Montgomery Business Journal

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February 2015


MONTGOMERY – The Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce announced several staff promotions and a new team member. Sheron Rose has joined the Chamber as Vice President, Community Strategies. Ron Simmons has been promoted to Vice President, Business Development, and Lisa McGinty has been promoted to Executive Director of the Chamber Business Development Center.

“The Montgomery Chamber has always been a driving force for economic development, and these new positions will help us continue improving the local economy by focusing even greater efforts on business and community development,” said Montgomery Chamber President Randall L. George. “We gain a tremendous asset in the leadership of Sheron Rose, and we look forward to valued team members Ron Simmons and Lisa McGinty taking their talents and abilities to the next level for the benefit of our community.”

Rose comes to the Chamber from Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, where she served as Director, Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Relations. She also has extensive experience in the fields of government, minority affairs, human resources and education. As the Chamber’s Vice President, Community Strategies, she will be responsible for state and local governmental affairs as well as workforce development and education, diversity initiatives, community engagement and member advocacy.

Simmons has been with the Chamber five years and previously served as National Sports Sales Manager for the Chamber Convention & Visitor Bureau. In his new position as Vice President, Business Development, he will be responsible for small and minority-owned business initiatives. He will also lead an aggressive new business retention and expansion program aimed at small businesses and will develop and connect the local small business community to vital resources essential for their growth and prosperity.

McGinty, an 11-year veteran of the Chamber was formerly Director of Small Business Development. In her new position she will direct the programs and initiatives of the Chamber Business Development Center, located at 600 S. Court St. She will be responsible for innovation and entrepreneurial strategies, cyber and tech launch opportunities and enhanced resources for small and minority-owned businesses.


MONTGOMERY – Lawrence U. “Larry” McLemore was unanimously selected as the succeeding Saint James School Head of School. He will take over from Melba Richardson, who is retiring June 30.

McLemore, who starts his new role July 1, is marking his 26th year of affiliation with Saint James School. Richardson has served 32 years at the school.

“The leader of an excellent school must be a visionary who eagerly anticipates the future while always celebrating the current successes of students, teachers and all members of the school family,” McLemore said in a statement. “It is my greatest honor to be chosen to lead Saint James School into the future. It takes vision, clarity of purpose, and the unwavering commitment of a talented team of educators to build and maintain a school that transforms lives. I am a product of that Saint James School vision and it is my distinct privilege to carry on that work for future generations.”

McLemore’s career in education started in the classroom. He has taught several history courses and served as middle school and varsity football coach. In 2012, he became a Saint James High School college counselor and dean of student programs while continuing to teach his AP U.S. history course. In 2014, he transitioned into the role of director of advancement for the school and also taught AP U.S. history. As director of advancement he has worked to bring several of the school’s department strategies together, including admissions, alumni, marketing and development.

“Dr. McLemore has served with distinction in his role as director of advancement,” the Saint James School Board of Directors wrote in announcing the new Head of School. “His foundation is built on Saint James; he will be the first Saint James graduate to serve as Head of School. We are confident Larry will be a dynamic leader for many, many years to come.”

McLemore, a native Montgomerian, completed his undergraduate studies in history and political science at Huntingdon College and received a master’s degree in secondary education from Vanderbilt University. He received a doctorate degree in history from Auburn University.


MONTGOMERY – EXIT Hodges Real Estate in Montgomery announced the hiring of Candace Lightsey.

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


MONTGOMERY – Chacolby Burns-Johnson has been named special events coordinator in the area of development at the Montgomery Area Council on Aging (MACOA).

Burns-Johnson has a wide range of career experience in community, higher education, nonprofit and government settings, where she has a background in events management, fundraising and community relations. 

“All of us at MACOA are excited to have Chacolby bring her knowledge and expertise to our team,” MACOA Executive Director Donna Marietta said in a statement. “Her non-profit experience and community engagement will blend well with our clients, volunteers and board, furthering our focus on providing services and meals for seniors.”

Burns-Johnson’s responsibilities at MACOA will include planning and implementing all fundraisers along with public relations and community outreach. She has a bachelor’s degree in business from Auburn University and a master’s degree in public administration with an emphasis in nonprofit management and leadership from Auburn University at Montgomery.

“I am honored by the opportunity to serve and represent MACOA and continue the rich legacy of serving seniors in our community,” Burns-Johnson said in a statement. “I look forward to making a positive contribution while collaborating with partners to strengthen and enhance our fundraising and outreach efforts.”


MONTGOMERY – Renasant Bank Mortgage Lending announced that Steve Stringer has joined the company as senior mortgage banker at its East Montgomery location.

In his new role, Stringer will be responsible for mortgage lending in Montgomery and surrounding communities in the River Region.

“We are excited to have Steve join the Renasant family,” David Mays, executive vice president and director of mortgage lending, said in a statement. “His experience in mortgage banking and dedication to customer service parallels our existing culture.”

Stringer is a graduate of Auburn University and has more than 20 years of experience in mortgage lending. Prior to joining Renasant, Stringer served as a mortgage originator in a large regional bank.

“Steve is a proven lender with background and experience that complements Renasant’s commitment to expanding and developing mortgage lending in the Montgomery market and surrounding communities.” Mark Harmon, vice president of retail mortgage, said in a statement.


MONTGOMERY – MAX Credit Union has named Martee Moseley as vice president of business services for the East Alabama territory, including Lee, Macon and Russell counties.

Moseley will handle commercial loans for East Alabama and cater to businesses for all of their financial needs.

“We welcome Martee to our East Alabama MAX team,” MAX Chief Lending Officer Martin Head said in a statement. “She knows and understands local business and community life in East Alabama, and that’s an important factor in choosing a financial institution.”

An Auburn resident, Moseley has more than 15 years of experience in business and consumer banking, including branch management, loan management and customer service in Huntsville and Auburn.

“I look forward to continuing to help East Alabama businesses with all their banking needs,” Moseley said in a statement. “We at MAX have the right people and the right products to help businesses of all sizes navigate today’s economy and achieve their financial goals.”

MAX Credit Union, which has $1 billion-plus in assets, has 14 branches in Central and East Alabama.


MONTGOMERY – Eric Duncan has been named vice president and general manager of WSFA, the Raycom Media NBC station in Montgomery. He will be replacing Collin R. Gaston, who is the new vice president and general manager of WBRC FOX6 in Birmingham.

Duncan was the general sales manager at Raycom Media’s KCBD-TV, an NBC affiliate, in Lubbock, Texas, since August of 2012. Prior to going to Lubbock, he was sales manager for KVUE, in Austin, Texas. During his tenure at KVUE he held the positions of local sales manager, national sales manager, and before that was a senior account executive. Duncan was an account executive for the Katz National Rep Firm in the early 1990s, working out of Dallas and then Austin.

“He (Duncan) has done a terrific job at KCBD leading our sales efforts there and we believe will bring those terrific leadership skills to all things here at WSFA,” Raycom Media Senior Group Vice President Jeff Rosser said in a statement.

Gaston, who replaced Lou Kirchen, came to Raycom Media in 2007 from Jacksonville, Fla., where he was local sales manager for WAWS, the market’s Fox affiliate.  Prior to that, Gaston served as the national sales manager for Clear Channel’s duopoly WTEV (CBS) and WAWS (Fox) in Jacksonville.

In January, 2007, Gaston was named general sales manager for Raycom Media’s NBC affiliate, WSFA in Montgomery.  In March of 2011 he was promoted to vice president and general manager of WSFA 12 News. 

“In the eight years that Collin has worked as a member of the Raycom Media family he has proven to be a very capable and dedicated leader,” Rosser said in a statement.

Gaston received a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University in the school of media communications.


MONTGOMERY – Trustmark Bank has named an assistant vice president and branch officer.

Justin E. Mercer, who has six years of experience in the financial industry, is the new assistant vice president and trust officer at the Mobile main office. He is also the employee benefits relationship manager, overseeing and managing retirement plans for Trustmark associates in Alabama and Florida.

Mercer received a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of South Alabama.

David “Jason” Kocher has been named branch officer at the Taylor Road location in Montgomery. He has 17 years of experience in the financial sector. Kocher will be responsible for growing and managing deposits, loans and outside business development for the branch. He attended Auburn University.

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