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  • January 2016

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    MONTGOMERY-- The Auburn University at Montgomery College of Business has once again received recognition as one of the best business programs in the nation.

    The Princeton Review has named the college a 2016 Best Business School based on the feedback of nearly 42,000 business students from across the U.S. The college was noted for its affordability and a reputation for academic excellence.

    According to Princeton Review's latest guide to business schools, AUM's AACSB-accredited master of business administration (MBA) program is a great place to get your MBA at night; with instructors who bring real-life business experiences to the classroom and have connections in the business world, and understand that many evening students are employed full-time during the day. MBA students at AUM also boast that professors are extremely knowledgeable, helpful, and outstanding in their areas, according to the guide.

    "It is an honor to be recognized by the Princeton Review as a Best Business School, and an extraordinary accomplishment of our college," Rhea Ingram, dean of the College of Business, said in a statement. "It speaks volumes to the dedication of our faculty, staff and students. We are committed to excellence and are constantly noted for our reputation of excellence, faculty who bring in real-world experiences, and connections to the business community."

    The College of Business offers undergraduate degrees in accounting, finance, international business, information systems, management and marketing. The college also offers the following graduate degrees: MBA, executive MBA, master in information systems management and master of accountancy. Courses are offered online, nights and weekends.


    MONTGOMERY-- For the third year in a row, Four Star Freightliner utility and municipal account manager Truman Ingram has been named an Elite winner in the Leland James Sales Achievement Program.

    The program, named after the company's founder, recognizes the best sales managers in the Freightliner Dealer Network. The awards are based on the amount of units sold.

    Ingram, along with 19 other Elite winners, was treated to a trip to a special awards ceremony at the Enchantment Resort in Boynton Canyon located in Sedona, Ariz.

    "He has focused his efforts on being an expert in his field and builds good relationships with customers," Dealer-Principal Jerry Kocan said in a statement. "It's really hard to win an award like this three years in a row. This just proves his commitment to excellence."

    Ingram has been utility and municipal account manager at Four Star Freightliner since 2006.


    MONTGOMERY-- Alfa Insurance President Jimmy Parnell accepted the Corporate Recognition Award from Toastmasters International during a ceremony at the company's headquarters in Montgomery.

    Presented twice a year, the Corporate Recognition Award recognizes organizations that have displayed significant support for the Toastmasters program.

    Chartered in 1957, Alfa's Econchati Chapter of Toastmasters has yielded hundreds of graduates in varying roles within the company, from data entry to senior vice presidents. Parnell said he was honored to accept the award on their behalf.

    "Toastmasters has a proven record of helping produce effective leaders by strengthening their communication and management skills, and we're proud to have a rooted history with this outstanding organization for the past 58 years," Parnell said in a statement. "Alfa's Econchati Chapter equips our employees with confidence, enthusiasm, pride and a great sense of accomplishment, and I'm pleased to accept this award on behalf of everyone who has successfully completed the program."

    To qualify for the award, a participating company has to have had a Toastmasters chapter in existence for more than two years; pay the members' dues; provide meeting space for the chapter; and incorporate the Toastmasters program into the company culture.


    BIRMINGHAM-- Warren Averett Technology Group and Kianoff & Associates, a leading business software consulting group, have merged.

    The combined company will offer an expanded level of service, including business management systems, accounting and ERP systems, technology consulting, managed technology, security services, data security, risk management, business consulting, business processes, secure business foundations, business continuity/data recovery, hosted cloud services, data center services, colocation solutions, business accounting systems solutions, financial reporting, business intelligence and reporting, payroll system solutions and specialty practice insight within the hospitality, health care, manufacturing and distribution and service industries.

    "The addition of the Kianoff team grows our consulting and customer service resources, allowing us to provide clients with the highest level of solutions and service," Jason Asbury, president of Warren Averett Technology Group, said in a statement. "Our joining together is another way that we are delivering on our promise to help our clients thrive."

    Warren Averett Technology Group is a technology consulting and outsourced information technology provider firm.


    CHARLESTON, S.C-- Raycom Media announced that it acquired PureCars, the leading digital advertising platform for the automotive industry.

    Montgomery-based Raycom Media is one of the nation's largest privately held broadcasters and operates 51 television stations in 38 markets across 19 states, covering 13.2 percent of U.S. television households. PureCars is one of the largest and fastest growing digital advertising platforms for the automotive industry, used by thousands of dealers, dealer groups, local marketing associations and agencies across the country.

    "We are excited that PureCars is now part of the Raycom Media team," Raycom Media President and CEO Paul McTear said in a statement. "We are impressed by the leadership, people and technology PureCars brings to the table and are eager to provide our customers with a market-leading advertising solution that crosses the TV and digital divide."

    PureCars will operate as a separate unit within Raycom Media and maintain its development campus in Atlanta and offices in Charleston, S.C., and Milwaukee. The combination will allow for a platform that combines traditional and digital advertising across television, desktop, tablet and mobile.

    Raycom Media, an employee-owned company, employs more than 4,200.


    MONTGOMERY-- The Alabama chapter of the National Association of Social Work will hold its advocacy day and annual state conference Feb. 10-12 at Embassy Suites by Hilton Montgomery - Hotel & Conference Center.

    The theme is: "Social Work: Answering the Call for Cause & Community." The annual event will feature speakers, workshops and networking opportunities. Dawn Ellis-Murray is the executive for the NASW-Alabama chapter.

    For information, call the organization at (334) 260-4018 or email Alabama@naswal.net.


    MONTGOMERY-- Auburn University at Montgomery's online programs and degrees rank among the top 10 in the state, according to Affordable Colleges Online.

    The organization analyzed data from hundreds of colleges across the nation with online degrees at the bachelor's level to determine which colleges offer the best combination of academic rigor, student support, and affordability for online learning.

    "AUM is proud of this recognition for its online certificates and degrees program," AUM Provost Joe M. King said in a statement. "Our faculty and staff, along with our information technology services department, have diligently and thoughtfully worked together to develop quality online learning options for students who whether they are raising a family or working full time or for other reasons, need distance learning to complete their degrees or certifications so they can improve their career opportunities."

    To determine rankings, Affordable Colleges Online's data analysts and college experts developed a scoring system to rank these colleges based on various cost-to-quality criteria and metrics.

    AUM has been offering online courses since 1994 (and distance learning since its founding) and currently has 16 online and hybrid certificate and degree programs.


    MONTGOMERY--The Gilpin Givhan, PC, law firm was named as a Best Law Firm in America.

    The firm, which has offices in Montgomery and Birmingham, 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 include 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 guides to the legal profession worldwide.


    MONTGOMERY-- Political consultant David Mowery and attorney Brent Rosen have announced the formation of FIXR Digital.

    The new firm is an advertising and public relations company focusing on digital advertising and cutting-edge techniques for political, association, corporate and local business clients.

    "We're here to focus on showing return on investment and on reaching people where they live on their computers, phones and tablets," Mowery said in a statement.

    Mowery and Rosen collaborated on digital media efforts for the Keep Montgomery Strange campaign earlier in the year. They see FIXR as a natural extension of those efforts.

    FIXR Digital will maintain offices in Montgomery and New Orleans, where Rosen lives part-time.


    MONTGOMERY- Aronov Realty Management announced that I Do Bridal & Formal will open a location at Zelda Place shopping center. It is scheduled to open in January.

    I Do Bridal & Formal offers such brands as Maggie Sottero, Mori Lee, Stella York and Justin Alexander. The new boutique will be located between Born Children's Boutique and California Yogurt Kraze.

    "We are excited to bring I Do Bridal & Formal to Montgomery," Leslie Zeanah, leasing representative for Aronov Realty Management, said in a statement. "Their beautiful new bridal and formal boutique 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.


    MONTGOMERY-- Oxton Senior Living announced the groundbreaking of 18 additional memory care apartments in addition to its current 32 apartments at Oxton Court at Waterford Place.

    The expansion was expected to be completed in late spring. The senior community is located at 3920 Antoinette Drive off of McGehee Road. The community features trained resident care and culinary staff; transportation to medical appointments; and organized daily activities including socials, bingo and cookouts.

    Oxton Senior Living is a leading provider of personal care, assisted living and memory care communities for seniors in Georgia and Alabama.


    MONTGOMERY- Trustmark Trust Branch City Manager and Vice President/Trust Officer C.E 'Scoop' Rivers was awarded the 2015 Wayne F. Lambert Trust Professional of the Year Award from the Alabama Bankers Association (ABA).

    Rivers was given the award in recognition of his dedication and service to both his clients and peers. Nominations for the award are sought from members of the ABA's trust division to honor someone who has made a significant contribution to the trust industry in Alabama. The executive committee of the trust division selects the winner.

    "Scoop is well-deserving of this award, as he is dedicated to both the trust industry and the Alabama Bankers Association," Trustmark Wealth Management President Doug Ralston said in a statement. "His contributions to the trust division of Trustmark are invaluable and greatly appreciated."

    Rivers has more than 38 years of experience in sales and marketing with 16 years in the areas of trust, wealth management and estate planning.

    Trustmark Corp. is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Jackson, Miss., with more than 200 locations in five states.


    MONGOMERY -- A Mini Flex Storage Arrowhead has purchased and started construction on 5.6 acres across from Arrowhead Country Club on Atlanta Highway to build a storage facility.

    The development will be in three phases. The first phase will include a 30,000-square-foot climate-controlled storage building with an onsite office; packing and shipping store; local and one-way truck rentals; free truck and driver with storage rental program; 10,000 square feet of covered recreational vehicle and boat storage with electrical plug-ins and dump site; and 20,000 square feet of uncovered parking storage. A licensed clinical social worker will be on staff to provide a senior transitioning program. Phase one is expected to be completed in the spring.

    "This is a really exciting development that we are pursuing because this is a completely local project," Isaacson Family Enterprises LLC Managing Partner Eric Isaacson said in a statement. "From ownership to financing, we are all based in Montgomery, Alabama." River Bank &Trust is financing the project.

    The two remaining phases will have both standard and climate-controlled units. There will be 600-plus units when the three phases are completed.

    Isaacson Family Enterprises, which started 15 years ago with 79 units, now operates two facilities with 1,120 units in the Montgomery area.


    MONTGOMERY-- David R. Gallahar of Raymond James Financial has been awarded the accredited investment fiduciary (AIF) designation from the Center for Fiduciary Studies.

    The AIF designation signifies specialized knowledge of fiduciary responsibility and the ability to implement policies and procedures that meet a defined standard of care. The designation is the culmination of a rigorous training program, which includes a comprehensive final examination under the supervision of a proctor, and agreement to abide by the Code of Ethics and Conduct Standards. On an ongoing basis, completion of continuing education and adherence to the Code of Ethics and Conduct Standards are required to maintain the AIF designation.

    Gallahar is a first vice president, investments for The Gallahar Group of Raymond James Financial.


    MONGOMERY--Valbridge Property Advisors Senior Managing Director John E. "Josh" Hall III has been awarded the Appraisal Institute's prestigious MAI membership designation.

    The designation is awarded to appraisers who are experienced in the valuation and evaluation of commercial, industrial, residential and other types of properties and who advise clients on real estate investment decisions.

    The MAI designation is received upon the successful completion of a graduate-level curriculum, which includes a comprehensive exam, a written demonstration appraisal report and attaining 4,500 hours of qualifying experience requirements. Designees must abide by both the appraisal profession's Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice and the Appraisal Institute's Standards of Professional Practice and Code of Ethics.

    MAIs are recognized experts in appraising properties of all kinds and form a business network encompassing markets nationwide and around the world. Currently, about 8,000 real estate appraisal professionals hold the MAI designation, with another 3,400 seeking it.


    MONTGOMERY-- Thermalex Inc. and its 220 employees celebrated 30 years in Montgomery.

    Thermalex is an aluminum extrusion company that started in Montgomery in 1985 with one extrusion press and three planned customers. The company recently installed its sixth extrusion press, in addition to a variety of new technologies in coating and cutting of its products. Today Thermalex still has its same three original customers as well as many others.

    From its Montgomery facility, Thermalex supplies a long list of clients throughout the U.S., Mexico, Canada, South America and Europe. Using Thermalex parts, the clients assemble units that are used in automobiles or commercial and residential air conditioning systems worldwide.

    During its 30-year history, Thermalex, a Mitsubishi Aluminum company, has expanded five times with more than $80 million in investments in the Montgomery facility and has an annual payroll of more than $15 million.


    MONTGOMERY-- Gift of Life Foundation Executive Director Martha Jinright announced her retirement after leading the organization since its founding 27 years ago.

    "The board of directors and I are eternally indebted to Martha for her dedication, passion and commitment," Chairman of the Board Gregg Everett said in a statement. "She is responsible for growing a program that every person in this region can be proud of. Martha has always been driven by one imperative: "Because it's the right thing to do."

    Jinright has overseen the building of the Medicaid Maternity Care Program, which serves mothers and infants in 20 Alabama counties.

    "Martha's knowledge of the Medicaid program is second to none," Dr. Allen Dupre, board member and obstetrician, said in a statement. "She is a tremendous advocate for patients and physicians and she will be sorely missed."

    Jinright will leave the Gift of Life Foundation in the first quarter of 2016. A celebration of her leadership is being planned for February 2016.

    The Gift of Life Foundation provides perinatal services, education and care coordination for families, pregnant women, and their babies. In addition to the Maternity Care Program, the foundation operates Healthy Start, a program serving mothers and children from birth to three years, and Growing Our Own Youth, a teen pregnancy prevention program.


    MONTGOMERY -- Ronnie Shaw recently changed over to an independent insurance agency.

    The Shaw Insurance Agency has been in business since 1999 at 75 Market Place, but now offers several different insurance companies to meet the needs of customers. The firm offers auto, home, life and business insurance in Central Alabama.

    The agency's phone number is (334) 279-9400.


    MONTGOMERY-- The Kershaw Branch of the YMCA of Greater Montgomery received a $25,000 grant to support the development of athletic fields, a walking track and gardens.

    With the funding from the American Beverage Association and Alabama Beverage Association, the YMCA will be able to purchase soccer goals, soccer nets and permanent benches for spectators as well as complete a walking trail and community gardens. The equipment will replace borrowed soccer goals and nets and refurbished benches for spectators.

    "We want to give children in this community positive opportunities, especially with their families, and what better way to do that than to further develop our youth sports and family activities here at the Kershaw YMCA?" Gary A. Cobbs, president and CEO of YMCA of Greater Montgomery, said in a statement. "Thanks to the generosity of the American Beverage Association and Alabama Beverage Association, we are able to support our friends and neighbors here surrounding the Kershaw YMCA."


    MONTGOMERY-- The law firm of Burr & Forman LLP is moving to the RSA Dexter Avenue Building after 15 years at the RSA Tower.

    Burr & Forman's Montgomery-based attorneys practice in the areas of manufacturing, economic development, taxation and health care. The new address is 445 Dexter Ave., Suite 2040; Montgomery, AL 36104.

    The firm has nearly 300 attorneys and nine offices in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee.


    MONTGOMERY-- Huntingdon College beat out two other finalists to win a national service learning contest with online voting.

    The Arbor Day Foundation selected Huntingdon College as one of three national small college finalists in its Tree Campus USA Service Learning Contest. The winner was determined by online voting.

    Huntingdon College received $10,000 to plant trees in the West Fairview area along South Holt Street. Huntingdon's Tree Campus USA coordinator is Gabrielle Ehinger from the biology department and is assisted by Jim Daniels, an assistant biology professor.

    "Thank you to the Huntingdon community and to the college's larger community —families, alumni, friends, neighbors, who heard about the contest and helped with their votes," Huntingdon College President J. Cameron West said in a statement.

    The area where the trees will be planted is part of a city initiative that includes efforts to revitalize the community by beautifying and improving streetscapes for walkability, safety and connectivity. Huntingdon students will help with planting and maintaining 40 trees near the recently completed Fairview Environmental Park, beginning in the spring of 2016.


    RIDGELAND, Miss.-- Butler Snow has been named among the South's top government affairs firms and lobbyists in Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama by The Southern Political Report.

    Butler Snow ranked No. 1 in Mississippi, No. 3 in Tennessee and No. 5 in Alabama in the 2015 report.

    "We are pleased to receive this honor," Butler Snow Chairman Donald Clark Jr. said in a statement. "This recognition holds special significance because it is determined by our industry colleagues, and it acknowledges our thriving government relations and lobbying team."

    The Southern Political Report produces the rankings based on the results of an online survey sent to lobbyists and government affairs specialists across 13 Southern states.


    ATLANTA-- Warren Averett Asset Management, LLC has expanded into the Atlanta market.

    With the addition of the Atlanta office, Warren Averett Asset Management now has six locations across the Southeast, including Birmingham, Huntsville and Montgomery as well as Pensacola and Tampa, Fla.

    Warren Averett Asset Management's Atlanta office will be led by Jim Foster, the newest senior client consultant to the firm. Foster brings with him more than 19 years of experience in wealth advisory. He specializes in providing personal financial planning, portfolio management and estate planning to individuals and families.

    "We have the utmost confidence that this addition will improve our ability to deliver high-quality solutions to both new and current clients in the Atlanta area," Josh Reidinger, president of Warren Averett Asset Management, said in a statement.

    Warren Averett Asset Management advises on assets in excess of $1.7 billion.


    MONTGOMERY- Rushton, Stakely, Johnston & Garrett, P.A., announced the opening of the firm's first branch office in Birmingham.

    Rushton Stakely, which has been in Montgomery for 125 years, offers a wide range of practice areas and industries, including commercial real estate transactions as well as tax, estate, and corporate law.

    "We are driven by a strong commitment to client success, and we believe that our presence in Birmingham will enhance the service to our clients," Rushton Stakely President Tommy Keene said in a statement. "We look forward to working with our existing clients and furthering our relationships with the legal community in Birmingham."


    MONTGOMERY-  Five-time all-star Fred McGriff is the special guest for the seventh annual First Pitch Dinner and Silent Auction scheduled for Jan. 28 at the RSA Activity Center.

    The fundraising event by the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association (ALABCA) is set for 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m. The organization under President/Executive Director Barry Dean is raising money for a team sponsorship or outfield sign at each of the 13 Miracle Leagues located throughout the state. The dinner and silent auction also help fund four scholarships totaling $6,500 that the ALABCA awards to four high school seniors for their college freshman year.

    For information about the event, visit www.alabca.org and go to the events link at the top of the home page.

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