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BusinessView Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce

DEC. 2011/JAN. 2012 | VOL. XLII, No. 11

Culinary School Sets Up Restaurant at Kitchen on George n

Wrapping Up the Chamber’s 175-Year History: The 21st Century n

Meet the Chamber’s 2012 Board of Directors n

PRSRT STD U.S. Postage PAID Mobile, AL Permit #346

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS ...lends a helping hand.

Sally Greene has a story to tell and a mission to share. She uses her contacts, made through the Chamber’s networking events and committees, to help raise awareness and support for Wilmer Hall. As one of 2,200 Chamber members, Sally has access to resources, exposure and networking to help the children entrusted to Wilmer Hall and make the organization thrive – and being a Chamber member practically makes it child’s play.

Sally Greene Wilmer Hall 14 Employees Founded in 1864

The Business of Mobile is our Business. 251.433.6951


DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012 | The Business View



December 2011/ January 2012

Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce

News You Can Use – Positive news about local businesses



Small Business of the Month: Express Employment Professionals

15 Cover


Meet the Chamber’s governing board of directors

29-31 32 33 34-35 36-38 39 39





Investor Focus: Wilkins Miller Hieronymus LLC

As part of its Culinary Institute, Virginia College recently opened Kitchen on George, offering upscale cuisine in the heart of Oakleigh. Pictured from left to right front row are: Kayla Baugh, Michael Lafferty, Ron Patak, Ryland Randolf, Robin Dixon and Bernard Shannon. Second row: Carl Tilly and Stephen Thompson. See story on page 5. Cover photo by Susan Rak-Blanchard.

The Business View is published monthly, except for the combined issue of December/January, by the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce 451 Government Street, Mobile, AL 36602 (251) 433-6951 ©2011 Publisher.....................................Winthrop M. Hallett III Executive Editor................................Leigh Perry-Herndon Managing Editor....................................... Jennifer Jenkins Copy Editor............................................Michelle Matthews

The Chamber’s Governmental Affairs committee and subcommittee present the 2012 Legislative Agenda “A Look Back” focuses on Mobile’s history from 2000 to the present, as revealed in the minutes from Mobile Area Chamber board of directors meetings during that time, as well as recent annual reports

Chamber@Work Board of Advisors Economic Indicators Calendar Member News Anniversaries New Members

Additional Writers and Editors Nedra Bloom, Ashley Horn, Laura Menke, Susan Rak-Blanchard, Carolyn Wilson

Printing Services.. .......... Interstate Printing/Direct Mail Graphic Design . ......................... Wise Design Inc. Advertising Account Executive.. .............. René Eiland 431-8635


The Business View | DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012


Dauphin Realty merges with

Roberts Brothers


he current economy and the future of the real estate industry ignited a conversation between two longtime local real estate companies, said Daniel Dennis, president of Roberts Brothers.

In October, Dauphin Realty merged with Roberts Brothers, creating one of the largest residential real estate firms in southern Alabama. Minneapolis-based HomeServices of America, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, acquired Roberts Brothers in 2005. The company has the advantage of being connected to the second-largest independent real estate company in the country while retaining its local autonomy, added Dennis. Mickie Russell, who founded Dauphin Realty in 1984, will handle the company’s Eastern Shore operations. “We are joining an organization that is consistent with our high standards of service and integrity, making this a win-win for our customers and associates,” said Russell. Between the two companies there are a total of 235 agents, and “all will be staying on,” Dennis said. The merger will mean more agents serving area homeowners and potential buyers, he added. “Combining Dauphin Realty’s existing market share with Roberts Brothers’ positions the company for continued growth,” said Dennis.

Two local real estate firms combine resources. Pictured from left to right are Johnny Roberts, chairman, Roberts Brothers; Daniel Dennis, president, Roberts Brothers; and Mickie Russell, former president of Dauphin Realty.



DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012 | The Business View

Vail Rubber

to Construct Roll Processing Facility Since the news first broke of Mobile winning the multi-billion-dollar ThyssenKrupp (TK) steel project, Bill Hanley has had his eye on winning TK’s business and setting up operations nearby. By 2010, Hanley’s company, St. Joseph, Mich.based Vail Rubber Works, secured work with ThyssenKrupp. Now Hanley, the company president, has announced Vail Rubber will construct a roll processing facility in north Mobile County. “Vail Rubber is the latest example of the benefits that follow in the wake of a major economic development success like TK,” says Troy Wayman, the Mobile Area Chamber’s vice president of economic development. “Vail is a great company with a long history of success, and this is the start of what we expect to be a long relationship.” Phase One of the project is a 14,800-square-footfacility located on eight acres in Axis with an initial capital investment of $2.07 million. By the end of the third year, Hanley estimates, Vail will have five to seven employees earning $60,000-plus annually each. According to Vail Rubber projections, employment could increase to 30 to 50 people, and future expansions would increase the facility to 50,000 square feet. Future growth depends on three primary factors, according to Hanley: the state of the national and local economy, the price of steel and Vail’s success in meeting TK’s needs. In addition, Vail intends to target other flat-rolled metal producers and processors as well as the printing industry in Mobile County and within a 300-mile radius of the new facility. Vail is a 107-year-old, family-owned company manufacturing rubber and polyurethane-covered rolls and related products and services used in the finishing and storing stages. The local operation will break ground before year-end and is expected to be up and running by April 2012. Vail currently owns and operates a second roll processing facility in Middletown, Ohio.

You’ll see this symbol with stories featuring Chamber initiatives.

Virginia College

Opens New Oakleigh Eatery

In the heart of Mobile’s Oakleigh Historic Garden District is a restaurant site at 351 George St. with a long history of serving good food, from Bella Koozeena to Guido’s to Courtlandt’s. Just a few weeks ago, Virginia College opened Kitchen on George in that spot. It’s a restaurant with a two-fold purpose – offering upscale cuisine and giving its Culinary Institute students a place to practice and perfect what they’ve learned. The newest endeavor to round out the college’s culinary program will expose students to all facets of running a restaurant, from waiting tables to preparing food. The staff consists of experienced professionals – the chef, sous chef and manager – as well as culinary graduates. “It is important to find the right people with the right temperament because the only way students will get better is through trial and error,” said Ron Patak, Virginia College’s vice president of retail operations. “Chances are if you find a person who manages well, they are typically a teacher, and that’s what we need – a location and a team that provide a working and teaching environment for our students,” he added. Patak thinks the timing is perfect for a new restaurant that gives students hands-on experience. “The industry is coming back, and people are wanting more really great food for a reasonable price.”

On the menu, patrons will find a variety of appetizers, entrees for lunch and dinner, and an esoteric wine list from recognizable and small vineyards. The restaurant plans to use as many ingredients from regional and local farmers and as much local seafood as their managers can find. The college’s new semester kicked off in October with more than 100 students pursuing a culinary career. Patak said the student body includes those who enrolled right out of high school as well as those seeking a second career. The college boasts a 90 percent placement rate for its culinary graduates. “Our students have real-world experience and are well versed in the basics, implementation and technique,” he said. Patak moved to Mobile in June to become a student himself – that is, to learn what Mobilians like and what they do. When looking for the right property for Virginia College’s restaurant, Patak said he looked for a place that “felt right” and “where people would appreciate what you’re doing. And midtown is where it is.”

Wesley True with True Restaurant Group has hosted eight interns from Virginia College’s culinary program, and hired four of them. He says this additional manpower allows him to make “higher-end dishes that take more skill.” True is pictured with one of his current culinary interns. The Business View | DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012


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DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012 | The Business View


Dedicates New Operation Center Mobile Area Water and Sewer System (MAWSS) recently invested $2.7 million to renovate a 42,000-square-foot facility that will serve as the utility company’s central location. Located at 4725 Moffett Rd. in Park Forest Plaza, the new facility was dedicated as the Wesley A. James Operations Center in honor of James, a longtime member and past chairman of the MAWSS board of directors who passed away in 2010. MAWSS will continue to operate its customer payment center and drive-up window at the midtown location at 207 N. Catherine St. Both centers will be open from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Pictured on the left is MAWSS Director Malcolm Steeves with board members Tommy Tyrrell, Dr. James Laier, Maynard Odom, Sheri Weber, Leevones Dubose, Kim Williams Pettway, Jim Bell and MAWSS Assistant Director Les Brown.

The Business View | DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012


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DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012 | The Business View

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small business of the month

Helping People Go to Work Chris and Angela Ashcraft recently celebrated five years in the staffing business with Express Employment Professionals. Pictured are: front row, left to right: Chris Ashcraft, Jessica Smith, Tiffany Laskowski, Kristyn Cooley, Robin Mangum, Amy Hillebrandt, Misty Bradley and Angela Ashcraft. Back row, left to right: Claire Bolton, Becky Lovgren and Traci Collins.

Go to to submit a Small Business of the Month nomination, or contact Danette Richards at 431-8652 or

“Putting people to work is what keeps us motivated,” said Angela Ashcraft, who co-owns Express Employment Professionals with her husband, Chris Ashcraft. Express, the Mobile Area Chamber’s Small Business of the Month, offers temporary, evaluation-hire and directhire staffing. Locally, Express has placed more than 4,000 people. Of these, Angela said many candidates start in temporary positions before they are hired permanently, and others are contracted to local businesses. What makes Express’s service unique, said Chris, is that before a candidate is recommended, he or she goes through a heavy screening process, including thorough background testing, drug testing, skills evaluations,

reference checks and an interview with Express personnel. Once that’s completed, Express clients know the top candidates are qualified and ready to be hired. “All they have to decide then is, ‘Do they have the personality?’ and ‘Are they the right fit for the company?’” said Chris. The company has grown since the couple bought the Mobile franchise in 2006, and business is strong, said Chris, who estimates that 15 to 20 people walk into the office daily looking for a job. He estimated approximately 65 to 70 percent of employee placements are in industrial jobs, with the remaining in administration, medical billing and accounting. “For us, the economy will be back to normal when these jobs are distributed 50/50,” he said.

Before opening Express in Mobile in 2006, Chris sold chemicals to the paper industry, and Angela worked in the tourism industry. As the paper industry began to downsize, the couple looked into investing in a franchise. Express was the right fit. “This service matches our Christian values, our family values and our integrity values,” Chris said. The Ashcrafts relocated their office last November to 3662 Dauphin St., Suite B, to make room for their staff of 12, and recently bought rights to the Baldwin County franchise and plan to add an office next year. Inc. magazine recently named staffing companies among the best industries for starting a business, and the Ashcrafts agree it’s an industry with great potential.

The Business View | DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012


10 DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012 | The Business View

2011 Members of the Governmental Affairs Committee Committee Chair Caroline McCarthy, Phelps Dunbar LLP

Subcommittee Chair (Federal) Owen Bailey, University of South Alabama Children’s and Women’s Hospital

Subcommittee Chair (State) Gigi Armbrecht, AT&T

Subcommittee Chair (Local) Matt White, White-Spunner & Associates Inc.

Committee Members


Community Legislative Agenda

Judith Adams, Alabama State Port Authority Robbie Baker, Hancock Bank/ Whitney Bank Thomas Bates, Evonik Degussa Corp. Gavin Bender, Bender Real Estate Group Spike Blackinton, Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel Preston Bolt, Hand Arendall LLC Aaron Bowman, BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards Alabama Susie Cleveland, Homebuilders Association of Metro Mobile Colby Cooper, The Cooper-Lyon Group LLC Sam Covert, Alabama Power Co. Benjamin Cummings, Cummings Architecture Corp. Scott Delaney, Delaney Development Inc. Randy Delchamps, Randy Delchamps Real Estate & Development Company Inc. Jennifer Denson, Partners for Environmental Progress Buffy Donlon, Wintzell’s Oyster House Randall Dueitt, Mobile County Sheriff’s Office Harrietta Eaton, CorroMetrics Services Inc. Edward Fields, Mobile Gas William J. “Happy” Fulford, University of South Alabama Thomas Gleason, Gleason & Associates LLC John Gurene, Hampton Inn & Suites Providence Park/Airport Rob Hackbarth, Hackbarth Delivery Service Inc. Terry Harbin, BankTrust Bernie Heggeman, Heggeman Realty Co. Inc. Alan Hirsch, Bay Paper Co. Inc. Michelle Hurdle, EADS North America Charlie Jackson, Adams & Associates Inc. Paul Klotz, Thompson Engineering Inc. Charlotte Kopf, Associated General Contractors Rick Latrace, Johnstone Adams Bailey Gordon and Harris LLC Mike Lee, Page & Jones Inc. Frank Lott, Heritage Homes of Mobile Inc.

James Lyons, Alabama State Port Authority Beth Marietta Lyons, Lyons & Crane Ellen Maxime, Delaney Development Inc. Ken McElhaney Jr., State Farm Insurance McElhaney Insurance Agency Inc. Rob McGinley, McDowell Knight Roedder & Sledge LLC Jim McIngvale, Ingalls Shipbuilding Lee Metzger, Providence Park Inc. Frank Millsaps, Millsaps & Associates Inc. Jeffrey H. Newman, Mobile Area Association of Realtors Scott Posey, ThyssenKrupp Steel USA LLC Sydney Raine, Mobile Works Inc. Dave Reaney, Bay Area Food Bank Andre Reid, Andre Reid & Associates Bob Riccio, Hand Arendall LLC Jessica Ross, ThyssenKrupp Steel USA LLC Elizabeth Sanders, Downtown Mobile Alliance Bill Seifert, Regions Bank Glenn Sigler, Regions Bank W. Malcolm Steeves, Mobile Area Water and Sewer System Sandy Stimpson, Scotch & Gulf Lumber LLC Charles Story, Consultant Carleen Stout, Mobile Airport Authority Bill Tunnell, USS ALABAMA Battleship Memorial Park Barry Vittor, Barry A. Vittor & Associates Inc. Chester Vrocher, Boise Paper John Walton, John G. Walton Construction Co. Inc. Bestor Ward, Safe Archives LLC David Webber, Volkert Inc. Patrick Wilson, Mobile Bar Pilots LLC Andy Wynne, St. Mary’s Home Len York, Taylor-Wharton Cryogenics Mary Zoghby, Boys & Girls Clubs of South Alabama Inc./Youth Programs of South Alabama Inc. Jeff Zoghby, Mobile Association for Retarded Citizens Tommy Zoghby, Volkert Inc.

The Business View | DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012


Metal Theft

Key Issues for 2012 From the economic recovery of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the availability and affordability of property insurance and more streamlined permitting practices, government policy and legislative action play a key role in the health of Mobile’s business climate. Chamber members continue to list the availability of information on such issues and advocating for business-friendly policies as major benefits to their membership. Each year, the Chamber’s Governmental Affairs Committee and its subcommittees work to carve out those items of key importance to our community’s growth and success. The Chamber’s committee began to work on the 2012 agenda in the summer by surveying the organization’s more than 2,300 businesses on those issues most critical to their business and quality of life. Results showed that supporting employers’ rights to fully screen workers, obtaining the settlement funds from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and seeking more competitive and fair property insurance coverage were three of the most important issues (see bar graph for top 10 survey results). Many of the open-ended statements included write-in messages such as: “Lowering the tax rate on small businesses would spur growth. Lower taxes would give businesses the needed ability to expand and offer more products and services in an ever-changing economic environment.” “Maintain a rational approach to environmental regulations and keep energy prices in Alabama competitive.” “Simplify permitting to encourage new businesses to open in the central business district.” These messages are heard loud and clear. Throughout the year, committee members work to research and advocate for key issues. The Chamber’s economic development partners, including the city of Mobile, Mobile County, the University of South Alabama, Alabama State Port Authority and Mobile Airport Authority also identify those issues as important to their success. Together, Chamber members, volunteers and area partners collaborate at all levels of government to pull together a comprehensive legislative agenda for the economic growth of the entire Mobile region. Upon recommendation from the volunteer Governmental Affairs committee, the Chamber board approved and adopted the 2012 agenda at its October Board meeting. The agenda will be incorporated into the Chamber’s advocacy programs and communicated to elected officials in federal, state and local governments. Speaking with one voice, the business community’s message is strong and clear.

12 DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012 | The Business View

“We are experiencing a time in the workforce when addiction problems are seemingly at all-time highs. Once a person (drug user or not) is able to steal goods from another and sell it freely without any thought for taxes, prosecution or restitution, they are hooked. Allowing multiple untraceable, untaxed cash transactions at the magnitude we are currently encountering promotes this theft and spreads our limited law enforcement efforts thinner.” Gary A. West, President GA West & Co. Inc.

Economic Recovery “My involvement with the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce has dramatically increased my comprehension of the RESTORE Act and its potential impact along the Gulf Coast. Consequently, it is my firm belief that the entire sum of BP economic recovery funds and clean water act fines designated for the state of Alabama should be allocated to Mobile and Baldwin counties. The receipt of these funds will provide the financial resources necessary to continue the arduous task of rebuilding Mobile and Baldwin counties coastal economies and environmental assets.” Michael E. Pierce, Chairman of the Board Commonwealth National Bank

I-10 Mobile River Bridge “The quicker this project is put into motion the better for all involved. As Mobile grows, our city and interstate will be severely restricted by traffic congestion so the need for a new I-10 Mobile River bridge is more important than ever. Construction timing and bridge location will have an impact on the waterfront community. We are glad to be active in the bridge discussions to see that industry needs are met and the waterfront is not hampered by this process.” Capt. Patrick J. Wilson, President Mobile Bar Pilots LLC

Permitting Practices “With the prospect of an uneven national economic recovery, it certainly behooves Mobile’s public and private sectors to work together to facilitate smooth permitting practices for both large and small businesses. Attraction of both local and out-of-town investment in our city and county must be driven by lower regulatory and tax burdens, as well as the hospitable quality of life that coastal Alabama has to offer. Competition in this economic climate is fierce and we must address these issues if we are to continue to thrive.” Buffy Donlon, Owner Wintzell’s Oyster House

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2012 Community Legislative Agenda

Critical Issues

To relieve growing congestion, seek increased state and federal support and funding to address transportation infrastructure needs including a western Mobile bypass, a Mobile River bridge, an intermodal container transfer facility (ICTF), and completion of the four laning of U.S. Highways 98 and 45; support the reauthorization of SAFETEA-LU. Advocate for adequate federal funding levels for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mobile District to support annual operations and maintenance dredging of the Mobile harbor and channels, which is necessary to maintaining federally authorized channel depths that serve area shippers and manufacturers using the Port of Mobile and Alabama’s inland waterways. Seek support for more innovative educational opportunities, college preparatory and career-ready programs into the existing public school structure. Advocate that Alabama’s portion of BP economic recovery funds and clean water act fines be allocated to Mobile and Baldwin counties for the necessary rebuilding of coastal economies and environmental assets following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Seek legislation to establish state-guaranteed, zero-interest small business loans available immediately following a federally declared natural disaster, such as hurricane, flooding or tornado, to bridge the time until insurance claims are paid and other disaster relief funds or financial assistance can be acquired. In the November 2012 state-wide referendum, support the continued conservation and protection of undeveloped lands within Alabama through the re-authorization and continued funding of the Forever Wild program. Support a comprehensive federal energy policy increasing the supply of energy in a manner that is safe and protective of the environment, promotes comprehensive energy conservation and encourages research and development of clean and alternative energy sources. Lift the moratorium on offshore drilling, close regulatory gaps in safety and incident response on offshore drilling and production installations and platforms; support additional Gulf leases; support giving Gulf Coast states that permit offshore drilling a greater share of royalties oil companies pay to operate in U.S. waters. Support a comprehensive, federal broadband policy that fosters public-private partnerships, spurs private sector investment and recognizes the robust and competitive broadband marketplace; investigate and advocate for a local connection to national high-speed Internet access. Support efforts to maintain federal military contracts with Mobile area-based companies, particularly Austal USA’s next-generation Littoral Combat Ships and Joint High Speed Vessels for the U.S. Department of Defense. Support and encourage balanced and inclusive pro-business practices and procedures that encourage development and growth within the city of Mobile and Mobile County; encourage fair and expeditious permitting practices for both local and out-of-town investors.

Seek legislation to encourage market-driven property insurance reforms in order to increase the availability of property insurance coverage at competitive pricing so individuals and businesses can find reasonable and available protection for their homes and businesses. To encourage downtown and urban revitalization investments, seek state economic development tax incentives for: 1) the preservation or development of historical buildings; 2) works of art in a cultural district; 3) entrepreneurial startups within the downtown core and; 4) investments in businesses in impoverished and low-income communities in the downtown core area and/or central business district. Support a state sales tax exemption on aircraft parts used in reconfiguring or maintaining commercial aircraft so Alabama may be competitive with other states in seeking additional aircraft industry work. Support legislation establishing more accountability for the sale of metal products to secondary metal recyclers. Support legislation to allow for the establishment of Entertainment Districts wherein Alcoholic Beverage Control Board rules could be adapted to allow outdoor festivals and sidewalk dining. Oppose federal legislation to mandate performance standards in oil spill removal plans for tank and non-tank vessels in excess of 400 Gross Registered Tons.

The members of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce have identified the following issues, policies and appropriations as fundamental to Alabama’s progress because they will help to build additional jobs and a more positive business climate in the Mobile area.





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Policy Statements

Support fair and equitable tax reform to stimulate business growth and development; ensure that taxes and tax reform are applied fairly, without levying a disproportionate burden on individual segments of Alabama’s economy. Support the review and repeal of unnecessary regulations and seek greater reform, efficiency and accountability in federal, state and local government. In order to preserve jobs and economic growth, remove barriers that can derail energy projects and reduce overly burdensome regulations that create uncertainty and stifle growth. Support existing eminent domain statutes to maintain economic development and quality of life initiatives, such as new manufacturing facilities and industrial/ commercial parks as well as the revitalization of blighted areas, public housing and green space. Support efforts to protect an employer’s right to ensure a safe workplace. Support infrastructure project funding and legislative initiatives that improve the prospect of future economic success, including improvements to the port, airport, rail, water, sewer and industrial site infrastructure as well as strategic transportation infrastructure needs. Seek a fair and level distribution of fuel tax dollars that will allow for adequate funding of critical road and bridge infrastructure projects in southwest Alabama. Support the creation of a state-appointed board of directors to oversee the Alabama Department of Transportation. Advocate for stable sources of adequate funding for all state-directed public education initiatives that will ensure an increase in student achievement and a fundamentally well-rounded education. Continue to strengthen strategic workforce partnerships developed through the Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council Region 9, Mobile County School System and Bishop State Community College to create seamless, demand-driven education and training services that produce a highly prepared and competitive workforce for our region. Support fair trade initiatives and agreements designed to increase access to global markets, including reducing trade and tourism restrictions with Cuba. Reform federal immigration policy to strengthen our national security, including increasing protection of our borders, while providing a supplemental workforce for American businesses and industry; ensure the continuity and expansion of H-1B, H-2B and L-1 visas for professionals and highly-valued workers. Support the efforts of the Alabama Gulf Coast Regional Sewer Supply District to build a more resilient and efficient infrastructure that provides reliable, cost-effective wastewater treatment in support of the long-term needs of the region. Seek to protect the current worker classification of independent contractor as an integral part of the courier and real estate industries. Simplify and reform the 1901 Constitution of the state of Alabama, including the opportunity for counties to choose “home rule” and provide the governor with line-item veto powers. Seek support for legislation that allows for the protection of manufacturers from frivolous plaintiff lawsuits due to noise and/or other minor nuisances. Seek an equitable resolution on the Medicare wage index issue so hospitals in the region will be fairly reimbursed for the services they provide to the Medicare population. The Business View | DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012


Priority Issues for

Mobile Area Chamber Members Each year the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce surveys its members to gauge their support and/or interest on issues that could become part of the Community Legislative Agenda. Here are the percentages of respondents who believe the following areas are very important to business: How important is it for the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce to support employers’ rights to use credit checks, criminal background checks and drug testing before hiring workers? 93% Important or very important How important is it for the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce to partner with government, businesses and other community groups to ensure Baldwin and Mobile counties receive its fair share of settlement funds from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill? 90% Important or very important How important is it for the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce to support offshore oil and gas exploration and production? 80% Important or very important How important is it for the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce to support market-driven insurance coverage to help individuals and businesses find fair and reasonable protection for their homes and business investments? 80% Important Would your business support a new assessment to upgrade the city of Mobile’s storm water infrastructure? 66% Yes Should the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce support state legislation to create charter schools in Alabama? 47% Yes


Need more information on charter schools

Members ranked the following items as important or very important to local business: 1. Streamlining the business permitting process in the city of Mobile 80%

2. Banning indoor smoking in all local businesses in the city of Mobile 61.9% 3. Increasing funding for public safety 77% 4. Increasing access to global markets via trade agreements 78% 5. Increasing reform, efficiency and accountability in local, state and federal government 92.3% 6. Creating a board of directors for the Alabama Department of Transportation 47% 7. Removing federal financial and record-keeping burdens on small businesses 80% 279 survey respondents

14 DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012 | The Business View

2011 Alabama Legislative Directory Mobile/Baldwin Area State Legislators Senator Marc Keahey D - State Senator District 22 P.O. Box 297, Grove Hill, AL 36541 Local: (251) 275-3127 State: (334) 242-7843

Rep. James Buskey D - State Representative District 99 2207 Barretts Lane, Mobile, AL 36617 Local: (251) 457-7928 State: (334) 242-7757

Senator Trip Pittman R - State Senator District 32 P.O. Box 1812, Daphne, AL 36526 Local: (251) 621-3555 State: (334) 242-7897

Rep. Victor Gaston R - State Representative District 100 1136 Hillcrest Crossing West, Mobile, AL 36695 Local: (251) 639-2555 State: (334) 242-7664

Senator Vivian Davis Figures D - State Senator District 33 2054 Clemente Court, Mobile, AL 36617 Local: (251) 457-4567 State: (334) 242-7871

Rep. Jamie Ison R - State Representative District 101 57 Byrnes Blvd., Mobile, AL 36608 Local: (251) 342-6697 State: (334) 242-7711

Senator Rusty Glover R - State Senator District 34 4225 Camellia Circle West, Mobile, AL 36575 Local: (251) 649-7380 State: (334) 242-7886

Rep. Chad Fincher R - State Representative District 102 9695 Alabama Court, Semmes, AL 36575 Local: (251) 649-2722 State: (334) 242-7778

Senator Ben Brooks R - State Senator District 35 4953 Audubon Drive, Mobile, AL 36619 Local: (251) 666-7116 State: (334) 242-7882

Rep. Joseph Mitchell D - State Representative District 103 465 Dexter Ave. Mobile, AL 36604 Local: (251) 473-5020 State: (334) 242-7735

Rep. Harry Shiver R - State Representative District 64 46007 Sunset Drive, Bay Minette, AL 36507 Local: (251) 937-1391 State: (334) 242-7745

Rep. Jim Barton R - State Representative District 104 3824 St. Andrews Dr., Mobile, AL 36693 Local: (251) 666-0112 State: (334) 242-7662

Rep. Elaine Beech D - State Representative District 65 P.O. Box 1256, Chatom, AL 36518 Local: (251) 847-2604 State: (334) 242-7702

Rep. David Sessions R - State Representative District 105 P.O. Box 416, Grand Bay, AL 36541 Local: (251) 865-4275 State: (334) 242-0947

Rep. Alan Baker R - State Representative District 66 P.O. Box 975, Brewton, AL 36427 Local: (251) 867-0244 State: (334) 242-7720

U.S. Congressmen

Rep. Joe Faust R - State Representative District 94 20452 Beecher Street, Fairhope, AL 36532 Local: (251) 928-5445 State: (334) 242-7699 Rep. Steve McMillan R - State Representative District 95 P.O. Box 337, Bay Minette, AL 36507 Local: (251) 937-6048 State: (334) 242-7723 Rep. Randy Davis R - State Representative District 96 6590 Thompson Lane, Daphne, AL 36526 Local: (251) 442-2552 State: (334) 242-7724 Rep. Yvonne Kennedy D - State Representative District 97 1205 Glennon Ave., Mobile, AL 36603 Local: (251) 438-9509 State: (334) 242-7737 Rep. Napoleon Bracy Jr. D - State Representative District 98 238 Montgomery St., Prichard, AL 36660 Local: (251) 622-8118 State: (334) 242-7756

Senator Jeff Sessions R - U.S. Senate 326 Russell Senate Office Bldg. Washington D.C. 20510-0104 State: (202) 224-4124 Local Office: Valerie Day 41 W. I-65 Service Rd. N., Ste. 2300A Mobile AL 36608 Local: (251) 414-3083 Senator Richard Shelby R - U.S. Senate 304 Russell Senate Office Bldg. Washington D.C. 20510-0104 State: (202) 224-5744 Local Office: Tera Johnson 113 St. Joseph St. Mobile AL 36602 Local: (251) 694-4164 Congressman Jo Bonner R - U.S. House of Representatives 2236 Rayburn House Office Bldg. Washington D.C. 20515 State: (202) 225-4913 Local Office: Eliska Morgan 11 North Water St., Suite 15290 Mobile AL 36602 Local: (251) 690-2811

State of Alabama Governor Robert Bentley R - Alabama State Governor 600 Dexter Ave. Montgomery AL 36130 (334) 242-7100 or (334) 353-0004


A standing-room-only crowd joined a number of key officials (pictured below) on hand for the announcement that Carnival Cruise Lines would homeport its funship Holiday in Mobile. Pictured are: Roger Blum, Carnival (left); Leon Maisel, Mobile Area Convention & Visitors Bureau; Win Hallett, Mobile Area Chamber; Mayor Mike Dow, City of Mobile; and Mike Lee, Page & Jones.

Economic Development Focus Continues

Mobile Mayor Sam Jones (far right), Alabama State Port Authority Director Jimmy Lyons (far left) and Gov. Bob Riley (third from left) welcome Erik Johnsen (second from left), president of International Shipholding Corp. to Mobile. ISC moved its headquarters to Mobile in early 2007.

Editor’s Note: In celebration of its long, 175-year history, the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce hired freelance writer Nedra Bloom to pour over the minutes of Chamber board meetings to create a history of the organization that parallels the rich history of our beautiful city. This is the last segment of the “Looking Back” series focusing on the millennium, 2000 through 2011. Watch for “Looking Forward” in the February issue of The Business View.

Photo by Tad Denson,


s the new century arrived, the Mobile Area Chamber staff and volunteers were optimistic about what it would hold for our city and our region.

However, the decade began with

Carnival Cruise Lines

the loss of International Paper and the British steel company Corus Mobile, along with an estimated 3,000 jobs. The community looked to the Chamber to connect employers who needed workers with skilled and qualified employees.

The University of South Alabama (USA) opens the Mitchell Cancer Institute (MCI), the first academic cancer institute along the central Gulf Coast. Pictured are Underwritten by the Chamber’s economic (left to right) USA President Gordon development program, the organization Moulton, Arlene Mitchell, MCI Director Michael Boyd and launched its Center for Workforce Development Abraham Mitchell. In 2006, the (CWD) in 1999. The organization was a key partner Mitchell family of Mobile –– in establishing the Southwest Alabama Workforce brothers Abraham and Mayer Mitchell and Mayer’s wife, Development Council in 2008 to coordinate workforce Arlene made a $22 million efforts into eight southwest Alabama counties. Over gift to the university to the years, the workforce strategies were revised to match support the institute, which the USA board job openings within area industries. The center developed of trustees in turn workforce development programs with the Bay Area named in the Healthcare Coalition targeted to high school students. Worlds family’s honor.

of Opportunity, a career fair aimed at eighth-graders, debuted in 2010 with business partners from all high demand industries. Continued on page 16 The Business View | DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012


Economic Development Focus Continues

As 2001 dawned, Chamber leaders worried about funding – city revenues and county budgets were down, and there was serious talk about proration affecting schools. Bradley Byrne, speaking on behalf of the Alabama State Board of Education, told leaders Mobile schools would be hit especially hard because they were “woefully underfunded locally” – with only 26 percent of funding raised locally compared to a national average of 45 percent. It’s not mismanagement at school district headquarters, Byrne said, but insufficient tax revenue.

of Retirement Systems of Alabama, the confidence he needed to invest $132 million to build the RSA Battle House Tower and Continued from page 15 refurbish the city’s beloved historic Battle To promote Mobile’s growth in technology House Hotel. and skilled employees, the Chamber created Renovations began at another landmark, the Gulf Coast Technology Council in 2000. the GM&O (Gulf, Mobile and Ohio) building, Today, the council thrives, with its members thanks to a $16 million public/private funding student scholarships, participating partnership between Carbone Properties of in regional technology conferences and the Cleveland, Ohio, the city of Mobile and the Chamber’s annual business expo, and supporting Federal Transportation Administration. The the area’s growing technology sector. building opened as a regional transportation For the next few years, Mobile County hub, including buses, trolleys and cab service, public schools faced significant revenue in 2003 and included 43,000 square feet shortfalls. The Chamber dedicated of high-end office space. its staff to address potential solutions That year, the Chamber also adopted through its legislative agenda and a the battle cry of Constitutional advocates new tax. – “Let’s Fight to Rewrite!” the state’s The new millennium’s legislative antiquated 1901 constitution. This issue agenda looked much like those of remains on the Chamber’s legislative previous years – limit the amount agenda today, and is needed to achieve juries could award in tort damages, such important tools as “home rule.” return a greater percentage of gasoline Mobile rode out the economic roller taxes to the counties where they were coaster of 2002 – a year when new and collected, increase funding for the expanded businesses still created 838 Alabama State Docks and boost teacher new jobs and capital investments reached salaries to match national averages. $80 million. Key announcements started Victory for public schools. Mobile Public School Superintendent There was also a new level of attention with O’Reilly Automotive’s plans to open a Harold Dodge addresses the crowd of supporters. to the environment, and the Chamber regional distribution center and hire 200 resolved not to recruit industries that employees. Kvaerner Oilfield Products The Chamber aggressively campaigned do not demonstrate willingness to comply with (now Aker Solutions) breathed new life into for passage of the school-tax referendum, federal and state environmental standards. the former Navy homeport site, leasing 13 and voters passed a $27.8 million increase In the midst of state funding issues, acres to house its umbilical in sales and property taxes. Mobile Area Amendment 1 was proposed – a plan to take manufacturing Chamber President Win Hallett reported its interest from the Alabama Trust Fund (created facility. passage as “the most significant thing that has with oil and gas royalties) to provide $100 happened in our community in years.” million to the Alabama State Docks, $250 A “yes” vote for schools sent the message million for roads and bridges, and $52 million that Mobile was “open for business” and gave for agriculture and forestry. The statewide Dr. David Bronner, chief executive officer measure passed, with Chamber support. Mobile had the potential to compete with New Orleans and Houston as a major container port, according to a Moffat and Nichol Engineers study. The influx of investment made Mobile’s port more competitive and paved the way for the Mobile Container Terminal. Also in 2000, a partnership between Australian shipbuilder Austal and Bender Shipbuilding was announced, with Austal expecting to grow to 1,000 employees in five years. Today, with significant military contracts, Austal USA has more than 2,300 employees and is expecting to hire an additional 2,000 over the next four years. The Chamber recruited $318 million in capital investments and 800 jobs by new and expanding companies in 2000. The Chamber continued the push to rewrite Alabama’s Constitution. A rally was held in Mobile.

16 DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012 | The Business View

to commemorate the city’s 300 years of history and even renovated its atrium, adding a tile tribute to the occasion in the form of a Tricentennial seal. And seeing pleasure boats on the Mobile River was only a taste of what was to come. Later that year, Carnival Cruise Lines hosted eight test cruises, yielding an overwhelming response. The Chamber hosted a cruise ship task force to recruit and subsequently Tall ships sailed up the Mobile River on July 4, 2002. support the cruising industry. cities, including Mobile. The farewell voyage The company’s first official cruise departed was just seven years later in October 2011. from its new homeport in October 2004. Officials are seeking new services for its cruise Carnival announced in 2011 it would pull its Continued on page 19 infrastructure. ships from several U.S.

Mobile turned 300 years old in 2002, and Hallett encouraged members to reflect not over hundreds of years, but over just a decade – to see what could be accomplished by determination. Just five years ago (in 1997), Hallett reminded, there was no Hank Aaron Stadium and the GM&O building hadn’t been renovated. He encouraged Chamber leaders to envision the city five years from now, with the RSA Battle House Tower complete, the Mobile River bridge under way, a maritime center providing public access to the Mobile River, cruise ships docking here and the University of South Alabama Cancer Center accepting patients. The city threw a party to remember for Mobile’s Tricentennial, with the signature event “Sail Mobile: A Salute to the Sea,” featuring a parade of tall ships. The Chamber participated on the steering committee for this and a plethora of other events designed

Mobile’s Big Wins Small- and medium-size businesses are the foundations of Mobile’s economy, just as they are anywhere. But it’s so exciting to reflect on Mobile’s big wins of the past 25 years that have made headlines at home and abroad – wins so big they make economic developers nationwide green with envy, including giants in the international marketplace: ST Aerospace Mobile, Austal, Airbus and ThyssenKrupp. Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce President Win Hallett contemplated the economic wins and losses of the past two decades recently. As the official economic development agency for both the city and county, the Chamber has been involved in these exciting and noteworthy developments in our region – along with the public and private sector partners who have made these successes possible. The investment of Singapore Technologies (now ST Mobile Aerospace) in Mobile was announced a couple of weeks before Hallett took the Chamber’s helm in 1991. He is proud to have witnessed the subsequent announcements – though he’s quick to say that each one represents a major team effort. Austal USA is “a Cinderella story,” says Hallett. Currently Mobile’s largest manufacturing employer thanks to new Navy contracts, Austal chose the banks of the Mobile River for its new home in 1999. With some 200 employees, it was planning to build a superferry for its Hawaiian customer. After the superferry was launched, Austal

pursued U.S. Navy contracts and has won several to build the new Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and the Joint High-Speed Vessel (JHSV). Today the workforce stands at 2,300, and the new contracts are expected to make that total jump closer to 4,000. “Austal has shown tremendous creativity,” says Hallett, likening the Independence-class LCS ships to something out of “Star Wars.” The capability for the 400-foot-plus ship to travel at 45 knots knocks his socks off. “It’s the darndest thing I ever saw,” he says. “Pirates are not going to like this.”

But the Australian firm’s success caught everyone off guard – even Austal, Hallett says. From their roots building luxury yachts and ferries, “they morphed into a formidable competitor in shipbuilding for the Navy,” Hallett says. “There’s not another manufacturer in the world who can do what they do.” EADS, on the other hand, was the prize from a major competition. Mobile had a lot to offer the European plane maker – a 9,600-foot runway and a deepwater port, for example. “But we were competing against many cities with more established aerospace sectors,” Hallett says. Business and government teamed up to make the pitch, and “the people from EADS and Airbus were impressed at our ability to be supportive,” Hallett says. EADS chose Mobile as its North American home to build refueling tankers for the Air Force. And for five years, the city virtually breathed in concert with the European air giant – holding its collective breath during the long bid review process, shouting for joy when EADS was chosen over rival Boeing, huffing with irritation when the selection was overturned, holding its breath again as the Air Force reviewed new bids, and letting out a collective groan of pure exasperation as Boeing finally won.

Continued on page 18

Joe Rella at Austal

The Business View | DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012


Mobile’s Big Wins

Logistically, we’ve got it covered: “You can’t name another city with five Class I railroads, the intersection In the meantime, Airbus built a of two interstates, two airports and a 150-person engineering facility at deepwater port.” Brookley Aeroplex where it designs Workforce-wise, Mobile is also aircraft interiors. Mobile continues on target: “We have a reputation to hope that someday planes will be for a highly productive, dedicated built nearby. workforce with a very strong Perhaps nothing compares to work ethic.” The summer of 2010, Chamber leadership and staff joined a central behemoth ThyssenKrupp, says Hallett. Those two factors put Mobile Gulf Coast delegation of more than 50 people at the Paris Air Show. To date, the German firm has made a While there they met with representatives from EADS North America, on the map. $5 billion investment, the largest private EADS, Airbus and Northrop Grumman. Side trips to Seville and The next step is listening to Madrid, Spain, to tour EADS CASA facilities and to Toulouse, France, development ever in the United States. prospective firms and making sure to visit Airbus’ headquarters also took place. “The impact is still unfolding,” says we in Mobile can cover what they Hallett, as the workforce grows toward its Pursuing the big win took a bit of “high-stakes need – land, power, people, research target of 3,000 direct jobs, with many more in the gambling,” too, Hallett says. The Chamber had to institutions. supply chain. round up $700,000 to cover the costs of attracting And it’s important for economic developers Winning the ThyssenKrupp project pitted the big investment. If it hadn’t come through, to be thinking economic diversity, he says. Mobile against “monumental competition,” he Hallett adds with a wry smile, he probably wouldn’t Now it’s time to make sure we’re also courting recalls. “It’s a perfect example of how Team be president of the Chamber any longer. aerospace, IT and biomedical firms. Mobile pulled together, with leadership from the There were lots of late nights compiling data Foreign direct investment is crucial, he says – governor’s office.” and many meetings with the firm’s site selection “like money from home. The payroll all stays The team approach included the city and team. Local attorneys helped work out the legalities. here and puts buying power into our economy.” county, the Alabama State Port Authority, Mobile And local schools and colleges helped find the And success begets success, he says. Airport Authority, the University of South right answers to the steelmaker’s concerns Like the big box stores at the corners of a Alabama and private entities, many of whom will about workforce development. shopping mall, “the big wins anchor pockets of never be named, he says. And they worked Hallett likens the Chamber’s role to the economy,” says Hallett. They attract other together to solve challenges, from a requirement “choreography,” saying it may not produce a very businesses who supply their raw materials and to purchase mineral rights on the site to the pretty dance, but it keeps everyone organized. use their products. complexities of moving a small cemetery. In the end, “ThyssenKrupp represents a huge The area’s three steel mills are a great Every player had to help pull the load, he says. elevation of Mobile’s persona on the international example. “Steel is heavy. You need to be close “For example, if the port had not been able to scale,” says Hallett. to the mill if you’re going to use it.” handle the steel slabs coming in from Brazil, Will there be more success stories of this “You always have to think about what’s going the deal would have been off.” magnitude? Once again, Hallett stresses that to be important in 20 years and then work “We were the local quarterback,” says Hallett. small- and medium-sized businesses are crucial. backwards to see what you need to do today,” “When they had requests for proposals, we had But Mobile has what it takes to attract major says Hallett. For example, he believes it’s critical to come up with the answers.” And those RFPs industry, he says, ticking off the benefits in a to get a bridge over the Mobile River and to be often entailed big questions with short deadlines. practiced manner. protective of the buildings that represent the city’s history and charm. And if you’re seriously courting business, you need to go see decisionmakers face-to- face, he says. His quick estimate is that he’s been to 60 countries in 15 years of trade missions, including a six-day, 37,500-mile trip to Perth, Australia – almost all of which Elected officials and ThyssenKrupp executives celebrated the groundbreaking of the $5 billion steel facility in November 2007. was spent in transit. Continued from page 17

Pictured from left to right are Mobile County Commissioners Mike Dean and Merceria Ludgood; City of Mobile Mayor Sam Jones; U.S. Senators Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions; U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner; ThyssenKrupp AG CEO Dr. Ekkehard Schulz; Gov. Bob Riley; ThyssenKrupp Steel AG CEO Dr. Karl-Ulrich Koehler; ThyssenKrupp Stainless AG CEO, Juergen Fechter; Mount Vernon Mayor Cleon Bolden; CEO/President of Alabama Power Charles McCrary; and Alabama Development Office Director Neal Wade.

18 DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012 | The Business View

Economic Development Focus Continues Continued from page 17

Celebrating its first five years, Envision, the regional strategic plan for Mobile and Baldwin counties, unveiled a new direction and rebranded itself as Envision Coastal Alabama. Nearly 400 vision partners were involved in the initiative with strategies directed at environment, equity, economy and education. Standing up to taxes detrimental to business, the Chamber spearheaded an effort to convince the Mobile City Council to repeal a 2 percent out-of-county tax. The University of South Alabama’s (USA) Cancer Center was still at the top of the Chamber’s legislative agenda in 2003, this time with a request for $12 million in funding – a bargain, said USA President Gordon Moulton, since it would create 700 direct jobs at double the region’s normal salary rate. The legislature awarded the grant during its session. Today the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute is the first academic cancer research institute in the upper Gulf Coast region, focusing on the discovery and development of new and more effective treatments for cancer. A new economic development campaign in 2004, Partners for Growth (PFG), was underway, with Harris Morrissette, then of Marshall Biscuits, at the helm. This effort tied measureable goals to its plan of raising capital investment, additional jobs and, for the first time, annual salaries. PFG exceeded its $7 million goal, raising $8.1 million. The Chamber’s international trade division, partnering with the Foreign-Trade Zone Corp., won approval to expand Mobile’s ForeignTrade Zone, ending a five-year effort by local officials to increase the zone from 1,035 acres to more than 9,800 acres. These zones reduce costs associated with customs duties and tariffs to American-based businesses engaged in international trade. The trade program continues to earn recognition for its efforts, including an award of achievement from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Presidential “E” award for its role in supporting export growth, Alabama Gov. Bob Riley’s Trade Excellence Award, and just this year, the American Chamber of Commerce Executives’ inaugural Going International Award. Continued on page 20

Award-Winning Mobile 2000 - POLICOM Corp., an independent research firm, ranked Mobile’s economy No. 48, the highest on the Gulf Coast, of 318 metropolitan statistical areas. 2000 – Mobile ranked No. 18 of the national 50 Best Small Metro Areas to Start and Grow a Small Business by Inc. magazine. 2000 – The Chamber adopted the current rings logo, reflecting its role in bringing people and groups together. 2002 - POLICOM Corp. ranked Mobile’s economy No. 61 of 318 metropolitan statistical areas, again the highest on the Gulf Coast.

2006 – Southern Business and Development named Mobile its second “hottest” market in the South for industrial growth. 2006 – The Chamber’s Business Retention and Expansion program earned the Southern Economic Development Council’s top Community Economic Development Award out of 18 Southern states. 2007 – fDi (Foreign Direct Investment) magazine named Mobile a “City of the Future,” the “Most Business Friendly Small North American City of the Future” and runner-up to the “Best Economic Potential Small North American City of the Future.”

2002 – Cognetics, a corporate demographics firm, ranked Mobile No. 17 out of 134 smaller U.S. cities as an Entrepreneurial Hot Spot.

2007 – Southern Business and Development named Mobile No. 10 in the “Top Southern Mid-Markets in the Last 15 Years from 1993 to 2007.”

2004 – Southern Business & Development magazine named the Tensaw Tract in Mount Vernon among the 96 U.S. super sites.

2007 – Expansion Management ranked Mobile No. 27 on its annual list of “America’s Hottest Cities.”

2004 – Logistics Today named Mobile the 28th most logistics-friendly city in the nation and 11th in the Southeast out of 331 metropolitan statistical areas.

2009 – fDi magazine named Mobile among the top five in “Best Cost Effectiveness for Small Cities” in North America.

2005 – Logistics Today named Mobile No. 27 on America’s Top 50 Most Logistics-Friendly Cities list. 2005 – Mobile ranked No. 5 best place to start and grow a business by Entrepreneur magazine on its mid-size cities list. 2005 – Mobile ranked No. 47 on Men’s Journal list of 50 Best Places to Live.

2009 – recognized Mobile as one of the “10 Best Cities for Recession Recovery.” 2009 – Moody’s ranked Mobile County as the No. 1 mid-sized metro area for projected economic growth from 2008-2012. 2011 – Mobile was named “Comeback Kid” by Southern Business and Development.

2006 – Alabama Development Office named Mobile’s economic development team the state’s best.

2011 – Mobile made Top 10 list of “Top Logistics/Distribution and Shipping Hubs in Business Facilities’ 2011 Metro Ranking Report.

2006 – Site Selection magazine named Mobile as one of its Top 10 economic development groups in the country.

2011 – fDi magazine ranked Mobile No. 10 among small cities in its “America’s Cities of the Future 2011/2012.”

2006 – Expansion Management magazine ranked Mobile No. 37 on its list of “America’s 50 Hottest Cities.” The Business View | DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012


Economic Development Focus Continues Continued from page 19 Based on its programs, organizational procedures and its work to improve the community, the Mobile Area Chamber received the U.S. Chamber’s top ranking – five-star accreditation. At the time, only three Chambers in the country had those bragging rights. The Chamber was again accredited with five stars in 2008, with only 43 chambers earning the same distinction. The Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce has been continually accredited by the U.S. Chamber for more than 40 years. Though local government was in terrible financial straits at the outset of 2004, the Chamber backed a tax exemption for Mobile Aerospace Engineering (now ST Aerospace Mobile). Other states offered this exemption. Shipbuilders and aircraft manufacturers were already exempt from the tax, Chamber leaders noted, so aircraft refurbishers should be too. The issue remains on the organization’s agenda. The Chamber forged a partnership with the Washington County Economic Development Initiative in 2004 and later established a Business Retention and Expansion Committee, formalizing the organization’s efforts to help existing companies grow and compete for

expansion projects. And to help move Mobile to the top of more prospect lists, the Chamber launched an international branding campaign with the help of Lewis Communications, a Mobileheadquartered firm. With the tagline, “Mobile Bay – On the Water. On the Move,” the message capitalized on Mobile’s abundant infrastructure and waterfront location. This was also the year the Chamber launched its first local organizational marketing campaign. But its most successful effort to date was the “Strength in Numbers” message featuring local business owners and their personal benefit from Chamber membership, which launched in 2007 and ran through 2011. In his letter to the membership in the 2005 annual report, then-Chamber Board Chairman Morrissette wrote after a string of economic development announcements representing $633.8 million in capital STRENGTH IN NUMBERS a cut above the rest.

goals and is Paula Jones has business of the determined to take advantage Her Chamber’s opportunities. being membership goes beyond “in style” – she wants rst-hand to earn information and a chance Chamber 2,500 referrals. As one of , resources members, the networking help grow her and exposure she enjoys – and that business and make it thrive the rest. puts her shop a cut above

Paula Jones Paula’s Hair Unlimited 5 employees Member Since 2006

The Business of Mobile is

our Business. 251.433.6951

investments and 1,300 new jobs averaging a $45,000 annual salary: “This isn’t ‘our potential,’ it’s the beginning of our new reality.” What had him so optimistic? Two dozen companies announced additional investments and jobs, loans totaling $1 million were granted by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a result of a Chamber-hosted clinic, additional investment came to expand the Alabama State Docks, and more. In July 2005 Mobile started its six-year quest to build airplanes. EADS North America selected Mobile as the site for building its proposed Air Force aerial refueling tankers. EADS liked Mobile’s site, transportation, port, labor skills, training and its partnership and vision, according to Sam Adcock, the company’s senior vice president of government relations. The Air Force awarded the contract to EADS/Northrop Grumman in 2008. After the tanker contract win was protested, EADS entered the next competition solo in 2010. And though the contract was awarded to the competition, Allen McArtor, chairman of Airbus Americas, reassured Chamber officials, “Mobile won the competition on merit,” adding “the Brookley site is one of the best of its kind in the country.”

International Shipholding Seeks Shelter in Mobile International Shipholding Corp. (ISC) moved to Mobile in 2006, bringing its headquarters staff here. Fifteen more people came with ISC’s specialty rail system, CG Railway, a company that ferries loaded rail cars across the Gulf to Mexico, trimming days from the overland route. ISC occupies two floors of the city’s landmark RSA Battle House Tower on Water Street. “Our company, unfortunately, is another victim of Hurricane Katrina,” said president Erik Johnsen at the time of the move. Before the storm, CG Railway loaded its Mexico-bound railcars at the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet (MR-GO). But after the storm, the MR-GO was closed to deep-draft shipping and Johnsen said his firm “could find no other site in Louisiana for our specialized rail-ferry service.” The Alabama State Port Authority quickly agreed to build a unique, double-decker loading facility for CG Railway and construction started the day after ISC announced its moving

plans. Using the port’s new loader, cars can be loaded four at a time to the lower ship deck and six at a time to the upper deck. The service provides four-day shipping from Mobile to Coatzacoalcos, Mexico. The setup boosted the port’s capacity to handle railcars by 20,000 a year. Then-Gov. Bob Riley described ISC’s move to Mobile as an exciting moment for the state docks. “This is Alabama’s port, and when it grows it benefits our entire state,” he said. “Alabama’s economy is on a roll, and this will help create an even stronger economy for the people of this state.” Mobile was a part of the company well before the move. One of its principal subsidiaries, Waterman Steamship Corp., was founded in Mobile in 1919 by John B. Waterman, Walter Bellingrath, T.M. Stevens and C.W. Hempstead. Starting with just one ship, The Eastern Sun, Waterman grew into one of the largest shipping companies in the nation by the end of World War II, with its own shipbuilding plant

20 DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012 | The Business View

– Gulf Shipbuilding Corp. – in Chickasaw. Shortly after the war, the company even owned a fledgling airline, but it closed not long after it opened. The headquarters at 61 St. Joseph St. in downtown Mobile carried the Waterman name when it was built, then the Roberts name for the last chairman of the steamship company. It’s now the Wells Fargo bank building, and its trademark globe adorns the entryway of the University of South Alabama Mitchell Center. The Waterman firm was sold to a securities company in the 1950s. Now a subsidiary of ISC, Waterman is a U.S. flag-shipping company offering direct service between Gulf ports and the Middle East, and between West Coast ports and the Far East. Founded in 1947 as Central Gulf Steamship Corp., ISC was created as a holding company in 1978. The firm acquired Waterman in 1989 and went public in 1991. ISC won the Governor’s Trade Excellence Award in 2008.

Photo by Thigpen Photography

Pinto Island Terminal, built by the Alabama State Port Authority, opened in December 2010 to support ThyssenKrupp Steel USA and ThyssenKrupp Stainless USA. The mega-million dollar terminal also supports other industry on-loading and off-loading raw matrials to be transported to barges.

The new year of 2006 started with a focus on broadening Mobile’s industrial base to include aerospace, distribution, bio-tech, high-tech and maritime. The Chamber’s economic development programs were again first in the state and in the Top 10 in the country, with wins like EADS/ Northrop Grumman, APM Terminals, Bender Shipbuilding, Global Tel*Link, Crown Products and Aker Kvaerner Subsea announcing $113 million in projects. Three months later, International Shipholding Co. announced plans to move its headquarters from New Orleans, with its subsidiary, CG Railroad, creating a 9 percent increase in traffic at the docks. The year-end economic statistics totaled $230 million in capital investment and 1,316 jobs. A boost to the Chamber’s small business efforts specifically targeting ethnic minorityowned companies also came in 2006, when the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MDBA) chose Mobile as its Gulf Coast location. The Chamber manages the program and is responsible for assisting local, state and regional-based companies, helping them spur job growth. Economic development was even more tantalizing at the outset of 2007, with Berg Steel planning a pipe facility at the old International Paper site – a $75 million investment with 100 employees. And then, Mobile won the enormous $5 billion ThyssenKrupp steel project. It was dubbed the largest private investment in the country’s history, bringing 29,000 jobs during the construction phase and announcing 2,700 permanent jobs. In 2008, Chamber leaders felt Mobile was in a good position. The organization’s membership grew to more than 2,400; the Mobile Container

As the recession lingered into 2010, there were still pockets of growth at local companies such as Kimberly Clark and Aker Solutions. SSAB broke ground on a significant expansion and ThyssenKrupp Steel and Stainless held its grand opening. Members of the Chamber’s one-year-old oil and gas taskforce, Offshore Alabama, were quoted in numerous publications covering the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that interrupted Gulf Coast tourism and tested the solvency of a number of local businesses in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. As the calendar opened on the Chamber’s 175th year in 2011, good news continued to arrive: an expansion contract was awarded to run a MBDA Minority Business Center along the Gulf Coast; TK suppliers and vendors are beginning to make their own economic development expansions to be closer to this mega-steel giant; Austal is rolling out a new breed of U.S. Navy warships; and fDi magazine (Foreign Direct Investment, published by the Financial Times) ranked Mobile No. 10 among small cities in its first-ever ranking of America’s Cities of the Future. While the economy is debating whether it will succumb to a double-dip recession, it’s obvious there is promise in Mobile’s future with a strongly diverse list of businesses and industries. With confidence of vision and leadership for the next 175 years, the Mobile Area Chamber celebrates its past and eagerly anticipates an even greater future.

Terminal became operational; private and public investors pledged $10.4 million in phase II of the Chamber’s economic development campaign, Partners for Growth; named Mobile the No. 1 Small Business Metro Area on its Best Places list of America’s Fastest Growing Metros; and USA’s much-anticipated, state-of-the-art Mitchell Cancer Institute opened its doors as the first academic research and cancer treatment center on the central Gulf Coast. At the close of 2008, Bill Sisson, the Chamber’s vice-president of economic development, quoted experts from the University of South Alabama saying “Mobile’s economy is better today than at anytime in the city’s history.” Announcements at a number of area shipbuilders and manufacturers that year resulted in 1,649 new jobs and $788.2 million in capital investment. But the economic bubble burst in September. At the Chamber’s October board meeting, U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner told Chamber leaders while the national and international economies “are facing extreme challenges, southwest Alabama’s economy seems to be faring better than most. As the country faces the most serious economic crisis of our lifetime, the Mobile region is positioned to grow and prosper.” By 2009, the national economic picture was bleak. Ryla, a new inbound call center/ datacenter hiring 1,200 full-time employees in Saraland, was one of the year’s largest economic development projects in the state. And the city’s optimistic business outlook, despite a down economy, was recognized in the pages of The Economist. With ThyssenKrupp underway, Austal’s In 2006 the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority growth and a new Mobile Container Business Center opened in Mobile. Terminal, it was easy to see why. The Business View | DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012




Wilkins Miller Hieronymus LLC Certified Public Accountants+Advisors

Front row (from left to right): W. Allen Carroll Jr.; Emmett Cameron; L. Page Stalcup III; Patricia M. Bessonen; Mark E. Hieronymus; Kenneth E. Litton Jr.; and Claude M. Warren IV. Second row (from left to right): Peter D’Olive; Michael J. Kintz; John J. Sheldon; Frank D. Brown; and John W. Jeffries. Not pictured: Brian M. Blakeney and George A. Hieronymus Jr.

Company Officials: W. Allen

Carroll Jr., Patricia M. Bessonen, Brian M. Blakeney, Frank D. Brown, Peter D’Olive, Mark E. Hieronymus, John W. Jeffries, Michael J. Kintz, John J. Sheldon, L. Page Stalcup III, Claude M. Warren IV, Emmett Cameron, George A. Hieronymus Jr., and Kenneth E. Litton Jr. Years in Business: 45-plus Brief Company Description:

Partners for Growth (PFG) is the Mobile Area Chamber’s long-term economic and community development program. For more information, contact Shelly Mattingly, the Chamber’s investor relations coordinator, at 431-8655 or

Wilkins Miller Hieronymus LLC (WMH) is one of the largest accounting and advisory firms in the Mobile Bay region. For more than 45 years, the firm’s professionals have provided audit, accounting, tax and advisory services to clients along the Gulf Coast. Over the last several years its services have expanded to include wealth management and information technologies. The firm’s clients represent a cross-section of many different industries and organizations in the region.

22 DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012 | The Business View

Why are you located in Mobile?

“The firm was founded by partners, all from Mobile, who wanted to create a traditional accounting and advisory firm highly focused on the needs of its clients in the region,” said Carroll. “They envisioned a vibrant and growing Mobile Bay region and wanted to support its business community in the areas of audit, accounting, tax and other niche practice areas. The firm and its partners continue this mission and are passionate in seeing our region grow and prosper. The partners and many others in the firm are active in the community by serving on the boards of many nonprofit organizations.” Why do you support the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce’s Partners for Growth initiative?

“Our firm has been a longtime supporter of the Chamber, and we have seen firsthand how hard our Chamber leadership works to promote the region and grow our local economy,” said Carroll. “Supporting

the Partners for Growth Initiative provides the Chamber with greater resources to expand their efforts, which helps our entire community.” What do you see as Mobile’s greatest potential? “We believe the

Mobile Bay region continues to be well positioned for growth,” said Carroll. “We have strong transportation infrastructure, including a busy and growing port, rail, air and interstate highway access. This is a great advantage in recruiting new businesses to the area. We also have the benefit of great schools, first-class healthcare, a hard-working labor force and almost unlimited recreational opportunities. As businesses are exposed to all we have to offer, we believe the Mobile Bay region’s future is bright.” Length of Chamber Membership: Since 1975

2012 Board of DIRECTORS

Mobile Area Chamber 2012 Leadership From taking a stand on legislative issues to supporting new businesses moving here, the Mobile Area Chamber’s board of directors serves as the organization’s governing and policy-making body. The board is comprised of 45 members representing a cross-section of the business community – 39 men and six women. Approximately 60 percent of the companies represented on the board have fewer than 101 employees; 12 employ 1-10 individuals; five employ 11-25; six employ 26-50; four employ 51-100; and 18 employ more than 100. Of those companies represented on the board, five are listed as minority-owned, and six are listed as woman-owned. On the following pages are profiles of the Chamber’s 2011 board members. The names of new board members are in green.

Michael E. Pierce

2012 Board Chair Pierce is chairman of Commonwealth National Bank and executive director of the MLK Avenue Redevelopment Corp. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Tulane University, where he excelled as a student-athlete. He joined the National Football League’s Philadelphia Eagles as a free agent in 1990. Pierce is a member of the 100 Black Men of Greater Mobile and the Chamber’s board of advisors, and serves on the boards of the Mobile Arts & Sports Association and the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center. Pierce is past chairman of the Senior Bowl Hall of Fame committee and past president of the Rotary Club of Mobile. He is also founding pastor of New Life Ministries.

Denotes Partners for Growth investors.

Dr. Ulrich Albrecht-Frueh

G. Robert Baker Jr.

Albrecht-Frueh is president and chief executive officer of ThyssenKrupp Stainless USA. Prior to his current appointment, he served on the initial site team that chose Mobile for TK’s USA plant, and held a variety of engineering and senior management positions within ThyssenKrupp Nirosta in Krefeld, Germany. Albrecht-Frueh received a degree in mechanical engineering and a PhD from the Technical University of Aachen, Germany. He is a member of the Chamber’s board of advisors.

Baker is senior vice president and South Alabama region president for Hancock Bank and Whitney Bank. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Rhodes College, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and received the National Football Foundation Scholar Athlete Award. He earned a master’s of business administration from Tulane University in 1994. Baker received Whitney’s Golden Clock Award for Management Excellence in 2001. He is active with the United Way of Southwest Alabama, the Rotary Club of Mobile Sunrise, Mobile Arts and Sports Association and the Mobile Touchdown Club. Baker is a member of the Chamber’s board of advisors.

Michael Banks

Frank McKinley (Kinley) Bell III Raymond L. Bell Jr.

Banks is president of B & C Trucking LLC. Born in Tampa, Fla., he grew up in Mobile. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of South Alabama and served as a quality manager working for KBR during Operation Iraq Freedom.

Bell is president of Marine Rigging Inc., a company he founded in 1994. A native Mobilian, Bell graduated from The University of Alabama with a degree in marketing and has worked in the industrial marine business since that time. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Mobile, the Rotary Children’s Foundation, Alabama Forestry Owners Association and the Chamber’s board of advisors and is a Dauphin Island Sea Lab Foundation trustee. In addition, he supports several state and local wildlife conservation organizations.

Bell is managing partner for Bell Law Firm PC. He practices civil litigation and criminal law, and is a registered mediator with the State of Alabama Center for Dispute Resolution. He also serves as a special district court judge in the 13th Judicial Circuit for the State of Alabama, and as a criminal justice act panel attorney in the United States Court for the Southern District of Alabama. He graduated from the University of Montevallo and the Jones School of Law. He is a member of the Mobile and Vernon C. Crawford Bar Associations. Bell is a past chair, vice chair and member of the State of Alabama Ethics Commission. He works with multiple agencies and boards, and as a coach.

Leigh Ward Breal

K.W. Michael Chambers

Thomas S. Damson

Breal is owner of Ward International Trucks LLC, with dealerships with Mobile, Pensacola and Tallahassee, Fla. She graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1995 and joined the company’s service department, later moving into sales. In 2000 and 2004, Breal won International’s Diamond Club in truck sales. In 2005, she graduated from the National Automobile Dealers Association NADA/ATD Dealer Candidate Academy. Breal serves on the finance committee for the Alabama Trucking Association and is a member of the University of Southern Mississippi Athletic Foundation board of directors.

Chambers is president and chief executive officer of Swift Biotech. He received bachelor’s and law degrees from The University of Alabama and earned a PhD from the University of Geneva in Switzerland. He was a Rotary Ambassadorial Fellow and a Swiss Confederation Fellow. Chambers helped establish InnoRx Pharmaceuticals in 1999, where he served as president and CEO until negotiating its sale and merger into SurModics in 2005. He serves on the boards of ProUroCare in Minnesota, InQ Biosystems in Huntsville and the Biotechnology Association of Alabama. Previously he served on the governor’s team to create the Alabama Science & Technology Roadmap. Chambers is of counsel to the law firm of Cabaniss Johnston, and represents the firm on the Chamber’s board of advisors.

Damson is president of Long’s Human Resource Services. He graduated from The University of Alabama in 1969 and served a tour of duty in Vietnam as an Army helicopter pilot. Damson serves on the executive committee of Temporary Service Insurance Limited and Captive Investors Fund, both of the Cayman Islands. He has served on the boards of the Boys and Girls Club, Boy Scouts, United Way of Southwest Alabama, Better Business Bureau, and currently serves with Partners for Environmental Progress. Damson is a member of the Rotary Club of Mobile Sunrise and the Chamber’s board of advisors.

The Business View | DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012


2012 Board of DIRECTORS

Joel T. Daves IV

Walter S.F. Dickerson

Larry Charles Dorsey

Daves is South Alabama Area President for Regions Financial Corp. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of the South, and received a law degree from Stetson University College of Law in St. Petersburg, Fla. He graduated with distinction from the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at the University of Delaware. Daves serves on the boards of Infirmary Health Systems, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Alabama State Council on the Arts and United Way of Southwest Alabama. He served in the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserve, retiring as a commander. Daves is a member of the Chamber’s board of advisors.

Dickerson is president of Diversified Emergency Management Association Inc., and the retired executive director of the Mobile County Emergency Management Agency/Region I and Homeland Security director. He retired from the Marine Corps after 22 years of service. Dickerson is past president of Alabama Association of Emergency Managers and the Gulf Coast Chapter of Society for Logistics Engineers. He is a member of the International Association of Emergency Managers and the Port City Chapter of Blacks in Government. Dickerson is involved in numerous community activities.

Dorsey is president and chief executive officer of Dorsey & Dorsey Engineering Inc. He earned a bachelor’s degree from The University of Alabama after completing preengineering studies at Troy University. Dorsey is a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers, American Society of Civil Engineers and Society of America Military Engineers, and is registered as a professional engineer in Alabama. During his career, Dorsey has worked with the Alabama Department of Transportation, the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Dorsey is also an ordained minister and serves as pastor of the Jesus the Light of Love Church in Mobile.

Hon. Victor Gaston

Winthrop M. Hallett III

J. Anderson “Andy” Halligan

Gaston is speaker pro tempore of the Alabama House of Representatives. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi, a master’s degree from the University of South Alabama and a doctorate in education from Auburn University. Gaston serves on the House Rules, Ways and Means, General Fund, Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure and Mobile County Legislative committees. He also serves on the Legislative Council, United States Energy Council, and is chairman of the Permanent Oil and Gas Study committee. He serves on the boards of Volunteers of America, Penelope House, Home of Grace for Women, 4-H Club Foundation, AltaPointe and the Mobile ARC.

Hallett is president of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Vanderbilt University. He is also a graduate of Leadership Alabama. Hallett is chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100 and a member of the U.S. Chamber board of directors. He is past chair of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) Metropolitan Cities Council and serves on the boards of the Business Council of Alabama, ACCE and the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science Foundation.

Halligan is Johnson Development Associates’ (JDA) market leader for Alabama and is responsible for strategic planning and leasing of development projects for JDA’s Alabama and Central Gulf area portfolio. He joined JDA in 2006 and runs its Mobile office. Prior to joining JDA, he was a commercial credit analyst with SCBT Financial Corp. in Columbia, S.C. Halligan graduated with honors from Wofford College with a bachelor’s degree in finance. He is a member of the Chamber’s board of advisors.

Perry Hand

Brian L. Harold

Michael E. Hicks Jr.

Hand is president and chief executive officer of Volkert Inc. He earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Auburn University and joined David Volkert & Associates. Hand founded and managed his own engineering and surveying company from 1970 until 1989, when he became Alabama’s secretary of state. He later served as Alabama highway director, and also served two terms in the Alabama State Senate. Hand returned to Volkert in 1993, and was named to his present post in May 2011. Hand is a licensed professional engineer and was recently elected to the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame. He is member of the Chamber’s board of advisors.

Harold is director of APM Terminals - Mobile Container Terminal LLC. He graduated from West Virginia University with a degree in finance. During his nine years with the A.P. Moeller Maersk Group, he spent more than two years working in intermodal transportation in Prague, Czech Republic. Before arriving in Mobile, he was director of terminal operations for APM Terminals in the port of New York/New Jersey. Harold is a member of the Chamber’s board of advisors.

Hicks is president and chief executive officer of Hixardt Technologies Inc. He received a bachelor’s degree in computers and information systems from Florida A&M University. He is a retired U.S. Navy aviator who flew electronic warfare missions during Desert Shield/Storm and came to the Gulf Coast as a flight instructor at Training Air Wing Five. His first commercial business, Pensacola Internet, grew to become the second largest ISP in Pensacola. In 1998, he sold Pensacola Internet. In 2001, he founded Hixardt Technologies, one of Florida’s Grow Florida 50 fastest-growing companies to watch. Hicks is a member of the Chamber’s board of advisors.

Robert B. Keyser

Dr. Russ Lea

Frank J. Lott III

Keyser is federal program manager and chief operating officer of Thompson Engineering Inc. He retired in 2004 after 26 years of active duty as an Army engineer officer, having served as commander of the Mobile and Philadelphia districts, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Keyser earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the U.S. Military Academy, a master’s in engineering (construction management) from the University of Florida and a master’s in national resource strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He is a member of the city of Fairhope recreation board and a volunteer soccer coach.

Lea is vice president for research at the University of South Alabama (USA). After graduating with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington, he went on to earn doctorate degrees from Syracuse University and from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Lea is actively involved in technology development projects and collaborations in Canada, Mexico, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Austria, Ireland and South Africa. An author and editor, he has also consulted on environmental issues in Thailand, China and Vietnam.

Lott is president of Heritage Homes of Mobile Inc., a familyowned, Mobile-based business. Heritage Homes is a scatter lot builder of presold homes in 26 counties throughout Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, with offices in Mobile, Pensacola, Gulfport and Tuscaloosa. Lott graduated from The University of Alabama with a degree in finance. He currently serves on the boards of the Home Builder’s Association of Metro Mobile, Goodwill Easter Seals and the Chamber’s board of advisors.

24 DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012 | The Business View

2012 Board of DIRECTORS

W. Hunter Lyons Jr.

Elliott B. Maisel

Keith Manwaring

Lyons is president of Gulf City Body and Trailer Works Inc. He graduated from the Virginia Military Institute with a bachelor’s degree in economics. Lyons is a member of the Alabama Truckers Association, Mobile and Baldwin counties’ Road Builders Associations, National Truck Equipment Association, the Coastal Conservation Association and the Alabama Wildlife Association. He is a member of the boards of Thomas Hospital Foundation and Point Clear Charities.

Maisel is chairman of Gulf Distributing Holdings LLC. He earned a bachelor’s degree from The University of Alabama in 1976. Maisel is a member of the board of directors of the Congregation Ahavas Chesed, the Country Club of Mobile and Elk Creek Ranch. Maisel has served on the boards of Alabama A&M University, Mobile Jewish Welfare Fund, American Heart Association, The Salvation Army, Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center, Prichard Economic and Community Development Corp., and the University of South Alabama Athletic Department’s President’s Club. Maisel is a member of the Chamber’s board of advisors.

Manwaring is district director of LifeSouth Community Blood Centers Inc. A native of South Africa, he originally came to Mobile from Australia to work with Integrity Media. He retired as president of Integrity International Group after 15 years overseeing its global expansion and operations in more than 160 countries. Manwaring majored in financial management, and later studied international contract negotiations and conflict resolution at Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program. Manwaring is a member of the Chamber’s board of advisors.

Caroline C. McCarthy

James B. Newman

McCarthy is an attorney with Phelps Dunbar where she is involved in firm management regionally and practices insurance coverage and insurance counseling. McCarthy received a bachelor’s degree from Southern Methodist University and a law degree from The University of Alabama. She is listed in The Best Lawyers in America and top 25 women lawyers by Alabama Super Lawyers. McCarthy serves on the board of directors for the Coastal Alabama Leadership Council and the board of trustees for Dauphin Way United Methodist Church. She is also a sustaining member of The Junior League of Mobile.

Newman is managing partner with Helmsing Leach Herlong Newman and Rouse. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and served in the U.S. Navy before returning to Cumberland School of Law, where he earned a law degree with high honors. Newman is a member of the Mobile and American Bar Associations and a member of the Paul W. Brock Chapter of the American Inns of Court. He is past chancellor of the Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast, past chairman of the Wilmer Hall board of directors, past chairman of the Mobile Mental Health Center board and chairman of the Cawthon Foundation.

Ricky R. Mathews Mathews is president/publisher of the Press-Register and the Mississippi Press. He also serves as president of Advance Alabama/ Mississippi and oversees the Birmingham News and the Huntsville Times. He is a founding member of the Coastal Alabama Leadership Council and serves as its chairman. After completing advanced emergency medical technician training at The University of Alabama in Birmingham, he graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a master’s in business administration and completed the Leadership Program at Northwestern University’s Media Management Center. Mathews led the Sun Herald of Biloxi, Miss., to a Pulitzer Prize in 2006. Mathews is a member of the Chamber’s board of advisors.


LOWERING WATER TEMPS A LITTLE CAN SAVE A LOT. Simple maintenance for better efficiency.

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Adjusting the temperature on your water heater can keep your money from going down the drain. If your house is anything like mine, you probably go through a lot of hot water. Think about it. Hot showers, laundry, dishwashing. No wonder the water heater is the second-largest energy user in your home. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to use hot water more efficiently. First, check the temperature on your water heater. If it’s 140 degrees or higher, turn it down. For every 10 degrees you lower your water heater, you can save 3%–5% in energy costs. However, you may

not want to go any lower than 120 degrees because you want the water to be hot enough to kill bacteria in your dishwasher. Also, place an insulating blanket around your electric water heater to decrease heat loss from the surrounding air. Try these helpful water heating tips and you should be able to keep your energy bills under control. For more water heating tips, visit

Draining a quart of water from your water tank every three months removes residue build-up and can help your water heater work better. © 2011 Alabama Power Company

POWI-2566 Water Temp.indd 1

The Business View | DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 201211:52 AM 25 10/4/11

2012 Board of DIRECTORS

William W. Oppenheimer

Dean N. Parker Jr.

Jacquitta Powell-Green

Oppenheimer is president of Enveloc Inc. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale University in 1975. Oppenheimer is a Paul Harris Fellow and past president of the Mobile Rotary Club and the Family Counseling Center. He has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, Dumas Wesley Community Center, Coastal Conservation Association and the National Wild Turkey Federation, and has served as a trustee of The Nature Conservancy in Alabama. Oppenheimer is a member of the Chamber’s board of advisors.

Parker is president and chief executive officer of Callis Communications. He earned a two-concentration business major in management and finance from Liberty University. Parker serves as chairman of development for the University of Mobile board of directors, a UM trustee, and vice chairman of the IT network for the Young Presidents Organization. He is also a board member of the Nations of Coaches, Coastal Conservation Association, the Jaguar Athletic Fund at the University of South Alabama and the Chamber’s board of advisors.

Powell-Green is compliance officer for Northside Check Exchange Inc. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Alabama A&M University and a master’s of business administration from Spring Hill College. She is vice chair of Commonwealth National Bank’s audit committee, past president of the Dearborn YMCA, a Penelope House board member and a member of Delta Sigma Theta and the Greater Mobile chapter of The Links Inc. Powell-Green is a graduate of Leadership Mobile.

Marc Quenneville

Joseph J. Rella

Victor Rhoades

Quenneville is vice president of Aker Solutions Umbilicals North America Region. A native of Ontario, Canada, he started his career as a chemist for Courtaulds Canada Ltd. He received his formal education in chemistry from St. Lawrence College/ Ottawa University. Quenneville joined Aker Solutions as part of the startup team for its new facility in Mobile and soon became vice president of operations. After a two-year temporary transfer to Aker Solutions’ corporate headquarters in Oslo, Norway, he returned to Mobile to lead the local facility. Quenneville is a member of the Chamber’s board of advisors.

Rella is president and chief operating officer for Austal USA’s Mobile shipyard. Previously he led the sales and marketing team of Jeffboat LLC in Indiana as vice president. Rella began his maritime career in the U.S. Navy, graduating from the Navy’s Nuclear Power Program. He received his appointment to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, N.Y., and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marine engineering systems. He also earned a master’s of business administration from Spring Hill College. Rella has more than 10 years of experience in shipyards on the Gulf Coast, including Atlantic Marine in Mobile and Ingalls in Pascagoula. Rella is a member of the Chamber’s board of advisors.

Rhoades is director for BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards, Mobile division. He was previously the director of operations for Hawaii Shipyards, overseeing all programs including interface with the Navy. Rhoades is an experienced privatesector DDG-51 class program manager who has spent more than 30 years working in ship repair, modernization and construction in both the commercial and military marine industries. Following his retirement as a U.S. Navy commander, he worked for Southwest Marine and QED Systems before joining BAE Systems in 2006.



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2012 Board of DIRECTORS

T. Lee Robinson Jr.

Rev. Richard P. Salmi SJ

Jeanne Sanborn

Robinson is president of OHC Inc., a family-owned import/export hardwood lumber manufacturer. He graduated from Washington & Lee University with a bachelor’s degree in economics, and also graduated from Hardwood Lumber Inspection School. He served in the U.S. Army, earning the rank of captain, and served in Operation Desert Shield. Robinson is on the board of directors of International Shipholding Corp. and is a director with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, New Orleans Branch.

Salmi is president of Spring Hill College. Prior to his appointment, Salmi served as vice president for student affairs at Loyola University Chicago. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Salmi entered the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 1973. He holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Ohio University, a master’s in speech communications from Bowling Green State University, a master’s of divinity degree from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, and a doctorate degree in higher education administration from Boston College. Salmi serves on the board of trustees at Le Moyne College and at Loyola University New Orleans. He is a member of the Chamber’s board of advisors.

Sanborn is president and owner of The Complete Skin Care Center. She graduated from Stephens College in Columbia, Mo., and the Academy of Interior Design in Chicago. Sanborn is president of the board of directors of the Mobile chapter of the American Cancer Society and a member of the St. Jude Tennis Tournament board and The Junior League of Mobile.

R. Michael Saxon

Travis Short

William B. Sisson

Saxon is Mobile Division vice president for Alabama Power Co. He received a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of West Florida, and a master’s of business administration from Troy University. In 2003, he was named region manager of Georgia Power, and in 2005 became Southeast Division vice president for Alabama Power. Saxon is on the United Way of Southwest Alabama board of trustees and the Chamber’s board of advisors. He serves on the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science Foundation, the industrial advisory board for the University of South Alabama, Gulf Quest board of trustees and Regions Bank South Alabama area advisory board.

Short is president of Horizon Shipbuilding Inc. He is a graduate of the University of South Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Short has 25 years of experience in the marine industry and has held positions including plant manager, operations manager and production manager. He serves on the board of directors of the Bayou La Batre Area Chamber of Commerce and chairs the advisory council of the Alabama Industrial Development Training’s Maritime Training Center.

Sisson is executive director of the Mobile Airport Authority. He earned a bachelor’s of business administration from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., and a master’s of business administration from The University of Alabama. He also holds a diploma from the Institutes for Organization Management and is a graduate of Leadership Mobile and Leadership Alabama. He serves on the boards of the Mobile Symphony Orchestra and UMS-Wright School, and serves as treasurer of United Way of Southwest Alabama and the Aviation Council of Alabama and is a member of the Chamber’s board of advisors.

Russ Spahr

Jeffery M. St. Clair

Beth W. Stafford

Spahr is Mobile Bay operations superintendent for ExxonMobil Production Co. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Southern Methodist University and a master’s of business administration from Rice University. He has worked for ExxonMobil for nearly 20 years, and his current assignment working with the assets in Mobile Bay is his third time in the past decade. Spahr serves on The University of Alabama geoscience advisory board, Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center board of trustees and Offshore Alabama.

St. Clair is president and chief executive officer of Springhill Medical Center. He earned a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management from The University of Alabama and a master’s degree in health administration from Kennedy-Western University. He is a member of the board of directors of Springhill Medical Center, Gulf Coast Surgical Partners, Lifelines Family Counseling Center and the American Heart Association. He is preceptor for The University of Alabama at Birmingham master’s of science in health administration program and a member of the Alabama Healthcare Quality Task Force, and has twice served as president of Leadership Mobile. St. Clair is a member of the Chamber’s board of advisors.

Stafford is president and owner of Stafford & Associates Inc. She graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in mass communications. She has served in a variety of offices for nonprofits, community and civic organizations. Stafford is a member of the Rotary Club of Mobile and a Paul Harris Fellow. She is a member of the Public Relations Council of Alabama, the Southern Public Relations Federation and the American Advertising Federation.

Thomas M. Taul III

Mary Gormandy White

Taul is chief executive officer and chairman of Merchants Transfer Co. He graduated from The University of Alabama and the Cumberland School of Law, and practiced law in Mobile until joining Merchants Transfer in 1988. His volunteer activities include Outback of Mobile and his church. Taul is a member of the Chamber’s board of advisors.

White is co-founder of Mobile Technical Institute and MTI Business Solutions. She is the author of 101 Human Resource Management Tips and 101 Successful PR Campaign Tips in the LifeTips book series. White oversees MTI’s corporate training and continuing education division and also provides consulting to a variety of human resources and public relations clients throughout the U.S. She holds graduate and undergraduate degrees in communication, and is actively involved with the Mobile Society for Human Resource Management and The Junior League of Mobile. White also works as a community leader and social networking specialist for The Business View | DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012



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28 DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012 | The Business View

Chamber@work Mayor Speaks to Growth Alliance Task Force Mayor Sam Jones visited the August meeting of the Growth Alliance Task Force. Speaking to attendees, Jones asked that more emphasis be put on educating entrepreneurs on marketing strategies needed to help grow and expand their businesses. Also Gregg W. Gustafson, chief executive of the Mobile Symphony, discussed the Symphony’s upcoming events and its plans to increase community involvement. Advocating for Alabama’s Offshore Leases Steve Russell, director of business retention and expansion for the Chamber, made a presentation to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement at a hearing held in Mobile. Russell, speaking on behalf of the Chamber and Offshore Alabama, advocated for the continuation of the process of offshore leasing in the Gulf of Mexico to boost economic growth and to continue developing America’s natural energy resources.

Seminar Helps Small Business Owners The Chamber’s small business development department hosted a half-day financial seminar on business financing attended by 25 Chamber members. Experts from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Community Enterprise Investments, Southlake Capital, South Alabama Regional Planning Commission and Seedco Financial discussed traditional avenues available for funding, alternative financing options, how to approach lenders, and ways to protect business credit and the truth about grants. Chamber Continues Lunch and Learn Sessions Lunch and Learn sessions feature topics important to small business owners. The latest seminar was “Plan, Prepare, Recover - How to Handle Disaster and Crisis,” designed to help small business owners develop a plan for disaster preparedness, put the plan in place and quickly get back to business after a disaster. Representatives from Emergency Management Agency, Red Cross Disaster Services and the U.S. Small

Business Administration spoke, and Chamber members Sheila DeanRosenbohm of International Shipholding Corp. and Misti Grantham of Kingdom Coach LLC gave personal testimonies of their companies’ recovery from crisis situations.

the economic impact of the industry in the Southeast and help aerospace companies take advantage of growth in an era of budget cuts and economic doldrums. More than 145 people attended the event, which emphasized the need for education in science, technology, engineering and math training in the region.

Committee of 100 Meets Chamber President Win Hallett chairs the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100. CCC100 is an important on-ramp for input from chambers around the country. The committee met this fall, and topics of discussion included affairs on Capitol Hill and the economy. Sen. Evan Bayh and Andy Card, former Chief of Staff for George W. Bush, discussed “Regulations: Restoring Balance,” and Navy Seal Capt. Alex Krongard spoke on leadership from a military perspective.

Trade Division Plans Mission to Poland and Hungary More than 50 company representatives attended a series of three briefings in Mobile, Birmingham and Huntsville in preparation for the Chamber-led trade mission to Warsaw, Poland and Budapest, Hungary, in March. Participating in the briefings was Silvia Savich, senior international trade specialist in the Office of European Country Affairs within the European Bureau of the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration, Market Access and Compliance Division. She provided participants with a market overview of Poland and Hungary and useful insights into doing business in these countries.

Aerospace Alliance Holds Inaugural Summit The two-year old Aerospace Alliance, with members from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, held its first summit in September in Sandestin, Fla., to highlight



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Chamber@work Thailand Official Visits Mobile The Chamber’s trade division hosted Sunsupa Klaisuban, customs technical officer in the Rules of Origin Division of the Customs Tariff Bureau from Bangkok, Thailand. Klaisuban was invited to visit the United States under the auspices of the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program and met with international programs and organizations throughout the United States.

Reception Honors New CEOs in the Area A New CEO Welcome Reception, sponsored by Alabama Power, was held in mid-October to recognize new heads of firms in the Mobile area. Pictured above attending the reception were: (Front Row) Al Stokes, City of Mobile; Alvertha Penny, The Community Foundation of South Alabama; Miles Tunno, Mobile Paint Manufacturing; Bonnie Tully; Evonik Degussa; Alan Turner, United Way of Southwest Alabama; and Gretchen Jaspering; Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center. Back row: Tim Shuman, Buffalo Rock-Pepsi; Brian Harold, APM Terminals (Mobile Container Terminal); Lee Hammons, Coastal Bank and Trust;

Ken Borowski, Praxair; Win Hallett, Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce; Merceria Ludgood, Mobile County Commission; and Michael Pierce, Commonwealth National Bank. Not pictured but honored at the reception were: Rod Arends, World Omni Financial Corp.; Owen Bailey, University of South Alabama Children’s and Women’s Hospital; Perry A. Hand, Volkert Inc.; Maj. Alan Hill, The Salvation Army of Coastal Alabama; Nori Komada, Mitsubishi Polysilicon; Charles Simmons, DuPont Crop Protection; Joe Stough, Mobile Infirmary Medical Center; and John M. Turner Jr., Regions Bank.

Hispanic American Business Association Meets The Chamber’s Center for Workforce Development organized the third annual meeting of the Hispanic American Business Association of the Gulf Coast. This year’s meeting featured a delegation of business and government officials from the state of Campeche in Mexico, who were guests of the Alabama State Port Authority pursuing future economic development projects in the area. The topic of this year’s conference was “One Gulf: The Role of the Port of Mobile between U.S., Mexico and Cuba in the new Frontiers for Oil and Gas Exploration.” Jose Serrano from Pemex and Jorge Piñón, a retired AMOCO and BP executive, were the keynote speakers. Workforce Development Creating New Task Force The Center for Workforce Development organized the first meeting of a staffing agencies task force. The goal of the task force is to secure participation of staffing and placement professionals to better understand the staffing processes, learn about the region’s skill gaps to assist the Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council, and gather additional information on jobs that are difficult to fill. Learning About Charter Schools The state governmental affairs subcommittee of the Chamber met twice to learn more about charter schools, a topic expected to be a major issue during the 2012 legislative session. Along with the subcommittee, representatives from the Mobile Area Education Foundation and Mobile County Public School System participated in the discussion and heard a presentation from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. The subcommittee has not yet recommended a position on charter schools, but continues to follow the issue closely.

30 DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012 | The Business View

PR Think Tank Meets A Public Relations Think Tank session with public relations representatives from the Mobile Airport Authority, Downtown Mobile Alliance, Mobile County Commission, Mobile Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau, University of South Alabama and Mobile County Public School System was led by the Chamber’s communications and marketing team. The purpose of the think tank is to develop story ideas to pitch to regional and national media, and to share interesting news with one another. Economic Development Website Newly Updated The Chamber’s website for economic developers, site selectors and commercial developers was updated. The site,, has a dedicated focus on economic development, including downloadable facts, statistical information and maps. It can be found as a standalone website and is accessible via the Chamber’s main website – Legislation to Curb Metal Theft Gains Chamber Support Metal theft is a concern for many Chamber members. The Chamber’s state governmental affairs committee and board of directors have pledged support of a legislative bill being introduced by Sen. Ben Brooks during the 2012 session to curb metal theft in the state. The bill already has early support from the city of Mobile, Mobile Police Department and the Mobile Sheriff’s Office, as well as other entities from around the state. Communications and Marketing Department Wins Award The Chamber’s Communications and Marketing Department won a Lantern Award, the highest award given in its category, from the Southern Public Relations Federation for its work on the 2011 Annual Meeting. Chamber Holds Ribbon Cuttings Among the recent ribbon cuttings for new or relocating businesses were Broussard’s Piano Gallery and Academy of Music and Batteries Plus and Sweatt Tires.

Valpak, one of the leading direct marketing companies in North America, is owned and operated by Cox Target Media, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Cox Media Group. The well-known blue envelope mailers have been delivering savings coupons, sweepstakes and other fun specials to nearly 70 million households monthly for more than 40 years. Valpak has more than 180 franchises throughout the United States. To contact the local office, call (850) 332-7992.


Pictured are from left, front row, Cindy Kennedy, Sarah Halstead and Katie Carr; back row, Calvin Gregory, Terry Strickland, Nancy Cathey, Bill White (owner), Pete Anna and Andria Green. The Business Spotlight of the Month is selected at random from a business card drawing at the Chamber’s monthly Business After Hours event.

Photo by J. Tesney Photography

Business Spotlight of the Month Valpak of Southwest Alabama & Northwest Florida

Diplomat of the Month Millie Sue Hawk Fifteen years ago, Millie Sue Hawk opened a welcoming service for newcomers to the Mobile and Baldwin communities, and later she created Business Link to connect new businesses owners to existing decision makers. Today, Hawk is retired from the business world, but not from the Chamber. She is continuing her work as a Diplomat and is the Chamber’s Diplomat of the Month. In 2009, she was named Diplomat of the Year.

The Business View | DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012


Board of Advisors W. Lance Covan, chairman of Mitternight Inc., earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The University of Alabama. He speaks Mandarin Chinese, completed a postgraduate program at Sichuan Union University in Chengdu, China, and studied at universities in Beijing and Shanghai. Covan has served as an honorary board facilitator for Victory Health Partners and is currently consulting with Mobile Infirmary Foundation. Prior to his Covan current roles, Covan was president and CEO of the New York Foundation for Leadership at The King’s College in New York City. While at The University of Alabama, he served as director of athletic development. He has also designed and implemented development and marketing platforms for The Salvation Army, the American Red Cross and International Professional Resources for China. Covan has secured initial funding rounds of capital for various venture and private equity initiatives for industries including renewable solar energy, real estate development, banking and manufacturing.

Aaron Bowman is director of business operations for BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., responsible for business activities relating to general operation of the Jacksonville, Mayport and Mobile shipyards. Bowman is retired from the U.S. Navy and is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy. As an aircraft carrier pilot, he flew both the A-7 Corsair and F/A-18 Hornet, and was a certified flight instructor for both aircraft. Following 15 years of flying, Bowman earned a master’s in business Bowman adminstration and was selected to the Aeronautical Engineering Duty Officer Corps (AEDO). As an AEDO, he oversaw the development and procurement of the Joint Standoff Weapon, the Joint Direct Attack Munition, and the revolutionary Active Electronically Scanned Array radar for the F/A-18 E/F aircraft. He was one of two AEDO’s ever selected to command an operational Naval Station, and commanded Naval Station Mayport September 2007-2010. During his career he received numerous campaign, unit and personal decorations including the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Commendation Medal, Navy Commendation Medal and the Navy Achievement Medal. Aaron sits on numerous boards in both the professional and private sectors.

For more information about the Chamber’s board of advisors, contact Katrina Dewrell at 431-8611 or


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32 DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012 | The Business View


Economic Indicators

The Mobile Area Chamber’s research division collects a variety of statistics each month.

September 2011 vs September 2010

Employed Mobile/Baldwin counties

Business Licenses City of Mobile

Average Selling Price Mobile County

247,511 2011

183 2011

241,010 2010

188 2010

$113,482 2011 $130,182 2010

Homes SoldâŒŚ

Building Permits

Unemployment Rates 10.1% 2011 9.5% 2010

Mobile County

297 2011 233 2010

City of Mobile

222 2011 235 2010

Value of Building Permits $29,998,560 2011 $8,413,605 2010

Air Passengers From Mobile Area 25,582 2011 24,862 2010

Specialists in Small Business Accounting, Tax Preparation, Payroll and IRS Representation Saty Putcha

Saty was selected as the 2011 Diplomat of the Year by the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce.

SATy PuTchA Cell: 251-604-3802 Email: Website: 1521 Dawes Rd. Mobile, Alabama 36695 Phone: 251-666-6624

The Business View | DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012


December Calendar of Events 1

Financial Management Primer – The Essentials

Explore the essentials of financial management, from the need for and use of basic financial statements, to the need for and techniques for better managing and controlling cash to the benefits of forecasting versus budgeting. Understand the linkage of these three critical elements to better financial management on Thursday, Dec. 1 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce. The cost to attend is $49 for Chamber members and $69 for potential Chamber members. For reservations contact Brenda Rembert at 431-8607 or brembert@


Women’s Roundtable

*Members Only

Get ready for holiday meals the healthy way. The Mobile Area Chamber welcomes Cindy Ross, owner of Bodies by Cindy Boot Camp & Personal Training Studio, who will address this month’s Women’s Roundtable, a bi-monthly forum exclusively for Chamber-member women business owners and managers. Ross will speak on nutrition and healthy alternatives to traditional holiday recipes. She will also cover supplement options for women’s health. Sponsored by C Spire Wireless, Women’s Roundtable will meet Tuesday, Dec. 13 from 8 to 9 a.m. in the Chamber’s Tricentennial Room. There is no charge to attend, but seating is limited. For reservations contact Missy Hartley at 431-8638 or

34 DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012 | The Business View


For information on Chamber events, visit

GCTC Lunch Hear how technology and automation will be designed into Mobile’s new maritime museum. Tony Zodrow, executive director of Gulf Quest, will address the Gulf Coast Technology Council at its bi-monthly lunch on Wednesday, Dec. 14 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Harbor Communications Room at Hank Aaron Stadium. The cost to attend is $15 for Chamber members and $20 for potential Chamber members ($5 per student), and includes lunch. Reservations and payment are needed by Dec. 12. For more information, contact Laura Oppenheimer at 431-8636 or loppenheimer@


23 and26

Executive Roundtable

*Members Only

Executive Roundtable, a monthly forum exclusively for Chamber-member small business owners and managers, will meet on Tuesday, Dec. 20 from 8 to 9 a.m. in the Mobile Area Chamber’s Board Room. At this meeting, it will be “Your Time to Shine.” Everyone will have two or three minutes to present their company, what they do, who their customers are and how they build their business. There is no charge to attend, but seating is limited. To reserve your seat, contact Brenda Rembert at 431-8607 or brembert@

Chamber Closed Christmas

January Calendar of Events 11

Networking@Noon *Members Only

Make 40-plus business contacts in 90 minutes at Networking@ Noon on Wednesday, Jan. 11 at Buffalo Wild Wings, 6341 Airport Blvd., from noon to 1:30 p.m. This bi-monthly event is for Mobile Area Chamber members only and limited to one representative per company. The cost is $10 and includes lunch. Payment is due with reservation and reservations are required no later than Jan. 9, and can be made by contacting Missy Hartley at 431-8638 or mhartley@mobilechamber. com. Reservations not cancelled by Jan. 9 must be honored to cover the cost of the lunch.

CONNECTwith the Chamber on the web

2& 16 17


Chamber Closed New Years & MLK Holiday Executive Roundtable

*Members Only

Mobile Mayor Sam Jones will discuss the state of affairs in the city of Mobile at Executive Roundtable, a monthly forum exclusively for Chamber-member small business owners and managers. The group will meet on Tuesday, Jan. 17 from 8 to 9 a.m. in the Mobile Area Chamber’s Board Room. There is no charge to attend, but seating is limited. For reservations contact Brenda Rembert at 431-8607 or brembert@

Like us. MobileChamber

Business After Hours Start the New Year off right by taking advantage of networking opportunities at the Chamber’s Business After Hours. Join Chamber members and diplomats Thursday, Jan. 19 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Candlewood Suites Mobile/Downtown, 121 N. Royal St. This popular Chamber event is a great venue to introduce your company and make new business contacts. The cost to attend is $5 for members and $10 for potential members. Reservations are not needed. For more information, contact Missy Hartley at 431-8638 or mhartley@

Join us. Group - Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce


Follow us. MobileChamber

Opportunity 175 The Mobile Area Chamber’s 175th birthday celebration culminates in Opportunity 175, a gala dinner 175 years in the making. This dinner engagement will take place Thursday, Jan. 26 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the University of South Alabama Mitchell Center. Presented by BankTrust, the evening will feature a reception, dinner, commemorative Chamber coffee table book for attendees and more. Tickets are $150 per person with very limited seating. For reservations, contact Carolyn Wilson at 431-8606 or

Watch us. MobileChamber

Building for lease

location: 456 Civic Center Drive size: Approx. 5,000 square feet features: • Vaulted ceilings • Five private offices • Custom cubicles • Large conference room • Storage area • Kitchen/breakroom • Fenced parking availaBility: Immediately Contact Joe Mareno For More Information at (251) 431-8624 or The Business View | DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012


Member News Who’s New Spring Hill College appointed Margaret G. Massey chief information officer. Massey most recently was dean of the School of Extended Learning, which she initiated and developed at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Va. She has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Auburn University, a master’s degree in international business and higher education leadership from Florida International University, and a PhD in social work from Norfolk State University. X ChemPro Services Inc. hired licensed horticulturist Adam Morgan as industrial grounds manager. Morgan earned a bachelor’s Morgan degree in horticulture with an emphasis in landscape floriculture from Mississippi State University. X Gretchen Faust Jaspering is the new executive director of the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center. Jaspering

brings more than 25 years of experience in science center management to the Exploreum. Previously, she served as president of the Giant Screen Cinema Association, an international association focused on advancing the business of producing and presenting giant screen experiences. X Rogers & Willard Inc., a commercial contractor in Mobile, hired Ray Spearman Cobb as a project manager. Cobb Cobb graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in building construction. He previously served as project manager for Russell Construction of Alabama in Montgomery. X Commonwealth National Bank named Houston Cunningham as manager of its Crichton banking center. Cunningham graduated from Delta State University in Cleveland Miss., with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Cunningham’s background in consumer

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lending and retail banking was developed during his tenure with Wells Fargo Financial/ Wells Fargo Bank and RBC Bank. X Joe Stough, chief operating officer and vice president of Mobile Infirmary, was named hospital administrator. Stough earned a bachelor’s Stough degree from The University of Alabama and master’s degrees in business administration and health administration from The University of Alabama at Birmingham. X Courtney West joined Bienville Business Club (formerly The Bienville Club) as manager of its Penthouse Sweets West Dessert and Wine Bar at the RSA BankTrust Building in downtown Mobile. West graduated from Troy University with a bachelor’s degree in speech and theater.

Red Square Agency hired Barrie Bamberg, who has won numerous advertising industry awards, as head of production. Bamberg Bamberg brings years of experience in advertising . X Coldwell Banker United, REALTORS Mobile Office welcomed new agent Renee Cotter. Cotter

Business Endeavors Community Bank Mortgage joined forces with Mobile-based Amicus Mortgage and expanded to a fourth office in the Mobile area. X Quality Inn & Suites Spring Hill, off I-65, is newly renovated, with new furniture, fixtures, artwork and carpet.

Cellular South changed its name to C Spire Wireless to emphasize its goal of providing more personalized service. The “C” stands for “customer,” and the new name is intended to reflect the way customers inspire the cell phone service provider. X



WALA FOX10 recently launched a new local news program at 4 p.m. Anchored by Lenise Ligon and April Douglas, with Byrd weather reports from meteorologist Chasity Byrd, “FOX10 News at 4” features in-depth interviews and breaking news. X Yellowbook is now available at the Chamber, 451 Government St. In addition, the group is hosting free local online marketing seminars. Visit www.yellow for more information.

The Mobile Airport Authority issued $7.66 million in bonds to address drainage, roads, signage and landscaping at Brookley Aeroplex over the next three years. X Drs. John S. Keebler and Kimberly A. Donnelland recently opened Otolaryngology Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. The clinic is accepting new patients and will specialize in the treatment of the head, neck, throat and face. The clinic is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located in Infirmary West at 3401 Medical Park Dr., Bldg. 1, Suite 103. For more information, call 251-665-8120.

Well Done Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama’s (BCBS) “Be You” campaign received top honors in several competitions including South by Southwest Interactive Awards, Healthcare Advertising Awards, Aster Awards, Internet Advertising Award Competition, The Annual Telly Awards, The Service Industry Advertising Awards and the Birmingham ADDYs. In other news, BCBS named Mobile Infirmary a Blue Distinction Center for bariatric surgery and cardiac care. The selection is based on clinical data supplied by hospitals.

Mobile Infirmary earned the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for certification as a Primary Stroke Center. The certification is based on recommendations published by the Brain Attack Coalition and the American Stroke Association’s statements and guidelines for stroke care. X R. Craig Brantley, president of The Brantley Group, received the NAIFA Quality Award from the National Association of Brantley Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), the industry’s leading trade association. X Spring Hill College was again ranked among the top 20 Southern universities and colleges, according to the 2012 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges.”Spring Hill is ranked 17th among the Southern colleges and universities offering a full range of undergraduate majors and master’s programs. The college is ranked 10th among only 15 schools listed in the South’s “Great Schools, Great Prices” category, colleges that offer quality academic programs, affordable tuition and significant financial aid.



Hand Arendall announced Alex Lankford was named “Mobile Best Lawyers Admiralty & Maritime Lawyer of the Year” for 2012, and Bruce McGowin was named “Mobile Best Lawyers Environmental Lawyer of the Year” for 2012. The current, 18th edition of The Best Lawyers in America (2012) is based on more than 3.9 million detailed evaluations of lawyers by their peers. X Dr. James Laier, founder and former chief executive officer of Southern Earth Sciences, was elected chairman of the board at Mobile Area Laier Water & Sewer Systems (MAWSS). He is a fellow in the American Society of Civil Engineers and an adjunct professor in the department of civil engineering at the University of South Alabama.








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The Business View | DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012


The Hampton Inn Downtown Mobile Historic District received an outstanding rating during its quality assurance review. X The Trellis Room in The Battle House, a Renaissance Hotel & Spa received the Wine Spectator Award. The Trellis Room is Mobile’s only Four-Diamond AAA restaurant. X Dr. Richard E. Honkanen, professor of biochemistry at the USA College of Medicine, was awarded a five-year, $1.69 million Honkanen Transformative Research Project Award by the National Institutes of Health. Honkanen, one of 17 researchers across the United States to receive the award, will use the grant to help fund a research project on treating patients with high cholesterol. X Mobile-based Hargrove Engineers + Constructors recently secured a spot on The Zweig Letter “2011 Hot Firm List.” The Zweig Letter recognizes the fastest-growing architecture, engineering, and environmental consulting firms on the basis of percentage and dollar growth. The companies on the list have outperformed the economy and competitors to become leaders in their fields.

Red Square Agency was awarded a 2011 OMMA (Online Media, Marketing and Advertising) Award for online advertising creativity in the Facebook SelfServe ads category for its self-promoting Facebook ad campaign. The award recognizes outstanding strategic and creative execution for a single client/brand.

The Mobile Area Chamber was awarded a five-star rating by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the highest designation given. Of the 6,936 chambers in the U.S., only 301 are accredited, and of those only 43 have achieved five-star distinction. The Mobile Area Chamber has been accredited by the U.S. Chamber since the designation’s inception more than 40 years ago.

Community News University of South Alabama Pat Capps Covey College of Allied Health Professions Dean Dr. Richard Talbott and his wife, Rosemary Talbott, donated property worth $75,000 to USA to be used for scholarships and to support the Chi Omega Amphitheatre. The Talbotts designated $10,000 for the Chi Omega Amphitheatre near Moulton Belltower and Alumni Plaza. Submission deadline for Member News is two months prior to publication. News releases should be one or two brief paragraphs. Photos must be professional headshots, labeled with the person’s last name, and must be 300 dpi at full size and saved in an eps, tif or jpg format. Send your information to

ADVERTISERS’ INDEX Accurate Control Equipment....................7 Advanced Payroll Solutions....................35 Alabama Power.......................................25 Alabama Orthopaedic Clinic PC...........32 BankTrust................................................26 Bienville Business Club...........................32 Boteler, Finley & Wolfe............................36 Community Bank...................................31 Estes Heating & Air................................ 28 Greater Mobile Urgent Care....................37 Gwin’s Commercial Printing................ 30 Hancock Bank........................................ 29

Harris Business Machines..................... 28 iBERIABANK............................................ 8 Interstate Printing & Graphics Inc........36 Lagniappe............................................... 38 Logical Computer Solutions...................10 Makeda Nichols - State Farm Insurance.. 39 Mamun....................................................34 Mobile County Health Department........ 8 Padgett Business Services of Mobile......33 Premier Medical Management................4 The University of Alabama.......................6 Wonderland Express...............................37

2011 Statement of Ownership, Management & Circulation (1) Publication Title: The Business View (2) Publication Number: 952-7000 (3) Filing Date: 10/31/2011 (4) Issue Frequency: Monthly Except Combined Issue of December/January (5) Number of Issues Published Annually: 11 (6) Annual Subscription Price: $24 (7) Complete Mailing Address of Known Office of Publication: P.O. Box 2187, Mobile, AL, 36652-2187, Mobile County (8) Complete Mailing Address of Headquarters of General Business Office of Publisher: 451 Government Street, Mobile, AL, 36602 (9) Full Names and Complete Mailing Addresses of Publisher; Editor and Managing Editor: (Publisher) Winthrop M. Hallett III; (Editor) Leigh Perry-Herndon; (Business Manager) Susan Rak-Blanchard; P.O. Box 2187, Mobile, AL, 36652-2187 (10) Owner: Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 2187, Mobile, AL 36652-2187 (11) Known Bondholder, Mortgages or Other Securities: None (12) For completion by nonprofit organizations authorized to mail special rates. The purpose, function and nonprofit status of this organization and the exempt status for federal income tax purposes: Has Not Changed During Preceding 12 Months (13) Publication Name: The Business View (14) Issue Date for Circulation Data Below: October 2011­(15) Extent and Nature of the Circulation

Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months

Actual No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date

a. Total No. of Copies 19,650 9,300 b. (1) Paid/requested outside-county mail subscriptions none none b. (2) Paid in county subscriptions 3,247 3,191 b. (3) Sales through dealers, carriers, street vendors, counter sales none none b. (4) Other classes mailed none none c. Total paid and/or requested circulation 3,247 3,191 d. (1) Free distribution by mail outside county none none d. (2) Free distribution by mail in county none none d. (3) Free distribution - other classes mailed by U.S.P.S. 16,080 5,764 d. (4) Free distribution - outside the mail 200 200 e. Free distribution 16,280 5,964 f. Total distribution 19,527 9,155 g. Copies not distributed 100 100 h. Total 19,627 9,255 i. Percent paid and/or requested circulation 20% 35% (16) This Statement of Ownership will be printed in the December 2011/January 2012 issue of this publication. (17) Signature and title of Editor, Publisher, Business Manager or Owner & Date: I certify that all information furnished on this form is true and complete. I understand that anyone who furnishes false or misleading information on this form or who omits material or information requested on the form may be subject to criminal sanctions (including fines and imprisonment) and/or civil sanctions (including multiple damages and civil penalties).

38 DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012 | The Business View


New Members If you know of a company interested in benefitting from Chamber membership, contact Tricia Seibt at 431-8642 or Rebecca Milam at 431-8647. View the complete membership directory at Clip and add to your Membership Directory.

Appleton Learning Sonia Robinson 200 Clinton Ave., Ste. 1000 Huntsville, AL 35801 256-539-6363 Educational Programs The Arbors at Hillcrest Kimberly Stanberry 1663 Hillcrest Rd. Mobile, AL 36695 251-633-9277 Apartments Bay Breeze Press Rick McLendon 14060 S. Wintzell Ave. Bayou La Batre, AL 36509 251-824-7899 Publishers-Newspapers Bonefish Grill Keith Burbank 6955 Airport Blvd. Mobile, AL 36608 251-633-7196 Restaurants Career Education Services Co. Rob Chavira 215 Bluegrass Rd., Ste. B Franklin, KY 42135 270-586-6366 Educational Programs Cares Health Services Liberty Freeman 4715 Airport Blvd., Ste. 310 Mobile, AL 36608 251-344-4212 Healthcare Services Connally Capital Group Rebecca Connally 1207 Lovette Daphne, AL 36526 251-375-0758 Financial Services Cypress Employment Services LLC Gary J. Grady 701 S. Royal St., Ste. B Mobile, AL 36603 251-433-1270 Employment Agencies & Consultants Designing Senior Moves LLC Judy Van Norman 312 Idlewood Dr. Chickasaw, AL 36611 251-533-1919 Senior Citizen Services

Explosive Signs & Graphics LLC Paul Henderson 16 Saraland Blvd. N. Saraland, AL 36571 251-679-7446 www.explosivesignsand Signs & Advertising Fisherman’s Legacy Phyllis Walker 4380 Halls Mill Rd. Mobile, AL 36693 251-665-2200 Restaurants-Seafood Five Star Property & Development LLC Alonzo McCants 576 Azalea Rd. Mobile, AL 36609 251-665-4808 Real Estate Victor Gaston 1136 Hillcrest Crossing W. Mobile, AL 36695 251-639-2555 Individuals I.W.R. Therapy Systems Richard Sullivan 2048A S. Broad St. Mobile, AL 36615 251-433-1414 Chemicals JMF Solutions Inc. Mike Francis 202 Congress St. Mobile, AL 36603 251-517-5070 Telecommunications Kidz Klozet Michelle Huguley 3679 Airport Blvd. Mobile, AL 36608 251-990-9024 Consignment Gallery Toni Matthews, Educational Consultant LLC Toni Matthews 4027 Point Rd. Mobile, AL 36619 909-644-2876 Educational Programs Mobile Hypnosis Marguerite Dillon 4313 Momote Dr. S. Mobile, AL 36609 251-272-1030 Hypnotherapy and Hypnotists

Mobile Physical Medicine & Wellness PC Edward M. Schnitzer 3280 Dauphin St., A103 Mobile, AL 36606 251-450-8044 Physical Therapy Richard Noblet DDS Dr. Richard Noblet 801 University Blvd. S., Ste. C Mobile, AL 36609 251-342-5323 Dentists Pure Barre Ashlye Hix 9 Du Rhu Dr., #368 Mobile, AL 36608 251-345-1180 Fitness Schaeffer Manufacturing Co. Jason McLendon 2764 Marcelus Dr. Mobile, AL 36606 251-402-0909 Oils-Lubricating Springleaf Financial Services Sheila Dycus 1010 Schillinger Rd. S., Ste. D Mobile, AL 36695 251-634-9655 Financial Services Supreme Medical Fulfillment Systems Inc. Colton Mason 4497 Dawes Rd. Theodore, AL 36582 251-660-6000 Medical Equipment/Supply Sylvan Learning Cynthia Landrum 8020 Moffett Rd. Semmes, AL 36575 251- 649-8522 Tutoring True Midtown Kitchen Richard True 1104 Dauphin St. Mobile, AL 36604 251-434-2002 Restaurants

As of 9/30/11

Members Are Our Greatest Asset! Please show your support through the patronage of these businesses.


Prudential Cooper & Co. Inc. REALTORS


Alabama Orthopaedic Clinic PC Michael A. Campbell DMD PC Mobile & Baldwin County Apartment Guide


Glynn Case Interiors Inc. Coastal Courier Inc. Commonwealth National Bank Grantham Dental Seabulk Towing


COSCI, Hog Bayou Energy Center, A Calpine Corp. H.H. Jordan Construction Co. Inc.


Harbor Financial Services LLC Heritage Compounding Pharmacy Nasser Gymnastics Academy Ross, Jordan & Gray PC Silver King Golf Club LLC WebOperations.Net LLC


All A Bloom Florist & Gifts Arc Terminals Ashley Furniture Home Store B & C Trucking LLC Beckwith Camp and Conference Center Bikram Hot Yoga Mobile Breland Homes Camille’s Sidewalk Cafe Cammie’s Old Dutch Ice Cream Shoppe Country Hearth Inn CorroMetrics Services Inc. Cream & Sugar Cypress Cove Apartments Down Syndrome Society of Mobile County Exotic Import Specialists d/b/a Rettig’s Auto Body Eugenia Foster

Fr. Meyer’s Sohn North America LLC - Mobile Office Fusion Spa Salon Gaylor Inc. Government Street Presbyterian Church Greater Mobile Urgent Care of Spring Hill Gulf Coast Pints LLC Gulf South Infrasystems LLC Hixardt Technologies Inc. Holiday Inn Express & Suites Holiday Inn Mobile Airport Home Dialysis Options of Baldwin County I. K. Hofmann USA Inc. iSAM North America Corp. Jos. A. Bank J-Ray Shoes La Quinta Inn & Suites Satsuma/North Mobile LifeSouth Community Blood Centers Inc. Lincoln Pharmacy McIlwain Construction Inc. W.R. Mitchell Contractor Inc. Mobile Bay Transportation Co. Inc. Mobile Comprehensive Dentistry Mobile Heart Specialists PC Mobile Nursing and Rehabilitation Center LLC NAFTA Gulf Bridge SA de CV OrgDev Consulting Group Port City Medical LLC PowerSouth Energy Professional Forestry Services LLC Regent Aerospace Safway Services LLC Sleepco Management LLC dba Family Inns - Mobile Southern Development Council Inc. State Farm - Greg Jones STOA Architects Strojny & Strojny Financial Services Thompson Properties LLC ThyssenKrupp Stainless USA LLC ThyssenKrupp Steel USA LLC Tri-State Maritime Services Inc. Ron Twilley Builders Inc. Valpak of Southwest Alabama and Northwest Florida WTI Transport

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The Business View | DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012




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The Business View - December 2011/January 2012  

The Business View is a monthly publication of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Business View - December 2011/January 2012  

The Business View is a monthly publication of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce.