Montgomery Business Journal - March 2021

Page 1

MONTGOMERY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL MARCH/APRIL 2021

MBJ

MAKING IT IN MGM MANUFACTURING DRIVES THE CAPITAL CITY ECONOMY

+

A LOOK AT THE LOCAL LEGAL INDUSTRY HOW TO CREATE A WINNING COMPANY CULTURE




10

CONTENTS MAR/APR 2021

THIS ISSUE: 10 Making it in MGM: Manufacturing Industry 32 Making the Case: Legal Industry Overview

44 Freelance Facts 16 Investor Profile: Arthur DuCote 20 Member Profiles: Tonya Scott-Williams and Keri Watts 24 Military Profile: Lt. Col. Brian Kirchner 26 Giveback: Personalized Philanthropy 28 #myMGM: Spotlight MGM 54 Small Business Briefcase: “Best Place to Work” Award: Do You Have What It Takes?

CHAMBER NEWS:

58 Connect: FAQ 60 Connect: Chamber News 62 Members on the Move 64 Members in the News 66 Business Buzz 70 Ribbon Cuttings 73 New Members 74 Intel


S


MBJ

THE NUMBER ONE BUSINESS SOURCE FOR MONTGOMERY AND THE RIVER REGION

MONTGOMERY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PRESIDENT Anna B. Buckalew CHIEF COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER Meg Lewis

exploreMedia PUBLISHER Pam Mashburn

MANAGING EDITOR Jennifer Stewart Kornegay

ART DIRECTOR Erika Rowe Tracy

DESIGN Heather Cooper, Shelby Berry Shubird

CONTRIBUTORS EDITORIAL Jennifer Stewart Kornegay, Minnie Lamberth, Brian Blanks, Brenda Hellums, Henry Moore and Sharleen Smith PHOTOGRAPHERS Bryan Carter, Robert Fouts, Aubrie Moates, David Robertson Jr., Grace O’Connor, Eric Salas ON THE COVER Manufacturing is big business in Montgomery. ADVERTISING Christina Bennett and Angie Jordin, exploreMedia / 334-578-7810 COMMUNICATIONS Kinsey de Torres MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL c/o Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Post Office Box 79, Montgomery, Alabama 36101 Telephone: 334-834-5200 • mbj@montgomerychamber.com © Copyright 2021 exploreMedia and the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. MONTGOMERY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE MISSION STATEMENT

The Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce catalyzes business and community leadership to improve the economic prosperity and ​quality of place ​of Montgomery and the River Region. ​ The Montgomery Business Journal (USPS NO. 025553) is published bi-monthly by exploreMedia for the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, 41 Commerce Street, Montgomery AL 36104, (334) 834-5200, www.montgomerychamber.com. Periodicals Postage Paid at Montgomery, Alabama, 36119+9998, USPS NO. 025553. Volume 13, Issue 2. POSTMASTER send address changes to Montgomery Business Journal, c/o Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 79, 41 Commerce Street, Montgomery, AL 36101, or email mbj@montgomerychamber.com. The Montgomery Business Journal welcomes story ideas from its readers. Email to: editor@montgomerychamber.com. Subscriptions are a part of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce dues structure. Subscriptions and bulk subscriptions can also be purchased per year at www.montgomerychamber.com/mbjsub.



CHAMBER NEWS

Events +

MA RK YO UR CALENDAR S FOR THE SE UP COMING C HAMB E R E V E NTS

8 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL



Montgomery’s manufacturing industry is producing more than a diverse array of goods; it’s providing area residents a broad base of options for rewarding and lucrative employment.

MAKING IT IN MGM

By Jennifer S. Kornegay

10 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL


As the state capital — packed with

government buildings filled with state workers — and the home of a major military base, Montgomery may not spring to mind when you think about manufacturing. But maybe it should. The Montgomery metro area is home to 325 manufacturing companies, which together employ more than 17,400 people who produce a wide range of products, everything from cars and aircraft parts to water heaters, surgical equipment and sports drinks. All combined, the area’s manufacturing sector has an almost $5 billion overall economic impact on Montgomery County, and in direct impact, represents $1.5 billion of the county’s $12.6 billion economy. The thousands of manufacturing jobs add up to $1 billion in annual earnings, which represents 9.6 percent of the county’s total earnings. And they’re good jobs too: The average annual salary at Montgomery manufacturing companies is more than $58,500 per year, 29 percent higher than the local average wage. Joe Friday, President and CEO of Whitfield Foods, Inc., pointed to the industry’s obvious benefits for the area, focusing on providing not just thousands of jobs (120 of which are at Whitfield), but a diverse array of jobs, from “blue collar” to managerial positions. “Alabama and our region have a strong agricultural background, and we have so many government jobs and jobs related to the base, but I’d say manufacturing is the real backbone here, and it’s really varied in its employment offerings,” he said. “Plus, we continue to draw new companies here, and so much else feeds off that.” Gindi Prutzman, Executive Director of Central AlabamaWorks, shared similar thoughts on the sector’s job creation credentials. “From entry-level employees to certified apprenticeships, manufacturing offers a large range of opportunity for meaningful work,” she said.

The Montgomery metro area is home to 325 manufacturing companies, which together employ more than 17,400 people.

Friday called the manufacturing sector’s role in the local economy “key,” but he admitted a little personal bias. “When you think about the companies, about who it is really building something, it’s our manufacturing companies and, truly, their workers,” he said. “I come from a manufacturing family. My dad worked at a paper mill for 40-plus years, and if not for that mill, where I grew up wouldn’t have even existed.”

11 MONTGOMERYCHAMBER.COM


Workforce Solutions As Friday noted, it’s not companies that dream up, design, produce and distribute all of these things: it’s people. And yet, despite the opportunities and the high wages available, people are the resource most precious in our manufacturing sector. According to multiple sources, there’s a missing link in the workforce pipeline supplying the industry. “While a career in manufacturing may not be for everyone, there is an urgent need to raise the awareness level of the

“Central Alabama is home to robust manufacturing partners that not only produce great products, but also serve as active partners in the community giving both time and resources to area schools and non-profits.” - Gindi Prutzman, Executive Director of Central AlabamaWorks

opportunities that are available now and into the future,” said Robert Burns, Vice President of Administration and HR at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA). “The school systems need to aggressively promote the wide variety of careers that are available in manufacturing. Students’ attitudes and perceptions of working in a manufacturing environment must be changed from solely working on an assembly line to seeing themselves programming robots, designing efficient workspaces or maintaining the latest

on curriculum that can better prepare students for manufacturing careers. In addition to the industry’s efforts, groups like Central AlabamaWorks are pitching in too. The nonprofit organization’s mission is to “facilitate a system that provides business and industry with job seekers and students who have received the education and training that aligns with their needs throughout the region.” To accomplish this, the Council (composed of 26 voting members, leaders in education, chambers of commerce and other economic development organizations, nonprofits, plus state and local government agencies) focuses on schools, promoting the multiple positives awaiting students in manufacturing through its Educator Workforce Academy. “It is impossible for educators to tell students what careers are available if they don’t know, so we make it our goal to educate our educators on the world of possibilities,” Prutzman said. “We believe ‘You cannot be what you cannot see.’”

equipment driven by artificial intelligence.”

Another complementary program is the

For one thing, nationwide, we simply

person event that gives students hands-

don’t have enough people entering the workforce to replace retiring baby boomers. And it’s not just about warm bodies. Friday highlighted the skills gap that’s hindering the industry, calling it the sector’s “biggest challenge.” “Developing the workers we need is a problem, but it’s not a local problem only; it’s nationwide,” he said. He explained its roots. “As a country, we didn’t focus on skilled trades for years; we didn’t put high school students on that path, and now we have a lack of people with the right skills and aptitudes to meet our industry’s demands,”

organization’s Career Discovery, an inon experience with businesses. (COVID restrictions meant 2020’s events were held virtually, but the hope is to return to Trenholm State Community College, the event’s host in past years, when it’s safe to do so.) Anita Archie, Interim President at Trenholm State Community College stressed that a unified vision and collaboration between multiple parties, including education and industry itself, are essential ingredients in any workforce issue solution. “We must have collaborative

he said.

conversations among business and

Along with other River Region

year colleges and four-year universities

manufacturers, Burns says HMMA is ready to assist by providing guidance

12 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL

industry, elected leadership, K-12, twoassessing workforce needs for our region. This includes examining workforce


MGM MANUFACTURING: AUTO INDUSTRY OUTLOOK: By the Numbers

325 “Alabama and our region have a strong agricultural background, and we have so many government jobs and jobs related to the base, but I’d say manufacturing is the real backbone here, and it’s really varied in its employment offerings. Plus, we continue to draw new companies here, and so much else feeds off that.” - Joe Friday, President and CEO of Whitfield Foods, Inc.

availability, talent development, barriers to

JOBS:

NUMBER OF COMPANIES

17,400

(in Montgomery metro)

REPRESENTS

$1.5 BILLION

OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY’S

$12.6 BILLION

ECONOMY (2018-2019)

$1 BILLION ANNUAL EARNINGS

developing that talent and in turn, working holistically together to address these issues,” she said. Trenholm State is doing its part by continually evaluating its offerings to make certain they remain in-line with

$1 BILLION

ALMOST IN DURABLE MANUFACTURING ACTIVITIES

industry demands. “Advisory committees for our programs are serving as an asset to stay abreast of workforce needs,” Archie said. “Workforce staff frequently attend advisory committee meetings to ensure they are knowledgeable of the needs of local business and industry. All employees are also involved in community activities such as civic organizations, workforce development entities, chamber of commerce events, as well as many others where they network with leaders of local business and industry to discuss their

OVERALL ECONOMIC IMPACT: OVERALL ECONOMIC IMPACT: S ALMOST

$5 BILLION IN REAL GDP

needs and determine if Trenholm is meeting those needs.” Source: Dr. Keivan Deravi, President of Economic Research Services, Inc., a Montgomery-based economic consulting group

13 MONTGOMERYCHAMBER.COM


Friday applauded such work, claiming it’s a critical piece of the puzzle. “Alabama graduates 50,000 students from high school each year and 30,000 go to college, but what about the other 20,000? They need to have their aptitudes identified; they need to see career paths, and they need to PHOTOGRAPHY BY BROOKE GLASSFORD.

see the training to that path,” he said. “As a region, if we can improve linking

“We must have collaborative conversations among business and industry, elected leadership, K-12, two-year colleges and four-year universities assessing workforce needs for our region. This includes examining workforce availability, talent development, barriers to developing that talent and in turn, working holistically together to address these issues.” - Anita Archie, Interim President at Trenholm State Community College

our education to the demands of our industry, that helps us all, the employer and potential employees.”

Back to the Future While some Montgomery manufacturing companies have been here for decades

Burns outlined the next-gen tech used at

– Whitfield Foods has been making

HMMA. “We are at the beginning stages

its sweet Alaga syrup here for more

of using big data and artificial intelligence

than a century – others are newer

to enhance our manufacturing

arrivals, and all of them are using the

capabilities. We are evaluating advanced

latest and greatest technology to

information technology programs to

produce their products. The culture

effectively manage the logistics and parts

of innovation this fosters is a valuable

flow to successfully build five different

contribution to the community too.

vehicles on the same assembly line,” he

“Advanced manufacturing uses cutting-

said. With the company producing more

edge technology, and these highly

than 1,500 vehicles every day, these

skilled employees serve to advance the

technologies are crucial to identify and

technology capital of the River Region,”

prevent potential road bumps that could

said Prutzman.

slow production.

GETTING GREENER

Like many businesses around the country, Montgomery’s manufacturing industry has made sustainability a priority, according to Joe Friday, President and CEO of Whitfield Foods, Inc. “We have a constant concern about environmental impact and are examining how we can be more efficient and reduce the impacts and costs of waste,” he said. “We care a lot about doing our best in these areas.” The automotive industry as a whole is making what Burns deemed a “significant investment” in more eco-friendly transportation, options like autonomous driving capabilities, electric vehicles and other clean mobility alternatives. He claimed the focus on sustainability is imperative to serve today’s consumer. “The question is not if but when the U.S. car buyer will make a significant move toward hybrid or electric vehicles versus internal combustion engines,” he said. “It is a challenge because

14 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL


More than Making The innovation and hard work found inside local manufacturing facilities don’t stop at the factory doors. “Both small and large manufacturers in the River Region make an effort to give back to the community in their own way. These corporate social responsibility efforts are often led by their employees with strong support from the business’ leadership team,” Burns said, “HMMA has a long history of working with our team members to identify needs in the community and ultimately providing the time and resources to the nonprofit

AUTO INDUSTRY OUTLOOK: Accelerating

or community outreach organizations that have positive impacts in our community.”

HMMA’s Robert Burns explained the impacts of COVID-19 on the automotive industry and shared thoughts on the road ahead.

Prutzman stressed that area manufacturers and their employees make more than

“The automotive industry has stabilized since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

tangible things; they make a lasting

All automotive manufacturers have adjusted to protect their employees while

impact on the region with their time and

continuing to supply vehicles to consumers. From March until May 2020, the auto

talents. “Central Alabama is home to

industry was essentially shut down, including many dealerships. We had to institute

robust manufacturing partners that not

safety protocols at the plant. The pandemic may or may not cause a long-term

only produce great products, but also

behavioral shift from individuals choosing not to use mass transit to go to and from

serve as active partners in the community,

work. If they choose not to use mass transit, then automotive sales will increase

giving both time and resources to area

short term when workers return to their offices instead working remotely. Only time

schools and non-profits,” she said. “Our

will tell whether or not this is a permanent or temporary trend. The outlook could

manufacturers recognize that a vibrant

be stronger in 2021, depending on the successful rollout of a vaccine.

community is conducive to a vibrant employee base.”

fuel prices remain low, and electric charging times are still too long for most consumers.” Burns also outlined advancements made in other countries and called for the United States to do more. “The Korean, European and Chinese governments have already made significant infrastructure investments to support both electric and fuel cell vehicles,” he said. “The U.S. needs to do the same to help increase the acceptance of clean mobility solutions.”

“The question is not if but when the U.S. car buyer will make a significant move toward hybrid or electric vehicles versus internal combustion engines,” he said. “It is a challenge because fuel prices remain low, and electric charging times are still too long for most consumers.” - Robert Burns, Vice President of Administration and HR at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA)

15 MONTGOMERYCHAMBER.COM


VESTOR IN

PO WERHOUSE PR

OFIL

Q&A

E

ARTHUR DUCOTE Last year was like no other in recent history. A worldwide pandemic that led to major shutdowns of businesses large and small in almost every sector rocked global, national and local economies. In the midst of this environment, the Chamber faced multiple hurdles in fulfilling its mission to serve and support Montgomery’s business community. It overcame them all, raising funds and launching innovative programs to meet local business needs, and its successes were due in no small part to its leadership. The vision, drive and determination that pushed the Chamber forward in 2020 came straight from the top, including past Chamber Chairman Arthur DuCote, former Market Executive at Regions Bank in Montgomery and the River Region. He shared his thoughts on last year. How do you think the Chamber responded to the needs of the business community and its membership during COVID-19? Business

to keep the flow of communication going, while not being

success requires a rapid reaction to abrupt changes in

patience, persistence and continuous improvement, all while

business conditions. The impact of COVID on the Chamber

delivering services real-time with no changes in the Chamber

was certainly abrupt. A significant portion of the Chamber’s

schedule for the year. They did a tremendous job. The

revenues depend on the lodging tax in Montgomery. With

Eggs & Issues series with our Congressional Leaders is an

the onset of COVID, tourism was negatively impacted, and

excellent example. The Chamber built a studio from scratch

the occupancy rates in our hotels dropped materially. The

and delivered it virtually. The Chamber members loved it.

Chamber saw a 25-percent reduction in revenues. Anna

Attendance exceeded that of our in-person events, with the

[Buckalew, Chamber CEO] and her team took immediate

attendance being more inclusive of small business Chamber

action to ensure that they guarded the Chamber’s financial

members. I received several complimentary emails from

health and adjusted how they supported the members, our

people that virtually attended that typically did not attend in

business community. It worked. The Chamber is healthy, and

person. That’s a win in supporting the membership. Another

they did a great job of delivering their core mission during a

example would be virtually delivering the Diversity Summit.

difficult 2020, retaining and attracting business in the River

Again, it was very well attended and highly complimented.

Region while driving economic prosperity for all of us that call

Another win.

able to do it in-person. They had to utilize virtual tools, long before most of us were figuring out how to do it. It took

this place home.

What was the biggest hurdle to overcome for you as Chairman last year? Adjusting to

Can you outline some of the Chamber’s COVID-19 initiatives you feel were the most successful? With the help of the City and the County, the

the new virtual world. My comfort zone is face-to-face. The Chairman’s role requires a significant workload of communication to the members. And I could not do it face-to-

local small businesses most impacted by COVID. It was very

face. I had to learn how to do it live in a Zoom, live in a studio

effective. They raised $445,000 and oversaw the distribution

and recorded for both, multiple times a week. You can say I

to 139 grant recipients. It met the greatest need, when it was

have a much greater appreciation for the skills of those in the

needed. You can’t ask for much better business support than

broadcasting profession. The Chamber staff worked hard to

that.

support me, and I learned to do it with a smile, most days.

What was the biggest challenge the Chamber faced last year? The Chamber is in the communication

What are you most proud of, in terms of what the Chamber accomplished last year? The

business. Historically, they have done that face-to-face.

greatest 2020 accomplishment for the Chamber was their

COVID changed all that. The Chamber had to figure out how

role in the passage of the tax increase to support our public

16 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL

PHOTOGRAPHY BY AUBRIE MOATES.

Chamber launched a Small Business Relief Fund to support


The most valuable lesson I learned was how powerful our community can be if we work together toward a common goal that produces good for us all. We’re all humans. Deep down, we’re all the same, and we are much better together than we are apart.

17 MONTGOMERYCHAMBER.COM


education system. The Montgomery business community took a leadership role in that effort, and the Chamber organized their engagement. The Chamber worked very closely with MPS and our City and County leadership to ensure that the citizens’ opportunity to vote on the matter passed during the legislative session. That hasn’t happened in generations and certainly never in a shortened COVID session. It was a tremendous example of team-manship with our local legislative delegation, MPS, Mayor Reed, Chairman Dean, and many legislative supporters throughout the state. And then the work began. To be successful, the effort had to be run as a campaign, to educate the community on why this was so important. And campaigns are expensive. The Chamber met directly with the business community, MPS, the City and County and drove the process to raise $650,000. The campaign partnered with the faith community, and the message was well-delivered. The citizens of Montgomery chose to invest their hard-earned money in their public education system for the first time in more than 40 years. It was a fabulous testimony for people working together for a common cause, despite political, racial, ideological and socioeconomic differences. It was an example of joining hands, standing side-by-side and moving the community toward achieving our economic potential, which can only be accomplished with a strong public education system delivering excellent educational outcomes for everyone in our community. But the Chamber’s role is not done. In most ways, the real hard work begins now. The Chamber is working directly with MPS in organizing a Community Education Engagement Committee to support the many facets needed to generate a best-in-class public education system in Montgomery. To accomplish that, it will require complete community engagement in supporting MPS. I think Montgomery is up to it. I’ve never seen an investment made in a child fail yet.

Were there any silver linings to the upheaval and uncertainty of last year? Yes. It reminded us all of the most important element in working together as a team. It is not respect or appreciation. It is NEED. The most powerful element is needing each other. If we truly need each other, we’ll respect and appreciate each other. And we need everyone in the community to achieve our potential in public education. And that’s the way it is supposed to be. They are our kids.

Editor’s Note: At the end of last year, Arthur DuCote retired from his position of Market Executive at Regions Bank in Montgomery and the River Region. He served Regions and its predecessor banks for 28 years.


19 MONTGOMERYCHAMBER.COM


M E M BE R profile

TONYA SCOTT-WILLIAMS Montgomery vocal talent Tonya Scott-Williams shares her warm, clear tone on local radio and as the voiceover for commercials and multiple marketing projects through her business Rise Media Group, LLC. But she’s not simply speaking; she’s combining her voice with an inclination for helping others to ensure her clients’ messages rise above the noise.

Are you from Montgomery? I’m originally from Greensboro, Florida, and moved to Montgomery for college. Although I thought I’d move away afterwards, I eventually got married, developed a wonderful network of friends and became involved in the community.

How and when did you first get into doing voice overs? I have a broadcast journalism background, first starting out as a reporter on WZHT, 105.7 radio station here and was eventually promoted to news director. I was also a reporter and talk show host at WVAS, FM 90.7. While in radio, I learned the inner workings of production, lending my voice to commercials and other projects at both stations. Then, I started a family and became a stayat-home mom, homeschool parent and co-owner of a financial services firm. I still managed to take on occasional voiceover projects, including voicing the opening videos for the Chamber’s annual meetings. In 2018, while trying to decide what was the next right move, I saw an opportunity to focus on my passion. Voiceover had always been meaningful and fulfilling so I decided to steer my energy in that direction and create my business, Rise Media Group, LLC. I took advantage of business building workshops and training sessions at the Small Business Resource Center through the Chamber, as well as The Small Business Development

Sound On “My favorite thing about voiceover work is being behind the microphone and giving voice to the vision my clients have for their their product or service as the words flow from my mouth, recognizing that they’re trusting me to convey a message to their target market. When I’m representing my

skills in the broadcast, production and marketing industry. Today, while I have a full-time job I enjoy, I fill the hours away from the office on business development, networking and voicing work for a growing portfolio of clients including the Montgomery Regional Airport, The Southern Poverty Law Center, The Mobile Water Works and Sewer System and a recent project I’m hosting for the Alabama Humanities Foundation.

clients’ vision, everything else fades away and the end product always amazes me.”

20 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL

PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID ROBERTSON JR.

project. I’m thinking about their audience,

Center at ASU and worked with a mentor to refresh my


What voiceover services do you provide? Corporate e-learning tutorials and videos, public address system and overhead announcements, commercials, audio books, narration, documentaries, emcee, company voicemail and on-hold messaging systems.

Why should a business or company consider using a voice talent pro to communicate their message? An experienced voiceover professional has the ability to connect with and influence a company’s target market. They’re able to take direction, offer suggestions and convey your message in a way that brings it to life. The last thing you want is for it to get lost in a sea of sound. As a voiceover professional, my goal is to compel the audience to listen to the message and draw them in your direction.

What did you enjoy most about hosting the BizTalk MGM radio show? As host of BizTalk, I had a unique opportunity to meet a variety of guests, most of whom are business owners. We have some remarkable people in this city who are committed to their vision and the clients they serve, and I enjoy hearing their stories unfold. It takes courage to maintain a business, and the road to success isn’t a straight line, so when they joined me on BizTalk, I learned from their experiences while exchanging insights and information that may be beneficial to the audience.

What are your interests outside of work? When I’m not working, I’m either volunteering or spending as much time as possible with my daughter before she goes back to college in January. I’m also an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys birdwatching. I’m a member of Women Business Owners of the River Region, the Chamber and Women of Will. And I’m the author of “Marvelous Marva Had a Dream,” published in 2018. It follows a remarkable little girl who, through her imagination, helps readers discover how the ordinary becomes extraordinary. I’m also the creator and host of the podcast, “Eat the Taco. Drink the Wine!” tonyascottwilliams.com


M E M BE R profile

KERI WATTS For almost 50 years, Kwik Kopyshop has been meeting copying, printing and graphic design needs in Montgomery, and for 30 of those years, Keri Watts has been a part of it. She’s proud of the part she and the business play in other local businesses’ communication and marketing efforts.

How long have you worked at Kwik Kopyshop and what is your role? I manage sales and production at our downtown location. I started working as a teenager tagging along with my dad, Tommy Nichols, who founded Kwik Kopyshop, in the summers. After graduating from Auburn University in 1991, when I started seeking jobs in Birmingham and Atlanta, my dad hired me. I came on fulltime in computer supply sales. Now, I have the privilege of working with my dad every day.

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in your business in the last decade? The speed and quality with which we can produce documents. We’ve also made changes to stay relevant in the digital age. We now have an online presence for ordering convenience.

What is your favorite part of your job? Besides getting to work with my family and the best co-workers, I love working with and building relationships with my customers. I get to work with clients on projects like logistic signage or conference printing, and then help some of those same customers with personal projects like wedding announcements or birthday banners. I love hearing about all of the happenings they are planning and helping them create the perfect communication for their event. We get to help people get their businesses off the ground by steering them in the right direction with their print collateral.

Any recent milestones? Kwik Kopyshop is celebrating its 45th year in business. We feel truly blessed to have the opportunity to serve customers in our region.

What are your interests outside of work? I love to be outside hiking, camping, hunting or digging in the dirt.

“We are a family owned and operated business. My mom, three sisters, brother in law, niece and my kids have all worked for

Make-a-Wish fundraiser where we hiked 26.3 miles in one day. Along with my teammate Melissa Orr, we have raised more than $10,000 over the last two years. kwikkopyshop.com

Kwik Kopyshop at some point.” 22 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL

PHOTOGRAPHY BY GRACE O’CONNOR

I recently completed the Alabama Trailblaze Challenge, a

Family Affair


“Determined people working together can do anything.” - Jim Casey

TRENHOLM CAMPUS 1225 Air Base Boulevard Montgomery, AL 36108

PATTERSON SITE

3920 Troy Highway Montgomery, AL 36116 ACCREDITATION H. Councill Trenholm State Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate degrees. Contact the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia EQUAL OPPORTUNITY IN EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT It is the official policy of the Alabama Community College System and H. Councill Trenholm State Community College that no person shall, on the grounds of race, color, disability, sex, religion, creed, national origin, age or any other protected class as deened by federal and state law be excluded from participation in, be denied beneets of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program, activity, or employment.

23 MONTGOMERYCHAMBER.COM


M I L I TA RY profile

LT. COL. BRIAN KIRCHNER Ensuring that all information moving through the Air Force-wide cyber network gets to the right place at the right time and gets there with privacy intact is the job of the Air Force’s 26th Network Operations Squadron based at Maxwell Air Force Base’s Gunter Annex. Ensuring the 26th NOS does this job well is the job of the squadron commander, Lt. Col. Brian Kirchner, and a year and a half into it, he couldn’t be more impressed with the members of his team.

Where are you originally from? Florence, Kentucky

How long have you been in the Air Force? I entered active duty in June of 2004, so I’ve been in for 16 and a half years.

How long have you been Commander of the 26th Network Operations Squadron? One and a half years.

What is the role/mission of the 26th NOS in the Air Force? The 26 NOS operates and maintains the Air Force Enterprise Network boundary, delivering cyber surety, availability and maneuverability through the employment of the Air Force Intranet Control cyber weapon system. In addition, the NOS maintains and operates the Air Force Wide Area Network, ensuring that information is routed properly and securely. We operate and defend the $14.2 billion Enterprise Network across 385 global sites in support of over 2.5

Pandemic Praise Secure information access is always key to Air Force missions, but during the COVID-19 crisis, it was even more important. The 26th work, according to Lt. Col. Kirchner: “Numerous members of the 26 NOS were personally recognized and presented with a special coin from the Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force for their work in support of Air Force-wide telework

Why is this role so important? All network traffic coming into and out of the Air Force network flows through 26 NOS equipment, which enables us to securely deliver necessary information, while denying our adversaries the ability to observe and manipulate Air Force network traffic. Our squadron operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to ensure that all Air Force users have continuous access to the data they need.

capabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.” MONTGOMERYCHAMBER.COM MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL 24 24

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROBERT FOUTS

NOS stepped up big and did award-winning

thousand applications and more than 1 million users.


“The airmen, civilians and contractors at the 26 NOS enable all aspects of the Air Force mission, from satellite launches to combat operations and everything in between, and their talent and ingenuity amazes me every day.” What are your duties and responsibilities as Commander? I lead and manage all aspects of the organization, including approximately 230 personnel and our weapon system, which is distributed at more than 30 locations worldwide.

What motivated you to serve in the Air Force? My primary motivation for joining the military was in order to serve our country while also taking advantage of the incredible leadership and growth opportunities that the military provides.

What is the No. 1 thing you’d like MBJ readers to know about the 26 NOS? The one thing I’d like people to know about 26 NOS is the professionalism and dedication of the members who provide enterprise IT services to the Air Force 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. IT is one of those services that is often taken for granted until something’s not working, but it takes a tremendous amount of work to keep it running, especially on the scale that 26 NOS covers.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your work? Without a doubt, the most rewarding aspect of my work is the people I get to work with every day. The airmen, civilians and contractors at the 26 NOS enable all aspects of the Air Force mission, from satellite launches to combat operations and everything in between, and their talent and ingenuity amazes me every day.

What are your interests and hobbies outside of work? I enjoy playing sports, reading, cooking and hanging out with my wife and four-year-old son, Charlie.

COMPLIMENTARY GRAB AND GO BREAKFAST OUTDOOR SWIMMING POOL, WITH GAS GRILLS AND FIRE PIT ALL ROOMS COME WITH FULLY EQUIPPED KITCHENS AMENITIES INCLUDE ACCESS TO FITNESS CENTER AND COMPLIMENTARY LAUNDRY PET FRIENDLY WALKING DISTANCE TO: Dozens of Bars and Restaurants | Montgomery Civil Rights Trail, including The Legacy Museum, Memorial for Peace and Justice and Rosa Parks Museum | Hank Williams Museum | Riverwalk Stadium | Alabama River with Scenic Evening Dinner Cruises on the Harriott II


GiveBack

PERSONALIZED PHILANTHROPY For more than 30 years, the Central Alabama Community Foundation has been providing guidance, pooling resources and growing money to help both individuals and businesses fund worthy causes and organizations that match their interests.

/ by MINNIE LAMBERTH

The Central Alabama Community Foundation stepped up in a big way during the worst of the COVID crisis, working with The River Region United Way on a fund to help those hit hard by the pandemic.

The Central Alabama Community Foundation spreads around

“We do all the due diligence on nonprofits,” Crenshaw said. “We

$4 to $5 million annually in our community, yet always at the

have the luxury of working on the donor side but also getting

direction of the donors who provide these funds. “We work

to know the nonprofits very well. We have some phenomenal

with individuals and businesses to help them further their

nonprofits in our region that do phenomenal work.”

philanthropic goals,” said Burton Crenshaw, who has served as CACF president since 2011. “We help facilitate how to give their money in the community.” With a lean staff of five, including Crenshaw, CACF offers donors several approaches for distributing charitable funds – each one customized to the donor’s interests. For example, a donor can set up a fund with CACF that functions similarly to a charitable savings account. The donor can direct which charities receive the funds, such as a church or other non-profits, or CACF can talk with donors

Not only can funds be distributed in the

Added Bonus “We have the luxury of working on the donor side but also getting to know the nonprofits very well.” - Burton Crenshaw

about their interests and advise them about

short term, but they can be used for legacy giving as well. “Every year for perpetuity, we give more out in their honor or memory to continue legacies of giving throughout families,” Crenshaw said. Nonprofits can also apply for grants managed by CACF in such areas as family wellness and education or cultural engagement. Importantly, the foundation doesn’t just serve wealthy donors. “Anyone can make a

the charitable organizations that would be a good match for their

donation to us, and we push money out,” Crenshaw said. The

donations. CACF does the work, and the donor receives the tax

“Community Champions” program, for example, is an annual

benefits.

giving opportunity for individuals to give at various levels to 26 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL


support Community Trust Grants

donors come by referrals from

for area nonprofits meeting diverse

existing donors, some come from

community needs.

calls out of the blue, and they also work with financial planners.

In addition, CACF works with

As an example, Jerry Mitchell,

individuals who want to raise funds

Principal with Jackson Thornton

but don’t want to form their own

Asset Management, said, “We

nonprofit organization. In fact, they

frequently have clients who are

are currently assisting a group

inclined to make charities part

of individuals who wants to raise

of their estate tax planning. We

funds to erect a statue of the late

assist them by working with CACF

Civil Rights hero and congressman

CACF President Burton Crenshaw pictured here with River

to accommodate their needs. A

John Lewis in his hometown of

Region United Way President and CEO Ron Simmons.

good example of this is assisting

Brundidge. The Montgomery Police Department also operates a foundation through CACF. Since its founding in 1987 in Montgomery, the CACF has branched out to cover 10 counties and, over the last 30-plus years, has distributed more than $60 million to nonprofit charities and organizations. Although most donors have a tie to this

region, charities are not exclusive to communities in Central Alabama. “Donors could pick anywhere in the United States,” Crenshaw said. The local giving, however, has been particularly impactful over recent months. As of October 1, 2020, CACF had distributed more than $500,000 to area nonprofits and churches providing direct

a client who would like to use a Donor Advised Fund for their charitable gifts. In addition, we can help retirees with their retirement plan distributions by designating CACF for their Qualified Charitable Distributions.” Mitchell added, “We have a great working

aid related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

relationship with the team at CACF; they

Crenshaw noted that some of their new

organizations, so it’s a win-win.”

27 MONTGOMERYCHAMBER.COM

help us facilitate client giving to wonderful


MyMGM

SPOTLIGHT MGM The National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the accompanying Legacy Museum have contributed major buzz in the ongoing conversation

/ by MINNIE LAMBERTH

Photography by Bryan Carter.

that’s put an international spotlight on Montgomery, one that’s still bright despite the pandemic.

The compelling stories told at The National Memorial for Peace and Justice are drawing thousands of visitors from around the globe to Montgomery.

The National Memorial for Peace and

website explains, “explores the history of

landscape,” EJI Director Bryan Stevenson

Justice, which opened on a six-acre site on

racial inequality and its relationship to a

explained. “This shadow cannot be lifted

Montgomery’s Caroline Street in 2018, is

range of contemporary issues from mass

until we shine the light of truth on the

a stark and overwhelming reminder of the

incarceration to police violence.”

destructive violence that shaped our

generations of African-American citizens

nation, traumatized people of color, and

who experienced or witnessed the racial

The memorial and museum were created

compromised our commitment to the rule

terror of lynching in this country. Within the

by the Montgomery-based Equal Justice

of law and to equal justice.”

setting that brings this dark history to life,

Initiative (EJI), which was founded in 1989

visitors encounter 800 six-foot monuments

by renowned attorney Bryan Stevenson

These are topics that people far and

that, according to the memorial website,

and provides legal representation to

near want to learn more about. In fact,

“symbolize thousands of racial terror

people illegally convicted and unfairly

the memorial and museum have brought

lynching victims in the United States

sentenced while addressing other

significant attention to Montgomery

and the counties and states where this

initiatives such as prison abuse, unequal

over the last few years, and the tourism

terrorism took place.”

treatment or criminal justice reform.

numbers began showing an impact during

Together, the EJI sites share the legacy of

that opening year. “We saw about a 22

A companion site, The Legacy

slavery, lynching and racial segregation in

percent increase in expenditures by

Museum: From Enslavement to Mass

our communities and connect the dots to

tourists,” according to Dawn Hathcock,

Incarceration, opened at the same time

how this history influences today’s issues.

Vice President, Destination MGM and the

in an 11,000-square-foot building on

Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce.

Coosa Street that was once the location

“Our nation’s history of racial injustice

“We went up (in 2019) with expenditures

of a slave warehouse. The museum, the

casts a shadow across the American

going over a billion dollars. We have seen

28 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL


tourism-related jobs go up by 18 percent.” During the first quarter of 2020, she added, “We were on track to pass those numbers.” The COVID-19 pandemic obviously altered that trajectory, but there’s no reason not to expect the activity to return to a high level when coronavirus concerns subside. These statistics are collected and released by the Alabama State Tourism office, usually in May of the previous year’s tourism expenditures, and include spending on food, gas, lodging and ticket sales. The sheer number of visitors to the sites is another indication of impact. “In the first year and a half, they had roughly 700,000 people go through,” Hathcock said. The memorial and museum are key pieces of Destination MGM’s strategy for increased post-COVID tourism in 2021, one that is, as Hathcock noted above, optimistic and is focused on reaching visitors searching for “purposeful travel.” She and her team are promoting the city as the historic hotspot it is, with emphasis on its world-changing happenings, including the formation of the Confederate government and then the birth of Civil Rights Movement in less than a century. Combined with the Rosa Parks Museum, Freedom Rides Museum, Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church (where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached) and more, EJI’s memorial and museum make Montgomery a must-see cultural destination in the South. And its reach goes far beyond local traffic and neighboring states in the region; the memorial and museum have also brought increased interest from major metropolitan areas in making visits to Montgomery. Hathcock noted that visits increased from the Northeast and West Coast, where Montgomery is not usually on the traveler’s radar. The EJI has continued to add more for visitors to see, learn and experience. In 2019, an addition to the memorial came with a

BRIGHT FUTURE The Alabama Tourism Department’s most recent annual report revealed that Montgomery experienced record-breaking tourism growth for 2019, with $1.025 billion in total revenue. This marked the first time in Montgomery’s history that tourism growth for the city topped the billion-dollar mark, representing a 5.6 percent increase over 2018, a 22 percent increase in the past two years and an 83 percent increase in the past ten years. This increase in spending directly impacted the city’s workforce, as visitors were responsible for 14,428 new jobs in the hospitality industry,

BIG BANG

Tourism is not just about visitors; it has a major impact on residents as well, energizing the local economy through tax revenue, job creation, spending in area businesses and more. How major? We’re so glad you asked.

an 18 percent increase in the past two years. With spending on hotels, restaurants, shopping and transportation significantly increasing, these numbers confirm that Montgomery is and

STELLAR STATS

continues to be an economic powerhouse for the state tourism industry. The pandemic put the brakes on this amazing growth, but Destination MGM, The Chamber’s team devoted to marketing the city for leisure and business travel, sees bright lights ahead for 2021. “While COVID-19 has impacted the travel industry, we know that together we will prevail,” said Dawn Hathcock, Senior Vice President, Destination MGM. “Travel is a force that brings us together and transforms our lives for the better and moving forward, tourism in Montgomery will continue to be a powerful component of the city’s resurgence. We see big things for this year in terms of tourism.”

monument to victims of terror lynching or

29 MONTGOMERYCHAMBER.COM

$1.025 BILLION total tourism-related revenue (2019)

14,428 NEW JOBS in the hospitality industry (2019)

MORE THAN 700,000 VISITORS to the EJI sites in the first 1.5 years


violence during the 1950s and includes such names as Emmett Till. In early 2020, the EJI expanded its

A NEW MISSION “The Museum and Memorial have put Montgomery

facilities further with the addition of the Legacy Pavilion at 400 North Court Street, which is a few blocks from the museum. A gift shop located in the Alley was transferred to the Pavilion, and an exhibit opened there on the Transatlantic Slave Trade. “I consider it kind of the hub,” said Tera DuVernay, Deputy Director

on the national stage

FOR ALL THE RIGHT REASONS

and in front of people who might not have considered coming to Alabama or our city before.” - Dawn Hathcock

of Museum and Memorial Operations,

Transatlantic Slave Trade Exhibit will be returned, and other exhibits will be added. “We’re hoping the construction will all be complete during the fall of this year,” DuVernay said. Both the museum and memorial share compelling stories, tales of truth that need to be told, and the city’s willingness to tell them is changing perceptions for the better. Hathcock expects this image boost will continue to have a positive effect on the city’s tourism business,

said of the Pavilion. Visitors can park their

open, pandemic shutdowns led the EJI

which is a plus for all area residents.

cars and take shuttles to the different

to begin an expansion on the Pavilion.

“The Museum and Memorial have put

sites. They can also enjoy a meal at the

The main gift shop was temporarily

Montgomery on the national stage for all

Southern cuisine restaurant, Pannie-

moved back to its Alley location, and

the right reasons and in front of people

George. The Pavilion is the second

construction began on additional exhibit

who might not have considered coming

location for Pannie-George, which was

space. “We’re anticipating really huge

to Alabama or our city before so they can

begun by chefs in Auburn and serves a

crowds post-pandemic,” DuVernay

confront our history and learn from it in

menu of soul food.

said. “We want to open up and make

order to move on,” she said.

sure there’s new things to see.” The Although the restaurant has remained

SPECIALIZED. IN YOU. Whether you are coping with back pain at work or find yourself skipping your workouts after a knee injury, at Alabama Orthopedic Specialists, we are here for you. As the only subspecialty-trained orthopedic group in Montgomery and Central Alabama, our advanced specialists are all experienced, fellowship-trained orthopedic doctors with focused expertise to offer you next-level treatment solutions in: • Back, neck, and spine care

• Sports medicine

• Hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder care

• Total joint care, replacement, and revision

For all your orthopedic needs, call (334) 309-8504. Main Campus 4294 Lomac Street Montgomery, AL 36106

Prattville Office 461 East Main Street Prattville, AL 36067

Wetumpka Office 277 Huntress Street, Suite 202 Wetumpka, AL 36092 alorthospecialists.com 30 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL


31 MONTGOMERYCHAMBER.COM


Industry Overview: LEGAL

The legal and business community are part of a symbiotic relationship where one cannot succeed without the other.

MAKING

THEC THE VERDICT IS IN: Mo n t g omery’s l eg a l i n d u st ry i s fa ci n g c ha l l en g es a n d ch a n g es b u t st i l l t a k i n g ca re o f c l i en t s a n d b en ef i tt i n g ou r commu n i t y. BY JENNIFER S. KORNEGAY

32 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL


The legal profession is one of the world’s oldest and most enduring. Today, it is estimated that there are 1.33 million practicing attorneys in the United States. Montgomery County has an impressive number on its own; according to the Alabama State Bar Association, there are currently 1,600 lawyers here. At the most basic levels, the services lawyers provide and the role they play in our society have really not changed that much, even in the last century. But there is a major shift underway. The legal industry is embracing diversity like never before, and one of Montgomery’s most well-known lawyers, Jere Beasley, believes it will prove the distinctive difference-maker in the industry’s near and long-term outlooks. “The legal industry has changed dramatically since I came here in 1979,” the founder of Beasley Allen law firm said. “We see now how

ASE diversity is so critical to success.

Our firm is a prime example: When we

hired the first African-American lawyer, I actually received some criticism, and while that was decades ago, that still shocked me. But since then, diversity has grown in our firm and grown everywhere.” And it keeps growing, promising more positives for the

33 MONTGOMERYCHAMBER.COM


Industry Overview: LEGAL

future, as Beasley explained. “We are now

seeing more female law students than ever before, and that’s great for the industry,” he

LEGAL INDUSTRY IN BRIEF

Local legal industry experts say their industry is currently strong and stable. “As the local economy goes, so goes the legal industry,” Davis Smith said. “Prior to COVID-19, the local economy was doing fairly well, and local firms were hiring to address the increased demand for legal services. COVID-19 created a shock to the system, but the legal industry seems to have weathered the storm.”

said. Other Montgomery firms have also seen the benefits diversity brings and are making achieving it a top priority. “Recent tragedies have highlighted the lack of diversity in our profession, and the industry has truly refocused on the meaningful actions we can take to fight inequities and increase diversity, equity and inclusion within our firms,” said Riley Roby, Managing Partner at Balch & Bingham, LLP. “At Balch, we created a new position, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer and are actively recruiting to fill that role.” The firm also recently launched Balch Business Boost, a program that supports entrepreneurs of color as well as women-owned businesses and start-ups by providing free or low-cost legal services. Increased diversity is an industrywide

TROUBLING TREND Attorney Jere Beasley has been in the legal profession for more than 40 years, and in that time, he’s witnessed a lot, but recently, a new issue has surfaced. “There seems to be a growing disrespect for the rule of law nationally, and that is the most troubling thing I’m seeing in relation to our profession and to society overall,” he said. “Once the rule of law is diminished in everyday life, we are heading for big-time problems, so I am hoping this changes.”

goal, according to Davis Smith, Partner at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLP. “There is a more intentional focus on diversity,” he said. “The legal industry understands that to better serve clients, the demography of the legal community needs to be better representative of the local community.”

Davis Smith Partner at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLP

Our area also boasts diversity in the types of attorneys practicing here and the services they offer, which is equally important, giving Montgomery residents and local businesses the expertise and representation they need to conduct a wide array of daily activities and transactions. “Our city is unique as a capital, we have governmental lawyers, we have legal services like Southern Poverty Law Center, we have great tax lawyers and commercial lawyers, plus those in litigation like our firm,” Beasley said. “All in all, we have some really great lawyers here.”

CONSTANT CHANGE

Jere Beasley Founder, Beasley Allen Law Firm the same way, today’s lawyers are facing a world that’s being altered by the minute, requiring them to be flexible and able to adapt — and adapt quickly. “I believe the skills that lawyers need to be successful are evolving faster than ever. People joining the profession today need to be more tech-focused and business savvy than ever before,” said Roby. The relentless advance of technology has been affecting the industry for a long time. In the past, access to information was the

Another notable change is simply the rate

most noticeable impact. “There is such a

of change itself. After years of doing things

massive amount of information out there

34 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL


I ND U ST RY Leader | Legal

Davis Smith

George Parker

Charles Stewart

Stanley Gregory

Rudy Hill

Jessica Sparhawk

Joshua Blades

Robert Poundstone

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP When was your firm founded? 1870

and communities and passion for our work. Our firm combines unsurpassed integrity with a flexible and professional approach to

What are your primary services? Bradley is a

advance our clients’ interests.

national law firm that provides business clients around the world with a full suite of legal services in dozens of industries and

Milestones & Awards: Our Montgomery office and its

practice areas. The firm has 10 offices located in Alabama, Florida,

attorneys have been recognized with numerous accolades for

Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and the District of

their work in recent years, including: five attorneys being listed in

Columbia that provide an extensive geographic base to represent

the 2021 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®, two of whom

clients on a regional, national and international basis.

were named “Lawyer of the Year” in their respective practice areas, numerous top rankings in Chambers USA for 2020, three attorneys

What sets your firm apart? Although Bradley is a

listed in the 2020 Mid-South Super Lawyers, several attorneys

large law firm with nearly 550 lawyers, our clients still enjoy the

named Fellows of the National Bar Foundation, and two attorneys

personal attention, responsiveness and deep relationships they

being named recipients of the 2020 Alabama State Bar President’s

would expect from a boutique firm. Our attorneys combine legal

Award.

experience, deep knowledge and a sophisticated understanding of industries to find practical, strategic solutions specifically tailored to our clients’ needs. Bradley has retained the tradition of Southern hospitality over the last 150 years, even as the firm has grown into a global force. As one of only a handful of U.S. law firms to reach this milestone, the firm has developed a national reputation for serving businesses around the world with respect for our clients, colleagues 35 MONTGOMERYCHAMBER.COM

RSA Dexter Avenue Building 45 Dexter Avenue Ste 9075 334-956-7700 / bradley.com


Industry Overview: LEGAL now,” Beasley said. “We may have a case where we have millions of documents to process; that’s so different from just 20 years ago.” Technology has led to more available information but with so much of it in digital form, it’s also made it easier to store and disseminate information. Now, COVID-19 has accelerated the pace, pushing the increased use of technology for basic communications. “The legal industry was already undergoing a transformation driven by regulatory, technology and competitive demands. COVID-19 fundamentally changed the way we work and collaborate with each other and our clients,” said Roby. Smith elaborated on Roby’s point. “Many law firms shifted to working remotely, requiring the lawyers to depend heavily upon virtual

Q:

What one thing has changed the most in the legal industry since you began working in it?

“The biggest change in the

not using the phone book to

legal industry field that I

find lawyers; now they are going

have observed is the use

to their Facebook business

of computers and digital

page, Twitter page, LinkedIn

technology. In the past, all

and Instagram. To stay relevant

documents had to be physically

and profitable, law firms have

filed at the

to adapt to this social media

courthouse.

environment.”

Now,

- LaKesha B. Shahid, Esq.,

documents

Partner, Shahid & Hosea LLC

may be electronically filed, which

“The greatest change that has

is so much

occurred in the 35-plus years

other lawyers and clients,” he said.

faster. Files

of my law practice is without

that once had to be stored

question technology. I recall

Roby noted the heavier emphasis on

physically can now be stored in

attending a

a cloud. The primary marketing

meeting of

tool was the yellow page ads.

the Alabama

Today, the marketing outlets

State Bar

have expanded exponentially to

about

include television, billboards and

30 years

social media platforms. Because

ago and

of COVID-19, court appearances

listening to

are now being done by Zoom

a presenting

client service,” Roby said.

videos and/or telephone

attorney make the prediction

dockets.” - Sandra Lewis,

that in the near future every

COVID-19 also created hurdles in the

Law Office of Sandra Lewis, P.C.

attorney would have their own

platforms to communicate with judges,

data security in response to this shift, as more data and conversations, which are often confidential, are being stored in and surging through cyberspace. “New legal technologies are continuing to emerge, and the industry is making new investments in tools to help lawyers collaborate and deliver enhanced levels of

computer on their desk or

courtroom, resulting in a slowdown for legal cases that need to be litigated, as Richard Ball, Partner at Ball, Ball, Matthews & Novak, P.A., explained. “With the suspension of in-person court proceedings, lawyers have had to adapt to using technology such as Zoom for depositions, in-court hearings, conferences, etc., COVID has delayed the

credenza. There were quite a “The legal field is ever changing,

few chuckles around the room

but one thing that has changed

because at the time, computers

in the legal

for the most part were thought of

field is the

as being the size of most kitchen

necessity to

refrigerators. Look how far we

have digital

have come. Now most attorneys

footsteps.

use their handheld smart phones

Social media

linked to their tablets, laptops

he said.

changed

and PCs.”

the way we

- Charles L. Anderson,

Despite the challenges inherent in this

obtain clients,

Anderson, Williams & Farrow,

interact with clients and now

L.L.C.

disposition of litigated matters generally,”

required and rapid evolution, Beasley believes there is a silver lining. “It has been difficult to be sure, but it has made

how we represent clients literally (virtually). Potential clients are

36 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL


I ND U ST RY Leader | Legal

Anderson, Williams & Farrow, LLC Practice Areas

When was your firm founded? 1997 How many employees do you have in the River Region? 28 What are your primary services? Law practice What sets your firm apart? As the provider law firm

• Personal Injury

• Criminal defense

• Worker's Compensation

• General litigation

• Family law and divorce

• Small-business related needs

• Bankruptcy

• Dispute resolution

• Probate and estate administration

for LegalShield ™ in Alabama and Mississippi, our attorneys are equipped with the technology and training to focus on what

7515 Halcyon Pointe Drive Montgomery, AL 36117 334-272-9880 / awf.law

matters most in providing legal services with a concern for the client experience in the process. Many clients are fearful and apprehensive in dealing with lawyers and the law. We try to be mindful of this reality.

Milestones & Awards: The firm was named in U.S. News & World Report Best Law Firms 2021. "No representation is made that quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers."

37 MONTGOMERYCHAMBER.COM


Industry Overview: LEGAL

lawyers and law firms become more

River Region economy, providing jobs

efficient,” he said. “I hope that carries over

for paralegals, legal assistants as well

and continues after this is all over.”

as lawyers, not to mention the economy generally,” Ball said. Smith also pointed

HELP WANTED

According to local lawyers Davis Smith and Richard Ball, finding good people to fill their firms has grown a bit trying in recent years. “Attracting qualified personnel is a challenge,” Ball said. Smith agreed. “Recruiting young talent is always an issue. The challenge is the competition with other markets such as Birmingham, Huntsville and Nashville,” he said. “But the developments of downtown entertainment districts and local attractions such as the National Memorial for Peace and Justice have put the spotlight on the region in a positive way that will hopefully attract visitors as well as potential new residents.”

Many of the solutions enacted to fix

to job creation as a plus his industry

COVID-related issues have been so

provides, as well as the many attorneys’

beneficial, it’s unlikely they’ll roll back,

inclination to “give back.” “The legal

even when we’re done with the pandemic

industry in the River Region continues

and all its problems. “It looks like there is

to offer well-paying jobs that may be

a light at the end of the tunnel with the

attractive to talent who did not grow up

development of vaccines for the virus,

here,” he said. “There also remains a

but the flexible methods adopted by firms

collegial atmosphere among the lawyers

for delivery of legal services as a result of

through participation in the Montgomery

COVID-19 will probably be here to stay,”

County Bar Association and other non-

said Smith.

profit organizations, which directly benefit the local community.”

Roby echoed Smith. “COVID-19 changed the way we work as lawyers. As a firm,

Smith also praised the Chamber’s role

I believe we adapted really well and

in forging and maintaining relationships,

stayed connected to each other and our

for members of his profession and the

clients, virtually,” he said. “I believe many

business community at large. “The

of the technological changes are actually

Chamber creates a platform for local

here to stay. This situation enhanced

businesses to learn more about legal

our ability to be flexible and efficient, it

issues that they need to be aware of

truly transformed the traditional work

and the local lawyers who are available

environment.”

to offer assistance,” he said. “The legal and business community are part of a

CONNECTION COUNTS

symbiotic relationship where one cannot

There is a constant, an aspect that

succeed without the other. The Chamber

remains the key to success in the legal

helps nurture the growth and success of

industry: relationships. And the bonds

this relationship.”

that tie our legal industry to the community are as strong as ever. “The legal profession is a large and important part of the

COVID-19-CAUSED COUNSEL TRENDS “Right now [late December 2020], we are seeing an increased demand for counsel in several key areas as a result of the pandemic. Many law firms are experiencing an increase in demand to help businesses solve disputes caused by COVID-19, which includes issues such as breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duties and disputes between creditors and debtors. For employers, new issues are arising after employees have been working remotely for such a long period of time. Businesses are relying on their law firms to help them navigate lawsuits arriving out of employment relationships. There is definitely an uptick in these practice areas.” - Riley Roby, Managing Partner at Balch & Bingham, LLP 38 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL

Riley Roby Managing Partner at Balch & Bingham, LLP


I ND U ST RY Leader | Legal

Shahid & Hosea LLC When was your firm founded? June 29, 2010

Foundation. Shahid & Hosea LLC has given back to the community through participating in career fairs at local public schools, junior

How many employees do you have? 2

colleges and universities to encourage youth to enter the legal field and become entrepreneurs. LaKesha Shahid received the 2019

What are your primary services? Legal services What sets your firm apart? Time devoted to knowing

Trailblazer Award from Ashi Magazine and is recognized in the National Black Lawyers Top 100.

and understanding the needs of clients. We have substantial experience in the areas we practice. We are honest and realistic with our clients. We don’t say what our clients want to hear; we help our clients set realistic outcomes for their cases.

Milestones & Awards: The lawyers of Shahid & Hosea LLC have served as officers in numerous organizations, including Capital City Bar Association, Alabama Lawyers Association and the Volunteer Lawyers Program. Additionally, Shahid & Hosea LLC has been recognized for the past four years for service for pro bono cases in the Volunteer Lawyers Program. Attorneys Shahid and Hosea also served on the Montgomery County Bar

1709 Taliaferro Trail, Montgomery, Alabama 36117 334-279-5399 / shahidhosea.com

39 MONTGOMERYCHAMBER.COM


40 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL


Serving Clients Serving the Community

For more than 70 years, Capell & Howard, P.C., has offered a comprehensive range of legal services to clients throughout the River Region, central Alabama, and the Southeast. Our impact here at home is just as important to us. · Administrative Law · Alternative Dispute Resolution · Estate Planning, Probate & Trust · Appeals · Governmental Affairs · Asbestos & Toxic Torts · Health Care · Bankruptcy, Workouts & Creditors Rights · Insurance Defense & Regulation · Commercial Real Estate & Title Insurance · Intellectual Property · Construction & Procurement · Litigation

Montgomery 150 South Perry Street Montgomery, AL 36104 (334) 241-8000

· Corporate & Business Law · Mergers & Acquisitions · Criminal Defense · Mortgage & Secured Lending · Domestic Relations · Products Liability · Education · Public Finance & Economic Development · Employee Benefits · Securities · Employment & Labor Relations · Taxation · Environmental

Auburn/Opelika 3120 Frederick Road, Suite B Opelika, AL 36801 (334) 501-1540

www.capellhoward.com | contact@chlaw.com No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.


iCourt

VIRTUAL COURT SYSTEM

What is iCourt? iCourt (U.S. Provisional Patent #: 63/077,637) is a software application designed specifically for virtual, audio/visual court sessions, including arraignment hearings, first appearance hearings, motion hearings and trials. The application facilitates encrypted interactions between citizens and court staff, including the solicitor, public defender, probation officer, clerks, interpreter and the judge.

One Consistent Enterprise Experience

Custom Sort Features

Digital Forms & E-Signature

Transfer & Invitation Features

Overview Feature

icourtapp.com www.facebook.com/iCourtApp www.instagram.com/icourtapp www.linkedin.com/company/icourt-app

Testimonial “I have been a judge since 1996. Never in a million years could I have anticipated the abrupt changes we would have to make to court operations as a result of Covid-19. Municipal court calendars tend to be very heavy and I couldn’t figure out how we were going to resume court operations. The existing platforms just didn’t check all the boxes for me. I was delighted to discover the iCourt platform. It addresses every aspect of the court appearance process for both the citizens and court staff. Simple, efficient and written in plain English, the intuitive system is agile and flexible. It has enabled us to fully resume court operations. We have no intentions of returning to in person court hearings. iCourt is the gold standard for virtual court and I highly recommend it.”

The Honorable Monica Ewing

Judge – City of College Park | Hapeville | Fairburn Municipal Court, GA

To learn more & schedule a DEMO to see iCourt in action, please visit https://icourtapp.com. U.S. Provisional Patent Application #63/077,637


iCourt vs Others iCourt

WORKFLOWS

Others

iCourt has a workflow process citizens must follow before being sorted into a designated staff person’s virtual “waiting room” queue.

In most cases, all attendees join the same room.

The Court clerk can customize how early and how late citizens are able to join a scheduled court.

Attendees have limited options. In most cases, they only can either join before or after the host.

SCHEDULING Court clerks can schedule and provide each citizen with a unique/computer-generated passcode to login.

In most cases, all attendees use the same login password.

If the offender has an attorney, a passcode for the attorney can be generated so that attorney and offender can be together when talking to court staff.

In most cases, there is no differentiation between offenders and attorneys, everyone joins the same room all at once.

Court clerks can reset/reschedule an offender with a new court date right away while privately talking to the offender.

Not available or very limited.

iCourt system has the ability to import batch calendar schedules/dockets (.csv, .pdf formats) from other systems, perform validation, and show warnings if there is any error or duplication before completing the import process.

Not available or very limited.

PROCESSES Court staff and an offender are in a private room. Multiple offenders will not be in the same room. All other offenders will be in queues of other staffs, waiting to be accepted to the video session.

In most cases, everyone is in the same room with zero to very limited privacy.

Court staff can transfer the offender to another staff. The offender will be placed in a waiting queue until being accepted.

In most cases, everyone is in the same room/ session the whole time. This makes finding and managing offenders time consuming.

Court staff can invite other staffs to join the session with them and the offender.

Not available or very limited.

Court staff can put the offender on hold and privately consult other staffs via video.

Not available or very limited.

FILES & DOCUMENTS Court staff can fill out custom/pre-defined forms to sign and send to offenders for them to sign/ acknowledge and send back. Everything happens instantly, all copies can be downloaded right away and will be emailed to offenders.

Not available or very limited. It can take weeks or even months for staff to get all necessary documents to even begin processing the case.

Court staff can access all files and documents, run reports, perform audits, etc., at the back-end portal at any time.

Not available or very limited.

To learn more & schedule a DEMO to see iCourt in action, please visit https://icourtapp.com.


freelance FACTS By Jennifer S. Kornegay a freelance writer

GOING SOLO If you’re thinking about leaving your 9-to-5 and becoming a freelancer or independent contractor, increased freedom and flexibility are probably at the top of your “pro” list. But there are challenges — many unique to freelancing — to consider too.

PROS: Passion projects. You can pursue whatever it is that floats your boat.

The number of freelancers and independent contractors in our country is on the rise, and there’s no sign of this growth slowing. In fact, the shift from “traditional” employment arrangements is gaining enough speed to be deemed a true driver of the economy.

Freedom of choice. You can choose when you work, where you work and who you work for and with.

Ownership of your abilities. You have a strong sense of ownership of every second of your work.

Good money. You set your own payment rates. No one else is deciding on a salary for your efforts, A lot of people have thought about handing in notice and quitting their job to work for themselves. They dream about leaving the dress codes, the clock-punching, the meetings, the office politics and the performance evaluations behind. And plenty of people have done more than dream about it; they’ve taken the leap and now work as freelancers or contractors who provide their skills and services to multiple clients and companies at once. As technology continues to

so there is unlimited earning potential.

CONS: Isolation. You often work alone. Lack of company benefits, like health

make remote work easier, this trend continues to surge.

insurance and 401ks.

Currently, approximately 57.3 million people in the United States

No paid time off. If you’re not working,

are freelancers and independent contract workers (who are part of the larger “gig” labor pool in our country), and according to the Freelancers Union, in the last five years, the independent workforce has risen by 7 percent in America. They’re found in almost every sector, from creative services (writing, photography and graphic design) and IT to accounting and education. But does reality match the dream for these workers? Should you consider a freelance career? Or, on the flipside, could your business benefit from using freelance and contract labor? Read on to learn more about this growing segment of our workforce.

you’re not making money.

It’s all on you. You are your own accounting department, meaning you’re in charge of invoicing and collecting payments and keeping up with all information for your taxes.

Reduced income security. You have to find and land clients to get paid, and projects can come and go sporadically, leading to cash flow issues.


???

GIG?

Recent data shows that an estimated

36 percent of U.S. workers take part in the gig economy

+ 33 percent

of companies extensively use gig workers. But when referencing the “gig economy,” “gig” includes freelancers, independent contractors, part-time (think Uber drivers) and temporary workers. It also includes people whose “gig” is not their

We asked two Montgomery freelancers to share the ins and outs of their careers and how COVID-19 affected them.

What’s a

primary source of income. under this big gig umbrella, their gig work is in addition to a full-time job for someone else; it’s a source of extra money and/or a way to dip their toes into something they enjoy outside of their main job. Some of these people will, when able, transition to a full-time independent worker, but some will choose to keep their “side hustle” permanently on the side.

local joes

For many people who fall

Minnie Lamberth Services:

freelance writer

Write and edit marketing pieces, including website content, magazine articles, video scripts or book projects.

What motivated you to go

What are the biggest

freelance? I felt that I had a

challenges? Expanding my

marketable skill that would be

network hasn’t been easy. My

of value to businesses along

work has always come from

with enough contacts in the

someone I know or someone

marketing/public relations

who knows someone I know. I

fields to have a good network

did not find success in SEO or

of prospects. I also wanted

digital marketing strategies or

to pursue personal creative

email list-building but instead

goals, such as writing a novel.

have found that work has mostly come through personal

What are the biggest

or professional relationships.

positives of working for yourself and being a

Was last year, specifically

freelancer? I’m able to focus

due to COVID-19, better or

on the things I do best. Being

worse for your business?

self-employed also rearranges

The stay-at-home adjustments

the frustrations of a regular

changed my ability to network

job. For example, I never mind

in casual environments. Prior

when Monday morning comes

to the pandemic, I would

along. I like my work, so I like

run into contacts at social or

Mondays. Also, I welcome

professional events or even

interruptions, and I am happy

while shopping, which could

if someone asks, “Can you

lead to an opportunity. My

do this for me? I need it in

workload fluctuated, but I also

a hurry.” I like being able to

gained new opportunities to

respond quickly and help solve

make up for what was lost.

someone else’s problem.


local joes

We asked two Montgomery freelancers to share the ins and outs of their careers and how COVID-19 affected them.

LEGAL INFO In recent years, some gig workers began pushing companies they worked with (like Lyft and Uber) to provide them with the same protections and benefits that employees enjoyed, things like

Bryan Carter Services:

freelance photographer Commercial photography (Carter Photography & Design), food photography (Taste Buds Photography) and 3d structural scans (C3D Spaces).

What motivated you to go

What are the biggest

freelance? I wanted to get

positives of working for

back to doing what I loved

yourself and being a

overtime pay and unemployment insurance. As a result, several states passed laws in favor of these workers. The most notable was passed in California at the beginning of 2020. Assembly Bill 5 required employers to prove a worker was “free from their control” and “performed a type of work different

and have the freedom to

freelancer? Having the

from what the company specializes

choose my clients. Over the

freedom to be selective about

in” if they wanted to classify them a

years, I had climbed my way

the work you take on. Being

freelancer or independent contractor.

up the corporate ladder and

able to steer the ship to grow

as a result much of my time

creatively in the areas you

In late 2020, this law was reversed by

was spent in meetings, and

most love.

California voters. Proponents of the

managing teams/projects. And

law on the books were disappointed,

while being your own boss

What are the biggest

saying large companies would be

doesn’t take you away from

challenges? Steering the

able to continue “gaming the system,”

those types of things (they may

ship. Being in control. Making

by classifying workers as contractors

actually increase) the benefits

the big decisions. Early on,

and therefore avoiding expenses like

of being able to choose your

it’s never knowing where the

Social Security and payroll taxes.

clients, projects and more

next job is coming from and

freely manage your time

managing all the hats you must

makes it worth it all. I can more

wear. Now you aren’t just a

easily pursue the assignments

photographer or a designer,

that I want to do and spend

not just a project manager or

less time checking off boxes

developer; you are all those

for someone else’s agenda.

things and more. The key is to

Don’t get me wrong, I love my

focus on what you do best and

former employers; some are

reach out to find those who

even clients. But it’s different.

can best complement you in your work.

A TIP: Start with a contract. Creating a template contract for your payment and working process establishes expectations for both the contractor and employer. Contracts also establish copyright ownership and usage terms.

46 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL


find the best fit for the job.

freelancer or employee? Does your business or organization have tasks that could best be

worker’s take:

handled by a freelancer or contract worker? Weigh the pros and cons to find out if going this route might work in your favor.

But some freelancers and independent contractors were actually relieved. Many freelancers (creatives especially) believed by making companies view them as employees, the law was costing them work, and they were concerned the California law could be adopted by the federal government and its labor department. They have been and

PROS: Flexibility. Freelancers and independent contractors are flexible in terms of time and can often start and

Risk of the unknown.

finish a new or unexpected project

If you’ve never worked with

quicker than your in-house staff,

a particular freelancer or

who are already tied up with other

independent contractor before,

responsibilities.

you can’t be certain of their quality

are happy to work independently

Niche and diverse skills. Freelancers

and without the benefits and other

and independent contractors can bring

aspects of employment.

your team a special skill or expertise that it’s lacking but that may not be

In early January, the U.S. Department of Labor published its “Final Rule” on this matter, outlining several factors to consider when deciding whether a person is an independent contractor or an employee. This rule is scheduled to take effect on March 8. But, President Biden may decide to delay its implementation or even repeal it.

needed long term.

Less liability. Freelancers and independent contractors don’t add the risks and liabilities to your business that employees would.

Savings. Freelancers and independent contractors can save you money. While their hourly rate may work out to be more than you pay your staff per hour, you likely won’t be paying them for 40 hours a week, and you’ll save on other

the future:

costs like benefits (health insurance, retirement plans) and office space and supplies. Plus, you’ll save time since

Where this issue goes from here is unknown, but it bears watching, whether you’re a freelancer or a

CONS:

most freelancers and independent contractors require little supervision or management after initial direction.

business who relies on them.

47 MONTGOMERYCHAMBER.COM

of work. And it’s easier for a freelancer to quickly and without much notice decide they’re no longer interested in working with your business.

Limited commitment. Professional freelancers care about their work and want it—and therefore the project you’ve hired them for—to be successful, but they also have multiple projects competing for their time and their mental investment, so they might not be as committed to your business and its long-term mission as an employee.


what’s with all the terms?

freelance

take it from a local business owner

local joes

VERSUS:

independent contractor Freelancers and independent

Ashley Jernigan Services:

owner, JDB hospitality llc

Her Montgomery-based firm often uses freelancers and independent contractors to support her business.

contractors have a lot in common, but there are a few key differences.

Scope and length of work. Both freelancers

About how many freelancers/

What are the biggest

and contractors can work for

contract workers do you use

challenges? When you

multiple clients at once, but

in a year? Five to six.

outsource, you are dealing with

freelancers more often take

contractors on their time. Many

on short-term projects with

What services are they

still have other jobs and other

a single deliverable, while

providing for your business?

clients. The biggest challenge

independent contractors

Virtual assisting, graphic

is managing them to work on

often take on longer or

design, digital ad buying, media

tight deadlines. I also realized I

ongoing projects.

messaging.

needed to be more organized

before bringing on a freelancer.

Location of work.

What are the biggest positives

I needed to be specific in what

Freelancers work all over, and

of utilizing freelancers? When

I expected of them and have

many do a lot of their work

I first started JDB Hospitality,

routine check-ins versus a

at a home office or an office

LLC, I felt I needed to do all the

random text of “can we talk!”

space they rent. Contractors

moving parts myself. This led

Managing a contractor for me

are more likely to do some of

to being burnt out and stressed

is about the same as managing

their work onsite, at a client’s

out! Originally, I saw outsourcing

an employee because that

place of business.

as merely an expense I could

contractor is not at your beck

not afford. What I realized is

and call. However, the more

Schedule. Freelancers, due

my time is way more expensive

organized I became and the

to the nature of their work

when dealing with tasks that

better relationships I developed

described above, usually

can be outsourced. As my

with various contractors, the

have more schedule flexibility.

business, and my family, grew,

easier it was to work with them.

Contractors often work more

I realized I can’t afford not to

You just have to be on your

traditional hours, staying in

outsource. Outsourcing tasks

game about what you want,

tandem with their clients’

frees my mind to manage

how you want it, and most

schedules while on a project.

projects more effectively.

importantly, WHEN you want it.

48 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL



50 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL


BANKING

EXPERTISE AND ANSWERS TO CO M M O N B U S I N E S S Q U E S T I O N S F R O M LO C A L S I N T H E K N O W

5 WAYS YO U R B A N K E R C A N H E L P YO U W I T H YO U R F I N A N C E S BY B R I A N B L A N K S

We’re all online now more than ever, whether it’s shopping for clothes, ordering food or doing our banking. Apps are getting more advanced all the time, which is so convenient, especially during the pandemic. At Valley Bank, we believe in useful and easy-to-use technology, but we also value the relationships between a customer and a banker as uniquely important.

WITH THIS IN MIND, HERE ARE FIVE WAYS YOUR BANKER CAN HELP YOU. A BANKER CAN:

1 . LO O K AT YO U R ENTIRE FINANCIAL PICTURE.

4 . U N D E R S TA N D THE FINANCIAL LANDSCAPE. There are a lot of messages and updates coming out related to

$3,000, that’s a banker’s cue

your finances — on everything

to know something’s going on.

from the Paycheck Protection

We have safeguards in place

Program to unemployment

to protect you, but scammers

insurance — and it can be

are creative, so you have to be

incredibly confusing. A banker

vigilant. We educate people on

with a finger on the pulse of

how fraudsters are trying to get

the latest financial news will

their money, but the easiest way

keep you abreast of the latest

to prevent fraud or to stop it

developments, and if we don’t

quickly is to have a relationship

know the answer, we can get it

with your banker.

for you quickly.

MEET THE EXPERT Brian Blanks is Vice President, Market Manager at Valley Bank in Wetumpka. He has nearly two decades of experience in retail banking.

People usually come to us with one need, but we approach our job in a holistic way, asking them questions

3 . H E L P YO U S O LV E F I N A N C I A L PROBLEMS.

to get a better view of their full financial picture. It’s like going to a doctor’s office and saying “My back hurts” — the doctor is going to ask you a thousand questions to diagnose what’s causing your pain. A banker is the same. We want to understand what you’re trying to accomplish or solve and make a recommendation that will work for you.

2 . P R OT E C T YO U F R O M F R AU D.

If a client withdraws $50 a week for spending cash, and they’ve suddenly withdrawn

5 . G I V E A DV I C E F O R M E E T I N G YO U R FINANCIAL GOALS.

Last year in Montgomery, it felt

If you check in with your banker

like we were having a major

regularly about your financial

storm every month. Many of our

goals, whether it’s related

clients had $5,000-$10,000 in

to buying a house, starting

repair bills for roof damage. In

a business or preparing for

a lot of those cases, a home

retirement, we can recommend

equity line of credit made

tools and tips to help you

sense. If your banker is looking

save. You might be able to put

around the community and

half your stimulus check or a

seeing other clients in similar

percentage of your merit raise

financial situations, they can

into a savings account or an

recommend specific solutions

IRA, for example. There may be

for your problems. And if

specific financial products to

you’re having trouble making

recommend, but often, it’s more

a payment on a loan, your

about sharing strategies that we

banker wants to work with you

have seen work well for other

to understand the problem and

clients in similar situations.

help you find a solution.

51 MONTGOMERYCHAMBER.COM

© 2021 Valley National Bank. Member FDIC. Equal Opportunity Lender. All Rights Reserved


52 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL


ACCOUNTING

EXPERTISE AND ANSWERS TO CO M M O N B U S I N E S S Q U E S T I O N S F R O M LO C A L S I N T H E K N O W

S TO P P I N G F I N A N C I A L A B U S E O F O L D E R A D U LT S BY B R E N D A H E L LU M S , C S A , C D M M

The number of Americans

wellbeing of victims and their

caring for both older parents

families is insurmountable.

financial matters or modern

and children at the same time

Many older adults do not have

technology can also make

is increasing every year, and

knowledge of how to recover

them vulnerable.

they’re affectionately known

from this type of crime. Shining

as the Sandwich Generation.

the spotlight on why and how

Those who are isolated,

Whether your parents are very

they are targeted can help you

lonely, grieving the loss of a

active or have slowed down, the

recognize potential abuse.

partner, depressed, physically

responsibility of watching out for their financial wellbeing and protecting them can be quite stressful.

or mentally disabled, have

CONSIDER:

unemployed or have substance

of 50 control more than 70

abuse problems may also

percent of the nation’s wealth.

become victims of financial abuse.

Disabilities make many

form of elder abuse, and there

seniors dependent on others

are several reasons for that. It’s

for help, exposing their

abuse, the victim is usually

important to recognize potential

financial privacy to predators.

acquainted with the abuser.

scams and predators so you can protect your parents. One

As with other forms of

However, unlike physical abuse Seniors commonly receive

and neglect, financial abuse is

out of five older Americans

monthly checks, making it

more likely to occur with the

is a victim of financial fraud.

predictable for others to know

consent of the older person.

The emotional and physical

when they have funds or when

damage to the health and

they go to the bank.

T I P S TO AVO I D F I N A N C I A L F R AU D : Sign up for the National Do Not Call

Obtain all offers in writing.

Registry. Review your monthly statements. Do not reply to messages or click links asking to verify personal or financial

Get a free annual credit report.

information. Stay clear of things that sound “too Do not send money to someone you

good to be true.”

don’t know without verifying the legitimacy through a trusted advisor.

MEET THE EXPERT

family members who are

Individuals over the age

Financial exploitation has become the most common

Being unfamiliar with

If you are unraveling the finances of parents who can no longer manage

Give only to charities you are familiar

themselves, a daily money manager

with.

can help.

53 MONTGOMERYCHAMBER.COM

Brenda Hellums, CSA, CDMM, is a Principal of Warren Averett and the Service Area Leader of Warren Averett Daily Money Management Services. Reach her at 334-3873614 or brenda.hellums@ warrenaverett.com.


Small Business Briefcase +

PACK ED WITH TIPS AN D TOOLS TO BEN EFIT YOUR BUSINESS

“BEST PLACE TO WORK” AWARD: DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES? Could your company take home “Best Place To Work” honors? If you’re unsure, check out these tips on how to create a winning company culture.

10 WAYS TO BOOST YOUR EMPLOYEES’ EXPERIENCE:

In 2020, a Comparably.com study found Google was No 1. among large companies when it comes to the best places to work. Adobe and HubSpot followed as numbers

Improve internal

two and three. Sure, they’re all tech companies, but others in the top 50 include CVS Health, Chipotle, Stanley, Black and Decker, Chewy and Peloton. What makes them such amazing workplaces? Rankings were determined based on a combination of questions that delved into core

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE?

culture metrics, such as compensation, leadership, teams, work environment,

To a small degree,

outlook, professional development, work-life

employees have some

balance, plus perks and benefits that provide

input to their own

a comprehensive and accurate look at what

experience because

it is really like to work at these companies.

their reactions to the positive or negative

So, how can you make your company more competitive when it comes to these metrics? Start by examining your employee experience. Essentially, employee experience refers to everything an employee experiences at work:

WHAT ABOUT $$$ In the several studies examined, though salary did appear, it was the last factor.

expressions of leaders provide an impact. But leaders and management normally have the most power to make things positive or negative for their company and employees.

Train supervisors and

communication

managers to be coaches

with engagement,

and mentors.

transparency and honesty.

Allow and support a fun work environment.

Increase collaboration among

Acquire technology

diverse teams and units

in every aspect, from

for problem solving and

hardware and wearable

innovation.

devices to company apps and virtual reality.

Develop a full and engaging onboarding process.

Allow a flexible schedule and remote work when possible,

Utilize and act

valuing employees’ time.

on employees’ feedback, input and

Participate in social

recommendations.

and community events and volunteer programs.

Offer career and professional development programs.

Need work? Plan to implement half of these in 2021.

their interactions with their boss, their software, their teams, their values, their behaviors, their communication patterns and hundreds of other things. It is a holistic term that considers the full spectrum of an employee’s experiences throughout their entire time at a company, and this experience has a huge bearing on their commitment and performance.

MEET THE EXPERT: Sharleen Smith is the Director of Continuing Education and Outreach of Troy University. She has more than 30 years of experience in organizational consulting and training. Her training includes more than 250 topics, and she has presented to more than 300,000 people at 15,000 conferences, workshops and seminars.

54 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL

HOW’D YOU DO?


Continuing Education and Outreach

CUSTOMIZED TRAINING

TROY CE&O can customize training topics to your organization, and our diverse team of trainers will engage your team with innovative, highly effective in-person or live-virtual learning solutions.

Contact us for your organizational needs! 334-983-0005 continuinged@troy.edu

ONLINE CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS We offer a wide range of online certificate programs aligned with industry recognized standards in accounting, human resource management, project management, technology and more.

55 MONTGOMERYCHAMBER.COM

VIRTUAL COACHING

Ready to grow? Whether you need coaching in leadership, professionalism, performance management, personal branding or career enhancement, our executive coaches can assist. Coaching sessions can be conducted virtually, at a time that is convenient for your schedule.


56 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL


E X P E R T I S E A N D A N S W E R S TO C O M M O N B U S I N E S S Q U E S T I O N S F R O M LO C A L S I N T H E K N OW

WEALTH MANAGEMENT I S I T I M P O R TA N T TO R E V I E W M Y E S TAT E P L A N ? BY: H E N R Y M O O R E

Yes. Once you’ve created your

assets like bank accounts. The

estate plan, it is important to

title determines how an asset

review it often, as life events

or account gets passed along.

may require adjustments.

If two people own an account titled “joint tenants with right

BENEFICIARY DESIGNATIONS

of survivorship,” for example, it

Regularly review beneficiary

owner. That title could create

designations to account

problems if it does not support

for changes in your family,

the overall estate plan.

will pass to the surviving joint

such as a marriage, divorce, birth or death. Assets such

LIFE INSURANCE

as retirement accounts, life

Many people use life insurance

insurance policies and IRAs are

trusts to keep the policies’

usually guided by beneficiary

proceeds outside their taxable

designations — not by your will.

estates. While this is a valid

Therefore, it is wise to review

estate planning technique,

those designations annually

you must ensure you have an

or when your family structure

administrator who understands

changes.

trust rules and follows them. Asking a professional to

ASSET TITLES

annually review your trust can

The concerns are similar when

ensure it complies with current

it comes to the title — the

tax law and will continue to

identification of the owner — of

accomplish your objectives.

TRUSTS Changes in estate planning laws make it essential to periodically analyze any trusts. For example, many estate plans written years ago directed trustees to allocate enough assets to a family trust to match the exemption amount, with the remaining assets

MEET THE EXPERT

funding a marital trust. This strategy made sense when the federal estate tax exemption amount was lower. However, because the estate tax exemption has increased significantly, this structure may mean that few or no assets pass to the marital trust that benefits the surviving spouse. Depending on the structure of the family trust, a surviving spouse could be left without assets or an income source if the trust is not updated.

TALKING TO YOUR FAMILY One of the most difficult estate

craft an estate plan that reflects your

planning decisions is determining

wishes and has the flexibility needed

when and how to involve your family

to remain effective as circumstances

in any planning discussions. While the

change or become uncertain. A

timing varies for every family, opening

Regions Wealth Advisor can help

a dialogue reduces the potential

guide you through the estate planning

for future discord when your plan is

process, adjust as needed, and help

implemented.

build the legacy you envision.

The team of professionals at Regions

For more information, visit

Private Wealth Management can help

regions.com/privatewealth.

57 MONTGOMERYCHAMBER.COM

Henry Moore is a Wealth Advisor for Regions Private Wealth Management. Contact him at Henry.Moore@Regions.com


CHAMBER NEWS Member FAQs D ISCOV ER W H AT YO U R C H AMBER CAN DO FOR YOU AN D YOUR BUS IN ESS .

Q:

How can I maximize my Chamber membership?

MORE TO LOVE: ONLINE RESOURCES Don’t forget all of the great online resources

A: Learn about and take

that Chamber members enjoy:

advantage of exclusive member benefits. Your membership includes a long list of benefits, and most of them are free. Let us help you connect and engage with other members in the community to grow your client base and fuel your business with the resources it needs to thrive.

SPREAD YOUR MESSAGE Participating in the Chamber’s annual Total Resource Campaign provides

JOB BOARD List your job openings.

exclusive member pricing on sponsorships and marketing opportunities for Chamber events and initiatives. These highly sought after opportunities are offered once a year, so reach out to the Chamber’s

MEMBER CALENDAR Post events and sales promotions.

Membership & Engagement team at mgalvin@montgomerychamber.com to learn more about this program or available

DON’T MISS Soon, we hope to return to our in-person networking events including 60 Minute Coffees, Business After Hours, which are the perfect places to meet new people, plus get some mix-and-mingle face

sponsorship opportunities.

PLUS, MEMBERS HAVE ACCESS TO: Chamber Events. Last year, the Chamber had multiple,

time with folks you already know. In the

diverse events on the schedule, giving

meantime, keep an eye on the Chamber’s

you plenty of opportunities to connect

calendar and social media pages for ways to interact virtually.

NON-PROFIT CALENDAR Post fundraisers and events.

with other members, Chamber staff, community stakeholders, military leaders

MEMBER-TO-MEMBER DEALS AND PROMOTIONS Post exclusive member discounts and promotions.

and local elected officials. As a member, you also have access to exclusive sponsorship opportunities, plus you’ll receive member pricing and discounted

JOIN IN Chamber Ambassador Program: This exclusive group of volunteers is made up of individuals who work for Chambermember organizations, believe in the

rates for registration.

The Montgomery

YOUR CONTACT: GET MORE INVOLVED!

Our engagement team can help!

Business Journal. Did you know you could have your good

Chamber’s mission and support their

news, announcements, awards and more

community. Applications typically open In

in the pages of our bi-monthly magazine?

November, so mark your calendar for an

And with an enhanced editorial calendar,

opportunity to join this group in 2022.

MBJ offers more ways than ever for you to market your brand, grow your audience and expand your reach.

58 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL

Michael Galvin, Chief Officer Membership & Engagement 334-240-9494 mgalvin@montgomerychamber.com


CHAMBER NEWS Member FAQs D ISCOV ER W H AT YO U R C H AMBER CAN DO FOR YOU AN D YOUR BUS IN ESS .

MORE THAN MEMBER PERKS As a member of the Chamber, you’re partnering with us in our mission to catalyze business and community leadership to improve the economic prosperity and quality of place for Montgomery and the River Region. YOUR PARTNERSHIP HELPS FUEL ECONOMIC GROWTH FOR THE REGION AND ALLOWS US TO “IMAGINE A GREATER MONTGOMERY” FOR ALL BY:

•R ​ ECRUITING MAJOR INDUSTRIES •W ​ ORKING TOGETHER TO GROW THE RIVER REGION’S ENTREPRENEURIAL ECOSYSTEM

•B ​ UILDING A STRONG WORKFORCE •P ​ ROTECTING AND GROWING MAXWELL/GUNTER AFB

A LOT TO OFFER A membership in the Chamber means so much more than

• F​ UELING SMALL AND MINORITY BUSINESS GROWTH

•A ​ DVOCATING FOR ISSUES AND INFRASTRUCTURE

•P ​ ARTNERING WITH NEW LEADERSHIP TO TRANSFORM EDUCATION

•S ​ ELLING MONTGOMERY AS A DESTINATION

•C ​ ONNECTING, INNOVATING AND EMPOWERING THROUGH THE WORK TOGETHER BUSINESS STUDIO & CO-SPACE

59 MONTGOMERYCHAMBER.COM

annual dues, and with so many additional “member” benefits, free business resources, relationshipbuilding opportunities and engaging Chamber events, it is easy to take full advantage of all the Chamber has to offer. Want to get more involved? Our engagement team can help! Contact Michael Galvin at 334-240-9494.


CHAMBER NEWS Connect CO NNEC T ING YO U TO T H E M AN Y CHAMBER RES OURCES AN D S ERVICES AVAILABLE

NEWS & UPDATES

BIG NEWS: BESPIN’S $21M APPROPRIATION PROVIDES MAJOR BOOST TO AF INNOVATION Business Enterprise Systems Product Innovation Photography by Bryan Carter.

(BESPIN), the initiative driving the digital and mobile transformation of the Business Enterprise Systems (BES) Directorate for the Air Force in Montgomery, received a major financial boost at the end of 2020 when Congress approved $21 million in appropriations. The funds are indicative of the Air Force’s continued intention to support

MONTGOMERY MAKES TWO MAJOR TRAVEL LISTS

the project. This will allow BESPIN to continue

Montgomery’s purposeful tourism experience along with the Chamber’s

to grow its agile software development factory

strategic publicity efforts have continued

through partnerships with small private sector

to earn the city rankings as a “must-see”

software developers and to deliver training and

international travel destination. Already

capability to the US Air Force and US Space Force.

this year, Bloomberg.com included

TECHMGM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TAPPED BY GOVERNOR TO SERVE ON STEM COUNCIL

Montgomery on its list of 24 Places to Go in 2021, along with spots like Costa Rica, British Virgin Islands and the Maldives, all chosen for their especially profound experiences. Travel & Leisure named

TechMGM’s Executive Director, Charisse Stokes,

the city among the Best Places to Travel in February, placing it among popular

has been selected by Governor Ivey to represent

locations like Park City, Utah, Aruba and Maui, Hawaii.

Congressional District 3 on the Executive Committee for the Alabama STEM Council. The Council was formed on September

AIDT AND HYUNDAI POWER TRANSFORMERS PARTNER ON WORKER TRAINING

21, 2020, by the

AIDT and Hyundai Power

Ivey set in 2018 of adding 500,000

governor’s Executive

Transformers are partnering on

skilled employees to Alabama’s

Order No. 721 to

an immersive-learning job training

workforce by 2025.

advise on ways to

program to increase the number of

The training program will use a

improve STEM-related

manufacturing professionals in the

simulation of HPT’s seven-story

education, career

power transformer industry. They will

manufacturing facility to mimic the

awareness and workforce development across

roll out job training on a statewide

workspace, machinery used and

the state, building on and extending Alabama’s

virtual scale with immersive learning

safety protocols required to make

Roadmap to STEM Success. Stokes was also

startup TRANSFR. This latest

and move power transformers that

recently appointed by Governor Ivey to the

collaboration between AIDT and HPT

are as heavy as 800,000 pounds.

Alabama Innovation Commission.

will help advance the goal Governor

60 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL


CHAMBER NEWS Connect CO NNEC T I NG YO U TO T H E M ANY CHAMBER RES OURCES AN D S ERVICES AVAILABLE

MAYOR REED HOSTS COVID-19 RELIEF WEBINAR FOR LOCAL SMALL BUSINESSES On January 19, Montgomery Mayor Steven L. Reed hosted a webinar offering vital information on the recent re-opening of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

MONTGOMERY-MADE HYUNDAI ELANTRA NAMED

and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). Experts

CAR OF THE YEAR

from the Alabama SBA, the SBDC at Alabama State

Made at Montgomery’s Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, the Hyundai

University and Synovus Bank offered the most accurate

Elantra has been named 2021 North American Car of the Year by the North

and up-to-date information regarding the programs

American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year automotive media jury. This

and gave guidance on how to access this vital support

prestigious award recognizes excellence in innovation, design, safety,

for small businesses most impacted by COVID-19. A

performance, technology, driver satisfaction and value. This is the second time

recording of the webinar is available on the Chamber’s

the Hyundai sedan has won the Car of the Year title; the other was in 2012.

YouTube page.

APR 6

for Business Professionals Learn, lunch & network with other leaders. Bookclub held at Troy University, Montgomery Campus. (Social Distancing, easy access, ample parking) $15 (includes lunch)

Register at www.troy.edu/ce

Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service by Disney Institute

61 MONTGOMERYCHAMBER.COM


CHAMBER NEWS Members on the Move K EEP U P W I T H O U R M EM B ER S W ELCOMIN G N EW HIRES AN D ACCEPTIN G N EW POS ITION S

New Senior Vice President of P&C and Life for ALFA Insurance®

Starke Agency Adds Risk Consultant

Rex Seabrook has been promoted to

Consultant. Clements is a graduate of

Senior Vice President of Property &

the University of Alabama, where he

Casualty (P&C) and Life Operations.

majored in finance with a specialization

Seabrook most recently served as Vice

in risk management in 2017. Since

President of P&C Underwriting. During his

graduation, he has worked for Travelers

25-year tenure with Alfa, Seabrook has

Insurance Company in the commercial

served in all areas of P&C Underwriting,

middle market underwriting division. He

including commercial, farm, property and

is a Montgomery native and has recently

auto. In his new position, Seabrook will be responsible for

returned to Montgomery from Atlanta.

Will Clements, CPCU, has joined Starke Agency as Risk

P&C and Life Operations, along with the Document & Payment Strategies area.

Kevin Phang Joins Palomar Insurance Ross-Clayton Names New President and CEO

Palomar Insurance announced the

Ross-Clayton Funeral Home Board of

addition of Kevin Phang to its expanding

Directors named Dr. Sharon A. Ross as the

Information Technology team as Systems

company’s new President and successor

Administrator. His in-depth knowledge

to her father, the late David C. Ross Jr.

of Microsoft and Cisco systems will help

who passed away suddenly October 14,

shape technology to meet the needs of

2020, due to complications following

Palomar’s customers.

pneumonia. Dr. Ross, the fourth of the Ross lineage to serve as president, makes history by becoming the first woman to head the company. Licensed by the Alabama Board of Funeral Service in 2014, she has worked part-time in the business for several years learning the basics from her father firsthand.

Gilpin Givhan Announces New Shareholder Christopher L. Richard has been promoted to shareholder. Richard advises hospitals, physician practices and other healthcare providers on a variety of

Arthur DuCote Retires from Regions Bank; Robert Birmingham to Succeed Arthur DuCote, Market Executive for the Regions Bank in Montgomery and the River Region, retired at the end

regulatory, transactional and policy issues. He regularly counsels clients on matters regarding regulatory compliance, medical staff privileges and credentialing, billing and payment, contracting, operations, employment and legislative affairs.

of 2020, and is being succeeded by Robert Birmingham, who was previously Executive Vice President and Area Manager for Regions Private Wealth Management. DuCote served Regions and its predecessor banks for 28 years. Birmingham is a familiar face to Regions clients, having served the bank for 33 years.

Alabama Air National Guard Announces State Command Chief Master Sergeant Command Chief Master Sergeant Bernadette Hollinger has been selected as the Alabama Air National Guard State Command Chief. Chief Hollinger is the senior enlisted leader of the wing, responsible for advising the commander on mission effectiveness, professional development, readiness, 62 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL


CHAMBER NEWS Members on the Move A LO O K B AC K AT T H E FACES AN D PLACES OF RECEN T CHAMBER EVEN TS

training, utilization, health, morale and welfare of the wing’s

Warren Averett Announces 2021 New Members

enlisted force. Hollinger has gained extensive experience

Warren Averett announced that seven individuals have been

and exhibited proven leadership while serving as the Wing

promoted to Members of the Firm,

Command Chief and other key assignments at the 187th Fighter

including Joshua Bowen and Barry

Wing.

Prim. Joshua Bowen, CPA, CGMA, CAMS (Audit, Montgomery) provides audits and compliance consulting to financial institutions and public

Huntingdon College Appoints Senior VP for Academic Affairs

sector organizations. Barry Prim, MBA (Asset Management,

Huntingdon College President

Montgomery) assists clients by

J. Cameron West appointed Dr.

offering insight about investing, estate planning and wealth

Thomas G. Perrin as Senior Vice

management, and he is responsible for growing Warren Averett

President for Academic Affairs and

Asset Management in the Montgomery area.

Dean of Faculty. Perrin has been serving as Interim Vice President

+ SUBM IT T IN G N E WS? Submit information to

for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty since December 2019. Perrin joined the Huntingdon faculty as Assistant Professor of English in 2011 and is now chairing Huntingdon’s Race and Justice Initiative, working with faculty, staff and alumni in coordinating academic, co-curricular and alumni efforts to further social justice at Huntingdon.

Rhonda Figh at rfigh@montgomerychamber.com. Attach press releases as a Word document and include a high-resolution headshot (at least 300 dpi). An accompanying headshot is required for “Members on the Move” announcements.

63 MONTGOMERYCHAMBER.COM


CHAMBER NEWS Members in the News A Q U IC K LO O K AT O U R M EM B ER S’ MAN Y ACCOMPLIS HMEN TS , AWARDS AN D HON ORS

Community

Achievements

City of Montgomery Awarded

Bradley Attorneys Honored Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP announced that the firm’s Construction Practice Group was named among Law360’s 2020 Practice Groups of the Year, one of only five firms in the nation to receive this honor. In addition, 83 attorneys in the firm’s Alabama offices were selected as 2020 Mid-South Super Lawyers or Rising Stars. In Montgomery, the Mid-South Super Lawyer for 2020 is Charles Stewart (Business Litigation), and the Mid-South Rising Star for 2020 is Sarah Sutton Osborne (Civil Litigation: Defense).

Sasser, Sefton & Brown Lawyers Named 2020 Mid-South Super Lawyers or Rising Stars

The City of Montgomery received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA). The award is indicative of Mayor Steven L. Reed’s commitment to instilling a culture of transparency, accountability and efficiency within city government. Crafted under the leadership of Finance Director Betty Beville, the City’s comprehensive annual financial report was judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program. Criteria include demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivating potential users and user groups to read the report, among other factors. Mayor Reed appointed Beville as finance director in May. Beville is the first woman to serve as finance director for the City and one of few in the state of Alabama.

2020 YMCA Man of the Year. He has served as a dedicated

Board of Directors. He is passionate about service to the youth of Montgomery through his YMCA work, providing free ACT prep programs to the YMCA Achievers club and hosting the Sheriff’s Camp at YMCA Camp Chandler as well as many other community events.

of lawyers in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee are named Mid-South Super Lawyers. No more than 2.5 percent of lawyers in these states are selected as Rising Stars, who must be 40 years old or younger or have been in practice for 10 or fewer years. The firm’s ranked attorneys are Bowdy J. Brown (Creditor/ Debtor Rights), Patrick L. W. Sefton (Banking Law) and William R. Cunningham (Rising Stars - Real Estate).

Jackson Thornton, a certified public accounting and consulting

Montgomery County Sheriff Derrick Cunningham was named

currently active on the Kershaw YMCA

Mid-South Super Lawyers or Rising Stars. Only the top 5 percent

Jackson Thornton Named to Forbes “Best” List

YMCA Names 69th Man of the Year

YMCA member for many years and is

Three Sasser, Sefton & Brown, P.C. lawyers were named 2020

firm headquartered in Montgomery, was named one of America’s Best Tax & Accounting Firms by Forbes for the second year. Only 278 firms nationwide were selected and only 10 in Alabama. Jackson Thornton was selected as being a top recommendation in both the tax and accounting areas.

Faulkner’s Thomas Goode Jones School of Law Ranked Among 2021 Best Law Schools Faulkner University’s Thomas Goode Jones School of Law was named to The Princeton Review’s 2021 Best Law Schools list. The Princeton Review’s rankings are widely considered the national gold standard for colleges and universities. Faulkner Law was also ranked fourth on The Princeton Review’s Most Competitive Students list as well as the Most Conservative Students ranking. In addition, Faulkner Law placed sixth on the Greatest Resources for Minority Students ranking.

64 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL


Faulkner Law Names “Most Outstanding First Year Student” Faulkner University’s Thomas Goode Jones School of Law announced Soren A. Geiger from Montgomery as the recipient of its 2019–2020 Most Outstanding First Year Student Award. Every year, the Most Outstanding First Year Student Award is presented to the first-year student considered most outstanding based upon the student’s cumulative GPA, professional character and contributions to Thomas Goode Jones School of Law and Faulkner University. Geiger was on the Dean’s List both semesters of his first year in law school and wrote multiple best papers in his classes. He is now an editor of the Faulkner Law Review, a Dean’s Fellow and a member of the law school’s National Moot Court Competition team.

Awards

Bryan Stevenson Honored as 2020 Global Citizen of the Year Activist, lawyer and founder of the Montgomery-based Equal Justice Initiative Bryan Stevenson has added another accolade to his long list of achievements: the 2020 Global Citizen of the Year award. The award honors an individual who has proven exceptional and sustained impact toward ending extreme poverty and its systemic causes, and the winner is chosen by a committee of judges, based on criteria-based evaluations created by an independent group of researchers.

Local CPA Earns National Award The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and CPA Practice Advisor honored 25 leaders in the accounting profession with the 2020 Most Powerful Women in Accounting Award, and Phyllis Ingram, Partner, Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC in Montgomery was among the women honored. The awards, now in their ninth year, were created by CPA Practice Advisor and are administered jointly by the AICPA and celebrate and support the success of female leaders.


CHAMBER NEWS Business Buzz CO M MUN ITY + COMMERCE N EWS

IBM Forms $2 Million Partnership with ASU Alabama State University and IBM (International Business Machines) announced a joint educational partnership that includes access to the IBM Skills Academy focused on digital learning and technology skills. Through IBM’s existing academic initiative, the company will make available software and

Photography by Bryan Carter.

cloud technology estimated in the millions of dollars. Dr. Carl Pettis, ASU’s Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, said the partnership is one step closer to closing the diversity gap in STEM by preparing the next generation for the high-tech workforce.

Alabama Shakespeare Festival Celebrates 35 Years Alabama Shakespeare Festival recently celebrated its 35th anniversary in Montgomery. From its founding as a summer theatre festival in Anniston in 1972 to its designation as the State Theater of Alabama in 1977 to the stunning performing arts complex in Montgomery (built in 1985), ASF has been a leader in the performing arts throughout the state, region and country. After several successful seasons in Anniston, ASF found itself facing ever-rising expenses. Philanthropist and businessman Wynton “Red” Blount offered to financially support the company and build a $21.5 million state-of-the-art theater complex for year-round use, if ASF would relocate from Anniston to Montgomery. On December 7, 1985, Alabama Shakespeare Festival opened its doors in Montgomery with its production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

MGM New Urbanist Community Hits Record-Setting Home Sales

Buffalo’s Cafe Set to Open at The Shoppes at EastChase

Hampstead, a 416-acre master-planned

Buffalo’s Cafe, a Georgia-based

residential and mixed-use development,

family style restaurant, will open

had its best sales year ever in 2020. The

its first location in Alabama at

community announced new and existing home

The Shoppes at EastChase this

sales were 46 percent higher than 2019, a

spring. Buffalo’s Cafe is an Atlanta,

record-setting year. New home sales alone

Georgia-based concept offering

increased 36 percent year-over-year.

fresh buffalo-style chicken wings and sauces in a family-friendly

Beasley Allen Announces Mobile Office

restaurant environment. In addition to its “world-famous” wings, Buffalo’s

Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles,

carries an extensive menu featuring

P.C. announced a third office, opening January

burgers, tacos, salads, build-your-

2021 in Mobile. The Mobile office will be

own rice bowls and more. The

headed by Frank Woodson as Managing

restaurant makes every menu item

Attorney-Mobile. Woodson has been with

from scratch in-house and offers a

Beasley Allen since 2001. Before coming to

diverse cocktail menu, happy hour

Montgomery, he practiced in Mobile for 17

and will even offer live music on

years.

select days.

66 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL


67 MONTGOMERYCHAMBER.COM


CHAMBER NEWS Business Buzz CO M MUN ITY + COMMERCE N EWS

GIVEBACK

BRIEFS

MAX4Kids Foundation Surpasses $100,000 in Donations to Children’s of Alabama Representing the Montgomery Area Food Bank, John Foster, Assistant Warehouse Manager,

The MAX4Kids Foundation recently capped

joined CEO Richard Deem to receive the donation from Four Star Freightliner and the Kocan Family.

its 20th year of community support with a

$10,000 Donation Made to Montgomery Area Food Bank

$10,000 donation to Children’s of Alabama. With this donation, MAX4Kids has given more

In an effort to combat hunger

wanted to make a difference to those

than $100,000 to Children’s of Alabama since

in Central Alabama, Four Star

who need it.”

the foundation’s creation in 2001. “Children’s of Alabama is incredibly grateful for nearly two

Freightliner, Inc. recently matched a generous donation to the

Four Star Freightliner, realizing the

decades of support from MAX4Kids through their

Montgomery Area Food Bank from

impact a monetary donation can make

annual donation,” said Emily Hornak, Director of

the Kocan Family. Jerry Kocan, Four

in its community, decided to match

Cause Marketing and Corporate Partnerships

Star Freightliner Dealer Principal,

the Kocan’s donation. The check was

at Children’s of Alabama. “For an organization

donated $5,000 to the organization

delivered to Richard Deem, CEO of

to donate more than $100,000 is a remarkable

in recognition of his wife Nancy’s

the Montgomery Area Food Bank.

commitment to the community and to the children

birthday. “She requested it as a

He said the $10,000 would provide

of Alabama.”

birthday present,” said Kocan. “My

more than 50,000 meals. “We want

wife is simply the most generous and

people to know that hunger is 365

“In addition to serving thousands of children in our

thoughtful person you would ever

days a year,” said Deem. “When you’re

communities, Children’s of Alabama has also been

meet. She felt others could use the

dealing with a service area of 300,000

there for several of our employees’ children and

help more than her and heard that

food insecure people, it’s an everyday

families during their times of need,” said Sandra

the donations and stockpile of food

job.”

Stenger Branch, MAX4Kids Foundation advisor

depletes after the holidays, so she

and Chief Talent Officer of MAX Credit Union.

Trustmark Launches “Sleigh Hunger” Campaign During the holiday season last year, Trustmark partnered with 69 organizations throughout its footprint in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas to support local hunger relief efforts that have been significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. During its “Sleigh Hunger” campaign, the company contributed more than $250,000 to assist relief organizations in their mission to feed families during the holiday season. The “campaign” included funding gifts to two community food banks and pantries in the River Region, the Montgomery Area Food Bank and the Autauga Interfaith Care Center in Prattville.

68 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL


CHAMBER NEWS Business Buzz CO M MUN ITY + COMMERCE N EWS

GIVEBACK

BRIEFS Truck Sales Manager Donates Bikes

Future Fuel International Makes Multiple Donations

While David Turner, the New Truck

As 2020 closed out, Montgomery-based Future Fuel International, LLC, proved its

Manager for Four Star Freightliner, Inc., was

commitment to philanthropy, using its resources and making donations to help others.

undergoing chemotherapy treatment, he

On October 30, 2020, the mobile on-demand fuel delivery company provided fuel

knew he had to turn his negative situation

services to Selma in the wake of

into a positive one. He and his wife Julie

Hurricane Zeta. The city was left

decided they would expand on their annual

with only one operating fueling

giving by donating 20 children’s bicycles for

station for the entire community

each treatment Turner received.

as a result of damage. Billy Johnson Jr., Owner and CEO

Through a partnership with the Montgomery

of Future Fuel International,

County District Attorney’s Office, the Turners

realized the immediate need for

were able to make the donation to the Heart

assistance. In November, the

to Heart organization located in Montgomery.

company launched a fundraising

On December 3, the same day the bike

campaign for the Joy to Life

donation was made, Turner learned that his

Foundation, a local nonprofit

cancer was in remission.

promoting breast cancer awareness and providing screenings to un - and underinsured women. In December, Future Fuel International participated in WSFA’s 12 Days of Giving by making a donation to the Montgomery Area Food Bank.

www.gotscrap.com 334-272-0767 430 Air Base Blvd. Montgomery, AL 36108

Our recycling services include: ✓ Manufacturing Scrap Services ✓ Appliance Recycling ✓ Automobile Recycling ✓ Certified Destruction ✓ Demolition Scrap

69 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL


CHAMBER NEWS Ribbon Cuttings C EL EB R AT I NG N EW & EXPAN DED BUS IN ESS ES

URGENT CARE FOR CHILDREN

THE JOINT CHIROPRACTIC

1470 Taylor Road, Ste. 109, Montgomery, AL 36117 334-530-6361 • childrensurgent.com Anna Peacock, Marketing Manager / Health Care Services

7244 Halcyon Park Drive, Montgomery, AL 36117 334-676-2290 • thejoint.com Dr. Tresha Brown, Owner/Physician / Chiropractors

DIVINE VINES AND DÉCOR

THAT’S MY CHILD TMC OUTDOOR CLASSROOM

1043 Woodley Road, Montgomery, AL 36106 334-676-1795 Aretha Dix, Owner / Retail/Merchandising

2414 Lower Wetumpka Road, Montgomery, AL 36110 334-239-7434 • thatsmychildmgm.org Charles Lee, Executive Director / Associations/Non-Profit

THE KING’S CANVAS

F & H LLC

1413 Oak Street, Montgomery, AL 36108 334-657-7049 • thekingscanvas.org Kevin King, Executive Director / Associations/Non-Profit

2801-P Vaughn Plaza Road, Montgomery, AL 36116 347-989-5434 Kadiatou Balde and Faye Irby Shuford, Owners Retail Shops/Distribution

70 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL


CHAMBER NEWS Ribbon Cuttings C EL EB R AT I NG N EW & EXPAN DED BUS IN ESS ES

HILLWOOD NUTRITION

FORTIS COLLEGE

2844 Zelda Road, Montgomery, AL 36106 334-202-7521 Elizabeth Mark, Virginia Whitfield and Louie Whitfield, Owners / Health/Nutrition

3736 Atlanta Highway Montgomery, AL 36109 334-272-3857 • fortiscollege.edu Babette Gonzales de Garcia, Director of Career Services Colleges & Universities

WHATABURGER GROUND BREAKING

THE KING’S CANVAS MURAL PROJECT

6970 EastChase Loop, Montgomery, AL 36117 Ellen Chandler, Field Brand Development Coordinator Restaurants, Restaurants – Fast Food

622 Claudette Colvin Drive, Montgomery, Alabama 36107 334-657-7049 • thekingscanvas.org Kevin King, Executive Director / Associations/Non-Profit

NEW MEMBER?

NOW WHAT?

+

CHECK OUT CHAMBER FAQ

of Commerce is more than just paying dues and getting a decal. We provide connections,

GET CONNECTED TODAY. www.montgomerychamber.com/events

BLUEPRINT BETTER MGM

FIND PAST ISSUES

MBJ

KEY COVID-19 TAKEAWAYS FOR SMALL BIZ MGM EDUCATION REPORT CARD

FOR A

resources and solutions that help you grow your business and help grow Montgomery’s economy!

J A N U A R Y/ F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 1

page 58

Being a member of the Montgomery Area Chamber

MISS AN ISSUE?

MONTGOMERY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL

2021 Chamber Chairman has promising plans for his hometown

ONLINE AT MONTGOMERYCHAMBER.COM

71 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL


72 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL


CHAMBER NEWS New Members W ELCO ME TO OUR N EWEST MEMBERS

MARCH 2021 NEW MEMBERS

ACCOUNTING-CERT I F I E D P UB L I C

Choi, Kim & Park, LLP James Kim 6743 Taylor Circle Montgomery, AL 36117 334-356-5550 ckpcpas.com ADVER TISING AGEN C I E S

LOCALiQ Adrianne Dunn 425 Molton Street Montgomery, AL 36104 870-421-0569 localiq.com ATTR AC TIONS-SPOR TS RE CR EATION, SPOR TS -A M ATE UR , S P ORTS-PR OFESSION A L

River Region Generals Phyllis House 1637 Celina Place Montgomery, AL 36110 334-721-3500 riverregion18.wixsite.com/ riverregiongeneral18

CON S U LT IN G S E RV IC E S

R E A L E STAT E - AG E N TS

The Southern Group Carol Brown 2 North Jackson Street, Suite 300 Montgomery, AL 36104 334-233-8975 thesoutherngroup.com

Kim Palmer Kim Palmer 351 Highland View Drive Birmingham, AL 35242 205-870-3195

CON TRAC TO R S - E L E C T R IC A L

Central Long McGehee, Inc. Robert Slaton 1058 Hearn Street Montgomery, AL 36104 334-834-6600 longmcgeheeelectric.com F LOR I STS

R E C YC L IN G

Capital Recycling, Inc. Janie Fleming 3800 Mobile Highway Montgomery, AL 36108 334-288-7528 334recycling.com

H E A LTH & N U T R IT IO N

R E STAU R A N TS - FAST FO O D, R E STAU R A N TS

M.A.C.E (Montgomery Adult Community Education) Nikki Walker 5770 Carmichael Parkway Montgomery, AL 36117 334-523-1002 mgmmace.com

Hillwood Nutrition Elizabeth Mark 2844 Zelda Road Montgomery, AL 36106 334-202-7521

CH AR ITABLE FOUNDATI ON S

L E G A L S E RV IC E S - AT TO R N E YS

Montgomery Habitat for Humanity, Inc. Scott Gregory 2216 E. South Boulevard Montgomery, AL 36116 334-832-9313 habitatmontal.org

Law Office of Sandra Lewis PC Sandra Lewis 8 Commerce Street, Suite 700 Montgomery, AL 36104 334-269-5930 lewisandlaneaux.com

SouthEast Demolition & Environmental Services, Inc. Lana Cavassa 5150 Old Selma Road Montgomery, AL 36108 334-590-5678 southeastdemo.biz

Diestelhorst Properties LLC David Diestelhorst 5956 Carmichael Road Montgomery, AL 36117 334-717-7135

Lee & Lan Florist Geoff Stough 3365 Atlanta Highway Montgomery, AL 36109 334-277-8040 leeandlanflorist.net

B U SINESS/VOCAT ION A L S CHOOLS

CONSTR UC TION

R E A L E STAT E - CO M M E R C IAL/ I N V E ST M E N TS , R E A L E STAT E -REN TAL, R E A L E STAT E - R E S ID E N T IA L

LOB BYIN G , CO N S U LT IN G , CO N S ULTI N G S E RV IC E S

QH Consulting, LLC Quintin Hawkins 3356 Dartmouth Circle Montgomery, AL 36111 334-233-1307

73 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL

Whataburger Ellen Chandler 6970 EastChase Loop Montgomery, AL 36117 205-285-1645 whataburger.com R E TA IL S H O P S /D IST R IBU T ION

Buff City Soap - Montgomery Store Rick Hayes 7060 EastChase Parkway Montgomery, AL 36117 334-239-8888 buffcitysoap.com F & H LLC Kadiatou Balde 2801-P Vaughn Plaza Road Montgomery, AL 36116 347-989-5434


Numbers reflect November 2020 over November 2019.NEWS CHAMBER

Business Buzz

CO M MUN ITY + COMMERCE N EWS

Economic Intel

+ WAY TO GO!

• HOUSING NUMBERS •

ECONOMIC NEWS

+16%

HOUSING

AVERAGE SALES PRICE

+38%

THE 2021 HYUNDAI ELANTRA HAS BEEN NAMED THE NORTH AMERICAN CAR OF THE YEAR BY THE NORTH AMERICAN CAR, UTILITY AND TRUCK OF THE YEAR AUTOMOTIVE MEDIA JURY.

13,299 NUMBER OF PASSENGERS

LODGING TAX

$1,081,350

1018

509

TOTAL HOMES LISTED FOR SALE

TOTAL HOME SALES

85 AVERAGE DAYS ON MARKET

$216,298 AVERAGE SALE PRICE

• TOURISM UPDATES •

TOTAL HOME SALES

Source: Alabama Center for Real Estate, Montgomery Area

EMPLOYMENT & LABOR CIVILIAN LABOR FORCE

170,961

NOVEMBER 2020

EMPLOYED LABOR FORCE

5.2% UNEMPLOYMENT RATE

161,994

NOVEMBER 2020

Source: Alabama Department of Labor, MGM Metro Area

51.4%

#FLY MGM

YTD OCCUPANCY RATE

TOP SECTORS

EMPLOYEES GOVERNMENT

42,900

TRADE, TRANSPORTATION, WAREHOUSING & UTILITIES

30,300

PROFESSIONAL & BUSINESS SERVICES

19,900

EDUCATION & HEALTH SERVICES

18,900

Source: Alabama Tourism Department Source: Alabama Department of Labor, MGM Metro Area

74 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL



MBJ

MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL

Post Office Box 79 Montgomery, AL 36101

76 MONTGOMERY BUSINESS JOURNAL