Montgomery Business Journal

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Business Buzz, November/December 2013

PIPER AIRCRAFT SELECTS HARTZELL ENGINE TECHNOLOGIES

MONTGOMERY – Piper Aircraft Inc. has selected Hartzell Engine Technologies LLC to provide its latest I-Series cabin heater and ES-Series 24V/100A alternators as standard on new Piper Seminole multi-engine advanced training aircraft. 

“The I-Series cabin heater and the ES-Series lightweight alternators represent the most advanced technologies for their respective categories,” said Hartzell Engine Technologies President Mike Disbrow. “We are very proud that Piper Aircraft has recognized their advancements and selected them as standard aboard the G1000-equipped Piper Seminole.

“To support electrical needs of the latest Piper Seminole’s advanced avionics and systems, Piper Aircraft chose to upgrade it to 24-volt capability. With a list of improvements and features our new heater and alternator have proven to be ideal for Piper’s requirements.”

One feature of the new alternators that Disbrow feels will be very beneficial to flight schools that operate the all-glass Seminoles is the alternator’s built-in noise-filtering technology.

“With all the electronics in the Piper Seminole, that seemingly small feature will make a huge impact on the comfort level for the students and instructors,” he said. “By helping to keep static out of their headsets, the filtering will be especially appreciated on long cross-county flights.”

BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD EXPANDS PARTNERSHIP WITH ALFA INSURANCE

MONTGOMERY – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama is partnering with Alfa Insurance to provide Alabamians expanded convenience in purchasing health and dental coverage.

With the health care industry rapidly changing, the expanded partnership with Alfa is part of Blue Cross’ continued commitment to providing dependable, local service and access to quality health care to Alabamians. This offers another convenient channel for individuals to purchase Blue Cross’ health and dental products on and off the federally facilitated exchange. Open enrollment began Oct. 1 and will be effective Jan. 1.

Consumers will be able to purchase individual health and dental policies from their local Alfa agent, online at AlabamaBlue.com, or directly from a Blue Cross sales agent in person or by phone.

“Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama wants to provide both our current and potential customers convenient ways to learn more about the product options available under the health care reform law as they choose the plan that best fits their needs,” said Terry Kellogg, president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield. “Blue Cross and Alfa are two of the most trusted brands in Alabama and have earned that trust over 30 years of working together. Expanding this partnership during a time of change in our industry is a natural evolution that benefits our customers.”

Alfa Insurance President Jimmy Parnell said the partnership with Blue Cross would allow Alfa to continue serving customers.

“By working with Blue Cross, Alfa agents can help policyholders navigate the new health care law while continuing to meet all their insurance needs,” Parnell said.

THE LATTICE INN AWARDED CERTIFICATE OF EXCELLENCE

MONTGOMERY – TripAdvisor.com has awarded the Lattice Inn a Certificate of Excellence for 2013.

The award honors hospitality excellence and is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor. Only the top-performing 10 percent of businesses listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious recognition.

The Lattice Inn has received this recognition every year since the award was established by TripAdvisor and was also ranked on Tripadvisor.com as the No. 1 bed & breakfast out of four establishments in Montgomery.

“We work diligently to make sure that all of our guests are treated with respect and spare no effort to create a warm, welcoming and relaxing environment for our guests,” said Jim Yeaman, owner/innkeeper.

The Lattice Inn, which opened in 1993, is located at 1414 South Hull St. For reservations or information, contact Lattice Inn at (334) 263-1414; info@thelatticeinn.com or www.thelatticeinn.com.

STARKE AGENCY PARTICIPATES IN PRESTIGIOUS STUDY GROUP

MONTGOMERY – The Starke Agency was chosen to participate in the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America's "Best Practices" Study Group.

The selection was based on a rigorous qualification process for determining operational excellence to help define best practices for the insurance industry.

"We have been very proud to be selected to participate in the best practices study for several years in a row now," said Trey Starke, president and CEO of The Starke Agency.  "We take a best practices approach to every client's needs. It's part of our philosophy on loyalty and service to the River Region community."

More than 1,100 independent agencies throughout the U.S. were nominated to take part in the annual study, but only 216 agencies qualified.

ALDRIDGE, BORDEN & CO. NAMED 2013 ALL-STAR FIRM

MONTGOMERY – Aldridge, Borden & Co. has been named a 2013 All-Star Firm, according to Inside Public Accounting (IPA).

These firms, selected solely on their performance in specific areas, are compared with more than 500 participating firms in the IPA Annual Survey and Analysis of Firms.

“We explore profitability from several perspectives to provide a view of how firms at the top of the profession are performing,” said Kelly Platt, principal of the Platt Group and managing editor of Inside Public Accounting, a national publication serving the accounting profession.

In another development, the firm’s Rhonda Sibley has been appointed to Auburn University at Montgomery’s School of Business Accounting Advisory Board for the 2013–2014 and 2014–2015 academic years.

Sibley graduated from AUM with a degree in business administration. After graduation she joined Aldridge, Borden & Co., where she is currently a partner working in all aspects of taxation, including personal and small business taxation and tax planning along with estate, gift and fiduciary taxation. She is a certified public accountant and an accredited estate planner.

RAYS WILL PLAY BISCUITS AT RIVERWALK STADIUM

MONTGOMERY – The Montgomery Biscuits will face their parent club – the Tampa Bay Rays next year here at Riverwalk Stadium.

The exhibition game is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. Saturday, March 29 and will mark the first time a Major League team has come to the Capital City to play its Double-A minor league affiliate.

Only three cities out of 160 every year have the opportunity to see their minor league team play the parent affiliate. Gates will open at noon with a premium Joe Maddon Glasses giveaway for the first 2,500 fans in attendance. Fifteen minutes after gates open, the Major League club will take batting practice on the field and during that time Rays’ players will be available for autographs around the seating bowl area.

Some season ticket holders will also be invited to an exclusive question-and-answer session with Rays’ manager Joe Maddon. The VIP gates will open at 11 a.m. The Rays skipper will answer questions on top of the third-base dugout in an interview-talk format.

The two teams renewed their partnership for four years, through the 2018 season.

“We are so pleased to continue our partnership with the Rays and feel appreciative for their cooperation in this special event,” said Biscuits owner Sherrie Myers. “The Rays are one of the top organizations in baseball, which makes it truly special to continue as their Double-A affiliate for four more years.”

For details on Rays at Riverwalk or purchasing tickets to the event, visit www.raysatriverwalk.com.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY COMMISSIONER, STAFF MEMBER RECOGNIZED

MONTGOMERY – Two from Montgomery County have recently distinguished themselves among their peers in county government around the state.

Montgomery County Commission Vice Chairman Daniel Harris Jr. has recently joined an elite group of county officials by completing 50 hours of education from the Alabama Local Government Training Institute on the basic responsibilities of the county commission.

He was first elected in 2012 and has graduated from ALGTI in less than a year, which was the earliest opportunity.

The program emphasizes budgeting, personnel matters, planning and road and bridge responsibilities. This educational program began in 1994 as a mandatory program for first-time county commissioners by act of the Alabama Legislature. It is a joint effort between the Association of County Commissions of Alabama and Auburn University.

In addition, Terri Henderson, revenue manager in the Montgomery County Tax and Audit Department, has been re-elected president of the County Revenue Officers Association of Alabama.

Henderson has more than 30 years of accounting experience, the last 11 years with Montgomery County. She holds the professional designation of certified revenue examiner.

UNITED CEREBRAL PALSY WILL PICK UP USED CARTRIDGES

MONTGOMERY – United Cerebral Palsy will collect empty print cartridges from companies for recycling.

The agency has recycled 12,000-plus laser and inkjet print cartridges a year for the past 12 years and uses the funds from recycling to benefit children and adults with disabilities.

United Cerebral Palsy accepts used cartridges of all types (laser, copier, inkjet, fax, etc.). Those donations are tax-deductible.

“This program has been extremely successful with our parent agency in Mobile,” said Vanessa Brandau, newly appointed regional director for United Cerebral Palsy. “I am confident that River Region businesses will step up and support UCP of Central Alabama.” she said.

For information, contact Brandau at (334) 271-2280 or email at vbrandau@ucpcentralalabama.org.

FAMILIES COMMUNITIES RENAMES FACILITY MONTGOMERY CHILDREN’S SPECIALTY CENTER

MONTGOMERY – After years of serving the community as Father Walter’s Children Center, the Tutera Families Communities purchased the center and renamed it Montgomery Children’s Specialty Center.

Heather Penney is the administrator of the licensed, 54-bed pediatric skilled nursing facility. She has 15 years of administrative experience and 15 years experience as a nurse, serving mostly in Texas. 

The facility is located at 2853 Forbes Drive.

RONALD BLUE & CO. RECEIVES TOP RANKING

Ronald Blue & Co. was recently ranked No. 1 for 2013 among the nation’s “Top Fee-Only Registered Investment Advisors in Financial Planning” by Investment News, a weekly industry publication.

The firm, which has an office in Montgomery, has more than $7 billion in assets under management and serves more than 6,000 clients in almost all states. The list was ranked by total assets management among firms with at least 250 financial planning clients.

Ronald Blue & Co. offers a variety of financial services, including estate planning, investment management, tax services and philanthropic counsel. Founded in 1979, the Atlanta-based firm is one of the largest independent fee-only wealth management firms in the United States.

ALABAMA ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT COLLEGES DISTRIBUTES $33,600 IN UPS SCHOLARSHIPS

The Alabama Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (AAICU) distributed $33,600 in UPS Scholarships to 14 low-income students at private colleges and universities in the state.

The scholarships were made possible by a grant from the UPS Educational Endowment Fund administered by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) in Washington, DC.

CIC and the UPS Foundation teamed up to provide nearly $1.5 million in student scholarships this year, which will be distributed through state-based private college associations around the country.

Colleges in Alabama that received UPS Scholarships this year from AAICU include Amridge University, Birmingham-Southern College, Concordia College Alabama, Faulkner University, Huntingdon College, Judson College, Miles College, Samford University, Spring Hill College, Stillman College, Talladega College, Tuskegee University, University of Mobile and the United States Sports Academy.

The UPS Scholarships were funded by the UPS Educational Endowment, which is held and administered by CIC. The endowment was established in the 1970s by the UPS Foundation to support programs to benefit underserved populations. Since its inception, the endowment has generated more than $50 million in scholarship support for more than 17,000 students at independent colleges and universities.

TROY UNIVERSITY OFFERS SCHOLARSHIPS TO COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENTS

TROY – Two new Troy University scholarships aim to pave the way for community college transfer students to receive a four-year degree at any of the Troy University campus locations. The university has a campus in Montgomery.

Students transferring from an Alabama Community College, or other select community colleges in the Troy service area, will be able to apply for either a merit scholarship or an achievement scholarship. This scholarship program will begin in the fall of 2014.

“The scholarships were created to ensure community college students access to all Troy programs and to minimize the financial stress many transfer students encounter,” said Buddy Starling, dean of enrollment management.

“We are optimistic that these scholarships will continue Troy University’s tradition of attracting high-quality transfer students, and further strengthen the already strong relationship Troy has with schools in the Alabama Community College System as well as our partners throughout our service areas,” he said.

A Transfer Merit Scholarship is awarded for students with a 3.5 grade-point average (GPA) or higher and would provide a $3,000 scholarship while a Transfer Achievement Scholarship for $2,000 is available to students with a 3.25 GPA. This scholarship will only be available to those students who have completed transferrable academic credit (non-technical) coursework.

A-KEEP HELPING TO PRESENT HISTORICAL PHOTO EXHIBIT

MONTGOMERY – The Alabama-Korea Education and Exchange Partnership (A-KEEP Inc.) in conjunction with  the Alabama State Department of Education and Gyeong-gi Tourism Organization will present a photo exhibit of the 60th anniversary of the De-Militarized Zone.

It will be held April 3-30 at Troy University’s Rosa Parks Museum. In addition to the exhibit, there will be receptions, events, a lecture series, educational resources, culinary experiences and more.

The photographic study of Korea and Germany will showcase 100-plus historical photos of trans-boundary regions of the DMZ and the European Green Belt (EGB). They will be displayed as part of a historical timeline with themes and comparisons for both Korea and Germany after World War II to the present day.

The photographs were taken by world-renowned photographers working for and published in Life Magazine, National Geographic, and Chien-Chi Chang (Magnum) publications.

A-KEEP’s primary mission is to provide a conduit for academic, business and cultural exchange between Alabama and Korea.

ALABAMA HOSPITALS TOPS IN PREVENTING INFECTIONS

MONTGOMERY – Alabama’s hospitals again outperformed the nation in the prevention of health care-associated infections.

“Our hospitals performed better than the nation in all four categories being reported,” said Dr. Donald Williamson, state health officer. “In last year’s report, they were better in three of the four categories, which include catheter-associated urinary tract infections, central line-associated bloodstream infections and two types of surgical site infections.

“Not only do I want to congratulate hospitals, but I’d like to thank the members of the Alabama Healthcare Data Advisory Council and the ADPH (Alabama Department of Public Health) staff who have worked very hard to ensure accurate reporting and to make the information as easy as possible to understand.”

The hospital-specific information allows consumers to review the data by region and by the volume of patients and may be found at www.adph.org. Additional information on infection prevention can be accessed at www.jointhehealthjourney.com.

“Alabama’s hospitals are reducing infections,” Williamson said. “This report reflects the significant work of infection practitioners, nurses, physicians, and other hospital staff, and provides a great way for hospitals to identify and learn from top performers.”

Alabama Hospital Association President Mike Horsley echoed Williamson’s praise for hospitals and reinforced the goal of reducing infections. “All hospitals are striving to eliminate infections and have achieved much success. In a recent national project to reduce central line-associated bloodstream infections, Alabama’s hospitals had the second highest participation rate in the country and achieved a 53 percent reduction in two years. In addition, Alabama was the pilot for an automated infection surveillance system that has significantly reduced infections over the last 10 years and has become a model for other states.”

SERVISFIRST ANNOUNCES SPECIAL DIVIDEND

BIRMINGHAM – The board of directors of ServisFirst Bancshares Inc. has announced a special cash dividend of $0.50 per common share, payable Dec. 6, to shareholders of record on Dec. 10.

In addition, the board intends to initiate the payment of a quarterly cash dividend beginning in 2014. The first quarterly cash dividend of $0.15 per common share will be payable April 14 to shareholders of record as of April 7. Future declarations of quarterly dividends will be subject to the approval of the board and may be adjusted as business needs or market conditions change.

Tom Broughton, president and CEO of ServisFirst Bancshares, said, “We are pleased to pay the special dividend and begin a quarterly cash dividend to our shareholders, who have played a large role in the success of the bank over the past eight years.”

ServisFirst Bancshares is a Birmingham-based bank holding company and through its subsidiary ServisFirst Bank has branches in Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery, Dothan, Pensacola, Fla., and Nashville, Tenn.

ADMIRAL COMPANIES EXPAND FACILITY

MONTGOMERY – The Admiral Companies announced the expansion of their warehouse facility and the implementation of a state-of-the-art tracking system to enhance storage capabilities and logistics.

The addition of 18,000 square feet to Admiral Movers' storage, warehouse, distribution, and logistics facility increases the Montgomery office mover's space to 50,000 square feet.

In partnership with UniGroup, a global logistics leader, Admiral Movers also recently implemented a cutting-edge tracking system called FastTrack to simplify the inventory process. The automated inventory management system makes it easy for businesses to view and obtain the status of inventory in every stage of the process with Internet access and email updates.

"We're excited to increase the size of our warehouse space and continue to provide our customers with the best Montgomery office moving and storage services," said Scott McNelley, president of Admiral Movers and Admiral Records Management. "Now, with FastTrack, customers always know where every piece of inventory is located, and they can quickly access details, descriptions and images online. Tracking is completely automated and kept up-to-date, which helps us speed up the process and ensure our customers have a great experience every time they work with Admiral Movers.”

For information, visit www.akeep.org

STERNE AGEE EXPANDS INTERNATIONALLY  WITH PURCHASE OF LONDON FIRM

LONDON and BIRMINGHAM – Sterne Agee, one of the oldest and largest privately held financial services firms in the country, announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase London-based brokerage firm Yorvik Partners, LLP.

The acquisition will establish Sterne Agee’s first overseas office, where the firm plans to expand its services internationally.

James S. Holbrook Jr., chairman and CEO of Sterne Agee, said, “The purchase of Yorvik Partners is an important step in our ongoing strategy to expand Sterne Agee’s markets and creates a platform from which Sterne Agee can expand internationally.”

Sterne Agee, which was founded in 1901, is a Birmingham-based firm that offers financial services to a diverse client base, including corporations, municipalities and high-net worth individuals. Through its family of wholly-owned subsidiaries, Sterne Agee manages $21 billion-plus in client assets and has more than 1,600 employees in 59 offices across 22 states. The firm has an office in Montgomery.

FOREST ORGANIZATION TEAMS UP WITH ALABAMA FARMERS FEDERATION

OZARK – A statewide group focused on improving Alabama forestlands voted to affiliate with the Alabama Farmers Federation, the state’s largest
farm organization.

Alabama Treasure Forest Association (ATFA) members approved the merger at the organization’s annual conference. The affiliation is effective immediately.

Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell said the federation welcomes ATFA members.

“Many Treasure Forest Association members also are Farmers Federation members,” Parnell said. “This affiliation will strengthen efforts to serve forest landowners throughout the state. Agriculture, forestry and related industries contributed $70.4 billion to Alabama's economy. It’s important we work to keep the forestry industry strong and growing in Alabama.”

The Alabama Farmers Federation represents 17 Alabama-grown commodities, including timber, which is produced in every county.

Alabama Farmers Federation Forestry Division Director Rick Oates will serve as a director of the ATFA, which will be a separate association under the Federation structure.

The Alabama Treasure Forest Association was formed in 1991 and has about 3,600 members. The Alabama Farmers Federation is the state’s largest farm organization with more than 365,000 members.

With similar mission statements, merging the groups seemed natural, said ATFA President Billy Blackwell, who also serves as Ozark’s mayor.

“By being a member of the ATFA and the Farmers Federation, forest landowners will have a more prominent voice,” Blackwell said. “This affiliation will help our members and our ability to market forestry as a viable, renewable industry on a state, national and international level.”

OLD HOUSE SPECIALISTS PRESENTS AT INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP

MONTGOMERY – Hilda Dent and Margen Gadd of Old House Specialists, LLC, were presenters at the 17th International Preservation Trades Workshop.

They demonstrated window restoration tools and techniques for the attendees. The event was hosted by the National Park Service's Historic Preservation Training Center in Frederick, Md.

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