Montgomery Business Journal

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January 2016


MONTGOMERY– Doug Jeffords and Evan Conder have joined Jim Wilson & Associates, LLC.

Jeffords is the new vice president of construction and will oversee all aspects of construction for the company’s multi-faceted real estate development and management business. He is a graduate of Auburn University’s building science curriculum and has been in the construction industry since 1989.

As a development and construction manager, Jeffords’ experience includes multi-family, retail, hospitality, mixed use, industrial and office developments.

Conder was named the development director and will be involved in site selection and acquisition, land planning and entitlements, shopping centers and net lease development for the company’s commercial property division.

He has a master’s degree in urban planning and real estate development from the University of Louisville and a bachelor’s degree from Western Kentucky University. In the past four years, Conder has been involved in more than $100 million of new development projects across the Southeast.


MONTGOMERY – Extra Help Inc. announced that Cierra Belser has joined its business development team.

She will be focusing on building client relationships, expanding business development and growing the Montgomery area. She comes to Extra Help with experience in higher education and account management.

“Cierra is a great addition to our team,” Extra Help President and CEO Teresa Katubig said in a statement. “Our company takes pride in being a group of hard-working individuals who care about the success of our clients. Cierra fills that role well.”

Belser, who has lived in the region for 16-plus years, said in a statement: “I look forward to focusing on reaching out within the community to see where companies’ staffing and hiring needs are, and how Extra Help, Inc. can assist them in solving their HR challenges.”


MONTGOMERY – J. Ross Gunnells has joined the law firm Butler Snow’s government relations group in Montgomery.

Gunnells, who most recently served as Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley’s legislative affairs director, brings a wealth of experience to the firm’s growing government relations practice.

He began his career in government as the finance director for Bentley’s campaign in 2010, when he assisted the campaign in raising more than $12 million. He has since served in various roles within state government, including serving as the assistant director of the Alabama Rural Development Office and the House liaison and deputy director for the governor’s Office of Legislative Affairs. 

Gunnells received a bachelor’s degree in management from The University of Alabama.

Butler Snow LLP has more than 300 attorneys representing local, regional, national and international clients from 17 U.S. offices and an international office in London


MONTGOMERY – Four Star Freightliner has hired recent Auburn University graduate Sam Long as a chassis specification engineer.

Long, who holds a degree in mechanical engineering, will report directly to Truman Ingram, Four Star Freightliner’s utility and municipal account manager. Long’s focus will be to spec and quote chassis and to work with the engineers to optimize spec offerings in the utility market.

“We believe this addition to our team will allow for increased support in both sales and service as we continuously strive to strengthen relationships with our customers,” Ingram said in a statement. “This newly created position is an example of our commitment to the utility market. We believe Sam will become a great asset to Four Star and our customers.”

Four Star’s dealer-principal, Jerry Kocan, cited increased company growth as one of the reasons behind Long’s hiring.

“Thanks to our growth in our utility and municipalities segments we felt it was important to invest and hire an engineer to add to our sales team,” Kocan said in a statement.

Long will work out of the Montgomery office. The company also has offices in Dothan; Tifton, Valdosta and Albany, Ga.; and Tallahassee, Fla.


COLUMBUS, Ga. – Mark Snead became CEO of Montgomery-based Sterling Bank Jan. 1 following the retirement of Alan Worrell.

Snead joins Sterling Bank from Synovus Bank’s Columbus Bank & Trust (CB&T) division, where he was vice president of commercial lending. Snead graduated from Auburn University and joined CB&T as a management trainee in 2000. He has held a number of retail and commercial banking positions the last 15 years at Synovus, including commercial real estate and regional lending.

“Montgomery and the River Region are important areas of growth for Synovus, and we are very fortunate to have a banker of Mark’s energy and experience lead the talented team there,” R. Dallis “D” Copeland Jr., chief community banking officer of Synovus, said in a statement. “He knows he has big shoes to fill, however, with the retirement of Alan Worrell, who has served Montgomery with great skill and care for decades. We congratulate Alan on a well-earned retirement and we thank him for the example he has set for bankers everywhere.”

Worrell will remain chairman of Sterling Bank’s board of advisers. He co-founded Sterling Bank in 1989 and will continue to help guide the firm from his role as chairman. “It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve Montgomery and the River Region at Sterling Bank,” Worrell said in a statement. “Community banking is a noble and important undertaking, and the Sterling team and our community have benefitted from the resources and expertise of Synovus. While I will miss working with teammates and customers on a daily basis, I have the greatest confidence in Mark Snead and I am certain that Sterling is in very capable hands.”

Sterling Bank, which has 258 branches in five states, was acquired by Synovus in 1992 and has four locations in the River Region.


MONTGOMERY – The Montgomery Area Council on Aging has hired Phyllis Fenn as the organization’s development director.

Her mission will include a strategic plan to expand the organization’s flagship Meals On Wheels program throughout the city and county.

“Our goal is to increase volunteer recruitment and build our corporate route partnerships so no one has to spend a night hungry,” Fenn said in a statement. “Any waiting list for seniors is too long.”

An Auburn University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Fenn’s professional career has its roots in the River Region. As membership director of the Capital City Club for the past 30 years, she contributed to the continued success of Montgomery’s only private dining club, meeting the needs of its members on both a business and social level. Prior to that, she spent eight years in the advertising, marketing and promotion department for Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, where she coordinated the printing and publication of catalogs, direct mail and magazines. Fuller & Dees Marketing Group brought her to Montgomery originally as a copywriter and editor for a vast array of fundraising books.

“The board of directors and I are thrilled to have Phyllis on the MACOA staff,” Donna Marietta, executive director of Montgomery Area Council on Aging, said in a statement. “She is a proven professional and will work diligently to serve the mission of our organization.”


MONTGOMERY – Rhonda McGough has joined Cadence Bank’s mortgage lending division as a mortgage lending manager. McGough will be originating and overseeing first lien mortgages in the Montgomery area.

“The Montgomery market has always been a strong market for our mortgage division,” Jennifer Brittian, senior vice president, Alabama regional operations manager, said in a statement. “We are excited to have Rhonda join our team and know that her extensive experience and involvement in the community will be valuable to our organization as we continue to grow.”

McGough has more than 35 years of experience in the mortgage banking industry. She specializes in purchase and refinance loans, lot loans and one-time close construction loans. 

Houston-based Cadence Bank has 65-plus locations in five states.


MONTGOMERY – Richard “Dickie” Blondheim has joined Morgan Stanley’s wealth management office as a first vice president and financial adviser.

Blondheim previously worked for Wells Fargo and its predecessor firm, A.G. Edwards, for 25 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from the University of Georgia. He will be at the firm’s office at 7515 Halcyon Summit Dr., Suite 300.

Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, a global leader, provides access to a wide range of products and services to individuals, businesses and institutions, including brokerage and investment advisory services, financial and wealth planning, banking services, annuities and insurance, retirement and trust services. 


MONTGOMERY – The certified public accounting and consulting firm Jackson Thornton announced that J. Adam Causey has been selected as the firm’s newest principal.

Causey serves as a principal in the firm’s Montgomery office, where he has worked for more than 10 years. Causey is a certified public accountant; personal financial specialist; and certified financial planner. He specializes in tax and consulting services for closely held businesses and individuals. Causey recently joined Jackson Thornton Asset Management, where he will advise clients on wealth management strategies and planning.

He is a graduate of Auburn University at Montgomery, where be obtained his undergraduate degree in accounting.


MONTGOMERY – Palomar Insurance Corp. has hired two account executives, adding Clay Milton and Betsy Styles.

Milton was an assistant underwriter with AmWins Group Inc. in Birmingham before joining Palomar. He is experienced at analyzing skills for commercial, property and casualty insurance from a wholesale perspective. Milton is a 2011 graduate from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in political science.

Styles was hired as an account executive for Aesthetisure. She has been in the insurance industry for more than 12 years. After graduating from the University of Alabama, Styles started her career in medical professional liability insurance. She is an experienced underwriter and has worked in the excess and surplus lines division for non-standard physicians for six-plus years.

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