Montgomery Business Journal

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October 2016


MONTGOMERY – The certified public accounting and consulting firm Jackson Thornton announced the acquisition of Auburn/Opelika-based Brantley, Boucher & Farr LLP.

The addition gives Jackson Thornton more than 200 employees, serving clients from six offices in Alabama and Tennessee. The merger will offer Brantley, Boucher & Farr’s (BB&F) clients expanded depth of services while maintaining the personalized service for which the firm is known. BB&F was founded in 1959 by John H. Brantley and serves clients throughout East Alabama and West Georgia.

“The addition of BB&F to the Jackson Thornton family gives our existing clients in East Alabama even greater access to our professionals and services,” Ned Sheffield, president and managing principal of Jackson Thornton, said in a statement. “At the same time, it gives our new clients a depth of experience and resources they haven’t had before. The people they know and trust are now backed by several teams of people offering a diverse array of expertise. We’re excited about this expansion and believe that this is a natural fit for both firms.”

Steve Boucher, managing partner of Brantley, Boucher & Farr, said in a statement: “Joining Jackson Thornton puts us in a great position to expand and help our clients achieve their goals. Our mission has always been to develop client relationships based on trust and personal attention. Jackson Thornton has the same philosophy while providing hundreds of years of collective experience and we look forward to enhancing our practice together.”


MONTGOMERY – Global fashion retailer H&M will open a 22,000-square-foot shop next fall at The Shoppes at EastChase and will hire about 20 employees.

“We are beyond excited that H&M has chosen The Shoppes at EastChase to open a new location in Alabama,” Suzanna Wasserman, marketing manager for The Shoppes at EastChase, said in a statement. “We already have a fantastic selection of apparel retailers at

The Shoppes and this store will add a new dimension to our current tenant mix.”

H&M will offer men’s and women’s clothing, including sports apparel and its plus-sized line. There will also be a children’s section, which will include clothes for newborns.

The company, which opened its first U.S. store 16 years ago, has 428 locations in the country. H&M has 4,000 stores in 62 markets and its headquarters is in Stockholm, Sweden.


MONTGOMERY – Fifth Advertising was a winner in the 37th Annual Telly Awards for its work with Heritage South Credit Union.

Fifth, the in-house advertising division of Walker360, created a 2D animated video spot for the credit union’s newly released mobile deposit campaign. With more than 13,000 entries this year from all 50 states and numerous countries, Fifth was chosen for its outstanding achievement in concept and use of graphics.


MONTGOMERY – ASE Credit Union announced that CardValet is now available to all members via download from Google Play or the App Store.

Credit union members now have the extra security of turning their debit card off if lost or stolen, then back on if it is recovered, and all from a hand-held device.

ASE Credit Union, which was established in 1954, is a full-service financial institution with free checking, free online banking and free bill pay. There are five locations and the website is


MONTGOMERY – Easter Seals Central Alabama’s Rotary Work Center is looking to contract with a business.

The work center specializes in drill press operations, pneumatic press, quality control, pneumatic staple gun packaging, assembly and packaging, sorting and collating and direct and custom shipping.

For information, contact workshop manager Donnie Martin at or (334) 387-3270 or (334) 415-2633.


MONTGOMERY – Starke Agency Inc. has been selected by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA) as a “2016 Best Practices” insurance agency for the 10th consecutive year.

The agency has been recognized 20 out of 23 years since the list was first launched.

Each year since 1993, IIABA and Reagan Consulting join forces to study the country’s leading agencies in six revenue categories. More than 1,100 independent agencies throughout the U.S. were nominated to take part in the annual study, but only 217 agencies qualified for the honor.

That means that Starke Agency Inc. is in the top 20 percent of independent agencies across the U.S.

“We strive to stay relevant in today’s marketplace by offering new products, new technologies, enhanced education of our staff and simply having the best people in the business,” Starke Agency President Bolling P. “Trey” Starke III said in a statement. “No business can be around for over 87 years like Starke without continuing investment in people, technology and product.”

Some of the characteristics of a “Best Practices” agency are focus on customer service and satisfaction; frequent customer contact; valued staff; participatory management; win-win supplier relationships; efficient processes; continuous improvement; and focus on revenue growth.


MONTGOMERY – Welch Hornsby Investment Advisors was recently named as one of the Best Companies to Work for in Alabama.

Welch Hornsby was awarded top honors among small to medium firms. This seventh-annual survey and awards program, created by Business Alabama and Best Companies Group, identifies, recognizes and honors the best employers in Alabama. The list is made up of 16 companies.

Companies from across the state entered the two-part survey process, evaluating and reviewing aspects of company culture, such as opportunities for growth and advancement; community involvement and engagement; and employee appreciation among others. The first part consisted of evaluating each nominated company’s workplace policies, practices, philosophy, systems and demographics.

The second part was an employee survey to measure the employee experience.

The combined survey results determined the top companies and the final rankings.

“We have truly dedicated people who embody our mission of uncompromising commitment to build and preserve the wealth of our clients, to enrich their lives, the lives of our employees and the world in which we live,” Welch Hornsby President & CEO Edward Welch Jr. said in a statement.

“While there is much room for improvement, we believe it is imperative to create an environment that fosters personal and professional growth. Our new wellness program is an example and we really have had fun with our internal competitions. We try to support our people with tuition and professional development opportunities. A lot of time together through corporate lunches and gatherings seems to nurture an environment of creativity and collaboration, all of which ultimately supports our mission.”


MONTGOMERY – Four attorneys from Gilpin Givhan, LLC, were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2017.

The Gilpin Givhan attorneys in the 2017 edition of The Best Lawyers in America are Robert E. L. Gilpin, tax law and litigation & controversy - tax; Robert M. Ritchey, closely held companies & family business law; Davis H. Smith, tax law; and John Ward Weiss, health care law. 

In addition, Gilpin received the additional honor of being named “Lawyer of the Year” in tax law and litigation, a recognition given to only a single lawyer in each category. 

Gregg B. Everett was selected as an Alabama “Super Lawyer” in the practice area of health care law. The title of “Super Lawyer” is a distinction that illustrates command of an individual attorney’s craft with a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers describes itself as “the definitive guide to legal excellence.” Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation with more than 83,000 leading attorneys globally eligible to vote. For the 2017 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America, 7.3 million votes were analyzed, which resulted in almost 55,000 lawyers being included in the new edition.


PRATTVILLE – River Bank & Trust reported a 21.4 percent increase in net income for the first six months of the year and a 22.5 percent increase in earnings per share.

The bank reported net income of nearly $3.9 million. The return on average assets for the first six months was 1.08 percent compared to .93 percent on a combined basis for the prior year to date.

River Financial Corp., the holding company for River Bank & Trust, reported earnings per share of 74.5 cents compared to 60.8 cents for the same period last year.

“While financial performance is the ultimate grade, we have not nor will we abandon the River Bank & Trust culture that our customers value and enjoy,” River Bank & Trust CEO Jimmy Stubbs said in a statement.

The bank, which celebrated its 10-year anniversary in April, has grown to be the 12th largest state chartered bank in Alabama with offices in Alexander City, Auburn, Gadsden, Millbrook, Montgomery, Opelika, Prattville and Wetumpka.


MONTGOMERY – Davis Direct Inc.  announced the acquisition of Color Craft Inc.

Each of the companies has provided graphic arts services to Central Alabama for decades and will combine personnel and assets under one roof.

Customers can now take advantage of each company’s services in one place, from Color Craft’s signage and display graphic capabilities to Davis Direct’s commercial print production, in-house mailing and marketing materials management.

In addition to combining production resources, Davis Direct has retained all personnel from Color Craft’s business.

“They have maintained an excellent reputation in the market,” Davis Direct CEO Emile Vaughan said in a statement. “Also, their culture has always been a lot like ours, so this should be a perfect fit. For Davis and Color Craft customers, there are now more options under one name.”


MONTGOMERY – Chambless King Architects received a Merit Award for the Tankersley residence from the Alabama Council of The American Institute of Architects.

The Tankersley residence is a single-family dwelling for a husband and wife and their pets on a 30-acre plot of countryside in Prattville. Designed with a modern farmhouse feel, the house focuses on natural materials, simple detailing and physical and visual connections to the outside.

The interior main level of the house features open spaces with exposed wood and steel-framed ceilings and access to a large wrap-around screened-in-porch.

“We are honored to win this award and to be recognized by our peers,” John Chambless, owner and principal of Chambless King, said in a statement.

There were 63 statewide entries and a panel of judges awarded one Honor Award, four Awards of Merit and two Honorable Mention Awards.

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