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Business Buzz, February 2012

Don HendersonJACKSON HOSPITAL CEO TAKES POST IN FLORIDA

MONTGOMERY – Jackson Hospital President and CEO Don Henderson has announced his resignation.

Henderson, 54, has accepted a position as CEO of the Central Florida Health Alliance in Leesburg, Fla.

“I am honored to have served at Jackson Hospital for nearly seven years,” Henderson said. “My family and I have truly enjoyed our time here in Montgomery and the wonderful people we have met. My sincere thanks go to our employees, our medical staff members and our many volunteers for their support and dedication to our success.”

During Henderson’s tenure, Jackson Hospital saw many changes including the construction of the Jackson Imaging and Jackson Surgery centers, the expansion of the cardiology department, the implementation of electronic medical records, and the growth of the Jackson Clinic to include primary care, specialists and urgent care physicians.

Henderson was also part of the team of community leaders instrumental in the creation of the new River Region Health Center, which will provide a medical primary care home for the area’s underinsured residents.

“There is no doubt that Jackson Hospital has prospered under Don Henderson’s leadership,” said Jim Ridling, chairman of the hospital’s board of trustees. “The hospital and clinics are in a strong position and are well poised for the future. We thank him for his service.”

A search committee of the board of trustees has begun the process of selecting a new president and CEO.

Allen HowellTHOMAS GOODE JONES SCHOOL OF LAW NAMED ONE OF THE TOP PUBLIC SERVICE SCHOOLS

MONTGOMERY – The National Jurist announced that it named Faulkner University, Thomas Goode Jones School of Law (Faulkner Law) as one of the 15 best law schools in the country at preparing students for public service in government.

All Faulkner law students take Foundations of Law, a course that equips them to think critically about the relationships among ethics, principles, law, and policy. Students may take Law & Public Policy, which trains them to merge legal analysis with policy analysis; Health Law, which exposes them to health care policy; Law & Bioethics, Law & Christian Theology, Legislation, Law of Democracy, Land Planning; and other courses.

The law school’s award-winning advocacy program produces students who are prepared at graduation to walk into trial and appellate courtrooms and excel, a skill that is highly-valued in many public service jobs.

“Being named a best law school for public service is quite an accomplishment in our current economy,” said Allen Howell, director of career services for Faulkner University.

“The constriction of the private market has led to an increase in demand for government positions both at the federal and state level. Additionally, many government sectors have seen employment reductions themselves due to shrinking budgets. Yet, our law students have shown success in public service during their law school career and after they graduate.”

Faulkner Law students can perform hands-on public service in two major ways while in law school. They can participate in the externship program for academic credit or serve as an intern or clerk in a government office.

SUMMIT HOUSING PARTNERS BUYS NEW ORLEANS PROPERTY

MONTGOMERY – Summit Housing Partners announced the acquisition and redevelopment of Garden Oaks Apartments in New Orleans.

After suffering extensive damage from Hurricane Katrina, the property’s seven-story building became vacant. Summit’s affordable housing development group utilized tax-exempt financing, federal tax credits and Federal Home Loan Bank AHP funds to create the necessary capital to acquire the property and begin an $8.5 million rehab of the 98 units and common areas of the building.

“I am pleased with our group’s work on this development,” said Josh Mandell, head of development for Montgomery-based Summit Housing Partners. “While the effort involves a lot of planning and coordination, the results are exciting and rewarding,” he said.

Summit Housing Partners is an owner, developer and manager of multifamily housing. The company’s portfolio has 14,400 units at 93 sites in 10 states.

Rhon E. JonesBEASLEY ALLEN SELECTS LITIGATOR OF THE YEAR

MONTGOMERY – Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., announced that Shareholder Rhon E. Jones was selected as the firm’s Litigator of the Year.

The annual recognition is presented to the attorney who demonstrates exceptional professional skill throughout the course of the year and best represents the firm’s ideal of “helping those who need it most.”

In addition to selecting the overall “top attorney,” Beasley Allen recognized excellence in each of its sections, naming the Lawyer of the Year in each. Honorees for 2011 are LaBarron N. Boone, personal injury section Lawyer of the Year; H. Clay Barnett, fraud section Lawyer of the Year; Navan Ward Jr., mass torts section Lawyer of the Year; Chris D. Glover, product liability section Lawyer of the Year; and Christopher D. Boutwell, toxic torts section Lawyer of the Year.

“We are blessed to have lawyers in our firm who work hard for their clients and who always put their clients’ interest first,” founding shareholder Jere L. Beasley said. “This has to be a priority for all of us.”

CUNNINGHAM GROUP WINS NATIONAL AWARD

MONTGOMERY - Landscape Architecture Magazine has awarded the Cunningham Group a national award for a print ad the firm developed on behalf of long-time client Peacock Pavers.

The Cunningham Group, a marketing and public relations firm located in downtown Montgomery, won a “Lammy” award for “most persuasive.” The Landscape Architecture Magazine advertising awards are known as the Lammy’s.

CONFUCIUS INSTITUTE AT TROY OPENS CLASSROOMS IN MONTGOMERY

TROY – Students at high schools in Montgomery and Birmingham will have access to funding for Chinese language and cultural education thanks to a new partnership with the Confucius Institute at Troy University.

Loveless Academic Magnet Program High School in Montgomery and the Highlands School in Birmingham have partnered with the Troy Confucius Institute to form Confucius Classroom extensions at each school. The move will provide the schools access to grant funding to enrich and improve their existing Mandarin Chinese programs.

The new Confucius Classrooms are the first such partnerships formed through Troy’s Confucius Institute and the first in the State of Alabama. There are more than 300 Confucius Classrooms worldwide as part of the global Confucius Institute network.

Collin GastonWSFA 12 NEWS RETAINS NO.1 RANKING

MONTGOMERY – WSFA 12 News swept all major news time periods during the November 2011 ratings survey period, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Today in Alabama at 5 a.m., 5:30 a.m., 6 a.m.; WSFA 12 News at Noon; WSFA 12 News at 5 p.m.; WSFA 12 News at 6 p.m.; and WSFA 12 News at 10 p.m. were all top-rated with Central Alabama viewers.

The television station’s News First at 4 p.m. newscast was also top ranked. “We are thrilled to see the success our new 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. newscasts had in their first ratings book,” said WSFA 12 News Vice President and General Manager Collin R. Gaston. “We worked closely with the City of Montgomery to be the first station to utilize City of Montgomery traffic cameras in our 4 p.m. newscasts to help viewers get a jump on issues on the road.”

WSFA.COM continues to lead the way as the No. 1 website and mobile site amongst all stations with more than 475,000 unique visitors and nearly 3.2 million page views monthly. WSFA 12 News mobile applications currently deliver 81,411 unique visitors and more than 1.8 million page views monthly.

“Whether it’s serving our community with 12’s Day of Giving or breaking into programming when the weather is threatening, we want our viewers to come to us first and that’s what drives us each and every day,” Gaston said.

INFORMATION TRANSPORT SOLUTIONS RECEIVES PRESTIGIOUS CERTIFICATION

WETUMPKA – Information Transport Solutions Inc. announced that it has achieved an elite status.

The company has been successfully audited and certified under the MSPAlliance’s (MSPA) Unified Certification Standard for Cloud and Managed Service Providers (UCS).

UCS is the first program of its kind, specifically designed and created to provide business consumers of cloud and managed services with the assurance that the service provider they hire meets or exceeds the highest principles of quality in areas such as financial stability, facilities, managed services practices and customer satisfaction.

“We are proud to receive this accreditation because it ensures we have the correct processes and procedures in place to provide extraordinary service to our customers,” said Quincy P. Minor, vice president of operations for Information Transport Solutions.

MCALPINE TANKERSLEY ARCHITECTURE SELECTED TO MAGAZINE’S TOP LIST

MONTGOMERY – McAlpine Tankersley Architecture has been selected to be among the AD100, Architectural Digest magazine’s biennial list of the top talents in architecture and interior design.

McAlpine Tankersley partners Greg Tankersley, John Sease and Chris Tippett along with Greg’s wife, Mary Robin Jurkiewicz, attended the magazine’s celebration of the new list at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.

The event, hosted by Architectural Digest’s editor-in-chief Margaret Russell, was attended by celebrated names in the design world including Robert A.M. Stern, Martha Stewart and White House Decorator Michael Smith.

McAlpine Tankersley Architecture was founded in Montgomery in 1983 and is the partnership of Alabama natives Bobby McAlpine, Greg Tankersley, John Sease and Chris Tippett. The McAlpine design umbrella also includes McAlpine Booth & Ferrier Interiors, with offices in Nashville, Tenn., Atlanta and New York, and McAlpine Home furniture, which is available nationwide.

ALABAMA POWER PARTNERS ON CONSERVATION GRANTS

MONTGOMERY – Alabama Power and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced eight environmental stewardship grants that continue the partnership’s mission of conserving Alabama’s natural resources.

Since 2002, Alabama Power, NFWF and other partners have provided more than $13.8 million through 108 Power of Flight and Longleaf Legacy grants. In addition, grant recipients have contributed more than $57.2 million in matching funds, resulting in an on-the-ground conservation impact of more than $71 million since the programs’ inception.

Through these two programs, more than 830,000 acres of longleaf pine and other critical habitat on public and private lands will be restored in Alabama and across the Southeast.

The Power of Flight program focuses on conserving bird species of the Southeast. Launched in 2003, the program is the largest public/private funding effort for bird conservation in the South.

Rhea IngramAUM RECEIVES ACCREDITATION FOR BUSINESS SCHOOL, ACCOUNTING

MONTGOMERY – Auburn University Montgomery has achieved accreditation for its Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and accounting program from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

Less than 5 percent of the world’s business schools have received business accreditation from AACSB International, and less than 1 percent of these have achieved both business and accounting accreditation. AUM is now one of four business schools in Alabama, and one of 177 worldwide, with both business and accounting accreditation.

To receive accounting accreditation, an institution must first earn or maintain AACSB business accreditation, which involves a meticulous internal review and evaluation process. Accounting accreditation requires the satisfaction of an additional set of standards that are specific to the discipline and profession of accounting.

“We are very appreciative of the peer review team’s feedback and their willingness to share suggestions for continuous improvement of our program,” said Rhea Ingram, dean of the AUM School of Business. “It is an exciting time for us. I am proud of our faculty, staff, administration and students for achieving this recognition.

“In addition, the peer review team highlighted the positive relationships we have with our stakeholders and alumni within the community. This speaks volumes about the quality of our program.”

ONLINE COMMERCE GROUP DEBUTS QUICK-SHIP VALUE CUSHIONS

MONTGOMERY – Online Commerce Group, LLC, announced the addition of Quick-Ship Value Cushions to its flagship site of Cushion Source.

The Quick-Ship Value Cushion line offers discounted cushions in a variety of standard styles and sizes for customers wanting a personal look without the price tag of a custom product. Once shoppers have selected the size and style of cushion, they can choose from a popular selection of versatile Sunbrella fabrics, including solids and stripes, specifically chosen to meet a wide range of color palates. In addition, these value priced cushions are made in the United States.

“Our new line of Quick-Ship Value Cushions fit most standard seat, bench, chaise, Adirondack, ottoman and deep-seating sets,” said Bob Winter, general manager of Online Commerce Group. “These cushions are targeted specifically at the value shopper who traditionally has had to sacrifice on fabric options when shopping at big-box retailers.”

Online Commerce Group is a leading niche e-retailer of upscale outdoor living products.

The website is http://www.cushionsource.com/catalog/quick-ship-value-cushions.

Thomas Ashley HarrisMERCHANT CAPITAL RANKED NO. 1 IN ALABAMA

MONTGOMERY – Merchant Capital has again been ranked No. 1 in Alabama by Thomson Reuters for 2011.

The firm served as senior-manager for 94 bond issues totaling nearly $1.2 billion and was ranked 25th nationally. The projects financed include funding for a variety of municipal issues, including education, water and sewer, industrial development and affordable housing.

“This was another challenging year in the credit markets,” said Merchant Capital Chairman Thomas Ashley Harris. “We are pleased with our performance in 2011 and are optimistic that 2012 will see gradual stabilization in the financial marketplace and continued improvement in the economy. We are grateful for the confidence our clients placed in our hands in 2011, and Merchant Capital looks forward to serving municipal and corporate customers across the Southeast in 2012 and beyond.”

Since its inception in 1987, Merchant Capital has managed more than $34.9 billion in municipal, industrial and housing bonds and has been ranked the No. 1 Alabama-based firm for the last 18 years.

In addition to the corporate headquarters in Montgomery, Merchant Capital has offices in Atlanta and the West Coast.

Thomson Reuters is an independent New York-based company tracking bond issues nationwide and publishes rankings annually.

ALABAMA STATE UNIVERSITY PREPARES FOR SECOND ANNUAL HBCU EVENT

MONTGOMERY – More than 300 higher education professionals, alumni, entrepreneurs and government officials are expected to attend Alabama State University’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Conference.

The second annual event, scheduled March 5-7, will feature entrepreneurship experts from throughout the country. The theme of the March conference is “Entrepreneurship: Transforming Education, Government and Industry.”

“The conference is geared for not just the higher education community, but also for government officials, small businesses, corporations, federal, state and local agencies to learn how to work with the different constituents to improve economic development in regions nationwide by using HBCU resources,” said Deborah Scott Thomas, an ASU alumna and president of Data Solutions & Technology Inc.

Thomas said the goals of the conference are to offer attendees an opportunity to learn about business development, entrepreneurship, grants, contracting and fellowships.

“The HBCU entrepreneurship conference brings together industry, government and education,” Thomas said. “Conference participants have an opportunity to develop relationships and partnerships that can help them be successful in their undertakings.”

The conference also will place a special focus on the science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines.

“Science, technology, engineering and mathematics are where a lot of funding is available and one of the places America feels will help give us a competitive edge to help keep us a global leader,” Thomas said.

The conference will feature several keynote speakers and panelists, including:

Linda Y. Cureton - chief information officer for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Malcolm Jackson - EPA’s assistant administrator for the Office of Environmental Information and chief information officer.

Senora Coggs – senior policy adviser for the Policy and Evaluation Division, Office of Civil Rights for the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Willie J. Gripper Jr. – director for the Joint Security and Hazardous Materials Safety Office-East for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Michael Hudson - motivational speaker, financial coach, entrepreneurial coach, executive business coach, sales coach, speaking coach and CEO of Money Talks International.

Anthony V. Junior – program office director at the Department of the Navy’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities/Minority Institutions.

Calvin R. Stamps – founder, managing partner and portfolio manager of Bretwood Capital Partners, LLC.

Patti G. PerdueDanny JeterJACKSON THORNTON TECHNOLOGIES NAMED IBM PREMIER BUSINESS PARTNER

MONTGOMERY – Jackson Thornton Technologies, LLC, recently announced that IBM has awarded the company its highest partnership level identification, IBM Premier Business Partner.

IBM recognized Jackson Thornton Technologies (JTT) for its continued support, development, competency and customer satisfaction in the use of IBM business tools to provide solutions to the information technology marketplace.

“This is quite an accomplishment for our team,” said Patti G. Perdue, principal and managing partner of JTT. “We take great pride in our client relationships and this honor confirms that commitment to excellence.”

Danny Jeter Sr., manager and leader of Jackson Thornton Technologies, said, “We are honored to be recognized by IBM with this prestigious level of business partnership. JTT provides our clients with the most reliable, efficient and secure technology tools available in the industry. We will continue to leverage our relationship with IBM so as to provide real-time solutions to our customers.”

The Premier Business Partner designation is reserved for a small percentage of IBM Business Partners that have achieved high standards in such areas as technical expertise and customer satisfaction. Of the more than 1,500 firms selling IBM servers in the Americas, about 150 companies reach Premier status.