Montgomery Business Journal

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May 2015


MONTGOMERY – Bell Media has acquired Highlands Digital Media Inc., raising its digital display screens to 1,000-plus. 

The expanded advertising and in-house marketing screens are located in restaurants, businesses, fitness centers and health care facilities in Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Tennessee. Birmingham-based Highlands Digital Media is an indoor digital media firm. 

“This acquisition represents a tremendous opportunity to expand our statewide digital advertising network and further invest in managed in-house digital marketing opportunities,” Scott Bell, founder and CEO of Bell Media, said in a statement. “We thank the team at Highlands for working with us and are excited to welcome them to the Bell Media family.”

The Highlands Digital Media acquisition is the latest for Bell Media as part of an ongoing expansion across the Southeast. The diversified media company manages advertising networks in the top five markets in Alabama as well as Nashville, Tenn.; Columbus, Ga.; and Pensacola, Fla.

In addition to a local indoor advertising network, Bell Media offers in-house marketing screens, an established outdoor advertising network and online advertising services.


MONTGOMERY – Chambless King Architects was honored recently with an Alabama Council of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Award for design excellence.

AIA Alabama recognizes projects that exemplify design excellence and achievement in various categories of building design at its annual Design Awards Gala.

The Chambless King new office project was granted honorable mention from a national panel of judges who evaluated 45 projects. The office project was part of a multistory renovation for the historic Teague Warehouse building in downtown Montgomery. The renovation encompasses about half of the triangular-shaped top floor and accommodates an open studio for a design and production staff with adjacent private offices for senior staff and auxiliary functions.

John Chambless Jr. and Stephen King are principals in Chambless King Architects.


MONTGOMERY – The Lagoon Park Business Center received AdvantageSite designation.

The AdvantageSite program requires that community economic development organizations provide documentation specific to a proposed industrial site, including a set of standard data related to ownership/control, environmental and geotechnical conditions, and infrastructure status. Sites must also meet size, zoning and accessibility requirements.

The 90-acre business center park, owned by Montgomery East Inc., is located within the Montgomery city limits directly off U.S. 231 on North Eastern Blvd. The site is less than 4 miles from Interstate 85 and less than 7 miles from I-65.

The Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce is marketing the site for industrial purposes. The application process was managed locally by the Chamber with a team of local entities supporting and/or participating in the process.

“The AdvantageSite designation of Lagoon Business Center is extremely important to our business recruitment efforts,” Ellen McNair, senior vice president, corporate development, Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement. “This designation proves to our clients that this site is ready for any prospective industry and that we are able to meet short project timeframes.”

The property is being developed by Hodges Warehouse + Logistics/Hodges Commercial Real Estate, which also has sites available from one-half acre to 3 acres, some of which front North Eastern Boulevard. Traffic counts there are nearly 40,000 daily.

Two Warren Averett staffers Become Certified Public Accountants

MONTGOMERY – Warren Averett, LLC, Certified Public Accountants and Advisors announced that John Taylor and Adrienne Sanderson have successfully completed and passed all four parts of the examination to become a certified public accountant (CPA).

In another development, member Irby Thompson has been approved as an accredited estate planner (AEP). The designation is awarded to credentialed estate planning professionals who meet special requirements of education, experience, knowledge, professional reputation and character.

Taylor is an associate in the estate and trust group of the Montgomery office. He has been with the firm for one year and specializes in estate and trust returns as well as individual, S Corporation and partnership tax returns.

Sanderson is a senior associate in the Montgomery office audit division. She has been with Warren Averett for two-plus years and works with nonprofit audits and single audits.

Thompson has spent more than 35 years in the financial services industry and serves as vice president of Warren Averett Asset Management as well as a member of the investment committee.

After graduating from the University of Alabama in 1976, he was an owner and principal of Thompson Insurance, Inc., a commercial lines insurance agency, for 20 years. In 1990 he joined a registered investment advisory firm as a consultant. During his tenure there he worked with clients of all sizes, and headed the firm’s relationship with its largest client, a $300 million retirement plan.


MONTGOMERY – Alfa Insurance announced the release of its latest and most comprehensive update to

The redesigned site touts more user-friendly features, a streamlined look, mobile optimization and an enhanced customer care section.

Alfa’s Vice President of Corporate Internet and E-Business Walter Overby said the redesign simplifies search and other processes that will ultimately enhance the user experience. Among the new features are a one-step login for current customers and an Alfa Life quoting process that directs visitors to a local agent based on their zip codes.

“We are very proud of the improved functionality and enhancements the new offers,” Overby said in a statement. “This delivery is part of our ongoing efforts to improve relationships among our customers, agents and customer service representatives through Web and mobile platforms.”

Alfa’s mobile app, Alfa2Go, also received an updated look to mirror the updated website. Current Alfa2Go users are asked to install the latest app update on their iPhones or Android devices before use to avoid system errors. To download the free app, search for “Alfa2Go” in the iTunes App Store or the Android Apps on Google Play.


HOUSTON – Cadence Bancorp, LLC, announced the successful completion of a $50 million debt issuance to foster the continued growth and solid capital position of the company.

“We are pleased that the continued demand for high-quality, mid-cap investment opportunities has enabled us to complete this successful transaction,” Paul B. Murphy, CEO and president of Cadence Bancorp, said in a statement. “Investors continue to be confident in our ability to capitalize on the growth opportunities throughout our footprint.”

Cadence Bancorp is the parent company of Cadence Financial Corp. and Cadence Bank, N.A. The bank has a branch in Montgomery.

Cadence Bancorp is an $8 billion bank holding company with 80-plus locations in five states: Texas, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Tennessee.


MONTGOMERY – Steve Hughes and Gene Cody of Moore Company Realty Inc. received the Circle of Distinction Silver and Bronze Awards, respectively.

Hughes also won an award for the No. 1 Sales Professional by State. The awards were presented by Coldwell Banker Commercial.

Hughes has 40-plus years of experience in real estate and Cody has more than eight years.

“It is my honor and pleasure to say that these two are an inspiration to our entire team and I am most grateful for their contributions, which also led to Moore Company Realty Inc. winning the No. 1 commercial office in the state,” Jerome Moore, president of Moore Company Realty, said in a statement.


MONTGOMERY – MAX Credit Union has upgraded its bill pay service that can be accessed through a desktop or MAX’s mobile banking app.

There is no charge for the service, which enables customers to:

> Pay bills from multiple accounts.

> Send single or recurring payments.

> Initiate expedited payments.

> Make person-to-person payments.

> Store payment history for 18 months.

> Set-up text alerts and payment reminders.

> Send gift checks or donations.

“In today’s society, our customers are always busy and on the go,” MAX Chief Information Officer Scott Lindley said in a statement. “At MAX, we strive to provide smarter solutions to make managing finances simpler. MAX Bill Pay is one way we do this.”


NEW ORLEANS – David Mowery of Mowery Consulting Group has been honored by the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) as one of the top 40 campaign professionals under 40 years old currently working in the U.S.

Only 15 Republicans, 15 Democrats, and 10 nonpartisan operatives in the United States were named to the exclusive “40 under 40” list. The campaign professionals were graded on a 40-point scale and selected for achievements in politics and public affairs.

Contributions to the health of the political business community through volunteer work and other forms of philanthropy were also considered. 

“This is a major honor,” AAPC President Art Hackney said in a statement. “It was amazing to see the large number of nominations for this new recognition; all of them worthy, and all of them the future of our industry.”

Mowery is founder and president of the Montgomery-based Mowery Consulting Group.

The top 40 list was announced at the 2015 annual Pollie Awards & Conference when members of the political advertising and communications industry receive awards.


MONTGOMERY – Jackson Hospital was the first recipient of the Rick Heinzman Memorial Meals on Wheels award.

The hospital was recognized for its 42-year partnership and commitment to Meals on Wheels, a program of the Montgomery Area Council on Aging (MACOA). The award was established to honor Richard Ruel “Rick” Heinzman, who was the executive director of MACOA for 14 years from May 1998 to July 2012.

Meals on Wheels volunteers deliver hot lunches to 340-plus homebound seniors Monday-Friday.


MONTGOMERY – Sterling Bank, a division of Synovus Bank, recently announced that Synovus received 19 national Greenwich Customer Service Excellence awards in middle market and small business banking from Greenwich Associates.

“Delivering exceptional customer service is something our team members focus on every single day at Sterling Bank,” Alan Worrell, president and CEO of Sterling Bank, said in a statement. “We are grateful to again be honored for our ability to exceed the expectations of our small and middle market business customers. I want to recognize our exceptional team for consistently caring for our customers by offering personal service and banking solutions that support their business success.”

In middle market banking, Synovus was recognized nationally for overall satisfaction; likelihood to recommend; relationship manager capability; overall satisfaction (cash management); and customer service (cash management)

In the Small Business Banking category, Synovus received national awards for overall satisfaction; likelihood to recommend; relationship manager capability; financial stability; branch satisfaction; overall satisfaction (cash management); accuracy of operations (cash management); customer service (cash management); product capabilities (cash management); and sales specialist performance (cash management).

Synovus was also honored with four South regional awards, including two in middle market banking for “overall satisfaction with banking relationships” and “overall satisfaction with cash management relationships,” and two in small business banking for “overall satisfaction with banking relationships” and “overall satisfaction with cash management relationships.”

In compiling the rankings, Greenwich Associates interviewed nearly 13,000 middle market firms with sales of $10 million-$500 million and more than 15,000 small businesses with sales of $1 million-$10 million across the country.

Sterling Bank has operated four branches in the Montgomery and Prattville markets for 26 years.


MONTGOMERY – The new franchise owner of Huntington Learning Center on Zelda Road brings a decade of experience.

The learning center has been serving the families of Montgomery for 30 years, helping children build the skills, confidence and motivation they need to be successful in the classroom and on tests such as the ACT.  The center recently held a grand reopening and ribbon cutting to celebrate the 30th anniversary and to welcome its new franchisee.

“Things have certainly changed a lot since 1985,” Len Silverman, the new franchise owner, said in a statement. “One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is that students still want to be successful. We have found that through the evaluation of student skills, the development of a complete and individualized lesson plan, and academic instruction delivered by professional educators, we continue to help our students be the best they can be in the classroom.”

Silverman has owned a Huntington franchise in Nashville, Tenn., for the past 10 years. He said that he is excited about what he sees in Montgomery.

“We have very active and motivated parents here in Montgomery and the school personnel I have met since taking over in February have been very dedicated to student achievement. That is always a recipe for success.”

Huntington Learning Center is a tutoring and test prep firm with certified teachers providing individualized instruction in reading, phonics, writing, study skills, elementary and middle school math, algebra through calculus, chemistry and other sciences. Huntington preps students for college entrance exams as well as state and standardized tests.


MONTGOMERY – The keynote speaker at the S. Rexford Kennamer Distinguished Lecture talked about the importance of using trained volunteers to increase the detection of cancer in minorities in the Black Belt.

Dr. Edward E. Partridge, director of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Evalina B. Spencer Endowed Chair in Oncology, talked about the marked disparity in the overall incidence of and mortality from breast and gynecologic malignancies in the African-American population in the Black Belt.

He said there are several projects in which UAB has partnered with other institutions in the South, the Centers for Disease Control and the National Cancer Institute. In one project, trained volunteers worked with Black Belt minority residents to undergo screening for breast and cervical cancer.

In another project, trained volunteers served as guides for patients diagnosed with cancer at 12 sites in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and Georgia. The guides were instrumental in improving the quality of care while also reducing the overall cost. Both of the projects are ongoing.   

Established in 1978, the distinguished lecture series brings nationally and internationally recognized leaders in health care to Montgomery to interact with the medical, business and political community and discuss their views on important issues in medicine.

The Kennamer Distinguished Lecture is sponsored by the Montgomery Regional Medical Campus of the UAB School of Medicine.


MONTGOMERY – Auburn University at Montgomery Outreach recently secured a $96,529 grant to support a program it is leading that will give decision makers in the River Region better information on behavioral health issues in their communities.

The funding will enable testing for the Community Behavioral Health Early Warning System, which has the potential to be a model for communities nationwide. AUM Outreach is working with The River Region Healthy Minds Network, a collective impact initiative whose goal is achieving a coordinated mental health care system in the River Region that provides effective, efficient and reliable services for consumers so they may achieve wellness through awareness, prevention and appropriate care.

Compounding the River Region’s challenges is the lack of child or adolescent beds in the four counties of the Montgomery Area Mental Health Authority (Autauga, Elmore, Lowndes and Montgomery), forcing families to hospitalize their children many miles from home. 

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