Montgomery Business Journal - July 2009

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Montgomery Business Journal July 2009


S U N D AY 12 P M – 4 P M






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Letter from the Publisher


Executive Editor’s Column




Member Profile: GiGi’s Fabulous Foods


Investor Profile: Alabama Power


Cover Story: Partners with a Dynamic Vision


Q&A with Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton N. Dean Sr.


Q&A with Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange


Investor Profile: Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, LLC


Emerging Manufacturer of the Year


Member Profile: Smoothies N’ Things Café


Event Spotlight: Second Annual Diversity Summit


Business Buzz


Ribbon Cuttings and Ground Breakings


Wilson Price Gets Personal


Regions Banks on the Future


Economic Intel


Alabama Food Price Increase


New Members


Guest Commentary: William Canary

Montgomery Business Journal July 2009


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Jamie Martin ON THE COVER: Daniel Hughes, chairman and chief executive officer of Summit America, LLC and chairman of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce (left), Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange (center) and Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton N. Dean Sr.

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Montgomery Business Journal c/o Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Post Office Box 79 41 Commerce Street Montgomery, Alabama 36101 Telephone: 334-834-5200 Fax: 334-265-4745 Email: The Montgomery Business Journal is published monthly except for the combined issue of November/December, by the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, 41 Commerce Street, Montgomery AL 36104, (334) 834-5200, Subscription rate is $30 annually. Application to Mail at Periodicals Postage Rates is Pending at Montgomery, Alabama. 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

Call 334.271.5330 or e-mail 4

Montgomery Business Journal July 2009

The Montgomery Business Journal welcomes story ideas from its readers. Email to: Subscriptions are a part of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce dues structure. Subscriptions can also be purchased for $30 per year at

Letter from the Publisher

A NEW ENERGY Since 1873 the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce has been working to create jobs, grow the economy and create a better quality of life for Montgomery and the River Region. Today, that core mission remains unchanged, but the breadth and depth of our community, and the Chamber itself, are vastly different. Today we are, quite literally, entering a new chapter in the life of our city and region, and it is across these pages of Montgomery Business Journal that we will endeavor to tell that story. For more months now than we care to remember, we have been witness to and have felt some of the most tumultuous and frightening economic times most of us have ever seen (and hopefully ever will see). So why is “now” the time to launch a publication to tell the story of business in Montgomery and the River Region? To the Chamber staff and leadership, the answer is clear —indeed, there has never been a time where business supporting business and the community has been more critical. Where standing together in resolve to grow our markets, our opportunities, and our future could be any more important than right now.

This inaugural issue of Montgomery Business Journal focuses on the dynamic new leadership of the City and County of Montgomery, working in close partnership with the Chamber. It is this essential partnership between business and government that can turn good cities into truly great cities. There is a spirit of team and cooperation among Montgomery’s elected leadership and our business community, and today the momentum is building toward remarkable progress. We look forward to sharing this journey of progress with you each month in Montgomery Business Journal. Sincerely,

Randall L. George, Publisher President, Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce

Montgomery Business Journal July 2009


EXECUTIVE EDITOR’S COLUMN Now you know. This is what I have been working feverishly on for the past two months. Why I haven’t gone to lunch nor answered my phone. From writing the business plan to editing copy, I have been here, in my office, creating this magazine… just for you. Why did the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce develop the monthly Montgomery Business Journal? For in-depth news you want, and need, about the local business climate, the movers-and-shakers, key economic indicators, behind-the-scenes stories, and the good things happening in the River Region. We will keep you up-to-date on what Chamber members are doing, as well as upcoming events, seminars and training. Business Buzz is your place to share successes, promotions, awards and milestones. Montgomery Business Journal is a valuable benefit for our members – in print and online at Your subscription cost is included in your annual dues. Everyone who received the Building Business Monthly newsletter will now receive the Montgomery Business Journal. While my title is executive editor, Managing Editor David Zaslawsky is the news guru. Most recently editor of the Central Alabama Business Journal, he brings more than 30 years’ experience in journalism, with a passion for insightful local news that affects the business community. We are already getting calls about advertising in the Montgomery Business Journal. When the Total Resource Campaign (TRC) launches this fall, Chamber members will be able to purchase quarter-page, half-page and full-page ads – all full color! And only Chamber members can advertise. Here are some email addresses you may want to jot down for the future: >> Send press releases and photos to David Zaslawsky: >> To purchase ads in the TRC, email – someone will contact you in the fall. >> Any questions, comments, crazy ideas, etc. – email us at or call 240-9291. I hope you enjoy reading the Montgomery Business Journal as much as we enjoyed creating it!

Tina McManama,



Montgomery Business Journal July 2009

Calendar Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Events



60 MINUTE COFFEE Sponsored by Alabama Artificial Limb & Orthopedic Services 8:00 AM @ Productive IT, LLC 4121-B Wall Street, Montgomery Free event, exclusively for Chamber Members


MINORITY BUSINESS NETWORKING IN THE SUMMER 5:00 PM @ Dreamz Banquet Facility 511 E. Edgemont Avenue, Montgomery Details and registration at Chamber Members: Free Non-Members: $10

JULY/30 30

SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION LOAN CLINIC 9:00 AM @ The Small Business Resource Center 600 South Court Street, Montgomery For details call Lisa McGinty at 334-240-6865 Free to the public, no registration necessary EMERGE Montgomery CHEESE 101 5:00 PM @ Vintage Year 405 Cloverdale Road, Montgomery Sponsored by Vintage Year Details and registration: Free Member event


LUNCHWORKS Sponsored by Aldridge Borden & Company 12:00 PM @ The Small Business Resource Center 600 South Court Street, Montgomery Details and registration at Chamber Members: $15 Non-Members: $17


BUSINESS AFTER HOURS Sponsored by Jim Wilson & Associates - New Park 5:00 PM @ New Park 9430 New Park Drive, Montgomery Free event, exclusively for Chamber Members


BACK TO SCHOOL BREAKFAST 8:00 AM @ RSA Activity Center 201 Dexter Avenue, Montgomery Details and registration at Chamber Members: $25 Non-Members: $30



60 MINUTE COFFEE Sponsored by Faulkner University 8:00 AM @ Faulkner University, 5345 Atlanta Highway, Montgomery Free event, exclusively for Chamber Members

Montgomery Business Journal July 2009







2009 CHAMBER OPEN 11:00 AM @ Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Capitol Hill 2600 Constitution Avenue, Prattville Details and registration at Chamber Members: $155 Non-Members: $175


BUSINESS AFTER HOURS Sponsored by Aronov Realty 5:00 PM @ Deer Creek Clubhouse 8925 Deer Creek Boulevard, Montgomery Free event, exclusively for Chamber Members


SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION LOAN CLINIC 9:00 AM @ The Small Business Resource Center 600 South Court Street, Montgomery For details call Lisa McGinty at 334-240-6865 Free to the public, no registration necessary

A calendar of upcoming Chamber events, plus a link to post-event coverage, is available online at For more information call 834-5200.

Convention Calendar compiled by the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Convention and Visitor Bureau

JULY 4-8

United States Tennis Association BG16 National Tennis Open

AUGUST 6-9 7-8 9-13

Alabama Farmers Commodity Conference

Baptist Men’s State Softball Championship


10-12 13-15

AASA Men’s State Championship


Alabama Babe Ruth Softball Championship


Ninth District African Methodist Episcopal Church Educational Youth Congress


Tunnel Thunder Power Boat Races

Alabama Farmers Cooperative Book Fair

Montgomery Business Journal July 2009

National Association of State Telecom Directors Annual Conference & Technology Showcase

13-17 14-15 24-27

16th Annual Buckmasters Expo

Church of God State Softball Championship

Air Force Information Technology Conference

For more information on these events, call 261-1111.

Member Profile

Jean “GiGi” Higdon, owner of GiGi's Fabulous Foods, is marketing her products to local retail outlets.

On the Rise

Professional Caterer Rose from Bread Beginnings

By Rebecca Flatt

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then one in particular spoke volumes to Jean “GiGi” Higdon more than 40 years ago. She was a young high school student sitting in her dreaded home economics class when her teacher handed her a picture of braided bread. The photograph sparked an idea, and made a lasting impression.


Montgomery Business Journal July 2009



JEAN HIGDON "I hated that class until I was given that picture of the bread," Higdon says. "Then I loved it."


Some 15 years later, Higdon was involved with the popular Tupperware brand marketing, the brand of home products launched in 1946 that include preparation, storage and serving products for the kitchen. Higdon had even earned a car for her selling expertise. While attending a Tupperware meeting, her sales manager gave her a gift of bread starter, which was the launch of something extraordinary.


Higdon began experimenting with various cinnamon bread recipes. After the monotonous routine of trial and error, the perfect recipe was formulated. Will, her youngest son, was attending Edgewood Academy, and was in the running to be "Halloween King." While brainstorming various money-making ideas for Will's campaign, she decided that the most obvious would be to bake and sell the cinnamon bread and give the funds to the school. The baking effort was a success, and while her son did not win the campaign, Edgewood Academy made money, and GiGi's cinnamon bread was a hit. Higdon spent the next few years filling cinnamon bread and cheese straw orders from friends, especially during Christmas. Her sister, Jo Newell, encouraged her to think outside the box and look into various ways to sell her products. Farmers' markets were first on her list. She began showing her products to the markets in Auburn and local Montgomery farmers’ markets such as the one at The Shoppes at EastChase, which runs during the summer months (May-August). The items sold out quickly. Higdon realized that she had what it took to be a professional caterer. With the help of her close-knit family, GiGi’s Fabulous Foods opened its doors in the Mulberry District in May 2008 as a full-service catering business working with small groups to large corporations. Menus can be customized per order and pre-set menus are available. Her 17-hour days are filled with baking, stirring, stewing and sautéing, but her full-time staff of five turns two hands into 12. "We usually cater two to three lunches a day, and at least one breakfast," she says. "I'm a people pleaser, and I like to do the extra things that go beyond what is expected." The signature pink and green colors are displayed prominently throughout the East 2nd Avenue location, creating a bright and cheerful working environment. The sounds and smells from the kitchen do not go unnoticed by customers. It is a full-force commercial kitchen that generates numerous casseroles and loaves of homemade bread, not to mention the more than 200 pounds of chicken it uses per day. Christmas is her busiest time of year, especially with corporations placing large cinnamon bread orders.




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"Every where I go, people know me by my pink and green," she says. "We use those colors unless someone special requests something else, like red and green for Christmas." The business is close to receiving USDA approval, with the last step of getting the labels approved by the government in process. Higdon is excited about marketing her products in area retail locations. Recently, GiGi's Fabulous Foods catered several meals for Montgomery's “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” After Monica and Brady Jordan and their family returned to their new home, Higdon received a phone call. Monica Jordan was on the other end. Jordan's mother had been in Montgomery for the big reveal and for most of the week. When Jordan asked her mother what she thought of the house, her response surprised both Jordan and Higdon. She told her daughter that she thought the house was “'fine,” but that she had to “get in touch with GiGi because it was the best food she had all week.” Those words brought a smile to Higdon's face and her eyes held a different kind of sparkle.

Montgomery Business Journal July 2009


Investor Profile

Kenneth Coleman is vice president of the Southern Division of Alabama Power.

POWER MOVES by David Zaslawsky

Almost nine decades ago Alabama Power launched an economic development program. “We have led, followed and we have even gotten out of the way on occasion,” Kenneth Coleman, vice president of the Southern Division of Alabama Power, said about his company’s role in economic development. “We have two roles – we have what we call the economic development side, which is more the recruitment and expansion,” Coleman said. “Then we have what we call the community development side, which is helping communities to be better prepared when economic development prospects come.”


Montgomery Business Journal July 2009


Coleman said that Alabama Power, which serves nearly 1.5 million customers in Alabama, Georgia and parts of Florida and Mississippi, has experienced project managers that work with site consultants and companies looking to expand or relocate. “The project managers build those relationships and develop interest in the state,” Coleman said. “We have some folks with years of experience who have been involved with economic development for many, many years. They have been able to build really solid relationships over the years that they can bring to bear in the event of a project or in the event of a prospect mission. “Once there is interest in the state, they work to quarterback the project by helping to get the companies or the consultants the information they need to evaluate communities and sites in Alabama.” Alabama Power has provided grants for speculative buildings, which included an interest-free loan for four years. “We were pioneers in that program,” Coleman said. Alabama Power helps communities develop packages and proposals. Coleman said that Alabama Power helps communities market themselves to site consultant and companies by identifying a niche. “We’ll work with communities,” Coleman said. “We’ll say, ‘Let’s take a look at what an automotive supplier is going to look at. They are going to need availability of this type of labor; school systems that produce these kinds of students; they’ll need a site of 100 acres that’s rail served. Let’s develop a strategy so that when they do come – you are ready.’ ” Coleman said that a community may need to conduct a labor force assessment to determine what skills are available. “The key point is that we’re a partner,” Coleman said. “There are some communities that need less assistance than others. That

goes back to my lead, follow or get-out-ofthe-way realm. In some communities we play a very active role of bringing resources and helping to fund those resources. In other communities we play more of a backseat role and help link them up with resources where appropriate. “We’re fortunate in Alabama that many communities have sophisticated efforts and have realized the advantages to being prepared for prospects, and the advantages of proactively seeking them as well.” Alabama Power also plays a critical role in supporting communities through its foundation, which has invested more than $100 million over nearly two decades. “The Alabama Power Foundation has been able to grant millions of dollars to the communities we serve for arts, cultural projects, education projects and other key community projects,” Coleman said. “We remain a committed corporate partner, seeing all of our communities grow throughout the state.” He said the company donates six figures annually and has been a key partner in various community projects involving the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Jubilee CityFest and Montgomery Public Schools.






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61.2 BILLION Source: Alabama Power

Some Alabama Power employees are volunteer tutors for Brewbaker Intermediate students and the company presents its weekly Power Educator Award to “selected teachers in the Montgomery Public Schools systems who have excelled,” Coleman said. Coleman, who has been in his current position one year, first visited Montgomery in 1985 to play in the NCAA Division II Series as a member of the University of New Haven, Conn. “Montgomery is a very different place today than it was back in ’85,” Coleman said, “and that’s obviously the result of a lot of people putting their shoulders against the wagon and pushing. “I think a lot of good things happened because people over the years have made it happen, and it’s exciting to be in Montgomery at this time.”

Montgomery Business Journal July 2009


PARTNERS WITH A Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange (back to camera) chats with Daniel Hughes, chairman and chief executive officer of Summit America, LLC, and chairman of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce (left) and Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton N. Dean Sr.

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VISION by David Zaslawsky

Montgomery Business Journal July 2009


When Hyundai Motor Co. was scouring sites for its first U.S. manufacturing facility, the Korean automaker selected Montgomery for a variety of reasons.

or somewhere else, they were really looking for partners at the state, county, city and chamber level that would be committed to the company – committed to their success.

But chief among those factors was relationships, according to Rick Neal, vice president & general counsel for Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama.

“We really have four critical partners for our success. We have the state, we have the Montgomery County Commission, City of Montgomery and the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce. They each played a critical role in our success.

“When the Hyundai task force team was looking for a site and deciding to locate here

COMMON GROUND DEAN, STRANGE SHARE BUSINESS BACKGROUND, VISION FOR MONTGOMERY One leads the city; one leads the county, but they are working hand-in-hand to accomplish great things. Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange and Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton N. Dean Sr. both have extensive backgrounds with the Bell system and they spent five years together on the commission when Strange was the chairman. Their days in the Bell system – Dean was with Western Electric and Strange was with AT&T – focused on customer service. “You always had to satisfy the customer,” Dean said. “If a customer had a complaint you had to service their need and answer that complaint.” Strange praised the management training he learned from the Bell system. “We trained and trained and went to classes and learned how to be good managers. We learned how to provide customer service because when we were Bell Telephone all you provided was customer service.” Strange and Dean are still providing customer service, but now it’s to their constituents. “Every citizen in this city is our customer and there are a lot of people who are not in the city who are our customers,” Strange said. “And anybody that comes here to spend a dollar on tourism – they are our customers.” Dean said that taxpayers expect answers to their questions. “You may not have the


Montgomery Business Journal July 2009

answers all the time, but you need to service their needs,” he said. Because of the time spent working together at the County Commission, Strange and Dean know what to expect from each other. “I’m learning what the capabilities of the city are and I know what the capabilities of the county are,” Strange said. “I’m uniquely postured, if you will, to be able to reach out to various entities and be able to ask for specific things as opposed to general things.” Dean agreed. “He’s (Strange) had a chance to be on the commission and now he has the chance of being mayor. That’s a plus anyway you look at it.” And just how close is their relationship? “Even as the mayor sits down today in his office, we talk just about every day, and he’s always coming up with some suggestions that might be good for the county and the city – not just the city alone, but the county also,” Dean said. “I think of something that might be good for the city and he’s open to it.” Strange: “Because Elton and I have had that personal relationship not only from Bell but the County Commission, not a day or two goes by that I’m not in contact with Elton or he in touch with me about some joint projects that we can do.”

“The chamber supports us in so many ways. They are the foot soldiers that get things done. They are truly a partner with us and our success.” It may sound trite, but business and political leaders cannot say enough about the importance of partnerships. “What I’ve learned in my time in economic development, projects happen at the local level, and in order to make them happen at the local level it takes partnerships,” said Kenneth Coleman, vice president of the Southern Division of Alabama Power. “It takes business, it takes government and it takes education pulling in the same direction – answering the tough questions and doing the legwork up front to make us even more prepared (for prospects). From my year here in Montgomery, it appears we’ve got great partnerships formed to help make us more competitive.” What’s possible when the business community and political leaders become true partners? Anything. Daniel Hughes, chairman and chief executive officer of Summit America, LLC, and chairman of the board of directors of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, said, “Positive relationships amongst elected officials, business and civic leaders are fundamentally a good thing for any community. “Where you see successful growth areas that are improving the quality of life and the desirability of their respective places, you almost always have fundamentally sound communication and positive collaboration amongst these various leaders. “Therefore, when a business leader is looking at making an investment they tend to want to invest in places that have positive futures and attractive outlooks. They quite naturally associate that with there being a sense of partnership and collaboration amongst many area leaders.”

Now, new leaders are in place for the City of Montgomery and the Montgomery County Commission, who both have extensive business backgrounds and even worked together at the county commission.

When the city and county combine resources, incentive packages to companies considering Montgomery or existing firms looking to expand are much more attractive and affordable, and costs are reduced significantly.

Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange and Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton N. Dean, Sr. share the same vision for the area and are working closely together to accomplish their goals. Working closely together is nothing new since Dean replaced Strange as the county commission chairman.

“We’re in a conversation right now about maybe doing a joint project that would incorporate the courts, juvenile detention, domestic relations courts and a municipal complex for us,” Strange said.

And those goals are not mutually exclusive, either. “We want to foster a relationship that is not like any other relationship in any other municipality,” Dean said. “Since Todd and I have been on the commission, we really jelled together and we even talk the same words. We are both visionaries. We look at things differently than folks who have just been in politics and we attribute that to our business background.” “Todd and Elton have both demonstrated that they can lead by uniting people,” Hughes said. “That may come from some of their business experiences, but what’s important is that they have that capacity and capability.” That leadership quality as well as being visionaries translates into accomplishing what’s not only best for just the city or just the county, but what’s best for all – true partners. “You have a better possibility of achieving great success when you have everybody at the table,” Strange said. “I think that more can be accomplished together than singularly.” Together – the city and the county – are working on numerous projects that might have been too costly to do separately. “The city is part of the county – a very, very big part of the county so it stands to reason that on a great many issues the interests of the city and the county should be aligned,” Hughes said. “If you have a fundamentally positive relationship amongst the city and county it can only help your business environment. Certainly if you have a polarized and negative relationship it would be expected to cost you in some way, shape, form or fashion.”

Montgomery’s leadership team. “Leaders like Representative John Knight, who chairs the House Government Appropriations Committee, have enormous collaborative skills, and they use that talent for the good of Montgomery. Our legislative and congressional delegations are always major factors in our ability to succeed in economic development and the growth of our community,” said Hughes.

“THE CITY IS PART OF THE COUNTY – A VERY, VERY BIG PART OF THE COUNTY SO IT STANDS TO REASON THAT ON A GREAT MANY ISSUES THE INTERESTS OF THE CITY AND THE COUNTY SHOULD BE ALIGNED,” HUGHES SAID. Strange said the city and county will work together to fund a downtown library and are talking about Garrett Coliseum renovations. “If it’s owned by the state, the city and county ought to take the lead on that,” Strange said. “It’s incumbent upon us – the state, city and county – to work together to try to make that happen.” He said the city is working on 16 projects that could bring as many as 6,000 jobs to the area. The city is working with the county on recruiting call centers that would create 1,500 of those jobs. “We’re not going to get all those projects; we’re not even going to get the majority of them, but if we could get one, two or three over the next six months and 400, 500 or 600 employees, that’s really important,” Strange said. Those partnerships are so vital in economic development, include numerous entities. Strange praised the state Legislature: “We got more local bills passed in this recent legislative session than we’ve ever had. We’ve been working for three years to get various bills passed that we were able to get because we have come together with them and a lot of that has been fostered by the chamber, but also the city and county have worked at it directly as well.” Hughes also commented on the key role played by the local legislative delegation, as well as the congressional delegation in Washington, and how critical they are to

Dean called it a “win-win situation” when you have the mayor, county commission and City Council thinking the same way and the business community buying in. Some of those recent bills passed by the Legislature included incentives for whitecollar jobs; Interstate 65 corridor incentives and the no man’s land tax bill, which allows the city to tax county residents who receive at least five city services. “We need to be able to give the business community what it needs whether they are in transportation or retail,” Dean said. Perhaps the key area where the business community, government and civic leaders have come together is education. “The business community needs good employees and the way we tried to partner with the business community was to get everybody to value our public education,” Dean said. “We don’t want our business community looking outside Montgomery or Alabama to find good employees.” Strange talks about creating “rivers of students coming out of high school and ready for the 21st century work force. We are beginning to make strides in not only the reading, writing and arithmetic side of the equation, but also the career academies and the work force development side of the equation. “So goes education – so goes Montgomery.”

Montgomery Business Journal July 2009



Dean: Sales taxes are down everywhere and that’s because people aren’t shopping because of the recession. But the county has a pretty good reserve now. If the recession keeps going, we’ll probably have to do some drastic things. We’ve tried to get away from laying off people.

city and not the county or benefit just the county and not the city. In addition, the county and city are so close together that 90 percent of the people who voted for me for the county commission live in the city of Montgomery. It’s not fair to me to tell them I can’t do something. When somebody needs help in Montgomery, we need to help them. Our volunteer fire department that we have in the county will come to the city to help and the fire department in Montgomery ought to be willing to go to the county in the non-incorporated areas. We don’t need people coming from out of state when we have resources here.

MBJ: What did you do to avoid layoffs?

MBJ: What else about the state of the county?

Dean: We cut out overtime. We might cut out travel unless it is essential. The engineering department already has a four-day work week.

Dean: I think we are visionaries and we are constantly looking for other ways to make things better for the people we represent. Another good thing is our community corrections program. We built a new jail and that jail holds about 1,100 people. But with our community corrections program, we are not going to put people in jail.

Elton N. Dean Sr. is chairman of the Montgomery County Commission. He was recently interviewed by Montgomery Business Journal Managing Editor David Zaslawsky. Montgomery Business Journal: The governor delivers the State of the State Address. What is the State of Montgomery County?

MBJ: How much do you have in the reserve fund? Dean: It’s $20-plus million. It might be a little more than that because you have restricted and unrestricted. MBJ: You don’t anticipate any layoffs? Dean: No, that’s why we have a hiring freeze. MBJ: Do you have some good news? Dean: Well, the good news is we’re not looking at laying off anybody. And the good news is we have a team of people at the county always looking for other ways we can improve our revenue without taxing our constituents. MBJ: Because of your relationship with Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange, doesn’t that provide opportunities for the county to increase its revenue? Dean: As long as we put our heads together – what’s good for Montgomery County is good for the city and what’s good for the city is good for the county. We’re not going to look at something that will just benefit the


Montgomery Business Journal July 2009

MBJ: What is community corrections? Dean: Community corrections is drug court, pre-trial diversion. The judge will be participating with the correctional authority and instead of sentencing people to jail, they will let me be in the corrections program. That means they will able to do things for their family. They will have to report to the probation department, but not be incarcerated. We will provide them therapy and counseling and it will cost less than keeping someone in jail. MBJ: There are also a lot of unforeseen costs as well to the family and community. Dean: Exactly. MBJ: What are your economic development plans? Dean: I would like to see some infrastructure

“As long as we put our heads together – what’s good for Montgomery County is good for the city and what’s good for the city is good for the county.” in the west part of Montgomery. I want to see the depressed areas of Montgomery – the city of Montgomery and Montgomery County – brought up to the same level of living conditions in other areas. I think the way we can do that is constantly make it a priority. We have to build a path. We just got a bill passed – the I-65 corridor bill – and that will incentivize people that want to build or bring a business to the targeted area. And that is key. MBJ: Why is the I-65 corridor the key? Dean: A lot of people say we lose a lost of tax revenue to Prattville. I don’t see that. What I see is that we use the I-65 corridor to put grocery stores and shopping centers in West Montgomery. The reason I say that is we had the Montgomery Mall, we had grocery stores; we had Walmart and Kmart on the Southern Bypass. We lost all the people in Dallas County, which is probably 30,000 to 40,000 people; we lost all the people in Lowndes County, which is another 30,000 to 40,000 people; and we lost people in the Greenville area who used to come up Highway 80, come up Highway 31 and get off on the Southern Bypass and shop along there. It’s easier now for them to come up Highway 31, I-65 and Highway 80 and go to Prattville. That’s 80,000-some people that we have lost. MBJ: You’re saying that with the I-65 corridor bill, those shoppers will return to Montgomery.


Dean: Exactly. MBJ: Prattville officials are going to be angry. Dean: Prattville people won’t get mad. I want Prattville to do as well as it can. There is enough out here for all of us. MBJ: What other economic plans do you have? Dean: Hyundai has about 3,000 jobs and you have the tier 1 suppliers and the tier 2 suppliers. I think we have about 7,000 or 8,000 jobs on that side of town, but they have no rooftops over there. I look at Highway 14 now, there are houses to the left and right – it’s outstanding. You have an exit (off the interstate) now when you go into Prattville and see something that’s attractive. When you’re coming up I-65, every exit to Montgomery ought to be attractive. When you talk about Montgomery, I always say, ‘We are one big house’ and you are not going to paint one side of the house without painting the other. I think it ought to be a key element that we do all we can to foster that kind of change in our living conditions in all corridors of Montgomery so one part will look like the other part. MBJ: What else are you looking at? Dean: We also want to look at lowering the sales tax. The penny that we get is for schools – it’s not us. The highest we raised was $33 million and this year we will

probably give $25 million or $26 million. All that money is off that penny. If we are going to change that, we have to get that money from somewhere else. MBJ: Where are you looking to replace that revenue? Dean: A lot of people don’t like to hear the words occupational tax. If we are to continue to improve our school system we are going to need that money. About five years ago, we projected that we needed $50 million for the school system. But now we are getting new schools. We didn’t look at the cost of repairing all of these ragged schools and I mean ragged. So now we need more money. When you look at Mobile, they have a lower tax that brings in $80 million for the school system and the sales tax is $10 million for a total of $90 million. When you look at the Montgomery school system, we ought to collect about $60 million and the majority of that is coming from that one-penny sales tax. MBJ: How do you sell the occupational tax? Dean: You spend money on goods and services every day, including that penny. You pay that (occupational) tax one time and I guarantee you are putting more pennies than putting dollars into our ad valorem taxes when you take away that penny. I think we have to coach and educate our people to see the figures on paper. I think we all ought to share.

Montgomery Business Journal July 2009


STRANGE TACKLES CITY’S FISCAL CHALLENGES Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange was recently interviewed by Montgomery Business Journal Managing Editor David Zaslawsky.

Montgomery Business Journal: I know it’s early in your administration, but at this time what is the State of the City? Strange: What I have found is that we have a dedicated employee body. We’ve got a vast majority of people who get up in the morning and want to do what’s right. We need to have some vision and direction and goal and strategic planning. We are in that process right now. The limiting factor for us is going to be our financial capability to get there, but sometimes less is better. MBJ: The financial picture will change – sooner or later. Strange: But when? Most economists think by the end of this year we’ll be beginning to come out of it. It’s to take us six months for that to manifest itself into the revenue stream and we’re not going to put any new taxes in. If we want to do exactly what we’ve done today, we have to find $14 million. We’re not going to find $14 million. So something is going to have to give. We’re looking at every piece of the puzzle whether it be transit, transportation; whether it be promotions. You just have to put down every lock and you find a couple of hundred here and a couple of hundred there. Charley Jinright (interim mayor) did a great service when he ordered a two percent cut in January. MBJ: What was the impact of the 2 percent cut? Strange: Because of that two percent cut and some hiring freezes we put in, we’re going to end this year in the black by about $3 million if everything continues to go right, even in spite of the facet we’re going to be down 10 percent in sales tax revenues. Ad valorem taxes are going to be up some; some of our fees are going to be up. We’re


Montgomery Business Journal July 2009

not getting it on the revenue side; we’re getting it on the expense side. MBJ: I know you introduced a different budgeting process. Would you please describe it? Strange: In government and to some extent business, if you spent $20 million in your organization last year and you want to do a little more, you spend $21 million or $22 million or you might do a little less and spend $18 million or $19 million. But we’ve got to come up with about $14 million or $15 million, so we went to zero-based budgeting. So rather than an organization having $20 million, they don’t have a dime. You start out with zero and you build your budget on functionality – what is the function that you do – what does it take in terms of people and what does it take in terms of costs to do that function? If you have 10 functions and you are $3 million over, then what function has to go away? There are certain things that we just have to do. There are certain things that we want to do. There are certain things that we would like to do. We will fund all the have-todos and we will fund a lot of the want-to-dos. Some of the like-to-dos, we will prioritize as we go forward. MBJ: You told the Montgomery Independent there were four building projects you consider key goals: a new State House, new or renovated City Hall, new municipal public safety building and a new downtown library. Not including a new State House, you estimated the other three projects as costing in the $200 million range. What are the projects’ prospects going forward? Strange: Those are our visions that we want to work on trying to get in place over the next several years. If you look at our financial situation on the capital side of the equation – we have plenty of bonding capacity and in 2014 we are going to roll off about $9 million of interest. MBJ: When you free up that $9 million, how much can the city borrow?

Strange: That would get you about $120 million. MBJ: You said the total cost of the projects, excluding a new State House, would be about $200 million. Strange: But if you include the county in a courthouse annex because we need more room in the courthouse – so if you do an annex or a courthouse to get more court rooms for domestic relations and juvenile detention, which is now in trailers—then maybe $40 million or $50 million of the cost could be picked up by the county. MBJ: What about a library? Could there be shared costs with the county? Strange: It is a city/county library. We share costs. The big question is where do we put the downtown library? My vision is we either put it on Dexter Avenue or we put it here. MBJ: Where City Hall is right now? Strange: Yes, and then we move City Hall maybe to One Court Square. MBJ: There was talk about building a new State House at One Court Square, but that appears unlikely now. Strange: I think it’s dead. In the downtown strategic plan, it called for an important government building there and what’s more important than a State House or a City Hall? But you can’t abandon this [current City Hall

site] without having a backfill situation and this is a very historic building. At the City Council chambers where they presently are, Rosa Parks was adjudicated in the court and you have the auditorium there that has a great history and can be renovated and made into a reading room. MBJ: In the past, you have talked about a downtown aquarium. Is that on hold? Strange: It would help us put the exclamation point on tourism and downtown redevelopment. The issue is it’s about a $120 million project. We have to find the private financing for it. We’ll put in the infrastructure and some of the things that would be helpful, but it’s not within our realm of possibility to do a $120 million aquarium, so we have to find private sources. MBJ: Are you actually seeking private sources? Strange: We have at least one developer who has indicated an interest and he’s done some other aquariums around the country. I met with him (recently) and they are doing some due diligence and feasibility studies to see if it makes sense for them to move forward with it. MBJ: What are the next steps for downtown/riverfront redevelopment? Strange: We need to finish a lot of the projects that we’ve got. We need to finish the alley. We really need to get some retail other than restaurants in the downtown area. When

people come to visit with us and I go welcome them, maybe have dinner with them, they’ll say they loved the venues downtown, loved the entertainment, loved the facilities, but where is the shopping? MBJ: Are you talking about clothing stores? Strange: Clothing stores, bookstores, grocery stores, drugstores, jewelry stores, souvenirtype shops, art. MBJ: Shops for both tourists and residents? Strange: Certainly, because the more you have [brings people downtown]. We have some people interested in talking about a drugstore, talking about a grocery store or a deli. We need to finish some projects, but we really want to push the development out into Montgomery, focusing on the west side, whether it be Cottage Hill or Fairview or Southern Boulevard. We are working very hard with a couple of people on the Montgomery Mall to bring that back – not as a retail mall – but as a government-service mall; maybe having medical services in there. We have to bring the same strategic plan and the same financial expertise that we did for downtown to other areas. Only until we get a community in its entirety that’s progressive will we be a great city. We don’t want to abandon downtown in any shape, form or fashion. All great cities have great downtowns. We need to focus on pushing it out.

“There are certain things that we just have to do. There are certain things that we want to do. There are certain things that we would like to do.”


Montgomery Business Journal July 2009


Investor Profile

Rick Neal is vice president legal and general counsel for Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama.


Long before the first Sonata rolled off the assembly line at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama’s plant here, financial experts were anticipating a dramatic economic impact to the region. That economic impact continues to grow and grow. Consider this: Hyundai’s sister company, Kia, is building a $1 billion manufacturing plant 75 miles away in West Point, Georgia, which will create about 2,500 jobs at the facility and another 6,000 jobs for suppliers.


Montgomery Business Journal July 2009

Of course, the site was selected because of Hyundai’s location and its established supplier network, which Kia will also utilize. “Had we not been here, Kia probably would not have located where it did and you wouldn’t have the additional suppliers,” said Rick Neal, vice president legal and general counsel for Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama. ThyssenKrupp is investing $3.7 billion in a steel and stainless steel processing facility near Mobile and is expected to have about 2,700 employees when fully operational. The German steelmaker’s decision to locate in Alabama may have been influenced by Hyundai’s auto manufacturing plant as well as Mercedes and Honda plants.

“I think Neal Wade at the Alabama Development Office would tell you that with each major manufacturer locating in the state, it makes it easier to attract others,” Neal said. Mercedes, Honda and Hyundai helped attract ThyssenKrupp because they see Alabama as a good place to do business. “Attracting its first U.S. manufacturing facility to this community has got to improve (Montgomery’s) image and attract other businesses. It gets people to sit up and take notice — why did Hyundai pick Montgomery? What does Montgomery have that some other places don’t have? Maybe we should also consider that Montgomery is a good place to do business.”


2,750 “A lot of companies use temporary employees to be able to move with supply and demand and that’s exactly what we were able to do.”



1,744 ACRES




Hyundai spokesman Robert Burns said the company’s financial impact is about $7 billion a year. He said the company spends $2.1 billion a year. The numbers are staggering: Hyundai has invested $1.4 billion in its manufacturing facility There are 2,700 employees Hyundai’s annual payroll tops $200 million Hyundai suppliers have a combined 6,000 employees Hyundai suppliers have invested a combined $650 million Hyundai has 35 suppliers in Alabama and a total of 78 in North America Hyundai and its suppliers have generated an estimated 20,000 jobs, including thousands from new hotels, restaurants and retail outlets. “What this facility has done for this region as a whole has been phenomenal – we all see that day in and day out,” Burns said. The Hyundai plant, which sits on 1,744 acres, built 235,000 units last year and has the capacity at full production to make 300,000 vehicles a year. “Our facility is considered one of the most modern manufacturing facilities in the world,” Neal said. “Our production processes have been featured on programs like ‘Modern Marvels’ and ‘National Geographic.’ We are very proud of our facility.”

300,000 VEHICLES A YEAR The manufacturing plant has 250-plus robots in the welding shop, which is a completed automated process.


“When it comes out of the weld shop, the car is literally half made and human hands have never touched it,” Neal said.


The economic slowdown forced Hyundai to reduce its production schedule and work force. Employment peaked at about 3,200. No permanent workers were laid off, Neal said.



“Most companies like to have a cushion of temporary workers just for these sorts of (economic) conditions,” Neal said. “As soon as we resume the production schedule we would anticipate bringing on additional workers.” The company had used 400-500 temporary workers. “A lot of companies use temporary employees to be able to move with supply and demand and that’s exactly what we were able to do,” Burns said. In addition to its massive economic impact, Hyundai plays an active role in the community through organized efforts such as Relay for Life or Joy to Life walks as well as employees participating in other projects. “We take our role as a good corporate citizen very seriously,” Neal said. “We have five basic planks: We support the arts, diversity, health and fitness, education and the environment. We make a conscious effort to spread our donations throughout those five planks.” Those donations total six figures annually, Neal said. Montgomery Business Journal July 2009



Montgomery Business Journal July 2009

Other winners were: >> Large Manufacturer of the Year (400-ormore employees): Teledyne Brown Engineering, Huntsville >> Medium Manufacturer of the Year (100to-399 employees): Aker Solutions, Mobile

2009 Emerging Manufacturer of the Year Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama wins prestigious award Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, LLC, received the 2009 Emerging Alabama Manufacturer of the Year Award. Hyundai was one of four companies honored with Manufacturer of the Year Awards at a program hosted by the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) and the Alabama Technology Network (ATN) in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama (CCAA) and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). The Emerging Alabama Manufacturer of the Year Award is presented to a manufacturing company that has been in operation for five or fewer years and has demonstrated superior performance in the areas of customer focus, employee commitment, operational excellence, continuous improvement, profitable growth and investment in training and retraining. Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, which has 2,700 employees, produces the Sonata and Santa Fe models at its Montgomery plant. The facility manufactured 235,000 vehicles last year.

>> Small Manufacturer of the Year (1-to-99 employees): Vulcan Materials Co., Fort Payne The winners are selected by an independent panel of judges. “We at the BCA are proud to partner with ATN for the 10th consecutive year to praise Alabama manufacturers for their high performance and motivation,” said William Canary, president and chief executive officer of the BCA. “This year we are also honored to have the CCAA and NAM join us in celebrating and thanking the winning manufacturers of Alabama for their contributions to our economy.” Emily Stover DeRocco, president of the Manufacturing Institute and National Center for the American Work Force, and senior vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers, was the keynote speaker during the awards program. The Business Council of Alabama is a statewide business association of nearly 5,000 Alabama businesses and industries that employ about 750,000 people. The Alabama Technology Network is a division of the Alabama College System, partnering with the University of Alabama System, Auburn University and the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama.

Montgomery Business Journal July 2009


Member Profile

Smoothies N' Things Café owner Darian Clark has five employees at his South Court Street location.

Smoothies N’ Things Café owner looks to expand By Rebecca Flatt

He was born to be an entrepreneur. Darian Clark hails from Louisiana, but has made a home and a business, in Montgomery. After enduring one too many hurricanes, including Hurricane Katrina, Clark and his wife packed up their home in Baton Rouge and moved northeast to the River Region. His decision was a wise one.


Montgomery Business Journal July 2009



DARIAN CLARK YEARS IN BUSINESS After researching area restaurants and cafés, Clark settled on a smoothie shop in downtown Montgomery. Smoothies N' Things Café is a cozy nook in the heart of Montgomery's business district; a quiet retreat for those needing a break from the stress of the working world. The atmosphere is relaxed, with small tables for two and seating areas for larger groups. As the temperature heats up, umbrellacovered tables line the sidewalk. Clark generally sees his busiest time of year during the spring and summer months, as smoothies become a go-to for cooling off on hot days.




The smoothie, which is a blended and chilled beverage generally made from fresh fruit or vegetables and crushed ice, is usually marketed toward health-conscious individuals. Smoothies became available in the United States in the 1960s when ice cream vendors and health food stores began selling them. As a business owner in Baton Rouge, and practicing real estate, Clark was not new to the entrepreneurial world, but new to smoothie making.


"There were Smoothie King's in the area where I was from," Clark says. "So I wanted to open one in the downtown area of Montgomery, but expand the menu to include more than just smoothies."


Not only does the café offer these frothy beverages with names such as “The Fountain of Youth” and “Pineapple Paradise,” but the menu also offers blended coffee drinks, paninis (sandwiches made from small loafs of bread that are usually pressed and served warm), gourmet deli sandwiches, wraps and several healthy breakfast and lunch alternatives. Several items offered at the café have been certified by the Montgomery Area Community Wellness Coalition's "Steps to a Healthier Alabama." "I was initially looking for a job when my wife and I moved here, and it took me about seven months after the move to open the business," Clark says. "It was a beautiful process." "Providing jobs for others is the most rewarding thing about being an entrepreneur," says Clark, who has five employees at the South Court Street location.



Now, two years after opening the doors to his first café, Clark currently has a Prattville location in the works, with a projected opening in early fall. Located in the High Point Town Center next to JCPenney, this flagship store will be much larger and will feature an expanded menu that will include daiquiris and margaritas, and will offer live music on occasion. Clark wants to bring the feel of Baton Rouge and New Orleans to the River Region, and while the downtown venue is more of a lunch spot, he anticipates the Prattville location as a destination spot. Clark's projected annual sales for the Prattville location are $500,000$750,000. Clark generally serves between 100-200 patrons daily and is actively involved in serving customers. He rarely sits down, and is shaking hands and greeting people as they walk through the door. The constant hustle and bustle is what gives Clark the drive to continue growing his business and looking for additional business opportunities. The downtown location is opened from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. "My No. 1 priority is to franchise. Clark says. "I was born for this, and I know that no matter what, I'm going to be OK."

Montgomery Business Journal July 2009


Event Spotlight




Chamber of Commerce for

Pre-Conference Session ONLY $35 member or non-member

the Second Annual Diversity Summit where the theme will be

Conference/Including Lunch (Does not include Pre-Conference Session) $65 member/$75 non-member

Rethink Diversity.

How can our companies include and engage the workforce through diversity – and maximize employee performance? Learn about the skills needed to address these issues from national-level speakers, including a Commissioner from the EEOC as well as the top diversity officer at the nation’s second largest retailer.

Local and affordable, the Diversity Summit will consist of both a separate Pre-Conference as well as the main Conference, which will feature several sessions. We invite each attendee to take part in all the sessions to make the most of this valuable learning experience.

Sponsors: Presenting Sponsor Calhoun Enterprises Gold Sponsors Alabama Power Company MetLife

9:30 a.m. until 10:45 a.m. Pre-Conference Session Presenter: Connie Barker, Commissioner, EEOC Constance S. Barker, a commissioner of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), will explain the latest updates on a host of topics affecting today’s workplace, including: How the New Presidential Administration Affects the Commission; The Role of the EEOC in a Depressed Economy; Statistics and Evolution of EEOC Charges; Systemic Initiative and Cases Filed by the EEOC; Steps to Avoid Systemic Discrimination; the Genetic Information NonDisclosure Act (GINA): the ADA Amendments Act; Employer Best Practices for Workers with Caregiving Responsibilities; Legal Challenges in a Depressed Economy; and Sexual Violence in the Workplace. Those attending the Pre-Conference Session are eligible for 1.5 CLE hours from the Alabama State Bar.


Montgomery Business Journal July 2009

11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Opening Session and Luncheon

Managing Inclusion and Engagement – In or Out of the House Presenter: Bruce Bramlett, Director of Client Services, Novations

Opening Presenter: Bruce Bramlett, Director of Client Services, Novations Novations, a global talent development firm with over thirty years of research and development experience. Mr. Bramlett will discuss how the company creates welldesigned, measurable, timely, and sustainable implementations for its diverse clients around the world.

Luncheon Keynote Speaker: Gloria Johnson-Goins, Chief Diversity Officer, Home Depot Gloria Johnson-Goins, Chief Diversity Officer at The Home Depot, oversees all aspects of the Company’s Diversity and Inclusion program for the company’s more than 350,000 associates in the United States, Canada, China and Mexico.


The Evolving Landscape – Case Studies Presenter: Dr. James Johnson, William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship and Director of the Urban Investment Strategies Center, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill What are the effects of changing demographic changes in the workplace, and how can they benefit your business? Learn solid techniques from business case studies to address the changing landscape of diversity in the workforce – and how the best companies are leveraging their diversity through inclusion to boost their bottom line.

Do more with less. In an era of tougher competition and rigorous cost controls, maximizing productivity requires efficiency from every employee. Personnel management has become our most critical bottom-line issue and must be accomplished in an increasingly diverse workforce. Learn how to manage inclusion and engagement to really leverage diversity.

5 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. Networking Mixer Join us after-hours at a networking event celebrating diversity, engagement and inclusion at both the organizational and community levels. Service provider vendors will be in attendance on display.

1:30 p.m. until 4:45 p.m.

For an organization to implement policies and practices that maximize the development of its people, those same employees must also take responsibility in that development. Efficacy training provides individuals with a framework and a common language to do so. Participants analyze obstacles and define strategies to overcome personal, interpersonal, and organizational barriers to their development. The benefits for individuals and the organization are clear – increased retention, upward mobility, and improved performance.

Affinity Group or Self-Isolation – Two Sides of the Same Coin Presenter: Whitney Head, Vice President and General Counsel, Sam’s Club Flocking around the familiar is a natural human tendency. But does this sometimes contribute to self-segregation and polarization? Does it keep you from connecting with other people, groups and institutions with different ideas, resources and solutions? What are the pluses and minuses of affinity groups – and what is the risk of reinforcing the wrong message?

Intergenerational Engagement, Four Generations at Work “How I learned to Use my iPod and Like It” Moderator: Pat Deery, Director of Human Resource Development, Auburn University Go beyond discovering how different age groups view and relate to the world. How do we keep our “Baby Boomers” motivated and engaged? What’s the best way to include and challenge our “Millennials” while exploring and adopting their ideas? Learn how to combine the wisdom of age with the exuberance of youth in your workplace.

WHEN September 15, 2009 PRECONFERENCE SESSION 9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. CONFERENCE 11 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. WHERE Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center TO REGISTER Call 240-6863 or online at\diversity09.


Self-Efficacy Presenter: Verna Ford – Executive Consultant, Novations

Montgomery Business Journal July 2009


Member News

BUSINESSBUZZ better serve our clients in the Montgomery area.”



MONTGOMERY – Federal Land Bank Association of South Alabama announced a record payment of $3.5 million to its customers.

MONTGOMERY – Century 21 Brandt Wright Realty and Danbury, Conn.-based Cartus have entered into an agreement. The agreement grants Montgomery-based Century 21 Brandt Wright Realty the status of associate broker in the Cartus Broker Network. That network is the nation’s leading real estate referral network consisting of more than 375 principal and 600 associate brokers. Under the agreement, Century 21 Brandt Wright Realty will have the opportunity to manage Cartus’ corporate properties within the River Region. In addition to its Montgomery office, Century 21 Brandt Wright Realty has a branch office in Wetumpka. “We are excited to have this relationship with Cartus,” Brandt Wright said. “As a leader in the corporate relocation industry, the expertise and know-how they can offer to us as an associate broker will allow us to even 30

farmer, extra help paying bills or put into their savings account.” The Federal Land Bank Association of South Alabama is a $615 million customer-owned cooperative with an administrative office in Montgomery. The association operates credit offices in Demopolis, Dothan, Enterprise, Loxley, Monroeville, Opelika, Selma and Tuscaloosa. The association offers a variety of loan programs, including agriculture and recreational real estate, rural homes and agribusiness loans. SQUARE ROOT INTERACTIVE CELEBRATES 10-YEAR ANNIVERSARY

Doug Thiessen

Customers in Autauga, Bullock, Butler, Coosa, Elmore, Lowndes and Montgomery counties received more than $750,000 of the total payment. “This record cash distribution is not part of a government bailout,” said Douglas Thiessen, chief executive officer of Federal Land Bank Association of South Alabama. “It is simply evidence of a financially strong institution giving back to our customers at a time when so many people are financially hurting. Our customers can spend this money as they wish – whether it be new equipment for a struggling

Montgomery Business Journal July 2009

MONTGOMERY – Square Root Interactive recently reached a major business milestone with its 10th anniversary. To commemorate the anniversary, the agency created Project: Start-Up – donating a complete Web site package to a recently established start-up business. The services are valued up to $10,000 and include site planning, design, development, search engine optimization, consulting, hosting and the ability to make site updates in-house using a content management system (CMS). “One of the challenges a startup company faces is marketing,” said Andy Martin, president and co-founder of

Andy Martin

Square Root Interactive, a Montgomery-based full-service Web site design and development agency. “Now more than ever, people are going to the Internet to find information about businesses and products. Creating a highquality Web site is usually the last expense new business owners can afford. This is an opportune way for a local business to realize the benefits of an interactive Web site that effectively communicates with customers, employees, partners and the community.” Businesses being considered for the project will be notified by July 24 for interviews and the winner will be announced afterward.

CADDELL CONSTRUCTION NAMED TO TOP 400 LIST Montgomery-based Caddell Construction Co. Inc. was No. 155 on Engineering NewsRecord magazine’s Top 400 Contractors list.

Eight other general contractors in Alabama were named to the list based on 2008 revenue. They were: Brasfield & Gorrie LLC (No. 29); Robins & Morton (No. 68); Hoar Construction (No. 107); B.L. Harbert International LLC (No. 123); White-Spunner Construction Inc. (No. 266); Doster Construction Co. (No. 293); Brice Building Co. (No. 303); and M.J. Harris Inc. (No. 378).

WYNLAKES DIRECTOR OF GOLF INDUCTED INTO HALL OF FAME PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Brent Krause, PGA director of golf and general manager at Wynlakes Golf & Country Club, was one of eight inductees to the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame. Krause, who received the 2007 PGA Golf Professional of the Year award, is a two-time PGA of America National Award honoree. He previously received the PGA Horton Smith Award in 2002. A native of Dalles, Ore., Krause attended Columbus (Ga.) College on a football scholarship, but decided to focus on golf. Krause was elected to PGA membership in 1978 and has served two terms as District 3 director on the PGA national board 19941997, and 2003-2006. He also was Dixie PGA Section president 1988-1989; and a member of various PGA committees, including the PGA Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief Task Force 2005-2006, in which Krause's leadership helped raise thousands of dollars to assist affected PGA professionals. Other 2009 inductees were PGA honorary president Brian Whitcomb of Bend, Ore.; past PGA Golf Professional of the Year Jim Manthis of Coon Rapids, Minn.; former Masters champion Claude Harmon Sr.; legendary teaching professional Harvey Penick; former UCLA coach and renowned teaching professional Eddie Merrins of Los Angeles;

network architecture and systems management processes in the downtown Montgomery Murphy House headquarters as well as in each of the agency’s 10 outlying facilities.

Brent Krause

former PGA of America Rules Committee Chairman Don Essig III of Indianapolis; and Harry "Cotton" Berrier of Pigeon Forge, Tenn., a three-time PGA of America Board member.

WATER WORKS AND SANITARY SEWER BOARD ANNOUNCES DISASTER RECOVERY PLAN MONTGOMERY – The Water Works and Sanitary Sewer Board of the City of Montgomery announced the completion of a disaster recovery plan to ensure information technology operations will not be interrupted.

"Over the years, ICS has assisted in development and implementation of business continuity programs in many organizations in the private and public sectors, including federal, state and local governments and agencies,” said Steve Goldsby, chief executive officer of ICS Inc. “We understand the critical nature of the services offered by the Water Works and Sanitary Sewer Board of the City of Montgomery, and are proud to provide I.T. security and technical consulting services to enhance their ability to serve Montgomery and its citizens.”

“By working with Integrated Computer Solutions (ICS) and taking these proactive steps, we can now significantly reduce the negative impacts a disaster could have on operations, and have strengthened our service level capacity considerably. ICS has provided us with a roadmap to continue testing, training and exercise of the program to mature our response capabilities into the future.” The business continuity project included a thorough evaluation of the information technology

Jenkins, a graduate of Troy University’s Montgomery campus, works for Greater Alabama Financial Group, an office of MetLife. Rico Stewart of Greater Alabama Financial Group was recently awarded the long-term care insurance industry’s only third party professional designation, the “Certified in Long-Term Care” (CLTC) credential. He received the credential from the Corporation for Long-Term Care Certification (CLTCC). The CLTC program gives insurance professionals in-depth knowledge and skills to advise clients on long-term care issues. Stewart passed the required courses for the program, met the specified experience level and ethical standards, and agreed to comply with the Corporation for Long-Term Care Certification continuing education requirements.

The board partnered with Montgomery-based Integrated Computer Solutions, Inc., a leader in business continuity and disaster recovery planning and testing. “The board recognized the need for a comprehensive business continuity and disaster recovery plan to ensure resilience in the face of a disaster of any kind,” said general manager Thomas R. “Buddy” Morgan.

him to sell a range of securities including stocks, bonds, options, limited partnerships and investment company products.

Stewart is a graduate of Alabama State University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He has worked in the insurance and financial services industry for three years.

Lee F. Jenkins III

KNOLOGY EXPANDS HIGHDEFINITION CHANNELS,VIDEO-ONDEMAND SELECTIONS MONTGOMERY – Knology customers in Montgomery will be receiving more high definition (HD) channels, expanded videoon-demand (VOD) choices and an introduction to the digital gateway.

Rico Stewart

GREATER ALABAMA FINANCIAL GROUP STAFFERS RECEIVE LICENSE, DESIGNATION MONTGOMERY – Financial services representative Lee F. Jenkins III has successfully completed the general securities representative exam. After passing the test, Jenkins was granted a Series 7/general securities license, which qualifies

"Knology continues to see positive growth in our markets, including Montgomery," Todd Holt, president and chief financial officer of Knology Inc., said. "We experienced significant growth in both residential and business connections that contributed to a (CONTINUED ON PG. 32)

Montgomery Business Journal July 2009


BUSINESS BUZZ (CONTINUED FROM PG. 31) 3.3 percent increase in revenue for the quarter. “And there's more good news for Montgomery because Knology is bringing new technology, enhancements to existing products, and innovative ways for people to experience all that we have to offer."

STARKE AGENCY REPRESENTS AUTO-OWNERS INSURANCE GROUP MONTGOMERY – Starke Agency now represents Auto-Owners Insurance Group, a Fortune 500 insurance company. Jere L. Beasley

J. Cole Portis

Knology's Montgomery HD subscribers will have 34 HD channels. The expansion of the HD channels adds a dozen more channels, including Disney Channel, The Weather Channel, ABC Family, Food Network, FX, Animal Planet, and Speed. Knology's enhanced VOD content is now available to Montgomery customers. They can choose from an expanded library of free VOD content that includes movies, children's programs, television programs and much more. "We have increased content storage capacity, allowing us to provide even more choices now and in the future," Tony Palermo, vice president of marketing for Knology Inc., said. "And coming soon, we'll launch a new VOD portal guide that will make it even easier for our customers to find and order from their expanded programming choices."

EIGHT BEASLEY ALLEN ATTORNEYS NAMED TO SUPER LAWYERS LIST MONTGOMERY – Eight Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., attorneys were selected for inclusion on the 2009 Super Lawyers list. The firm’s founding shareholder, Jere L. Beasley, earned the additional distinction of being named among the Top 10 Lawyers in the state. The firm’s attorneys on the Super Lawyers list are Beasley, J. Greg


J. Greg Allen

Thomas J. Methvin

C. Gibson Vance

Andy D. Birchfield Jr.

“This addition to the insurance companies we represent will increase our ability to competitively write new types of businesses,” said Kyle Drumwright, vice president of Starke Agency, insurance brokerage and risk management company. “And since Auto-Owners has a superior A++ financial rating and their underwriting decisions are made on a local level, we believe Auto-Owners will be a great addition to our already stellar lineup of insurance companies.”

BOOKER T. WASHINGTON MAGNET TEACHER NAMED TEACHER OF THE YEAR MONTGOMERY – Booker T. Washington Magnet High School teacher Yung Bui-Kincer was named Teacher of the Year.

W. Daniel “Dee” Miles III

Rhon E. Jones

Allen, shareholder; Thomas J. Methvin, managing shareholder; W. Daniel “Dee” Miles III, shareholder; J. Cole Portis, shareholder; Rhon E. Jones, shareholder; Andy D. Birchfield Jr., shareholder; and C. Gibson Vance, shareholder.

Criteria used in the selection process include verdicts, settlements, transactions, representative clients, experience, honors and awards, special licenses and certifications, position within the law firm, bar or other professional activity; pro bono and community service, scholarly lectures and writings, education and employment background, and other outstanding achievements.

The Super Lawyer designation is based on peer recognition and personal achievement, and involves a statewide nomination process, independent research on each candidate, and peer evaluation by practice area.

Montgomery Business Journal July 2009

Fewer than five percent of lawyers in the state receive the Super Lawyer designation.

Bui-Kincer, who teaches anatomy, biology and environmental science in the Montgomery Public Schools system, assumes the role of official spokesperson and representative for teachers in Alabama for the next year. Shannon Finley, an elementary school teacher at Alexandria Elementary School in the Calhoun County School System (Alexandria), was named 20092010 Alternate State Teacher of the Year at the 2009 Alabama Stars in Education Awards. State Superintendent of Education Joseph B. Morton said that Bui-Kincer’s “life journey from Vietnam to Montgomery is one of perseverance and determination,

BUSINESS BUZZ all in the name of education and advancement." She is a refugee from the Vietnam War and moved to the United States when she was 6 years old.

MONTGOMERY – American Eagle Airlines began offering non-stop flights from Montgomery to Dallas-Fort Worth.

Bui-Kincer graduated from Auburn University’s Montgomery campus with a bachelor's degree Kaitlin Parker

airs Monday-Friday. Parker will also co-host with Jeff Sanders the CBS 8 noon show Monday-Friday. The CBS-8 First Alert Weather Team features Meteorologist Matt Tanner and Chief Meteorologist Chris Bailey. Yung-Ti Bui-Kincer

in science and a master's degree in education. As a teacher at Booker T. Washington Magnet School, Bui-Kincer believes making science interesting and encouraging students to overcome adversities in their own lives are her greatest professional accomplishments.

She has a degree in meteorology and atmospheric science from the University of Missouri. While attending the university, she worked at KOMU-TV, the university-owned NBC affiliate. Parker was an intern and also worked at WFAA-TV in Dallas. She will join David Hagood on CBS 8 This Morning, which

“We are very pleased to welcome American Eagle back to the Montgomery Regional Airport,” said Phil Perry, executive director

The banking school is sponsored by 15 Southern state bankers associations in cooperation with the division of continuing education at LSU.

Danielle Mason

MONTGOMERY – Danielle Ward Mason has joined the law firm of Beasley Allen and will work in the mass torts section.

of Montgomery Airport Authority. “There is a tremendous need for this western gateway among the region’s corporate and leisure travelers. This truly is an exciting day for Montgomery Regional Airport and the River Region.

Huggins, one of 188 graduates in the three-year program, studied banking, economics and related subjects. Students received 180 hours of classroom instruction and 30 hours of reviews.

Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange said, “These non-stop flights to Dallas-Fort Worth will be a huge tool for economic development and leisure travel for the entire River Region.”


BATON ROUGE, La. – BankTrust Senior Vice President Andy S. Huggins received a diploma from the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University.

Andy S. Huggins

MONTGOMERY – Kaitlin “Kait” Parker has joined the WAKA CBS-8 First Alert Weather Team.

The two daily departing flights from Montgomery are scheduled for 7 a.m. and 1:35 p.m. The return flights from Dallas-Fort Worth to Montgomery are scheduled to leave at 11:15 a.m. and 7:20 p.m.


Bui-Kincer and Finley will spend much of the 2009-2010 school year serving as ambassadors for public education and the teaching profession. Bui-Kincer automatically becomes Alabama's nominee for National Teacher of the Year.


director-state and community affairs for American Airlines.


“The two daily non-stop flights to Dallas-Fort Worth make travel to the west easy going and one more reason to fly from Montgomery.” American Eagle, which operates 1,500-plus daily flights to almost 160 cities, is returning to Montgomery after leaving the market in November of 2000. “This new service offers Montgomery business customers the ability to take a quick day trip to Dallas – as well as the opportunity to travel to Western U.S. destinations that American Airlines or American Eagle fly to from our DFW hub,” said Dan Hagan, regional managing

She graduated cum laude from Faulkner University’s Thomas Goode Jones School of Law in 2007. She interned at the Federal Defender Middle District of Alabama during law school November 2007-April 2008. Mason also worked as a courtappointed defense attorney for the Federal Defender Middle District of Alabama following her graduation until June 2009, when she joined the staff at Beasley Allen. She will work with Mass Torts Section Head Andy Birchfield to investigate claims involving dangerous drugs and medical devices. A native of Montgomery, Mason attended Jefferson Davis High School and graduated from Auburn University Montgomery with a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1999. She received a master’s degree in business administration in 2001.

Montgomery Business Journal July 2009


Ribbon Cuttings & Ground Breakings


AT&T 907 Ann Street Montgomery, AL 649-2401 Jason Achord - Store Manager Telecommunications

DATASHRED, INC. 2071 West Fairview Avenue Montgomery, AL 420-7500 Andrew Garner - President Records Retention Service

EASTER SEALS CENTRAL ALABAMA 2125 E. South Boulevard Montgomery, AL 288-0240 Alicia Schneider - Director of Communications Community Services/Agencies

COMFORT SUITES 110 Folmar Parkway Montgomery, AL 613-9843 James Potts-General Manager Hotels

DOWNTOWN DREAMLAND 101 Tallapoosa Street Montgomery, AL 273-7427 Richard Younger & Bob Parker - Owners Restaurants

HAMPTON INN & SUITES 100 Commerce Street Montgomery, AL 36104 296-7949 Sandra Attig - Vice Pres. of Operations Hotels

COMMUNITY BANK & TRUST 9190 Eastchase Parkway Montgomery, AL 36117 386-9004 Dave G. Bryant - President & CEO Banks

DREAMZ BANQUET FACILITY 511 E. Edgemont Avenue Montgomery, AL 239-7303 Donald & Laronda Harris - Owners Weddings & Receptions

HEMOPHILIA AND BLEEDING DISORDERS OF ALABAMA, INC. 151 Market Place Montgomery, AL 277-9446 Vicki Jackson - Advocacy Director Associations/Non Profit



Montgomery Business Journal July 2009

WilsonPrice Gets Personal by David Zaslawsky

A local company president wanted to buy his daughter a house in Florida. But he is a busy executive and didn’t have time to work out all the details. As a client of WilsonPrice Family Office Services, everything was taken care of. Family Office Services negotiated a five percent discount on the selling price. Family Office Services hired the movers and handled “all the legal and financial details,” said Brenda Hellums, director of Family Office Services. “The real estate agent came to our office and everything was completed in a matter of 15-20 minutes. He was not hassled in any way. He depended on me completely.”

Those are just a few of the services that Family Office provides. Simply put, Family Office Services handles a client’s personal finances and that even includes negotiating a discount on a vehicle. “We manage payments and renting of vacation homes,” Hellums said. “We transfer money; we coordinate special events. An individual wanted to have a wedding on a client’s property. We were the liaison between the person and the special event. We also evaluate local assisted living facilities for family members.” Hellums said a client recently passed away and their son was living in another state. Family Office Services hired people to clean out the client’s house and clean it up. Others were hired to cut the grass and make repairs so the house could be listed. A real estate agent was contacted and despite the housing downturn, there was a contract on the house in a short period of time. “The son thanked us for handling everything,” Hellums said. “Those are the things that we do.” There is no shortage of services that are provided, including sorting a client’s mail, filing insurance forms, monitoring financial transactions, balancing checking accounts, paying bills, assisting with the coordination of caregivers, paperless storage of bills and an annual CD.

“We help the executive who’s too busy to take care of their own world,” Hellums said. “We help retired executives who may be accustomed to an administrative assistant handling all their bills for them. They are not used to opening their mail, paying their day-to-day bills, balancing their checking account. They never had to do those things for themselves. We also provide services for the elderly who are unable to do some things for themselves.”

Brenda Hellums

FAMILY OFFICE SERVICES Bill paying Deposit receipts

Hellums said the firm has a system in place to monitor bills, which enables employees to redflag expenses higher than an expected range. She said a homeowner was out of town and the firm noticed that the water bill was more than expected. Family Office told the owner’s yard person there was a problem that he repaired.

Monthly bank reconciliation

“We called the water company and said there was a leak,” Hellums recalled. “They reduced the bill a small percentage and when the client came back, it had all been taken care of.”

Receive and sort mail

Family Office Services charges an hourly fee, Hellums said. Those services can range from about $200 a month to $2,000-plus. “You do not have to be a WilsonPrice tax client to utilize Family Office Services,” Hellums said. “There is a huge savings for clients because we give them a CD or printout or send it directly to their tax preparer. All of the information is categorized like a CPA (certified public accountant) likes it to be. The tax preparer can take care of their clients in a more efficient way.”

Payroll service for domestic or small business employees Process medical claims Cash flow planning

Provide organized ledger for tax preparation Review credit card and checking account statements for unusual activity Assess insurance needs Liaison between client and vendors, insurance agents, financial institutions, stockbrokers Paperless storage of bills and expenses paid Annual CD created for record keeping

Montgomery Business Journal July 2009





METROFITNESS 7150 Halcyon Park Drive Montgomery, AL 396-0040 Leigh Anne Richards - General Manager Health Clubs

NOLAND HOSPITAL MONTGOMERY Jackson Hospital - 6th floor - N Wing 1725 Pine Street Montgomery, AL 240-0547 Ray Owens - Administrator Hospitals/Clinics

SPANISH AND MORE P.O. Box 71 Hollins, AL 35082 256-861-7939 Mark Milam - Owner Translators and Interpreters

MOMMA GOLDBERG’S DELI 7960 Vaughn Road Montgomery, AL 517-1071 Hal Newell - Owner Restaurants

PRIMARY EYECARE ASSOCIATES 8436 Vaughn Road Montgomery, AL 271-3900 Dr. Rick Jackson - Owner Physicians - Ophthalmology

SUMMERS KITCHEN 1231 Bell Street Montgomery, AL 262-6716 Jim & Summer West - Owners Restaurants

NEPTUNE TECHNOLOGY GROUP 1600 Alabama Highway 229 South Tallassee, AL 283-7482 Chuck DiLaura - President Manufacturing

SAFETY AND CONSTRUCTION SUPPLY 1610 North Eastern Blvd. Montgomery, AL 649-2401 Chad Thrash - Owner Construction

SUPERIOR BANK 6836 Atlanta Highway Montgomery, AL 277-8478 Cindy Davis - Branch Manager Banks

Montgomery Business Journal July 2009

TRACTOR SUPPLY COMPANY 5310 Troy Highway Montgomery, AL 288-1453 Phillip Burdeshaw - Manager Farm Equipment and Supplies

TURENNE PHARMEDCO 355 Industrial Park Blvd. Montgomery, AL 36117 244-2300 Cushing Phillips, Director of Marketing Medical Supplies/Distribution

U.S. CENSUS BUREAU 2567 Fairland Drive, Suite 400 Montgomery, AL 819-0997 Michael London - Partnership Specialist

Montgomery Business Journal July 2009


Banking on the Future Regions spends $50 million on expansion By David Zaslawsky

Arthur DuCote

Being a banker these days means wearing even more hats than usual.

In addition to the varied duties, bankers have done a lot of explaining and reassuring to clients during the economic downturn. "I think people are concerned about the financial services industry being safe and sound and all of those who are in the industry are having to work extra hard to ensure their customers know the facts," said Arthur DuCote, executive vice president and Central Alabama area executive for Regions Financial Corp. "We have seen some very large names fail in banking in 2008 and in 2009; the Fed has said there is a record number of expected failures of small banks. These are difficult times, but there are those who are prepared for it and have safe and sound practices and those who are not [prepared]. "Our job is to make sure that people know the difference between the two and we are one of those who is safe and sound and prepared to march forward in the future." Birmingham-based Regions Bank moved forward with a $50 million expansion — acquiring nine branches in six states. "That's a big financial commitment," DuCote said. "It shows that we are continuing to invest and grow our core markets. It also shows that the federal government has great confidence in us because you cannot open a branch in this business without the Fed giving you approval." Regions also took over two failed Georgia banks this year. "We assumed all of the insured and uninsured deposits," DuCote said. "The FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.) did not have to pay a dime to any of those depositors. "We assumed every one of those liabilities and made every single depositor whole. It's expensive — you take on people, you take on real estate, you take on new markets, and I have to advertise in newspapers that I didn't before. But it's part of moving forward. We did it in markets that we know now might be 38

Montgomery Business Journal July 2009

struggling, but we know in the future are going to be good markets and we have to continue to move forward."

business in a way that's prudent for the clients, just like every good business does," DuCote said.

Moving forward is a recurring theme for Regions Bank and contrary to popular opinion, the company is loaning money — a record amount, according to DuCote. He said the bank, largest home loan lender in the River Region, loaned a record $124 million locally to homeowners through May.

"Regions is safe and sound and proud to be a part of this community. Our kids go to school with your kids; we go to Sunday school with you. We are a significant contributor to this community both in dollars and time and we plan to do that for a long, long time."

"The contention that banks are not lending money is flat inaccurate and these numbers show you that," said DuCote, referring to Regions’ averaging $5 billion monthly in new or renewed loans.

What is the biggest misconception that DuCote and Regions deal with?

"If you have bad credit and no money to put down on a house, you're not going to be able to buy one, whereas in the peak of the

Regions is a Main Street bank, DuCote said in a deliberate manner. "We are not a Wall Street bank. We don't have a subprime (mortgage) business. We don't make those kinds of loans at Regions Bank — that's not us. That was done by Wall Street banks."


previous business cycle you were. That's what caused this economy a lot of problems." Regions was one of 19 banks required by the federal government to raise additional capital if the economy collapsed to the level of the 1930s and the Great Depression. Regions was required to raise $2.5 billion. DuCote said the stress test confirmed that Regions Bank is well capitalized, "which is the highest regulatory grade you can get for safety and soundness as a financial institution. "The government asked us to raise capital to have our shelter prepared as strongly as it could be in the event of a storm that none of us expect and we went out and did it," DuCote said. "We're prepared ahead of time. No business can handle an extremely difficult time if they start preparing for it at the time that it hits them. We have stated publicly we don't think we'll ever use the money or need the money." Once again, Regions is moving forward, looking at opportunities to expand. "It is absolutely business as usual for us — taking deposits, loaning money and running our

In a recent promotion, Regions states: "Yes, we care about our customers. Yes, we care about our communities. Yes, we're in this together." The promotion also states: "Regions' success is closely tied to yours. Working together, we can help restore confidence and rebuild our economy." Regions kept 12,000 people in their homes through the customer assistance program, which identified potential clients who might have difficulty staying current on their mortgage. "We began adjusting terms, conditions and other aspects of the loan that would take pressure off (the homeowner) and provide some relief," DuCote said. "Consequently, we kept 12,000 people in their homes who had financial stress in their households that would have likely led to them losing their homes. "And we did it before they were in default. We were able to act quickly, proactively and do it in a way that had zero impact on their credit rating."

ECONOMIC INTEL In the face of a challenging economy, Montgomery and the River Region continue to maintain a healthy local outlook. Many stores report increased retail sales, while those companies experiencing lower figures generally trail the prior year by only single-digit percentages. Overall, the region remains competitive, and boasts employment above the current state and national average.

Comparative Cost of Living in Southeastern U.S. Capitals Composite Index

Grocery Items



Health Care

Atlanta, GA









Charleston, WV









Columbia, SC









Montgomery, AL









Nashville, TN









Raleigh, NC









Richmond, VA










Miscellaneous Composite Goods and Services Index

Source: ACCRA, Fourth Quarter 2008 Based on an average of 100, the ACCRA Cost of Living Index measures relative price levels for consumer goods and services.

Montgomery Business Journal July 2009


Unemployment Data Civilian Labor Force MAR r 2009

APR r 2008







Birmingham-Hoover MA







Huntsville MA







Mobile MA



















Metropolitan Area Montgomery MA

Alabama U.S.

APR p 2009

Unemployment Rate APR p 2009

MAR r 2009

APR r 2008

r Revised The numbers are not seasonally adjusted. Estimates prepared by the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations in Cooperation with the Bureau of p Preliminary Labor Statistics, based on 2008 benchmark. Montgomery MA is Augtauga, Elmore, Lowndes and Montogmery counties. Birmingham - Hoover MA is Bibb, Blount, Chilton, Jefferson, St. Clair, Shelby and Walker counties. Huntsville MA is Limestone and Madison counties. Mobile MA is Mobile County .

Montgomery Building Starts Building Permits

Building Valuations

Current Month APR 09

Last Month MAR 09

Last Year APR 08

Current Month APR 09

Last Month MAR 09

Last Year APR 08

New Construction





$ 3,369,000

$ 4,970,800

Additions and Alterations





$ 1,317,000








$ 4,107,000








Source: City of Montgomery Building Department

Montgomery Metro Market Home Sales Current Month APR 09

Last Month MAR 09

Month over Month % Change

Last Year APR 08

Year over Year % Change

Statewide APR 09







Median Selling Price







Average Selling Price



















Total Home Sales

Average Days on Market Total Homes Listed

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


Montgomery Business Journal July 2009

Montgomery Regional Airport Current Month MAY 09 Air Carrier Operations

Last Year MAY 08

Year over Year % Change

YTD 2009

YTD 2008

Year over Year % Change

































Total Operations

Total Passengers

Source: Montgomery Regional Airport (MGM) Dannelly Field

Air Fares

Hyundai Sales

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


May 2009

May 2008





















Santa Fe



































Baltimore (BWI)




Boston (BOS)




Charlotte, NC (CLT)




Chicago (ORD)




Cincinnati (CVG)




Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) $239



Denver (DEN)




Detroit (DTW)




Houston (HOU)




Indianapolis (IND)




Las Vegas (LAS)




Los Angeles (LAX)




Memphis (MEM)




Miami (MIA)




Nashville (BNA)




New Orleans (MSY)




New York (JFK)




Orlando (MCO)




Philadelphia (PHL)




Pittsburgh (PIT)




St Louis (STL)




Seattle (SEA)










Washington D.C. (DCA) $417



Seoul, Korea (SEL) Tampa (TPA)

Azera Tuscon Entourage


YTD 2009

YTD 2008

Source: Hyundai Motor America

Date of travel: July 20-26. Date of pricing: June 6, 2009. Source:

Montgomery Business Journal July 2009


National Quarterly Reports Quarterly Revenues

Net Income

Year-Ago Revenues

Year Ago Net Income







Raised guidance for rest of fiscal 09







Sales dropped 24%








Hopes to cut general and administrative expenses by $107M








Sales declined 12%








Profit fell 79%







Sales increased 5.2%

Home Depot







Profit rose 44%








Profit declined 21.6%







10th straight quarter of record EPS from continuing operations

Coldwater Creek







Chico’s FAS







Foot Locker







Sears Holdings







Revenue dropped $1B








Sales increased 21%

Ross Stores







Sales rose 13%





















Same-store sales fell 7%








Profit increased 11%

AnnTaylor Stores







Same-store sales dropped 30.7%

Name Winn-Dixie

Abercrombie & Fitch

Dick’s Sporting Goods

Big Lots

Limited Brands

Earnings Per Share

Earnings Estimate


Same-store sales dropped 18.6% Inventories fell 13% per selling square foot Opened 16 stores in quarter

Same-store sales declined 8% Same-store sales in malls up 8.2%

(Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works)

Sources: PR Newswire and Charles Schwab wire services


Montgomery Business Journal July 2009

National Retail Sales

National Quarterly Retail Sales

(Month over Month and Year over Year Variance)

(Year over Year Variance)

Current Month April

Last Month March

Last Year April 2008









Best Buy

Sam’s Club




















Advance Auto Parts


(excludes Sam’s Club)


Latest Quarter Reported

This Year 2009

Last Year 2008







Home Depot



















(excludes Old Navy and Banana Republic)

Rite Aid




Burger King










McDonald’s (U.S. sales)







U.S. same store sales compiled from 10-Q and 10-K forms (excluding fuel sales) Source:

Sales Tax Collections Current Month APR 09

Last Year APR 08

Year over Year % Change

YTD 2009

YTD 2008

Year over Year % Change

Montgomery County







City of Montgomery







Pike Road







Autauga County













Elmore County






















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 Prattville April 2008 numbers are artificially high because of the 2008 tornado. After the tornado, Prattville was limited in its ability to process sales taxes in February and March. It caught up in April, resulting in artificially high collections. Prattville showed significant artificial gains in February and March of this year for the same reason. The YTD numbers are a more acurate comparison.

Montgomery Business Journal July 2009


To Market, To Market Alabama food prices show modest increase After falling sharply last month, Alabama food prices rebounded in May, spurred by double-digit increases for bacon, steaks and butter. The average cost of 20 basic market basket items was $52.18 the first week of May, up $1.21 or 2.4 percent from April, according to the Alabama Farmers Federation's monthly food price survey. Declining meat production contributed to higher prices as farmers reduced their herd sizes following several unprofitable months, a trend that is likely to continue into 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest meat and poultry outlook. In Alabama supermarkets, shoppers could find bargains at the meat case, but spikes in the prices of bacon and T-bone steaks more than offset savings on other cuts. On average, bacon was up 32 cents a pound to $4.18, and steaks jumped 57 cents to $8.41 a pound. Boston butts also were up 6 cents to $1.67 a pound, but pork chops were down 35 cents to $3 a pound. Other value items included ground beef at $2.34 a pound, down 10 cents, and chuck roasts at $3.21 a pound, down 12 cents. Poultry prices were mixed with whole fryers averaging $1.20 a pound, down 5 cents, while chicken breasts were up 7 cents to $2.21 a pound. Eggs were down 13 cents to $1.36 a dozen. On the produce aisle, tomatoes posted the biggest increase at $1.67 a pound, up 24 cents. Meanwhile, red potatoes were unchanged at 89 cents a pound; lettuce was up a penny to $1.40 a head, and sweet potatoes were up 6 cents to 90 cents a pound. In the dairy case, prices were basically unchanged except for butter, which rebounded sharply after an advertised sale by a major retailer skewed the average price in April. The average price of a half-gallon of milk held steady at $2.80, and a half-gallon of brand-name ice cream was up 2 cents to $3.95. Cottage cheese was up 7 cents to $2.74 a pound, and butter was back up 44 cents to $3.53 a pound. Regional reports collected by volunteer shoppers throughout the state showed the market basket averaged $50.06 in Northeast Alabama, $51.77 in the northwest corner of the state, $53.47 in South Alabama and $53.96 in the central counties. Alabama Farmers Federation, a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation, conducts the informal monthly market basket survey.


Montgomery Business Journal July 2009

New Members Airline American Eagle Airlines Gary Foss 4333 Amon Carter Blvd., MD 5481 Fort Worth, TX 76155 800-433-7300

Associations/ Non-Profit Home Builders Association of Alabama Suzanne Hager P.O. Box 241305 Montgomery, AL 36124-1305 334-834-3006

Audio-Visual Consultants & Designers

Mathews, AL 36052 334-799-3845

Legal Services/ Other Lisa Warr, Independent Assoc.; Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. Lisa Warr 2935 Highland Avenue Montgomery, AL 36107 334-538-2898

Restaurants/ Catering Service Shashy’s Fine Foods, Inc. James Shashy 1700 Mulberry Street Montgomery, AL 36106 334-263-7341

Home Works Audio & Video Specialists, Inc. Stacey Frizzel 5659 Hayneville Ridge Road


Sporting Goods/ Equipment

McAlister’s Deli Jeff Edmiston 2747 Legends Parkway Prattville, AL 36066 334-285-3334

Academy Sports + Outdoors Roger Newton 8610 EastChase Parkway Montgomery, AL 36117 334-215-2800

Restaurants/ Fast Food


Hardee’s Glenda Johnson 906 Ann Street Montgomery, AL 36107 334-262-0650

InVision Global Communication, LLC Ezekiel Smith 8436 Crossland Loop, Suite 207 Montgomery, AL 36117 334-450-0988

Restaurants/ Local Favorites Cool Beans at the Cafe d’ Art Shari Rossmann 115 Montgomery Street Montgomery, AL 36104 334-269-3302

Blah, blah, blah.

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Montgomery Business Journal July 2009


Guest Commentary

Playing Your Cards Right Business Council of Alabama leads charge against card check By William Canary

Alabama’s business community, mobilized at the urging of business advocacy groups such as the Business Council of Alabama, the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce and other local chambers of commerce across the state, has joined forces with its counterparts across America to speak out aggressively against the labor union-backed “Employee Free Choice Act,” better known to most as the federal Card Check bill. While much has been said and written this year about the egregiously anti-business card check proposal, largely due to the momentum it gained with the 2008 election of a strongly supportive presidential administration, the legislation is not a new concept in Washington. In fact, in late 2006, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said, “Our top priority for the new Congress we’ve elected is to make the Employee Free Choice Act the law of our land.” Following that statement, organized labor proceeded to invest some $450 million in the 2008 federal elections, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Determined to stop the dangerous, businessbusting measure, pro-business groups in Alabama and across the nation responded quickly when EFCA was introduced early this year in Congress. If passed, the bill, which proposes the most sweeping changes to federal labor law in 60 years, will essentially eliminate secret ballot voting when workers choose whether to unionize their workplace. Not only will the bill undercut a proven, fair and long-standing democratic process, it will also increase union intimidation practices; reduce union incentives to bargain in good faith; force employers to accept contracts imposed by government arbitrators; and expose employers, but not unions, to stiffer penalties for labor law violations. Although the business community is firmly united against the bill, it is imperative that the collective voice of business and industry continues to be heard loud and clear in Washington. That’s because card check 46

Montgomery Business Journal July 2009

proponents, reeling from the intense business outcry against the proposal in its current form, are said to be looking for ways to “compromise” and potentially win back the lawmakers who unexpectedly withdrew their early support, at the intense urging of a business community already struggling under the pressure of a record-setting economic downturn. But the Business Council of Alabama, which serves as the state’s exclusive affiliate to the National Association of Manufacturers, agrees with the NAM’s Keith Smith, director of employment and labor policy, that “EFCA would fundamentally shift the nature of union organizing, contract negotiations and workplace relations… and, in any form, would do irreparable damage to employers and employees alike.” In an effort to help keep the pressure on, the BCA this spring joined with leaders of the Associated Builders and Contractors to establish the Alabama Alliance of Businesses Against the Employee Free Choice Act. The alliance was formed specifically to ensure that Alabama's voters, Congressmen and legislators understand that card check "is not right for Alabama or the U.S." Among others, the growing, statewide alliance also includes leaders from the Associated General Contractors of America, Alabama Retail Association, National Federation of Independent Business, Economic Development Association of Alabama, Automotive Aftermarket Association Southeast, Alabama Concrete Industries Association and American Subcontractors Association. With the democratic secret ballot process at risk in Washington, state Rep. Greg Canfield made a valiant attempt during the 2009 regular session of the Alabama Legislature to pass a bill that would have sent a strong probusiness message that Alabama is opposed to any federal attempt to weaken a worker’s right to vote by secret ballot in union elections.

Canfield’s proposal, HB 973, was an amendment to the 1901 Constitution of Alabama that would have guaranteed the rights of all Alabamians to vote by secret ballot. The innovative measure gave legislators a unique opportunity to stand up for Alabama employers and their employees and to send a clear signal that state lawmakers respect and want to protect their right to vote on union representation by secret ballot. But members of the House Constitution and Elections Committee swept the bill aside and kept it from further action, by choosing to side, on two critical votes, with the labor unions who opposed it. BCA is encouraging Rep. Canfield to pre-file this important legislation for the next regular legislative session. And we’ll ask all lawmakers to co-sponsor his bill in the House and Senate in a strong show of support for this prodemocracy, pro-business measure. In the meantime, Alabama’s business community must stay engaged in opposition to card check and continue to remind our state and federal lawmakers of the bill’s dangerous implications. A recent study, released by noted economist Dr. Anne Layne-Farrar, indicates that an increase of 1.5 million union members in one year would lead to the loss of 600,000 jobs by the following year. Although workers organized under card check may receive higher pay than their counterparts in non-union workplaces, Layne-Farrar said, the increased costs would be offset by decreases in other areas that go beyond wages and benefits. “Unions claim they are the ticket to the middle class, but this study confirms that passing EFCA would have a damaging effect on an already weakened economy,” said Randel Johnson, vice president of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. WILLIAM CANARY IS PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE BUSINESS COUNCIL OF ALABAMA

M o n t g o m e r y, A l a b a m a

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Montgomery Business Journal July 2009


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