Montgomery Business Journal

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May 2015


MONTGOMERY – A. Bruce Crawford has been promoted from city president of BBVA Compass in the Montgomery area to CEO.

Crawford, who was the city president for 14 years, joined Compass Bank in 1997 as a vice president and commercial relationship manager. BBVA Compass wrote in a press release that the move is “aimed at fostering deeper ties to clients and communities in the growing region.”

Crawford’s new role is part of the bank’s reorganization in which retail, wealth management and commercial were combined into one unit.

“Bruce has built his career in Montgomery and has strong relationships with our local clients, and that makes him an excellent choice to lead our efforts in this part of the state,” BBVA Compass Chief Operating Officer Rafael Bustillo said in a statement. “He has the expertise to help the bank and our clients in an area that’s enjoying success in health care, commercial, government and manufacturing.”


MILLBROOK – The Alabama Wildlife Federation (AWF) has hired Ronny Robertson of Tuscaloosa as director of development.

Robertson, who has 10-plus years of experience as a development professional, will enhance and expand development programs and strategies that sustain growth in each of organization’s core program areas: conservation education, natural resource stewardship, and hunting and angling heritage.

“Ronny brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our organization,” AWF Executive Director Tim L. Gothard said in a statement. “We are incredibly fortunate to have him join our development team and take the lead in managing and growing long-lasting, rewarding relationships with our members and supporters.”

Prior to joining AWF, Robertson served the last 10 years as director of development for athletics at The University of Alabama.”

“I have known Ronny for a number of years and know that he has an eagerness to work hard as a leader and team member with a positive, passionate, can-do spirit,” Horace Horn, AWF president of the board of directors, said in a statement. “We will all benefit from his leadership.”

The Alabama Wildlife Federation, established by sportsmen in 1935, is the state’s oldest and largest citizens’ conservation organization.


MONTGOMERY – With more than 20 years of hospitality sales experience, Perry Grice has joined Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center as the director of sales.

Before coming to Renaissance Montgomery, he spent 12 years at Callaway Gardens in Georgia. Grice was director of sales for 10 years at Callaway Gardens and spent his final two years there as director of sales and marketing at the Lodge & Spa at Callaway Gardens. 

Grice started his hospitality career at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla. He has worked in various sales and marketing leadership positions at Georgia State Parks & Conference Center, Renaissance Waverly Hotel in Atlanta, the Renaissance Nashville Hotel and Stouffer Riverview Plaza (now Renaissance Riverview Plaza) in Mobile.

Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center, which opened in 2007, has 342 rooms and more than 140,000 square feet of meeting space.


MONTGOMERY – Welch Hornsby Investment Advisors announced that Kellie H. McDowell has joined the firm as an investment consultant. 

She has more than 12 years of investment experience involving publicly traded securities and private equity. Her background includes organizations such as SunTrust Banks Inc., and TRUSCO Capital Management, where she had responsibility for developing institutional client relationships.

McDowell received the chartered financial analyst designation and holds a bachelor’s degree with a minor in business administration from Vanderbilt University.

“Kellie is another excellent addition to Welch Hornsby,” Edward V. Welch Jr., president and CEO of Welch Hornsby Investment Advisors, said in a statement “She deepens an already talented investment consulting team with her background, experience and ability. Kellie represents all that is important to us here at Welch Hornsby and we are pleased to welcome her.”

Welch Hornsby, a registered investment advisory firm, was founded in 1998. The company headquarters is in Montgomery and the firm has offices in Birmingham and Charlotte, N.C.


MONTGOMERY – Trustmark Bank announced that Mark R. Hope has been named commercial banking manager for the Montgomery market.

He has more than 21 years of experience in the financial industry with a concentration in small business and commercial banking for the past 14 years.

“We are delighted to have Mark join our Trustmark team,” Trustmark Regional President Linwood McClain said in a statement. “His extensive experience in commercial banking will be an asset to our organization.”

Hope, a Montgomery native, received his undergraduate degree from The University of Alabama.


MONTGOMERY – Makina L. Wallace has joined EXIT Hodges Real Estate.

“We’re excited to welcome Makina to EXIT Realty,” Paul Hodges, broker of EXIT Hodges Real Estate, said in a statement. “EXIT is growing and attracting quality business people like Makina each and every day.”

Wallace, a native of Montgomery, returned to the River Region in 2013 with several years of experience in college admissions, recruitment and business-to-business sales in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

“I pride myself on my ability to truly listen to my clients’ needs and connect them with opportunities that best match those needs,” Wallace said in a statement.

She graduated from Robert E. Lee High School and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.


MONTGOMERY – Caleb Bristow of Henry County is the new executive director for the Alabama Peanut Producers Association (APPA), a division of the Alabama Farmers Federation.

The federation also announced that Matt Wilson, a broadcaster with almost 18 years of experience, has joined the communications staff as a broadcast production assistant.

Bristow’s family raises nearly 3,000 acres of peanuts and cotton and has a herd of beef cows. He is an Auburn University graduate with a master’s degree in agronomy (weed science) and a bachelor’s degree in agronomy and soils.

“We are fortunate and thrilled to have Caleb join the APPA and the federation family,” Federation Governmental and Agricultural Programs Director Brian Hardin said in a statement. “He will provide excellent leadership with his natural talents. Caleb is a smart, hard worker who has a great ability to connect with people and make them feel comfortable.”

Bristow said the federation’s reputation as a conservative, family-friendly organization that represents farmers on the state and national levels was among the things that attracted him to the career move. 

“I am very excited about this opportunity,” Bristow said in statement. “I am ready to work not only with farmers, but also for farmers.”

In addition to working with farmers to improve their livelihoods, Bristow said he would also be a promoter of peanuts.

“Peanut farmers produce a delicious, healthy food that is safe and affordable,” Bristow said. “Helping encourage consumers to eat more of what our farmers grow is an exciting opportunity I’m looking forward to.”

The 26-year-old Bristow, who lives in Headland, was previously a manager and salesman for Kelly Ag in Headland.

APPA President Carl Sanders said Bristow represents the future of peanut farming. “Caleb’s energy and enthusiasm will serve farmers well as we navigate a new farm bill and spring planting begins,” Sanders said in a statement. “His first-hand knowledge of the peanut industry will allow him to understand what our farmers need and help them get it.”

Wilson, 41, will work alongside broadcast director Kevin Worthington to produce stories for Simply Southern, a weekly, rural living television show presented by the federation and Alabama Farmers Cooperative. Wilson also will provide photography and videography services for other federation programs and Alfa Insurance, including event videos, educational productions and marketing projects. 

“The addition of Matt to our team will allow us to better meet the growing video needs of the organization,” Jeff Helms, public relations and communications director, said in a statement. “It’s rare to find a broadcast professional who combines writing, editing and videography skills with an appreciation of rural Alabama. Matt has the talent and experience to hit the ground running and immediately help us reach our communications goals.”

Wilson received a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Auburn University before returning to Montgomery to work in broadcast news. 

Wilson later worked in corporate communications for PowerSouth Energy Cooperative in Andalusia for seven years, where he produced videos spotlighting the organization’s rural customer base. In 2009, Wilson left PowerSouth to obtain a post-production certification from Video Symphony in Burbank, Calif. 

Most recently, he worked with the Alabama News Network in Montgomery as technical director and assignment manager.

“I am very excited to come on board,” Wilson said in a statement. “Agriculture is as much in my family history as it is for many who call Alabama home. The grassroots spirit of the farmers federation is also at the heart of my experience as an Alabama native. To have the opportunity to be a part of telling farmers’ stories is a blessing. I’m looking forward to getting started.”

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