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Contents

30

18

6 Calendar 8

Q&A with City of Montgomery Finance Director Lloyd Faulkner

13

Sen. Richard Shelby expects the sequestration will take place

14

Questplex becomes a reality

18

Eighth-graders from Montgomery Public Schools attend camps for Career Academies

20

Member Profile: River Region Media

22

Automotive sector sparks Alabama’s economy

29

EMERGE Montgomery receives prestigious award

30

Cupcakes by Tish celebrates its one-year anniversary

32

Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center helped usher in a new era for the Capital City and surrounding communities

42

Reporter’s Notebook

46

Business Buzz

53

Members on the Move

58

New Members

59

Ribbon Cuttings & Ground Breakings

60

Economic Intel

20 22 8 March 2013 Montgomery Business Journal

3


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POSTMASTER send address changes to Montgomery Business Journal, c/o Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 79, 41 Commerce Street, Montgomery AL 36101, or email mbj@montgomerychamber.com. The Montgomery Business Journal welcomes story ideas from its readers. Email to: editor@montgomerychamber.com. Subscriptions are a part of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce dues structure. Subscriptions can also be purchased for $30 per year at www.montgomerychamber.com/mbjsub.


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Montgomery Business Journal March 2013

BUSINESS PLANNING SEMINAR 4 PM @ Small Business Resource Center 600 South Court Street, Montgomery $10 at the door CHAMBER ORIENTATION Sponsored by Charter HR 8 AM @ Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce 41 Commerce Street, Montgomery. Contact Deborah Pope dpope@montgomerychamber.com or 334-240-9298 MACC/AU GOLF CHALLENGE Presenting Sponsor: Up and Running 1 PM @ Wynlakes Golf & Country Club 7900 Wynlakes Boulevard, Montgomery Event is Invitation Only 60 MINUTE COFFEE Sponsored by Jenkins Brick & Tile 8 AM @ Jenkins Brick & Tile 10200 Highway 80 East, Montgomery Free event, exclusively for Chamber Members BUSINESS PLANNING SEMINAR 4 PM @ Small Business Resource Center 600 South Court Street, Montgomery $10 at the door BUSINESS AFTER HOURS Sponsored by Granville Home Furnishings 5 PM @ Granville Home Furnishings 3490 Wetumpka Highway, Montgomery Free event, exclusively for Chamber Members CONVERSATIONS – ROUNDTABLES FOR PROFESSIONAL WOMEN Presenting Sponsor: Southeast Cherokee Construction, Inc. 8 AM @ Wynlakes Golf & Country Club 7900 Wynlakes Boulevard, Montgomery. Registration: www.montgomerychamber.com/conversations BUSINESS TAXATION WORKSHOP Two Sessions: 3 PM & 6 PM @ Small Business Resource Center 600 South Court Street, Montgomery Free event, open to the public


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Lloyd Faulkner is the director of finance for the City of Montgomery. He was recently interviewed by Montgomery Business Journal Managing Editor David Zaslawsky Montgomery Business Journal: What are your responsibilities as the city’s finance director? Faulkner: I am responsible for the total financial activities for the City of Montgomery. That’s the collection of revenue down to the disbursement of all of it. MBJ: Do you advise city officials about incentives or return on investment for new or existing companies? Does the mayor ask if such-and-such a deal makes financial sense? Faulkner: Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. We’ve got Jeff (Downes) and we’ve got Chad (Emerson) and the mayor. The mayor is pretty sharp himself. Sometimes we like to crunch the numbers to see what the return might be. MBJ: Why wouldn’t you always crunch the numbers to make sure they work?

Lloyd Faulkner is the director of finance for the City of Montgomery.

Sales Tax Collections are Growing Q & A with Lloyd Faulkner

Faulkner: Sometimes you know and sometimes you don’t have anything to crunch. You have a building over there that is a rotten shell and the guy will let us have it for X. We turn around to get it developed. They will work with the developer and take a little bit of a loss for the city, which we can do legally. MBJ: For the most part, are you approving deals or are you saying the numbers don’t add up? Or if the mayor brings a prospective deal to you – it’s already a pretty good deal? Faulkner: Yes. Again, this mayor is pretty sharp. He’ll sometimes ask what I think, but he already knows. MBJ: Now, we don’t have to build up the mayor too much. Faulkner: I speak the truth. MBJ: During interviews or speeches, Deputy Mayor Jeff Downes talks about finding creative/innovative ways to finance projects. Are you also involved in that process? Faulkner: Yes. Jeff spearheads the project. He works with the planning and development people and they are the ones who go out and

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Montgomery Business Journal March 2013


search for outside money. I look at project balances and I look at account balances to see what we can come up with internally. It is a joint effort on the part of planning, development and myself.

I’ve got a really good staff. I could always use more people. We’re adequately staffed. MBJ: Do you have employees who go out and collect revenue?

MBJ: It sounds as though you are more of the big-picture person, seeing what the city can and cannot afford instead of being more specific-oriented.

Faulkner: I have five auditors and I have five license examiners. The auditors go out and audit the books of sales tax payers and what triggers an audit is usually a request for a refund or some other red flag.

Faulkner: Right, and I have to account for it all.

MBJ: Do you have enough auditors?

MBJ: What is your staff size? Faulkner: I have 63 slots. MBJ: Does that mean you have 63 bodies? Faulkner: No, I have 40-something people. MBJ: Does that mean you have job openings? Faulkner: I have that many slots, but in these economic times we get by with what we have. We are restricted by budgets, but we do a good job with the people we have because

Faulkner: Some of the cities our size and smaller have more than we do. I could use some more, but as we grow and these economic times get better, I’ll add them. I have added some license examiners and what they do is look for business licenses and enforce our business license ordinance. I have five of those and two supervisors and they are broken up into districts. They are on the streets or in their offices every day, enforcing our business license ordinance. MBJ: What is the city’s annual budget?

Faulkner: $226.4 million. MBJ: What words would you use to describe the budget – e.g., austere, robust? Faulkner: Lean, but adequate. This mayor’s philosophy and mine has always been, when you put the budget together you hammer it out to what you think you can live with and then push it a little bit more. MBJ: Do you mean increase it a little bit? Faulkner: No, push it down a little. Some of the department heads don’t realize that I can’t live without, but they really can. MBJ: Are we talking about tens of millions of dollars of what people think they need and what they can live with? Faulkner: When we put the budget together we start with the payroll projection and that’s every person that we have onboard and then we project that payroll based on those people for the next year. We add to that any Continued on Page 10

March 2013 Montgomery Business Journal

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Continued from page 9

vacancies that we might fill next year if we can afford it. We add to that merit raises if we think we can afford it, which we usually do. And then we go to other line items. We go to the benefits line, which is driven by salary. We go to supplies and the garage accounts. MBJ: Are salaries 70 to 75 percent of the city’s budget? Faulkner: Not quite that high. It’s more like 60. MBJ: If you were asked to give a State of the City’s Finances address, what would you say? Faulkner: Right now, the state of the city’s finances, if you put it in general terms, is good and getting better. In 2007, we went downhill. Sales tax collected in 2007 was a total of $98 million. Two years later, we were at $83 million. For a $200 million budget, that’s a big slump. What we’ve done in that interim – we had resources in other funds like the corrections fund, the 2.5 (percent) lodging tax (fund) that I had built up and was sitting there. MBJ: Are you talking about reserves? Faulkner: Reserves and other funds that were qualified to be used for General Fund

Right now, the state of the city’s finances…is good and getting better.

operations. This mayor came onboard and we dropped our budget $8 million the first year. He did a good job of hammering that down and still there were no massive layoffs or changes in service. And now we’re back up using those other funds, which didn’t deplete them but used a good bit of them and the revenues increased since that time. We’re back up to about $90 million in sales tax – down from $98 million, but up from $83 million. MBJ: You were talking earlier about the budget process. Doesn’t it start from zero dollars? Faulkner: When Mayor Strange came onboard he enlisted PARCA (The Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama) to come down and helps us to implement smart budgeting. It’s a different process. It’s a performance-based process and zero-based in the numbers. MBJ: What is zero-based budgeting? Faulkner: Zero-based means you don’t take last year and add 5 percent and that’s what I want this year. You start with what you need built on zero. That’s the theory we still operate under. MBJ: That way you have to account for everything instead of saying that’s what we’ve always done. Faulkner: Exactly. We have in our budget software salaries that are broken down to the last position. It’s almost broken down to the last detail. They put these narratives in there with numbers by it – what it is and why you need it. MBJ: How long does that process take? Faulkner: From May to July. MBJ: It sounds like the big difference is defending all expenditures. Faulkner: We’ve always done that, but some administrations are tougher on that than others. MBJ: I’m sure Mayor Strange is a stickler. Faulkner: Oh yeah. He likes to negotiate. He loves to negotiate and he loves to get the department heads across the table and ask; ‘Why do you need that?’ MBJ: I know that you said the city’s finances are good and getting better. But back in May

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Montgomery Business Journal March 2013


2012, you told CBS 8 News that when you look at budget items, “every bit helps.” Is there a lot more breathing room now?

MBJ: The mayor had talked about the possibility of sales tax reaching $95 million this year. Is he being OVERLY optimistic?

Faulkner: There is more breathing room, but always every little bit helps. We went from a budget of $221 million to $226 million. We are not just spending every dime we take in. We added some more police officers. We are up to 534. We have to maintain that number because we get a COPS grant.

Faulkner: At the current rate we are right now and if that doesn’t change – it could hit $95 million.

MBJ: What are the trends you are seeing this year in terms of sales tax and other revenue streams? Are you seeing slow, steady growth? Faulkner: Gasoline taxes are all over the board. You never know what it is going to do. Alcohol (taxes) for the last three years were down, but it is starting to come back. Lodging tax – a lot of that is a pretty good increase monthly and annually. A lot of that is due to all the activity that we have downtown. And that’s all gauged by sales tax because when sales tax grows that means everything else is growing, too.

MBJ: When will the city reach the $100 million mark in sales tax collections? Are you two years away? Faulkner: If we hit $95 million this year, it will take another couple of years. If the current trends that we have and the stars line up and Washington behaves a little bit – we could in another couple or three years we could see up to $98 million or $100 million. That’s a big if in there. MBJ: What is the city’s bond rating? Faulkner: AA+ and a Aa2. The AA+ is one step from an AAA (highest rating available) and the other one is two steps under. Excellent bond ratings for our current status – our current times.

MBJ: The mayor said the city made some commitments to bond raters to increase reserves to the $20 million. The reserves are currently at $15 million. Where do you expect to be at the end of the year and when will the city reach the $20 million mark in reserves? Faulkner: We just did a bond refinancing and took all the cash out and put it in the reserves and took us in excess of $14 million. We guaranteed them that we would put at least $2 million a year in (the reserves). If I budget $98 million in sales tax and I collect $2 million more, that $2 million goes into the reserve. Our growth would go in there. What drives the fund is growth in revenue and any expenditures that you budgeted, but did not spend. MBJ: You would continue to put money in the reserve fund after you hit $20 million or would you rather put that money to work in projects? Faulkner: We would probably continue to contribute some to our reserves. Our reserves balance has been up to $40 million before. Continued on page 12

March 2013 Montgomery Business Journal

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Continued from page 11

You don’t ever want to stop putting money in, but you don’t want to get so fat. You put some of that money to work and put some of it in reserves – like you would at home. MBJ: How much has the city saved by refinancing bonds the past few years? Faulkner: The last one we did we saved over $8 million. MBJ: How much has the city saved the past couple of years with refinancing bonds? Faulkner: In the last 10 years, we saved a good $10 million to $15 million in refinancing. These last ones went from 5.43 percent to 2.7 something. MBJ: Will the city be in position to refinance some bonds in the next couple of years? Faulkner: Anything that we have eligible for refinancing … The investment bankers all over the United States have a data base with all that in it so when one becomes eligible they are all over me. MBJ: What is the cost for refinancing the bond issues?

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Montgomery Business Journal March 2013

Faulkner: It costs about 125 basis points (1.25 percent). MBJ: What are the city’s total bond payments? Faulkner: It fluctuates, but it’s a little over $15 million. MBJ: The mayor talks about a positive trend with lodging taxes – an increase of $200,000 a year for the past few years. Please elaborate.

could never have enough money; you never can have too much because operations is one thing and then you have your capital outlay for equipment, paving, bridges and that sort of thing. I see us in the next three to five years get to the point we’re breathing pretty easy with our operations and being able to put more capital out. We do OK now with our paving and stuff like that. We have a lot of equipment that we could replace. We can always use more capital money.

Faulkner: That’s an average – sometimes it’s a little more and sometimes a little less depending on the events that take place. It’s not a big revenue – a little over $5 million and $200,000 is not that bad at all for an increase.

MBJ: What else is capital used for beside equipment, paving, bridges, etc.?

MBJ: Sales taxes account for what percent of the city’s budget?

MBJ: In those three to five years, there could be a wide range of new job announcements from existing industries as well as new companies coming to Montgomery that would impact your forecast.

Faulkner: About half. MBJ: Where do you see the city’s finances in three to five years? Faulkner: If things stay like they are now and we don’t have a recession or depression with what I know now and the growth that we expect – our budget is $226 million now – we could be up to the $230-plus million. We

Faulkner: Building and street maintenance. Police and fire and everything from your black and whites to a packer to computers.

Faulkner: Every time somebody comes to town they buy a business license; they pay sales tax; property tax; and all that goes into our coffers. Any company, whether it’s small or as big as Hyundai, has a positive impact. •


Alabama’s senior U.S. senator expects the $1.2 trillion automatic cuts to defense spending and domestic programs is likely to happen despite warnings about the impact on the fragile economy. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., who has a long history of helping to fund projects at Maxwell Air Force Base and Gunter Annex, said he is working to stop that $1.2 trillion sequester from taking place. Maxwell and the Gunter Annex have a combined annual economic impact of more than $1.6 billion to the area. He said he first thought the sequester would not happen, but since has changed his mind, saying it “will probably” occur. “I don’t know if we can avoid sequestration, but in the future this is no way to legislate; it’s not

“We in the Congress put ourselves in that position. I voted against it. I thought it was not the regular order – that the way to do this is by the appropriations process, but we painted ourselves politically into a corner. I’ll tell you that corner is small and it’s hard to get out of when you’re hemmed in.” He said he “doubts and hopes” that the $500 billion cut in defense spending over 10 years will not impact Montgomery, “but it will have some effect somewhere unless something happens,” said Shelby, the senior member on the Senate Banking Committee. He said that dealing with the sequester has created uncertainty. “The military needs certainty,” he said. “Business needs some certainty. In politics right now – it’s flux, flux and fluid and chaotic at best. And that’s not the way to do business.” Shelby said there is also uncertainty about the new health care law, taxes and regulations. “Every day you don’t know what is going to happen,” Shelby said. “Our economy is sputtering along.” The country has added $5 trillion to the national debt the past four years and has been annually running $1 trillion deficits.

responsible; it’s not accountable; the American people deserve better; our military deserves better; our people in education – our students, our teachers, our researchers – they deserve better. We just can’t do it by cutting everything to the bone, but we could do a lot of smart things.” Shelby, who is the ranking member on the Senate Appropriations Committee, was addressing 300-plus people attending a Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Eggs & Issues at the RSA Activity Center.

“We are going to add another $4 trillion or $5 trillion and we’re up to about $20 trillion or $25 trillion (national debt) – it’s going to be Greece, Italy or Portugal. I hate to say it, but we’re not in the responsible end of the decade. These are going to be tough decisions we’re going to have to make. What we need is a viable economy to grow – people who have jobs and pay taxes.” Shelby said he has advocated tax reform for years and said there are both individuals and companies who get millions of dollars “that they shouldn’t be getting in tax breaks.” He wants to overhaul the tax code, but do it right. “We could lower individuals’ taxes and bring in more revenue,” Shelby said. Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Chairman of the Board of Directors Horace H. Horn Jr. praised Shelby for helping to fund more than $200 million in military contracts and $100 million for the outer loop. “Thank you very much and we could use a little more help,” Horn said. “I was glad to help you help yourselves,” Shelby said. “Remember at the end of the day – all these things that we do – it’s your money.” •

Shelby Expects Sequestration Will Take Place Congress ‘painted ourselves into a corner’ by David Zaslawsky

March 2013 Montgomery Business Journal

13


The Montgomery downtown plan developed by Dover, Kohl called for a prominent building at One Court Square. Two years ago, Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange and Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton N. Dean revealed plans for that prominent building in what is now called One Dexter Plaza. That prominent building would house both a city-county public library and The Children’s Museum of Alabama. That prominent, 175,000-square-foot building at that unveiling in 2011 is called Questplex. “It takes us as a community; as a family to make sure this is a success,” Dean said at the time. Strange said, “I hope – I believe – that this is that extraordinary; this is that significant building that Dover, Kohl had in mind when they talked about the most strategic position in Montgomery.”

Quest Moves Forward New funding source will turn Questplex into a reality by David Zaslawsky

Strange, who called Questplex “the anchor of all that is going on (along) Dexter Avenue,” estimated the project’s cost at $20 million. He hoped that construction could start in 2012, but it didn’t happen. Questplex came back roaring to life when Montgomery Deputy Mayor Jeff Downes announced earlier this year: “This will happen.” He acknowledged there were numerous critics who said the project would never happen, but the city found a new revenue source. “The ability to leverage state new market tax credits will infuse close to $5 million of equity into this project and makes this project a reality. We could not say that before. “When this project first kicked off as an idea, there were no such things as state new market tax credits. There were federal new market tax credits.” Downes credits last year’s legislative session for passing the measure, which created those state new market tax credits that will bring Questplex to life. Downes said, “It’s a big deal.” In early February, Downes said that Questplex could be open in early 2015. Downes said the construction could begin in the fall and would take between one year and 1½ years. Strange anticipates hundreds of thousands of visitors coming to Questplex. “This is economic development and also intellectual development,” he said two years ago. The city bought the site from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and was Colonial Bank’s operations center. Questplex will feature the library of the future with the latest technologies and programs to improve learning and career skills. The Children’s Museum of Alabama will have hands-on exhibits as well as areas devoted to the human body; how things work; and ecology.

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Montgomery Business Journal March 2013


“This is economic development and also intellectual development.” Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange It’s also likely there will be a café. Downes talked about patience during the city’s Development Department’s 2013 preview. He told an overflowing crowd that The Alley project took about nine or 10 years. The first tenant moved into The Alley in 2009. The concept was born in 2000. “I’ve been in city government for 24 years and the No. 1 characteristic in my life that I’ve learned after 24 years of city government is patience. With a little creativity – with a little patience – great things happen in Montgomery, Alabama.”

Downes warned about patience for the old buildings on Lower Dexter to be renovated, citing a litany of issues. The city used a community block development grant to purchase a building on Lower Dexter to create a public alley, which will spur development on three nearby buildings. He again talked about patience with the Questplex project. “The extent of the reality is tied to several things such as fundraising and things of that nature, but the ability to move forward with this project really plays into that patience characteristic.”

Deputy Mayor Jeff Downes presents at the Development Department’s 2013 preview.

About half of the project’s cost would be funded by the Montgomery Riverfront Development Foundation if there is City Council approval. Downes told the Montgomery Advertiser that the city would not incur any debt for the project. •

March 2013 Montgomery Business Journal

15


“We know there is strong demand for an extended-stay-type hotel near the multiplex,” Emerson said. “We’ve had hotel interest, including those who have developed hotels in Montgomery. He said the city is looking at the “genre of a Residence Inn, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites,” Emerson said. There is also a request for proposal to develop a 100-foot deep retail area right across Cramton Bowl.

Chad Emerson is the director of development for the City of Montgomery.

Quality of life going up downtown by David Zaslawsky

There are very limited food options available near the Capitol and the Gordon Persons Building, but the city has a plan to change that. The city has set up a request for proposal for a food truck that will be available for all those government workers. Officials will select one bid based on truck design; type of food; operator experience; and business model, according to Chad Emerson, the city’s director of development. That truck will get free access to a location that is currently listed on the department’s website at the site of the old State House Inn on Madison Avenue. That hotel will be demolished and there will be another request for proposal to develop that property near Cramton Bowl and the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl.

There are other sites the city has available for development, including the former skateboard park and a parking lot for spectators attending Montgomery Biscuits’ baseball games at Riverwalk Stadium. Officials are looking at some pop-up shops, which is a new retail trend in urban settings, according to Emerson. He said the concept is similar to a seasonal shop. The pop-up shops typically have a month-to-month lease; very little tenant improvement to their location; and short notice to leave the site, Emerson said. “Our goal is to make the development experience in Montgomery, Alabama, as positive and as seamless as any other city you’re going to find in the United States of America,” Emerson said. “Our goal is to make your life as easy as possible,” he told developers and others attending a Development Department conference about projects. City officials are working closely with various partners on a downtown Montgomery public art plan to improve the quality of life for residents. A task force is being formed to create the public art plan. “We are real excited that the City of Montgomery recognizes the importance of art and its value to the community – quality of life,” said Ashley Ledbetter, executive director of Montgomery Area Business Committee for the Arts. The city is planning to connect its various parks through public trails, pedestrian paths

16

Montgomery Business Journal March 2013


and bike trails. Robert Smith, the city’s director of planning, said there are 33 various routes in Montgomery, including the Rails to Trails project, which will run from downtown Montgomery to Jackson Hospital on an old, abandoned railroad. “This whole effort is about quality of life,” Smith said. Another way to improve quality of life is the expansion of the downtown farm, which is operated by EAT South (educate, act, transform). The organization, which formerly was the Hampstead Institute, has plans to increase the downtown farm’s food capacity. The Ken Groves Memorial Children’s Garden will be operational this year, said Edwin Marty, executive director of EAT South. “We believe urban food is better for you and urban food is better for the environment,” he said. Bill Wilson, design studio professional for the Development Department, said Wright

“We are real excited that the City of Montgomery recognizes the importance of art and its value to the community – quality of life.” Ashley Ledbetter, executive director of Montomery Area Business Committee for the Arts Brothers Park (formerly Overlook Park) will have a new pavilion, new lighting and a kneehigh protective barrier. Parking will be moved to the street and of course there will be that replica of the Wright Flyer that will appear to be taking off above Interstate 65. •

March 2013 Montgomery Business Journal

17


Above: Eighth-graders from the Montgomery Public Schools district attended Camp Bones, where they learned about careers in health care. Right: Wynlakes Golf & Country Club General Manager Brent Krause welcomes students to Camp At Your Service.

Camping for

Careers Students learn about Career Academies by David Zaslawsky

18

Montgomery Business Journal March 2013

photography by Robert Fouts

Physicians, nurses and nursing students, paramedics, and pharmacists, as well as medical students and residents, come to the Institute for Patient Safety and Medical Simulation for training. Nearly 600 eighth-graders were expected to visit the 22,500-square-foot facility over a three-day period to learn about health care professions from health care professionals. It is one of seven Career Academy camps which introduce eighth-graders to the Career Academies offered by the Montgomery Public Schools district. The students who participated at Camp Bones, which is for the Health Science Career Academy, showed an aptitude for health care after taking a test. Other camps conducted were Camp.Edu for the Teaching Career Academy; Camp IT for the Information Technology Career Academy; Camp At Your Service for the Hospitality/Tourism Career Academy; Camp iMadeiT for the Advanced Manufacturing Career Academy; Camp Ca$h


Flow for the Business/Finance Academy; and Field Days for the Law/Public Safety Career Academy. The Career Academies are a partnership of Montgomery Public Schools and the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce.

If the students successfully follow the path of six years of schooling with a heavy dose of classes in math, chemistry and biology – they can become pharmacists and earn $100,000-plus a year. The students seemed shocked by that amount.

“If you get a group of eighth-graders and ask them if they want to be health care providers, they want to be a neo-natal nurse or pediatrician,� said Judi Miller, director of Institute for Patient Safety and Medical Simulation, which is a partnership between Baptist Health and Auburn University. “That’s all they know. We just try to let them know there’s not just one route and it’s not ‘I have to go to school for 12 years and get a PhD and that’s it.’ �

While learning about emergency medical treatment, students were reminded about the dangers of texting while driving, not wearing a seat belt or driving when they are not old enough. They also learned that it takes two years of schooling to become a paramedic with an expected salary in the $40,000 range.

Students rotated between 10 stations and learned a little bit about a lot of health care related-fields, including physicians, pharmacy, lab, radiology, maternity, physical, occupational and speech therapy, orthotics and artificial limbs, and paramedics. Students learned what schooling was involved and the answer to one of the most frequently asked questions: “How much money can I make?�

Compensation was not foremost when a physician and three third-year medical students talked about being a doctor. They warned students about becoming a doctor to make money because they will never be paid enough. The medical students said the reason to become doctors is to save lives. The medical students talked about the importance of studying as well as being disciplined, and perseverance. One of the medical students said that the work is “fun, stimulating and challenging.� Students also learned about taking comprehensive exams involving eight hours and 400-plus questions.

In the radiology segment, students learned about a wide variety of professions. A radiology technician earns about $15 an hour while an ultrasound technician receives $17-plus an hour. Students heard about opportunities in management and education and in the computer arena. “Our focus is to grow our own here in Montgomery and get kids excited and interested in careers in health care,â€? Miller said. “Our goal is to stay engaged with them as much as we can. There is a shortage of health care workers. We’re competing with Birmingham and with Atlanta. We are looking for folks who want to stay here in Montgomery to take care of us.â€? Miller told the students that health care careers are very competitive and stressed the importance of grades, attendance and good behavior. There are 567 high school students enrolled in Career Academies, and the Health Science Career Academy leads the way with 124. The Teaching Career Academy has 93 students and the Law/Public Safety Career Academy is third with 87 students. •

"EWFSUJTJOHt1SJOUJOHt. BSLFUJOH ]XBMLFSDPN March 2013 Montgomery Business Journal

19


Investor Member Profile BUSINESS BUZZ (CONTINUED FROM PAGE 63)

Radio personalities JT and Leanne have formed River Region Media.

Married With Microphones JT & Leanne balance work, marriage, and extended family by Jennifer Kornegay

photography by Robert Fouts

Marriage is tough. Blending two families can be pretty hard. And then working with your spouse each day?


It could be a recipe for rough times, but JT and Leanne Thompson, the peppy personalities you hear each weekday morning on Mix 103.3’s “Married with Microphones” morning radio show, have not just survived the above scenario, they’re thriving. The couple arrived in the Capital City in 2006, the same year they were married and transformed two families into one, which now includes three teenage daughters and five “furkids.” Cumulus had recruited JT, who was working for a radio station in Pensacola, Florida, to do the morning show for Mix 103.3. He said he’d come, but on one condition. “I told them I wanted Leanne to do the morning show with me,” JT said. Cumulus agreed, despite the fact that Leanne had never been on-air before. “I was a secretary at the sheriff’s office,” she said, “but we put a demo together for Cumulus, and they liked it.” And why not? The show’s many loyal listeners would probably be surprised to know that Leanne is not a seasoned radio veteran, so effortless is her sunny, sometimes sarcastic, on-air demeanor. But then, she had a great, if a bit demanding, teacher. “JT is a perfectionist, so having him as my instructor and my new husband was kind of daunting.” JT’s dad worked in radio in St. Louis. “I grew up with it,” he said. JT has worked in radio since 1992. JT’s long history in the industry is obvious, and it’s evident that he’s successfully passed his skills along to his wife. Today the show attracts one of the largest audiences in the region. When asked about their favorite part of working together, JT answered, “Saving gas money.” His wry reply is a textbook example of the witty banter laced with truths about marital and parenting challenges that have made the couple so popular. Leanne explained. “Our whole life is show prep,” she said. “We live it and draw from our experiences to produce a show that allows us to really relate to our audience. They live our lifestyle; they are us. Most are either in our position, our about to be or have already been there.”

River Region Media Married with Microphones airs every weekday morning from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Mix 103.3 River Region TV airs every Friday at noon on Montgomery’s CW and two weekends a month at noon on WSFA. www.riverregion.tv WSFA as well as Montgomery’s CW. “It’s like taking our radio show and making it visual,” JT said. “It really allows us to do more and extend the coverage of events and other things we already talk about and promote.” “We wanted to put together a great, affordable package for local businesses to be able to advertise on TV,” he added. “We’ve got the lowest prices in the market.” River Region TV has a website, and the duo also promote what their next round of shows will feature with standing articles in both RSVP and Pride of Montgomery magazines, and River Region TV advertisers are included in the radio show and social media promotion.

Being “married with microphones” has its perks, but also presents challenges. “We are married first, so sometimes we fight, but we have to move past that pretty quickly sometimes and always be professional,” Leanne said. “It can be hard to find that balance and separation between work and personal, but it is important.”

“That means the businesses that advertise with us get their message out in four venues,” JT said. Their clients also get the benefit of Leanne’s endorsement, which is of real value considering the connection she forms with her audience. Through River Region TV, Leanne is even offering comprehensive media campaign strategies to their clients and ad agency-style representation.

Striking a balance gets even harder when you’ve got so much work to do. Not only does the couple do the morning show, they also created River Region TV. The show features the two out and about in the community, highlighting local businesses and events and airs on

JT and Leanne have now been in Montgomery for almost seven years and call the city home. “We love it here and have loved watching all the progress,” Leanne said. “We really love being able to promote all that’s good here through our jobs.” And the jobs are ones they see themselves doing for years to come. “Radio has gone through many changes, but I think the industry will continue to work as long as it does what it was originally intended to do, which is serve the local community,” JT said. “That’s the reason we’ve been successful in radio and with River Region TV. We are out in the community, connecting with locals and local businesses.” •

March 2013 Montgomery Business Journal

21


Driving Alabama’s Economy Automotive sector is a powerful job engine by David Zaslawsky

By looking at the cover of the University of Alabama’s Center for Business and Economic Research outlook for the state’s economy this year and a two-page spread inside the brochure, it’s pretty obvious that the automotive industry is the key story. The impact of the state’s automotive industry begins with production of cars and light trucks reaching an all-time of 880,000 units last year – about 135,000 more than 2011. The state is projected to build more than 1.5 engines this year. Alabama, which first produced the Mercedes-Benz M-Class in 1997, is now the country’s No. 4 state for vehicle production behind Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. Alabama’s three original equipment manufacturers – Hyundai, Honda and Mercedes-Benz – have been adding personnel and expanding capacity. The suppliers to those plants have also been expanding to keep up with rising demand. And the future of the U.S. sales market looks strong, considering that forecasting firm IHS Global Insight projects new car sales to grow 21.5 percent to nearly 8.9 million by 2020. That’s an additional 1.5 million vehicles. At the same time, light truck sales are forecast to increase almost 1 million units by 2016. The automotive manufacturing sector pays the highest average wages of any manufacturing industry – nearly $75,000, or just slightly more than the aerospace, paper and chemical manufacturing sectors. “It’s a good story for the state,” Sam Addy, director of the University of Alabama’s Center for Business and Economic Research, said at the center’s 2013 Alabama Economic Outlook Conference. The conference was held at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center.

22

Montgomery Business Journal March 2013

He said the automotive plants were producing more than 110 percent of capacity. “We think production will beat last year because of expectations for (vehicle sales),” he said. Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama’s plant in Montgomery will have its third production shift up and running the entire year in 2013 as opposed to the last quarter in 2012. Hyundai built a record 361,348 vehicles last year and began the year by topping the previous January mark by nearly 5,000 units. Not surprisingly, the state’s exports led by transportation equipment were expected to set a record last year of more than $18 billion. Transportation equipment accounts for nearly 40 percent of all exports. Exports were $17.8 billion in 2011 and $15.5 billion in 2010. Addy is forecasting a 1.7 percent increase in the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) this year, but the actual range is 1.5 percent to a high of 3.5 percent. He said the second half of the year looks stronger than the first half. “Things are picking up. We think the momentum is going to continue into this year as well. We have been doing very well in Alabama. We are growing our economy relative to other states.” A 1.7 percent increase in GDP this year puts Alabama’s economy at $159.3 billion and is projected to reach $163.8 billion in 2014. The Center for Business and Economic Research is forecasting tax revenue to increase 3.5 percent to about $9.2 billion and will hit $10.2 billion in 2016. The tax revenue forecast has a range of 2.5 percent to 6.0 percent. Job growth is forecast to increase just 1.1 percent in 2013 – that’s 18,500 jobs. The

Sam Addy

range of the forecast is 0.7 percent to 2.3 percent. One of the bright spots will be motor vehicle manufacturing employment, which is forecast to grow 4.1 percent in 2013 and 5.8 percent in 2014. Job growth is being affected by a shrinking labor force while the population is aging. The center has projected worker shortfalls of 20,000 by 2018, increasing to 77,000 in 2025. One of the key issues, according to Addy, is the state’s 24 percent underemployment rate, which combines unemployed with underemployed. There are 473,066 underemployed people in the state and almost 160,000 unemployed. Although the unemployment rate has declined in all of the state’s 11 metro centers, there is a lack of soft skills. “Industry is looking for workers who can work in teams; know what to do; and can communicate,” Addy said. “The economy is changing and we have to change. We have to look at the needs of the future. That means some occupations need to be phased out and others need to be enhanced.” •


Bronner sees positive future for Alabama by David Zaslawsky

Retirement Systems of Alabama CEO David Bronner looks at economic development in a fairly simplistic fashion that is devoid of all politics. Bronner, who was the luncheon speaker at the 2013 Economic Outlook Conference, said for every $1 that Alabama sends to Washington the state receives $1.66. “You have to be pretty stupid to look that gift horse in the mouth,” he said. “We’re getting back 66 percent – that’s quite a deal.” And Bronner knows a thing or two about deals and about economic development, being in charge of a $29 billion pension fund. He criticized the state for not wanting to expand its Medicaid program to help about 300,000 people. He looked at the math. He said the federal government is going to give Alabama about $15 billion over 10 years and

the state has to come up with about $1 billion in four or five years “and just dribble it out to them.” Bronner said state officials should consider the impact of all that money. “Think about how many doctors get paid; how many nurses get paid; how many nursing homes get paid. All that is economic development. All I see is that money coming to the state. I hope that Alabamians will at least think about accepting the money. “I want you to think about economic development in the state because when you put billions of dollars into the state, it helps everything in the state. It creates jobs. It gives somebody a better life.” He favors a tax increase to solve a lot of the state’s problems. He pointed out that Alabama pays $1.1 billion less in taxes than Mississippi and that the national average is

David Bronner

$4.8 billion more than Alabama. “You have to decide in Alabama if you want to solve any problems or do you want to just moan and groan and go on your way?” Continued on page 24

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March 2013 Montgomery Business Journal

23


Alabama “in the last 15 years has had more progress than it has in the prior 30 or 40 years.” David Bronner, CEO, Retirement Systems of Alabama Yet, Bronner acknowledged that Alabama “in the last 15 years has had more progress than it has in the prior 30 or 40 years.” He expects things to continue to get better. “I think it looks good that we’ve gotten through our real rough spot. The future ahead of us is more positive than what we have been through the last three or four years.” Education is the key to growth, Bronner said, and “there are no excuses” for not improving public schools.

24

Montgomery Business Journal March 2013

Continued from page 23

He said that the 2 percent growth that economists are forecasting for 2013 “to me, is standing still. We’ve got to get growth going to have any kind of impact.” Bronner blames some of that tepid growth on the “austerity kick.” As the private sector began improving, public sector jobs were cut, which slowed the economy. “You cut back when the economy is going – not when it is going in the wrong direction.” He is a strong advocate for infrastructure spending, including dams, power grids and water systems. “You need to do things that will make a difference in the future,” he said. “We have to put people back to work. If you invest in infrastructure it makes you much more competitive in five, 10, 15, 20 years down the road.” Bronner warned that Medicare is not sustainable because the average couple spends $109,000 and receives $343,000 in benefits. “If you are collecting $109,000 and paying out $343,000 you’ve got a problem,” he said. “If we don’t address it, it will cause our bond rating to drop another notch.” •


Fed Reserve official: Slow growth is â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;self-inflictedâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; by David Zaslawsky

month in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It will take a few more years for the unemployment rate to return to more historic numbers, according to a Federal Reserve official. A consensus of 19 Fed Reserve officials, who made three-year forecasts, are calling for an unemployment rate of between 7.4 percent to 7.7 percent this year; 6.8 percent to 7.3 percent in 2014 and 6.0 percent to 6.6 percent in 2015. To reach an unemployment rate of 6.5 percent by the end of 2015, the economy needs to add 158,000 jobs a month, said David Altig, executive vice president and director of research for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. To reach an unemployment rate of 6.5 percent by the end of 2014, the economy would need to add 184,000 jobs a month. With a strong fourth quarter leading the way, the economy added 181,000 jobs a

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Altig, speaking at the 2013 Economic Outlook Conference, conducted by the University of Alabamaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Center for Business and Economic Research, said the â&#x20AC;&#x153;normalâ&#x20AC;? range for unemployment is 5.2 percent to 6.0 percent. The Fed is looking at GDP (gross domestic product) growth of 2.3 percent to 3.0 percent this year; climbing to 3.0 percent to 3.5 percent in 2014 and 3.0 percent to 3.7 percent in 2015.

David Altig

â&#x20AC;&#x153;There is nothing in the narrative of the U.S. economy in our view â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and the view of almost everybody who is making exactly the same forecast â&#x20AC;&#x201C; that suggests a spectacular return to something that more closely approximates the normal level of activity. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are still, still, still digging out of a very, very deep hole. We are in the midst of what will be a long-term growth slowdown. For

the first time in quite awhile, the risks to this forecast (are too pessimistic),â&#x20AC;? Altig said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think there is a real possibility that the stars will align in the right way â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the strength is at the end of the year â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and we would have underestimated growth.â&#x20AC;? Continued on page 26

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March 2013 Montgomery Business Journal

25


Continued from page 25

He said the bright spots in the economy are housing, energy, manufacturing and the automotive industry. “The energy industry is a huge positive story for us,” he said. “The prospects for being energyindependent in a relatively short period of time are very, very real.” He said there is a “manufacturing boom that is reasserting itself and associated with an increasingly positive outlook for stuff we need to have to run industry in the United States.”

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Altig stressed that the gridlock in Washington threatens the economy. “The fundamentals are all there for good stuff to happen. The reason it’s not happening is self-inflicted. This is not an act of nature that we are experiencing. This is an act of us.” The Fed’s effectiveness is tied to Congress and the White House “to get us on the right track or at least not be part of the problem.” The country’s surging national debt is “utterly unsustainable,” Altig said. The public debt to GDP has grown from 36 percent in 2007 to 73 percent in 2012 and will be 100 percent by 2020 if nothing is done, according to Altig. “Consistently across time; consistently across countries – the nations that run their levels of debt above 90 percent debt levels to their GDP are countries in big trouble,” Altig said. “It’s a symptom of a system that is not functioning to make the right sort of prioritization; the right sort of policy choices to support growth with low inflation.”

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Montgomery Business Journal March 2013

He said the country’s economy will return to sustainability, but “the question is will we do it intelligently in a way that promotes growth or will we do it in a way that is damaging to our prospects of growth in this country.” The Fed’s aggressive programs will not last indefinitely, Altig said the buying of $85 billion a month of mortgage-backed securities and U.S. Treasury bonds will continue until “the labor markets improve substantially” or it is determined the program isn’t effective. •

“The prospects for being energyindependent in a relatively short period of time are very, very real.” David Altig, executive vice president and director of research for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta


Outlook for National Economy and Capital Expenditures Drag Down the Alabama Business Confidence Index by David Zaslawsky

The Alabama Business Confidence Index is entering its 12th year of taking the pulse of the state’s business executives. During the 45-quarter history of the index there have been a few wild gyrations with the index falling a whopping 12 points one quarter and gaining 14 points in another quarter. There have also been moves of 10 points over consecutive quarters and now the index has declined 11.4 points over a three-quarter span from a 56.8 index in the second quarter of 2012 to an index of 45.4 points in the first quarter of 2013. The most recent index is being dragged down by the outlook for the national economy and capital expenditures. The Montgomery respondents in the quarterly survey conducted by the University of Alabama Center for Business and Economic Research had been the most optimistic of the state’s four metro centers – Montgomery, Birmingham, Huntsville and Mobile – for six straight quarters. The Montgomery respondents were among the most pessimistic in the 2013 first quarter with an index of 44.3, about four points more than Huntsville, but six points less than Birmingham. The Montgomery respondents are forecasting contraction in each of the six components in the index.

ABCI quarterly breakdown 2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Q1

54

58

67

62

59

54

47

32

49

55

51

45

Q2

63

56

67

61

61

56

43

32

50

56

57

Q3

60

61

69

60

59

57

43

46

52

51

50

Q4

56

61

66

54

54

51

44

47

48

46

48

Source: University of Alabama’s Center for Business and Economic Research

The following is a breakdown for Alabama of each of the six components: National economy The component tumbled 4.2 points from the 2012 fourth quarter and is now less than 40 (38.4). The component has declined about 16 points in the past three quarters. Almost 40 percent of the respondents are expecting the first quarter to be worse than the fourth quarter and another 15 percent expect it to be much worse. Only 20 percent are forecasting an improved quarter. Alabama economy The component declined 3.0 points to 46.7, which shows contraction. About 40 percent are expecting the quarter to be worse than the fourth quarter vs. 28 percent who are forecasting a better quarter and another one-third who expect the quarter to remain the same. Industry sales This component declined the least amount – 0.7 points – to slip to 50.4 and is the only component with an index more than 50 (50.4). An index of 50 or more indicates growth. About one-third expect an increase in first-quarter sales and 30 percent expect a decrease. Another 30 percent expect the quarter to remain the same as the fourth quarter. The most upbeat

sectors are finance, insurance, real estate, construction, transportation, information and utilities. Retail sales are expected to be flat. Industry profits The same number of respondents anticipate profits to remain the same as the fourth quarter; to be worse; or improved. The component declined 0.9 points from the fourth quarter and slipped to 47.7 points. The health care sector is the most pessimistic while the finance sector is looking for an increase in profits. The wholesale trade sector is forecasting a moderate increase. Industry hiring The component fell 3.0 points to 45.7. Nearly half of the respondents expect no change from the previous quarter, but one-third are forecasting a decline compared with about 20 percent expecting an increase in hiring. The most optimistic sector is construction and the most pessimistic sector is retail. Capital expenditures – This component’s decline was a dramatic 5.3 points and the index fell to 43.6. About 35 percent are expecting a decline in spending and just 20 percent are expecting to increase spending. Nearly 45 percent expect no change in capital expenditures from the fourth quarter. Spending is expected to decline in all sectors except for transportation, information and utilities, which are forecasting expenditures to be flat. •

March 2013 Montgomery Business Journal

27


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U.S. economy on verge of breakthrough by David Zaslawsky

The sluggish national economy will continue to grow slowly this year, but appears poised to break through in 2014. The gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow just 1.7 percent this year, but 2.7 percent in 2014, according to IHS Global Insight, one of the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading forecasting firms. Consumer spending, which accounts of about two-thirds of the economy, is projected to grow just 1.7 percent this year, but 2.6 percent in 2014. Employment is forecast to grow only 1.4 this year â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the same as 2012 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and increase to 1.7 percent in 2014. Government spending will continue to contract in 2013 at all levels (-2.9 percent federal and -0.5 state and local). State and local government spending is projected to barely increase (0.1 percent) in 2014, while federal government is again expected to decline (-3.2 percent). Business investment spending is forecast to slow in 2013 to 3.9 percent. It grew 8.6 percent in 2011 and 7.5 in 2012. It is projected to gain steam again in 2014 to rise 6.9 percent.

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Two of the bright spots in the national economy are housing and automobile sales. Residential investment is projected to grow 14.2 percent this year and almost 20 percent (19.6) in 2014. The growth in 2013 would mean total investment of about $424 billion, but that is still a long way from the housing boom high of $800-plus billion. Construction spending on single-family homes is expected to increase more than 20 percent to $160 billion. Spending on household furniture is forecast to increase 6 percent. The automobile industry will continue to see its sales increase in 2013 by around 4 percent (580,000 units) to more than 15 million vehicles and then by another 650,000 units in 2014 to almost 15.7 million. Vehicle leasing is expected to grow 11.1 percent this year. The projected 15 million vehicles sold this year will be the highest total since 16.5 million units in 2007, but still 2.8 million vehicles shy of 2000 (17.8 million vehicles sold). In 2014, spending on commercial and health care structures is forecast to surge 17 percent, but a modest growth of 3.3 percent this year. In other forecasts for 2013: > Inflation will rise 1.4 percent > The unemployment rate will decline to 7.6 percent

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Members of EMERGE Montgomery gathered together after the young professionals’ organization received 2013 MAX Community Achievement Award

It was a typical reception with young and old, but on this night youth was praised and celebrated. That’s because EMERGE Montgomery, a young professionals’ organization, received MAX Credit Union’s 2013MAX Community Achievement Award. “You are our hope,” MAX Credit Union President and CEO Greg McClellan said. “You are our future.” Those sentiments were also expressed by Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange. He said the young professionals “give me strength; they give me encouragement; they give me great excitement. The future is in their hands. It’s all about the young people. Everything that we are doing in downtown Montgomery is about the young people.” The MAX Community Achievement Award is annually presented to individuals or organizations which have made a significant difference in the region’s quality of life. It was established in 2005. “To be recognized as being an organization that has made a contribution to improving the quality of life in the River Region means a great deal to us,” said EMERGE President Taylor Williams, who handles governmental and public affairs for PowerSouth Energy. “We are grateful for this community award and we look forward to continuing our work with the community in the future. “With this award we appreciate the recognition, but we also won’t lose sight of the fact that we’re going to keep moving forward and keep making contributions to the area. We want to provide quality programs and opportunities for all members to connect with the community; grow professionally; interact; and connect with their peers.” EMERGE, which is a program of Leadership Montgomery in partnership with the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, was created five years ago to recruit and retain young professionals – ages 22 to 40 – in the area. “Our mission is to be the leading young professionals’ group in the Southeast,” Williams said, “and over the past four years we have worked tirelessly to help improve the quality of life in the River Region and to recruit and retain young professionals in the area. “While we have terrific members; an incredible board – we know that we wouldn’t be standing here tonight without the support of the community.”

EMERGE Montgomery receives prestigious MAX Community by David Zaslawsky Achievement Award

The organization is joining some elite company. Past winners of the Community Achievement Award include Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, Montgomery Biscuits, Troy University’s Montgomery campus, Alabama Wildlife Federation, Joy to Life Foundation, Montgomery Area Nontraditional Equestrians and Pastor Edward Nettles Sr. Williams said “it was quite an honor” for EMERGE to be added to the list of recipients. “I’m very, very proud of what they do,” said Cheryl Carter, executive director of Leadership Montgomery. “I am very proud that they have earned this award. They have expanded their horizons in such a large way in this community.” Harold Boone, vice president, Minority Business Development & Leadership Programs for the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, thanked the business community for its support of EMERGE. “I want to thank all those business owners who are here tonight, representing their organizations because you are the ones that help continue to sustain this program.” D.G. Markwell, senior vice president of marketing/business development for MAX Credit Union, said his company is “serious” about community involvement. “Everywhere in Montgomery you see our footprint and our fingerprint on the things that are important to the people in the River Region. We want to recognize those who have made a difference in the quality of life for those of us who live in the area.” •

March 2013 Montgomery Business Journal

29


SWEET Delights Lekisha Leonard is co-owner of Cupcakes by Tish.

Cupcakes by Tish grows dramatically by David Zaslawsky

photography by Robert Fouts


There are more than 100 flavors and a just a handful are Red Velvet, Chocolate Mint Cookie, Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter Cup, Chocolate Covered Strawberry Carrot, Banana Pudding, Chocolicious, Key Lime, S’mores, Strawberries & Cream, Almond Joi, Malibu, Pink Moscato and Maple Bacon Pancake.

Cupcakes by Tish threw a bash to celebrate its first year in business that featured WSFA TV news anchor Tonya Terry as a guest host. There was even a tent.

Cupcakes by Tish (her nickname) offers sugar-free cupcakes, gluten-free cupcakes and now there is a cupcake that is both sugar-free and gluten-free. She said customers like that one, too. The freshly baked gourmet cupcakes and frostings are made daily from scratch. Prices vary for mini cupcakes to regular and jumbo and gluten-free and sugar-free. The cost for a half-dozen cupcakes ranges between $8 to $20 and a dozen costs between $15 and $42. The price for a single, regular-sized cupcake is $2.95; a half-dozen costs $16.50; and a dozen regular-sized cupcakes are $28.50.

The shop on Mulberry Street was packed as well as the tent outside, but it was far from a typical party to celebrate a business turning one year old. What made it unusual was that the shop had doubled in size and now included barstools and tables, chairs, sofa and two large televisions. There were magazines and WiFi and none of it existed when the business first opened.

She once had an order for 27 dozen cupcakes for a doctor’s office and it cost more than $500 after a discount. Lekisha Leonard said her typical customer buys a half-dozen cupcakes and her customers are more likely to eat a cupcake inside the store – perhaps with coffee – and buy their half-dozen cupcakes on their way out.

That’s how well Cupcakes by Tish is doing. Co-owners Lekisha and Quincy Leonard were looking at the building next door, which is available and also considered a new downtown location. They did decide to open a second location at The Shoppes at EastChase. It marks the second expansion in 14 months.

Her target audience when she first opened the business was moms and women ages 24 to 40. That audience still accounts for a lot of sales as mothers will bring their children in after school for a treat and buy cupcakes for parties. Another busy time is lunch, when customers stop by for their dessert. After work is also a busy time.

Expanding the business is just one of the goals. Lekisha Leonard said she would like to do more with marketing, increase awareness of her business, and of course, expand the menu. She and her staff of five are constantly creating new flavors and flavorful names such as “Sweetnin’.” That was a nickname for her grandmother and is a cupcake with triple chocolate and red wine. She learned to cook from her grandmother and still uses a lot of recipes from her.

Cupcakes by Tish has already captured awards, including being named best dessert and best bakery. The store was named a “best little cupcake in Alabama 2012 finalist by al.com. •

“I’m here all the time and we’ll just put our heads together and think of things like cheesecake,” Lekisha Leonard said. “We now have a cheesecake line. The cheesecake cupcake is not a cheesecake and it’s not a cupcake – it’s both of them combined.”

March 2013 Montgomery Business Journal

31


THE

SPAR NE


RK OF A EW ERA The Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center spurs development of downtown Montgomery by David Zaslawsky

photography by Robert Fouts

It may be difficult to imagine, but the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center, a fixture of downtown Montgomery, was not here just five years ago. There was no large convention center; no 1,800seat performing arts center; no 14,000-square-foot ballroom; and no four-diamond, 347-room hotel in downtown Montgomery.


“When people see the opportunity to make money and a lot of the risk of the transaction is out of it – they like to pile on. That’s what you’re getting now in Montgomery.” David Bronner, CEO, Retirement Systems of Alabama

Then again – five years ago – there was no Alley; there was no Hampton Inn & Suites in downtown Montgomery. There were just a handful of loft apartments and not the dozens and dozens there are now and the 600 that are planned. There was very little new development or even plans for projects. There were much fewer concerts, shows and musicals. There were much fewer downtown bars and restaurants. When the Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA) invested about $160 million into the Renaissance project and the City of Montgomery invested $29 million to expand the aging Montgomery into an expansive convention center, developers poured money into downtown Montgomery. RSA CEO David Bronner has a proven track of investment successes and has very, very deep pockets as he grew the pension funds he oversees from $500 million to today’s $29 billion. “We always had the staying power in case things get rough and we don’t have to fold our cards,” Bronner said. “We can make it through a greater economic downturn than somebody else could because you’ve got such a stack of money.” When RSA constructed its first two buildings in Montgomery – RSA Plaza and the Alabama Center for Commerce – the neighborhood changed. “When we built those two buildings all the trash in-between started to disappear – nice things happened,” Bronner said. He said other organizations began to improve their buildings. “When people see the opportunity to make money and a lot of the risk of the transaction is out of it – they like to pile on,” he said. “That’s what you’re getting now in Montgomery – is that great piling-on feeling, which is really good because people are saying, ‘I couldn’t take that risk if somebody else hadn’t taken all these other risks.’ And the thing is moving down the track nicely.” Just a few months after Todd Strange became Montgomery mayor in a special election, he attended a girls’ volleyball tournament at the Renaissance. He said he heard girls talking about what they were going to do after their matches. “That was my first understanding why we needed to get into sports,” Strange said about hosting athletic events to generate revenue. As a result, Strange formed the Central Alabama Sports Commission. The

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Montgomery Business Journal March 2013

City, in partnership with the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Convention & Visitor Bureau, is aggressively recruiting sporting events. Remember that girls’ volleyball tournament at the Renaissance? It now has grown from 60-plus teams to about 100 teams. Without the Renaissance, there would not have been a Central Alabama Sports Commission that works to bring all types of sports events to Montgomery. There would not have been a multiplex, the money spent on the Cramton Bowl renovations or the money spent on a new soccer complex. “If you never would have done the Renaissance, you never would have gotten Hampton Inn,” Strange said. “You never would have gotten Doubletree. You never would have had the entertainment district. You never would have had The Alley. “You had the Biscuits. You had the Renaissance. And then you had everything else.” The Renaissance opened in February of 2008, four years after the Montgomery Biscuits played their first game at Riverwalk Stadium. More than 2.5 million people have attended Biscuits’ games during the past nine years. “The Renaissance is the backdrop for everything that has come since then and will continue to come in the future,” Strange said. The Renaissance is the magnet, bringing conventioneers to town; bringing businesspeople to town for meetings; bringing tourists to town; bringing local residents to downtown; and bringing people from all over to the Montgomery Performing Arts Centre for various shows. When Montgomery officials recruit companies to the area, they use the Governor’s Suite or even the Presidential Suite at the Renaissance. There are cocktail parties at the hotel. “It shows vibrancy; it shows energy in our community,” Strange said. “It is the center of the activities that go on downtown and The Alley connects the ballpark to the Renaissance.” The Renaissance has had a dramatic impact on the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Convention & Visitor Bureau. Continued on page 36


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“The Renaissance is the backdrop for everything that has come since then and will continue to come in the future.” Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange

Mayor Todd Strange

Continued from page 34

“Before the convention center, we could not compete against some of the larger cities because we didn’t have the facilities or the hotels,” said Dawn Hathcock, vice president, Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Convention & Visitor Bureau. “It (Renaissance) absolutely was a gamechanger for us because before we were limited in what we could go after by space and number of hotel rooms. Now we have had the addition of both.”

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Montgomery Business Journal March 2013

The old Montgomery Civic Center was not conducive to breakout sessions, Hathcock said, and the groups that filled the facility had no room to grow. The Renaissance greatly increased the amount of breakout space for meetings and conventions and features a 14,000-squarefoot ballroom that complements the 10,000-square-foot ballroom at Embassy. With all the added space, it was now possible

for multiple events at both the Embassy and Renaissance. “Your typical 350-room Marriott, Renaissance, Hilton, Hyatt is going to have a 10,000-square-foot ballroom and possibly another 10,000 to 15,000 square feet of space,” Eveleth said. “Because of the design with the convention center and all of our space, we have a lot more space than your typical 350-room property. The other part of


it – it is all under one roof, which for meeting planners is an absolute joy.”

a hotel with about 350 rooms translates into just 700 people.

Over the five years, the staff has learned what works and doesn’t work, Eveleth said. “If we have to shoehorn a group into a room, we know what size we can do.”

“To me a successful day is every single room is full; every single meeting room is full,” Eveleth said. “We have 140,000 square feet of meeting space. We have 18 breakout rooms. We have a ballroom, which can be divided into five sections. The convention center is about 73,000 square feet and divisible by three.”

What they can do is handling major groups and major meals for those groups. When former President George W. Bush was the featured speaker for a Faulkner University fundraiser, the hotel prepared meals for 2,400 people. The hotel served about 2,200 meals when former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was the featured speaker for another Faulkner University fundraiser. “We pride ourselves on being able to do things bigger and better than a lot of different venues because of the meeting space we have and the talented staff that works here,” Eveleth said. That is one of the key elements of the Renaissance – its sheer size. The hotel has handled groups up to 4,000 people. Filling up

Long before the Renaissance opened, Ray Ezelle, who at the time was the area director of sales & marketing for The Resort Collection on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, told the Central Alabama Business Journal, “We have the opportunity to brand Montgomery as the convention destination in the South. That’s what our strategy is. This will be the most unbelievable convention hotel that most of our meeting planners have ever gone to.” Yet, as Bronner pointed out, a new hotel is at a disadvantage when it comes to booking conventions. “Downtown hotels sign conventions and neither you nor I are going to book a convention in a hotel until you can go

see it; feel it; touch it; smell it,” Bronner said. “That means what? That means almost every convention is already booked two to three years (in advance).” That is why Bronner said he pushed the sales staff to book college athletic teams. He said the Renaissance has performed better than expected. “If you’re going to build a brand new hotel anyplace in the country in downtown you will lose money for roughly three or four years.” Being a state capital with hundreds of associations and organizations based in Montgomery has certainly helped. The Renaissance is one of eight properties in The Resort Collection on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. Those eight combined to make $14.7 million last year, Bronner said. “We’ve done very, very well and are well ahead of our 10-year plan,” Eveleth said. “We have a great team running this place. We have a lot of very senior people working here and people who have worked in the business for years.” •

March 2013 Montgomery Business Journal

37


Now add the downtown baseball stadium – Riverwalk Stadium, which is home to the Class AA Montgomery Biscuits – and now there was a need for another downtown hotel. And the need for a convention center. What happened is that old private-public partnership with the city working with RSA and the four-diamond Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center was built. The city contributed $29 million for transforming the 60,000-squarefoot civic center into a convention center with about 75,000 square feet. “The first time they (city officials) told me they were going to improve the civic center – ‘we’re going to keep the structure.’ When I went downtown a few months later they only had one wall left out of four. This is a little more than a tune-up.”

Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center is the city’s lone four-diamond hotel.

Bronner’s personal touches give hotel resort feel by David Zaslawsky

With a new baseball team in town playing in a new downtown stadium, maybe it was time for a new downtown hotel. The idea to build that second downtown Montgomery hotel did not come from Retirement Systems of Alabama CEO David Bronner. Actually, the idea to build the first major downtown Montgomery hotel – Embassy Suites Montgomery - Hotel & Conference Center – did not originate from RSA, but the funding did. Bronner recalled that Ellen McNair, senior vice president, corporate development for the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, would send him “lots of different ventures. One of them was a hotel downtown – that was one of her pet peeves. That’s how we got the Embassy.” He said some years later, McNair told Bronner “we’ve got to have another” downtown hotel. “I said, ‘sure.’ She gets the credit for that. ” If it was only that simple. Back in August 2001, the Montgomery City Council approved a resolution for a convention center and hotel. The city was losing millions of dollars with the old Montgomery Civic Center. “You always lose money on civic centers,” Bronner said. “The key is to break even if you can or lose a few hundred thousand and not millions.”

38

Montgomery Business Journal March 2013

For its part, RSA invested about $160 million and now downtown had another 347 rooms and lots and lots of convention space and meeting rooms. It took more than 900,000 man-hours by nearly 1,900 workers to complete the Renaissance, according to Doster Construction Co., which managed the project along with joint venture partner A.G. Gaston Construction Co. Bronner definitely put his touch on the Renaissance. During the building process you could follow the escalating costs in various newspaper and television reports. There were two floors of rooms added. “It makes it more viable for that convention to come,” Bronner said. “You can’t ask somebody to come and


say: here’s a nice meeting area; here’s a nice performing arts center; and oh, by the way, you’re staying at the Holiday Express on the Southern Bypass. You’ve got to have a certain number of rooms that fit the square footage of your dining capacity.” The original plan called for trees, where there is outdoor music, bar and fire pits, according to Bronner. “Outside bars make a great venue in a climate like this,” he said. “It makes for a fun place to be. It makes it more like a resort than a downtown hotel.” That outside area has been so successful that about 1,000 square feet is being added. The expansion is expected to be completed in the spring. “This is our four-diamond hotel and it is a different level than what we have had in the past,” said Dawn Hathcock, vice president, Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Convention & Visitor Bureau. “It is our convention hotel. You have a worldclass spa. So not only do you have fabulous theater, Class A ballroom, convention space, meeting space, restaurants – you have a full-service spa and swimming pool. It gives

a little bit of a resort feel in a downtown convention hotel.” Downtown hotels traditionally have their pools in the basement and Bronner said the smell of chlorine “knocks over” the hotel guests. That is why the pool is on top of the 600-car parking deck and it helps give the hotel a different atmosphere. It was Bronner’s decision to add the 1,800seat Montgomery Performing Arts Centre (MPAC) to the project. “I was looking for the ability to bring some type of entertainment to Montgomery. You couldn’t do certain performances because you only had the small stage at the Davis Theatre.” The MPAC brings people downtown; helps fill hotel rooms on weekends; and certainly added that all-important glitz that Bronner wanted. “It really is the wow factor,” Hathcock said about the Renaissance.

“It makes for a fun place to be. It makes it more like a resort than a downtown hotel.” David Bronner, CEO, Retirement Systems of Alabama

“It’s a flagship hotel,” Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange said. “It is class and you’re proud to take your guests in there.” •

March 2013 Montgomery Business Journal

39


Hotel retains its newness with constant maintenance Mike Eveleth

Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center General Manager Mike Eveleth has been around for four of the hotel’s five years. That newness thing has worn off, but it’s the general manager’s job to make sure the Renaissance looks the same as it did when it opened in February 2008. “Let’s face it, we all age,” Eveleth said, but in the hotel’s orientation program, employees learn that the primary goal “is that this hotel should look as much as possible like it did the day it opened,” Eveleth said. He said they are constantly repainting, which is quite a change of pace from opening the hotel with no painters to the

40

Montgomery Business Journal March 2013

current staff of three full-time painters. “I’ve been a firm believer that a coat of paint is probably one of the quickest remedies to issues in hotels.” Carpeting is being replaced and the rooms are being updated. New lamps were placed in the rooms last year and this year there will be new nightstands. There will also be new large chairs in about 25 percent of the rooms. Eveleth said the hotel will undergo a major furniture makeover in 2015. He does have a yearly capital expenditure program, but “when we see something wrong we try to attack it on our annual budget.” David Zaslawsky


March 2013 Montgomery Business Journal

41


Reporter’s Notebook by David Zaslawsky

Guns at school Montgomery Public Schools Superintendent Barbara Thompson was uneasy about having armed security at schools. She is concerned about comprehensive training, including psychological testing. She is concerned about how to fund armed security guards and how much to pay them “to ensure topquality people.” There are 18 Montgomery Police Department officers on campuses and the district supplements that with unarmed security guards. The district is planning to spend between $75,000 and $100,000 for electronic doors in 12 buildings. District personnel

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Montgomery Business Journal March 2013

have been talking about evacuation sites and safety training. Thompson definitely has major reservations about guns at schools. “My teaching staff is trained to teach and for them to carry weapons would be problematic,” Thompson said at a monthly meeting of elected leaders at the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce. She did agree to support the Montgomery delegation in proposing a bill that would allow school personnel to carry weapons. State Sen. Dick Brewbaker (R-Montgomery) said the proposal is necessary because current law prohibits school personnel to carry weapons. “It gives the district an option that is not available now,” he said.

Nearly reaches goal The recently completed 2012 River Region United Way campaign was about $80,000 shy of its $5.4 million goal. The campaign, which featured almost 10,000 individual and corporate donors, raised $5.3 million. That was 98.5 percent of goal and about $150,000 more than the 2011 campaign. “Because of the community’s support of the River Region United Way, nearly 140,000 individuals will benefit directly from the programs and services offered by our 46 local United Way agencies,” Roger Spain, president of River Region United Way board of directors, said in a statement. “On their behalf and on behalf of hundreds of United Way volunteers, we extend our deepest gratitude for the generosity shown by so many in our community.”


Garrett Coliseum update

Legislative session

It will take an estimated $30 million-plus to renovate Garrett Coliseum and add a multipurpose facility. A recent study concluded that the investment would result in increased events and generate annual revenue of $1.2 million. Now consider what Strange said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s another opportunity for us to have 10,000 seats in Montgomery â&#x20AC;&#x201C; in this River Region â&#x20AC;&#x201C; that we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have today.â&#x20AC;?

State Sen. Dick Brewbaker (R-Montgomery) expects lawmakers will be spending a lot of time this session on the state health care programs, including Medicaid reform.

NEW JUDGE IN TOWN Probate Judge Steven Reed said that dealing with mental health issues is a top priority and he found an ally in Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange. Reed, who was elected in November, said that people â&#x20AC;&#x153;are going through the system. There really doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t seem to be a solution that is both helpful to the individual, the family and the overall community.â&#x20AC;?

Funding is always an obstacle and Strange said that millions of dollars are available through a variety of funding sources. Rep. Jay Love (R-Montgomery) doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t expect proration and even is a bit optimistic about the upcoming Education Trust Fund budget. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It will be better than last year, but only marginally so.â&#x20AC;? He is chair of the Ways and Means Education committee.

Cramped quarters Montgomery County Commission Vice Chairman Dan Harris said the county needs better facilities for the District Attorneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Office. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have lawyers trying to practice law in cracker boxes,â&#x20AC;? he said. Continued on page 44

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Rave reviews Military personnel from Maxwell Air Force Base and Gunter Annex toured a number of schools in the Montgomery Public Schools district, ranging from elementary to middle schools and high schools. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re trying to enlighten people,â&#x20AC;? Thompson said about the two tours. She said the visits were very informative. Strange said the perception of the school district â&#x20AC;&#x153;is so much different than what they saw.â&#x20AC;?

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Beauties and football Montgomery is becoming such a diverse destination city that on one weekend in January, the following events were held: college football all-star game, beauty pageant, girls volleyball tournament and a horse show.

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The inaugural Raycom All-Star College Football Classic drew about 18,600 spectators to Cramton Bowl. All of those involved in staging the game were ecstatic. Johnny Williams, the gameâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s executive director, told the Montgomery Advertiser, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s beyond any expectations.â&#x20AC;?


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March 2013 Montgomery Business Journal

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BusinessBuzz supporting our busy parents by helping them access valuable school information while they’re in a meeting, the carpool line, or even while they’re waiting in the doctor’s office. We always interested in ways to make the flow of information easier.” Melba Richardson

SAINT JAMES SCHOOL LAUNCHES MOBILE APP MONTGOMERY – Saint James School (STJ) has launched its own mobile app, allowing STJ families, students, prospective parents and alumni to access the most up-to-date news and information about the school when they’re on-the-go. Mobile access to information allows students and their families to stay current on school events, sports activities and lunch menus – just to name of few of the detailed information items the app provides. With one click parents can email their children’s teachers, read a principal’s blog or review book titles required for their child’s assigned outside classroom reading. “Working with Atlanta-based mobile solution provider Crescerance, Saint James School has created a cutting edge tool to make our parents’ lives a little easier,” Head of School Melba Richardson said. “In our modern lives, technology is a critical information provider. We’re

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To access the STJ mobile app, iPhone users may download it at the Apple App Store by searching for “STJ” or “Saint James School.” Droid users may download the Android version at the Google Play Store by searching for “STJ” or “Saint James School.”

business administration/health care administration from Wayland Baptist University. Darrington received a master’s degree in human resources development from Webster University. “As a certified licensed practical nurse, he brings a wealth of experience to the foundation about emerging health care opportunities for graduates of Trenholm State,” said Mimi Johnson, executive secretary to the foundation.

of top lawyers who assess the legal abilities of other attorneys in their practice areas. More than 4 million evaluations went into developing the 2013 edition. Butler, Stewart and McGowin have also been listed in Alabama Super Lawyers. Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

BRADLEY ARANT BOULT CUMMINGS ATTORNEYS NAMED TO PRESTIGIOUS LIST MONTGOMERY – The Best Lawyers in America has named Wendell Cauley as Montgomery “Lawyer of the Year” in the area of administrative/regulatory law.

Gilbert F. Darrington

DARRINGTON SELECTED FOR TRENHOLM FOUNDATION BOARD MONTGOMERY – Gilbert F. Darrington was unanimously chosen to serve on the Trenholm Foundation Board. He is the director of human resources for Jackson Hospital & Clinic. He has an associate degree in general studies from Barton County Community College; and bachelor degrees in occupational education and

Montgomery Business Journal March 2013

Five attorneys from the Montgomery office of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP are listed in the 2013 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, which is one of the most highly respected referral publications in the legal profession. Those five are Philip H. Butler, Wendell Cauley, W. Stanley Gregory, Charles A. Stewart III and William C. McGowin. The lawyers listed in Best Lawyers are regarded as the top leaders in their practice areas. Best Lawyers selects attorneys for inclusion based upon an expansive peer-review survey

Sherrie Myers

RIVERWALK STADIUM NAMED 18TH BEST STADIUM MONTGOMERY – Montgomery’s Riverwalk Stadium was named the 18th best stadium experience on the “101 Best Stadium Experiences” list in the January issue of Stadium Journey Magazine. This ranking, which includes venues throughout the country at all levels and sports, puts Riverwalk as the second-best experience in all of minor league baseball and the fourth overall in professional baseball Stadium.


Journey used the FANFARE scale to compile its rankings, which measures food and beverage at the stadium; overall atmosphere; the neighborhood in which it resides; the fans; access outside and inside the stadium; return on investment; and allows for room for “bonus points” for unique features. Riverwalk is ranked behind venues such as Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis Colts), Fenway Park (Boston Red Sox) and the Daytona International Speedway (Daytona 500). Owned by the City of Montgomery, Riverwalk Stadium was built into an existing train shed along the Alabama River and opened in downtown Montgomery in 2004. “It is a privilege for the Biscuits to be recognized among these elite organizations and venues,” said Biscuits’ co-owner Sherrie Myers. “We are proud of such a great partnership with the City of Montgomery in keeping Riverwalk Stadium a premier destination in all of minor league baseball. Our fan experience is second to none.”

Patrick and Jennifer Cooper, who own one store in Georgia and three in Alabama, including one in Montgomery, received the company’s 2012 Swirl Award. The Montgomery location has set records for the highest sales opening weekend; highest Valentine Day’s sales; and top sales for last April and December 2011. “We appreciate and admire Patrick and Jennifer’s desire to continue to grow the brand,” said Gigi’s Cupcakes President Alan Thompson.

LOCAL GIGI’S CUPCAKES OWNERS RECEIVE COMPANY’S TOP AWARD AUBURN – Local owners of Gigi’s Cupcakes received the company’s top award and a second award for Highest Royalty Sales for their Montgomery location.

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Billy Gardner Jr.

BISCUITS MANAGER RETURNING FOR SEVENTH STRAIGHT YEAR MONTGOMERY – The Montgomery Biscuits, along with the Tampa Bay Rays, said that Billy Gardner Jr. will be returning this year as the club’s manager for the seventh consecutive season.

Jennifer and Patrick Cooper

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Also returning are fifth-year hitting coach Ozzie Timmons, second-year pitching coach R.C. Lichtenstein and second-year trainer Kris Russell. As the longest tenured manager in the Southern League, Gardner will mark his 20th season in professional baseball and 17th as a minor league coach in 2013. A Connecticut native, he has more than 1,000 career wins and a Biscuits’ record 426 victories. (Continued on page 48)

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BUSINESS BUZZ

(CONTINUED FROM PAGE 47)

In 2012, Gardner led the Biscuits to a second half divisional championship en route to becoming the first Biscuits skipper to win the Southern League Manager of the Year Award. Gardner, 46, is the son of former major leaguer and World Series champion Billy Gardner Sr., who also had stints as a manager for the Twins and the Royals. The Biscuits will celebrate their 10th year anniversary in 2013 and will open their season at Riverwalk Stadium on April 4th against the Birmingham Barons. ‘DUCK DYNASTY’ STARS COMING TO FAULKNER UNIVERSITY BENEFIT MONTGOMERY - Faulkner University is bringing the A&E Network’s “Duck Dynasty” to Montgomery.

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Si and Willie Robertson, from the popular TV show, are scheduled to appear at 7 p.m. March 23 at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center. The reality show follows the lives of the Robertson family; a Louisiana Bayou family who turned a backyard business making duck calls into a multimillion dollar sports and entertainment enterprise. The men in the Robertson family are known not only for their large beards, camouflage clothing and eccentric ways, but also for their faith and family values. Si Robertson is brother to company founder Phil Robertson. Si’s job in the family business is making reeds to insert into the duck calls, but he’s known on the TV show for his antics and humorous storytelling, including stories about his time serving in

Montgomery Business Journal March 2013

Vietnam and the blue plastic cup he always carries with him. Willie Robertson is both CEO of the company and frequent prankster. A graduate of Harding University, he helped build the business and make the family self-described “redneck millionaires.” Tickets are on sale through Ticketmaster. Seating is limited and all seats are reserved. Tickets range from $25 to $100. In addition, fans can also purchase additional tickets for a photo opportunity and dinner with Si and Willie Robertson. All proceeds benefit Faulkner University. For information, call the University Advancement Office at Faulkner at (334) 386-7257 or visit www.faulkner.edu/ duckdynasty.

Aaron Motley

TRINITY BROADCASTING NETWORK FOUNDING PRESIDENT VISITS LOCAL AFFILIATE MONTGOMERY – The founding president of Trinity Broadcasting Network visited WMCF TV 45 for the first time in its 29-year history in Montgomery. The 78-year-old Paul F. Crouch is expected to complete his tour of 36 television stations this spring. WMCF came on the air in 1984 when then-owners Marcus and Joni Lamb, now operating Daystar Television Network,


BUSINESS BUZZ launched the first 24-hour, full-powered Christian Television station in Montgomery. The current station manager, Aaron Motley, said, “I was one of their first employees, just out of college when the station signed on for the first time. I went to get experience in other jobs, but returned to WMCF in 1995.” Sonlight Broadcasting took ownership of the station in the late 1980s until 1997 when All American Network took ownership. Then in July 2000, Trinity Broadcasting Network purchased the license and is still operating the affiliate today. WMCF TV serves Central Alabama with both network and local programming with Christian ministry, entertainment and informational shows. The station is broadcasting on five channels featuring TBN primary, The Church Channel, Enlace, JCTV and Smile of a Child.

travelers and knowledge of the travel marketplace.

Liz Sutton

ALABAMA WORLD TRAVEL ATTENDS AGENTS’ PROGRAM IN FRANCE MONTGOMERY- Alabama World Travel sent two people to Cannes France, for the industries first Travel + Leisure Rising-Star Agents program. The T+L Rising-Star Agents program is a new extension of the T+L Travel Agent Advisory Board (TAAB), which brings top agents into an ongoing dialogue with Travel + Leisure magazine to provide insights based on their first-hand experience with

Liz Sutton, president of Alabama World Travel, represented the company along with Amy Daniel. “The people that we met at this extraordinary event allow us to extend additional amenities for our valued travel clients,” Sutton said. TRUSTMARK CORP., BANCTRUST MERGER RECEIVES APPROVAL JACKSON, Miss. and MOBILE - Trustmark Corp. and BancTrust Financial Group Inc. announced that all required regulatory approvals have been received in connection with the proposed merger of BancTrust into Trustmark. Subject to customary closing conditions contained in the merger agreement, the transaction was expected to be effective Feb. 15. BankTrust customers should continue to

conduct their banking business as usual, using existing branches, checks and ATM or debit cards, until receiving notice from Trustmark that system changes have been completed. That is expected to occur by the end of the first quarter. At that point, BankTrust customers will have an expanded offering of products and services as well as the added convenience provided by more than 170 Trustmark branches in Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. “We look forward to welcoming customers and associates of BancTrust to the Trustmark family,” said Gerard R. Host, president and CEO of Trustmark. “Expansion into attractive Alabama markets, including Mobile and Montgomery as well as increasing scale in existing Florida Panhandle markets, represents a great opportunity for Trustmark.” (Continued on page 50)

Well dressed. Well informed. Follow us on March 2013 Montgomery Business Journal

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BUSINESS BUZZ

(CONTINUED FROM PAGE 49)

Jodie Hughes

BB&T REGIONAL CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS MOVING TO RSA DEXTER AVENUE BUILDING MONTGOMERY â&#x20AC;&#x201C; BB&T announced it will relocate its regional corporate headquarters to the eighth floor of the RSA Dexter building in downtown Montgomery. In addition, the branch at 671 South Perry St. will be relocated to the ground floor of the RSA Dexter building at 445 Dexter Avenue.

The new branch facility was scheduled to open in late February and will be called the BB&T Judicial Centre. It will offer a full array of services including checking and savings accounts; business, personal and mortgage loans; safe deposit boxes, investment services; and insurance services. Janna Davenport will remain as the financial center leader. BB&Tâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s regional corporate headquarters was scheduled to relocate to the eighth floor of the same building in early March. This new space will house corporate and commercial banking, wealth management, mortgage and regional corporate administration offices. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The rebirth of downtown Montgomery over the past few years has been exciting to watch. It only makes sense that BB&T would want to participate by

relocating into this landmark buildingâ&#x20AC;? said Regional President Jodie Hughes. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This move will allow many of our teams to be under the same roof and will provide a more convenient location from which to serve our downtown retail and small business clients.â&#x20AC;? The BB&T Judicial Centre office will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. The drive-thru, which is located in the ground floor of the adjacent parking deck on the corner of Decatur and Monroe streets, will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. BB&T Corp. is one of the largest financial services holding companies in the U.S. with $183.9 billion in assets and market capitalization of $20.4 billion as of Dec. 31, 2012. Based in Winston-Salem, N.C., the company operates about

1,830 branches in 12 states and Washington, D.C. PRIMESOUTH BANK BREAKS GROUND ON PIKE ROAD BRANCH PIKE ROAD â&#x20AC;&#x201C; PrimeSouth Bank marked the beginning of construction on the bankâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new Pike Road location with a groundbreaking ceremony. The branch will be located off Chantilly Parkway and is expected to open in the summer. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is a very special day for the entire PrimeSouth Bank family,â&#x20AC;? said PrimeSouth Bank CEO Dave Baggett. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are excited to see the new Pike Road office get under way and look forward to future opportunities in this area.â&#x20AC;? PrimeSouth Bank is a locally owned community bank with locations in Tallassee and Wetumpka.

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Montgomery Business Journal March 2013

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BUSINESS BUZZ Canfield, the task force will unite representatives from K-12 schools, higher education and the business and industrial communities to advise the state on ways to strengthen the preparation of Alabama’s students before they enter the work force.

In compiling these rankings, Greenwich Associates interviewed more than 14,000 middle market firms with sales of $10 million-$500 million and 17,500 small businesses with sales of $1 million-$10 million across the country. W. Alan Worrell

SYNOVUS RECEIVES CUSTOMER SERVICE AWARDS MONTGOMERY – Synovus Bank received 17 national awards from Greenwich Associates for excellence in both middle market and small business banking. Among 750 banks evaluated nationwide, only 39 received national excellence awards for middle market banking and only 42 for small business banking. Synovus received four regional awards as well.

“Sterling Bank is proud to be part of the River Region community,” said W. Alan Worrell, president and CEO of Sterling Bank, which is a division of Synovus Bank. “We live here, we know our customers, and we strive to deliver products, services and expertise that help our customers achieve their financial goals. We are always focused on improving our customers’ experience every time they do business with us and these awards demonstrate our bank’s dedication to delivering exceptional customer service.”

John G. Veres

BENTLEY APPOINTS AUM CHANCELLOR TO COLLEGE/CAREER TASK FORCE MONTGOMERY – Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has appointed Auburn University at Montgomery Chancellor John G. Veres III to the state’s newly formed College and Career Ready Task Force. Led by Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey, House Speaker Mike Hubbard, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh and Secretary of Commerce Greg

“The result is that more students will be college- and career-ready and more people will be able to find a good, well-paying job,” Bentley said in a statement. “As we continue to strengthen our work force, that will also help us attract more new companies and more new jobs for the people of Alabama.” Veres has served as chancellor of Auburn University at Montgomery since 2006. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology from AUM (Continued on page 52)

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(CONTINUED FROM PAGE 51)

and a doctorate in industrial/ organizational psychology from Auburn University.

Past president & ethics chair – Diane Christy, Alabama Society of CPAs.

“It is an honor to serve the state in this capacity,” Veres said. “As chancellor of a state university, I feel it is my responsibility to ensure that our students are successful in their careers as well as their studies. I am happy to contribute to the efforts of the task force as the governor works to strengthen Alabama’s work force.”

The Public Relations Council of Alabama is a professional organization for members of the public relations field. For information, visit www. prcamontgomery.org.

PUBLIC RELATIONS ORGANIZATION ANNOUNCES BOARD OF DIRECTORS MONTGOMERY – The Montgomery chapter of the Public Relations Council of Alabama announced the election of its 2013 board of directors: President – Melissa Bowman, Alabama Hospital Association President elect – Kristi Gates, Alabama Department of Mental Health Secretary – Minnie Lamberth, freelance writer Treasurer – Mark Ingram, PowerSouth Energy Historian – Victoria Belton, Montgomery Area Transit System Vice President of membership – Buffy Lockette, Auburn University at Montgomery Vice President of programs – Ashley Layson, Alabama Ag Credit Vice President of projects – Megan Hughes, Auburn University at Montgomery Vice President of communications – Sallie Gowan, Association of County Commissions of Alabama Vice President of education/ accreditation – Edith Parten, Alabama Tourism Department Vice President of students – Krista Hawkins, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama Member-at-large – Sandra Polizos, Saint James School 52

Montgomery Business Journal March 2013

REGIONS BANK WINS EXCELLENCE AWARDS BIRMINGHAM – Regions Bank has been recognized by Greenwich Associates for providing distinguished quality service to small business and middle market clients in 2012. Regions Bank received 16 Greenwich Excellence Awards in 2012, doubling its 2011 tally. “In an increasingly competitive and challenging business environment, companies large and small are looking to their bank to provide far more than just loan pricing and products,” said John Asbury, head of business services for Regions Bank. “Our relationship managers are committed to understanding our clients’ business objectives and offering creative solutions to help them reach their financial goals.” Greenwich Excellence Awards are based on feedback from nearly 17,500 small businesses and 14,000 middle market businesses that rated their bank in various categories, including customer service, product capabilities and likelihood to recommend. Regions Bank received nine National Greenwich Excellence Awards in small business banking and one Regional Greenwich Excellence Award in small business banking. The company also received five National Greenwich Excellence Awards in middle market banking and one Regional Greenwich Excellence Award in middle market banking. •


Members

on the Move Victor Vernon

Nancy Wall Hewston

BUSINESS COUNCIL OF ALABAMA PROMOTES TWO TO VICE PRESIDENT MONTGOMERY – The Business Council of Alabama has named two employees as new vice presidents for the organization. Victor Vernon has been named vice president for public policy and Nancy Wall Hewston has been named vice president for communications, strategic information and federal affairs.

“Victor’s expertise in tax and education policy issues has been invaluable to this organization,” said Anita L. Archie, senior vice president for intergovernmental affairs and advocacy and legal adviser for BCA. “He will play a key role as we continue work to expand existing industry, preserve our status as a right-towork state and improve education for every child in Alabama.”

communications. She returned to Montgomery after nearly a decade on Capitol Hill. Hewston worked in both chambers of Congress as press secretary for U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) and as deputy press secretary for U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). Hewston also served as projects director for the Winston Group, a national polling firm located in Washington, D.C.

Vernon was previously the director of legislative policy for the BCA, and represented the interests of the Alabama business community before the Alabama Legislature. Prior to joining the BCA, Vernon served 18 years with the Alabama Legislative Fiscal Office, where he directed the work of staff analysts on all tax, budget and other fiscal issues pending before the Alabama Senate.

Hewston received both a master’s degree and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama.

Vernon has a master’s degree from the University of Alabama and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Hewston joined the Business Council of Alabama in 2010 and served as director of federal governmental affairs and strategic

“In our nation’s capital and our state capital, Nancy has proven to be one of the most effective communications professionals in all sectors,” said BCA President and CEO William J. Canary. “Her unique understanding of federal legislative issues will continue to benefit Alabama’s business community as she advances their interests in Washington, D.C. and Montgomery.” With head shots of Clinton A. Richardson, Allison Marshall Wright and William R. Cunningham, W. Allen Sheehan and Richard F. Calhoun Jr.

Brian Key

Copperwing Design Announces New Partner Montgomery – Brian Key has been named a principal of Copperwing Design, an integrated brand management and creative consultancy. Key, who joined the firm in 2008, is a seasoned communications professional with experience in corporate, retail and nonprofit marketing and public relations. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in advertising and journalism from Troy University and a Masters degree in public administration from Auburn University at Montgomery. Leading new business development and account direction, Key continues to expand the firm’s reach in niche industries such as Continued on page 54

March 2013 Montgomery Business Journal

53


Continued from page 53

manufacturing, healthcare and financial services. “Brian’s understanding of business and his ability to merge marketing, public relations and digital media effectively have delivered the strong strategic guidance our clients expect,” said Managing Principal Angela Stiff. “We are pleased to welcome him as a partner. His direction for client services exemplifies the vision that has made Copperwing one of Alabama’s leading creative firms.”

Clinton A. Richardson

W. Allen Sheehan

ALFA INSURANCE NAMES EXECUTIVE VP OF MARKETING MONTGOMERY – Alvin “Al” H. Dees has been named executive vice president of marketing for Alfa Insurance. Allison Marshall Wright

Richard F. Calhoun Jr.

CAPELL & HOWARD ANNOUNCES NEW SHAREHOLDERS, ASSOCIATES

Tim Marquardt

MAX CREDIT UNION ANNOUNCES CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER MONTGOMERY – Tim Marquardt was recently named chief financial officer for MAX Credit Union. Marquardt comes to MAX after serving as controller at Arizona State Credit Union and as the director of several accounting and analytics divisions at Bank of America in Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina. He is a certified public accountant and has expertise in financial analysis, strategic planning, internal processes and controls, performance metrics and business-process improvement. Marquardt received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Augustana College and a master’s degree in accounting from the University of New Mexico.

Alvin H. Dees

MONTGOMERY – Capell & Howard announced that W. Allen Sheehan, William R. Cunningham, and Richard F. Calhoun Jr. have been admitted as shareholders of the firm. Clinton A. Richardson and Allison Marshall Wright have joined the firm as associates. Sheehan’s practice is primarily in general civil litigation, including alternative dispute resolution, debt collection and insurance defense. He also does some criminal defense work. He received his bachelor’s degree from Rhodes College in 2004 and his law degree from Cumberland School of Law in 2007. Cunningham focuses his practice on commercial real estate transactions, including secured and unsecured financing, acquisitions, sales and leasing. He also practices in various areas of civil litigation in federal and state court. He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Alabama

William R. Cunningham

in 2004, and his law degree from the University of Alabama School of Law in 2007. Calhoun concentrates his practice on corporate and business law, taxation, and public finance. He received a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Alabama in 1999, and his law degree from the University of Alabama School of Law in 2007. Prior to attending law school, he worked in banking for five years. Richardson concentrates his practice in civil litigation. He received his undergraduate degree in criminal justice with a minor in psychology from the University of Alabama and his law degree from Thomas Goode Jones School of Law at Faulkner University.

Dees previously held the top marketing position with Alfa from 1992 to 2000. He later served as national sales and marketing manager for MetLife Auto and Home Insurance. Alfa Insurance President and CEO Jimmy Parnell said he is pleased to have Dees back on the Alfa team as the company works to grow its business and serve policyholders. “Al is a proven leader who has the ability to motivate our sales force and grow our customer base,” said Parnell. “He has tremendous experience in the insurance industry and understands the history, structure and mission of the Alfa companies. I look forward to working with Al as we focus on the qualities that made our company great.” A 44-year veteran of the insurance industry, Dees began his career with Florida Farm Bureau Insurance as a claims adjuster. He later worked for American Educators Life Insurance Co. and Horace Mann Insurance Companies before joining Alfa in 1984 as a regional sales manager. A native of Evergreen, Dees graduated from Troy University with a degree in marketing and business administration. “I am humbled to have another opportunity to work with

54

Montgomery Business Journal March 2013


Alfaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s agents, employees and policyholders,â&#x20AC;? Dees said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Alfa has a heritage of providing personal service at great rates through hometown agents who truly care about their policyholders. It is an honor to be able to lead an outstanding marketing team as we build on this legacy of service.â&#x20AC;? Wright joined the firmâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Auburn/Opelika office and will handle civil litigation matters as well as real estate law. She previously practiced with firms in Birmingham and Montgomery. Wright received a bachelorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s degree from Auburn University and a law degree from Cumberland School of Law. LWT is a Montgomerybased marketing, media and interactive firm.

PrimeSouth Bank, which was started in 1958 in Tallassee, currently has two offices there and a third office in Wetumpka. The bank is planning a fourth location on Chantilly Parkway in Pike Road, which is set to open in the summer. Mote will lead the new location and the surrounding Montgomery market.

Todd Mote

PRIMESOUTH BANK HIRES SENIOR OFFICER PIKE ROAD â&#x20AC;&#x201C; PrimeSouth Bank announced that Todd Mote has joined the bank as senior vice president and area executive of the Pike Road/ Montgomery market. Mote joins the bank from Regions Bank, where he served as a business relationship manager.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;PrimeSouth has been planning this new office in Pike Road for several years and we are excited to see it coming to fruition,â&#x20AC;? said PrimeSouth Bank CEO Dave Baggett. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are pleased to have Todd join us to head up this venture. He brings the experience and enthusiasm that we need to be successful in a new market.â&#x20AC;?

Melissa L. Coumanis

HOLY CROSS ANNOUNCES NEW HEAD OF SCHOOL MONTGOMERY â&#x20AC;&#x201C; The Holy Cross Episcopal School has announced that Melissa L. Coumanis has accepted the position as head of school beginning June 1. She is currently serving as the academic dean at Bayside Academy in Daphne. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are Continued on page 56

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March 2013 Montgomery Business Journal

55


Continued from page 55

very excited to have Melissa as the new leader for Montgomery’s premier elementary school,” said Brad Armagost, chairman of the board of trustees. “We welcome her family to the River Region and look forward to this next chapter for Holy Cross.” Coumanis received her specialist in education degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and is currently working toward her doctorate degree in philosophy and educational administration at Southern Mississippi. She has a master’s degree in biology from the University of South Alabama and a bachelor’s degree in biologypsychology from BirminghamSouthern College. Holy Cross Episcopal School opened in 1998 and is a coeducational day school providing a liberal arts education with classes from prekindergarten through sixth grade.

was a motion/graphic designer for DVS InteleStream with clients including Warner Bros. Records, Walt Disney Records, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, Lionsgate, The Weinstein Co., Shout! Factory and NBC.

Kevin Gourley

accounting firm of Carr Riggs & Ingram during his senior year and currently is studying at Auburn University at Montgomery. Janning hopes to become a certified public accountant. Long is enrolled at Faulkner University and will be graduating in May. Gourley joined Admiral Companies in 2011 after 29 years in information systems and computer operations and another four years in records management. He has overseen tremendous growth at Admiral Records in his two years there.

Joe Janning Robert Minton

Micah Long Joe Walker

LWT HIRES MOTION GRAPHIC DESIGNER MONTGOMERY – LWT announced the addition of Joe Walker as digital and motion graphic designer. Walker has almost 20 years of experience in post-production motion graphics ranging from title sequences and broadcast graphics to DVD and Blu-ray menu design. A Montgomery native and graduate of Auburn University at Montgomery, Walker recently returned to Montgomery from Burbank, California. He

56

ADMIRAL MOVERS NAMES CONTROLLER MONTGOMERY – Admiral Movers announced that Joe Janning has been named controller and Micah Long has been hired as the new marketing and management information systems intern. Meanwhile, Admiral Records promoted Kevin Gourley to records manager. Janning joined Admiral Companies in 2012 after graduating from Faulkner University with a degree in accounting. He interned at the

Montgomery Business Journal March 2013

Danny Meadows

MEDTEK SYSTEMS HIRES SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT MONTGOMERY – Robert “Bob” Minton has joined MedTek Systems, LLC as senior vice president and general manager. The firm also announced that Danny L. Meadows has joined MedTek as the director of EHR/ EPM implementation for the Southeast. Minton is responsible for overseeing business development and sales as well as the practice management, information

technology and electronic health record solutions for physician and clinical practices. He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania. He has 30-plus years of medical sales and marketing management experience including EHR (electronic health records) and revenue cycle management. He previously worked at The Outsource Group, a St. Louisbased medical revenue cycle management company, where he served as the vice president of sales. Minton was president of Hospital Inpatient Services, a Medicaid eligibility/revenue cycle management services company based in Florida with health care system clients in the Southeast and Northeast. He also worked in the medical services and equipment sector with such companies as PET Scans of America, EDAP Technomed Inc. and Dornier Medical Systems. Meadows is responsible for overseeing the implementation and support of client EHR systems, which includes designing the integration of software, hardware and training to address each client’s needs. He also supports the sales and marketing business lines in the selling process by providing EHR technical assessment, intervention and expertise. Prior to starting Meadows Healthcare Consulting, Meadows was director of operations at Optimal Readings, a Teleradiology company based in Birmingham. He also served as the administrative director of imaging services at Brookwood Medical Center in Birmingham. He is a graduate of Baptist University College of Health Sciences in Memphis, Tennessee. MedTek Systems is a leading provider of cloud-based business


and consulting solutions for physician and clinical practices, including physician billing and coding.

Sharon Goodison

JACKSON HOSPITAL NAMES CHIEF NURSING OFFICER MONTGOMERY â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Jackson Hospital announced the promotion of Sharon Goodison to vice president, patient care services and chief nursing officer (CNO). Goodison joined the hospital staff two years ago as assistant vice

president, Patient Care Service of Medical Surgical and Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Services. She has served as the interim CNO for the past eight months and was instrumental in leading the hospital through the recent Joint Commission survey. â&#x20AC;&#x153;During her time as interim chief nursing officer, Sharon has demonstrated a highly effective ability to lead the clinical team at Jackson Hospital,â&#x20AC;? said Joe B. Riley, president and chief executive officer of Jackson Hospital. â&#x20AC;&#x153;She will serve as a senior administrator providing leadership for all clinical competencies and the care of our patients at Jackson Hospital, and we are confident in her exceptional qualifications that fit this role.â&#x20AC;? Goodison continues to focus on the growth and development of nursing staff, leading the implementation of shared governance, development of a clinical ladder and a peer review

process. As CNO, she will work in conjunction with the medical staff, board of directors and the senior administrative team to ensure the care provided to patients. She received her nursing degree from Daemen College in New York and her masterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s degree from Medaille College Accel Program in New York. CHAMBLESS KING ARCHITECTS ANNOUNCES HIRE MONTGOMERY â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Chambless King Architects recently announced the addition of Nick Henninger. Henninger, a graduate of Auburn University with a dual degree in architecture and interior architecture, has joined the creative team at Chambless King. He graduated in 2010 and has been involved in the design of several projects.

Nick Henninger

â&#x20AC;&#x153;His talent and passion for architecture and interiors will definitely contribute to providing some of the most creative design solutions for our clients,â&#x20AC;? said Stephen King, principal of Chambless King Architects. The multi-faceted architectural firm offers a variety of services related to architecture, interior design, project management, master planning/urban planning, programming and cost management. â&#x20AC;˘

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March 2013 Montgomery Business Journal

57


New Members Automobile Dealers-Used We Finance Auto Sales Ray Moore 2510 East South Boulevard Montgomery, AL 36116 334-819-8776

Automobile Repair Services Jenkins Tire & Automotive Mike Jenkins 39 Madison Avenue Montgomery, AL 36104 334-265-0792

ComputersSoftware/Hardware/ Consulting Computer Renaissance Ben Barker 6385 Atlanta Highway Montgomery, AL 36117 334-395-7879

Consulting Services Parker Leadership Consulting Roderick Parker 8730 Robins Look Court Montgomery, AL 36117 334-430-0632

Entertainment & Recreation Blakeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Segway Tours at Union Station Jeff Blake 300 Water Street Montogmery, AL 36104 334-657-4195

58

Montgomery Business Journal March 2013

Financial Services Busby Insurance Agency Lee Busby 4180 Carmichael Road Montgomery, AL 36106 334-271-9888

Heating & Air Conditioning Services Vulcan Heating & Air Conditioning Services, Inc. John Germanos 2255 Congressman W.L. Dickinson Drive Montgomery, AL 36109 334-649-4877

Hospitals/Clinics Noland Hospital Montgomery Susan Legg 1725 Pine Street 5th & 6th Floor, North Wing Montgomery, AL 36106 334-240-0532

Insurance Companies/Services Allstate InsuranceThe Ziegenfelder Agency Ryan Ziegenfelder 8417 Crossland Loop Montgomery, AL 36117 334-288-7095 The Adetunji Group LLC Tijuanna Adetunji 4144 Carmichael Road Suite 21 Montgomery, AL 36106 334-233-2515

Landscaping/ Lawn Services Top Notch Lawns Inc. Tony Lowe 895 Excelsior Drive Montgomery, AL 36117 334-277-2328

Property Management Harbert Realty Services, Inc. Tanner Sumners 2 North 20th Street, Suite 1700 Birmingham, AL 35203 205-323-2020

Real EstateDevelopers Halstead, LLC Foy H. Tatum P.O. Box 230817 Montgomery, AL 36123-0817 334-288-2330

Service Stations Airtec Service Station Pradip Patel 3562 Day Street Montgomery, AL 36108 334-239-9847

Television Stations BLAB TV Montgomery Mike Harding P.O. Box 2056 Panama City, FL 32402 850-615-5900 Ext 111


RIBBON CUTTINGS & GROUND BREAKINGS

HERE WE GROW AGAIN

BroadSouth Communications, Inc. 4141 Wall Street, Montgomery, AL 36106 334-593-9502 www.fuzion100.com Bill Jones-Vice President/General Manager Radio & Broadcasting Companies

Rehab Associates 1215 Mulberry Street, Montgomery, AL 36106 334-262-6161 www.physiocorp.com Robert Kohn-Area Vice President Physical Therapists

Aerotek 2876 Zelda Road, Montgomery, AL 36106 334-409-2700 www.aerotek.com Michael Byrnside-Account Manager Employment Agencies

Strickland Companies 4522 Baldwin Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36108 334-613-9040 www.stricklandpaper.com Kristy Lackey-Manager Office Equipment/Supplies Paper Distributor

Trinity Broadcasting Network 300 Mendel Parkway, Montgomery, AL 36117 334-2774577 www.tbn.com Aaron Motley-Station Manager Television Stations







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March 2013 Montgomery Business Journal

59


Economic Intel

Unemployment Data Civilian Labor Force December p 2012

Area

Montgomery MA

November r 2012

Unemployment Rate December r 2011

December p 2012

November r 2012

December r 2011

168,495

169,158

167,874

6.60%

6.90%

7.80%

Autauga County

25,535

25,639

25,406

5.80%

6.10%

6.90%

Prattville City

16,172

16,214

16,065

5.10%

5.30%

6.10%

35,282

35,350

35,093

6.20%

6.30%

7.30%

4,131

4,186

4,220

11.4%

12.5%

14.7%

Montgomery County

103,547

103,982

103,155

6.70%

7.00%

7.90%

Montgomery City

93,220

93,578

92,804

6.60%

6.90%

7.80%

521,705

523,391

526,105

5.80%

6.00%

6.90%

88,673

89,108

89,892

7.60%

7.90%

9.10%

209,835

210,913

211,433

5.50%

5.70%

6.60%

90,042

90,574

90,844

5.50%

5.70%

6.70%

190,597

192,217

191,016

7.20%

7.50%

8.60%

88,907

89,684

89,167

7.50%

7.80%

8.90%

2,154,744

2,164,226

2,169,832

6.50%

6.70%

7.60%

154,904,000

154,953,000

153,373,000

7.60%

7.40%

8.30%

Elmore County Lowndes County

Birmingham-Hoover MA Birmingham City Huntsville MA Huntsville City Mobile MA Mobile City Alabama United States

MA=Metropolitan Area. pPreliminary rRevised Estimates prepared by the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations in Cooperation with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, based on 2012 benchmark.

60

Montgomery Business Journal March 2013


Montgomery Regional Airport JANUARY 2013

Air Carrier Operations

Hyundai Sales

JANUARY 2012

Year over Year % Change

VEHICLE

JAN 2013

JAN 2012

YTD 2013

YTD 2012

Accent

3,495

4,341

3,495

4,341

828

947

-12.6%

Sonata

13,247

14,489

13,247

14,489

3,848

4,918

-21.7%

Elantra

12,174

10,900

12,174

10,900

Enplanements

12,668

12,447

1.8%

Santa Fe

5,991

4,818

5,991

4,818

Deplanements

13,418

13,316

0.8%

Azera

797

18

797

18

Total Passengers

26,086

25,757

1.3%

Tucson

3,493

3,116

3,493

3,116

Veloster

1,759

1,693

1,759

1,693

32

736

32

736

2,472

2,291

2,472

2,291

253

292

253

292

43,713

42,694

43,713

42,694

Total Operations

Source: Montgomery Regional Airport (MGM) Dannelly Field

Veracruz

Airline Fares

Genesis Equus

Roundtrip airfare comparisons from Montgomery, Birmingham and Atlanta airports to key destinations. Destination

Montgomery

Birmingham

Total Atlanta

Baltimore (BWI)

$222

$373

$187

Boston (BOS)

$342

$410

$260

Charlotte, NC (CLT)

$155

$215

$130

Chicago (ORD)

$318

$333

$262

Cincinnati (CVG)

$384

$429

$275

Dallas/Ft Worth (QDF)

$360

$331

$168

Denver (DEN)

$527

$497

$274

Detroit (DTW)

$334

$356

$252

Houston (HOU)

$406

$409

$218

Indianapolis (IND)

$354

$436

$300

Las Vegas (LAS)

$634

$620

$526

N/A

$506

$411

Memphis (MEM)

$449

$508

$113

Miami (MIA)

$429

$381

$312

Nashville (BNA)

$400

$503

$418

New Orleans (MSY)

$326

$347

$212

New York (JFK)

$344

$393

$269

Orlando (MCO)

$240

$269

$206

Philadelphia (PHL)

$414

$405

$318

Pittsburgh (PIT)

$330

$330

$237

St Louis (STL)

$300

$315

N/A

Seattle (SEA)

$475

$507

$390

$1,414

$1,306

$1,371

Tampa (TPA)

$352

$341

$272

Washington DC (DCA)

$408

$268

$290

Los Angeles (LAX)

Seoul, Korea (SEL)

Date of travel: March 19-24, 2013. Date of pricing: Feb. 10, 2013. Source: travelocity.com

Source: Hyundai Motor America

Sales Tax Collections Year over Year % Change

JANUARY 2013

JANUARY 2012

Montgomery County

$3,919,183

$3,914,303

0.12%

City of Montgomery

$9,336,904

$9,168,640

1.84%

$155,536

$153,095

1.59%

Pike Road Autauga County

$712,093

$729,971

-2.45%

Prattville

$2,169,883

$2,204,777

-1.58%

Elmore County

$1,073,847

$459,419

133.74%

$570,058

$524,500

8.69%

Wetumpka

Sources: Montgomery County Commission, City of Montgomery, City of Pike Road, Autauga County Commission, City of Prattville, Elmore County Commission, City of Wetumpka, City of Millbrook. Note: YTD numbers are January 2013 thru current month. * Did not receive this months numbers

March 2013 Montgomery Business Journal

61


Montgomery Metro Market Home Sales Month/Month Change

%

%

Statewide DECEMBER 2012

NOVEMBER 2012

Median Price

$140,000

$123,000

13.82%

$124,500

12.45%

$134,661

Average Price

$159,820

$144,966

10.25%

$140,796

13.51%

$152,291

2,620

2,691

-2.64%

2,631

-0.42%

30,869

Months of Supply

11

11.9

-7.56%

11.5

-4.35%

10.8

Total # Sales

239

226

5.75%

228

4.82%

2,851

Days on Market

112

97

15.46%

99

13.13%

157

Units Listed

DECEMBER 2011

Year/Year Change

DECEMBER 2012

Source: Alabama Center for Real Estate (ACRE), The University of Alabama

Building Starts Building Permits

Building Valuations

DECEMBER 2012

NOVEMBER 2012

DECEMBER 2011

New Construction

24

24

15

DECEMBER 2012

$4,452,000

NOVEMBER 2012

$6,218,000

DECEMBER 2011

$12,833,600

Additions and Alterations

44

53

52

$2,030,000

$865,400

$1,284,400

Others

20

32

31

$591,800

$306,000

$3,196,600

Total

88

109

98

$7,073,800

$7,389,600

$11,892,200

Source: City of Montgomery Building Department

Quarterly Reports NAME

QUARTERLY REVENUES

NET INCOME

EARNINGS PER SHARE

EARNINGS ESTIMATE

YEAR-AGO REVENUES

YEAR-AGO NET INCOME

BB&T

$2.5B

$506M

$0.71

$0.71

$2.4B

$391M

Regions Financial

$1.4B

$261M

$0.18

$0.21

$1.4B

(-$602M)

$4B

$664M

$1.24

$1.23

$3.6B

$451M

Profit jumped 47%

$689.8M

$37.2M

$0.50

$0.50

$681.9M

$35.7M

Same-restaurant sales up 1%

$7B

$1.4B

$1.38

$1.33

$6.8B

$1.4B

Same-restaurant sales in Europe declined 0.6%

CSX

$2.9B

$443M

$0.43

$0.39

$3B

$457M

Plans to spend $2.3B on railroad network, equipment

Norfolk Southern

$2.7B

$413M

$1.30

$1.19

$2.8B

$480M

Profit fell 14%

Starbucks

$3.8B

$432.2M

$0.57

$0.57

$3.4B

$382.1M

N/A

$8.5M

$1.23

N/A

N/A

$6.5M

Profit climbed 31%

$571.5M

$51.6M

$1.75

$1.74

$495.8M

$38.6M

Profit jumped 34%

Lear Corp.

$3.7B

$882M

$9.00

$1.37

$3.5B

$107M

Repurchased 5.4M shares of stock in 2012 for $223M

Yum Brands (KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell)

$3.6B

$337M

$0.72

$0.82

$3.6B

$356M

China division same-store sales fell 6%

Southern Co. (Alabama Power)

$3.7B

$383M

$0.44

$0.39

$3.7B

$261M

Profit surged 47%

International Paper

$7.1B

$235M

$0.53

$0.66

$6.4B

$281M

Industrial packaging sales rose 34.7% to more than $3.4B

CVS Caremark

$31.4B

$1.1B

$0.90

$1.10

$28.3B

$1.1B

Revenue increased 11%

$161.7M

$34.3M

$0.34

$0.33

$168.5M

$11.6M

PNC Financial Brinker International (Chili’s) McDonald’s

ServisFirst Bank Panera Bread

Dunkin Brands Group

62

Montgomery Business Journal March 2013

NOTABLE

Increased dividend 15% to 23 cents Swung to $261M profit from -$602M loss

About one-third of transactions include food

Quarterly profit tripled


Post Office Box 79 Montgomery, AL 36101

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Montgomery Business Journal – March 2013  

Montgomery Business Journal – March 2013