Montgomery Business Journal

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March 2016


MONTGOMERY – Three Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood employees received professional certifications.

Birmingham transportation engineer Lisa Bowen-Whaley attained her professional engineering license after passing the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam. To become licensed, engineers must earn a four-year degree from an accredited engineering program, pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, complete four years of progressive engineering experience under a professional engineer and pass the PE exam.

Airport planner Matt Thomason recently received his American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) Certification after passing the AICP Comprehensive Planning Examination. To become certified, candidates must meet the requirements for education and experience defined by the American Planning Association (APA), pass the AICP exam, and pledge to uphold ethical standards and engage in ongoing professional development.

Thomason joined GMC’s airport planning and engineering division in January of 2015, bringing with him a wide-range of expertise, including development of airport master plans, airport layout plans and capital improvement plans; agency and public coordination; airport planning design; airspace analysis, noise and environmental analysis; safety management systems; and terminal programming studies. He also became a certified member of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) in September of 2015.

Rachel Crafton-Stiver, an architect in the firm’s Montgomery office, achieved National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) Certification upon completing all of the requirements to become a registered architect. To become NCARB-certified, candidates must have a professional degree from a National Architectural Accrediting Board-accredited program, complete the intern development program training requirements, pass all divisions of the Architect Registration Examination and receive a license to practice from one of the state registration boards.


ATLANTA – Ronald Blue & Co. was recently ranked No. 4 for 2016 among the nation’s “Top 150 RIAs” (registered investment advisors) by the weekly industry publication Financial Planning.

The list of independent fee-only planning firms had strict requirements excluding firms with broker-dealer and insurance company affiliations and large outside owners. The list included only firms that provide holistic financial planning – not just investment advice – to more than 50 percent of their individual clients, ranked by assets under management.

Ronald Blue & Co., which has a downtown Montgomery office, was founded in 1979. It is one of the largest independent fee-only wealth management firms in the United States with more than $8 billion of assets under management and has 6,000-plus clients.


MONTGOMERY – Online business education and career guide Top Management Degrees has ranked the master of business administration degree program in Auburn University at Montgomery’s College of Business among the top 50 most affordable MBA programs in the U.S.

This ranking looked at the more than 500 schools in the U.S. that hold an accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International, which is the gold standard for business school accreditors. Data was then gathered from AACSB International, the National Center for Education Statistics and the individual program websites. The MBA programs were ranked based on in-state tuition and fees.

AUM’s College of Business was ranked No. 33.

“Our MBA program, a public education delivered in a private school experience, offers a high-quality program in which students receive personal attention thanks to the small class size,” College of Business Dean Rhea Ingram said in a statement. “We are also able to accommodate many working schedules, allowing most students to achieve their goal of earning their MBA. We continuously partner with the local business leaders, who validate what students should learn to become the next effective business leader.”


MONTGOMERY – Auburn University at Montgomery professor Don Amoroso has published a research paper entitled “Exploring the Personal Innovativeness Construct: The Roles of Ease of Use, Satisfaction and Attitudes.”

Amoroso, Lowder-Weil Endowed Chair and information systems professor in the College of Business, was published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Information Systems.

In another development, Megan Hughes, senior manager for marketing and communications in the university’s College of Business, has successfully completed the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations, which enables her to use the APR professional designation.

The accreditation program aims to improve the practice of public relations by assessing competence in 60 areas of knowledge, skills and abilities associated with the profession. The examination is designed for public relations professionals with five to seven years of job experience and/or a bachelor’s degree in a communication field. Candidates who successfully complete the process, including presenting a portfolio to a Readiness Review panel of three peers and sitting for a computer-based examination, are granted the APR designation. 

Meanwhile, Amoroso’s research paper found that personal innovativeness, early acceptance of an innovation, was strongly correlated to repurchase intention. “Personal innovativeness also explained consumer satisfaction through attitude of the consumer,” Amoroso said in a statement. “This research helps to define personal innovativeness and its impact on consumer repurchase intention and is important to online retailers who count on repeat sales. Online retailers may build factors that encourage personal innovativeness, such as co-creation through user participation in consumer focus groups.”


MONTGOMERY – Gilpin Givhan, PC was recently named as a “Best Law Firm in America,” by the review guide Best Lawyers.

With offices in Montgomery and Birmingham, Gilpin Givhan, provides services throughout Alabama with practice groups that include, taxation, business transactions, estate and trusts, health care, labor and employment and municipal and public financing.  

Individual attorneys named by Best Lawyers are shareholders Robert E. L. Gilpin for tax law and litigation and controversy – tax; David Hunt for health care law; Lynlee Palmer for employment law – management, labor law – management, and litigation – labor and employment; Davis Smith for tax law; and John Ward Weiss for health care law. 

Weiss was also honored as Best Lawyers’ 2016 Montgomery health care law “Lawyer of the Year.” Only a single lawyer in each practice area and each community is honored as a “Lawyer of the Year.”

Gregg B. Everett was selected as an Alabama Super Lawyer. Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

Best Lawyers is one of the oldest and most highly respected peer review guide to the legal profession worldwide.


ATMORE – Wind Creek Hospitality (WCH) placed fifth in the Best Casinos to Work For contest.

The Best Casinos to Work For 2016 contest was created by Casino Journal, an independent global information source for gaming, and Best Companies Group (BCG), a company whose goal is to establish programs that “distinguish companies who demonstrate and are superior in workplace excellence.”

The contest gave casino employees across North America an opportunity to voice their opinion about their workplace by confidentially completing surveys and questionnaires that consisted of eight core focus areas. The results were then tallied in a point system in order to recognize the highest-ranking contenders.

WCH, which has casino/hotel properties in Montgomery, Wetumpka and Atmore, has 2,000-plus employees. Employees are recognized with quarterly incentive compensation and recognition programs such as the Best of the Best Awards and Wind Creek Cash.

In addition to a company-wide wellness program, each property has a wellness center with an on-site trainer.

“I am thrilled that our employees feel so positive about working at Wind Creek Hospitality,” Catherine Timmons, vice president of human resources for WCH, said in a statement. “Being recognized as “One of the Best Casinos to Work for in 2016” is a tremendous honor, especially since it was our own employees who provided the feedback.”


AUBURN – The certified public accounting and business advisory firm Machen McChesney has acquired the Montgomery-based accounting firm of Wolf & Taunton.

Wolf & Taunton began offering professional services in Montgomery in 1987. The firm was formed by Bobby Taunton, who will continue to head the Montgomery office, and the recently retired Marcus Wolf.

“Machen McChesney is a CPA firm I have admired my entire life – to become a part of their organization is personally very exciting for me,” Taunton said in a statement. “I am 100 percent convinced it will be a very rewarding relationship for our existing clients and the new clients we anticipate obtaining in the Montgomery area as we grow as a newly combined accounting firm. Under the firm’s leadership, I know our Montgomery office and clients will be well taken care of.”

Machen McChesney has a 60-year history. “We are very excited to combine forces under the Machen McChesney name to continue having a positive impact on our region,” Machen McChesney Managing Partner Marty Williams said in a statement. He said that Wolf & Taunton and their employees “share the same values we do when it comes to returning value through outstanding client service, top-notch services and a commitment to community.”

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