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News - July 26, 2014

ALFA INSURANCE LAUNCHES ALFA2GO SERVICE

MONTGOMERY – Alfa Insurance customers can now pay bills, file claims and access policy information from the convenience of their iPhone and Android smartphones with the latest version of the Alfa2Go app.

“This version of Alfa2Go demonstrates our commitment to providing our valued customers with more convenient ways than ever to interact with Alfa,” said Walter Overby, vice president of corporate Internet and e-business for Alfa Insurance. “Customers can take advantage of the personal service they expect from us, now with the additional option of accessing important services anytime, anywhere from their smartphones.”

In addition to paying bills and filing claims, customers who register their policies with MyAlfa can access policy information or view their auto insurance identification cards through a secure connection on their handheld devices.

“The ability to view auto identification cards is especially valuable with the recent decision by the State of Alabama to accept digital images as proof of insurance,” Overby said. “Alabama was one of the first states in the country to accept electronic identification cards for law enforcement and we believe other states will follow suit.”

In addition to these convenient new features, Alfa2Go offers a number of other tools. Customers can set up vehicle maintenance reminders that prompt them to change the oil, rotate tires, renew license tags or renew their driver’s license. A mapping feature, powered by Google Maps, also helps customers locate Alfa offices, tow trucks, body shops and gas stations. Plus, customers who are members of the Alabama Farmers Federation can access money-saving member benefits.

Alfa2Go is a free download from the Apple App Store or Android Market. Learn more about Alfa2Go at www.alfains.com/alfa2go.

THREE ATTORNEYS NAMED TO SUPER LAWYERS’ LIST

MONTGOMERY – Three attorneys with Sasser, Sefton, Brown, Tipton & Davis, P.C. were named to the 2012 edition of Alabama Super Lawyers magazine.

The Super Lawyers selection process produces a list of lawyers who attain high peer recognition, meet ethical standards and demonstrate a degree of achievement in their field.

Only 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are named by Super Lawyers. The firm’s lawyers selected are Robert E. Sasser, business litigation; Patrick L. W. Sefton, banking litigation; and Bowdy J. “Bo” Brown, bankruptcy and creditor/debtor rights.

JACKSON THORNTON UTILITIES OPENS MISSISSIPPI OFFICE

MONTGOMERY – Jackson Thornton Utilities Consultants (JTUC) announced the addition of an office in Mississippi to facilitate the continued expansion of its services throughout Mississippi, West Tennessee and Kentucky.

Brian Henson, an experienced economic and business developer, has joined the JTUC staff and will focus his efforts on continuing to grow the firm’s utilities consulting business.

Jackson Thornton Utilities Consultants, a division of Jackson Thornton, has provided cost of service studies, rate design, financial modeling and forecasting, strategic planning and internal control evaluation services to the utilities industry for more than 65 years. Serving electric, water/sewer, natural gas and telecommunications/broadband providers, JTUC’s newest office will be located in the growing north Jackson area of Ridgeland.

“We are thrilled to officially open our first Mississippi office as we have worked throughout the state for many years,” said Terry Mitchell, a Jackson Thornton principal and leader of JTUC. “The addition of Brian Henson to our group will allow us to provide even better service to our current clients and position us for even stronger growth across Mississippi and the surrounding states.”

Ned Sheffield, Jackson Thornton’s managing principal, said, “We look forward to expanding our reach in Mississippi and becoming more involved in the utility sector initially, and the health care and industrial sectors soon after. The firm has a record of proven success for clients in those niche areas and we feel we can bring real value to the market.”

JIM WILSON & ASSOCIATES DEVELOPS NEW LEASING PLAN FOR HIGH POINT TOWN CENTER

MONTGOMERY – Jim Wilson & Associates will focus on adding restaurants, jewelry, gift stores and women’s and juniors’ clothing stores at High Point Town Center in Prattville.

“Patience may be the most important watch word as retail moves deliberately while the economy recovers; the consumer returns and the retail tenants once again address excellent expansion opportunities,” Will Wilson, president of Jim Wilson & Associates, said in a statement.

Woody Rush, the firm’s senior vice president of leasing, has developed a new tenant merchandizing plan for the 480,000-plus square-foot shopping center. Jim Wilson & Associates is leasing and managing the site.

“The goal is to turn up the efforts to give Prattville and the surrounding market additional retail store selection at High Point Town Center,” Rush said in a statement.

High Point Town Center, which features Belk, JCPenney, Publix and Best Buy, is adjacent to Bass Pro Shops – the company’s first location in Alabama. The project has 38 acres for future apartments or other projects as well as 12 outparcels.

Jim Wilson & Associates has developed more than 21 million square feet of retail space as well as office, real estate and hotels.

MONTGOMERY BUSINESSES SUPPORT URBAN SEED XCHANGE

MONTGOMERY – Common Ground Montgomery has formed local partnerships for the Urban SEED Xchange.

Urban SEED Xchange is a relationship-based entrepreneur mentorship program that focuses on character, social and life skills development. Guardian Credit Union, Jackson Thornton, Starke Agency and Montgomery Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics are sponsors of the program.

“The sponsorship money helped pay for our screen printing equipment that will allow the kids to make money printing shirts,” said Dan Scott, director of Urban SEED Xchange.

“But more important than the money, these professionals are going to be involved in teaching these students invaluable business principles. We are thrilled to have these businesses on our team.”

Common Ground Montgomery is a Christian nonprofit organization committed to transforming communities by investing in urban youth.

INMONTGOMERY MEDIA GROUP ABBREVIATES NAME

MONTGOMERY – inMontgomery Media Group announced that it has begun abbreviating its name to inMMGroup.

The legal name of inMontgomery Media Group will remain unchanged. “Using the abbreviated name of inMMGroup will allow us to not confuse our customers as we expand our platform into other markets,” publisher Christopher Thomas said. “We are proud of the City of Montgomery and happy that ‘Montgomery’ is in our name.”

Currently, inMMGroup provides digital and mobile device media to Montgomery (inMontgomery.us) and Atlanta (inAtlanta.us). Combined, the two markets make more than 4.5 million impressions. The company planned to add two more markets in September.

inMontgomery Media Group (inMMGroup) manages digital publications which target 25- to 49-year-olds.

WSFA 12 NEWS ADDS DOWNTOWN STUDIO

MONTGOMERY – WSFA 12 News and the City of Montgomery have entered into an agreement to deliver live television news broadcasts from the 1 Dexter Plaza.

This new venue, which overlooks Dexter Avenue and the Capitol, will take viewers downtown every day, showcasing downtown Montgomery. The working WSFA 12 News newsroom will feature a television studio with weather facilities as well as work space.

“We are proud to be a part of the revitalization of downtown Montgomery and look forward to the enhanced WSFA 12 News newscasts this downtown venue will make available to our viewers,” said Collin R. Gaston, vice president and general manager for WSFA 12 News. “WSFA 12 News has been a part of the Central Alabama communities for nearly 57 years and this added studio shows our dedication to the River Region and downtown Montgomery.

“Newscasts will be co-anchored from this new studio; reporters and newsmakers will also use the studio to showcase state and Montgomery stories. In addition, our team of meteorologists will be able to use the venue to present the weather. Visitors to downtown Montgomery will be able to see what is happening in the studio from street level adding a new level of excitement to Dexter Avenue.”

WSFA hoped to begin its downtown broadcasts in early October from the second floor.

The new WSFA 12 News studio will feature two studio cameras, outside cameras and cabling to the streets of downtown Montgomery for live shots in front of the fountain and Dexter Avenue. The studio will be enclosed in glass so guests to 1 Dexter Plaza will be able to watch a live WSFA 12 News newscast.

WALKER360 WINS NATIONAL AWARDS

MONTGOMERY– Advertising agency Walker360 won three “Tellies” at the 33rd Annual Telly Awards competition this year.

The firm won awards for television commercials for Guardian Credit Union. A third commercial won an award for TV campaign. The Telly Awards are a prestigious annual competition to recognize the nation’s best local and regional TV commercials with nearly 11,000 entries from all 50 states and numerous countries.

“We are honored to be recognized for our work,” said Walker360 Creative Director Rob Hatfield, writer and producer of the winning commercials. “But more importantly, it’s great to have a client like Guardian who recognizes that exceptional creative produces exceptional results and gives you the freedom and encouragement to do it.”

Walker360 is an advertising and printing company that offers a range of services from marketing plans and strategies, to graphic design and copywriting for radio, TV, print, outdoor, direct mail, websites, and packaging. The company has offices in Montgomery and Atlanta.

INDUSTRIAL SPECIALTY CO. BECOMES ISO CERTIFIED

MONTGOMERY – Industrial Specialty Co. Inc. has become ISO 9001:2008 certified.

The company is a provider of precision metalworking, anodizing, military-specified painting and services to meet customer and applicable regulatory requirements.

“As a result of achieving the ISO 9001:2008 certification, we strongly feel that Industrial Specialty Co. Inc. as a company has gained in value,” said Darrell Dapprich, president of that Industrial Specialty Co. “We are both proud and grateful for the excellent teamwork displayed by our employees in making this certification a reality.

“This certification enables us to assure our current customers and also potential future customers of our capability to deliver high-quality products and services. With our goals focused on the emphasis of quality assurance and innovative production, we look forward to bringing the business to new heights in the months and years to come.”

SERVISFIRST RECEIVES NATIONAL RECOGNITION

BIRMINGHAM – ServisFirst Bancshares Inc. has been listed in American Banker as the 24th Most Efficient Bank Holding Company in the country.

ServisFirst Bancshares Inc. is the only bank from Alabama to be ranked on this list. The ranking of the list’s 150 is determined by the banks’ efficiency ratio.

“ServisFirst is pleased to be recognized by American Banker for our efficiency,” said Tom Broughton, CEO and president of ServisFirst Bank. “Our team is very talented, as we continue to focus on our customer and the service they receive.”

ServisFirst has also been recognized by American Banker as a Standout Bank with a ranking of 28th. It is the only bank in the state to be on the list of 229 mid-tier banks ($2 billion to $10 billion in assets).

In other developments, ServisFirst Bank expanded its Birmingham corporate office with a new operations center and opened a branch in Mobile.

ServisFirst, which has more than $2.5 billion in assets, has offices in Montgomery, Huntsville, Dothan and Pensacola.

THE LOOK BOUTIQUE MOVES TO ZELDA PLACE

MONTGOMERY – Aronov Realty Management announced that The Look Boutique moved to Zelda Place shopping center.

The women’s apparel and accessories retailer moved from its previous location on Fairview Avenue to Zelda Place. The Look Boutique will join Publix Super Market, seven restaurants and a variety of specialty shops at the 130,882-square-foot shopping center. The Look Boutique at Zelda Place is located between Born Children’s Boutique and California Yogurt Kraze.

“We are excited to bring The Look, one of the city’s most popular women’s boutiques, to Zelda Place,” said Beau Young, leasing representative for Aronov Realty Management Inc.

“Their great new store will continue to round-out the merchant mix we seek for Zelda Place, providing the best of every retail category and a convenient and exciting shopping experience.”

Zelda Place shopping center is developed, managed and leased by Aronov Realty Management, the largest privately-owned, fully diversified real estate company in the Southeast.

AUM WELLNESS CENTER OPENS ON FIRST DAY OF CLASSES

MONTGOMERY – Auburn University at Montgomery kicked off its fall semester by opening the doors to its Wellness Center on the first day of classes.

The 73,500-square-foot, $20.6 million facility is the first building on campus dedicated to student wellness and recreation and houses the Department of Physical Education and Exercise Science, including classroom space. It is also home to the AUM intramurals program and Human Performance Lab.

The center’s amenities and features include: weight room; cardio/aerobics room; multipurpose activity room; pool/aquatic center, including a lap pool and vortex pool; rock climbing wall (22-feet tall); indoor track (one-eighth of a mile); recreational basketball courts (with volleyball, badminton and pickleball); outdoor beach volleyball court; exercise garden; locker rooms; and healthy snack bar.

BUCKMASTERS EXPO ATTRACTS 30,000-PLUS

MONTGOMERY – The 19th annual Buckmasters Expo attracted 30,000-plus visitors, more than 300 vendors and collected 60,000 pounds of canned goods.

“Despite the still-ailing economy and Alabama’s legendary humidity, deer hunters again came out in force to jumpstart their seasons,” Buckmasters founder Jackie Bushman said in a statement. “Even Gov. Robert Bentley and his family came on two days, which was a delightful surprise to everyone. He visited because he’s an outdoorsman, just like the rest of us.”

The admission price was one can of food and all those cans will generate about 120,000 meals. Those meals will be provided by the Salvation Army and First Baptist Church of Montgomery’s Caring Center program.

“Food is such a basic need,” said Salvation Army Capt. Mark Gilliam. “We are so grateful to Buckmasters and the generous support of hunters for making it possible for The Salvation Army to meet this need.”

The three-day event at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center featured the Top Bow Indoor World Championship as well as stars of the History Channel’s “Swamp People” and a concert by Clay Walker. There was also a game area for children and dock dogs competition.

The Buckmasters Expo is scheduled next year for Aug. 16-18.

FRAZER UNITED METHODIST CHURCH MEMBERS PERFORM AT DOWNTOWN DISNEY

MONTGOMERY – The Frazer United Methodist Church’s Youth Worship Arts members participated in a Disney Performing Arts Program at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

Dance groups, choirs, ensembles and marching bands worldwide apply to perform each year as part of Disney Performing Arts at both the Disneyland and the Walt Disney World resorts. Millions of performers have participated during the 25-plus year history of the program.

BEASLEY ALLEN SHAREHOLDER NAMED TO PRESTIGIOUS GUIDE

MONTGOMERY – Dana G. Taunton, a shareholder with Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., has been selected for the 2013 edition of Benchmark Appellate.

Benchmark publishes a series of reference guides that recognize the top U.S. litigation firms and their attorneys in a variety of disciplines each year.

Taunton received her law degree in 1993 from the University of Alabama. Prior to joining Beasley Allen in 1998, she worked for a prominent defense firm and had a brief stint with the State of Alabama Attorney General’s office.

Since joining the firm, she has handled complex business and commercial litigation, products liability and personal injury litigation. Currently, she focuses her practice in the areas of product liability and personal injury.

WALK-A-THON RAISES $85,000-PLUS FOR KIDNEY PATIENTS

MONTGOMERY – More than 400 participated in the Alabama Kidney Foundation’s 25th annual “Make a Difference…One Step at a Time” Walk-a-Thon.

The event raised more than $85,000 for Alabama’s kidney patients in need. The walk-a-thon featured a continental breakfast, small lunch and awards ceremony. In addition, there was a silent and live auction, as well as a children’s activities area which featured face painting, games and DJ@Large. Jackson Thornton also hosted its second annual Bocce Ball Tournament in conjunction with the walk.

“Kidney disease is rampant in Alabama, particularly among African-Americans, with Alabama ranking fifth in the nation for the occurrence,” said Amy Godsoe, regional director of the Alabama Kidney Foundation. “Over 400,000 Alabamians suffer from kidney disease and many of these patients live at or below the poverty level due to the devastating effects of this chronic illness.

Money raised at the walk-a-thon helps fund the foundation’s three programs, all provided free-of-charge to Alabama’s kidney patients in need: financial assistance, education and support services.

SYNOVUS FAMILY ASSET MANAGEMENT NAMED TO TOP 50 LIST

MONTGOMERY – The Synovus Family Asset Management (FAM) has been selected by Bloomberg Markets magazine as one of “The Top 50 Family Offices.”

The list appeared in the September issue of the magazine. A Synovus Family Asset Management office is located at the Carmichael Road location of Sterling Bank, a division of Synovus Bank.

The list was compiled through research by the Bloomberg Rankings team and via a survey of more than 1,000 firms worldwide, using a database obtained from the Portland, Oregon-based Family Offices Group. Bloomberg ranked the top 50 by assets under advisement, which includes wealth directly managed by family offices and funds outsourced to money-management firms.

Sterling Bank also announced a prepaid Synovus Connections Card at all Synovus Bank divisions across the company’s five-state footprint. Synovus Bank developed the card as a payment alternative to a traditional checking account. The Synovus Connections Card works like a check card, but there is no checking account or credit check required.

The Synovus Connections Card allows customers to get cash at the ATM, make purchases most everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted, get cash back at point of sale, and make purchases online or over the phone. The card can be reloaded with no fee at any Synovus Bank division branch with cash and through direct deposit.

“We are excited to bring this new payment option to our customers because it gives them a prepaid card they can use for a wide variety of purposes,” said W. Alan Worrell, president and CEO of Sterling Bank. “Our card is a great alternative to a checking account, is easy to load, and offers all the conveniences our customers expect.”

Sterling Bank, a division of Synovus Bank, operates four branches in the Montgomery and Prattville markets.

Synovus is a financial services company with $27 billion in assets based in Columbus, Georgia.

18 BEASLEY ALLEN ATTORNEYS NAMED TO 2013 EDITION OF BEST LAWYERS

MONTGOMERY – Eighteen Beasley Allen attorneys were named to the 2013 edition of Best Lawyers in America.

Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession, and appears as the exclusive lawyer list on U.S. News & World Report website www.USNews.com.

Included on the list are the firm’s founding shareholder Jere L. Beasley as well as shareholders J. Greg Allen, Thomas J. Methvin, J. Cole Portis, W. Daniel “Dee” Miles III, Michael J. Crow, Andy D. Birchfield Jr., Rhon E. Jones, Roman A. Shaul, P. Leigh O’Dell, Julia Anne Beasley, LaBarron N. Boone and R. Graham Esdale Jr., David B. Byrne, W. Roger Smith III, C. Gibson Vance, William E. Hopkins Jr. and Benjamin E. Baker Jr.

Best Lawyers is based on a peer-review survey in which leading attorneys cast almost 4.4 million votes on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their practice areas.

BELL MEDIA ADDS FIVE DIGITAL BILLBOARDS

MONTGOMERY – Bell Media has taken over the operations of Vintage Media and is adding five digital billboards in the River Region. Those five billboards are located in east Montgomery, Millbrook and Wetumpka.

“We decided to seek growth through this transaction due to the quality billboard locations developed by Vintage Media,” said Bell Media President Scott Bell. “We believe that the addition of these billboard locations will allow us to provide greater reach and frequency with our media products and offer customers the ability to make Bell Media their one-stop out-of-home media provider in the Montgomery metro area.”

Bell Media is a diversified media company formed in 2007.

MONTGOMERY PHARMACIST INDUCTED INTO ALABAMA HEALTHCARE HALL OF FAME

MONTGOMERY – Montgomery pharmacist Charles C. Thomas was among 12 health care professionals inducted into the Alabama Healthcare Hall of Fame.

Thomas was recognized for his work in and advocacy for the pharmacy profession.

Prior to working for the Alabama Department of Public Health, Thomas had a 35-year career in the practice of community pharmacy and owned a local pharmacy in Huntsville.

While a student at Auburn University, Thomas founded Phi Lambda Sigma, the national pharmacy leadership society. Today, the society has chapters in 98 colleges and schools of pharmacy and continues his vision of supporting leader development and recognizing leadership talent in student pharmacists and practitioners.

Thomas is a past president of the Alabama Pharmacy Association, Alabama State Board of Pharmacy and Auburn University School of Pharmacy Alumni Association.

The Alabama Healthcare Hall of Fame was founded in 1997.

AUM CONTINUING EDUCATION OFFERS NEW HEALTH CARE TRAINING PROGRAMS

MONTGOMERY – As the demand for skilled health care workers continues to grow, Auburn University at Montgomery’s Division of Continuing Education has partnered with Boston Reed College to offer certificate programs for those wishing to start a new career in the health care industry.

Designed to meet the needs of the local community, short-term programs are offered in the following fields: clinical medical assisting, certified phlebotomy technician and pharmacy technician certification.

“We take great pride in offering access to affordable training that can lead to sustainable job opportunities in the health care industry,” said Kathy Gunter, senior director of AUM Continuing Education. “It is estimated that 20 percent of new jobs through 2014 will be in the medical industry, and the majority of these positions will be filled by individuals with four years or less of training.”

Boston Reed College, which specializes in health care education, will provide all instruction and materials. Courses will be held at AUM’s Center for Lifelong Learning located at 75 TechnaCenter Drive.

Program fees are: clinical medical assistant, $2,695; pharmacy technician certification, $1,299; and phlebotomy technician, $2,825. The fees include registration, textbooks, classroom materials and externships fees. Financing and scholarships are available.

ALABAMA NURSING HOME ASSOCIATION EXECUTIVE RECEIVES PRESTIGIOUS CREDENTIAL

MONTGOMERY – The Alabama Nursing Home Association (ANHA) announced that Katrina Magdon has earned the certified association executive (CAE) credential.

Magdon, who has been employed by ANHA since 1987, is the director of professional development and regulatory affairs. She is a member of the National Association of Boards of Examiners of Nursing Home Administrators. She received both a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Auburn University at Montgomery.

“Our association is proud of Katrina for earning the Certified Association Executive credential,” ANHA President Eddie Jackson said.

The CAE is the highest professional credential in the association industry. To receive the credential, an applicant must have a minimum of three years experience in nonprofit organization management, complete a minimum of 100 hours of specialized professional development, pass a stringent examination in association management and pledge to uphold a code of ethics. Currently, 3,900 individuals hold the CAE credential, representing fewer than 5 percent of all association professionals.