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Mobile Bay's 2011 Class of Forty Under 40

Discover more from the men and women who daily contribute to make the Bay area a stronger, better community

Patrick W. Bussey III, 34

President, Bussey Capital Management LLC

Education B.S. in Finance, University of Alabama
Spouse Amanda Ellis Bussey
Children Finn, 2
Hobbies I enjoy spending time with family, saltwater fishing, personal fitness, stand-up paddleboarding and visiting the British Virgin Islands.
First job Dock worker at Romar Harbor in Orange Beach
Favorite song “Life is Just a Tire Swing,” by Jimmy Buffett
Celebrity doppelganger Matt LeBlanc
Who has helped you the most along the way? The legacy of my late father. I strive to emulate him in both my personal and business life.
What advice would you give your high school self? She is the one.
What is your favorite place in Mobile or Baldwin County? Anywhere on the water in Perdido Bay

 

Sam Winter, 30

Associate Broker, Roberts Brothers, Inc.

Education B.A. in Communications, Auburn University
Spouse Hartley Winter
Children Audrey, 1 1/2, and another on the way
First job Working on the paint crew at St. Paul’s during the summertime
First car My mom’s 1985 Chevy Blazer
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I remember wanting to be everything — cowboy, astronaut, football player, Nascar driver.
What do you expect the Bay area will be like in 20 years? I expect it to be thriving in areas such as aerospace, technology startups, and naval shipbuilding. I feel as if our citizens will start moving closer back
into town which will create a more urban living atmosphere.
What one thing would you change about the Bay area? The incorrect perception that there is nothing to do in Mobile. We have just about everything to do here.
If you could have dinner with any one local person from history, whom would you choose? Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville

Kasie M. Braswell, 35

Attorney, The Braswell Firm, LLC

Education B.A. in Political Science, University of South Alabama; J.D., Mississippi College School of Law
Spouse Joey Braswell
Children Jackson, 5; Jacob, 2
First car A Mazda 626 with one hubcap and 120,000 miles!
Favorite Christmas movie “The Grinch.” My kids love it.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A doctor — until I received a “D” in biology! Adults always told me to be a lawyer because I argued with everyone.
What advice would you give your high school self? Stay away from perms and blue eye shadow. They are not your friends!
If you had to choose another career, what would it be? I suppose if I were forced to choose I would say “yard guy.” I love working outside; planting flowers and cutting the grass are some of my favorite things to do on the weekends.
What is the ideal age at which you would like to retire? Never! I hope to still be practicing law when I’m 99. It is truly my passion.
What is the weirdest job interview question you have ever been asked? “Does your mama or husband live in Mobile? Because we only hire people who we know are going to stay here.”

Maureen C. Smith, 39

Senior Account Executive, Red Square Agency

Education B.A. in Radio / Television / Film and Theology, Spring Hill College; Master’s of Theological Studies, Spring Hill College
Spouse Jeff Amy
Children Catherine, 6; Nicole, 3
First car A 1973 wood-paneled, nine-passenger station wagon. It was stolen from our house in Atlanta. I’m still not sure if that was such a bad thing.
Guilty pleasures Chocolate-covered peanuts from A&M Peanut Shop, real half-and-half in my coffee and playing practical jokes on people.
What is your favorite building in Mobile? St. Joseph’s Chapel, Spring Hill College. I have enjoyed so many amazing moments in the golden light inside that place.
If you could have dinner with any one local person from history, whom would you choose? Eugene Walter. I had the pleasure of meeting him once. He asked me my sign. I suspect every dinner with Eugene was lively and delightful.
What is the weirdest job interview question you have ever been asked? “What would you do if someone came in with a gun to rob the place?” This was at an Atlanta dry cleaner where I worked one summer. It did get robbed three times that summer, but never while I was there. For the record, I would hand over the money.

Rep. Napoleon Bracy Jr., 34

Member of Alabama House of Representatives

Education B.A. in Sociology / Social Welfare, Dillard University of New Orleans
Spouse Melody Bracy
Children Kena, 15; Brooklynn, 3; Camille, 6 months
Hobbies Family time, mentoring young men, Alabama football and the New Orleans Saints
First car 1975 Monte Carlo
Guilty pleasures Facebook and shooting pool
Best advice you have ever received Don’t ever allow a person with no goals to come between you and accomplishing your goals.
What advice would you give your high school self? Keep praying and stay focused.
What one thing would you change about the Bay area? Provide more opportunities for our citizens to have high-waged jobs, helping the area retain the bright minds that it helps develop
If you could have dinner with any one Bay area person from history, whom would you choose? The late Senator Michael Figures

Lisa Darnley Cooper, 39

Member, Hand Arendall, LLC

Education B.A.s in Political Science and Women’s Studies, University of Alabama; J.D., University of Alabama School of Law
First job Renting audio equipment for tours at the USS Alabama
What advice would you give your high school self? Stop taking yourself so seriously. Frankly, it is advice I often give my 39-year-old self.
What is your favorite building in Mobile? The sanctuary at Ashland Place United Methodist Church on the corner of Old Shell Road and Wisteria
What do you expect the Bay area will be like in 20 years? I would like to think that Mobile will be the aerospace center of North America.
What would you like to see most in the Bay area? I would love it if the Bay area had a residential community similar to Liberty Park in Birmingham. I also wish we could figure out a way to offer more community and tourist access on the downtown Mobile waterfront.

Nichole Patrick, 38

Realtor, Roberts Brothers / Dauphin Realty

Education B.S. in Accounting,
University of Alabama
Spouse Anthony Patrick
Children Mary Elizabeth, 8; Elliot, 4
Hobbies Running, exercise, tennis, boating, anything on the water
First job A summer job at Dauphin Realty
Favorite song “A Pirate Looks at 40” by Jimmy Buffett
Best advice you have ever received Something my late grandfather passed on to all of us: No matter what walk of life someone comes from, you are to treat them with absolute respect and dignity. I have a very diverse group of friends and acquaintances. It makes life more fulfilling and interesting.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Veterinarian
What do you expect the Bay area will be like in 20 years? I think it will pick up where it left off a few years ago. We have had a few setbacks, but I think it’s inevitable with the abundance of resources we have to offer that we will continue to grow and attract new business. The future is bright for Mobile.

Norman Stockman, 37

Member, Hand Arendall LLC

Education B.A. in Economics,
University of Virginia; J.D., University of Alabama School of Law
Spouse Louisa Stockman
Children Anne, 6; Katherine, 4; Will,
9 months
First job My first full-time summer job was as an apprentice plumber for Griffin Mechanical Contractors, working on the construction of the Phoenix condominiums in Orange Beach.
First car A 1983 Oldsmobile Delta 88. It got 10 miles per gallon in the city and 11 miles per gallon on the highway.
Guilty pleasures Well, since chocolate is now considered a health food, I’ll go with fried seafood. And fried chicken. Really, anything fried. Brie cheese, also. Maybe I should try fried brie cheese — in moderation, of course.
Celebrity doppelganger Someone in college once told me I looked like Peyton Manning. I wasn’t sure if it was a compliment or a criticism.
Best advice you have ever received To ask my now-wife out on a date
Worst purchase you have ever made Any stock I bought in 1999 with a name ending in “.com”
What would you like to see most in the Bay area? A greater number of innovative businesses to attract even more talented people to the area. And an improved public education system.

Kellie Sims Myers, 39

Regional Development and Services Director, Gulf Coast Alabama / Mississippi, The Arthritis Foundation

Education B.A. in Early Childhood Development, Auburn University
Spouse Thomas C. Myers Jr.
Children Caroline, 13; Sibley, 11
First car My dad’s hand-me-down Bronco II! My father-in-law teases me to this day about how much time it spent in his driveway in high school and college!
Guilty pleasures Pinterest and Nutella
Who has helped you the most along the way? Without a doubt, my husband has been the most supportive person in my life. He’s been my best friend since I was 14.
What is your favorite place in Mobile or Baldwin County? Camp Grace is the home of our summer camp for children with arthritis. It is not only one of the prettiest pieces of property in our area but I am always overwhelmed by the number of families and individuals who are served in some capacity through this wonderful camp.
What do you expect the Bay area will be like in 20 years? In attitude and traditions, we will remain the same. This area is made up of an abundance of generous, optimistic people who will continue to carry on all that Mobile is known for.
What would you like to see most in the Bay area? I would most like to see the addition of sidewalks, neighborhood parks and bike lanes. We have a great year-round climate that allows us to enjoy outdoor recreation. We just need infrastructure in place so that people can enjoy it safely.

Dr. Casey W. Melton, 36

Pulmonary and Critical Care Physician Pulmonary Associates

Education B.S. in Biomedical Sciences, Auburn University; M.D., University of South Alabama College of Medicine
Spouse Amy Melton
Children Kayla, 10; Laney, 6
First car A 1988 Pontiac 6000 STE
Favorite song “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor
Best advice you have ever received My Dad always said to live each day to the fullest. He said life is the journey, not the destination.
Who has helped you the most along the way? My wife has been a rock. She has always been patient
and supportive.
What is your favorite place in Mobile or Baldwin County? USS Alabama
What would you like to see most in the Bay area? Another cruise line in town
If you could have dinner with any one local person from history, whom would you choose? I would like to talk with Dr. Samuel Eichold and get his perspective on helping to start USA College of Medicine and practicing medicine in a different era.
If you had to choose another career, what would it be? Pilot
What is the ideal age at which you would like to retire? No specific age — just on my own terms.

J. Marshall Shields, 26

Financial Advisor, The Radcliff-Schatzman Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney

Education B.S. in Finance, University of Alabama
Spouse Allison Shields
Worst purchase you have ever made A potbellied pig
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A rock star
What do you expect the Bay area will be like in 20 years? Downtown Mobile is full of shops, overflowing with entertainment. Young people vie for competitive jobs. Big industry is well-established. Baldwin County has a toll road from I-10 to the beach, and millions visit every year.
What one thing would you change about the Bay area? I would move Mobile Regional Airport to Brookley Field.
If you could have dinner with any one local person from history, whom would you choose? Mayer “Bubba” Mitchell

Bethany Kraft, 33

Deputy Director, Gulf Restoration Program, Ocean Conservancy

Education B.A. in Political Science, Texas A&M University
Spouse Alex Kraft
First job Taco cook at Becky’s Patio Café
Guilty pleasures Dark chocolate, martinis, afternoon naps
Worst purchase you have ever made Junk pieces of furniture with wonderful intentions of restoring them.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Writer and photographer for National Geographic
What do you expect the Bay area will be like in 20 years? Besides everyone in jet cars? More connected globally. Bigger oak trees (I hope!).
What would you like to see most in the Bay area? I would love for leaders to think deeply about what it means to be intrinsically linked to our natural resources and envision what we need to do as a community to preserve and improve that link.
What is the ideal age at which you would like to retire? Never. I’m happy with what I do.

Robert Mitchell, 31

Attorney, Cunningham Bounds, LLC

Education B.A. in English,
University of Virginia; J.D., University of Alabama School of Law
Spouse Ashley Mitchell
Children Alex, 2; Anne Price, 1
First job Janitor/bus boy, Ruby Tuesday
Favorite Christmas movie Tie between “A Christmas Story” and “Home Alone”
Guilty pleasures Taking care of the backyard lawn
Celebrity doppelganger A neighbor’s 3-year-old, who is a huge fan of “The Little Mermaid,” calls me Eric — who is apparently the Prince. I’ll take that.
Best advice you have ever received Keep your head up and keep swinging.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? It varied widely: garbage man, doctor, game warden.
What advice would you give your high school self? Among other things: Serve in the armed forces. I regret not having done so. I often think that some type of mandatory commitment, as many countries have, could be a good thing for our country.
What would you like to see most in the Bay area? A better public education system
If you had to choose another career, what would it be? Part-time novelist, part-time diving guide

Rebecca Dunn Bryant, 39

Architect / Senior Consultant, Watershed

Education B.A. in Social Ecology, University of Colorado; Master’s in Architecture, Tulane University
Spouse John Claiborne “Clay” Bryant
Children Tirza, 7; Aldo, 5
First car Chevrolet Caprice Classic. It was a vinyl bench-seated boat.
Favorite song “Buildings and Bridges” by Ani DiFranco. But my favorite sing-along song with the kids is, “Daddy Sang Bass,” by Johnny and June Cash.
Best advice you have ever received “You are not allowed to read this indoors.” – My 11th grade English teacher’s instructions regarding Thoreau.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? An archaeologist or a marine biologist. I read a lot of Ranger Rick magazines.
What is your favorite place in Baldwin County? Steadman’s Landing in Montrose. I feel like I’m in a rainforest walking down the mossy rickety steps, and there is always great driftwood on the beach.
What would you change about the Bay area? I would improve the K-12 schools. We moved here instead of New Orleans because of the superior schools, and New Orleans is about to lap us.

Jenna Wyatt, 35

Owner / Head Trainer, HideAway Equestrian Center

Education Trained for 10 years under America’s most decorated Olympic equestrian athlete, Robert Dover, in equestrian arts, including dressage, jumpers and eventing.
First job In 5th grade, I started a “business” ironing for ladies in my neighborhood. I charged 25 cents per item and starched everything I could get my hands on.
Guilty pleasures Breakfast in bed, movie marathon days and anything Chanel
Who has helped you the most along the way? My best friend of 20 years, Kris Hall. She’s the most amazing best friend anyone could be blessed with!
What advice would you give your high school self? Actually learn geography; don’t just memorize it for the moment to pass a test!
What would you like to see most in the Bay area? I’d love to bring an equestrian sports complex to the Bay area.

Ashley Toland Trice, 34

Co-publisher / Editor, Lagniappe

Education B.A. in Communication, University of South Alabama
Spouse Frank Trice
Children Anders, 2; a daughter, due in early March
Hobbies Lately, I spend my free time enjoying my 2-year-old son’s hobbies, so I’d say coloring, playing peek-a-boo, watching “Cars” and reading “Goodnight Moon.” But I’m a magazine junkie and also love to cook and listen to music.
First car A 1987 Buick LeSabre, affectionately known as the “Big Blue Whale”
Guilty pleasures Singing cheesy love songs from the Lite Mix station in the car, “Law and Order” marathons, and $3 bottles of red wine from Rite Aid
What advice would you give your high school self? Trust me, you will never use AP Calculus again — ever! So your life is really not going to be ruined because you don’t understand it.
What one thing would you change about the Bay area? A vibrant downtown without a single boarded-up building and a more enterprising spirit among our current leadership
If you could have dinner with any one local person from history, whom would you choose? Dinner with William Gorgas and Augusta Evans; barhopping with Joe Cain, Jimmy Buffett and Eugene Walter.

Dr. Carlo M. Contreras, 34

Assistant Professor, Surgical Oncology, University of South Alabama Department of Surgery

Education B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison; M.D. in Surgical Oncology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Spouse Maria Francesca Couto
First job Shelving books at the Purdue University Bookstore
Who has helped you the most along the way? My wife and parents
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Car designer
What is your favorite building in Mobile or Baldwin County? The Moulton Tower on the University of South Alabama campus
What do you expect the Bay area will be like in 20 years? A highly sought-after community filled with a diversity of people from Alabama and beyond
What would you like to see most in the Bay area? Continued economic revitalization
If you could have dinner with any one local person from history, whom would you choose? William Crawford Gorgas
If you had to choose another career, what would it be? Movie special effects designer for Industrial Light & Magic
What is the ideal age at which you would like to retire? When I’ve found something more interesting to me than being a surgeon

Shayla Jones Beaco, 36

Director, Local Affairs Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce

Education B.S. in Political Science, Spring Hill College; Master’s in Urban Planning, Auburn University
Spouse Rory Beaco
Children Shelby Grace, 3
First job Cashier at Taco Casa
Worst purchase you have ever made My Wii. I think I have used it only twice.
Who has helped you the most along the way? My mother. She is my mentor, best friend, life coach
and confidant.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A gymnast
What do you expect the Bay area will be like in 20 years? Coined by many as “a city with endless potential,” in another 20 years (maybe even 10) Mobile will have surpassed all expectations by landing consecutive No. 1 rankings for most livable city, healthiest community, business and innovation, tourism, arts and culture, etc.
What one thing would you change about the Bay area? Humidity
If you could have dinner with any one local person from history, whom would you choose? Fannie Motley. In 1956, she was the first African-American to graduate from Spring Hill College.

Scott L. Browning, 38

Manager, Wilkins Miller Hieronymus, LLC

Education B.S. in Accounting,
University of Alabama; Master of Tax Accounting, University of Alabama
Spouse Amy Browning
Children Matthew, 7; Macy, 7; Harris, 3
First job Mowing yards in the neighborhood
First car My parents’ old Buick LeSabre
Favorite song “Kryptonite” by 3 Doors Down, with my kids singing along in the back seat of the car
Best advice you have ever received You will never have enough time to do everything you have to do so make sure you are doing what is most important.
Worst purchase you have ever made A boat
What is your favorite building in Mobile? Right now it is the BB&T Centre where we recently combined our two Mobile offices. It’s a great building for our clients and employees.
What do you expect the Bay area will be like in 20 years? I think the efforts the city officials have put in to attract businesses will finally pay off.
What would you like to see most in the Bay area? More opportunites for people to return to Mobile to work and raise a family

Dr. Matthew E. Cepeda, 34

Pediatrician, Children’s Medical Group

Education B.S. in Biomedical Sciences, Auburn University; M.D., University of South Alabama
Pediatric Residency and Chief Resident,
St. Barnabas Hospital (Bronx, NY)
Spouse Laura Cepeda
Children Delaney, 2; Will, 6 months
Worst purchase you have ever made Bugle Boy Jeans
What advice would you give your high school self? Dress better. Umbros and and a T-shirt are not appropriate for date night.
What one thing would you change about the Bay area? Traffic. As a bridge and tunnel commuter with two offices on Airport Boulevard, I get the worst of it coming and going.
What is the weirdest job interview question you have ever been asked? I once spent an entire interview in NYC discussing how accurately the movie “Sweet Home Alabama” depicted the South. Her closing question was “Will you say something in Southern?”

Katy Sapio, 39

Director of Partnership Marketing, Mobile Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau

Education B.S. in Leisure Services, Tourism and Commercial Recreation, University of South Alabama; M.S. in Recreation Administration, University of South Alabama
Spouse Coleman Meador, “signifcant other” of 16 years
Hobbies I’m a group fitness instructor and personal trainer at the YMCA and take it very seriously.
Favorite song Two favorites that have stuck with me since I was about 15 or 16 are “The Flame” by Cheap Trick and “Higher Love” by Steve Winwood. More recently, I’d say anything by Roman Street — especially live performances.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? My mom tells me that when she asked me that as a little girl, I always answered, “In charge!”
If you could have dinner with any one local person from history, whom would you choose? Hank Aaron’s mother. After touring his childhood home, I really became curious about what that odyssey must have been like for the family.

Brent D. Ward, 38

Assistant Principal, Mobile County Public School System

Education B.S. in Secondary Education, University of South Alabama; Master’s in Educational Leadership, University of South Alabama
Spouse Shauna Ward
Children Hayden, 8; Bryce, 4
Hobbies Running, cycling, fishing, and coaching my daughter’s CYO teams at St. Ignatius.
First job Cleaning dog and cat cages at my father’s veterinarian hospital
First car A white Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
Best advice you have ever received “Go to college and get your degree,” given to me by my future wife, Shauna, when I told her I was tired of working 60 - 70 hours a week in a restaurant.
What do you expect the Bay area will be like in 20 years? I hope that we will be seeing teams like Auburn and Alabama traveling to the University of South Alabama to play the Jags. I expect that the Bay area will continue to provide a great place to raise a family and that ThyssenKrupp will continue to be a major contributor to the economy.
If you could have dinner with any one local person from history, whom would you choose? My grandmother, Eula Ree Ward. She was a wonderful, loving lady with whom I spent every summer during my early childhood. I would love to be able to tell her about my wife and children.

Chad Fincher, 37

State Representative, State of Alabama, Realtor & Broker, Fincher & Associates Realty

Education B.S. in Forestry Operations, Auburn University
Spouse Caresse Fincher
Children Anna Catherine, 11; Jackson, 1
Hobbies Attending Auburn football games, traveling with my family and snow skiing
Favorite song Any song by the Zac Brown Band
Best advice you have ever received Be a great storyteller! Everyone enjoys a good story!
Worst purchase you have ever made An old house that my wife and I renovated that was way too big and had way too much to repair. We were so glad when we sold it.
Who has helped you the most along the way? My father
What advice would you give your high school self? Have more confidence in yourself!
What do you expect the Bay area will be like in 20 years? We will have a beautiful I-10 bridge that will highlight the Mobile skyline. We will have a thriving cruise industry that will take passengers to Mexico, the Caribbean and Cuba. Mobile will have a vibrant trade relation with Cuba after the embargo is lifted.

Debra Gwaltney, 39

Vice President / Mortgage Manager, First National Bank of Baldwin County

Education B.S. in Communications, University of Montevallo
Spouse Mark Gwaltney
Children Mackenzie, 6; Brody, 3
First job Working retail for a Christmas store. The day after Christmas I had to answer the phone by saying, “Merry Clearance.”
First car A 1983 Toyota Corolla. It had no power steering and no heater.
Best advice you have ever received My grandfather told me to work hard and make sure I save for rainy days.
Who has helped you the most along the way? My mother. She has been an inspiration, someone I really look up to as a strong woman.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? First female President of the United States
What is your favorite building in Mobile or Baldwin County? The Bragg-Mitchell Mansion, because it’s so much a part of Mobile’s history.

Shelly Barnhill LaGroue, 36

CPA / Partner, Forwood & LaGroue, LLC

Education B.S. in Commerce
and Business Administration, University of Alabama; Master of Tax Accounting, University of Alabama
Spouse Stuart P. LaGroue, Sr.
Children Perkins, 6; William, 3
First job Cashier at Kentucky Fried Chicken
Favorite song Right now “Dynamite” by China Anne McClain (Yes, I have been watching too much Disney Channel with my kids.)
Celebrity doppelganger I’ve been told I look like Kim Cattrall. While I am flattered, I don’t see it!
Who has helped you the most along the way? My husband. He has been so supportive of my career and my volunteer work over the years.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A cop. I always wanted to enforce the rules.
What is your favorite building in Mobile or Baldwin County? Barton Academy. I love the architecture and history in that building.
What is the ideal age at which you would like to retire? It depends on the day. Today, I would say 55.

John Wade Therrell, 29

Vice President of Commercial Banking, IberiaBank

Education B.A. in History, Rhodes College
Spouse Mandy Therrell
Children Avery, 1
First job Washing airplanes at the Downtown Air Center
Favorite song “Turn the Page” by Bob Seger. It reminds me of long, away-game bus trips in college.
Favorite Christmas movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”
Best advice you have ever received 1.) If you can look in the mirror every night and say “I gave it everything I had today,” there is no way you will not be successful. 2.) You get what you pay for.
Who has helped you the most along the way? I have my dad’s blue-collar work ethic. He worked long hours at Scott Paper to ensure we had the things we needed growing up. His attention to detail and toughness is something that I have tried to emulate in every phase of my life so far.
What do you expect the Bay area will be like in 20 years? I think it will be a good bit different in 20 years. In order for the City of Mobile to continue to grow, resources will need to be allocated to revitalizing downtown and attracting new industry to the area.
What one thing would you change about the Bay area? I think sports is a major part of any city’s sucess. With this said, I would move the baseball stadium to the waterfront and revamp the Civic Center.

Traci C. Gyan, 35

President and Motivational Speaker, Cooper Gyan, Inc. Public Relations

Education B.A. in Communications, University of South Alabama
Spouse Timothy O. Gyan
Children Adam Kofi, 1
Guilty pleasures Gummi Bears, filet mignon, “The Price Is Right”
Celebrity doppelganger Locally, Kesshia Peyton Davis, formerly of WKRG News 5, and actress Nia Long
Best advice you have ever received You don’t have to have the marriage your parents or family members have. Create the marriage you and your husband want, according to your own standards and desires.
What advice would you give your high school self? No matter what positions you hold or things you accomplish, your spirit is the ONLY thing that truly defines you.
What one thing would you change about the Bay area? Zoning of schools. Growing up in Birmingham, I walked 1 mile to my elementary, middle and high schools. This is a great memory I have that my son will probably never have due to the distance of neighborhoods from their zoned schools.

Jason Crain, 35

Senior Project Manager, Hargrove Engineers + Constructors

Education B.S. of Chemical Engineering, University of South Alabama
Children Madalyn, 8; Taylor, 5
Favorite song Is there another song besides “Sweet Home?”
Worst purchase you have ever made A single-cab Toyota Tacoma in 2002, because I liked the way it looked. I didn’t really stop to think about its practicality.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to work on a road crew operating the big machines. I thought they were cool!
What one thing would you change about the Bay area? Mosquitoes
If you could have dinner with any one local person from history, whom would you choose? I’d have dinner with Satchel Paige to hear his perspective and stories on playing baseball while the color barrier was being removed in the major leagues.

Jack L. Hirsch III, 31

Relationship Manager, Regions Bank

Education B.S. in Accounting,
University of South Alabama; Completing work towards an MBA, expected graduation spring of 2012
Spouse Beth Hirsch
First car A 1988 5-Speed Toyota Tercel
Guilty pleasures Sleeping in
What is your favorite place in Mobile or Baldwin County? Beth and I enjoy picking up a Fairhope Float from Mr. Gene’s Beans on the way to the Fairhope Pier.
What would you like to see most in the Bay area? A Cheesecake Factory
What one thing would you change about the Bay area? I’d like to see more children prepared for success. It is one of the greatest investments we can make in our communities.
If you could have dinner with any one local person from history, whom would you choose? U.S. Marine and World War II Medal of Honor recipient John Dury New
If you had to choose another career, what would it be? I think I would enjoy something that involved significant civic responsibility or something related to education.

Clay A. Lanham, 35

Attorney, Vickers, Riis, Murray & Curran, L.L.C.

Education B.S. in Agricultural Economics, Auburn University; J.D., University of Alabama School of Law
Spouse Mandy Lanham
Children Henry, 7; Caroline, 4
Hobbies If I have any free time that I’m not spending with my family, I’m usually hunting or fishing.
First car A 1986 GMC Jimmy
Favorite song “Fox on the Run” — I love bluegrass music, but my wife hates it.
Worst purchase you have ever made Paying a couple hundred dollars for a handheld GPS when I got a phone a few months later had an even better GPS on it.
What advice would you give your high school self? Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
What is your favorite place in Mobile or Baldwin County? Sand Island

Sarah Bond Dorger, 36

Attorney, Briskman & Binion, P.C.

Education B.A. in English,
Spring Hill College; J.D., Louisiana State University Law School
Spouse Scot Dorger
Children Colt Thomas, 3; Cayden Blake, 18 months
First job Hostess at Ruby Tuesday in Bel Air Mall
First car 1986 Subaru DL, stick shift
Best advice you have ever received Perception is reality. Book it.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A lawyer — since I was 7 years old.
What one thing would you change about the Bay area? Continuing to improve the community’s perception about public education
If you could have dinner with any one local person from history, whom would you choose? Vietnam prisoner of war Jeremiah Denton
If you had to choose another career, what would it be? The only thing that I would quit my job to be is a full-time mommy. It is hard to leave my babies in the mornings!

Andy Newton, 39

President/CEO, Southern Light

Education B.S. in Economics, Birmingham Southern College
Hobbies Anything on the water: fishing, scuba diving, boating. Reading
and gardening
First car 1981 Buick Century station wagon with fancy wood panels
Guilty pleasures Bone-in rib eye grilled medium rare, Food Network cooking shows and quoting funny lines from movies like “Raising Arizona” and “Fletch”
Worst purchase you have ever made X-ray glasses from the back of Boy’s Life Magazine when I was 10 years old. Very disappointing.
What advice would you give your high school self? Mom and Dad actually do know what they’re talking about.
What would you like to see most in the Bay area? More sidewalks and bike paths. Sidewalks enhance safety, encourage exercise, increase property values and improve quality of life.
What one thing would you change about the Bay area? Airport Boulevard

Amy Carpenter, 38

Pharmaceutical Sales Specialist, AstraZeneca

Education B.A. in Business Administration, Millsaps College
Spouse Richard Carpenter
Children Reed, 6; Andrew, 2 1/2
Hobbies Competitive sailboat racing, offshore fishing, spending time on the water with my family and volunteering
First job Teaching summer sailing camp at Jackson (Miss.) Yacht Club
First car A green Volvo station wagon. Go ahead and laugh. My dad wanted to make sure I was safe and didn’t have a date until I was 21.
Favorite song “Southern Cross” by Crosby, Stills and Nash
Celebrity doppelganger Molly Ringwald
Best advice you have ever received From one of my colleagues at my first corporate job: Always put money in your 401(k). Make sure you put in enough to get the corporate match. It’s the only free money you will ever get.
What advice would you give your high school self? Go travel the world while you are young.

Ken Brown, 35

Vice President, IberiaBank

Education B.S. in Human Environmental Sciences, University of Alabama
Spouse Elizabeth Brown
Children Ken Jr., 5; Cecile, 5; Henry, 1; Elizabeth, 1
Favorite song “Dixieland Delight” by Alabama
Best advice you have ever received Your name is the only one you have; protect it and honor it every day.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Judge
What advice would you give your high school self? You just don’t know how good you have it. Have fun, and thank your teachers and administrators a little more often.
What do you expect the Bay area will be like in 20 years? I think people are recognizing that the weather, the cost of living and natural resources we have here are superior. So the growth of coastal Alabama should be above the national average, which means more industry, more business, more people and more opportunity.
If you had to choose another career, what would it be? Teacher

Marty Pollock, 30

Executive Chef, The Renaissance Battle House Hotel and Spa

Education Degree in Culinary Arts, The Pennsylvania Culinary Institute
Spouse Katie Pollock
Children Beau, 4; Maggie, 11 months
First job Walking for miles on a grape vineyard
First car A 1984 Powder Blue Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
Favorite song “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”
Guilty pleasures Junk food and Maker’s Mark
Celebrity doppelganger Buddy Valastro from “Cake Boss”
Worst purchase you have ever made Tequila
What advice would you give your high school self? Invent the iPad
What would you like to see most in the Bay area? A year-round farmers’ market
If you could have dinner with any one local person from history, whom would you choose? Joe Cain
If you had to choose another career, what would it be? C.I.A. spy
What is the ideal age at which you would like to retire? 31

Jonathan H. Rudolph, 35

Owner / President / Real Estate Developer, Rudolph Development Group, Inc.

Education B.S. in Finance,
University of Alabama
Spouse KC Rudolph
Children Kaylyn, 11; Peyton, 3
Hobbies Spending time with my family, golf, surfing, snow skiing
First car A blue Chevrolet Caprice Classic
Worst purchase you have ever made The Club anti-theft device. Who was going to steal my ‘84 Caprice Classic?
Who has helped you the most along the way? I have been blessed with many individuals who have offered support and guidance in my life, but if I had to narrow it down to one, it would be my Mom.
What would you like to see most in the Bay area? For politics to be put aside, and EADS and Northrop Grumman to be awarded the new tanker project! That would be a great start to create numerous high-paying jobs for the Bay area.
What is the ideal age at which you would like to retire? I don’t really want to retire. Rather, I just would like to reach a point where I don’t have to work if I dont want to.
What is the weirdest job interview question you have ever been asked? How many blades of grass are in a football field?

Knox Boteler, 37

Attorney, Boteler, Finley & Wolfe P.C.

Education B.S. in Business Administration, Millsaps College; J.D., University of Alabama School of Law
Spouse Marian Boteler
Children Annie, 4; Jimbo, 2
Hobbies Pre-children, I enjoyed going fishing, boating, golf, tennis, snow skiing, and traveling.
First job I worked at Moseley’s Meat Market.
First car 1978 Pontiac Grand Prix
Favorite song “Peanut Butter Conspiracy” by Jimmy Buffett
Guilty pleasures Chimay (more than one)
Worst purchase you have ever made A Smurf-colored Mazda 626 while I was on a student budget.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Professional athlete, of course
What do you expect the Bay area will be like in 20 years? With the exception of a new Bay bridge, the city will look the same.
What one thing would you change about the Bay area? More public access to the Bay.
If you had to choose another career, what would it be? A lottery-winning philanthropist
What is the ideal age at which you would like to retire? Does now sound good?
What is the weirdest job interview question you have ever been asked? The fact I was hired without an interview at my first job as an attorney is stranger than any question I can think of.

Dr. Katrina Skinner, 32

Pediatrician / President, Fairhope Pediatrics, Inc.

Education B.S. in Health Sciences Biology, Spring Hill College; M.D. in Pediatrics, University of Alabama School of Medicine (UAB); Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Florida State University / Sacred Heart Hospital
Spouse Matthew K. Aubrey
Children Stepson, Kristofer Aubrey, 12
Hobbies  Cooking, baking, sewing, traveling, shopping, scuba diving
First job  For my dad’s modelbuilding business.  I did computer drafting and answered the phones.
First car  A 1994 Dodge Daytona that my grandfather rebuilt for me
Guilty pleasure Chocolate, shoes and Camellia Cafe
Best advice you’ve ever received  From my grandmother, ”You have not because you ask not.”
Person who has helped you the most along the way My wonderful husband (of almost 10 years) has been my rock through all our tough times.  I have wonderful parents who instilled in me strong values and work ethic.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?  Pediatrician
What advice would you give your high school self? Develop good financial principles at an early age. Learn to be a good steward of your blessings.
Favorite place in Mobile or Baldwin County  Fairhope bluff
What is the ideal age at which you’d like to retire? 55

Dr. Valerie L. Vick, 37

Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Premier Medical Group

Education B.S. in Biology, Lipscomb University; M.D., University of Tennessee; Ophthalmology Residency,
University of Tennessee; Fellowship in Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Washington University in St. Louis, Saint Louis University
Spouse Tom Wood
Children Emma Caroline, 3; Thomas, 2
First job A hairbow company called “Bows by Valerie of Paris”
First car Nissan Maxima — the one that talked
Favorite song “God Gave Me You” by Blake Shelton
Favorite Christmas movie “Elf”
Worst purchase you have ever made Pooper scooper
Who has helped you the most along the way? Definitely my parents
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A doctor
What advice would you give your high school self? Go to more parties.
What is your favorite place in Mobile or Baldwin County? Sailing on Mobile Bay
What do you expect the Bay area will be like in 20 years? Better than today
What one thing would you change about the Bay area? Proximity to Birmingham

Jay Roberds II, 35

President, Roberds Commercial Realty

Education B.A. in Communication, University of South Alabama
Spouse Amanda Roberds
Children Anne, 5; Alice, 2
First job I worked for my uncle’s construction company during the summer as a laborer.
Favorite building in Mobile or Baldwin County My favorite building would be The Battle House. I think the restoration was remarkable.
Guilty Pleasure Sweets! My wife makes desserts that I can’t resist.
Who has helped you the most along the way? God and my family. I think having a strong faith and great family support group will help you overcome any adversities that life might bring.
What do you expect the Bay area will be like in 20 years? I think Mobile is doing relatively well compared to many parts of our country, but I would hope that we create enough economic growth over the next 20 years to continue to be one of the more prominent coastal cities to live and work in.
If you could have dinner with any one local person from history, whom would you choose? I would have to say former Mobile Mayor Arthur Outlaw. I would like to hear his opinion on how Mobile is today compared to what he envisioned it would be during his tenure and what suggestions he would have for future economic growth.

Special Thanks to our sponsors

Briskman & Binion, P.C.
Calagaz Printing
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Regions
Roberts Brothers
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Springdale Travel

Comments to this blog are moderated. We review them in an effort to remove foul language, commercial messages, and irrelevancies.

Dec 15, 2011 06:23 pm
 Posted by  JudyMom

I have met a few of the people listed and the most impressive one that I have met is Jay Roberds II. I feel that he is a rarity in his community as being a "top notch" businessman as well as parent.
He goes above and beyond to strive at all he does and anyone that he comes into contact with him, is very pleased with having to met him.

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