In October, the newly renovated MACOA kitchen was officially dedicated as the Caddell Kitchen. The ceremony celebrated the generosity of John Caddell and the Caddell family to MACOA and its Meals on Wheels program. A highlight of the event included a quote shared with guests from Caddell about giving back to the community: “Joyce and I have always felt a strong obligation to give back to our community and to reach out to those who might need a helping hand. We have been so blessed and want to be a blessing to others,” he said.
AUM Partners With Lurleen B. Wallace Community College
A partnership between Auburn University at Montgomery (AUM) and Lurleen B. Wallace Community College will enable students to complete their bachelor’s degrees through concurrent enrollment and provide scholarship opportunities for transfer students who meet grade point average requirements.
AUM will offer an unlimited number of transfer scholarships to Lurleen B. Wallace (LBWCC) students who complete their associate in arts or associate in science degrees and earn admittance to AUM by August 1 each year. The annual scholarship amounts will be $500 for students with grade point averages between 2.75 and 2.99, $1,500 for GPAs between 3.0 and 3.49 and $2,500 year for students with a minimum GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale. “This partnership with Lurleen B. Wallace Community College provides both of our institutions a new opportunity to put students first,” AUM Chancellor Carl A. Stockton said.
AUM will also present each year one Presidential Scholarship covering full tuition and fees to an LBWCC transfer student with a minimum GPA of 3.5.
The concurrent enrollment program offers qualified students a seamless process for completing their associate and bachelor’s degrees in an accelerated manner. All concurrent AUM courses will be taught live on LBWCC’s campus and/or AUM’s campus and on the web while students are completing their associate degree programs. Reverse transfer will also be available for students who transferred to AUM before completing their associate degrees at LBWCC.
AUM will also guarantee admission for transfer students from LBWCC who have earned up to 64 credits, made at least a “C” in English Composition I and II courses, who possess a minimum GPA of 2.0 in core coursework, who are in good standing and who complete the AUM application process.
Beasley Allen Lawyers Aid Areas Affected by Hurricane Michael
In October, Beasley Allen Law Firm supported those most affected by Hurricane Michael in the Mexico Beach and Panama City Beach, Florida, areas. Donations were made in addition to the delivery of more than 14,000 bottled beverages, thousands of prepackaged food items, gas cards, toiletries and other essentials, an effort spearheaded by the Beasley Allen Atlanta office and the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association. “Everyone at Beasley Allen was deeply moved by the impact Hurricane Michael had on our area,” said Chris Glover, who is Managing Attorney of the firm’s Atlanta office and a member of the GTLA Executive Committee. “Our heart goes out to the many people whose lives were turned upside down by this devastating storm. We just want to do what we can to help and encourage everyone to do the same.”
Caddell Aids University Archeological Team
While working on its new embassy compound project in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Caddell recently donated, moved and set up four 40-foot shipping containers for the Washington University of St. Louis (WUSTL) archeological project in Merv, Turkmenistan. The containers are being used as temporary offices for the archeological team staff, as well as for the storage of artifacts pending their final institutional placement. WUSTL has spearheaded ongoing archaeological surveys and investigations of ancient Silk Road settlements and other historical sites in China, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and other nations in that region.
River Financial Corporation Announces Completion of Merger
River Financial Corporation, parent company of River Bank & Trust, recently announced that it has completed the merger with Peoples Southern Bank and its parent company, PSB Bancshares, Inc. Peoples Southern Bank offices in Clanton and Thorsby will now operate as River Bank & Trust. With the addition of Peoples Southern Bank, on a pro forma combined basis, the bank has total assets exceeding one billion dollars and becomes one of the largest community banks headquartered in Alabama.
There are now 14 River Bank & Trust locations across Alabama with offices in Alexander City, Auburn, Clanton, Daphne, Gadsden, Millbrook, Montgomery, Opelika, Prattville, Thorsby, and Wetumpka.
ITS Joins Uniti Group
For 20 years, ITS has provided the best in technology equipment and services to its customers. To build on these principles, the company recently announced it has joined Uniti Group Inc. and will become part of the Uniti Fiber business unit, bringing its customers more connectivity, IT services and resources than ever before.
Additionally, ITS customers will now have access to a large network that seamlessly connects them to some of the nation’s top metro markets. The combined companies that make up Uniti Fiber provide robust coverage in 22 states with access to more than 34,000 route miles and 1,613,825 fiber strand miles of network.
Tony Blair Speaks at Faulkner University's Annual Benefit Dinner
The Right Honorable Tony Blair lauded faith, the belief in God and Judeo-Christian values at Faulkner University’s Annual Benefit Dinner in downtown Montgomery on October 4.
Mr. Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007, spoke to a sold-out crowd of nearly 2,000 people. It was one of the largest Faulkner Benefit Dinners to date with proceeds going toward student scholarships. It was a night of unabashed enthusiasm for the values of Faulkner and the exciting new developments taking place on campus such as Faulkner’s new College of Health Sciences, Speech and Language Pathology Clinic and autism center which impressed Blair upon his first visit to the state of Alabama and Montgomery.
“With the many changes in the world around us, what shouldn’t change is our faith, our God and our beliefs. These are our values. As you can see from this college, Faulkner is about service, it’s about compassion, it’s about service to others and it’s about understanding that something matters more than me,” Blair said.
During his time in Downing Street, Blair implemented major domestic reform and oversaw a period of record economic growth. He continues to be in the forefront of world affairs through the nonprofit the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change and take part in current debates on technology and the workforce and inequality across the globe.
New Capital Gains Tax Incentive
A new Federal Opportunity Zone Program is in the early stages of being implemented that incentivizes private investment in designated low-income areas through the deferral and reduction of capital gains tax. This program has the potential to be the largest-ever economic development initiative.
Businesses and individuals can defer paying tax on recognized gains if that gain is invested in a Qualified Opportunity Fund (QOF) and can receive a 10 to 15 percent reduction in their capital gains tax obligation if they commit to a long-term investment of a minimum of five years. Holding the investment for 10 years or more will allow the investor to avoid capital gains tax on the appreciation of the new investment.
Developers and businesses looking to take advantage of this program can do so in one of two ways: by (1) investing capital gains in their own projects or businesses, or (2) seeking local or national capital from new and existing Opportunity Funds. Those Opportunity Funds are typically looking for strong potential returns over the course of their ten-year holding periods and may be able to provide additional investment capital.
- Gains must be invested in a QOF within 180 days.
- QOF must invest in Qualified Opportunity Fund Property.
ELIGIBLE INVESTMENTS (QUALIFIED OPPORTUNITY FUND PROPERTY):
- Partnership interests in businesses that operate in a qualified Opportunity Zone.
- Stock ownership in businesses that conduct most or all their operations within a qualified Opportunity Zone.
- Property such as real estate located within a qualified Opportunity Zone.
- Investments held for five years receive a 10 percent reduction in capital gains tax obligation.
- Investments held for seven years receive a 15 percent reduction in capital gains tax obligation.
- Investments held for 10 years will not be subject to capital gains on the appreciation.
Beasley Allen Hosts 1,500 Attorneys During Annual Legal Conference & Expo
In mid-November, Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., hosted its 12th annual Legal Conference & Expo. The event drew more than 1,500 Alabama lawyers in private practice who came to get updates on the most current cases Beasley Allen attorneys have successfully litigated in the conferences’ case-review approach.
The event is the largest of its kind in the state and one of the top five legal conferences in the country. It offered eight hours of free Continuing Legal Education credits certified by the Alabama State Bar. As with years past, the conference topics emphasized emerging areas of litigation and practice areas that are crucial to trial lawyers’ success.
Beasley Allen Principal & Founder Jere Beasley discussed the important role lawyers play in improving society. Additional special guest speakers included Retirement Systems of Alabama CEO Dr. David Bronner; Alabama State Bar General Counsel Roman Shaul; and author, lecturer, trial consultant and attorney with Cusimano, Roberts & Mills, LLC, Greg Cusimano.
“It is an honor to once again welcome lawyers from across Alabama to Montgomery for the Beasley Allen Legal Conference,” said Dawn Hathcock, Vice President, Destination & Brand Development for the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce. “The conference guests have an opportunity to see what Montgomery has to offer as a destination, translating into return visits for vacations, events or additional meetings. It also provides a huge economic impact in the River Region estimated to be roughly $1 million.”
Professional Basketball in MGM
The River Region Generals, Montgomery’s first men’s professional basketball team, hit the road on November 3, to take on Mobile’s Port City Tornadoes. After final tryouts back in July, the team players were selected and a private signing day took place in front of family and friends weeks later. The team’s first home game was on November 24 at True Divine Baptist Church.
The River Region Generals are affiliated with the historic American Basketball Association. The league consists of 150 teams nationwide, which are divided into four regions. RRG is part of the Southeast region and will play teams from Georgia, Tennessee, Birmingham, Mobile and Pensacola. The American Basketball Association is expanding, bringing a Women American Basketball Association (WABA) team to Montgomery too, The Montgomery Malaysians.
Conn’s HomePlus Coming Soon
Moore Company Realty recently announced that a new Conn’s HomePlus is opening in Montgomery. The Montgomery store is the company’s first in the capital city and second in the state. Conn's HomePlus is a specialty retailer currently operating more than 120 retail locations. It is of the top consumer goods retailers in the country, with more than $1 billion in revenue. Conn’s sells furniture and related accessories for the living room, dining room and bedroom; traditional and specialty mattresses; home appliances, and a variety of consumer electronics.
Montgomery's First Female City Council Representative Since Roby
District 4 City Councilor Audrey Billups-Graham was sworn in to the Montgomery City Council in November by Montgomery Circuit Court Clerk Tiffany McCord, marking Montgomery’s first female representation on the Council since Rep. Martha Roby’s service to District 7 from 2003-2010.
Winning an overwhelming percentage of votes in the District 4 Special Run-off Election after David Burkette’s move to the Alabama State Senate, Councilor Graham now joins a lasting legacy of female leaders who have served on the City Council, including Rep. Roby, City Councilor for Montgomery’s 3rd District turned Democratic National Committee super delegate Janet May and former 24-year-member and Council president Alice Reynolds.
New tech start-up Coding Solutions is pumping additional energy into Montgomery’s downtown Innovation District.
The business is co-owned by Nimrod T. Frazer, former CEO of Enstar and co-founder of The Frazer Lanier Company and longtime leader in both the River Region business community and the community at large. One notable example is the bronze sculpture of the Rainbow Soldier standing at Union Station; Frazer’s generosity made the statue possible. A military hero himself, having earned the Silver Star for his service in Korea, Frazer is dedicated to ensuring present and future generations understand the legacy of the 167th U.S. Infantry Regiment of the famous 42nd Rainbow Division, authoring the book, “Send the Alabamians: World War I Fighters in the Rainbow Division.”
Through Coding Solutions, he’s again helping ensure a brighter future for his hometown.
We asked Frazer and Coding Solutions co-owner Taylor Peake to outline the company’s vision and goals.
MBJ: WHY DID YOU START CODING SOLUTIONS AND WHAT IS ITS PURPOSE?
Frazer: For years I have been reaching out to existing educational formats to provide training for coding and, while I do believe I have made a little headway, I am not satisfied with our progress. I had the good fortune of being introduced to Taylor Peake last year who reaffirmed my belief that the need was great. Taylor started her own development company in Birmingham several years ago and her growth is limited only by the lack of developers and engineers. Together, we developed a plan to provide training to companies in our regions. Once we started contacting those companies, it became even more obvious that first we need to find a way to provide more trained developers. Reaching out to Alabama’s colleges and universities and offering free training seemed to be an obvious way to begin that process.
Peake: We believe Alabama needs an innovative approach to retaining talent, and with approximately 4,000 available technical positions in our state alone, we need an ecosystem where everyone works together because not one entity can solve this problem. This starts with providing new engineers the training, resources and encouragement that they need so they can have a successful career here in Alabama.
WHAT ROLE WILL IT PLAY IN OUR AREA’S EMERGING TECH PRESENCE?
Frazer: As the tech presence grows, more engineers and developers will be needed. We hope to assist in training and providing those additional professionals.
Peake: We’re taking recent graduates, giving them real-world experience with our six-week training program, and placing them in career positions with companies in our state. By providing local opportunity, we can show emerging developers there is an ecosystem for them to develop and grow their career here.
HOW WILL IT HELP KEEP TALENT IN ALABAMA AND IN MONTGOMERY?
Frazer: Many students that we have contacted are not aware of the great jobs available in Alabama and specifically Montgomery. They think they have to move to Silicon Valley to get a good job. By partnering with those companies as well as our students we have designed an online platform that will allow hiring partners and candidates to see (1) jobs that are available and (2) skills of the candidates. Many of those jobs are right here in the Montgomery area. Many others are available throughout our state. It is my goal to try to keep our talent here at home and fill the jobs available at our local companies.
Huntingdon College 2018 Homecoming Court Presented
During the Huntingdon College 2018 Homecoming ceremonies last October, 16 Huntingdon women were presented as members of the Homecoming Court. Four members of each class were elected by their class peers. From the senior attendants, the Huntingdon student body collectively selected Anna Blair Cockrell of Aliceville, Alabama, as its Homecoming Queen. The sport management major was crowned during halftime of the Homecoming football game on October 27. Her senior attendants were Ragin Berry of Enterprise, Alabama; Sidney Carol Hall of Dothan, Alabama; and Zoya Robinson of Montgomery, Alabama.
Huntingdon Alumni Honored at Annual Ceremony
Huntingdon College also honored 10 alumni and one friend of the College during the annual Alumni Awards Ceremony during Homecoming 2018. The National Alumni Association recognized Jim Abbott '86 and William B. Wilson '90 with the Alumni Achievement Award; Margaret Ward Kneisel '71 and Charles Lee '62 with the Alumni Loyalty Award; and Dr. Larry McLemore '04 with the Outstanding Young Alumni Award. At the same ceremony, the Huntingdon Athletic Hall of Fame inducted Keith Anthony '13, Alyssa Eason '12, Robert Eskew '69 (posthumously), Mike Jones, Aleah Payne '12 and Abby Carter Stanton '12 as new members.
Remembering Greg Calhoun
Multiple celebrities and business leaders joined other friends and family in late October to celebrate the life of Greg Calhoun, owner of Montgomery-based Calhoun Foods and Calhoun Enterprises. He died suddenly in mid-October at the age of 66. At the lively memorial service, many spoke of Calhoun and his accomplishments and his giving spirit, including longtime friend The Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., “Judge Mathis” star Greg Mathis, former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. and entertainer Steve Harvey.
Gathering of Eagles, Class of 2019 Begins Work
For the 36th year in a row, the Gathering of Eagles (GOE) Foundation, composed of students at Maxwell Air Force Base’s Air Command Staff College, has begun outreach efforts with the Montgomery and Prattville communities. As a private, nonprofit organization, the GOE Foundation promotes, organizes and hosts a multitude of annual events. The Gathering of Eagles team brings aviation pioneers and military heroes to Maxwell Air Force Base each spring to honor their accomplishments and provide both military and community members the opportunity to personally engage with these legends of air, space and cyber-power. Prior legendary figures have included John Glenn, Jimmy Doolittle, Chuck Yeager, Neil Armstrong, Robbie Risner, Paul Tibbets and General Lori Robinson.
Community members are highly encouraged to attend all GOE-advertised events with the intent to inspire Montgomery’s student population to seek a career in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Last year the Gathering of Eagles Foundation awarded more than $10,000 in educational scholarships to Montgomery and Prattville high school students, and this year, the Foundation aims to raise $15,000 for students seeking a future in STEM career fields.
Alabama Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Rebrands
Dr. Sami A. Nizam II, MD, DMD and his wife Lily Nizam, PAC, CPCP recently moved to Montgomery to be closer to family. Dr. Nizam and Lily bring a wealth of skills in all aspects of Facial Cosmetic Surgery, including invasive and non-invasive procedures. As such, the practice has been renamed to Alabama Surgical Arts, reflecting all services offered including oral surgery, facial cosmetic surgery, medical spa and permanent cosmetic tattoo services.
Montgomery Zoo Shines During Annual Christmas Lights Festival
The Montgomery Zoo and Mann Wildlife Learning Museum helped the capital city and beyond get into the holiday spirit with its time-honored family tradition of its 27th Annual Christmas Lights Festival. Since 1992, families from across the River Region and Central Alabama have come to see the Montgomery Zoo transform into a magical wonderland of twinkling light displays. Last year was no different and included a new animated snowman machine display. Live entertainment provided by local school choirs, church organizations, clubs, dance troops and more was also featured nightly. Even Santa showed up for photo opps, and The Overlook Café served hot chocolate, freshly baked cookies and other holiday treats.
Event Honors Caregivers
In November, Dementia Friendly Alabama partnered with AARP and the RESPITE Ministry at First United Methodist Church for the 2nd Annual Celebrating Care Partners Luncheon. Since caregivers deteriorate 75 percent faster than those they are caring for, it’s very important that we support our caregivers. Speaker Anne Elizabeth McGowin, an attorney at Senior Law Solutions, shared her story with more than 20 attendees and offered her humorous and heartfelt “10 Steps to Caregiver Sanity.” She also elaborated on why she feels driven to help the senior population.