Montgomery Business Journal

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January 2016

FIREFIGHTER COMBAT CHALLENGE COMING BACK

The Scott World Firefighter Combat Challenge will return to Montgomery this year and that means 2,000 visitors, 600-plus firefighters, an ESPN broadcast and an economic impact of more than $1 million.

The Oct. 24-29 event is the 25th anniversary, and that could swell the participants to 800-plus.

HIRING EXPECTED TO INCREASE

About three-quarters of Alabama small- and medium-sized business owners are optimistic about their companies, according to a survey by PNC Financial Services Group Inc.

Alabama News Center reported that there was an almost 300 percent increase of Alabama survey respondents expected to add full-time employees. About one-third of the Alabama participants in the nationwide survey expect to increase workers’ wages.

COMPANIES, ORGANIZATIONS WIN AWARDS

Jackson Thornton was the winner in the large business category in the sixth annual River Region Ethics in Business awards held at Wynlakes Golf & Country Club.

Ned Sheffield, president and managing principal of Jackson Thornton, a certified public accounting and consulting firm, accepted the award. “First, I want to accept this award on behalf of the 34 partners,” he said. “There are an awful lot of us doing the right thing. We’ve been around almost a hundred years. We’ve been trying to do the right thing for a long time for our clients, our friends, for our community.”

Jackson Thornton was one of three nominees in the category, along with Adams Drugs and Foshee Companies.

The medium-sized business winner was Montgomery Veterinary Associates while Davis Direct and Harmon Dennis Bradshaw were the other two nominees.

Stonehenge, an art gallery/custom frame and art store, won in the small business category and other nominees were AlaTrust and Forrest Meadows Home & Land.

The award for nonprofits went to the Equal Justice Initiative while Hope Inspired Ministries and the Boy Scouts of America Tukabatchee Area Council were nominees.

Dr. Duncan McRae, who is now the surgical clerkship director for the UAB School of Medicine’s Montgomery regional campus, was the recipient of the Maury D. Smith Award for Excellence in Professional Ethics. The other nominees for the award were Clare Weil, who owns five UPS stores in the River Region; and George T. Goodwyn, who was one of the founders of Goodwyn, Mills, Cawood, an architectural/engineering firm.

The River Region Ethics awards are a program of the Samaritan Counseling Center Inc.

THAT VISION THING

More than a decade ago, then Montgomery County Commission Chairman Todd Strange and then-Vice Chairman Elton N. Dean Sr. discussed a new vision for the old and nearly vacant Montgomery Mall. It did become vacant when Steve and Barry’s closed in 2008.

They did not have any details, but knew that education would play a major role. In August, the school district’s Montgomery Preparatory Academy for Career Technologies is scheduled to open at the former site of the JCPenney building while the new Loveless Academic Magnet Program High School will open at the former Parisian building.

“This is a wonderful example of how you never let money get in the way of the vision,” said Strange, who became mayor in 2009. “Money gets in the way of the timing, but not the vision. The vision was to turn the lights on – to recreate life in this community …”Under construction Hampstead’s Southern Living Inspired Home is under construction. Features will be revealed by Mercer Home, which is building the custom home.

LAMP No.1 IN ALABAMA

Loveless Academic Magnet Program High School was ranked first in the state and 160th nationally by Niche while Booker T. Washington Magnet High was No. 16 in the state. Both are in the Montgomery Public Schools district.

Niche rates public high schools on such factors as academics, teachers, health and safety, student culture and diversity, resources and facilities, sports and fitness and surveys from parents and students.

COMMUNITY SCHOOLS ANNOUNCED

After receiving a $450,000 grant, Montgomery Public Schools Superintendent Margaret Allen announced that Nixon Elementary and Davis Elementary will become community schools. That means the schools will have partnerships with the community for both the students and their families to take care of their social needs, including medical.

The two elementary schools are feeders for Bellingrath Middle School and Lanier High School.

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Hampstead’s Southern Living Inspired Homeis under construction. Features will be revealed by Mercer Home,which is building the custom home.

MAYOR WINS ARTS AWARD

Mayor Todd Strange received the Wynton M. Blount Leadership Award at the 29th annual Business in the Arts Awards while Regions Bank won the Large Business award.

Goodwyn, Mills, Cawood won the Frank Plummer Memorial Arts Award. Aldridge, Borden & Co. won in the medium-sized category while the small business award went to Stifel Nicolaus.

A SECOND DREAMLAND

While he was showing off his latest creation – The Tavern at Railyard Brewing Co. – Owner and General Manager Bob Parker mentioned that he would open a second Dreamland Bar-B-Que on Chantilly Parkway in East Montgomery.

It will cost between $1.5 million and $2 million for the project, Parker said. The second restaurant will hold about 20 more people (300 total) than the current downtown location at The Alley. He said he will hire about 60 people and hopes to open in August.

By the way, Parker said that the downtown Dreamland will generate an estimated $3 million in sales this year.

ELANTRA REVEAL

The 2017 Elantra, which made its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show, is expected to be available in March. It’s the sixth generation and will be built at the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama plant in Montgomery.

The Elantra has been Hyundai’s top seller worldwide – 10 million-plus sales in 25 years and more than 2 million in the United States.

HYUNDAI TAKE TWO

Hyundai Motors will launch a global luxury car brand called Genesis that includes its current Genesis models. By 2020, the Genesis brand will have six models – sedans, sports cars and SUVs. The luxury brand is expected to have a “G” with a number and the Korean automaker hinted that the vehicles could be G70, G80 and G90.

HYUNDAI TAKE THREE

Hyundai established another milestone in the fall with the sale of its 10 millionth vehicle in the U.S.

The automaker entered the U.S. market in 1986 with its subcompact Excel. Now the top two sellers are Elantra and Sonata, which are produced at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama’s plant in Montgomery. Each of the models has accounted for 25 percent of all Hyundai sales – about 2.5 million vehicles a piece.

“The United States has been a key region of focus for nearly three decades, and this landmark achievement comes after years of accelerated growth and the strategic rollout of our product line,” Derrick Hatami, vice president of national sales for Fountain-Valley, Calif.-based Hyundai Motor America, said in a statement.

CONFERENCE BRINGS $1 MILLION IMPACT

The Legal Conference & Expo has grown from about 400 attorneys in 2007 to the 1,700-plus who registered for the ninth annual event. Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., host the conference, which has an estimated $1 million economic impact.

“This is a unique opportunity for lawyers to make connections with their colleagues, and to learn more about the law and the types of cases that are developing nationwide,” Beasley Allen Principal & Managing Attorney Tom Methvin said in a statement before the conference.

$20 MILLION SETTLEMENT

The law firm of Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C. helped the state of Alabama reach a $20 million settlement with Transocean for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The firm’s Rhon Jones, Parker Miller, Jenna Day Fulk and Rick Stratton represented the state. “Beasley Allen is pleased to have played an active role in helping the state of Alabama recover $20 million from Transocean for damages they caused the state,” Jones said in a statement.

The $20 million from Transocean, which owned the drilling rig, will go to the state’s General Fund.

SERVISFIRST PROFIT RISES

ServisFirst Bancshares’ quarterly profit increased 16 percent year over year to $16.3 million from $14 million in 2014.

The firm’s year-to-date profit of $43.8 million is up 17 percent from last year’s $37.3 million. Diluted earnings per share of $0.61 for the quarter were a 13 percent increase over last year.

Loans and deposits jumped 27 percent and 23 percent, respectively, from the third quarter of 2014. Loans hit $3.9 billion in the third quarter of 2015 while deposits reached nearly $4.2 billion.

ServisFirst Bank has two locations in Montgomery.

PUBLIX REMODELING

Publix is spending $1.4 million to update two stores in Montgomery – Vaughn Road and Atlanta Highway locations – according to recent building permits that show $700,000 at each of the sites.

Media and Community Relations Manager Brenda Reid confirmed that Publix will remodel each of the company stores in the Montgomery market “in some form or fashion over the next two years.”

The company considers new equipment every five years, according to Reid, and that could include lighting, refrigeration units, shelves or display equipment.

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