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Mobile Bay's 2010 Class of Forty Under 40

These movers and shakers know the meaning of the term “motivation.” Their accomplishments run the gamut; their resumes could wallpaper the RSA tower.

Lawrence Bedsole

Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Physician, Pulmonary Associates of Mobile

Education B.S. in business administration and premed from Tulane University; M.D. from University of South Alabama College of Medicine; residency in internal medicine at University of South Alabama; fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine at University of Alabama at Birmingham
Age 38
First job Working summers as an orderly at Springhill Medical Center
Best advice ever received Marry her before she realizes she’s too good for you.
Worst advice ever received Any investment advice with some version of the phrase “This time it’s different.”
Your biggest influence Certainly my wife and parents, but there are honestly too many people to name. I would leave out someone very deserving if I tried.
Guilty pleasure ’80s music
Last book you read “The Checklist Manifesto” by Atul Gawande, M.D.
Hobbies Traveling and boating
Person with whom you’d most like to have dinner Peter Drucker
Favorite memory from the ’80s
Finally being able to drive when I turned 16 – I’ve chosen to forget the multiple car accidents that closely followed.
Favorite quote “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”  – Abraham Lincoln
Biggest pet peeve Wasting time
Superpower you’d most like to have
To be able to create more hours in the day 
No. 1 thing you’d like to change about yourself I’m constantly learning and relearning that I need to be more patient. 

Eric Berrios

President, Virginia College

Education B.A. in history and education from Franciscan University; M.A. in administration from University of Dallas
Age 39
Best advice ever received As a teacher, I was advised not to smile until Christmas. Otherwise, your students will walk all over you.
Your biggest influence My wife, Gina, has been my biggest influence, my rock and shelter.
Guilty pleasure Rice Krispies Treats
Last book you read “Liberty and Tyranny” by Mark R. Levin
If you had to choose another career, it would be I would own an ice cream parlor on the beach.
Favorite memory from the ’80s The 1986 World Series
Favorite movie “Meet the Fockers”
Biggest pet peeve Bad breath
Superpower you’d most like to have Invisibility
Best Christmas present ever received An Atari game system – another great ’80s memory
Favorite thing about your career Contributing to improving the lives of our students. (Graduation is my favorite career event.) 

Kent “Spike” Blackinton

General Manager, Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel

Education B.S. in hotel and restaurant management from University of Nevada Las Vegas
Age 38
Best advice ever received Listen to the people who care about you.
Guilty pleasure Dr Pepper
Last book you read “The Traveler’s Gift” by Andy Andrews
Hobbies Golf, hiking, beach activities and music
Person with whom you’d most like to have dinner John Muir
If you had to choose another career, it would be Professional ski instructor
Favorite memory from the ’80s Big hair
Favorite quote “When you plant ice, you harvest the wind.”
Favorite movie “Apollo 13”
Biggest pet peeve Tailgaters while driving
Ideal retirement age 70
Most embarrassing moment I ran into a houseguest in the middle of the night while I had minimal clothes on.
Favorite thing about your career It changes every day, month and year.
Most memorable childhood TV show “M.A.S.H.” 

Chandra Brown

Executive Director, Lifelines – Family Counseling Center

Education B.S. in psychology and premed from Xavier University in New Orleans; Master’s in community counseling from University of South Alabama
Age 37
First job Sears telemarketer, selling maintenance agreements
Guilty pleasures Food, wine and girl power novels
Last book you read “The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency” series by Alexander McCall Smith
Hobbies Baking, reading, not killing the plants I try to grow
Person with whom you’d most like to have dinner Idris Elba or Mario Batali
If you had to choose another career, it would be Food and wine taster or travel journalist
Favorite memories from the ’80s Coca-Cola shirts, neon bracelets, Jellies shoes with socks, and Jamz shorts. Calling in to the radio to request your favorite song.
Favorite quote “We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.” – Marianne Williamson
Favorite movie “When Harry Met Sally”
Biggest pet peeve Dishonesty
No. 1 thing you’d like to change about yourself I’m on the constant quest for balance.
Best Christmas present ever received It’s a three-way tie: Atari 5200, a pingpong table and an engagement ring.
Favorite thing about your career Having the opportunity to see people rebound from difficult life issues. Seeing the resilience of the human spirit unfold each day.
Most memorable childhood TV show “Good Times,” “The Cosby Show” and “A Different World” 

Melanie Buffett

Yoga Teacher and Teacher Trainer, Yoga Birds

Education B.A. in photography from Montana State University
Age 38
First job I worked folding T-shirts at the original Margaritaville Store in Key West in 1986. I used all of the money I made to buy tickets to my first Grateful Dead concert.
Your biggest influence In faith, love and family: my grandmother, Mary Loraine “Peets” Buffett. In work ethic: Mick Jagger (I was his personal assistant for awhile in Los Angeles.)
Guilty pleasure I. LOVE. COFFEE. ALL. DAY. LONG.
Person with whom you’d most like to have dinner I would love to host a dinner party with Bob Marley, Johnny Cash, John Lennon, George Harrison, Jerry Garcia and Lowell George – and listen to these songwriters talk about weaving words into the fabric of the most beautiful songs of all time.
If you had to choose another career, it would be I have always wanted to be a backup singer for a rock ‘n’ roll band. Flashy outfits, microphone and a tambourine. Dreamy!
Most embarrassing moment Singing Southern rock karaoke late night (or early morning) in the French Quarter after Widespread Panic at Tipitina’s, circa 1990.
Best Christmas present ever received A year after we married, my husband, Burke Ingraffia, gave me the “12 Days of Christmas” on the Rive Gauche in Paris. We left New Orleans on Christmas Day and stayed in Paris until Twelfth Night. New Year’s Dom Perignon on the oldest bridge in Paris watching the Eiffel Tower light up at midnight – it still feels like a dream. 

Jermaine A. Burrell

Council Member, City of Mobile

Education B.S. in electrical engineering from Alabama A&M University; Microsoft Solution Certified Developer
Age 34
Guilty pleasure My love for power neckties
Hobbies Traveling, exercising (running mostly), cooking, listening to music, fine dining, entertaining and making people smile
If you had to choose another career, it would be In my next life, I would become a motivational speaker.
Favorite memory from the ’80s Attending my first concert at Ladd Stadium in sixth grade and having to cut grass to pay for it. LL Cool J was the headliner.
Superpower you’d most like to have Eradicating poverty throughout the world
No. 1 thing you’d like to change about yourself I’d like to have the ability to let things go that truly don’t matter.
Most embarrassing moment In 1994, after hearing loud pops that I initially thought were gunshots, I ran full speed out of a packed movie theater, leaving my date behind. I quickly realized, after being the sole person to flee, that someone had popped firecrackers in the theater because it was the Fourth of July. Everyone pointed and laughed at me as I exited the theater.
Best Christmas present ever received An Acura Integra my sophomore year in college. I couldn’t wait to drive down the block on campus!
Most memorable childhood TV show “Good Times” 

Rob Carothers

Partner, Jones, Walker, Waechter, Poitevent, Carrère & Denègre, LLP

Education B.S. in accounting from Birmingham-Southern College; J.D. from University of Alabama School of Law; ABA Stonier Graduate School of Banking
Age 35
First job Working collections for my hometown bank
Your biggest influence I’ve always looked up to my father and my grandfather, who was a Marine and fought in several battles during World War II.
Guilty pleasure I’m obsessed with college football.
Last book you read “The Big Short” by Michael Lewis
Hobbies Hunting, fishing and golfing
Person with whom you’d most like to have dinner Thomas Jefferson
If you had to choose another career, it would be Working in a small-town community bank
Favorite memory from the ’80s Playing Little League Baseball
Favorite movie “The Godfather”
Favorite thing about your career My family operates a small community bank. I specialize in banking law and my practice allows me to work closely with other community bankers and to better understand issues facing the industry. 

David Cain

Partner, Cunningham Bounds

Education B.S. from Auburn University; J.D. from University of Alabama School of Law
Age 35
First job Lifeguard and swim instructor
Best advice ever received Never quit.
Last book you read “The Fall of the House of Zeus” by Curtis Wilkie
Person with whom you’d most like to have dinner Ernest Hemingway
If you had to choose another career, it would be I would probably go play for the Saints in the NFL.
Favorite memory from the ’80s Chasing lightning bugs has always ranked pretty high.  Although, that trip to Disney World was pretty exciting as well. 
Favorite quote “To give less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”
Favorite movie I can’t remember the last time I saw something that didn’t involve cartoons and rowdy kids. 
Ideal retirement age Not until they kick me out of this place
Superpower you’d most like to have Flying. I could avoid some pretty serious holiday traffic with that one. 
Most embarrassing moment Spending 30 minutes on stage in high school with my pants unzipped 
Most memorable childhood TV show ”The A-Team” 

Colby Cooper

CoFounder and Principal, The Cooper-Lyon Group, LLC

Education B.A. in international relations from Bucknell University
Age 34
First job Paper boy at age 12
Best advice ever received Learn something from everyone you meet.
Your biggest influence My 3-year-old son, Kyle. He makes me realize there is more to life than a career or material things.
Guilty pleasure Dark chocolate peanut butter cups
Hobbies Being a husband and dad, watching football, and working in the yard
Person with whom you’d most like to have dinner Gen. Douglas MacArthur
If you had to choose another career, it would be A chef or restaurateur. I just love good food!
Favorite memory from the ’80s Summers on Lake Champlain
Favorite quote “Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.”  – Robert F. Kennedy
Ideal retirement age I’ve already passed it. No sense in looking back.
Best Christmas present ever received Hopefully a daughter this coming Christmas! 

Hallie Hollingsworth Croom

Professional Sales Specialist, Teva Women’s Health Pharmaceuticals

Education B.A. in journalism and English from University of Mississippi; University of Paris, Sorbonne
Age 37
First job To do anything my daddy told me to. (If you knew my dad, you’d understand.)
Best advice ever received All things are possible through Christ who strengthens me.
Worst advice ever received All’s fair in love and war.
Guilty pleasure All of the “Real Housewives” on Bravo. It’s terrible, but I just can’t stop watching!
Last book you read “Change” by Joyce Meyer
Person with whom you’d most like to have dinner Jesus Christ
Favorite memory from the ’80s Streaming serpentine out of the “back-back” window of my mama’s station wagon with my sister, floating down Fowl River in a black inner tube, and learning to ski behind daddy’s Negus
Favorite movie “The Blind Side”
Biggest pet peeve Unloading the dishwasher
Best Christmas present ever received One last Christmas with my daddy. Thank you, cancer research!
Most memorable childhood TV show “Little House on the Prairie.” People told me I looked like Laura Ingalls as a child. 

Stacy Cummings

Manager, Wilkins Miller Hieronymus, LLC

Education Bachelor of Accountancy from University of Mississippi
Age 31
First job Working retail in a department store
Best advice ever received Do your best, and that’s all you can do.
Worst advice ever received I had a professor tell me I shouldn’t work for a local accounting firm. Boy, was he wrong! I can’t think of anyone I graduated with who is still working at the same place they started at out of college.
Guilty pleasures Peanut Butter M&M’s and Oreo McFlurries
Last book you read It’s been a while since I’ve read a book of my own. Now it’s mostly “Goodnight Moon” and other kids books to my 2-year-old.
If you had to choose another career, it would be Delivering food and supplies boat-side in the Virgin Islands
Favorite quote “It is what it is.”
Biggest pet peeve People who drive like maniacs
No. 1 thing you’d like to change about yourself I would enjoy and be good at cooking. Unfortunately, I just like to eat!
Most embarrassing moment I’m pretty clumsy, so any one of the million times I’ve fallen in public
Most memorable childhood TV show “Fraggle Rock” 

John Ferguson

Wealth Management Advisor and Resident Director, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management

Education B.A. in political science and economics from Rhodes College; St. John’s College, Oxford, England
Age 33
Best advice ever received Keep your eye on the ball and your head in the game.
Your biggest influence My dad has always been a great role model and is, without question, a great servant leader. He is all about doing the right thing, on time, and serving others.
Guilty pleasure Bacon cheeseburgers and milkshakes
Last book you read “Coming Back Stronger” by Drew Brees
Hobbies Running, biking, tennis and golf
Favorite memory from the ’80s Skating backwards at Sunshine Skate Center on Friday nights
Favorite quote “What we call luck, what we call chance, is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. If you stay ready, you ain’t gotta get ready.” – Will Smith in “The Pursuit of Happyness”
Biggest pet peeves Waiting in lines and people who can’t make quick decisions
Ideal retirement age I would like to have the option of retiring when I am 60, but with three girls, I will likely work forever.
No. 1 thing you’d like to change about yourself I would like to be 2 inches taller.
Most embarrassing moment I got punched in the face at space camp. 

Stacey B. Driskell

Director of Education and Community Outreach, Mobile Opera

Education Studied secondary education with a concentration in piano and voice at University of Mobile
Age 36
First job Day care assistant the summer between my junior and senior years of high school
Best advice ever received An understanding and tolerance of other ideas and beliefs does not diminish your own.
Worst advice ever received Short, permed hair would look good on you.
Your biggest influence It is not “who” but rather “what.” Music and the performing arts have changed my life and broadened my horizons.
Guilty pleasures Hot tea and reading a magazine from cover to cover. My favorites: InStyle, Oprah and, of course, Mobile Bay.
Last book you read “Half Broken Horses” by Jeannette Walls and  “The White Queen” by Philippa Gregory. I tend to read several books at once.
Person with whom you’d most like to have dinner Carol Burnett
Favorite movie “Bringing Up Baby”
Biggest pet peeve Cell phones at the dinner table and in the theater
No. 1 thing you’d like to change about yourself At 36 years of age, I am pretty comfortable with the skin that I am in – the good and the bad.
Best Christmas present ever received When I was 12 years old, I was given a pair of Guess jeans and a Coca-Cola shirt. 

Liz Freeman

Vice President of Administration and Technology, Long’s Human Resource Services

Education B.S. in human and organizational development from Vanderbilt University
Age 34
First job Temporary receptionist at Long’s
Best advice ever received Remember that people don’t get into the situation they are in overnight.
Worst advice ever received Not to wax my eyebrows
Guilty pleasure Champagne
If you had to choose another career, it would be Buying for Saks Fifth Avenue
Favorite memory from the ’80s ”Thriller”
Favorite movie Toss-up between “Dave” and “Trading Places”
Biggest pet peeve Litter
Superpower you’d most like to have To make another person’s heart whole
Most embarrassing moment Some sort of crab-walk dance I attempted at a wedding in Andalulsia at age 8 or 9. I know my parents love me unconditionally, but if there ever was doubt, that would have been the moment. My father was truly embarassed.
Best Christmas present ever received Jewelry from my husband, of course
Favorite thing about your career Putting people to work. It’s extremely personal.
Most memorable childhood TV show “MacGyver” 

Ben Ford

Partner, Armbrecht Jackson, LLP

Education B.S. in finance from Auburn University; J.D. from Cumberland School of Law, Samford University
Age 33
First job Cutting grass at St. Paul’s Episcopal School
Best advice ever received Associate with successful people, and listen to the voice of experience.
Worst advice ever received “I think you can take that guy in a fight.” (This was prior to having my nose broken.)
Guilty pleasures AMC’s “Mad Men” and just about any show on the History Channel
Person with whom you’d most like to have dinner I would skip dinner and have a drink with Winston Churchill.
If you had to choose another career, it would be Playing left field for the Red Sox
Favorite memory from the ’80s Breakfasts at the old Village Inn restaurant
Favorite movie “To Kill a Mockingbird” or “Forrest Gump”
Biggest pet peeve I am easily annoyed with many things associated with mobile phones. Musical ring tones and people talking loudly in public are just a couple.
Superpower you’d most like to have An unlimited supply of energy or the ability to make my children fall asleep on command
Best Christmas present ever received Hands down – Nintendo (NES), with Tecmo Bowl game
Favorite thing about your career My legal practice is devoid of routine, and every matter presents a unique challenge. This keeps me on my toes.
Most memorable childhood TV show NBC Thursday night lineup of “The Cosby Show,” “Family Ties” and “Cheers” 

Torrey M. Garrison

Corporate Director of Safety, Quality and Human Resources, White-Spunner Construction

Education B.S. in occupational safety and health from Columbia Southern University; Master of Arts in theological studies and chaplaincy from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary
Age 35
First job Loading firewood into heaters at a nursery
Best advice ever received If you look too far into the future, you may miss what is happening today!
Guilty pleasure Weekly Krispy Kreme visits
Hobbies Holding my wife’s bags as she shops
Person with whom you’d most like to have dinner King David
If you had to choose another career, it would be I’d be a missionary in Ireland.
Favorite memory from the ’80s When I hit double-digits (10), I thought I had arrived.
Superpower you’d most like to have I like the whole flying thing. Airports are horrible.
No. 1 thing you’d like to change about yourself Finding contentment periodically would be nice.
Most embarrassing moment When I was 25, I made a speech in front of an owner and completely bombed it. Luckily my president bailed me out. 

Chris George

Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church of Mobile

Education B.A. in English and history from Samford University; Master of Theological Studies in Christianity and culture from Harvard Divinity School
Age 34
First job Mowed yards in our neighborhood
Worst advice ever received Drive without the AC to save gas. It may be true, but in Lower Alabama’s summers, it is a recipe for suffering.
Guilty pleasure Watching Tennessee football and Yankees baseball, hoping both teams will always lose. (I am a University of Kentucky and Boston Red Sox fan.)
Hobbies Golf, reading, college sports and sudoku
If you had to choose another career, it would be Teaching. I enjoy challenging people to stretch their minds.
Favorite memory from the ’80s Watching the St. Louis Cardinals win the World Series in 1982
Biggest pet peeve Criticism without constructive suggestions
Ideal retirement age When my ministry is more of a burden than a blessing. At this point, I can hardly imagine ever retiring.
No. 1 thing you’d like to change about yourself I am still trying to learn how to sit still.
Most embarrassing moment Forgetting how to spell my fiance’s (now my wife’s) last name a few weeks after becoming engaged 

Matt Green

City of Mobile Municipal Judge (part-time); Attorney and Counselor at Law City of Mobile; The Law Office of Matt Green, LLC

Education B.A. in history and political science from Louisiana State University; J.D. from Jones School of Law
Age 36
First job Louisiana State University Press
Guilty pleasure LSU football
Last book you read “Constitutional Chaos: What Happens When the Government Breaks Its Own Laws” by Judge Andrew P. Napolitano
Hobbies Reading, researching and writing about local history
Person with whom you’d most like to have dinner Other than Jesus, probably St. Paul
Favorite memory from the ’80s “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” – Reagan at Brandenburg Gate, June 12, 1987
Favorite quote “Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.”  – Martin Luther
Favorite movie “Fletch”
Biggest pet peeve Shorts and flip-flops in the courtroom
Superpower you’d most like to have The peace that passes understanding
No. 1 thing you’d like to change about yourself More hair!
Most embarrassing moment Looking up in the video monitor at the grocery store and wondering out loud who the bald guy in the checkout line was – and then figuring it out
Best Christmas present ever received A hug from my wife on the morning of our first Christmas together as husband and wife
Favorite thing about your career Helping others conquer addiction, lack of educaton and unemployment, through court-supervised probation
Most memorable childhood TV show “Unsolved Mysteries” 

Mary McIlwain Hadley                                 

Director of Development, Mobile Symphony, Inc.

Education B.A. in public relations from Auburn University; League of American Orchestras Executive Leadership Program
Age 35
First job Marketing/development assistant, American Cancer Society, Mobile Chapter
Worst advice ever received Go ahead and buy the new house. Homes always increase in value.
Your biggest influence My mother. She instilled in me my love of learning.
Guilty pleasure “Us Weekly”
Last book you read “The Berenstain Bears Say Their Prayers” with my 4-year-old daughter, Anna
Person with whom you’d most like to have dinner Elton John. It’s a pipe dream of mine for Elton John to come to Mobile for a mega fundraising event benefiting the Drug Education Council, South Alabama Cares and the Mobile Symphony.
Favorite memory from the ’80s Tent camping up the East Coast to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, Canada, during the summer of ’87 with my mom, dad, brother and sister
Favorite quote “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” – Mohandas Gandhi
Superpower you’d most like to have A mute button to silence any chaos disrupting my peace
Best Christmas present ever received My son Mac in 2009
Most memorable childhood TV show “The Wonder Years” 

Todd Hassel

Business Development Manager, Prism Systems, Inc.

Education B.S. in mechanical engineering from The Ohio State University; MBA from University of     South Alabama
Age 39
First job Watering nursery stock for a local landscaper
Best advice ever received Nothing in this world is free.
Last book you read “Good to Great” by Jim Collins
Hobbies Anything athletic: running, softball, weight lifting. Spending time on the water, listening to live music, being outdoors.
Person with whom you’d most like to have dinner Warren Buffett
If you had to choose another career, it would be Assuming I could hit the cover off a 95-mph fastball, I would be in the big leagues.
Favorite memory from the ’80s Hair bands
Favorite quote “Winning is not a sometime thing, it is an all the time thing. You don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time.” – Vince Lombardi
Favorite movie “Top Gun”
Biggest pet peeve Shortcuts. If it is worth doing, it is worth doing well.
No. 1 thing you’d like to change about yourself Be less passionate about the small stuff.
Best Christmas present ever received A DS 80 dirt bike as a kid. Family time as I get older.
Favorite thing about your career The opportunity to learn something new or meet someone different on a daily basis 

Guy Helmsing

President and Market Manager for South Alabama, Whitney National Bank

Education B.S. in interdisciplinary studies from University of Alabama
Age 37
First job Delivery person for an oil company
Best advice ever received Never give up.
Worst advice ever received I try not to remember bad advice.
Guilty pleasure Buffalo wings
Last book you read “Sowbelly: The Obsessive Quest for the World Record Largemouth Bass” by Monte Burke
Hobbies Hunting, fishing and scuba diving
Person with whom you’d most like to have dinner Paul “Bear” Bryant
If you had to choose another career, it would be Farming
Favorite memory from the ’80s Killing my first deer
Favorite movie “Rudy”
Ideal retirement age Now
No. 1 thing you’d like to change about yourself I would be a better public speaker.
Most embarrassing moment I boarded the wrong plane one time in Atlanta and had to be paged to leave.
Best Christmas present ever received A trip to Africa
Favorite thing about your career Helping clients and coworkers succeed 

Lindsay Rigdon Hutchisson

Public relations and Development Director, MARC

Education B.S. in broadcast journalism and criminal justice from Troy University
Age 33
First job When I was in high school, I was a trail riding guide at the Dillard House in Dillard, Ga.
Best advice ever received Always behave, because you never know who might know your mother.
Worst advice ever received When I was at the University of Georgia, my stepdad told me to take ecology because it was an easy class. He was wrong.
Your biggest influence My grandmother has been a big influence in my life. She valued education and she herself graduated from UGA in 1938. Perseverance was her greatest quality. I admired her for that.
Guilty pleasure Tiramisu gelato is my favorite thing in the whole world. I get it at Serda’s downtown as often as I can.
Last book you read “Going Rogue” by Sarah Palin
Favorite memory from the ’80s The side ponytail. Some things should not be revisited.
Favorite quote “In the book of life, the answers aren’t in the back.” – Charlie Brown
Favorite movie “Steel Magnolias”
Most embarrassing moment Who can pick just one? I tend to run into things, so I have a large bank of options.
Best Christmas present ever received A few years ago my parents gave me a drawing of my son, Lindon. It was so beautiful it made me cry.
Most memorable childhood TV show “Magnum, P.I.” 

Candace D. Johnson

Attorney/Partner, Adams and Reese, LLP

Education B.A. in accounting from University of Alabama; J.D. from University of Alabama School of Law
Age 38
First job Waitressing at TCBY Yogurt
Best advice ever received Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Your biggest influence My law partners
Guilty pleasure Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
Last book you read “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett
Hobbies I enjoy reading, traveling and spending time with my daughter.
Person with whom you’d most like to have dinner JFK
If you had to choose another career, it would be Medicine
Favorite memory from the ’80s Big hair
Biggest pet peeve Short deadlines
Superpower you’d most like to have Mind reading
Ideal retirement age 38
No. 1 thing you’d like to change about yourself I would become a morning person.
Best Christmas present ever received A locket my parents gave me
Favorite thing about your career Working on large, multi-state timberland transactions
Most memorable childhood TV show “Dallas” 

Frank Lott

President, Heritage Homes

Education B.S. in finance from University of Alabama
Age 33
First job Cleaning job sites
Best advice ever received Perfect what you do before trying something new.
Guilty pleasure Coffee – only in the morning
Last book you read “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak, to my kids
Hobbies Fishing, hunting and tennis
Person with whom you’d most like to have dinner George Washington
If you had to choose another career, it would be Retirement
Favorite memory from the ’80s Hunting trips with my dad
Favorite quote “If you wait for the robins, spring will be over.” – Warren Buffett
Favorite movie “Anchorman”
Biggest pet peeve Waiting in line
No. 1 thing you’d like to change about yourself Stop procrastinating
Most memorable childhood TV show “Saved by the Bell” 

Peyton Mattei

Producer, Thames, Batré, Mattei, Beville & Ison

Education B.S. in managerial finance from University of Mississippi
Age 30
First job A summer job with Larson & McGowin when I was 14
Guilty pleasure Ice cream
Last book you read “The Cat in the Hat” by Dr. Seuss, to my 2-year-old daughter
Hobbies Golf and hunting
Person with whom you’d most like to have dinner Rudy Giuliani
If you had to choose another career, it would be Golf course design
Favorite quote “Anything worth doing is worth doing right.” – Hunter S. Thompson
Biggest pet peeve Telemarketers
Best Christmas present ever received Watching my daughter open presents at Christmas
Most memorable childhood TV show “MacGyver” or “Saved by the Bell” 

Chad C. Marchand

Shareholder, DeLashmet & Marchand, P.C.

Education B.S. in environmental science from Auburn University; J.D. from Cumberland School of Law, Samford University
Age 36
Best advice ever received Keep it simple.
Worst advice ever received Sleep is overrated.
Your biggest influence My father
Guilty pleasure None, as I don’t believe in regrets.
Hobbies Triathlons, running, cycling, skydiving, backpacking, remodeling, wine making and beer brewing
If you had to choose another career, it would be Winemaking
Favorite quote “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Superpower you’d most like to haveThe ability to stop time
Ideal retirement age I will probably never retire.
Favorite thing about your career The competition 

Jeremiah Newell

Director, Evening Educational Options Program, Mobile Area Education Foundation

Education B.S. in secondary education and English from University of South Alabama; B.S. in instructional design from University of South Alabama
Age 25
First job West Telecommunications
Best advice ever received Serving others is the best way of life.
Your biggest influence My mother is my biggest influence. She raised me as a single parent and successfully balanced working with being a mother and father.
Hobbies Christian ministry, singing and tennis
Favorite memory from the ’80s I’m too young to remember the ’80s!
Favorite quote “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Courage faces fear and thereby masters it; cowardice represses fear and is thereby mastered by it. We must constantly build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Favorite movie “Inception”
Biggest pet peeve Hearing people brush their teeth!
Superpower you’d most like to have The ability to heal those who are sick
No.1 thing you’d like to change about yourself I wish I were a little taller.
Favorite thing about your career I get to turn ideas into reality and serve young people in our community. 

Kimberly Williams Pettway

Instructor, Social Work Program, University of South Alabama, College of Arts and Sciences

Education B.S. in psychology from University of Montevallo; Master of Science in criminal justice from University of Alabama; Master of Social Work with concentration on children and family from University of Alabama
Age 28
First job Concession worker at the “dollar” movies in The Festival Center
Best advice ever received When making life’s decisions, “don’t go chasing fire trucks.” – Dr. John Schriner
Worst advice ever received You don’t have to ask people for anything. If they want you to have it, they’ll offer it to you.
Your biggest influence My mother and father, by far
Guilty pleasure Brach’s Peanut Clusters
Last book you read “Destined to Overcome” by Paul E. Billheimer
Hobbies Fishing, traveling, spending time with family, and watching “Criminal Minds”
If you had to choose another career, it would be Working as a special agent in the FBI Crimes Against Children unit
Favorite memory from the ’80s Dressing like Cyndi Lauper
Favorite movie The orginal “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory”
Biggest pet peeve People who don’t say what they mean
Superpower you’d most like to have To be able to create multiples of myself.
Favorite thing about your career Advising students and broadening their knowledge bases 

Lowrey Rhodes

Vice President Commercial Sales and Development, Roberts Brothers Commercial & Property Management, Inc.

Education B.S. in accounting from Birmingham Southern College
Age 32
First job I owned a grass cutting business.
Best advice ever received Remember who you are! 
Worst advice ever received It will work out; just trust me. 
Person with whom you’d most like to have dinner Ronald Reagan
Last book you read “Dirt Road Home” by Watt Key
Hobbies Saltwater fishing, golf and triathlons
Favorite memory from the ’80s Reebok Pump basketball shoes
Favorite quote “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.”  – Henry Ford
Biggest pet peeve People who lack enthusiasm
No. 1 thing you’d like to change about yourself I’d like to have the ability to throw the football like Peyton Manning. 
Favorite thing about your career Taking a piece of unproductive vacant land and turning it into something that is beneficial to the community
Most memorable childhood TV show ”The Dukes of Hazzard” 

Aimee Risser

Vice President of Association Advancement and Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters, YMCA of South Alabama

Education B.A. in psychology from University of South Alabama; Master of Science in community counseling from University of
South Alabama
Age 36
First job Tato Nut Doughnut Shop in Ocean Springs, Miss., age 15. It was an early life lesson in work ethic since I had to be at work by 5 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday through high school.
Worst advice ever received I’ve received some along the way, but thank goodness for common sense!
If you had to choose another career, it would be Owning a small business. I already have my dream location picked out.
Favorite memory from the ’80s A tradition of going to New Orleans the week of my birthday. It began when I was six and continues today with the same friends and family.
Favorite movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”
Most embarrassing moment It was embarrassing enough the first time – I do not want to relive it by sharing it again! All I can say is that the 2010 Azalea Trail Run results have since been corrected...
Best Christmas present ever received All of the wonderful handmade gifts my children have given me for any and all holidays!
Most memorable childhood TV show Honestly, when I was younger, we didn’t spend a lot of time watching TV. We were always outside playing. 

Rod Rocconi

Gynecologic Oncologist, USA Mitchell Cancer Institute

Education B.S. in biological sciences from University of Mississippi; M.D. from University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine; obstetrics and gynecology residency and gynecologic oncology fellowship at University of Alabama at Birmingham
Age 39
First job Cutting grass in the neighborhood
Your biggest influence Dad. He always had the right balance between family and career.
Guilty pleasure Video games
Last book you read “The Bourne Betrayal” by Eric Van Lustbader
Hobbies Listening to blues, running, coaching Little League, weekend boating activities with the family
Person with whom you’d most like to have dinner Jackie Robinson
If you had to choose another career, it would be Coaching high school football
Biggest pet peeve Having to repeat the same thing twice
Most embarrassing moment During high school, I fell down a flight of stairs in front of hundreds of people during intermission of a play at the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans.
Favorite thing about your career Although they don’t realize it, I’m motivated daily by the strength, grace and dignity I see in the patients that I care for.
Most memorable childhood TV show “Bugs Bunny” 

Stephen Schlautman

Assistant Vice President, Business Banking, Regions Bank

Education B.S. in finance from University of Southern Misissippi; MBA in finance from University of Southern Mississippi; ABA Stonier National Graduate School of Banking
Age 30
First job Harvesting watermelons in the hot Mississippi summer at age 13
Best advice ever received You can do whatever you put your mind to.
Hobbies Playing guitar, singing, canoeing and camping
If you had to choose another career, it would be Hosting a Travel Channel TV show
Favorite memory from the ’80s Tight-rolled pants
Favorite quote “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” – Calvin Coolidge
No. 1 thing you’d like to change about yourself I want the rest of my hair to leave so I don’t have to keep shaving my head!
Most embarrassing moment It’s a long story ... Call me, and I will tell you sometime.
Favorite thing about your career I get to help people acheive their dreams and grow their businesses.
Most memorable childhood TV show “The Smurfs” 

John Serda

Owner, Serda’s Coffee Co.

Education B.S. in finance from University of South Alabama
Age 36
First job Bagging groceries at Bruno’s
Best advice ever received If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
Guilty pleasure Stella Artois
Hobbies Wakeboarding, kneeboarding, skiing, running and weight training
Person with whom you’d most like to have dinner Thomas Jefferson
If you had to choose another career, it would be Filmmaking
Favorite memory from the ’80s Camping at Lake Guntersville with my mom, best friend Scott and my dog, Bandit
Favorite movie “The Shawshank Redemption”
Biggest pet peeve Smoking
Superpower you’d most like to have To read people’s minds
Ideal retirement age I don’t plan to retire.
No. 1 thing you’d like to change about yourself I wish it were easier to wake up in the morning.
Most embarrassing moment Tim Roth visited our film school and somehow I got him confused with Ron Eldard and asked him how he prepared for the role in “Bastard Out of Carolina,” which Ron Eldard actually starred in. Roth was cool about it though, and he said he liked that movie, too!
Best Christmas present ever received Beer
Favorite thing about your career I get to meet new people all the time. 

J.E.B. Shell

Controller, Hargrove Engineers + Constructors

Education B.S. in accounting from University of South Alabama
Age 34
Best advice ever received Win the game on the field and never make excuses.
Worst advice ever received Don’t even bother trying; everyone who tried has failed.
Hobbies Wing shooting and saltwater fishing
Person with whom you’d most like to have dinner Pope John Paul II
If you had to choose another career, it would be If I were not a CPA, I would probably be practicing law.
Favorite memory from the ’80s Ronald Reagan
Favorite movie “Patton”
Biggest pet peeve People who drive slowly in the left lane. Slower traffic, keep right!
Ideal retirement age I will never stop working. I’ll just change what I’m working on.
No. 1 thing you’d like to change about yourself I need to be more organized.
Most memorable childhood TV show “The Andy Griffith Show” 

Chuck Steeg

Vice President, Vacation Rentals, Meyer Real Estate

Education B.S. in business from University of South Alabama
Age 39
First job Linen boy at Holiday Beach Resort in Destin, Fla.
Best advice ever received There is never a stupid question.
Worst advice ever received This is a great deal.
Guilty pleasure A large Chick-Fil-A unsweet tea with 48 Equal packets
Last book you read “Winning” by Jack Welch
Hobbies Biking, running, walking, entertaining, and Alabama, University of South Alabama and Saints football
If you had to choose another career, it would be Roller coaster testing at Six Flags
Favorite memory from the ’80s Saving money to upgrade from my white Pinto (Bobcat) to a black 1977 Datsun 280Z
Superpower you’d most like to have The ability to know which lotto balls will be drawn
Most embarrassing moment After a plumbing back-up at my house in the middle of the night, I discovered what happens when you open the clean-out valve. Luckily, I was alone in my embarrassment.
Best Christmas present ever received A shadow box showing my great-aunt at work at the Battle House switchboard years ago. 

Jennifer J. Turner

Manager, Customized Engineering, Airbus North America Engineering

Education B.S. in engineering physics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; MBA in finance and management from Dallas Baptist University
Age 38
First job I worked for a machine shop. My duties included running milling machines and lathes.
Best advice ever received Be yourself, and don’t let anyone change who you are.
Guilty pleasure Bread dipped in olive oil and spices
Hobbies Gardening, riding motorcycles, spending time outside
Person with whom you’d most like to have dinner Laura Bush
If you had to choose another career, it would be Owning a nonprofit organization that helps dogs and horses
Favorite memory from the ’80s In the middle of winter, my mother and I would ride our horses through the McDonald’s drive-through and order coffee. I will never forget the looks on people’s faces as we waited in line.
Favorite quote “Speak softly, and carry a big stick; you will go far.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Favorite movie “True Women”
Biggest pet peeve People who talk on the cell phone or text message while driving
No. 1 thing you’d like to change about yourself Be more of a risk taker, and start my own business 

Brian Ward

CEO/PresideNT, DocRx

Education B.S. in marketing from Louisiana State University
Age 38
First job Stacking lumber at Linden Lumber Company during the summers in high school
Last book you read “It Never Rains in Tiger Stadium” by John Ed Bradley
Hobbies Coaching, hunting, fishing and traveling to SEC games with my wife and kids
If you had to choose another career, it would be Coaching. There are not many things in life better than teaching young people how to compete, not only against the other team, but within themselves.
Favorite movie “Friday Night Lights.” I believe they based this movie on my senior year at Marengo Academy in Linden, Ala. The town lived and breathed football and shut down on Friday night. It was like someone passed away after a loss, and the economy boomed during the state championship. There wasn’t a worry in the world but Longhorn football.
Biggest pet peeve When children call adults and parents by their first names and can’t seem to say “Yes, sir,” and “No, sir.”
No. 1 thing you’d like to change about yourself I would like my college body back, hair and all. My wife might like that as well.
Most embarrassing moment Running out of the tunnel in Tiger Stadium against Tulane, I tripped on the man in front of me and pushed him down, causing a pile. I kept running and hoped nobody saw me.
Best Christmas present ever received The time I had with my grandparents during the holidays. It was a gift I didn’t understand then. 

Darren Waters

Physician, Greater Mobile Urgent Care

Education B.S. in biomedical sciences from University of South Alabama; M.D. from University of South Alabama; residency in emergency medicine at University of Kentucky; Board Certified Emergency Medicine Physician; Fellow in the American College of Emergency Physicians (FACEP)
Age 38
First job Godfather’s Pizza
Best advice ever received Always take time out for your family.
Worst advice ever received Don’t swallow toothpaste, because it causes cancer. Thanks, sis.
Guilty pleasure Taco Bell
Hobbies Golfing, running and chasing after my two kids!
Person with whom you’d most like to have dinner Tiger Woods
If you had to choose another career, it would be Coaching college football
Favorite memory from the ’80s PacMan and parachute pants
Favorite quote “Don’t be humble. You’re not that great.” – Golda Meir
Favorite movie “Rocky”... All of them.
Biggest pet peeve Listening to someone file their nails
Superpower you’d most like to have The power to heal by touch
Ideal retirement age 30. I missed my mark.
Best Christmas present ever received A scrapbook from my wife filled with pictures and memories of my chidren and me
Favorite thing about your career I have the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life on a daily basis. 

Stacy Wellborn

President, wellbornIdeas

Education B.S. in hospitality management from University of Alabama; M.S. in counseling from University of North Carolina – Greensboro
Age 37
First job I started babysitting when I was 12, then became a lifeguard at 15.
Best advice ever received Don’t press “send” in the heat of the moment. Take a deep breath and walk away.
Your biggest influence My grandmother graduated from college at 19, then went on to be a civil servant at the Panama Canal during the war. (She met my grandfather in Panama.) After she raised a family, she was a successful real estate investor and always taught me to be independent, expect the best, and do it all with style.
Guilty pleasure Mindless TV – I love “Glee!”
Last book you read “The Help” by fellow Mississippian Kathryn Stockett
If you had to choose another career, it would be I would love to be a college professor, and still may.
Favorite movie “Pretty in Pink” – or anything from John Hughes in the ’80s
Biggest pet peeve Incorrect (or misspoken) English. I get that from my grandparents.
No. 1 thing you’d like to change about yourself I wish I were better disciplined about exercise.
Most embarrassing moment I’m going to skip this one. ;-)
Best Christmas present ever received My first computer, a TI 99.
Favorite thing about your career I learn something new every day.
Most memorable childhood TV show “Dallas” 

Contina Quinn Woods

Assistant Vice President, Regions Bank

Education B.A. in journalism and public relations from University of Southern Mississippi; MBA in general business from University of Alabama at Birmingham
Age 33
First job Helping my father at his mechanic shop
Best advice ever received Put God first.
Guilty pleasure Pinot noir
Last book you read “The Race” by Richard North Patterson
Hobbies Reading, wine tasting and family time
Person with whom you’d most like to have dinner Michelle Obama
If you had to choose another career, it would be College professor
Favorite memory from the ’80s The release of “Thriller”
Favorite quote “To whom much is given, much is required.” – Luke 12:48
Favorite movie “The Book of Eli”
Biggest pet peeve Intolerance
Superpower you’d most like to have Mind reading
No. 1 thing you’d like to change about yourself To be more organized
Best Christmas present ever received The first Christmas that our oldest daughter was able to open her presents on her own
Most memorable childhood TV show “The Cosby Show”

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