement projects and programs that we have had the opportunity to work across Alabama. Over the April 2015 Initiatives

Our goal is by the year 2020, LEAN Frog will have positively impacted students, parents and communities across the southeastern U.S. through the application of LSS. Our clients will be viewed as the most effective and efficient school systems within the nation as marked by improved student outcomes, increased financial sustainability, enhanced parent and community involvement, and innovative strategies and practices.

What did winning this award mean to you, personally and professionally? We believe schools and small businesses are the backbone of communities. We have been privileged to help both entities along with other community building blocks like libraries and churches. Receiving the Chamber award has helped cement our reputation locally and has given us the opportunity to promote ourselves nationally as we recently were recognized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as one of the top 100 small businesses in the U.S. as a 2015 U.S. Chamber Blue Ribbon winner.

What does LEAN Frog do? LEAN Frog uses LSS thinking, systems and tools to amplify available resources in school systems to further student outcomes, engage parents and community, and develop innovated strategies and practices through fully involving employees, reducing costs, and building a spirit of continuous improvement. Our main service lines are Stakeholder Strategic Planning and Communication, Organizational Optimization, and Process and Performance Improvement. We have developed unique proprietary approaches to rapidly assess school systems non-instructional areas as well as improvement methods known as Rapid Improvement Events that incorporate behavior analysis techniques to optimize the speed of teaming and the acceptance of change. Customers seek us out not only because of our results but because of the unique approach we have used to facilitate these improvements.

What are your goals for LEAN Frog over the next 10 years?

Byron Headrick, founder/president of LEAN Frog, accepting the 2014 Small Business Award for Business/Professional Services.

Share your educational and professional background... I was the operational excellence manager at Eaton Corporation, a fortune 200 company specializing in mechanical, electrical and hydraulic power systems. I had received numerous awards for transforming plants in Alabama, Michigan, Oregon and Arkansas through the application of LSS. I had earned my Master Black Belt Certification in LSS and was interested in starting my own company to help small business prosper through the application of LSS. I had seen how my father and grandfather, two men with little formal education, through hard work and ingenuity built successful businesses. The entrepreneurial spirit was plugged into my DNA at an early age. My wife and co-founder, Sherri, and I believed that small businesses could benefit from LSS thinking, systems and tools.

What key piece of advice would you give other small businesses? It’s important to have a mission and core values that each employee believes in and actively supports. Employees are more supportive when they are informed about goals, the current and future status of the company. Providing regular updates through staff meetings, internal newsletters, or emails is important. Our business is small and I travel a lot, so finding a way to stay connected and keep employees informed is crucial.

How has being active in the Chamber impacted LEAN Frog? The Chamber has been both a supporter and community partner. Being able to participate in Chamber-sponsored events like the State of the Schools Address helps keep us informed of the issues that impact our customers. Additionally, the publicity we have received for winning this award and the U.S. Chamber Dream Big Blue Ribbon award has been invaluable. •

TOP 10 EMPLOYERS Population

Madison County

City of Huntsville

2010 Census





2013 Census





% Growth

City of Huntsville Madison Metro Area

3.6% 3.5% 7.5% 4.3%




Avg. Household Income $78,462

$67,697 $106,973


Per Capita Income




Huntsville Hospital System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7,129 NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6,500 Huntsville City Schools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,000 The Boeing Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,600 Madison County Schools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,389

Households & Income # of Households

Redstone Arsenal* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31,500*



Sources: U.S. Census Bureau (, 2013 American Community Survey

SAIC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,229 City of Huntsville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,206 The University of Alabama in Huntsville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,660 ADTRAN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,549 Source: Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County *includes on-site contractors

Aerospace & Defense Huntsville/Madison County is home to the U.S. Army Redstone Arsenal and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center which combine to drive a thriving aerospace and defense technology industry. More than 38,500 people work at Redstone Arsenal and NASA managing some of the country’s most important and sophisticated technology programs including missiles, aviation and space exploration.

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

For more information, visit:

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


than 300 companies and 29,000 people involved in technology research and

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Initiatives April 2015


Lighting THE Pathway Torch Technologies Creating New Sense of Place in South Huntsville by Carrie Rice 16

April 2015 Initiatives


he view off the Parkway in south Huntsville is about to change – in a big way. Torch Technologies is lighting the way for a high-tech corridor with their announcement of plans to build a new campus in south Huntsville on the site of their current operations. In addition, Torch announced it will add 150 jobs over the next 3-5 years. At present Torch employs about 400 employees. The Torch Technologies headquarters will be located within a 90,000-square-foot campus called the Freedom Center. The headquarters will include state-of-the-art offices, a conference center, park and landscaped areas, fitness facilities, enhanced break areas, and collaborative working spaces. This is a huge commitment to Huntsville and the community, and it comes in as a $15 million capital investment. “We intend to add to the beauty of the existing buildings and create a landmark with the Freedom Center and the surrounding campus,” said Bill Roark, co-founder and CEO of Torch Technologies. “This project brings much needed revitalization to southeast Huntsville. It will provide immediate access to Redstone Arsenal and should

be an asset for companies supporting Redstone.� The Freedom Center campus will be approximately 12 acres, with facilities that will increase efficiency and allow the company to continue to grow right here in Huntsville. Building phases will include entirely gutting and revamping one building, and constructing one new 10,000-square foot building on existing grounds. The company expects the entire project to be completed in about a year. Roark also said that the 100 percent employeeowned company recently went through a restructuring – a regeneration of sorts. Torch is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Starfish Holdings, and a sister company called Freedom Real Estate Capital has been established. Freedom Real Estate will be the owner of the Freedom Center. In addition to Torch and Freedom Real Estate, the Freedom Center will be the headquarters to the Invariant Corporation, a software design and development company. Roark said these innovative companies firmly establish the Freedom Center as a leading research, development and engineering services facility in Huntsville. continued on page 18

Architect renderings by Matheny Goldmon Architects, AIA, LLC

Initiatives April 2015


Lighting the Pathway, continued from page 17 –

Staying in South Huntsville Torch officials said it was important for the company to remain in south Huntsville and expand their presence in the area. “We are excited to be growing and be in a position to establish a permanent Corporate Headquarters in southeast Huntsville,” said John Watson, President of Torch Technologies. “We are anxious to complete the new facilities for our employee owners as well as the customers we serve on Redstone Arsenal. This is a major milestone for our company and we’re looking forward to completing construction by the end of the year.” The revitalization of the south Parkway area is important for the city, and having Torch grow in place and help create a new sense of place to conduct business in south

Huntsville is an important part of that process. “Torch has been a great partner for the City of Huntsville,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. “When the company was looking to expand and build a new corporate headquarters in the area, we asked them to look at properties near their present location on South Parkway. Torch stepped up and took on two to three buildings to create a signature complex near the entrance to Redstone’s Gate 1 at Martin Road.” With this new campus, Torch will have the ability to grow and, in turn, will help attract other companies – making the location mutually beneficial for all. “This location anchors our Parkway tech corridor and provides easy access to U.S. Army aviation and missile research, defense, engineering, system simulation and develop-

ment on the Arsenal,” Mayor Battle added. “Torch has been a local success story, and we are grateful for their continued investment in our community.”

A Business Incubator A new element for the campus includes a possible business incubator. Once the Freedom Center is finished, Torch is considering creating the incubator, with space available, for very small defense companies. “It’s always been in our business culture to help small businesses grow through mentoring. A business incubator would help us create the infrastructure and capability to partner with very small businesses that might be or become teammates of ours – perhaps in a niche market that we would like to help develop,” Roark said.

“This project brings much needed revitalization to southeast Huntsville. It will provide immediate access to Redstone Arsenal and should be an asset for companies supporting Redstone.” ~ Bill Roark, Torch Technologies 18

April 2015 Initiatives

Employees Helping Others Company leaders agree that the business culture at Torch is positively impacted by the active, passionate, and very personal and financial investments made by the employees themselves. This is because Torch employees have taken ownership of their charitable giving. In 2004, just two years after opening its doors, Torch employees created Torch Helps, a 100-percent employee-funded program with all donations going directly to charity. The employee-led organization is independent of corporate influence as Torch Helps has its own president and is fully managed by the employees. The mission of Torch Helps is, “... to carry the torch for others in our community by providing financial support to non-profit organizations designed to aid individuals and families who are financially disadvantaged, lack access to basic health and human services, or are otherwise disadvantaged and require the assistance of others to meet their basic needs for food, clothing, shelter, medical care and other fundamental needs.” Four times a year, Torch Helps receives and considers grant applications and then votes on funding amounts based on available funds. The organization receives dozens of applications each quarter and awards several large grants up to $10,000, and small grants up to $500 for more immediate needs. In 2014 alone, Torch Helps awarded $79,500 in small and large grants. Almost 70 percent of Torch employees contribute to Torch Helps. Also in 2014, employees formed Torch Gives, a new program which helps organize employee-led comRoark munity service opportunities and volunteer activities. At the corporate level, being involved in the community financially and through volunteer activities is all in the family. Roark said that Torch employees are doing meaningful things, and that really makes a powerful impact both personally and professionally for the entire corporate team. “It makes us all just want to do more. It becomes our passion and runs in our veins,” Roark said. •

Initiatives April 2015


Future Workforce Supporting education at local, state and national levels



very year the Chamber develops position papers called agendas to convey its position on state and federal legislative issues. These agendas are shared with the senators and representatives that make up our North Alabama delegation in the State Legislature and in the United States Congress. Education and workforce issues are always included, and four issues are of particular significance this year. At the federal level, Congress is acting on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Sec-

The Perkins Career and Technical Education Act is also overdue for reauthorization. Last passed in 2006 and expired in 2013, this act helps states improve their post-secondary technical training. Science, technology, engineering and math professions and skilled trades represent the highest demand occupations in Huntsville/Madison County and the United States, and the age of the workforce is higher than that of other occupations. Unless the supply of students is increased, the inability to meet workforce demands will drive

ondary Education Act. The last version, known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB), was authorized in 2001 and expired in 2007. In lieu of a replacement, states have been required to file for waivers against the provisions of NCLB. Reauthorization is an opportunity to reduce what some critics consider federal overreach into a state function. A critical provision that the Chamber supports is annual grade-level assessment against state standards, without allowing the federal government to dictate the assessments or the standards. Annual assessments against statewide standards allow educators, parents and other stakeholders to determine if students are achieving proficiency at each grade rather than at single points within elementary, middle and high school, enabling intervention at the earliest stage.

up costs, reduce productivity and constrain our economic development. The economy of Huntsville/Madison County is diversifying into more advanced manufacturing in support of federal and commercial markets. We have seized remarkable opportunities with Remington and Polaris, but we must be able to supply the workforce for these and related projects. The Chamber has requested that the Perkins Act be reauthorized with a focus on high-growth, high-demand industry credentials to increase the impact of federal funding for career technical education. At the state level, several bills are being considered that directly impact public education in Alabama. The Chamber and other business organizations across the state have been unified in support of the Alabama Col-

April 2015 Initiatives

lege and Career Ready Standards. Efforts have been made over the last two sessions to repeal the standards, which were adopted by the State Board of Education in 2010. The standards cover English and math and were implemented over the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years. The standards are benchmarks for each grade that are consistent from state to state, allowing students to move into Alabama with assurance that they will be on par with their peers. The standards are also more rigorous than previous standards, requiring students to show mastery of concepts, not just getting the right answer. The Chamber will continue to support the standards throughout the legislative session. Another significant impact on public education could come from charter school legislation. At this writing, bills are moving through the House and Senate with different requirements. Of concern to the Chamber and local superintendents is the ability of public schools to compete with charter schools when the rules on funding, staffing and operations are vastly different. The Chamber has requested that the legislation take care to minimize the impact on public schools when allowing charters and not to undermine the local and state elected school boards. The Chamber partners with The Schools Foundation to support elementary and secondary education and with the Chamber Foundation to support post-secondary education. The positions adopted by the Chamber are driven by the needs of business and industry for a skilled and educated workforce. Because of the high-tech economy of the Huntsville metro, science, technology, engineering and math are priorities, as well as career awareness efforts to attract students into high-growth, high-demand occupations. Visit to learn more about “smartâ€? careers in Huntsville/ Madison County. • Lucia Cape

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CFD Research, Raytheon Missile Systems Partner Under DoD Program Raytheon Missile Systems (RMS) has signed a U.S. Department of Defense Mentor–Protégé agreement with CFD Research Corporation (CFDRC), a Woman-Owned Small Business based in Huntsville. The $1.72M agreement was approved by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency and authorizes Raytheon Missile Systems to provide mentoring over a 36 month period of performance in the areas of product development and commercialization, and a variety of business systems and processes. Efforts under the agreement are focused at strengthening CFD Research Corporation’s capabilities, allowing the company to provide a broader number products and services to DoD and commercial markets. “Our entire organization is very proud to be a partner with Raytheon Missile Systems on this program,” said Lieutenant General, US Army (Retired) Joseph M. Cosumano Jr., CFDRC President and CEO. “Collaboration under this agreement aligns with CFDRC’s commitment to continuous improvement, and will assist in delivering advanced technology more predictably and more affordability to all government customers.” CFD Research Corporation currently provides products and services in the areas of Aerospace, Biomedical/Life Sciences, Energy, and Materials. The company was founded in 1987, employs 95, and has facilities in Huntsville and Scottsboro, Alabama and on-site presence at government facilities such as the Redstone Arsenal, the Space and Missile Defense Command’s Future Warfare Center and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. •

L-R: Joseph Cosumano, Jr., president and chief executive officer of CFDRC; Sameer Singhal, vice president, Biomedical and Energy Technology Division for CFDRC; Sangeeta Singhal, co-chairperson for CFDRC; Dr. Ashok K. Singhal, principal founder and chairman of CFDRC; Kevin Byrnes, vice president and site executive for Raytheon Huntsville.

What’s Brewing? Craft Beer, of course! To the anxious cheers of a hundred fans, Yellowhammer Brewing Co. and Earth and Stone Wood Fire Pizza recently broke ground on Huntsville’s first “craft brewery row” on the former site of Stone Middle School. This was a big occasion for Yellowhammer who will build a 10,000-square-foot brewery, bier garten, and tasting room. Earth and Stone Pizza will be the first restaurant on site. Both plan to open in late 2016. Did you know that Madison County has the highest number of breweries in Alabama, and the Huntsville market is the number one craft beer market in the state, per capita? Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said at the groundbreaking that this marks the continued growth of a company that is contributing to the fresh, exciting vibe of our community. Yellowhammer Brewing first opened in downtown Huntsville in 2010. Straight to Ale will fill out the craft brew side with a 40,000-square-foot brewery and taproom, and the City of Huntsville will add an outdoor concert amphitheater. •


April 2015 Initiatives

~ continued on page 24

Rocket Hatch, Downtown Huntsville Partner for CO.STARTERS Rocket Hatch, a Huntsville-based non-profit organization supporting entrepreneurship in North Alabama, has announced a partnership with Downtown Huntsville, Inc. to provide scholarships to select graduates of Rocket Hatch’s CO.STARTERS program, who aim to open their new businesses in the downtown area. “Rocket Hatch sees a thriving downtown as a key element in creating a sustainable startup community. Successful local businesses downtown not only bring economic activity but enrich our local culture and improve our city as an attractive place for young entrepreneurs,” said Antonio Montoya, Rocket Hatch co-founder and Executive Director. “We are thrilled to partner with Rocket Hatch to provide qualified downtown-based entrepreneurs access to strategic training and planning opportunities through Rocket Hatch programs,” said Downtown Huntsville, Inc. CEO, Chad Emerson. Rocket Hatch brought the CO.STARTERS business acceleration program to Huntsville because of its focus on lean startup principles and business modeling frameworks, typically used in high-growth startups that have been adapted to work on any business. The program, which is being used in over 20 locations in the US, provides a support community for entrepreneurs as they seek to turn their business ideas into action. Rocket Hatch offers the CO.STARTERS program at Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment, studio 2008. More information about the program can beHTSVL-PWalker-Initiatives-01f.pdf found at •1 9/30/14

4:07 PM

Well known

for fresh thinking.

PATTI WALKER / Vice President, North Alabama Community Banking


Native of Florence / Business coach for Women’s Business Center of North Alabama / Member of Leadership Huntsville, Connect Advisory Council, and United Way / B.S. in Business Management from University of North Alabama








What advice do you have for businesses today? I encourage them to take time to understand the different types of financing available and to utilize our Treasury Management services. These solutions can help them streamline their operations and even help protect them from fraud – an essential step in protecting a growing business. What is something people may not know about you? When I was in high school, I worked for the local police department and did some really cool things like rapelling with the SWAT team and playing McGruff the Crime Dog.

PATTI WALKER / 256-319-2515 / NMLS# 645534


Initiatives April 2015



Rocket City Companies Awarded Prestigious Nunn-Perry Award Three of the 14 winners of the 2014 Department of Defense’s prestigious Nunn-Perry Award for outstanding performance on the Mentor-Protégé Program hail from Huntsville. This honor is awarded to companies who have excelled in the areas of commitment, technical assistance, quality, and economic development of small businesses. The prestigious Nunn-Perry Award, named in honor of former Senator Sam Nunn and former Secretary of Defense William Perry, was first awarded in 1995 to recognize outstanding Mentor-Protégé teams. The program encourages prime contractors to help small businesses develop technical and business capabilities. The three Huntsville Nunn-Perry winners included:

PROJECTXYZ, Inc. and their mentor, Tec-Masters, Inc. “As proud recipients of the Nunn-Perry Award, PROJECTXYZ recognizes that great results can be achieved through small business partnership, and we are committed to providing the best support we can to the warfighter” said Kim Lewis, CEO of PROJECTXYZ. Lewis said that PROJECTXYZ, Inc. and Tec-Masters, Inc. began the Mentor-Protégé partnership in 2012 and completed the program in January 2015. PROJECTXYZ, headquartered in Huntsville is a technical solutions company that provides expertise in the research, de-


sign, development, integration, and sustainment of innovative solutions in engineering, logistics, information technology, and alternative energy. Tec-Masters brings unsurpassed dedication, quality and reliability to every task at hand. Headquartered in Huntsville, Tec-Masters, Inc. provides innovative, robust scientific and technological solutions for defense, federal and commercial customers worldwide.

tractor on the Targets and Countermeasures Program, which is based in Huntsville and supports testing for the Missile Defense Agency. Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 112,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.

IERUS Technologies, Inc. and their mentor, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company

Victory Solutions, Inc. and their mentor, The Boeing Company

“One of the great things about being a partner with Lockheed Martin is being involved in providing a product solution in ways you wouldn’t have the capability to support alone,” said Jason Keen, president of IERUS Technologies. “On the other hand, we give Lockheed Martin and the government valuable insights by challenging the status quo.” Based in Huntsville, IERUS began the Mentor-Protégé relationship with Lockheed Martin in 2012, and since then, IERUS has expanded its business-practices knowledge base, while also earning AS9100 quality management system certification. IERUS specializes in systems engineering and program management support, electromagnetic spectrum technologies and software acceleration. IERUS is a Lockheed Martin subcon-

Headquartered in Huntsville, Victory Solutions said they are proud to receive the DoD’s prestigious Nunn-Perry Award with the Boeing Company for their Mentor-Protégé relationship supporting the Missile Defense Agency. Victory provides products and services in the areas of Information Technology, U.S. Government Engineering Support, and Subject Matter Expertise in Solution Management. Customers include NASA, the US Air Force, US Army Test Centers and large aerospace firms. Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and the leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft combined. In addition, Boeing designs and manufactures rotorcraft, electronic and defense systems, missiles, satellites, launch vehicles and advanced information and communication systems. •

J.F. Drake State’s President, Dr. McAlpine, Appointed to the Alabama Board of Nursing

Toyota Alabama Announces New General Manager of Production

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has appointed Dr. Helen T. McAlpine, President of J.F. Drake State Community and Technical College, to the Alabama Board of Nursing. As stated in her appointment letter, her role as a member of the Board is to represent Alabama consumers. McAlpine has served as president of J.F. Drake State Community and Technical College since December 2000. During her tenure as president, the college has experienced significant growth and a greater presence in the community. Noteworthy achievements of the college under her leadership include a new college instructional site in downtown Huntsville at the old Huntsville Times facility and several new programs, including culinary arts, electrical engineering technology, cyber security, and advanced manufacturing. McAlpine’s efforts to increase scholarship funds and professional training for her faculty and staff have McAlpine led to a number of grants awarded to the college by the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. These initiatives have led to new opportunities for students to acquire training and for the College to support the needs of the business and industry sector of Madison County. Of great significance during McAlpine’s tenure as president is the College’s designation as accredited by SACSCOC (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges) providing additional options for students to transfer seamlessly into four year colleges and institutions. Under her leadership, the college recently entered into a most noteworthy partnership designated as NAMTEC (North Alabama Manufacturing Technology Education Collaborative) with SES, LLC.. Additionally, the college is partnering with UAH to provide a seamless path for Drake State students to transfer their undergraduate coursework in technology disciplines to the university. McAlpine is a graduate of Talladega College, Jacksonville State University and received a doctorate degree from the University of Alabama. •

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama has announced the promotion of Bob Crull to general manager of production. He has been integral to Toyota Alabama’s performance and production growth, greatly contributing to U.S. manufacturing operations, the company said. In his new role, Crull is responsible for each of Toyota Alabama’s production lines including 4-cylinder, V6 and V8 engines (the only Toyota plant globally to build all three engines under one roof). He has held various leadership roles at the plant since 2005, focusing on engineering and production operations in addition to expansion projects. In 2014 Toyota Alabama celebrated several significant milestones: The start of production of a new V6 engine for the highlander (fourth expansion in 10 years); the production of its three millionth engine; and a record high production volume of 610,000 engines. Crull has spent his career in the automotive manufacturing industry. “Bob is a significant asset to Toyota. He continues to demonstrate a commitment to improving processes that allow us to meet customer needs while focusing on quality and safety,” said Jim Bolte, Toyota Crull Alabama president. •

April 2015 Initiatives

~ compiled by Carrie Rice

HR Forum Series, Spherion Make Good Match The Chamber is in the middle of a six-session HR educational series providing professionals tools, resources and solutions to make their company a ‘best place to work’. Whether experienced or just entering the HR profession, building a strong foundation is key to managing human capital. The last sessions are planned for April 30 and June 25. Spherion Staffing Services, presenting sponsor of the Chamber’s HR Series, is a leading recruiting and staffing provider that specializes in placing administrative, clerical, customer service, light industrial and professional candidates in temporary and full-time opportunities. Spherion Staffing opened in Huntsville in 2007 and its current owner, Michael Chalmers in 2014, acquired the franchise. “We are proud to be part of the fabric of the Huntsville business community. Not only are we passionate about connecting great employees with great companies, but passionate about giving back to the community we serve,” said Michael Chalmers. “One of our core missions is the provide service excellence to our candidates, employees and clients. Each day we strive to provide a positive experience to those we work with.”

As an industry pioneer for more than 68 years, Spherion has sourced, screened and placed millions of individuals in virtually every industry through a network of offices across the United States. Spherion offers companies a unique combination of personalized customer service backed by the resources, knowledge and geographic breadth of a $2 billion workforce leader. Chalmers said it is their local focus and personalized customer service that sets them apart. The Huntsville team is comprised of seasoned professionals with an in-depth knowledge of the community and the talent that lives here. For companies seeking temporary or full-time support, they rapidly recruit and deliver the qualified administrative, contact center, light industrial, non-clinical healthcare and professional talent your business demands. “Making a difference is what we are about. Whether it is connecting a job seeker to a job they love or being a valuable business partner to our clients, our daily goal is ensure we contribute positively to ensure progress in our community. Our motto of “We Love What We do” is more than words, and our passion shows,” Chalmers said. •

Support the missions of Redstone






Redstone Gateway is the premier location for defense contractors seeking immediate access to NASA and other customers on Redstone Arsenal. The new 468-acre, masterplanned business park is located just outside Gate 9 of Redstone, right off I-565 at Research Park Blvd. COPT’s expertise in building mission critical facilities that are operationally efficient will ensure your specialized needs are met in order to advance your mission at Redstone. Derrick Boegner SVP, Asset Management / Leasing Corporate Office Properties Trust 256.895.9820 |

Redstone Gateway is a joint venture development of COPT and Jim Wilson & Associates, LLC.

Initiatives April 2015


in the spotlight:

2014 Nonprofit of the Year A Brief Organizational History... Christian Women’s Job Corps (part of a national organization) began in 1998 in our area as a means of providing women with the tools to help them become more self-sufficient. Since that time we have served approximately 700 women in our classes and other services. As executive director, my role is to oversee the site coordinators who manage our four sites, handle the public relations and marketing aspect, plan the annual budget, submit grants, assist with fundraising, recruit volunteers, among other responsibilities.

What does CWJC do? In our classroom phase we offer life and soft job skills, computer training, GED tutoring, Bible study, a career clothes closet, and volunteer internship experiences. After the classroom phase is completed our students receive mentoring, continued use of our computer lab, computers and vehicles that are donated to our organization, and scholarship assistance for both vocational training and higher education.

my education and experience to serve others. I realized this opportunity when I began volunteering with Christian Women’s Job Corps in 2000. Later I became employed as a site coordinator, and now I have been the executive director for the last nine years.

What are your goals for CWJC over the next 10 years? We would like to increase the number of women that we serve, and that can only be done by being able to publicize our services in various ways to the community. I would like for there to be a larger pool of internship opportunities for our students in traditional as well as nontraditional careers. We would like to have a better partnership with local companies who

profit. Professionally, I feel that we now have more credibility in the community and can be seen as a viable resource for women who want to achieve success in their lives in whatever areas they feel are lacking.

What key piece of advice would you give other nonprofits? Above all, have integrity in whatever type of work that you do. People respect that and are willing to show their loyalty to someone that they can trust.

How has being active in the Chamber impacted CWJC? I have been amazed at the connections I have made through the networking events

What are your organization’s greatest achievements? Our greatest achievement cannot be delegated to one individual, but in the many women who have realized their potential and found the courage and strength to overcome their obstacles and move forward in their lives. When they give credit to our organization for helping them achieve this, it confirms to us that we are making a difference in the community, and that I believe is a great achievement.

Share your educational and professional background... I have a B.A. in Psychology from Auburn University and an M.S. in Clinical Psychology from Alabama A&M University. I have previously worked for the Huntsville/Madison County Mental Health Center and the National Children’s Advocacy Center. Through these experiences, I saw many needs in our community, and I wanted to find a way to use 26

April 2015 Initiatives

Elaine Dickson, executive director of CWJC, accepting the 2014 Nonprofit of the Year award at the 29th Annual Small Business Awards. need employees so that transitioning into a job is easier for our graduates.

What did winning this award mean to you, personally and professionally? Personally, this award has been an affirmation of the work that we have done and a reward for the struggles involved in running a non-

like Breakfast & Biz and Business After Hours that have turned into volunteers, financial support, and useful information for our organization. Both the staff and the Chamber members are people who truly care for this city and its future. The Chamber has also increased my knowledge of what is going on in Huntsville and has continued to prove that this is a great place to live and do business! •

And the Winner Is... Manufacturing awards presented to two Huntsville companies by Business Council of Alabama


hen the winners of the 2015 Alabama Manufacturer of the Year Awards were announced by the Business Council of Alabama recently, two Huntsville companies took home the top award in their categories. The annual awards are given out in three categories: Large Manufacturer of the Year (400 or more employees); Medium Manufacturer of the Year (100 to 399 employees); and Small Manufacturer of the Year (1-99 employees). Huntsville-based Raytheon Redstone Missile Integration Facility was awarded the Medium Manufacturer of the Year Award, and Watring Technologies, Inc. won in Small Manufacturer of the Year Award. Companies are recognized for their excellence in leadership, performance, profitability and workforce relations, and they are honored for their valuable participation in not only the state’s economy but also the economies of their employees and their suppliers. “Since 2000, the Manufacturer of the Year Awards has been a premier event for the BCA, the Alabama Technology Network, the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama, and the National Association of Manufacturers,” said BCA President and CEO William J. Canary. Winners are selected by an independent panel of judges who look for demonstrations of superior performance in customer focus, employee commitment, operating excellence, continuous improvement, profitable growth, and investment in training and retraining. •

Angel Crespo (far left) with Raytheon team posing with BCA President and CEO William J. Canary (far right).

Ronnie Boles, BCA Board member and Chairman of their Manufacturer Advocacy Council, pictured with Lisa Watring, Vice President & Co-Founder of Watring Technologies. Initiatives April 2015


in the spotlight:

2014 Small Business of the Year: Government Contracting category

A Brief Company History... Aetos Systems, Inc. was founded in 2007 and is headquartered in Huntsville and I am 100% owner of Aetos Systems. Aetos is a NativeAmerican, Woman-owned, SDB, 8(a) Certified Small Business. Since its inception, we designed and implemented a focused strategic plan working closely with the Small Business Administration to follow best practices for small business success. Aetos was accepted into the 8(a) program in March 2010. Currently, approximately 90% of Aetos’ total revenue is from Prime contracts, which include NASA and DoD, 8(a) and non-8(a). Our 2014 Revenues were just under $10 million. In 2011, Aetos received the MSFC Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year award for their work on the MSFC Center Operations Building Automation Contract. In 2009, Aetos Systems was the recipient of the Women’s Business Center of North Alabama (WBCNA) “Start-up of the Year” award. Our success to date is a direct result of developing and implementing our strategic plan, building a solid corporate infrastructure, incorporating integrity into every business process, while hiring, motivating and retaining a strong management and technical staff to support our customers’ needs.

mation Technology and Engineering Services Industry for more than 30 years. Prior to founding Aetos, my professional work experience included Product Manager and Technical Support Manager for Intergraph Corporation, Systems Analyst for McDonnell Douglas, and Deputy Business Development Manager and Small Business Advocate for SAIC Corporation. Serving as the Small Business Advocate at SAIC allowed me the opportunity to see the successes and best practices of many small businesses and the lessons learned from their mistakes. My experience with Small Business at SAIC is what sparked my desire to start Aetos and used the knowledge I gained working with small business to design the operating structure for Aetos.

Share your educational and professional background... I have a B.S. degree from Athens State University and have been working in the Infor28

April 2015 Initiatives

The Chamber Small business award is the most prestigious award for small business in our community. From a personal perspective, I don’t think any entrepreneur ever really feels like they are quite there yet or have achieved enough to warrant receiving an award of this nature, but at the same time it’s confirmation that there are others on the outside that do. Professionally, it is confirmation from the business community that the company is experiencing success and deserves recognition. In addition, it seemed to bring instant credibility of the company among our peers.

Develop a plan and work to the plan. Even if the plan is a simple bullet list of core items you would like to see the company be, such as “operating debt free”, then develop the core business based on the initial plan and core values. Once you are operating in that steady state, then you can begin to take risk in order to open up new business opportunities risking the core business.

Aetos Systems, Inc. is a professional services company specializing in Engineering Services, Information Technology (IT), Energy Management/Building Automation, and Human Capital and Education. Aetos is a successful Prime and Sub-Contractor recognized by its customers and community for its superior service and sound business practices.

I feel like my greatest achievement has been implementing and executing the corporate strategic plan that has enabled continuous growth since our inception while operating as a cash positive, debt free organization.

What did winning this award mean to you, personally and professionally?

What key piece of advice would you give other small businesses?

What does Aetos Systems do?

What are your company’s greatest achievements?

aggressively expand our customer base and corporate capabilities. In addition, by adding additional executive resources, will enable me to become more involved in community service activities.

How has being active in the Chamber impacted Aetos? Donna Coleman, founder/president and CEO of Aetos Systems, accepting the 2014 Small Business Award for Government Contracting.

What are your goals for Aetos over the next 10 years? Now that we have built a secure core business, we are placing enhanced emphasis on growing and maturing additional internal executive and management resources to prepare the company for more aggressive growth over the next 5 to 10 years. We are taking steps to

The Chamber has offered such a breadth of opportunities to not only facilitate growth of Aetos, but also growth of myself as a corporate and community leader. Programs such as Leadership Huntsville, Executive seminars and panel discussions offer tremendous opportunities to learn from other successful business owners and community leaders. Additionally, the vast amount of networking events, informational seminars, and community activities offer companies tremendous opportunities to stay engaged with other businesses to facilitate joint business opportunities. •

Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County

STA F F Chip Cherry, CCE, president & CEO Amy Locke, executive assistant Lauren Isbell, resource desk coordinator

Economic Development & Industry Relations Lucia Cape, vice president Ken Smith, research & information services director Will West, economic development specialist

Upcoming Courses OďŹƒce of Professional & Continuing Education Huntsville Initiative

Change Leadership: Leading Successful Change Initiatives

April 21, 2015 | 8:00 a - 12:00 n | The Jackson Center .4 CEUs | 3.75 HRCI (HR-GEN)

Building and Leading Eective Teams

May 14, 2015 | 9:00 a - 4:00 p | U. S. Space & Rocket Center .6 CEUs

Time Management

June 10, 2015 | 9:00 a - 4:00 p | The Jackson Center .6 CEUs

To learn more, or to register: | 334.844.5100 Auburn University is an equal opportunity educational institution/employer.

| project manager

Elizabeth Saba, economic development specialist Karessa Acosta, economic development assistant

Workforce & Education Lucia Cape, vice president

Marketing & Communications Carrie Rice, director Kristi Sherrard, graphic designer Hiroko Sedensky, web designer

Government & Public Affairs Mike Ward, senior vice president Tina Leopold, assistant

Finance & Administration Christy Nalley, director Jamie Gallien, IT manager Mary McNairy, accounting specialist | human resources

Lori Warner, accounting specialist Joe Watson, facilities supervisor

Membership Wendy Kirk, vice president, member engagement Donna McCrary, membership retention manager Lisa Smith, membership representative Tiffany Jordan, membership representative

Small Business & Events Pammie Jimmar, director Alexandra Gonzalez, event coordinator Beverly Pike, small business coordinator

Associated Organizations The Community Foundation of Huntsville/ Madison County ( The Schools Foundation (

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



April 2015 Initiatives



Communication Marketing Tips by Carrie Rice


Do you use any digital marketing? You do if you email customers by mass eblast or e-newsletter. Do you use social media as part of your business strategy? Follow these five easy steps to attract and retain customers. Follow these, and you will have all the tools to help steer you toward greater success!

Where are your customers?

Is Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook most popular with your customers/clients? Identify the two social media channels where your customers are most active (just ask them!). Use those. In understanding what’s important to them, you can customize your marketing efforts to reach more of your target audience.

Be authentic


Ask permission Before adding any names/emails to your email list, please be sure to get their permission first—it is against the law if you do not. This could be in the form of collecting email addresses at every event you host. For example, if you have a new customer or client come in, ask them to add their name and email to your promotions list. This then gives you your permission to send them emails. If someone clicks “unsubscribe” then you must remove them from your email list. There are many email marketing services out there, like Constant Contact, Mailchimp and Emma that will automatically unsubscribe someone from your list when they request it. You also receive an email to let you know the status of your list (who has subscribed, who has unsubscribed, etc.). These are great tools, and inexpensive! Bottom line, if you let them know the benefits of subscribing, such as insider deals and free expert insight, they’re more likely to sign up and look forward to hearing from you.



Most businesses are rooted in the owner’s passion, and that enthusiasm is contagious. Applying this same passion to your online marketing efforts allows you to amplify your message to a wider audience. A note though, passion does not translate to the need for LOTS of text, fonts and graphics. Be authentic and be genuine. People are conditioned to read in sound bites so keep you marketing messages short and sweet, and your customers will keep clicking on your content.


Checks and Balances

Creating an eblast or e-newsletter, be sure to balance content. It should be 80 percent relevant info and 20 percent promotional. The same applies to social media posts: 80 percent of posts should focus on sharing tips or ideas, sharing from other pages, and joining the conversation (engaging). Use the remaining 20 percent to promote your business directly.

Analytics Are people actually reading your emails? What links were most clicked? Did anyone share your post on social media? Did you reply to questions or comments on your Facebook page? Did you jump into a Twitter conversation? The more you see what your customers/clients are talking about, the more you will understand your audience. This is VERY valuable information and if you watch it and learn from it, the stronger your marketing results will be. And best of all, this is FREE, except for time of course.

In reality, creating a sustainable marketing strategy is pretty simple, but you get what you put into it. It does take a lot of work and time to make it effective, and you have to be consistent. Avoid starting a weekly blog or newsletter if in reality you can’t maintain it. Don’t start a Facebook page, build a good fan base, and then post occasionally. When simple marketing is done right—wow—you will be amazed at what you get from something so simple. With these five tips in mind, what are you waiting for? Get out there! Initiatives April 2015


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April 2015 Initiatives

Initiatives magazine, April 2015  

Lighting the Pathway Torch Technologies Creating New Sense of Place in South Huntsville

Initiatives magazine, April 2015  

Lighting the Pathway Torch Technologies Creating New Sense of Place in South Huntsville