Montgomery Business Journal

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Business Buzz, February 2011


MONTGOMERY - Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood (GMC) announced that it is adding a health care architecture department to serve clients within the medical industry.

The firm also announced that Steve Alby has been named the director of health care in the firm’s architecture division.

“Having Steve join the firm allows GMC to expand our expertise in the health care design arena,” said Jeffrey Brewer, executive vice president of Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood. “We look forward to providing the full range of architecture and engineering services to the health care community under Steve’s leadership.”

Alby, who brings 20-plus years of experience to the firm, has worked on such projects as the new Woman & Infants Center at University of Alabama-Birmingham; St. Joseph’s Women’s Center in Tucson, Ariz.; HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital, Houston; the Heart and Vascular Center at Southeast Alabama Medical Center in Dothan; and the new Patient Tower at Bay Medical Center in Panama City, Fla.

Alby is based in the firm’s Birmingham office. Regional services will be provided by resources in offices across the Southeast. The company’s corporate headquarters is in Montgomery.


MONTGOMERY - Summit Housing Partners, LLC, recently acquired multi-family properties in Texas and Oklahoma.

The company has partnered with Caritas of Austin to acquire Marshall Apartments, a 100-unit multi-family property in Austin, Texas. Caritas, a non-profit organization founded in 1964, serves 20,000 area residents with nutritional, educational and employment services.

“The acquisition of Marshall Apartments reflects our continued confidence in Austin’s exceptional business climate and growth,” said Blake Brazeal, president of Montgomery-based Summit, owner and operator of multi-family properties in the Southeast and South Central United States.

“We are pleased that the City Council of Austin — one of the most progressive cities in the nation — has voted unanimously to contribute $2.5 million of city funds toward the redevelopment of Marshall,” Brazeal said.

Summit announced that the property will undergo a rehab in excess of $20,000 per unit.

The company has also purchased Woodrun Village Apartments, a 192-unit multi-family property in Yukon, Okla., a suburb of Oklahoma City. “We expect this acquisition to immediately contribute to earnings and intend to continue looking for additional opportunities in Oklahoma,” Brazeal said.

Summit Housing Partners, LLC was founded in 1995 and is an owner and operator of 88 properties with about 14,000 units in nine states.


MONTGOMERY – WSFA 12 News continues to grow as the local news preference for viewers.

In the most recent ratings survey completed in late November, more viewers watched WSFA 12 News for all local newscasts than watched every other channel combined in those time periods as WSFA increased viewers at 6 a.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.

At 6 p.m., WSFA averaged 90,000 viewers each night and the three other local network affiliates combined (WAKA - CBS, WNCF - ABC and WCOV - FOX) averaged 27,000.

At 10 p.m., WSFA averaged 77,000 viewers each night while the other three local network affiliates combined to average 23,000.

At 5 p.m., WSFA averaged 73,000 viewers each night and the other three local network affiliates combined to average 28,000.

At 6 a.m., WSFA averaged 53,000 viewers each morning and the other network affiliates combined to average 14,000.

During the month of November, also increased its page views to nearly 3 million with 500,000 unique users.    


MONTGOMERY - LifeSouth Community Blood Centers will be offering youngsters in the Montgomery area a fun way to get up and get moving at the April 9 Five Points of Life Kids Marathon.

“This event offers great lessons on goal setting and is a real motivator for fitness,” said LifeSouth South Alabama District Director Judy Russell. “And when you see their excitement and the smiles on their faces when they get their medals at the finish line, you’ll see just how much these kids enjoy it.”

The run is offered through LifeSouth’s Five Points of Life Program, which helps raise awareness about five ways to save lives through donation. Through the program children can learn the science behind donation, while also getting active.

A marathon is 26.2 miles and the participants in kindergarten through eighth grade will run or walk that distance, a little bit at a time, keeping track of their mileage on log sheets as they go. The goal is to run 25 miles before the big day, then complete the final 1.2 miles in a community fun run that will be 9 a.m. April 9 at the YMCA Goodtimes Center at 2325 Mill Ridge in Montgomery.

Registration is free at through March 1 and then it costs $5 until the day of the fun run. The cost to register at the YMCA on the day of the event is $10. All participants receive a Five Points of Life T-shirt and will receive a medal at the finish line.

Log sheets to keep track of the mileage may be downloaded from the website or picked up at the Montgomery LifeSouth location by calling Melinda Hinds (334) 260-0803. For information, call LifeSouth at (888) 795-2707.


MONTGOMERY – The law firm of Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., announced that shareholders J. Greg Allen and Andy D. Birchfield Jr., have been named as the firm’s “Litigators of the Decade.”

Beasley Allen annually recognizes its attorneys who demonstrate exceptional professional skill throughout the course of the year and who best represent the firm’s ideal of “helping those who need it most.” The “Litigator of the Decade” award was created in 2010 to recognize the attorney or attorneys who have demonstrated consistent excellence on behalf of their clients and the firm.

“The two lawyers in our firm who were recognized for exceptional performances over the past 10 years are most deserving,” said the firm’s founding shareholder, Jere L. Beasley.

Allen began working with Jere Beasley in 1979, serving as a law clerk while attending Jones School of Law in the evenings. He joined the firm after graduation and now practices in the area of personal injury and product liability.

Birchfield, who joined the firm in 1996, was instrumental in developing the mass torts litigation section in 2000, of which he is now section head.

Two lawyers were selected as the firm’s “Litigators of the Year for 2010: ” J. Cole Portis, head of the firm’s personal injury and product liability section; and C. Gibson Vance, who practices in the firm’s fraud section.

In addition, Beasley Allen recognized excellence in each of its sections, naming the “Lawyer of the Year” in each. Honorees for 2010 are Richard D. Morrison, personal injury section; Roman A. Shaul, fraud section; Russell T. Abney, mass torts section; Benjamin C. Baker Jr., product liability section; and John E. Tomlinson, toxic torts section.


MONTGOMERY – Online Commerce Group reported a 97 percent increase in Cyber Monday retail sales.

The Montgomery-based company also had banner years in 2008 and 2009 with gains of more than 65 percent for each of those years.

Cushion Source (, the flagship of Online Commerce Group (OCG), had a 109 percent increase in 2010 Cyber Monday sales vs. 2009.

Eastman Kodak, a new client for OCG in 2010, produced successful Cyber Monday sales at Kodak Outdoors ( The site, launched in August 2010 and managed by OCG, generated more than 5 percent of its total income for the year within one day.

Consumers who shop online receive deep discounts on Cyber Monday, similar to those offered on Black Friday.


MONTGOMERY - Paul Hodges attended Exit Realty International Convention at Hyatt Regency in Dallas.

“I cannot wait to go again next year,” said Hodges, who operates Exit Hodges Real Estate. “As a real estate professional, I was able to broaden my industry knowledge in a wide variety of issues. This is an exciting time to be a Realtor and to be part of the Exit Revolution.”

The convention is an annual event that brings top real estate professionals together to interact and learn from each other. The convention is designed to promote discussions about issues and trends in the real estate market.


MONTGOMERY - The Montgomery Revealed Team from Emerge Montgomery Torchbearers Leadership Class II has helped revitalize Southern Boulevard.

“Repainting Montgomery’s Canvas: One Business at a Time” is a partnership with local businesses to improve Southern Boulevard’s curb appeal.

The goal of the project is to make Montgomery a more attractive city in which to live and support the city’s new branding campaign to improve the image of the Capital City.

The first business to receive assistance through the new program was Easter Seals of Central Alabama. A team of 30-plus volunteers from Easter Seals, Baptist Health, Maxwell Air Force Base Medical Group and Volunteers in Action painted the awning and front entrance of the building, pressure washed the walkway and entrance, repainted the parking lot and performed other maintenance tasks that upgraded and enhanced the appearance of Easter Seals of Central Alabama’s facility. The work was done on Sept. 11, the National Day of Service and Remembrance.

The Montgomery Revealed Team consisted of Chase Chambliss, Emily Dziedzic, J.R. Gaines, Stefanie Hicks, Cornelius Jones, Nakia Kyler, Meg Lewis and Tenaya Watson. Emerge Montgomery’s Torchbearers’ Leadership class provides young professionals the skills and connections to become a community leader. Emerge Montgomery is a program of Leadership Montgomery and is an initiative of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce.


BIRMINGHAM – has added Montgomery area real estate listings to its website.

The company, working in conjunction with the Montgomery Area Association of Realtors, now offers thousands of listings from the multiple listings service, which includes property and homes for sale in the Montgomery, Elmore, Coosa, Chilton and surrounding county areas as well as Lake Martin.  

Home buyers can target their search to a neighborhood or zip code in the Montgomery area. They can view full-listing details and pictures and plot a driving tour of several properties.

“In addition to bringing real-time news, sports, entertainment and other information to residents of Montgomery, is proud offer an online real estate resource to home buyers,” said Cindy Martin, president and CEO of Birmingham-based


MONTGOMERY- Local business owner Darian O. Clark has written a book about strategies to become a successful entrepreneur.

Clark, who operates the Smoothie-n-Things Café at 109 S. Court St., has written: The Gateway To Entrepreneurship: Motivational Strategies To Invest In Yourself.

The book tackles issues such as “Doing things the right way the first time,” “Appearance and customer service” and “The ‘I’ in team.” Clark wrote, “Many times people say there is no ‘I’ in team, well there is an ‘I’. You’re the ‘I’ because you’re the manager, the employee, janitor, and anything else that needs to be done. The ‘I’ in team is the one who makes it happen.”

The book will be available in paperback, eBook and audio book. For information, contact Clark at (504) 251-7943 or e-mail at


MONTGOMERY – A highly advanced form of breast imaging first used in Montgomery is set to change the face of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment worldwide.

As the investigator of an FDA clinical trial, Montgomery Breast Center was the first in the country to install and use the GammaLoc lesion-localization system – the only FDA-approved device for gamma-guided, minimally invasive needle biopsy of suspicious lesions identified with Breast-Specific Gamma Imaging (BSGI).

Montgomery Breast Center now regularly uses two Dilon 6800 gamma cameras to reveal lesions independent of tissue density and discover early stage cancers that can be missed with other imaging methods.

“We’re proud to be leaders in the field of breast imaging, and to be a part of something that is revolutionizing breast cancer care and women’s health in general,” said Tina Hodge, manager of breast imaging at Montgomery Breast Center. “We’re excited about the rest of the world seeing the kinds of results we see every day.”

Montgomery Breast Center is a subsidiary of Montgomery Cancer Center.


BIRMINGHAM – Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP has been named to the prestigious BTI Client Service A-Team for 2011.

The firm is listed among “Client Service 30,” which are the top 30 law firms in the country as recognized for client service. Placement on the elite list is based on an independent survey of corporate counsel at companies across the country. The annual survey of nearly 300 corporate counsel found that Bradley Arant Boult Cummings delivers better client service than 95.4 percent of the law firms serving some of the world’s largest companies.

The BTI Client Service 30 is the only law firm ranking based solely on direct, unprompted feedback from corporate counsel.

The firm has offices throughout the Southeast, including two in Alabama – Birmingham and Montgomery.


MONTGOMERY – A Ronald Blue & Co., LLC principal received a first-place award for his monthly financial column in Prime Montgomery.

Alan Wallace, a financial adviser in the company’s Montgomery office, was recognized for his column called MoneyWise.

The award was announced at the Magazine North American Mature Publishers Association conference in Branson, Mo. Judges said Wallace’s column “... is written with a true authoritative voice ... topics are timely and relevant for the intended audience.”

Prime Montgomery is a lifestyle magazine for those 50 and older. 

Ronald Blue & Co., LLC, headquartered in Atlanta, manages about $5 billion in assets and employs a staff of more than 250 people.


MONTGOMERY - Wells Printing Co. announced the relocation of its mailing and distribution/warehousing divisions into the Albany International building.

Wells Mailing and Wells Distribution now operate in a 161,000-square-foot facility, which will enable Wells to consolidate resources, improve workflow and offer more services. The Albany building, which sits on 34 acres at the corner of Bell Road and Troy Highway, has room for future growth or commercial development.

Wells Distribution is one of the area’s largest ground-shipping companies while Wells Mailing is the only certified presort bureau located in Central Alabama and offers many other mailing and marketing services.

“We have always sought to be the best at what we do, and our customers have made us the largest business of our type in the area,” said Irvin Wells, president and CEO of Wells Printing Co.

“Now, with over 200,000 square feet of operating space among our printing, mailing and distribution enterprises, Wells can provide our clients with even more comprehensive service.”


MONTGOMERY – More than 300 students graduated from Auburn University at Montgomery during its fall commencement ceremony.

Among those earning degrees are five graduates of one of the South’s few cytotechnology programs. Cytotechnology is a health care specialty that focuses on the microscopic evaluation of cell samples from the human body. These lab workers screen for pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions, infectious organisms and other diseases – detecting and reporting signs of cancer.

“Cytotechnologists are integral to the health care field,” said Sonya Griffin, cytotechnology director at AUM and assistant professor of biology. “We solve medical puzzles, leading to early diagnosis and treatment – which saves lives.”

AUM’s program is one of only two cytotechnology programs in Alabama. Most cytotechnology programs are found in the Northeast, where jobs are more plentiful.


MONTGOMERY – BackChannelMedia announced that WSFA 12 News and WCOV Fox 20 have signed up to participate in the launch of Clickable TV to select Knology digital HD cable subscribers in the Montgomery area.

Both stations were expected to participate in the product’s January launch, enabling portions of their live broadcasts and advertisements to be interactive - or “clickable.”  

“BackChannelMedia is excited to work together with WSFA, WCOV, Knology and other Montgomery broadcasters to provide TV viewers with this new interactive service,” said Daniel Hassan, chairman and CEO of BackChannelMedia. “Clickable TV connects viewers directly with the programming, brands and advertisers that they are interested in, according to their own preferences.”

When watching a television that has Clickable TV enabled, small icons called “Clickable Moments” appear on the viewer’s television screen. These Clickable Moments indicate that the viewer can press the “select” button on their remote control to forward more information about what they are viewing to their preferred e-mail address. Clickable TV is free of charge to viewers, requires no additional product installation and uses the existing remote control in viewer homes.

“Clickable TV provides our viewers with a new, innovative way to interact with our programming and commercials,” said Ken Selvaggi, general manager of WSFA.

David Woods, president of WCOV, said, “This is the beginning of interactive television. We are pleased to be on the leading edge of this new technology.”


MONTGOMERY – Merchant Capital was ranked No. 1 in Alabama and 34th in the country in Thomson Reuters’ list of top managing underwriters for 2010.

It is the 17th straight year that Merchant Capital has received the state’s top ranking. Merchant Capital, which has its corporate headquarters in Montgomery, served as senior-manager for 71 bond issues that totaled more than $1.2 billion.

“This was another challenging year in the credit markets,” said Thomas Ashley Harris, chairman of Merchant Capital. “We are pleased with our performance in 2010 and are optimistic that 2011 will see stabilization in the financial marketplace and continued improvement in the economy.

“We are grateful for the confidence our clients placed in our hands in 2010, and Merchant Capital looks forward to serving municipal and corporate customers across the Southeast in 2011 and beyond.”

The firm’s 2010 bond issues included funding for a variety of municipal issues as well as industrial development and affordable housing.

Since its inception in 1987, the firm has managed more than $33.4 billion in municipal, industrial and housing bonds.

Thomson Reuters is an independent New York-based company that tracks bond issues and publishes annual rankings.


MONTGOMERY – The Beasley Allen Law Firm presented the 12th Wii gaming system in its year-long “Wii Give Back!” campaign to the United Methodist Children’s Home.

The United Methodist Children’s Home (UMC) provides residential group homes for children, teens and young mothers; transitional homes for young adults; regular and therapeutic foster-care programs; family preservation and support services for families dealing with child abuse and neglect; adoption home studies; scholarships and family aid.

The Wii was presented to the Headland Group Home, also called “The Settlement,” which serves up to eight teenage boys and also has a transitional living facility.

 “We truly appreciate Beasley Allen’s generosity,” said Allen Sims, supervisor of Headland Group Home. “Our boys here at ‘The Settlement’ will really enjoy having this Wii system.”


MONTGOMERY - WSFA 12 News began a daily 9 p.m. newscast: News At Nine on digital channel WSFA 12.2.

News At Nine, anchored by Mark Bullock weekdays and Cody Holyoke weekends, features breaking news and comprehensive coverage of the day’s top stories, updated weather forecasts from Jeff Jumper and the Doppler 12 Storm Vision team and sports with Jeff Shearer and Derek Steyer.

WSFA 12.2 can be found over the air by using a digital antenna. It can also be found on a viewer’s local cable provider: Charter channel 136, Knology channel 121, Bright House channel 213 or 228, Troy Cablevision channel 102, Time Warner channel 306, Opp Cable Vision channel 104 and on Andalusia Cable channel 92.1.

WSFA 12.2 is a family friendly channel with a mix of nostalgic television shows from The Retro Television Network as well as local news, weather and public affairs programming.  The News at Nine will be followed by local programs Law Call with Kim Wanous on Monday, On the Job with Bobby Jon Drinkard on Tuesday, Shine the Light with Kim Hendrix on Wednesday, Newsmakers with Bob Howell on Thursday, Visions with Cedric Varner on Friday, and Newsmakers, Visions and Shine the Light on Saturday. 

WSFA 12 News offers a rebroadcast of Alabama Live! at 6:30 p.m. weeknights on WSFA 12.2, and a rebroadcast of the 6 p.m. news nightly at 7:30 p.m.  

WSFA 12 News General Manager Ken Selvaggi, called the News At Nine “a signature program for WSFA 12.2.”

WSFA 12 News began producing a 9 p.m. newscast three years ago for River Region viewers and viewers of Raycom Media affiliate station WDFX in Dothan.  New Year’s Day was the first time it aired live on WSFA 12.2.    


MONTGOMERY- A Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts official has been installed as the president of the Montgomery Chapter of the Public Relations Council of Alabama.

Lara Lewis, marketing and public relations director of the museum, will lead the public relations organization.

Other officers include: President-Elect Diane Christy, communication director -Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants; Vice President of Programs - Meg Lewis, director of marketing and communications - Alabama Shakespeare Festival; Vice President of Membership - DiDi Henry, public affairs director - Montgomery County Commission; Vice President of Projects - Morgan Berney, marketing and events coordinator - Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce; Vice President of Education - Nia Johnson, communications coordinator - Lads to Leaders & Leaderettes; Vice President of Communications - Robert Burns, public relations and sales manager – Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama; Secretary - Julie Joyner, director of communications and marketing - River Region United Way; Treasurer - Amy Odom, public relations supervisor - United Methodist Children’s; Historian - Kristi Gates, community relations specialist - Alabama Department of Mental Health; Student Liaison - Melody Ragland Kitchen, public relations manager - Baptist Health; Past President and Ethics Chair - Carol Gunter, public relations administrator - City of Montgomery; Member-at-Large - Alison Ingle, communications manager - Alabama Housing Finance; and Board Adviser - Lori Moneyham, public information specialist - Alabama Real Estate Commission.

The Public Relations Council of Alabama is the state’s longest operating and largest group of public relations practitioners. The Montgomery Chapter of PRCA is one of six chapters in Alabama that offers career development opportunities, mentors college students and works to improve the professionalism of public relations practice through its accreditation program.

The Montgomery PRCA chapter meets on the second Tuesday of each month at the Montgomery Country Club. For more information, visit


MONTGOMERY – The Frazer Lanier Co. has been ranked as the No. 1 public finance investment banking firm in the state of Alabama for 2010, according to financial information provider Thomson Financial.

The Frazer Lanier Co., based in Montgomery, achieved the top ranking for the sixth consecutive year. 

The firm, which serves clients throughout the Southeast and across the country, is dedicated primarily to municipal and corporate finance. The firm’s clients include state, county and local governments, corporations, utilities, non-profit healthcare providers, higher education institutions, municipal airports and other issuers of tax-exempt and taxable debt.

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