Montgomery Business Journal

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Summer 2016

FOUR STAR DEALER PRINCIPAL NOMINATED FOR DEALER OF THE YEAR

MONTGOMERY – Four Star Freightliner Dealer Principal Jerry Kocan was recognized as one of only five Dealer of the Year nominees by the American Truck Dealers (ATD).

“It is a distinct honor to be nominated and to represent the best dealer network and brand (Freightliner) in North America,” Kocan said in a statement. “Being selected to represent the market leader is an honor I will cherish forever. There is no finer brand of trucks or dealer network.”

The five nominees were selected by state, metro and national association leaders. Nominees for the national award, according to ATD, are evaluated by a panel of professors from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business on dealership performance, industry leadership and civic contributions.

Tom Bertolino, vice president of NorCal Kenworth in Sacramento, was named Dealer of the Year.

In other developments, Four Star Freightliner launched a newly designed website with both mobile and desktop versions at fourstarfreightliner.com.

The firm also provided a loaner truck – a 2016 Freightliner Cascadia – to Ingram State Technical College in Deatsville and sent Training Manager David Carroll to provide additional instruction. The vehicle is for the school’s diesel mechanics program.

NEPTUNE TECHNOLOGY GROUP LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE

TALLASSEE – Neptune Technology Group launched a new website with a new content management system.

The project was a collaboration between Neptune, Square Root Interactive and Copperwing Design. The Square Root team conducted a full requirements inquiry and site audit, which resulted in the new website information architecture strategy, persona development and user experience wireframe design. Copperwing Design managed Neptune’s brand strategy for the project, designed the look and provided brand messaging for the website.

The website site – neptunetg.com – features include an improved product section, better document organization, more relevant content and an improved sales contact locator.

“Our goal for the website update was to create a visually appealing site that offers our users the most information in the least amount of clicks,” Niki Peterson, marketing communications specialist for Neptune Technology Group, said in statement. “Users shouldn’t have to search for information and we want to make sure we are making it easy to use our site.”

This is the third website launch Square Root has collaborated with Neptune. Square Root’s Vice President of Operations Mark Cline believes these enhancements meet Neptune’s goals, including more engaged website visitors.

“Today’s websites are constantly changing and with Neptune’s new launch, not only do they have a beautiful, cutting-edge site, they have a powerful marketing tool that will allow them to personalize and improve the visitor experience with the goal of increasing conversions and ultimately revenues,” Cline said.

MOWERY CONSULTING, FIXR DIGITAL WIN THREE POLLIE AWARDS

MONTGOMERY – Mowery Consulting and FIXR Digital won three American Association of Political Consultants’ Pollie Awards for work on the Keep Montgomery Strange campaign.

The firm won Best Internet Advertising, Best Use of Social Media and Best Facebook Advertising for a Mayoral Candidate.

“To win three awards in categories that are the focus of our newest venture, FIXR, is validating, to say the least,” Mowery said in a statement. “To win them for the mayor of our hometown (and a great client) is even better.”

Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange won his re-election campaign. “David made sure we were using the cutting edge of digital targeting and the right mix of online and offline communications to identify, message and turn out our voters,” Strange said in a statement.  

Mowery Consulting and FIXR Digital are twin companies based in Montgomery with offices in New Orleans. Mowery Consulting is a political and public affairs strategy company while FIXR Digital is the advertising firm associated with Mowery Consulting.

TROY UNIVERSITY FEDERAL GRANT WILL ASSIST TEACHERS

TROY – The Alabama Math Science and Technology Initiative at Troy University will help local teachers establish professional learning teams (PLTs) in their schools thanks to a federal grant.

A PLT is a collaborative team of teachers whose members work together to improve the learning experience for students. This team will use real student data to determine the effectiveness of current instruction in order to develop new methods and improve existing instructional strategies.

The project is supported by a No Child Left Behind grant of $65,000 administered by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education that will fund substitutes and training materials.

HARTZELL ENGINE TECHNOLOGIES  ACQUIRES SKY-TEC PRODUCTS

LAKELAND, Fla. – Hartzell Engine Technologies LLC acquired the Sky-Tec brand of high-performance aircraft starters and solenoids.

“We are ecstatic to have successfully completed the acquisition of one of the aviation industry’s most respected brands, which significantly enhances our starter product line and adds solenoids as well,” Mike Disbrow, president of Hartzell Engine Technologies (HET), said in a statement. “Working with the entrepreneurial team behind Sky-Tec starters during our acquisition of Plane-Power alternators made it clear that our companies shared an uncommon mutual commitment to general aviation and our shared customers.”

HET will continue to produce the Sky-Tec starter and solenoid products under the Sky-Tec brand and manufacturing will continue in the current factory in Granbury, Texas through the end of the year. Production will be transferred to the company’s Montgomery facility.

The company expects to add five jobs in Montgomery.

“The purchase of the Sky-Tec brand is consistent with our strategy of growing our core product lines organically and through acquisition,” Disbrow stated. “Sky-Tec not only brings us a leadership position on Lycoming engines, it also adds new applications such as four-cylinder Continental and Rotax engines, Franklin engines and other developing aircraft power plant technologies to our product portfolio.”

ALABAMA MUNICIPAL ELECTRIC AUTHORITY, MEMBERS AWARD SCHOLARSHIPS

MONTGOMERY – The Alabama Municipal Electric Authority and its 11 members are providing $82,500 in scholarships this year for 33 high school seniors.

Each student will receive a $2,500 scholarship. Alabama Municipal Electric Authority (AMEA) received 117 scholarship applications.

Since 1992, AMEA and its members have provided more than $2 million in scholarships to graduating high school seniors, who receive their electric service from AMEA members, including Alexander City, Dothan, Fairhope, LaFayette, Lanett, Luverne, Opelika, Piedmont, Riviera Utilities (Foley), Sylacauga and Tuskegee.

Students’ families must receive electric service from a member’s electric utility and the student must attend an Alabama college or university to be eligible for a scholarship.

“We take our role as a good corporate citizen seriously,” AMEA President and CEO Fred D. Clark Jr. said in a statement. “That’s why we, along with our members, support education initiatives, like the AMEA scholarship program, that contribute to making our state economically competitive.”

BEASLEY NAMED TO ELITE LAWDRAGON 500 LIST

MONTGOMERY – Jere L. Beasley, principal and founder of Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., has been selected as one of the 2016 Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America.

This year marks the fourth time he has been named to this prestigious list. Recipients of this honor are determined by a combination of editorial research by Lawdragon staff, submissions from law firms and an online nomination form.

Beasley, the senior member of Beasley Allen, has practiced law since 1962. During his career, Beasley has tried hundreds of cases and his numerous courtroom victories include landmark cases.

HOMEWOOD SUITES BY HILTON MONTGOMERY EXECUTIVE RECEIVES SALES AWARD

MONTGOMERY – The director of sales at Homewood Suites by Hilton Montgomery received the Excellence in Sales Leadership Award for achievements last year.

Ray Brown was selected as one of 100 individual and hotel recipients honored at the company’s brand leadership conference. He works at the company’s hotel at 1800 Interstate Park Drive.

“We are honored that Ray was recognized as a top sales award winner,” General Manager Francine Molette said in a statement. “Ray’s recognition from the brand demonstrates his commitment to our property and our guests’ satisfaction.”

The hotel features 91 suites with fully-equipped kitchens and separate living and sleeping areas.

HOBBY LOBBY COMING TO EASTCHASE

MONTGOMERY – Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. is building a 55,000-square-foot location at EastChase that is expected to open next spring. It will be located by Costco on a seven-acre site. Work on the project is scheduled to begin in the summer.

“Hobby Lobby has been a part of our community for many years and we look forward to their new store joining the EastChase development,” Jim Wilson & Associates President Will Wilson said in a statement. Jim Wilson & Associates and Alfa Realty Inc. are the developers of the 330-plus acre EastChase.

“We are thrilled to relocate our Montgomery store and look forward to serving our customers in an amazing new location,” John Schumacher, assistant vice president of advertising for Hobby Lobby Stores, said in a statement. “We know our customers will experience an improved and enhanced shopping experience in this new facility.”

OAKWORTH CAPITAL BANK NAMES MONTGOMERY ADVISORY BOARD

Oakworth Capital Bank announced its inaugural advisory board in Montgomery.

The Montgomery advisory board consists of Katrina Belt, Alex Carothers, Bill Hardgrave, Susan Harris, Hank Hutchinson, Don Rickard and Clark Sahlie.

EXTRA HELP REBRANDS AS HIRELEVEL

ST. LOUIS – Extra Help Inc., one of the region’s largest Women Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) Suppliers, announced it has rebranded and has become HireLevel. 

The name HireLevel is aligned with the workplace management company’s longtime mission as well as future growth plans. HireLevel is committed to supporting its clients and taking their business to the next level, whether supporting staffing needs, payroll or developing comprehensive workforce management solutions.

The new color palette includes bold red and blue as well as complementary colors to create a fresh brand experience.

“Our new brand was designed to reinforce our ongoing commitment to partner with our clients and consistently deliver high-caliber talent,” President and Chief Executive Officer Teresa Katubig said in a statement. “Our goal is to build on the strength of our current brand while updating it to reflect the company’s expanded capabilities in a rapidly changing business environment.”

The new website – HireLevel.com – features a host of custom and interactive elements with a focus on ease of use.

“HireLevel, while a new name, is built on a reputation we have earned over time of delivering results, which will always be core to our company brand,” Katubig said.

LOCAL MEDICAL STUDENTS SELECTED AS ALABAMA SCHWEITZER FELLOWS

MONTGOMERY – Two medical students assigned to the Montgomery Regional Medical campus of UAB School of Medicine have been selected to the inaugural class of Alabama Schweitzer Fellows.

Taylor Pope and Sarah Teitell will spend the next year learning to address social factors that impact health and developing lifelong leadership skills in following the example set by famed physician-humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, for whom their Fellowship is named.

Pope will work with students at Glenwood Autism and Behavioral Health Center to improve their health and self-esteem through dance. Teitell will increase access to health care for runaway and/or homeless youth at Family Connection Inc. (Project HOPE). She will create a health screening assessment and local health care resource guide and assist with connecting these youth with the appropriate local free/low-cost community health agencies.

Schweitzer Fellows develop and implement service projects that address the root causes of health disparities in under-resourced communities while fulfilling their academic responsibilities. Each project is implemented in collaboration with a community-based health and/or social service organization. Schweitzer Fellowships have an intensive leadership component so that Fellows can inspire others to improve the health of those who experience barriers to care. Fellows work under the close guidance of community and academic mentors during their fellowship year.         

The Alabama Fellows will join approximately 240 other 2016-17 Schweitzer Fellows working at program sites around the United States as well as one in Lambaréné, Gabon, at the site of The Albert Schweitzer Hospital, founded by Dr. Schweitzer in 1913.

JACKSON THORNTON TECHNOLOGIES EMPLOYEE RECEIVES DESIGNATION

MONTGOMERY – Jackson Thornton Technologies Technical Services Manager Rick Thompson has received the certified information systems security professional (CISSP) designation.

Thompson has worked in the technology industry for 12-plus years. He is a systems, network and security engineer with hands-on technical experience in both the public and private sectors and advises clients on all aspects of information privacy and security programs.

To achieve the CISSP designation, Thompson met stringent requirements including professional experience and an understanding of and expertise in cybersecurity threats, technologies, standards, practices and regulations.

“We are very pleased that Rick has earned the CISSP certification; we’re grateful to have such a qualified individual managing our clients’ information security,” Brian Driskill, vice president of business operations at Jackson Thornton Technologies, said in a statement.

BOND & BOTES PROVIDES SCHOLARSHIPS

MONTGOMERY – The law firm of Bond & Botes is offering two $2,000 financial hardship scholarships for undergraduate and first-year law students.

Students must maintain a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 to be eligible for the scholarship. The undergraduate scholarship is available to high school seniors and current college students. Law students must be entering their first year to be eligible for a scholarship. The application deadline is Aug. 1.

Bond & Botes, which has offices in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee, handles bankruptcy cases.

ROSA PARKS MUSEUM OFFERS FAMILY FREE DAYS

MONTGOMERY – Family Free Days are coming to Troy University’s Rosa Parks Museum this summer.

The museum will welcome families for activities and free admission to the museum June 18, July 16 and Aug. 20. Those activities will include hands-on art projects, performance art, storytelling and more. Each month will feature a different theme.

The museum will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each of these days with activities scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For information about Family Free Days, call (334) 241-8701.

HILLTOP ARMS APARTMENTS SOLD TO SYS-CON

MONTOGMERY – The Moore Company Realty firm was the broker of the Hilltop Arms Apartment building in the Cottage Hill neighborhood.

Sys-Con bought the nine-story property from Kim F. Henderson and Joy Burgress. Terms of the deal were not announced. The broker was Gene Cody.

The firm has a sale pending on the Grove Court Apartments and recently closed on the Camelot Apartments across from One Center, which was the former site of the Montgomery Mall.

AGRIBUSINESS LEADERS ELECTED TO ALABAMA AG CREDIT BOARD

MONTGOMERY – Larry H. Gibson, Jr. of Aliceville and Mark D. Platt of Fruitdale were elected to the Alabama Ag Credit board of directors.

Gibson, who was re-elected after the expiration of his three-year board term, has served as vice chairman to the board. Gibson is president of Gibson Forest Management, a forestry consulting firm, and owns about 1,500 acres of timberland. He also manages about 55,000 acres of timberland for clients in West Alabama and East Mississippi, where he provides complete forest management services. Gibson has served on the board since 2010.

Newly-elected Platt, a full-time farmer for the past 16 years, operates 850 acres of poultry, cotton, peanuts, feed grains, cattle and timber. He has also served two years as county commissioner for Washington County.

Alabama Ag Credit has offices in Demopolis, Dothan, Enterprise, Montgomery, Monroeville, Opelika, Selma, Spanish Fort and Tuscaloosa.

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