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C.T. Fitzpatrick


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Hamilton Bailey, BBVA Compass

Kelsie Baer, PricewaterhouseCoopers





14. FIERCE LOYALTY By Sarah Robinson

16. ON BRAND By Dan Monroe

18. TECH

By Chelsea Berler

20. 10 THINGS ABOUT... AlaBev


Amanda LeBlanc & Carter Hughes Photography by Beau Gustafson



Dawn Reeves of RealtySouth Photography by Beau Gustafson


Virtue Technology Photography by Billy Brown

28. BY THE NUMBERS City vs. City

32. PRODUCT PLACEMENT Noah Galloway’s Prosthetic Arm Photography by Beau Gustafson


Kinetic Communications Photography by Edward Badham

72. AND THEN THIS HAPPENED David Benck of Hibbett Sports



featured 44






A recruiting firm is spreading the gospel of corporate culture.

Capstone Building Corporation’s Jay Chapman’s key to success is all in relationships.

covered BHM BIZ is published monthly by Fergus Media LLC 1314 Cobb Lane South • Birmingham, AL 35205 (205) 202-4182 Printed by American Printing Co., Birmingham, AL



C.T. Fitzpatrick built Vulcan Value Partners with a disciplined approach.

This year’s list of the best in their field is based on standardized ratings.

C.T. Fitzpatrick of Vulcan Value Partners

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WE’RE HELPING LOCKHEED MARTIN KEEP OUR NATION’S SHORES SAFE If we can help a global security and aerospace giant with our world-class Business Analytics Lab, we can help transform the way you do business. See how our faculty and students can turn your data into successes. Contact us at



Joe O’Donnell Editor/Publisher Robin Colter Creative Director Madoline Markham Managing Editor Katie Turpen Digital Editor Erik Fountain Production Assistant

ADVERTISING/MARKETING Cathy Fingerman Associate Publisher Joni Ayers Marketing Specialist Your love. Our passion.


Holly Saar Marketing Specialist Jessica Clement Marketing Director

Gone Today, Hair Tomorrow

Elizabeth O’Donnell Accounting

Contributing Writers

Chelsea Berler, Jesse Chambers, Rosalind Fournier, Francis Hare, Brett Levine, Dan Monroe, Carolanne Roberts, Sarah Robinson, Alex Watson

Contributing Photographers Gone Today, Hair Tomorrow 6 BHM BIZ


Edward Badham, Marc Bondarenko, Billy Brown, Beau Gustafson, Chuck St. John

Volume 1, Issue 3. June/July 2016. BHM BIZ is published six times a year by Fergus Media, LLC. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR We’d love your feedback. Send a letter to 1314 Cobb Lane South, Birmingham, AL, 35205, or an email to SUBSCRIPTIONS To subscribe online, visit To subscribe via telephone or for subscription inquiries, call (205) 202-4182 or email SUBMISSIONS If you’re interested in contributing to BHM BIZ, email your ideas to ADVERTISING For more information on how you can see your brand on the pages of BHM BIZ, email



Wild and full of wonder, it’s the place where we are still awed by sunrises and sunsets.

That’s the power of the lake.


City Business

Taking a walk through his reimagined, reengineered, and thoroughly restored work space with Kinetic Communications founder Jay Brandrup, you get a sense of one of the things that makes this city special. The adaptive reuse of the city’s oldest in-use commercial building in combination with a railroad-themed kitschy restaurant concept from the 1970s, Victoria Station, says a lot about the resilience, creativity, and imagination of Joe O’Donnell the people who build businesses in this city. We are resilient and creative. The spirit of the city’s business community is one of the things we are trying to capture in each issue of BHM BIZ. With issue three under our belts, I think we have settled on the right format and the appropriate voice to really tell the stories of this city’s business. I wanted to share that formula and ask our readers for their insights, suggestions, and thoughts about our product. First, here’s a little rundown of the content. We wanted to open the magazine with voices talking about important topics, so we have a lineup of three great columnists, all of them business people. Sarah Robinson writes about building fierce loyalty in all of the communities in which we interact and how it is put into action. Dan Monroe, principal at Cayenne Creative, offers his take on what branding really means, and what it looks like. Chelsea Berler of Solamar provides us with advice on keeping on top of the broad opportunities that exist across the internet. After we check in each issue with these columnists, we explore what business people think, feel, and know in a series of departments: 10 Things, which features a quick visual snapshot of a company’s milestones; Coffee With, which brings two business people together for a conversation at a local coffee shop; Frequent Flyer, which profiles a business exec who spends a bunch of time up in the air; Rocket Pitch, an update on the elevator speech captured in print; and By The Numbers, which brings a statistical update to a business issue. The heart of the magazine features Product Placement, the inside story of Birmingham-made product; Cool Spaces, which brings readers inside a cutting-edge city workspace; and then a series of profiles of Birmingham business people, their challenges, successes, and plans for the future. In this issue, we profile FireSeeds CEO Cord Sachs, Vulcan Value Partners founder C.T. Fitzpatrick, and Capstone Building Corporation’s Jay Chapman. The magazine ends with a profile of a Birmingham chef since food is such an important part of our city’s image, and with a graphic interpretation of the trajectory of a career, Then This Happened. In this issue, we take a look at the career of Hibbett Sports executive David Benck. Occasionally, we will also be putting together lists such as this issue’s Top Lawyer’s list, which you can find beginning on page 56. So that’s our business plan. We sincerely hope you like the magazine and that it is a worthwhile read. As always, thanks for spending time with us.

Joe O’Donnell Editor/Publisher 8 BHM BIZ


money quotes

“This creative culture helps to attract young professionals and young business talent, which helps to lure larger, corporate opportunities, but at the heart of it all is the creative culture.” Page 22

“Everything is going mobile with enterprise mobility solutions that can be accessed on the go. The world is heading to a smaller mobile screen, and so are we.” Page 26

“As I heard company after company say they wanted to be the Chickfil-A of “fill-in-the-blank,” I realized there was a need for a business model that could help others run a profitable company by focusing on genuinely caring for and developing their people.” Page 47

“The kind of work we do requires relationships. You have to service them, and when they need something, you need to get it for them. That is what we do.” Page 50

“What we are all about is reducing the risks and the returns will take care of themselves. When we look at the same information that a lot of other people look at, we may come to a very different conclusion because we have stable capital and a long-term time horizon.” Page 52


“To me the key to growth is to stay fresh, both in food and decor. It is important to always do small improvements.” Page 60



ALABAMA NEWSCENTER REPORTS... Fast-forward to 1989. What Milo’s Tea CEO Tricia Wallwork was by then a large, successful burger chain began brewing and distributing its Milo’s Famous Sweet Tea in gallon jugs to Birmingham area stores. In 2006, the company introduced its Unsweet Tea and its No-Calorie Tea. For the next decade, Milo’s Tea grew from Birmingham to other parts of Alabama and the Southeast and then to other states. It also added smaller, individual containers to the lineup. “Now you can find Milo’s Tea from Fairbanks, Alaska, to Miami and from San Diego to (Washington) D.C.,” said Milo’s Tea CEO Tricia Wallwork, the granddaughter of Milo and Bea. “We love our sweet tea in the South, but let me tell you they love it up North, too.” Sales prove that to be true. Wallwork said Milo’s Tea is doubling sales every five years and its manufacturing and distribution operations are constantly expanding. “When we started here in Bessemer, we had three and a half New organic and specialty teas from the Bessemer acres and 30,000 square feet,” she said. “Today, we have 15 plant are already making waves in the U.S. industry. acres and 150,000 square feet.” By Michael Tomberlin Also growing is the product line. In 2014, Milo’s added lemonade, decaffeinated sweet tea


You don’t have to read the tea leaves to know which maker of the pre-made Southern brew is most infused in Alabama and the Southeast. Milo’s is a name long known for hamburgers with a secret sauce, but it turns out the real secret may be in the brewing of the Southern elixir that is sweet tea. When Milo Carlton opened the first Milo’s Hamburger Shop in Birmingham in 1946 after returning from World War II, the sauce was special but so were other touches like handmade pies, customer service and pre-sweetened tea. One holdover from the Great Depression and the war was the rationing of staples like sugar. In restaurants, people still added their own sugar to each glass of tea. Carlton’s wife, Bea, needed sugar for the pies, and having a sugar bowl at every table meant there was sugar sitting around not being used. So Carlton decided to blend the sugar into the tea and serve it already sweet. It was a hit and has remained so ever since.

Overseeing the Southern elixir that is sweet tea.


and a blend of lemonade and sweet. “Those products came after listening to our customers and what they were wanting,” Wallwork said. “The same is true for the new products.” Those new products are four new U.S. Department of Agriculture-certified Café Style Organic Teas. Instead of the familiar gallon jugs, the new organic teas are packaged in 59-ounce carafes. The new teas come in Sweet, Light Sweet, Green Citrus and Light Green Citrus flavors. The teas are sweetened with certified-organic cane sugar or a blend of organic cane sugar and organic stevia. “Our loyal Milo’s customers reached out to us,” Wallwork said. “They called, emailed, contacted us through social media and communicated to their local grocery stores that they wanted the same great Milo’s Tea flavor using organic ingredients and also green teas. So that’s what we have created.” Wallwork said Milo’s Tea has always brewed its products with all-natural ingredients, so organic was a natural and easy

extension of the brand. The new containers did require some adjustments to the bottling and packaging lines. The new teas are making their way through distributors now and will begin arriving in Alabama stores in the coming weeks. The USDA National Organic Program has verified that the ingredients and the brewing and bottling processes all comply with the USDA organic regulations. So, it’s organic, but is it good? If it’s awards or recognition you need, Milo’s Tea has been there, done that and got the “tea shirt.” At the recent North American Tea Championship in Los Angeles, Milo’s swept the “Ready to Drink Sweet Tea” category. Milo’s Famous Sweet Tea took the top spot, the new Milo’s Café Style Light Sweet placed second and Milo’s M59 took third. Milo’s Sweet Tea & Lemonade and Milo’s Café Style Green Citrus both scored third in their respective categories. “You don’t have be a Southerner to recognize good sweet tea,” Wallwork said.


mingham community. “The Barons have been around since 1885, and a big part of our success is being an active community partner,” Nelson said. “We want to participate with all the different organizations in town. Whether it’s promoting a walk, a fundraiser or a dinner, we want to bring awareness to their campaigns.” Nelson has earned many honors, including the Jimmy Bragan Executive of the Year award in 2009. Along with Barons owner Stan Logan, Nelson oversaw the design, building and opening of the award-winning Regions Field. He is a native of Fairhope and started as an intern with the Barons in 1993. “I think that in life, you owe a responsibility to give back to the community, and so many people help you along the way,” he said. “Fortunately, this is my 23rd season with the Barons. It’s important that we all give back. It’s our responsibility not only as corporate partners but also as individuals in our society.” For Nelson, being the general manager of the Birmingham Barons is a way of providing his community with the great American pastime, and plenty of good to go with it. Play ball!

This Alabama Bright Light goes beyond baseball to keep the team involved. By Karim Shamsi-Basha For 12 Alabamians on June 3, baseball became the ultimate American pastime – for the rest of their lives. America’s colors, sports, music and culture decorated Regions Field and provided the perfect background for a naturalization ceremony. The 12 took the Oath of Allegiance as officials from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services inaugurated them into the great melting pot, the United States. Birmingham Barons General Manager Jonathan Nelson addressed the new citizens: “Baseball is America’s pastime, and there is no better place to become a U.S. citizen than at a ballpark.” Nelson said events like the inauguration ceremony remind him why he loves his job. “We were honored to host a naturalization here at Regions Field,” he said. “Obviously, a very special day for all those individuals becoming U.S. citizens. It’s also important for our organization to be active community partners.” For Nelson, the experience was one of many that exemplify the Birmingham Barons’ service to the community. Nelson leads the team in supporting charitable entities such as Children’s of Alabama, the Salvation Army and many others. The Barons help nonprofits raise money through jersey auctions and special game nights. The team also holds youth events and designed its Community Heroes program to recognize teachers, firefighters, law enforcement and volunteers who make a difference in the Bir-

Birmingham Barons General Manager Jonathan Nelson



ALABAMA NEWSCENTER REPORTS... BEAR BRYANT RING RETURNED TO ALL-AMERICAN CRIMSON TIDE PLAYER NEARLY 50 YEARS AFTER IT WAS STOLEN Tide fans found the ring at an online auction and bought it back for its rightful owner. By Michael Tomberlin

“I got a notice that they had a ’64 Alabama A-Club ring with a notation of ‘to Wayne Freeman from Paul Bryant,’” Brakefield said. Brakefield knew his friends Larry Alley and Bucky Wood were friends with Freeman and could check into the matter. When Wood reached Freeman’s son-in-law, John Burrows, they learned the ring was taken several years ago and a plan was hatched to get it back. The four men decided they would pitch in and pay whatever it took to make the winning bid. After a night of bidding that finally ended at midnight, the men had the winning bid of $2,000. “It took us maybe a couple of months now to get it,” Brakefield said. “We finally got it today and you can just tell by the look on his face and the way he’s talking and everything it’s a special, special day.”

Wayne Freeman was an All-American offensive lineman on Paul “Bear” Bryant’s second national championship-winning team at the University of Alabama and that’s something nobody can ever take away from him. But somebody did. Sort of. Freeman played guard on the 1964 team that won the national championship. The player from Fort Payne with the size 14 shoes was given the nickname “Foots.” He The Ring Returned earned All-American honors and Bryant is The men presented the ring to Freeman quoted on the Crimson Tide official website over lunch at the Fish Market in downtown as saying, “He’s the finest guard I’ve ever Birmingham. Burrows brought his fathercoached.” in-law from Locust Fork, where Freeman When Freeman finished playing footis retired, telling him he had some people ball for the Crimson Tide, Bryant gave him he wanted him to see. an “A Club” ring with the inscription inside “I had chills when I first got ahold of reading “To Wayne Freeman from Paul it,” Freeman said on getting the ring back. Bryant.” “It’s just unbelievable.” “It’s a special ring because back when More than a few times, Freeman got I was playing, you had to get your degree,” choked up holding the ring and talking Freeman said. “This ring was not from the about Bryant. Burrows would pat him on university, it’s from Coach Bryant personalthe back to show his understanding and ly. That carries a lot more leverage. A lot of support. guys didn’t ever get a ring.” “The biggest thing is it’s from Coach Freeman said Bryant would wait for Bryant and it was personal with him,” players to show him their diplomas before Wayne Freeman with the ring Freeman said. “It means a great deal to the he would mail them the ring. that was originally given to him by players. You go back and look at Bill BatFrom the time he got it, the ring lived Coach Bear Bryant. tle and a lot of them, they still wear that on Freeman’s hand. He would take it off to ring. They might not wear their national sleep and when he washed his hands. It was championship ring, but they wear that ring.” at a bathroom bar in Alabama when he thought he would never For Brakefield and the other men, they were just glad to see see the ring again. the ring back in the hands of its rightful owner. “The last time I remember it, I was washing my hands and “I’m just glad to be here and glad to meet old number 71,” set it up on a sink and walked out,” he said. “Five minutes later I Brakefield said. ran back in the bathroom and it was gone.” The ring itself was found next to a curb in Omaha, Nebraska, Freeman said that was in either 1967 or 1968. He thought and a pawn shop there put it up for sale through the auction, about the ring often for a year or two and then he eventually according to the auction listing. stopped thinking about it. Freeman’s not sure how it ended up in Omaha. He said he’s The Ring Resurfaces never been there. The ring is not studded with diamonds and it Tom Brakefield is a lifelong Alabama fan who lives in Grey- doesn’t have much gold. In fact, only one person definitely constone outside of Birmingham and is always on the lookout for siders it a priceless treasure. Crimson Tide collectables. And that person owns it again. An auction house sent him an email alert that a rare item was “It’s worth a lot more in memory than it is in value,” Freecoming up for bid. man said.




J.R. BURNS STRINGED INSTRUMENT REPAIR CO. BY BOB BLALOCK Jason Burns was the middle school kid just nerdy enough to watch PBS. He had begun playing guitar when he was 12, but hated his axe’s garish red finish. The furniture guys on public television offered the perfect solution: a wood stain made from tobacco. The Hayden teen sanded the finish off his guitar, and set about creating what he hoped would be a beautiful, rich tobacco stain for it. “They were using real tobacco, so I found somebody to go down to the store, because I wasn’t old enough to buy tobacco, to buy me a big block of chewing tobacco,” Burns remembers. “I took my mom’s nice pans out and started boiling this tobacco up, and was going to make a stain for that guitar, and it was one of the biggest, stickiest messes. The pots ... had burned tobacco in them; it was just gross, it was totally wrong. “But yeah, that’s how I started out. It was really bad decisions at 13, 14 years old,” he says with a laugh. From that dubious trip down “tobacco road,” Burns traveled a path that led to him becoming one of Alabama’s most sought after banjo builders. That didn’t happen, though, until he played in a series of punk rock, country and singer-songwriter bands. What Burns discovered was that his favorite part of touring wasn’t performing. “I wanted to work on guitars,” he says. In the late 1990s, Burns began doing instrument repair at a sound studio in Tarrant near Birmingham. In 2001, he moved his business to Homewood Musical Instrument Co., the iconic shop owned by Bob Tedrow. Tedrow obviously had a strong influence on Burns, who began dressing like him – pants, shirt and tie with a work apron. More importantly, he shared with Burns a “wealth of knowledge” about instrument repair. “He would teach me how to repair violins, upright basses, cellos, more extensive work than I was doing,” Burns says. Performing structural work, like repairing broken headstocks, and having access to more tools led to building instruments. Burns didn’t start out with banjos. Instead, he began building ukuleles and then electric guitars – and a reputation for excellence. About 12 years ago he decided to try his hand at banjos, mainly because he couldn’t afford to buy the one that he wanted for himself. With that decision, he fell into his passion. “After a while, I started to get a little bit of a name for making banjos so it just kept going,” he says. “For some reason, and I just can’t put my finger on it, it’s one of my favorite instruments to build.” Burns’ banjos harken back to the late 1800s and early 1900s –“I’m attracted to that era, that time in music” – and are built with a graceful elegance and impeccable attention to detail. He forms rims of maple,

walnut and cherry, sometimes clad in brass, and covers them with heads of goat or calf skin. What Burns builds is “definitely not a bluegrass banjo.” Banjos made for bluegrass have a bright, crisp tone that slices through the din of guitars and fiddles. A Burns banjo has a sound he describes as “a warmer tone, more mellow” and is more of a “parlor instrument.” That sound makes many banjo bloggers swoon. From fretlessinfortwayne on “To take a line out of John Henry, ‘it rang like silver and it rang like gold.’ … It’s the finest sounding and constructed open-back banjo that I have ever laid my hands on. And I’ve played a lot.” And from Brooklynbanjoboy: “I tend to have a sledgehammer approach to claw hammering, and this banjo stood the test. I can also ratchet it down – especially when the wife is trying to read the newspaper in the morning – and Jason’s banjo sounded elegant, articulate and sweet when played with a much lighter touch. … This is a great banjo.” Burns has built more than 50 banjos, many of them made with special features for customers. Recently, though, he stopped taking custom orders and is concentrating on the banjos he wants to build. “It’s not the customer’s fault. They have an idea of what would be really cool and really awesome,” Burns says. “But you don’t want to have someone make a bad decision when they’re spending $2,500 to $3,000 for a banjo.” Nor does he want to spend anywhere from 40 to 120 hours creating something that, to him, feels more like a banjo that Jason Burns built for someone instead of a Jason Burns banjo. “I want to be able to control it more, to THE PRODUCT: be excited about every time I build,” he says. Hand-built banjos That’s because with a thriving repair business J.R. Burns Stringed Instrument Repair Co. and a wife and two small children, there’s not as much time as he’d like for building banjos. “It’s gotten hard to find any time to make 205-879-1690 banjos,” Burns says. “And I make a lot more money doing repair work than I do banjos.” Not that he’s complaining. “It’s one of the best times, and one of the hardest, most stressful times,” he says. “There’s just a lot going on. It’s very exciting, very hard, very fatigue-driven. And very fulfilling.” Alabama Makers explores the artisans, crafts people, carpenters, cooks, bakers, blacksmiths, designers and others making original and extraordinary items in our state. If you know an Alabama Maker, let us know at


fierce loyalty

What BHM TSA Gets Right

How to create internal community culture in your organization. By Sarah Robinson • Photo by Beau Gustafson I just came through security at BHM airport for what feels like the billionth time. Because of my work, I fly a lot. Dealing with security and TSA raises my stress level no matter what airport I’m in. Except at my home airport. I am Fiercely Loyal to the TSA at BHM, so much so that I make it a point to stop at the big desk every time I fly and tell the supervisor how great they are. It’s not just because the ladies call me “baby” and “honey” or the men tell really funny jokes or because of the way they keep things as light and easy as they

can, even when I forget that I have a bottle of water in my carry-on bag and they have to search it. The reason I am Fiercely Loyal to my hometown TSA is this: In all the rush and stress and hassle that make up today’s airport experience, these men and women have created a relaxed, friendly atmosphere in the most unexpected place—airport security. They are there to keep me safe, and that directive is never in question. However, they do this in a way that allows them to connect with me as a person, make me smile, and make me feel like I am part of their community, even if it’s just for a few minutes. That may not sound like a big thing, 14 BHM BIZ


but in all my travels, I have never seen this or felt this in any other airport. I feel like a captive prisoner who is guilty until proven innocent. BHM’s TSA is an anomaly, an outlier, a purple unicorn, so I can’t help but wonder how they do it when no other TSA can or will. After studying them for a long time under wildly variable circumstances— including long lines, no lines, happy passengers, unhappy passengers and confused passengers—I think I’ve found the answer. The men and women who are a part of BHM’s TSA team have created an internal community culture that they work in every day. The experience they create for their customers is just an extension of the culture they’ve created for themselves. What is an internal community culture? The short answer is that it is a work environment that operates like a community. Seen through the Fierce Loyalty lens, an internal community culture has specific identifiable qualities such as those I have listed. •The TSA team belongs to something bigger than themselves as individuals. If only one or two people behaved in the way I’ve described, they would be individuals creating something for themselves. The fact that I have the same kind of experiences every time I go through security means a group effort creates their kind of atmosphere. •Individuals are seen and heard by the entire team. When one team member needs something like a bag check or a second opinion on what they are seeing on the X-ray, the other team members respond quickly. Plus, they laugh with each other a lot. •The team shares a lot of trust. I’ve watched them work under incredibly stressful circumstances. Can you imagine busloads of high school students swarming security at 6 a.m.,

many of whom have never flown before, much less gone through security? Add to that that these groups are most often running late. Team members have each other’s backs and work like a well-oiled machine to get everyone through. My study of BHM’s TSA has inspired three questions for you designed to help you create a community culture for your organization: 1. What’s your common cause? What do your people rally round, other than just plodding through to get the job done? Do you have a truly compelling mission, vision, and values statement— one which people can truly believe in, not a dull, dry one you wrote because you had to? 2. Do your team members see and hear each other? If one person needs something, do other team members respond quickly or let that person struggle alone? Do you have specific opportunities for your team members to interact and have conversations? Does your team laugh together often? 3. Do your team members trust each other? Do they trust you? Can you honestly say that every team member knows someone has his or her back? Under stress, does your team work together like a well-oiled machine? If you find these questions too difficult to answer in the affirmative or too time-consuming to get right, remember this: Our hometown Birmingham’s TSA is a purple Sarah Robinson is a unicorn in a world business strategist, speaker, and author of negativity and of the Amazon book bad press. If they best-selling Fierce Loyalty: can get this right, Unlocking the DNA of Wildly Successful you absolutely can. Communities.

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on brand

What’s the Story?

Brand story vs. company lore. By Dan Monroe Companies engage in two kinds of storytelling. One is strategic, the other—for lack of a better term— anthropological. In the best of all worlds, both kinds of storytelling are organic, natural, and second nature. Strategic storytelling has to do with knowing your audience and being able to tell them a meaningful story that helps them engage with your brand. This sort of storytelling takes place most notably in advertising and marketing.

The strategic story goes by many titles. Back in the ’40s, an ad guy by the name of Rosser Reeves first called it the “unique selling proposition,” or USP. Reeves posited that your message had to share an attribute or benefit of your product or service that was unique to your company with the audience. He is credited with one of the early Anacin commercials about “three special ingredients” that addressed the three aspects of your headache: pain, dullness, and nerves that were “on edge,” providing you “FAST, FAST... INCREDIBLY FAST relief.” It was classic attribute/benefit advertising. Reportedly, people hated the ad, but it sold Anacin like M&Ms. Grated nerves>headache>pain reliever. It makes 16 BHM BIZ


you wonder, doesn’t it? To this day, agencies still talk about USPs. But when the ’60s rolled around, people in the biz started talking some new voodoo, it was called “brand positioning.” Still a strategic story, brand positioning loosened the collar on storytelling strategy a bit. No longer did you have to stick entirely with the attributes or benefits of a product or service. Rather, you could position the brand a certain way. This distilled down to a single “tag line.” A classic example of brand positioning from this era is in the Avis “We Try Harder” campaign. In those days, Avis was second in market share to Hertz. So, the agency capitalized on that by positioning Avis as having to try harder because they were second. For 50 years this campaign ran, and in fact it was only relatively recently supplanted in 2012 by a new campaign from Leo Burnett’s New York office. The positioning itself was created by copywriter Paula Green under the tutelage of the legendary Bill Bernbach, who is credited with changing the way agency creative teams work to this very day, and was extraordinarily effective at proving one of my own personal theories about advertising: The best of it tells the truth. Nowadays, you may hear this idea of strategic brand story fall under a number of other monikers ranging from “value proposition,” or “value prop” as the cool kids like to say, to “brand promise,” to “value statement.” At the end of the day, it’s all pretty much the same stuff, though: a meaningful story crafted to influence your audience’s purchasing decision. It is the single (let me reiterate that: SINGLE) most important promise you can make about your brand or service.

Dan Monroe is

But what of principal and creative director of copywriting lore? An altogether at Cayenne Creative. different creature, lore is like the stories our ancestors from the dawn of time told around the fire and painted on the walls of caves. Lore is Steve Jobs and Woz building out the Apple 1 in the garage of a modest house in Los Altos, California. Lore is Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and his brother, W.K., accidentally flaking wheat berry and going on to invent what we call “cereal” today. It’s Henry Ford’s assembly line. It’s William Procter and James Gamble marrying sisters, thereby becoming brothers-in-law who would then become partners in what has since become one of the largest packaged goods companies in the world. Lore is the anthropological underpinnings of the company. It’s easy to see the value of the strategic brand-focused story—the sharing of the benefit or attributes, the positioning of the brand, the establishing of product- or service-specific relevance with the audience. So, what is the point of lore? Most companies keep lore to themselves, but if it’s interesting, they should consider sharing it. You see, lore humanizes companies. Lore doesn’t sell to us; it makes us feel a kinship with a company—whether we are part of the target market or not. You may not be an Apple aficionado, but I’d be willing to bet you can find something to admire about two young guys with a big dream about putting a computer on everybody’s desk at a time when a computer normally took up an entire room, huddled over a table in a suburban garage soldering together circuit boards. So consider this: Make sure your strategic story is up to snuff and well told, but don’t by any means undervalue the sharing of your lore. The one makes your product or service relevant. The other makes your company human.


great meetings.

GOLF DIGEST EXECUTIVES KNOW GREAT GOLF and have named Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa one of their 2016 Editors’ Choice Winners along with Pebble Beach Resort, The Greenbrier, Pinehurst and 65 other North American locations. When it is time to step away from the office for a round of golf or an off-site meeting, you have two great choices just minutes from downtown Birmingham. RTJ Oxmoor Valley and Ross Bridge offer a variety of meeting facilities plus great dining. Only a mile apart and offering 72 holes of golf, your options range from team building and client outings at RTJ Oxmoor Valley to taking on Ross Bridge, the world’s 5th longest course. »»

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Your DIY Site Doesn’t Cut it Anymore Signs that it’s time to trade up. By Chelsea Berler Are you still using an older DIY website? Your business can suffer from a lot of minor and major malfunctions and hiccups that can dramatically affect your business. No one likes to constantly update or tweak a website, but if online leads or sales have been slipping, and even if they haven’t (yet), it’s a great idea to periodically and objectively evaluate your website and make the necessary fixes—or, better yet, do a total redesign. Here are some signs that it’s time for an upgrade. 1.You are still using an old DIY template. If you want to be taken seriously, move on from the cookie-cutter website. A visitor probably won’t buy if you don’t appear professional and invested in your own products and/ or services. So, take a good look at your analytics and get professional, outside help to redesign and rewrite your site and update your security. 2. Your site appeals to your grandparents. If your website doesn’t have the latest and greatest technology, graphics, and content, your visitors most likely will go elsewhere. An outdated, junkedup website generally leaves buyers wondering if the company is anything more than smoke and mirrors (and if its products and/or services are for real). If your users think you’re locked in the past decade (or past century!), they’ll assume what you offer is outdated. 3. It’s not mobile-friendly. See how much of your traffic and 18 BHM BIZ


sales is coming from smartphones or tablets (Google Analytics will show you). If it’s more than a few percent, you need to make sure your site is mobile-friendly, so you can reach prospects or customers that shop from mobile devices. 4. Your web traffic isn’t converting into leads and/or sales. Google Analytics will help you find

big impact on the overall site look and performance. 7. Your business or practice has changed. Your website must change and grow to support your current goals and product mix. Educate consumers and offer them current thought leadership. Take an authoritative stance in areas where you have the knowhow. 8. Your site has become a lumbering monster. Are visitors experiencing slow load times or subpar performance (multiple plug-ins, overly busy design, and broken links)? Your website may have started out simple and evolved into a slow, hardto-navigate mess.

problem areas and figure out where in the conversion funnel they are dropping off. When you know the problems, you can set out to fix them or use an A/B split to test different approaches. 5. There’s no way to opt-in/sign up to receive news or promotions. You must capture every user that visits your site to stay in touch. In today’s online world, visitors may have stumbled upon your website and may not be able to get there again. Give them a spot to enter their email addresses, and capture their names and increase your chances of making future sales. 6. Your buttons look dated. Do your CTA (call to action) buttons look out-of-date or simply not eye-catching? This could make a

9. Your content is stale and out of date. Outdated info says you’re off your game. Make sure your website is updated frequently so it’s interesting and relevant to site visitors and loved by search engines. 10. Your website has 404 error pages. A visitor sees these error messages when a link doesn’t exist (because it was moved or deleted). It’s annoying and frustrating to visitors that may send them packing. Search en-gines, such as Google, do not like 404 errors either. 

Chelsea Berler is an entrepreneur, coach, author, and motivational speaker based in Birmingham, where she owns and operates Solamar, a boutique marketing agency.


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4/14/16 1:17 PM

10 things



AlaBev was founded 1907 as a manufacturer of alcohol-free beverages called Birmingham Beverage Company. In 2014 its name incorporated its home state into a succinct moniker, AlaBev.


The company started distributing alcohol as Prohibition ended in 1937. Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company was the primary supplier for the next few decades.


The Kampakis family purchased the company in 1957, and today the fourth generation of the family is on staff. World War II veteran and Naval officer Sergei Kampakis was the first Kampakis to lead the company, and his son Harry Kampakis now serves as president.


As Alabama’s largest distributor of domestic, import, craft, and specialty beer, AlaBev serves its entire home state: Birmingham, Huntsville, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, Auburn, Anniston, Gadsden, Decatur, Florence, Scottsboro, and cities in between.


Harry Kampakis frequently travels internationally to cultivate beer and other beverages it distributes, striving to keep brewing traditions alive. He has even studied under monks to learn the Trappist brewing style, which is only practiced in 11 monastic breweries worldwide.


The current home to Good People Brewing Company once served as a warehouse for AlaBev, and its first office and building was located downtown near the old Birmingham Terminal Station. The company has since moved to the the industrial area of West Homewood, where renovations to its offices and warehouse are currently underway. 20 BHM BIZ



Harry Kampakis was ahead of the craft beer trend, starting its distribution in the state in the late 1990s. As a part of the Free the Hops movement starting in 2005, he helped change Alabama legislation to allow beers up to 13 percent alchohol by volume and in containers up to 750 ml to be sold in the state, along with reducing restrictions for brewery sales under the Brewery Modernization Act. Kampakis arranged meetings with Gov. Bob Riley, secured lobbyist representation, and served as the movement’s chief financial supporter. Harry Kampakis


Currently, Harry Kampakis is sponsoring legislation to break down the barrier to entry for Alabama distilleries, and craft distilleries in general. This bill would allow the state to flex and use DSD (direct store delivery) distributors such as AlaBev to market and deliver craft distilled spirits while retaining current revenue from taxes.


AlaBev imports and distributes beverages from craft breweries right here in Alabama to countries including the U.K., France, Belgium, Germany, India, and China. Sergei Kampakis


In the company’s new homebrewing competition series, Masters of the Brewniverse, grand-prize winners get to brew a limited-edition specialty beer with a one of AlaBev’s brewery partners. The winning brew from fall 2015, Black Saturday, was brewed at Avondale Brewing Company and distributed to retailers throughout Alabama. The spring 2016 winner will bring a brew to life at Straight to Ale Brewing in Huntsville.




Amanda LeBlanc and Carter Hughes [THE AMANDAS]


We met up with this issue’s coffee drinkers at O’Henry’s on Highland For this issue’s Coffee With feature, we brought together The Amandas’s Amanda LeBlanc and H2 Real Estate’s Carter Hughes to talk about their businesses. What are your greatest business opportunities that you have at the moment? Hughes: Our goal is to continue to provide housing options in both the forsale residential and for-rent residential space to residents within the city limits of Birmingham. We are currently doing

“Birmingham’s location offers a unique gift to business owners.”–Amanda LeBlanc With this new demand I have started working on space planning for an office; coaching employees on work/ life balance and how to organize their work space; and coaching business owners, CEOs, and their employees on the benefits of time management. What is your take on the growth of

“We are seeing a very creative and entrepreneurial culture to the business community...a key element in the continued growth of the city.” –Carter Hughes a lot of work in downtown, Southside, Crestwood, Crestline Park, Highland Park, and other areas of the city. There have been limited housing options for Birmingham residents for years and we are trying to do our part to change that. 2015 was the first time in over 50 years that our city limit population grew and we are looking to keep that trend going. LeBlanc: We are blessed at The Amandas to have enjoyed great success over the past 13 years. I attribute that success to constant prayer over calculated risk and the mindset that whatever my clients want I will find a way to bring it to them. That being said, we have recently answered the call to dive into corporate organizing. A great deal of my residential clients have their own businesses outside of their homes, and they are now taking the next step of requesting consults to organize their businesses. 22 BHM BIZ


the Birmingham business community? Hughes: We are seeing a very creative and entrepreneurial culture to the business community, and I believe that is a key element in the continued growth of our city. This creative culture helps to attract young professionals and young business talent, which helps to lure larger, corporate opportunities, but at the heart of it all is the creative culture. If you compare Birmingham to cities like Nashville and Austin, they also started their growth with their creative business culture, and look how it has benefited them. A further opportunity I see in this area is what is currently happening at the University of Alabama. In 2015, only 35 percent of the freshman class was from the state of Alabama. This is a huge opportunity for Birmingham. All of these young professionals trying out our state. We just have to do our job to keep them here!

LeBlanc: Birmingham’s location offers a unique gift to business owners. After Hurricane Katrina displaced our family, my husband and I made a very strategic business move in selecting Birmingham not only for our home but also for the business we established in New Orleans. I wanted to be able to maintain the business and clients I had established in New Orleans but also be able to reach other clients that had been displaced to Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, and other areas. When I looked at the map and saw the cities across the Southeast that I could reach with less than a sixhour drive, I realized Birmingham not only gave me a great opportunity for my business to grow locally but also to expand beyond what I had imagined. We have been able to capitalize on that opportunity and see that as a great advantage for Birmingham in attracting other businesses as well. Hughes: I believe we are in the infant stages of urban renewal of our city. Our company plans to continue to develop and acquire both for rent and for sale residential housing within the scope of this urban renewal and continue to provide additional housing options for these young professionals that I see our city continuing to attract. It is fun to be a part of the revival of what was once a thriving urban community and to help mold that into what the future of our great city becomes.

Photo by Beau Gustafson

Amanda LeBlanc and Carter Hughes at O’Henry’s


frequent flyer Dawn Reeves RealtySouth

While Dawn Reeves’s real estate career as director of marketing and relocation at RealtySouth stays grounded here in Birmingham, her work often has her up in the air on business travel. Reeves has also served as a long-time officer with the American Advertising Federation, including as governor of District 7 AAF, which often means attending meetings in far-flung cities. Despite her familiarity with business travel, or maybe because of her love for real estate marketing, for Reeves there really is no place like home. “From someone who is on two to three dozen flights a year, I must admit I absolutely love the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport,” she says. “You know you fly too often when TSA calls you out by name in line to say good morning before you present your identification. But, I like it. That attitude and approach of the people in our airport are part of what makes returning home so exciting. To return from a weeklong trip from a city where people look at you oddly if you smile or speak in passing for no specific reason to someone offering to help gather your belongings or ask how your day has been is refreshing, a solid reminder there is no place like home, no place like Birmingham. Don’t get me wrong, I love to see the Pacific crashing against the cliffs and listen to lines of cabbies honking their horns relentlessly. It is beautiful to watch snowdrifts accumulate and watch rabbits leap among cactus, but home is Birmingham, and our airport tells our story now in a way others do not. From the historical photos on the walls, to the vertical botanical display and the merchandise that shares our love of football, BHM gets it right.” Business travel is not for the faint of heart, but her long experience keeps Reeves grounded in a more philosophical way. “For me, surviving travel comes down to the ability to be flexible, the ability to realize when things go wrong, it is happening to everyone at that gate or on that flight,” she says. “Recently, I had a less-than-stellar experience with an airline who, due to mechanical issues, left me in an airport for 19 hours, (with) no vouchers, no help, no anything. But what the experience afforded me was priceless. I was able to help several other women in the same situation, one traveling with two small children, one who didn’t speak English, and another who was without her medication. It was a phenomenal reminder that everyone needs someone, and everyone has something to share with another. The world would be a better place if we could all learn to live the way we spent that one night in the airport placing the needs of others above our own, displaying a genuine respect for our differences and finding a way to bridge those gaps in a way that was beneficial to everyone.”

Photo by Beau Gustafson 24 BHM BIZ


We’ve got great things in store for you. At its heart, travel is about one thing: getting from here to there. But at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, our heart is in ensuring that your experience here is the best it can possibly be. That’s why our newly modernized terminal is home to passenger favorites like the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Store and Museum and the Ebony Newsstand. Because while you may be focused on your destination, we’re making sure you enjoy the journey.


rocket pitch

Jamila Brown Virtue Technology

Business Model: In 2004 Virtue Technology started out in the basement of my home in Birmingham as a web design shop serving churches, nonprofits, schools, and corporate clients. Today, we have grown to specialize in providing enterprise software solutions for Fortune 100/500 corporations. We opened our second office location in Atlanta, GA in 2007, where we provide business process workflow development, software training, and system migrations. Our systems fashion solutions using cloud-based collaboration to allow users across the globe to feel like they are down the hall from each other.

Jamila Brown has more than 15 years of experience delivering custom technology services and design solutions. She held executive leadership roles managing budgets exceeding $50 million for several Fortune 100/500 companies before she founded Virtue Technology in 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Science in computer information systems and a Master of Science in post-secondary education with a concentration in instructional technology. Her credentials also include Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) and Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT), and she holds certifications in project management, web design, and additional support systems.

Opportunity in the Market: Using cloud-based solutions for business, we build enterprise portals for workflows, business processes, and security, as well as for training for manufacturing, governmental, energy, and consulting enterprises. Our core features enhance collaborations within companies, with our largest collaboration to date involving 35,000 users. Where the Business is Going: Our perspective is now global and mobile. Everything is going mobile with enterprise mobility solutions that can be accessed on the go. The world is heading to a smaller mobile screen, and so are we.


Simply put, it’s you getting across the purpose of your business and doing it in just three minutes. Also known as “the elevator speech,” your rocket pitch should focus on three main points—the opportunity, market, and business model of your company—that convey the key reasons why a potential client should want to know more about what you do.

Do you have an innovative rocket pitch?

Send it to to be considered for future issues of BHM BIZ. 26 BHM BIZ


Photo by Billy Brown

by the numbers

City vs. City

Per Capita Personal Income (2014)

Population Estimate (2015)


National Institutes National Science of Health Awards Foundation R&D (2015) Expenditures (2014)



$436 million

$1.4 billion




$73 million

$628 million




$272 million

$428 million




$8.9 million

$25 million




$8.6 million

$123 million




$56 million

$183 million




$118 million

$123 million




$12 million

$41 million





$2 million




$325 million

$736 million




$82 million

$265 million




$1.9 billion

$4.4 billion

Construction Investment (2015)


Percentage Age 25+ with Bachelor’s Degree (2014)

At-Risk, Age 1619 Unemployed, Non-High School Graduates (2014)

$11.2 billion



Violent Crime Rate Per 100,000 Inhabitants (2014) 398.4


$6 billion





$2.8 billion





$5.6 billion





$1 billion





$2.1 billion





$2.3 billion





$776.5 million





$538.6 million





$5.4 billion





$3.7 billion





$4.3 billion



219.3 (2013)

Data courtesy of Birmingham Business Alliance




Tech Solutions for Business Owners As technology continues to evolve, more business owners are using banking technology that offers many benefits that can save them time and money. These tools help automate tasks such as accounts payable, accounts receivable and employee payroll while protecting your information and your customers’ information from fraud. Online and mobile banking access have been popular for personal banking, but they also allow businesses to bank in real time, and monitor incoming and outgoing payments. Treasury Management tools like lockbox and remote deposit help get your funds working for you faster making it easier to manage your cash flow. With this in mind, here are some of the most utilized technology solutions that can benefit your business: ONLINE BANKING ACCESS. Commercial online banking offers a gateway to access a variety of tools to manage your cash flow processes. In addition to timely information of banking transactions, this online platform is your portal to originate electronic payments and fraud protection services. ACH PAYMENT ORIGINATION. This solution allows you to pay vendors electronically and automatically without sending a check. Making your payment process more efficient and safer by eliminating check fraud. DIRECT DEPOSIT. Providing payroll electronically is not only a great benefit to provide to your employees, but also minimizes the time and expense required to reconcile payroll. It also saves valuable employee time because your employees no longer have to leave work to deposit their paycheck at their bank. WIRE TRANSFERS. This service allows you to make same-day payments securely online or through a tablet or smartphone. REMOTE DEPOSIT. This tool allows you to scan checks and send an image safely and securely to the bank electronically so those funds can start working for you more quickly. Remote deposit helps businesses streamline their cash

Your banking representative can walk you through the banking tools available that can help you save time and get back to what’s most important – growing your business. Stephanie Peavy is Vice President, Treasury and Management Sales Officer for USAmeriBank.

USAmeriBank has several locations throughout the Birmingham area. Visit to find a relationship manager near you. Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender ©2015 USAmeriBank

management, lower operational and transportation costs and extend deposit cut-off times. PURCHASING CARD. This type of card is similar to a credit card, but offers more controls on what it can be used for and where. It also offers more robust reporting and a better deal on earning a rebate. Also, you can use the card for everyday charges, reducing the number of checks you have to cut. USAmeriBank will have this product available in late 2016. LOCKBOX. Utilizing lockbox services you are able to expedite conversion of incoming receivables into usable cash. This services enables the bank to receive checks on your behalf, which are then deposited directly into your account to get those funds working for you faster. Online access to all payment and information received allows you to accelerate reconcilement of your accounts receivable. MOBILE BANKING. With mobile websites and applications, business owners can now keep track of their accounts, deposits and manage payments on the go. Some services like ACH banking and wire transfers that require multiple approvals allow you to control this on your mobile device. For example, your office manager could start the process of a wire transfer and you could approve it from your mobile device while you’re in between meetings. USAmeriBank’s online banking platform utilizes the most up to date multi-layer security protocols available. Our Commercial online banking service contains a robust risk and fraud analytics model to learn client behaviors and identify transactions and activities considered outside of the clients normal patterns. Combined with your company’s up to date system security protections, online banking is a safe and secure way for companies to conduct financial business.



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product placement

An Arm and a Leg

Biotech outfits veteran Noah Galloway for Dancing with the Stars. By Jesse Chambers  Photography by Beau Gustafson

Most Birmingham residents are familiar with hometown boy Noah Galloway—the U.S. Army vet who lost parts of his left arm and left leg during the Iraq War, yet still competed successfully on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars in 2015. When Galloway needed a top-quality prosthetic leg, he turned to BioTech Limb and Brace, a Birmingham company that combines high-end manufactured components with their own skilled fabrications to make both prosthetics and orthotics. BioTech also made a prosthetic arm for Galloway to wear on Dancing with the Stars, according to the company’s owner, Eric Eisenberg. However, Galloway chose not wear it on the show

because it would have been “too stressful,” Eisenberg says. “He’s performing in front of 20 million people on national television…and he hadn’t worn an arm in a long time. It was putting too much pressure on him.” But the arm—which Eisenberg showed to BHM BIZ— is an amazing device. It’s a myoelectric prosthesis, meaning it’s equipped with electrodes that “pick up electronic impulses in a patient’s remaining muscles to make the wrist and the hand function,” Eisenberg says. The electrodes essentially pick up commands sent from the brain to the nerves in the arm that tell a muscle to work, and send those signals instead to a motor that allows a patient to, for example, open or close his prosthetic hand.

The HAND, the iLimb Ultra Revolution, is made by Touch Bionics. “Each finger has its own motor… which allows very sophisticated grip patterns,” Eisenberg says. The index finger allows the patient to use touch screens, such as iPhones and iPads.

A patient can wave the hand over a pre-programmed Bluetooth chip in, say, his car or bathroom to change grip patterns. “Grabbing your steering wheel you might hold your hand one way, versus holding your toothbrush you might hold it a different way,” Eisenberg says.

The WRIST can rotate clockwise or counterclockwise thanks to an electronic rotator in the hand.

For more information about BioTech, go to 32 BHM BIZ


Notice how muscular the upper arm is? At Galloway’s request, it matches his remaining, or sound, arm. “We did a digital scan of his sound arm and were able to reverse the image and then make a mold,” Eisenberg says.

The SOCKET, with a light, durable carbonfiber frame and flexible inner socket, is made at BioTech and “is the most important part of the arm because it interfaces with the patient’s anatomy,” Eisenberg says. The myoelectric electrodes are carefully placed in the inner socket after precise testing.

The FOREARM has a spring-loaded assist mechanism to help Galloway flex his elbow and offset some of the weight of the wrist and hand.

The ELBOW is mechanical, not electronic. “Noah preferred the mechanical elbow because it was faster for dancing,” Eisenberg says. “Electronic elbows are very sophisticated but not as fast.”

Left to right: Hans Harshberger–orthotist/prosthetist, Brian Horton–orthotist/prosthetist, Mark Caldwell–orthotist/prosthetist, Eric Eisenberg–orthotist/prosthetist, Daniel Haden–orthotist/prosthetist, Ross Jones orthotist. Not pictured: Bill Clark–orthotist.


cool spaces

For Work, For Play

A tech company brings a dose of fun and funk to the city’s oldest commercial building. Written by Joe O’DonnellPhotography by Edward Badham



Kinetic Communications’s Jay Brandrup finds it hard to contain his enthusiasm during a tour of his Morris Avenue office space. After all, there is the caboose reception area to consider, as well as the authentic English railway signs and telephone box and the kaleidoscope of lights illuminating the repurposed bar and the lucite floor that anchors the centerpiece office cube. The cube rises two stories and houses eight customizable workstations to allow Kinetic employees to both interact and focus on turning out work for the company’s clients. Inside the glass and brick-walled conference room, two 1,500-pound train wheels and axles hold up the table. Off to the side, a long custom heart pine bench gently rocks back and forth as it rests on massive railcar springs. Outside a steel staircase leads to the rooftop covered in synthetic turf and outfitted with seating, golf games, and a giant lawn chess set. Set in the steel staircase at intervals is the Kinetic logo. “Details, details,” Brandrup says.


Attention to detail is at the heart of Brandrup’s business developing websites and tech applications for a roster of corporate, retail, and nonprofit clients. His company, Kinetic, is in its 21st year, a history that stretches back to the dawn of the Internet era. He finds the juxtaposition of his modern-world company housed in the oldest commercial building still standing and in use in the city 36 BHM BIZ


nothing short of invigorating. Kinetic’s office space is a combination of the 10,000-square-foot Dixie Coffee Company building and the adjacent restaurant space from the 1970s that was home to one of the most interesting theme restaurants of that era, Victoria’s Station (purveyors of prime rib and potable spirits). The space was later a succession of nightclubs, the last

one closing in 2010. Melding these two spaces into one became the job of Appleseed Workshop, a design/build company that has had a hand in many of the renovations and adaptive reuses of commercial spaces downtown. The Kinetic space was an early project for the company and one that displays their belief in the authenticity and creative reuse of quality space.

“If we did one thing right in building out this space, it was choosing and then listening to Appleseed,” Brandrup says. “They did everything right.” Authenticity is a major focus of the work Brandrup does. The web user experience, the messaging that brings his client’s business into focus, and the belief that understanding client needs and then servicing them with clear solutions 38 BHM BIZ


spring from this belief in authentic experiences and relationships. Kinetic’s office space, grounded in the last years of the 19th century, gives physical meaning to that philosophical belief in the authentic. Brandrup has had his office on Morris Avenue since 1997, with his original rented space just doors down from his current office. He bought the current space out of foreclosure at the

end of 2011 and began the restoration work shortly thereafter. One of the most important elements in the space is a sense of play in the midst of the work day. The second floor of the building and the outdoor rooftop are devoted to making the office an enjoyable refuge as well as work space. You’ll find billiards and video games, workout space with exercise machines,

Terry Chapman in the technology solutions marketplace since 1988

Troy McCawley in the technology solutions marketplace since 1995




At Business Electronics you are more than a customer. You are a partner in technology, productivity and success. Terry Chapman and Troy McCawley talk about implementing the BE Partnership. Q. What are the components of your internal partnership at BE? Terry: Troy has a lot of experience in larger markets. He also has a great amount of knowledge about different products that BE was looking to build on.

Troy: Terry has done a great job creating a company with longevity. There is a large customer base that has been very loyal over the course of 25 years. He also has the capacity to combine technology to create the best value for the customer.

Q. What sets BE apart from other companies?

Terry: The local ownership of the company gives us the advantage of being very hands-on with our customers to make sure they are well taken care of.

Troy: Expanding from a copier company to a technology solutions company gives us the opportunity to weed out excessive costs and help customers reinvest them into revenue-generating products.

Q.Where do your skills overlap and where do they differ?

Terry: Troy has an amazing way of identifying how to bring value to our customers. Not just selling them a product, but actually generating revenue for them. Troy: Terry and I are both extremely motivated to grow BE into a major technology solutions partner. The amount of time that Terry spends giving back to the community is incredible. It makes you proud to partner with someone so generous and well liked.


and a large communal kitchen. Illuminating it all is an abundance of light created by Appleseed’s plan for the restoration, flushing what once a darkened warehouse and entertainment space 40 BHM BIZ


with plenty of natural sunshine. At the very top of the building, visible from the viaducts that cross the city from north to south, is a readaptation of an original weathervane with a cube of Kinetic’s

logo encasing this ancient method of determining which way the wind blows. For Kinetic the direction home points to this authentic, cobblestone corner of downtown.

STEAD FULLER Insurance Incorporated AND

C.D. Denson, CIC -Agent Vickie Fuller, CISR -Agent Joe E. Fuller - President -Agent




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Long before you worked on your iron game, we were working on ours. Shaping the grounds dreams are built on. Just as we have for thousands of companies and organizations since 1957. We know what it takes to be a leader in Alabama. Not just the best equipment, service and team. But also a deep and abiding commitment to our community. After all, we don’t just work here. We live here too.


What it takes.

What it takes.

start-up city

FireSeeds President and CEO Cord Sachs with VP of Operations Justin Harris 44 BHM BIZ



If you’ve got a startup, small business, or corporate team, you know which roles you need to fill. Whether it’s marketing analyst IV or CFO, you probably know what responsibilities this position will have, how much experience successful candidates will need, and what skills are must-haves. But how do you decide who’s a good fit for your organization? How much can you tell about a person in one or two hours of interviews?

We’ve all had the ideal candidate turn into the nightmare employee or coworker. Finding candidates who fit within your corporate culture is no small feat. You’ll need to identify what your culture is, or what you’d like it to be, you’ll need to quantify each trait that makes up your culture, and you’ll need to find a way to score prospective employees on those qualities. All this after


making sure they’ve got the right skills and experience. Cultural fit has become a hot topic in business as companies try to grow more efficient and improve communication and productivity. One University of Iowa meta-study showed that employees in the right roles identified more with their company, were less likely to leave, were more committed to company goals, and showed superior job performance, while a recent Harvard study showed that an overzealous commitment to culture can result in a loss of diversity and 46 BHM BIZ


Cultural fit has become a hot topic in business as companies try to grow more efficient and improve communication and productivity. its accompanying trap: groupthink. This is where FireSeeds comes in. FireSeeds is a recruiting and development firm that matches employees with corporate cultures. It also develops these employees using WildSparq, a development system and leadership platform.

Its leaders have tapped especially well into one common local culture—evangelism. President and CEO Cord Sachs spent seven years with Campus Outreach, a ministry that serves on college campuses, and those best practices for building

teams of like-minded devotees show in his work. He’s adapted many of the methods for creating a unified body of followers and applied those tactics to building a company, using the language of modern evangelical churches. He speaks of purpose-driven companies, intentional culture, and multiplying Type of business: leaders. Recruiting Firm Location: Homewood WildSparq funcFounders: tions much like a small Cord Sachs and Justin Harris group or Bible study. In business since: 2011 Team leaders teach one Number of employees: 9 lesson each month, creSite: ated to “emotionally Phone: (205) 678-1246 engage the heart and the hands” and to “creWe want to grow a multiplying ate principle and language that we can movement of multiplying leaders. all use.” Employees are encouraged to engage with the lesson by talking about 2. What’s your value proposition? it with colleagues, and they earn points We find leaders who match our valby answering questions about the lesson ues and culture and who will excel in online or completing additional reading. the position we need them to fill. We FireSeeds’s own core values are transmaximize the productivity of these leadparency, motivation, and community, ers while reproducing and scaling our and their own focus on culture has made culture through our leader development them a nearly instant success. It’s easy to strategy. see why they’d be behind some of the most successful new companies in Bir3. Tell me about your founders and mingham, such as IronTribe, Appleseed their experience. Workshop, and South Cypress—comBoth founders have lived the busipanies that Cord calls the for-purpose ness model in various not-for-profit and marketplace. Read on to learn more for-profit organizations. We’ve experiabout Cord’s philosophies on corporate enced the impact of culture mismatchculture and his goals for FireSeeds. es firsthand and see the vast need for a service to vet out culture in high-quality 1. What’s your elevator pitch? candidates. We help companies grow by focusing on enhancing their cultures in two 4. How did you get the idea to launch ways: FireSeeds? • Helping them find high-integrity I worked with various organizaleaders who have drive and an intrinsic tions that focused on hiring people who desire to invest their lives in developing shared our vision, mission, and values other people. We call this a multiplying and saw how effective that could be in leader. growing a company. For example, I saw • Helping organizations grow these it in ministry right out of college while leaders with an intentional leader develon staff with Campus Outreach. I witopment strategy using WildSparq. nessed this in my own company, Booster


Enterprises, that started with two guys in a basement and grew to 200 team members in 17 cities in seven years. While partnering with Chick-fil-A, I saw the same principles being played out. As I heard company after company say they wanted to be the Chick-fil-A of “fill-in-the-blank,” I realized there was a need for a business model that could help others run a profitable company by focusing on genuinely caring for and developing their people. 5. Why now? Why Birmingham? Life is way too short to just make money—I want to make an impact. If I wait until I make enough money to slow down to have an impact, it will be too late. I chose Birmingham because I wouldn’t want to raise my family anywhere else. 6. What are your competitive advantages? There are more CEOs than I ever dreamed who are willing to invest in leaving their legacy through the people they employ and the families those workers represent. 7. Where do you want the company to be in five years? I want to launch teams in Atlanta, Nashville, Charlotte, Dallas, and somewhere in Florida. I want to have partnered globally with at least one to three entities to strategically launch and grow leaders overseas. 8. What kind of connections are you looking for right now? We want more purpose-driven companies or partners who want to be a part of multiplying movements of multiplying leaders. 9. If you’re not already, when do you expect to be profitable? We should be profitable with both business units by Q4 of 2016.  Jen Barnett is an entrepreneur and marketing consultant at Redhawk Consulting,



For Capstone Building Corporation’s Jay Chapman, the key to success is all in the relationships he builds. Written by Alex WatsonPhoto by Beau Gustafson Since its founding in 1997, Capstone Building Corporation’s expertise and longevity has firmly set it as a leader in the multi-family construction industry. The company boasts 86 completed projects across 22 states, totaling an estimated $1.25 billion in build cost. While other competitors have experimented in a variety of construction realms, Capstone Building Corporation is recognized for its commitment to the multi-family sector. Capstone Building Corporation’s featured developments have included Plant 64 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, which was renovated out of one of the country’s oldest tobacco buildings, and The Jefferson in New Britain, Connecticut, which received the highly esteemed environmental ENERGY STAR award. They are currently under construction for The Summit at Fritz Farm, a Bayer Properties mixed-use retail, restaurant, and living development in Lexington, Kentucky. Jay Chapman has been in the 48 BHM BIZ


construction industry for the entirety of his more than 30-year career. He began as superintendent for Robins & Morton and quickly worked his way up to project manager. Chapman went on to found Capstone Building Corporation in 1997. “Mike Moran founded Capstone Development. He asked me to go to work for him in the mid-1990s to build his student housing product for him in-house,” Chapman says. “After a few years, his business model changed a little bit with the way university projects were being awarded, and I saw the need to diversify and do some other types of projects. Apartments, student housing, and certain types of condominiums are all the same product really. I was able to get some clients who were committed to us and with whom we could negotiate our work.” Capstone Building Corporation began as a general contractor focused on constructing student housing across the United States for Capstone

Development. In 2003, Chapman bought out his partner and moved out from under the Capstone Development umbrella. Under Chapman’s leadership, Capstone Building Corporation fully moved into the multi-family housing sector by 2007. The timing was right. “I think multi-family is now a cultural phenomenon,” Chapman says. “When I grew up, if I had rented my mother would have cried and thought I would never amount to anything. In those days if you didn’t have a house, if you didn’t have grass to cut, (people might wonder,) ‘Well, who are you?’ It is so different now. People don’t think like that. In those days, you could buy a house and build value over time. Now, I am not sure you can do that. Plus, people want to be able to get up and go any time they want to. They want to live closer to the city. I don’t see it changing.” As an example Chapman cites the Moretti Apartments that his company completed in Homewood near Vulcan.


Plant 64 - Winston-Salem, North Carolina (Left: Before and Right: After)

“There were people telling me building there was a mistake. You can’t see the property very well, and the traffic signal is difficult. It was a tremendous success. You could have built 1,000 units there and still sold them. You build a nice pool and a nice product, and that is where the younger folks want to be,” Chapman says. Capstone is approximately a $100 million company in terms of revenue, or about five projects a year. Some years revenue is higher, some years less; it is a question of timing on job completions. While revenue may fluctuate, one aspect of the business that Chapman holds steady are the relationships with clients and subcontractors. Here in Birmingham, developer The

requires relationships. You have to service them, and when they need something, you need to get it for them. That is what we do.” After two decades in business, relationships remain a cornerstone of the company’s success. “The good multi-family subcontractors travel,” Chapman says. “We have relationships that go all the way back to when we started. We have a database of subs that travel to wherever we are. We also use local subs at our job sites. “We once had projects in Stockton, California; Providence; and Nashville all at the same time, and we had the same brick mason on all three jobs.” There is not a detail that Chapman doesn’t take seriously when it comes to

Chapman isn’t just focused on building his own team of experts, however; he’s working to build a stronger future for the entire industry. Dobbins Group is a regular partner in Capstone’s construction projects. The Summit project that is being developed by Bayer Properties in Lexington, Kentucky features multi-family housing developed by Dobbins and constructed by Capstone. It is the pair’s third project together. A current project in Atlanta is Capstone’s 15th project with Penrose, a developer out of Philadelphia. “Our estimating department stays backlogged with projects that our developer partners are considering,” Chapman says. “The kind of work we do 50 BHM BIZ


his company’s projects. You won’t find Chapman at his desk; you’ll find him on–site. He believes in leading by example, and he is there selecting industry experts and empowering his team to assist clients from preconstruction to completion. The company employs about 50 people on salary to manage the various projects as well as administrative functions. Chapman isn’t just focused on building his own team of experts, however; he’s working to build a stronger future for the entire industry. He


Capstone Building Company • 2003 became its own entity • 86 completed projects • 22 states • About 5 projects a year • Around $100 million annual revenue • Around 50 employees

partners with Auburn University to allow building science and construction majors to mentor with Capstone, so they can gain hands–on experience and develop skills for their future careers. Chapman is an active part of the industry and currently serves as a member of the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. of Alabama, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), the Association of College and University Housing Officers International (ACUHOI), and the Birmingham Rotary Club. He is a booster for Auburn University’s Shug Jordan Society, where he also mentors students in the Building Science Department. Chapman holds the general contractor state licenses for Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington. 

1100 South Boulevard - Charlotte, North Carolina

The Brownstones at Englewood - Englewood, New Jersey

Plant 64 - Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Creekside at Providence Mt. Juliet, Tennessee

The Summit at Fritz Farm - Lexington, Kentucky



C.T. Fitzpatrick has built Vulcan Value Partners by remaining true to his disciplined approach to value investing. Written by Bill Hansen Stable capital, a long-term time horizon, and an unshakeable belief in the principles of value investing have underpinned the career of C.T. Fitzpatrick, founder, CEO, and chief investment officer at Vulcan Value Partners. But the drive to succeed in the world of finance and business stretches all the way back to his childhood. “I am doing right now what I wanted to do from a very young age,” Fitzpatrick says. “My career has been evolving since college, and it has led to this. I just feel very, very fortunate that I get to do everyday what I dreamed of doing as a kid. Some kids want to grow up to be firemen or an astronaut. I was a nerdy kid and wanted to be an investment manager.” “I was attracted to value investing at a very young age, learning things from my father who was an entrepreneur but was primarily in the real estate business. I learned just by osmosis, just by the way he would describe things and talk about his business. I don’t know that he would describe himself as a value investor, but that is what he was, as are many business people in various lines of business. It is just the way they think.” 52 BHM BIZ


At the University of Alabama and later at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University, Fitzpatrick built upon those earliest lessons. From his classwork in business and finance, he learned the classic theories of investing from the efficient market hypothesis to the capital asset pricing model, but it was the concept of value investing as espoused by economist and professor Ben Graham and his student, famed investor Warren Buffett, that most intrigued him. “Here was another school of thought that ran counter to the mainstream, that said, ‘Wait a minute, you can actually make more money by taking on less risk, not more,’” Fitzpatrick says. “Risk reduction is what attracted me to value investing, that concept that was laid down by the father of value investing, Benjamin Graham, way back in the 1930s,” he says. “Warren Buffett has been an advocate of that way of thinking and has carried a torch for Ben Graham from those early days. I hope that people will look back at Vulcan 50 years from now and see that we carried the torch from there. That is our big vision for the company.

“What we are all about is reducing the risks and the returns will take care of themselves. When we look at the same information that a lot of other people look at, we may come to a very different conclusion because we have stable capital and a long-term time horizon. With that, we can afford to take the long view and do things in the short run that might be painful, maybe too painful for a lot of people to do. But we can withstand that, and that creates opportunities to buy fantastic businesses at deep discounts. You get both the great business at a lower price and an enhanced margin of safety, so that there is less risk in the investment over the long term. When other people are fearful and are selling, with a long-term view we will say we might lose money on this for the next month or the next year, but we don’t care. We can make money over the next five years. Since we and our clients have that time horizon, it enables us to do things that other people are unwilling or unable to do, and that is what has created the returns we are able to generate.” Those returns have made Vulcan Value Partners, founded by Fitzpatrick


My career has been evolving since college, and it has led to this. I just feel very, very fortunate that I get to do everyday what I dreamed of doing as a kid. Some kids want to grow up to be firemen or an astronaut. I was a nerdy kid and wanted to be an investment manager.


C.T. Fitzpatrick, founder, CEO, and chief investment officer at Vulcan Value Partners with wife, Kelley


Our core client is a large, sophisticated institution,” he says. “Most of our clients are very large and have billions and billions of dollars to manage, and we are part of their tool kit, one of the tools they use to manage their portfolios.

in 2007, a major player in the world of value investing with more than $11.5 billion in assets under management for their core client base of endowments, foundations, and pension plans. Fitzpatrick’s company ranks in the top 1 percent of peer group ratings for all investment strategies it manages. “Our core client is a large, sophisticated institution,” he says. “Most of our clients are very large and have billions and billions of dollars to manage, and we are part of their tool kit, one of the tools they use to manage their portfolios. “We don’t look for cheap stocks. We look for fantastic businesses that we 54 BHM BIZ


understand. We value them. We follow them. They are not undervalued most of the time, but we are ready so that when they do become discounted we can have an opportunity to buy them on attractive terms. “Most value investors look for cheap stocks, we don’t. We look for good businesses, and then we are patient.” Perhaps the mission statement of the firm says it best: “We are value investors—business analysts with a longterm time horizon focused on purchasing publicly traded companies that are competitively entrenched at significant discounts to intrinsic worth. Perfor-

mance is our mission. We believe performance is best achieved through disciplined commitment to our long-term investment philosophy and the highest set of core values. Our goal is to compound capital at real rates of return significantly in excess of inflation over our five-year time horizon. Believing that as owners and operators of the firm, our capital should be invested alongside our client partners, Vulcan Value Partners is the exclusive investment vehicle for all of our employees’ public equity investments.” Fitzpatrick honed his investment philosophy through almost two decades

“We don’t look for cheap stocks. We look for fantastic businesses that we understand. We value them. We follow them. They are not undervalued most of the time, but we are ready so that when they do become discounted we can have an opportunity to buy them on attractive terms.”

of work with Southeastern Asset Management (also known as Long Leaf Partners). “I was a partner there,” he recalls. “It was a relatively small company when I joined it, and it had become quite large by the time I left it. I was fortunate enough as a value investor to cash out in early 2007 and use the proceeds from that, basically my life’s savings, to start Vulcan.” Fitzpatrick and his wife, Kelley, chose Birmingham as the home for the new enterprise. The couple met in New York when Fitzpatrick was an investment banker and Kelley was a trader. He grew up in Montgomery, she in

Tuscaloosa. “We could have located anywhere, but we chose Birmingham very deliberately,” Fitzpatrick says. “We had never lived in Alabama since we’d been married, and when we started Vulcan, we looked in a lot of places. We wanted Vulcan to be here in Birmingham, and it has been a great, great decision. Birmingham has been the perfect place for our company. I don’t think we would have been as successful as we’ve been if we had picked another location.” As a value investor Fitzpatrick finds it easy to look at Birmingham as an underappreciated asset. “It is a bargain,” he says. “We travel and get a chance to compare places all over the world. There are a lot of great places out there, but at the end of the day, I am so glad to be back home. I think Birmingham is an even better place than it is perceived to be. And what is really encouraging to us is that it keeps getting better. We loved it when we moved here, but now that we’ve been here 10 years, we realize it is a much better city today than it was a decade ago.” Many of Vulcan’s clients fly in to visit the company, Fitzpatrick says, and they use professional drivers from the local company Over the Mountain to pick guests up at the airport and deliver them to Vulcan’s headquarters in the Protective Life Center off Highway 280. “Our clients walk in here, and the ones who have never been here don’t know what to expect. They are used to New York, and they come in here and it blows them away. They come through the airport and the villages in Mountain Brook, and they say, ‘Wow, we get it. We know why you are here.’”

Fitzpatrick’s fealty to central Alabama also extends beyond Birmingham to Tuscaloosa. In January of 2015, C.T. and Kelley Fitzpatrick announced announced a $3 million gift to The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce. The gift positions the college to become the first business school in the nation to offer a value investing specialization at both the undergraduate and graduate level. The gift allows the college to create the Vulcan Value Partners Research Library and Trading Room that will offer students a curriculum that provides real-world experience with investing. The donation will also be used to create the Fitzpatrick Endowed Chair and a second Fitzpatrick endowed professorship in value investing. The research library and trading room will be located in Bidgood Hall along with another recent addition to the college, the first-in-the-nation Business Analytics Lab. The trading room will include computers, stock tickers, a conference table, office space, and access to Bloomberg, where students will conduct live trades with actual funds donated by Culverhouse alumni. Dr. Shane Underwood, the associate professor of finance/Fitzpatrick endowed professor, says, “There are few schools who teach value investing the way C.T. Fitzpatrick practices it. Columbia University in New York has a big value investing program, but there are no schools in the Southeast who have any such program at all. It’s exciting. We’re going to be the Columbia of the South.” 



When looking for legal representation, look to the best Birmingham has to offer. This year’s list of the top in their field was compiled based on what is most important when searching for an attorney. The Avvo Ratings used take into account feedback from both legal professionals and those looking for legal professionals. In the list that follows, you will find legal leaders in every area of law from firms large and small—all of them with a strong reputation and track record. Phillip Abbott Abbott Law Firm, LLC

Walker Badham Badham & Buck, LLC

Scott Abney Maynard Cooper & Gale, PC

Stephen Bailey Bailey Law Firm

Janell Ahnert Bressler Amery & Ross, PC

Lee Bains Maynard Cooper & Gale, PC

Ramona Albin U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of Alabama

Tammy Baker Jackson Lewis, LLP

Mitchell Allen Allen & Shamblin, LLC Russell Allison Carr Allison Labella Alvis Christian & Small, LLP William Andrews Marsh Rickard & Bryan, PC Leon Ashford Hare Wynn Newell & Newton, LLP David Ashford Hare Wynn Newell & Newton, LLP Melanie Atha Cabaniss, Johnston, Gardner, Dumas & O’Neal, LLP

Drew Barnett Belt & Bruner, PC Taylor Bartlett Heninger Garrison Davis, LLC Reed Bates Starnes Davis Florie, LLP Robert Battle Battle & Winn, LLP Alan Baty Frohsin & Barger, LLC Michael Beard Marsh Rickard & Bryan, PC Lois Beasley-Carlisle Carlisle & Carlisle, PC Elizabeth Beaube Maynard Cooper & Gale, PC

Mike Atchison Burr & Forman, LLP

Jennifer Bedsole Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC

Lisa Karen Atkins Ogletree Deakins, PC

Keith Belt Belt Law Firm, PC



Alicia Bennett Boardman Carr Hutcheson & Bennett, PC

Jason Bonar Jason J. Bonar, Attorney at Law, PC

Lee Benton Benton & Centeno, LLP

Emily Bonds Jones Walker LLP

Christopher Berdy Butler Snow LLP

Jess Boone Friedman Dazzio Zulanas & Bowling, PC

Julia Bernstein Maynard Cooper & Gale, PC William Biddle The Biddle Law Firm, PC Francois Blaudeau Southern Institute For Medical & Legal Affairs Gordon Blair Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart Sela Blanton Bainbridge, Mims, Rogers & Smith, LLP Francois Blaudeau Heninger Garrison Davis, LLC Brett Bloomston Bloomston & Basgier Natalie Bolling Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC

Lisa Borden Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC Paige Boshell Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLP Brian Bostick Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart Bradford Botes Bond, Botes, Reese, & Shinn, PC Melanie Bradford Bradford & Holliman, LLC William Bradford Bradford Ladner, LLP Jeffrey Bramer The Law Offices of Jeffrey D. Bramer

H. Hampton Boles Balch & Bingham, LLP

Michael Brandt Wallace Jordan Ratliff & Brandt, LLC

John Bolus Maynard Cooper & Gale, PC

Bonnie Branum Protective Life



“ We are proud to be consumer advocates and to know that the work we are doing helps our clients every day.” Ernest Cory, Cory Watson Attorneys

NATIONAL POWERHOUSE-BIRMINGHAM ROOTS Cory Watson Attorneys are at the forefront of pharmaceutical drug and medical device litigation nationwide. In June, Ernest Cory was appointed Lead Counsel for Plaintiffs in the Viagra Melanoma litigation in the Northern District of California. It is Cory’s fourth appointment as Lead Counsel in national litigation involving a major pharmaceutical drug. In addition, Cory Watson’s Kristian Rasmussen was appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee.

Trusted. Respected. Coast to Coast.

Federal courts across the U.S. have appointed Cory Watson principals to numerous leadership positions in high profile pharmaceutical and medical device litigation. Cory Watson Attorneys are proud that clients and attorneys from across the country have looked to the firm for help in all types of complex litigation.


No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater that the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.


Toni Braxton Braxton Legal Services, LLC

Robin Burrell Najjar Denaburg, PC

William Clark Redden, Mills, Shaw & Clark, LLP

Thomas Brinkley Maynard Cooper & Gale, PC

Richard Burton Burton & Associates, LLC

Kori Clement Hare & Clement, PC

Christopher Daniel Sheffield & Lentine, PC Charles Daniels Cabaniss, Johnston, Gardner, Dumas & O’Neal, LLP

Gregory Brockwell Leitman Siegal & Payne, PC

James Bussian Maynard Cooper & Gale, PC

Steven Brom Bachus Brom & Taylor, LLC

Thomas Butler Maynard Cooper & Gale, PC

Patricia Clotfelter Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC

Patrick Darby Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLP

William Bross Heninger Garrison Davis, LLC

Bradley Byrne Beckum Kittle, LLP

Glenda Cochran Glenda Cochran Associates Attorneys at Law

Brent Davis Brent W. Davis & Associates, LLC

David Brown Marsh Rickard & Bryan, PC

Tanita Cain The Cain Law Firm

Bryan Coleman Maynard Cooper & Gale, PC

Eric Davis Parkman & White, LLC

Katherine Brown White Arnold & Dowd PC

Alva Caine Hare Wynn Newell & Newton, LLP

John Collins Maynard Cooper & Gale, PC

Kathy Davis Carr Allison

Jerome Compton Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLP

Stacey Davis The Law Firm of Stacey A. Davis

Lanier Brown Huie, Fernambucq & Stewart, LLP

Angela Cameron Burr & Forman, LLP

Scott Brown Maynard Cooper & Gale, PC

Andy Campbell Campbell Guin

Matthew Conn Friedman Dazzio Zulanas & Bowling, PC

Whitney Brown Lehr Middlebrooks & Vreeland, PC

Thomas Campbell Campbell Law

Norman Cooper Maynard Cooper & Gale, PC

John Caraway Campbell and Campbell, LPC

Ernest Cory Cory Watson Attorneys

Craig Cargile Cargile & Hodnett, LLC

Roy Crawford Cabaniss, Johnston, Gardner, Dumas & O’Neal, LLP

William Brown WhatleyKallas, LLP Charles Browning Maynard, Cooper & Gale, PC Robert Bruner Belt Law Firm William Bryant Dominick Feld Hyde, PC Brannon Buck Badham & Buck, LLC Carin Burford Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart Carl Burkhalter Maynard Cooper & Gale, PC Francis Burnett Cabaniss, Johnston, Gardner, Dumas & O’Neal, LLP 58 BHM BIZ


Richard Carmody Adams & Reese, LLP Richard Carrigan Ogletree Deakins, PC Henry Cassady Cassady & Cassady, PC Elizabeth Chambers Cory Watson Attorneys Rhonda Chambers Taylor & Taylor Lee Clanton Porterfield, Harper, Mills, Motlow, & Ireland Thomas Clark Maynard Cooper & Gale, PC

Kathryn Crawford Crew Gentle Law, PC Judith Crittenden Crittenden Partners, PC Michelle Crunk Dodson Gregory, LLP Russell Cunningham Red Mountain Law Group Gregory Curran Maynard Cooper & Gale, PC David Cybak Over the Mountain Law Center, LLC

Thomas Davis Jackson Lewis, LLP Thomas Davis Peeples & Davis, Family Law Thad Davis The Law Offices of Davis & Davis, LLC Tracy Davis Hand Arendall, LLC Diandra Debrosse Zarzaur, Mujumdar and Debrosse Trial Lawyers Christopher Deering Ogletree Deakins, PC Douglas Dellaccio Cory Watson Attorneys Lauren Demoss Maynard Cooper & Gale, PC Gregory Denny Powell & Denny Joel DiLorenzo The DiLorenzo Law Firm, LLC Hube Dodd The Dodd Law Firm

Candi Peeples & Tommy Davis formed PEEPLES & DAVIS as a boutique-styled practice, limited to Matrimonial and Family Law, because helping families with these difficult issues is what they love. “We could be practicing other types of law, but we do this because we love it. With us, it’s not a slogan, it’s just the truth.” It is a core belief within the firm that every case has the potential to settle out of court: “We make it a priority to exhaust all reasonable options for settlement of a client’s case, but stand ready for trial when that is what is best for our clients.” Candi and Tommy consistently receive high praise from their clients for their commitment to Matrimonial and Family Law and are proud to be of service to their community. Candi is a graduate of The University of Georgia and the Cumberland School of Law. She is a certified domestic and appellate

mediator, has been named on the Birmingham Business Journal’s “Top 40 Under 40” list, is a fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) and a Certified Family Law Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Candi is married to Lloyd Peeples and lives in Vestavia with their two children, Lily and Chandler. Tommy is a graduate of Auburn University and the Cumberland School of Law. He has been certified as a Collaborative Law Professional and has received advanced certification in Domestic Relations trial practice by the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. He has also received numerous peer–review awards for excellence in client relations and family law practice, as well as being selected as a “Top Attorney” in the area of Family and Matrimonial Law. He lives in Birmingham with J.R. and Sue Ellen, his two cocker spaniels.

MATRIMONIAL & FAMILY LAW The Historic A.B. Loveman House 2956 Rhodes Circle South Birmingham, Alabama 35205 205.403.5577

No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.


Judith Dolan Waldrep Stewart & Kendrick, LLC William Donovan DonovanFingar, LLC

Victoria Dye Fischer & Associates, LLC

Louis Feld Dominick Feld Hyde, PC

Honora Gathings Gathings Law

Nancy Eady Morris Haynes Hornsby Wheeles & Knowles, LLP

Linda Flippo White Arnold & Dowd, PC

Lloyd W. Gathings Gathings Law

John Earnhardt Maynard Cooper & Gale, PC

Kira Fonteneau The Jefferson County Public Defender’s Office

Jonathan Geisen Baker Donelson

Robert Eckinger Adams and Reese, LLP

Sara Ford Lightfoot Franklin & White, LLC

Gayle Douglas Heninger Garrison Davis, LLC

Chelsey Mitchell Edgerly Vernis & Bowling of Birmingham, LLC

Charlene Ford Whatley Kallas, LLP

Michael Douglas Leak & Douglas, PC

Mark Ekonen Heninger Garrison Davis, LLC

Augusta Dowd White Arnold & Dowd, PC

Megan Elder Elder Law Firm, LLC

Christie Dowling Lyman Dowling Law

Kathryn Eldridge Maynard Cooper & Gale PC

Helen Downs Butler Snow

Robert Elliott Vulcan Legal Group, LLC

Whit Drake Drake Law Law Firm

Michael Ermert Hare Wynn Newell & Newton, LLP

Richard Dorman Badham & Buck, LLC Luther Dorr Maynard Cooper & Gale, PC Susan Doughton Dominick Feld Hyde, PC

Jessica Drennan Kirk.Drennan, PC Mark Drew Maynard Cooper & Gale, PC

Glenn Estess Wallace Jordan Ratliff & Brandt, LLC

Carter Dukes Scott, Dukes & Geisler, PC

Rebecca Eubanks Bainbridge, Mims, Rogers & Smith, LLP

John Dulin Maynard Cooper & Gale, PC

G. Daniel Danny Evans The Evans Law Firm, PC

David Dunkle Cabaniss, Johnston, Gardner, Dumas & O’Neal, LLP

Dawn Evans Guin, Stokes & Evans, LLC

Adrian Dunning A. B. Dunning, LLC Audrey Dupont Bressler, Amery & Ross, PC Anne Durward Massey Stotser & Nichols, PC Thomas Dutton Pittman Dutton & Hellums, PC 60 BHM BIZ


Steven Eversole Eversole Law, LLC Heather Fann Boyd Fernambucq & Dunn, PC

Leigh Forstman Pittman Dutton & Hellums Robert Fowlkes Maynard Cooper & Gale, PC Sam Franklin Lightfoot, Franklin & White LLP Sydney Frazier Cabaniss, Johnston, Gardner, Dumas & O’Neal LLP Brandi Frederick The Frederick Firm G. Courtney French Fuston, Petway & French, LLP Karl Friedman Sirote & Permutt Jeffrey Friedman Friedman Dazzio Zulanas & Bowling, PC Peter Fruin Maynard, Cooper & Gale, PC Frank Galloway Galloway Scott Moss & Hancock, LLC Robert Gardner Red Mountain Law Group

Kirby Farris Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP

Nedra Garrett McClinton Garrett & Associates, LLC

Joseph Fawal Fawal & Spina

William Garrison Heninger Garrison Davis, LLC

Kathryn Gentle Crew Gentle Law, PC Laura Gibson White Arnold & Dowd, PC William Goodwin Maynard Cooper & Gale, PC Lisha Graham White Arnold & Dowd, PC Bradley Green King & Green, LLC Jonathan Green Green Law, LLC Paula Greenway Greenway Bankruptcy Law, LLC Richard Greer The Greer Law Firm, PC W. Walter Gresham Heninger Garrison Davis, LLC James Griffin James B. Griffin, LLC David Guin Guin Stokes & Evans, LLC William Hancock Galloway Scott Moss & Hancock, LLC Jennifer Hanson Bainbridge Mims Rogers & Smith, LLP Francis Hare Belt & Bruner, PC Larry Harper Porterfield, Harper, Mills, Motlow, & Ireland Kathryn Harrington Heninger Garrison Davis, LLC

Winning Never Gets Old Celebrating Over 125 Years of Legal Excellence

Ashley Peinhardt

“I am proud of the hard work and experience our team of lawyers and professionals bring to the table.”

Sabrina Cunningham

Don McKenna

Leon Ashford, Managing Partner








#H W NN125


Lawyers Helping People We keep it simple—we hire good people, and we work hard all of the time. We go the extra mile, we call people back, and we listen. We get it done, day in and day out—we work together, and we like to win. With more than 125 years of experience, we are one of the region’s oldest law firms. At the end of the day, “helping people is what we are all about.”

Lawyers Helping People—Since 1890

No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.


Catherine Long Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC

Josh Harrison The Kullman Firm

Christopher Hood Heninger Garrison Davis, LLC

Elizabeth Kanter Carr Allison

Anna Hart Beckum Kittle, LLP

Harry Hopkins Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart

Thomas Kendrick Norman, Wood, Kendrick & Turner

Ernest Hornsby Morris Haynes Hornsby Wheeles & Knowles, LLP

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Jonathan Macklem Christian & Small

Brad Howell Meadows & Howell, LLC

Annette Kinderman Cabaniss Johnston Gardner Dumas & O’Neal

Yvonne Maddalena Jackson Lewis, LLP

Ann Huckstep Adams and Reese, LLP

Lawrence King King Simmons, PC

Stephanie Hunter Hunter Law Firm, PC

Rachel King Vella & King

Elizabeth Hutchins Sirote & Permutt PC

Donald Kirkpatrick Carr Allison

Greg Hawley Jones & Hawley, PC

Brett Ialacci Badham & Buck, LLC

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Jeffrey Ingram Law Offices of Galese & Ingram, PC

Leslie Klasing Waldrep Stewart & Kendrick, LLC

Deborah Hembree Constangy Brooks Smith & Prophete, LLP

Joel Isenberg Ely Isenberg LLC

Sammye Kok Dominick Feld Hyde, PC

Michael Jackson Wallace, Jordan, Ratliff & Brandt, LLC

Peyton Lacy Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart

Richard Jaffe Jaffe, Hanle, Whisonant & Knight, PC

Amber Ladner Bradford Ladner, LLP

Carrie Hartfield Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC Michael Harwell The Harwell Law Firm, LLC Alicia Haynes Haynes & Haynes Kenneth Haynes Haynes & Haynes Randy Haynes Morris, Haynes, Wheeles, Knowles & Nelson

Deborah Hembree Balch & Bingham, LLP Erik Heninger Heninger Garrison Davis, LLC Stephen Heninger Heninger Garrison Davis, LLC Karen Hennecy White Arnold & Dowd, PC Mark Hogewood Wallace Jordan Ratliff & Brandt, LLC

Brice Johnston Johnston Law Firm, PC Keith Johnston Southern Environmental Law Abbott Jones U.S. District Northern Alabama

Kaitlin Kober The Rose Law Firm, LLC

John Lentine Sheffield & Lentine, PC Jeffrey Leonard Heninger Garrison Davis, LLC Heather Leonard Heather Leonard, PC

Daisy Holder Daisy M. Holder Attorney at Law

Doug Jones Jones & Hawley, PC

Jon Lewis Lewis, Feldman, Lehane & Snable, LLC

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Albert Jordan Wallace Jordan Ratliff & Brandt, LLC

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Trey Malbrough The Malbrough Firm, LLC Barry Marks Marks & Associates, PC David Marsh Marsh Rickard & Bryan, PC Diane Maughan Cabaniss, Johnston, Gardner, Dumas & O’Neal, LLP Joseph B. Mays Jr. Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLP John McBrayer John A. McBrayer Attorney at Law Inc. Angie McEwen Butler Snow Crawford McGivaren Cabaniss, Johnston, Gardner, Dumas & O’Neal, LLP Candis McGowan Wiggins Childs Quinn & Pantazis, LLC Jodi McKelvin Shelby Roden, LLC Donald McKenna Hare Wynn Newell & Newton, LLP Douglas McWhorter Dominick Feld Hyde, PC Hobart McWhorter Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLP


AshLeigh Meyer Magic City Law Jessica Meyer Meyer, Anderson, & DeLuca, LLC Shannon Miller Jackson Lewis, LLP Tracy Miller Hand Arendall, LLC Derrick Mills Marsh Rickard & Bryan, PC William Mills Porterfield, Harper, Mills, Motlow, & Ireland Matthew Minner Hare Wynn Newell & Newton, LLP Anne Mitchell Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC James Moncus Hare Wynn Newell & Newton, LLP

Steven Nichols Hare Wynn Newell & Newton, LLP Craig Niedenthal Alexander Shunnarah Personal Injury Attorneys Frances Nolan Nolan Byers, PC Bernard Nomberg The Nomberg Law Firm David Nomberg The Nomberg Law Firm David Norris Norris Injury Lawyers, PC Lynne O’Neal Leitman Siegal & Payne, PC Thomas Oliver Carr Allison Shane Oncale The Oncale Firm Patricia Palmer Gilpin Givhan, PC

Giles Perkins Adams and Reese, LLP Richard Perry The Perry Law Firm, LLC William Pfeifer William L. Pfeifer, Jr. Tae Phillips Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart, PC Wesley Phillips Phillips Law Group, LLC Sean Pierce Gilpin Givhan, PC Walter Pittman Pittman Dutton & Hellums, PC Adam Plant Battle & Winn, LLP Marcus Polson Polson & Polson, PC Whitney Polson Polson & Polson PC Denise Pomeroy Dominick Feld Hyde, PC

John Morrow Burr & Forman, LLP

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James Pratt Hare Wynn Newell & Newton, LLP Honza Prchal Heninger Garrison Davis, LLC Rebecca Pritchett Pritchett Environmental & Property Law, LLC Frances Quarles Quarles Law Firm, LLC Barry Ragsdale Sirote & Permutt James Ransom Law Offices of Candice Shockley, Attorneys at Law, LLC Wendy Reese Law Offices of Wendy A. Reese, LLC Karen Reeves Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart, PC Sally Reilly Wallace Jordan Ratliff & Brandt, LLC Sandra Reiss The Reiss Firm, LLC Victor Revill The Revill Law Firm Lynn Reynolds Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC Lea Richmond Carr Allison Jeffrey Rickard Marsh Rickard & Bryan, PC Kenneth Riley Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP Elizabeth Ritter Ritter Law Firm John Robbins John C. Robbins, Attorney at Law


No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.

Nolan Byers, PC was founded in 2013 by Frances Ross Nolan and Leigh Reynolds Byers to provide those facing divorce with strong, compassionate legal guidance. Recognizing that most people are unfamiliar with the legal system and that legal disputes create enormous stress, attorneys Nolan and Byers place an emphasis on educating clients about the issues they are facing, providing them with choices, and working with them to identify and achieve their goals. Nolan and Byers provide clients throughout Central Alabama with exceptional legal services in all aspects of family law, including: divorce, asset valuation and division, spousal and child support, child custody, paternity and dependency matters, adoption, jurisdictional issues, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, and marital settlement agreements. Nolan Byers, PC is also one of only a few firms in the area qualified to offer Collaborative Divorce, a private, consensual no-court alternative to conventional dispute resolution. ďƒŻ205.314.0638



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Mark P. Williams Norman Wood Kendrick & Turner Amanda Williamson Heninger Garrison Davis, LLC Thomas Willingham Law Offices of Thomas P. Willingham, PC Edward Willis Cloud & Willis, LLC Harlan Winn Battle & Winn, LLP James Wright Environmental Litigation Group

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restaurant biz

Chef George Reis


eorge Reis was born in the Midwest and raised in upstate New York, which gave him an appreciation of the greatness of farm fresh foods and the blending of world flavors. After living and working in New York, Dallas, the Gulf Coast, and Atlanta, Reis was able to realize his dream by moving to Birmingham and opening his awardwinning seafood restaurant Ocean in March 2002. Reis has been an active member of the Birmingham Originals since 2002. Four years later, he opened a sister restaurant next door, 26, which has since been transformed into 5 Point Public House. This latest major undertaking has been the reimagining of the space that held 26 for almost 10 years. “We opened 26 in 2006. It had a great run and did great food. In 2006 it felt like it was cutting edge in décor,” Reis says. “But lately to me, it started to feel kind of tired. The food was always good and interesting, but I knew I wanted the look to be



updated.” Once he came to that realization, he decided to go all out. “I started looking at ways to create something that was really very different from Ocean.” What he came up with is 5 Point Public House and Oyster Bar, which features, in Reis’s words, “chef-driven casual and comfortable food.” 5 Point is a combination of two styles—a public house and oyster bar—creating a relaxed gathering spot that’s perfect for locals. In keeping with the pub tradition, 5 Point offers over 40 craft beers, including those brewed in Alabama as well as other ales and lagers from around the country. The restaurant also features eight keg-style wines on tap, which is a new concept to the Birmingham area. The menu plays to the comforts of good, solid food in a casual pub environment. “To me the key to growth is to stay fresh, both in food and decor. It is important to always do small improvements,” Reis says. 


and then this happened...

Written by Carolanne Roberts

David Benck of Hibbett Sports didn’t have a passport until college—now he’s one of the founders of the international World Games 2021 Birmingham. SCHOOL


Trinity Presbyterian School, Montgomery; Birmingham-Southern College; and University of Alabama School of Law.


“Through Birmingham-Southern I traveled to China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, and New Zealand. That whet my appetite for different cultures.”




“I talk to a lot of younger professionals and mentor them regarding how to prepare for the rapid pace of change.”

“Ron Froehlich, honorary life president of The World Games, has been a great encouragement.”


“Hibbett Sports [he’s vice president, general counsel, and assistant secretary] is my No. 1 professional priority. My legal work includes governance, privacy, employment, marketing, litigation, and IT security.” Hibbett operates more than 1,050 stores in 36 states, and continues to grow.



“Birmingham was built for this international event. We’ll have 37 sports, plus visitors from around the world. We signed the contract in Russia. Mayor (William) Bell and Vladimir Putin were the only two politicians in attendance. The World Games are operated under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).”


“I enjoy spending time and traveling with my three children and my wife, Jodi, who is the CEO of the household.”


Benck works in arbitration and compliance for USA Gymnastics (where he’s also on the Board of Directors), and the US Anti-Doping Agency.



He has been appointed to the international Court of Arbitration for Sport, a Swiss tribunal considered the “Supreme Court of Sport,” and also to the Board for the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank, representing the Birmingham district.

, s d n a h e k e sha w e r o f e B . s d n a h d l we ho

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