Montgomery Business Journal

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MONTGOMERY – The WSFA Doppler 12 StormVision team is now equipped with StormTracker 12, a heavy duty 2013 Ford Expedition XLT.

The interior of the vehicle has been heavily modified to include a mobile weather lab; broadcast-quality cameras; and a mobile transmitter, which utilizes multiple cell phone signals to broadcast a signal back to the station in real time.

Stormtracker12 has a roof-mounted camera encased in a clear glass dome for tracking storms across Alabama. Laptops inside the StormTracker give the station’s meteorologists access to radar – allowing them to track storms as they travel through Alabama.

 “StormTracker 12 will help us get a meteorologist close to threatening weather to provide instant expert analysis of an approaching storm,” Scott Duff, news director for WSFA 12 News, said in a statement. “Being able to observe storms in the field and out of the studio, will give our meteorologists in the studio more data to help keep viewers safe when faced with severe weather.”

The vehicle will also be an important promotional tool at special events, including school visits.  A 42-inch rear-mounted HDTV monitor will enable meteorologists to showcase the technology when they visit schools and civic groups.

“StormTracker 12 is an important tool for WSFA 12 News, it will allow our team to bring real-time and accurate information to our community at an unprecedented speed,” Vice President and General Manager Collin R. Gaston said in a statement. “This information can save lives and that’s our main goal: to keep our viewers safe and out of harm’s way.”



MONTGOMERY – Chef Leonardo Maurelli III of Central has been included as one of the best chefs in the South in Best Chefs America Presents: The American South.

In 2013, Best Chefs America introduced the first-ever comprehensive, peer-review guide of chefs in the U.S., highlighting the top 1 percent of chefs in the country. The book was the result of more than 5,000 one-on-one interviews with chefs across the country to find out who chefs think are the best. This is the first in a five-part series of regional guides.

“I am thrilled to be selected by my peers and included in The American South,” Maurelli said in a statement. “This recognition is truly an honor and gives me yet another reason to be appreciative of my fellow professionals and chosen profession.”

Maurelli, who is the executive chef of Central Restaurant located in The Alley in downtown Montgomery, is a native of Panama and came to Alabama in the early 1990s.



MONTGOMERY – LWT Communications received four of the top awards at the American Advertising Federation-Montgomery ADDY Awards.

The firm, which since has merged with Reid/O’Donahue Advertising to form Stamp Idea Group, won the Best of Show Interactive and the Best of Show Print categories. Meanwhile employees Camille Leonard won Art Director of the Year and Jim Leonard won the Copywriter of the Year award. LWT won nine Gold ADDY Awards and also received a Public Service Award.

WCOV Fox 20 captured the Best of Show Broadcast for a 30-second television commercial.

There were 16 Gold ADDY Awards and 27 Silver ADDY Awards; seven student Gold ADDY Awards; and 15 student Silver ADDY Awards. The 151 entries were judged based on creativity, originality and creative strategy.

Other Gold ADDY Award winners were: Auburn University Office of Communications & Marketing; exploreMedia; Candice Butterfield Design; Studio Elle Designs; and Joe & Robin Do Something.



MONTGOMERY – Mowery Consulting Group was nominated for multiple Pollie Awards, which will be presented at the 2014 American Association of Political Consultants Convention in San Diego. 

Mowery Consulting was nominated for “What Is Trauma” – a Public Relations campaign for the Alabama Hospital Association in the new Public Affairs Campaign Division. The firm received nominations for Best in Show, Best Website and Best Web Video.

“This is our fifth year in business, and the sixth straight year we have been nominated for a Pollie,” Chairman David Mowery said in a statement, referring to a nomination he received before his company was incorporated. “I am grateful to my friend Danne Howard and the entire Alabama Hospital Association organization for entrusting us with the public affairs campaign that led to these nominations.”

Mowery Consulting is a political consulting and public relations agency headquartered in Montgomery.

In 2013 and in 2012, Mowery Consulting was nominated and won a total of five awards, and since 2008 has a total of eight statues. Mowery was named a Rising Star by Campaigns and Elections Magazine in 2011.

“It is great that our nominations this year coincided with an emphasis on the public relations side of our work,” Mowery said. “Bringing campaign style strategy, tactics and speed to public affairs communications is where the future nexus of the public relations world is headed. We intend to be there to capitalize.”



MONTGOMERY – Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C. has been selected for inclusion on the National Law Journal’s Plaintiffs Hot List, which identifies the most successful practices.

The NLJ asks its readers to nominate firms in the United States that have done “exemplary, cutting-edge work on the plaintiffs’ side.” Criteria for selection include “at least one significant plaintiffs’ win between Feb. 1, 2013 and Jan. 21, 2014 and “an impressive track record of wins in the past three to five years.”

The magazine will spotlight the firm for two cases in particular: an October 2013 Oklahoma City jury verdict and settlement against Toyota Motor Corp. and Toyota Motor Sales for litigation related to sudden unintended acceleration, which was handled by Jere Beasley, Cole Portis, Graham Esdale and Ben Baker; and ongoing litigation related to average wholesale price/Medicaid fraud, and in particular the Mississippi average wholesale pricing ruling against Watson Pharmaceuticals. Dee Miles, Roman Shaul, Clay Barnett, Chad Stewart and Ali Hawthorne handled the case.



MONTGOMERY – Sterling Bank celebrated 25 years of serving customers and communities in March.

The division was founded in 1989 and still operates under its original name. Alan Worrell, President and CEO of Sterling Bank, and Forrest Neeley, executive vice president, helped establish and continue to serve customers through the bank division.

“We are excited and proud to reach this milestone for our organization, and we are grateful for the loyalty of our customers and unwavering commitment of our team who serves them,” Worrell said in a statement. “We are looking forward to many more years of investing in the economic progress of the Montgomery market and contributing to the quality of life in this community.”

Sterling Bank, a division of Synovus Bank, operates four branches in the Montgomery and Prattville markets.



MONTGOMERY – The law firm of Rushton, Stakely, Johnston & Garrett, P.A., announced that 18 attorneys were chosen for the 2014 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

The selected lawyers are: Dennis R. Bailey, communications law, bet-the-company litigation, commercial litigation, litigation - banking & finance, litigation - intellectual property, litigation - labor & employment, litigation - real estate, and product liability litigation - defendants; Jeffrey W. Blitz, real estate law; L. Peyton Chapman, medical malpractice law - defendants; Ronald G. Davenport, personal injury litigation - defendants; William I. Eskridge, real estate law; James W. Garrett Jr., personal injury - defendants, mediation, and insurance law; Richard B. Garrett, medical malpractice law – defendants and personal injury litigation - defendants; William S. Haynes, medical malpractice law – defendants and personal injury litigation - defendants; J. Theodore Jackson Jr., litigation & controversy - tax, tax law, trusts & estates; Paul M. James Jr., personal injury litigation - defendants; Thomas H. Keene, medical malpractice law – defendants and personal injury litigation - defendants; Daniel L. Lindsey, tax law and trusts & estates; Patrick M. Shegon, medical malpractice law - defendants; Christopher S. Simmons, litigation & controversy - tax, employee benefits (ERISA) law, public finance law, tax law, and trusts & estates; Frank J. Stakely, medical malpractice law – defendants and personal injury litigation - defendants; Fred W. Tyson, medical malpractice law – defendants and personal injury litigation - defendants; Robert C. Ward Jr., mediation and insurance law; and Helen Crump Wells, tax law and trusts & estates. 

Best Lawyers has been regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence in the United States for 30 years. Inclusion in the Best Lawyers list is based on a rigorous national survey of almost 50,000 leading U. S. attorneys, and Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.”



MONTGOMERY – Welch Hornsby Investment Advisors announced the opening of a new office in Charlotte, N.C., and named Brandy Hydrick the head of financial planning for the firm and manager of the Charlotte office.

Welch Hornsby is an independent, fee-only investment adviser serving clients in 12 states across the Southeast.

“Welch Hornsby has worked to become a regional firm over the last 25 years,” President and CEO Edward V. Welch Jr. said in a statement. “A presence in Charlotte establishes us in this important Southeastern hub and fits our strategy of providing a solid base for future expansion in the region.”

Hydrick brings more than 16 years of financial planning experience in advising high-net worth individuals and families in a fee-only environment. Prior to joining Welch Hornsby, she owned an independent financial planning practice. A graduate of The University of Alabama, she

has held the certified financial planner designation for more than 13 years.

“It’s a very exciting time for our firm, and this is a key strategic position for us,” Chairman John Hornsby said in a statement. “With Brandy Hydrick’s background, depth of experience, and dedication to developing comprehensive financial plans for clients, we are delighted to welcome her to Welch Hornsby.”

Welch Hornsby, which was founded in 1988, has its headquarters in Montgomery and offices in Birmingham and Charlotte.



MONTGOMERY – Dixie Electric and Plumbing has introduced a new division to provide residential and commercial plumbing services.

The 105-year-old company is now headed by the founder’s great-grandsons John and Noble Yelverton.

“This expansion was a matter of first listening to our customers,” Noble Yelverton said in a statement. “Over the years, many asked us for recommendations about other types of contracting services. We recognized that we could meet their requests best by applying the same high-quality and professionalism that they expect from us in the creation of a new division for plumbing.”

Noble Yelverton said, “We didn’t just cross-train electricians to become plumbers. We started from the ground up. That included conducting customer surveys to find out what our customers really wanted and needed and then hiring experienced plumbing professionals who met our rigid standards. From that, we also relied on both customer and professional input to create a plumbing division that served at the highest level.”



MONTGOMERY – Janie Jenkins was selected as the Montgomery Zoo’s Docent of the year and Adriana Bloodworth was chosen the Zooteen of the Year.

There are about 50 docents and zooteens who combined volunteered 15,000 hours last year. “Each volunteer is an integral part of the education department and we could not run this department without volunteers,” education curator Jennifer Hutcheson said in a statement.

The docents and volunteers clean and feed the animals in the education department; participate in zoo events throughout the year; and assist with presentations to children, churches and nursing homes and help with birthday parties.

Those interested in being a volunteer should contact Hutcheson at (334) 240-4909 or


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