Mobile Bay's 2013 Class of 40 Under Forty
Get to know the talented, bright, young things who are shaping the Bay area.
Robertson, Cooley and Laurence
Brad Robertson, 38
Artist / Gallery Owner,
The abstract Gulf-inspired paintings of this self-taught and self-made artist have garnered countless awards and press attention. The Robertson Gallery won the 2012 Nappie Award for “Best Gallery” and has been chosen as Alabama’s representative for the 2013 Prestigious Hall of Galleries. He has served the community as a juror for local art shows, an invitational speaker and an art instructor.
Alma Mater B.F.A., Auburn University
Spouse Courtney Robertson
Children William and Maeve
First job Sea Pearl Seafood
Guilty pleasure Foosackly’s
Celebrity doppelganger Carson Daly (when I had hair)
Best advice you have ever received Be a listener.
Greatest achievement Self-employment
Advice you’d give to your high school self Write it down.
What would you like to see most in Mobile? More small businesses
If you didn’t live here, where else would you like to live? The Mexican island, Isla Holbox.
How has growing up on the Gulf Coast influenced your art? The Gulf Coast gets most of the credit. The water and all that surrounds it inspire me.
Jennifer Cooley, 32
Freelance Marketing Consultant
Helping push advertising further into the digital age, Jennifer is a social-media expert, responsible for numerous Facebook pages with combined viewership of more than 50,000. She is the president of the American Advertising Federation’s Mobile branch and oversees social media branding for the city of Mobile. Jennifer is also a mother, marathoner and dedicated community volunteer.
Alma Mater B.A., Spring Hill College
Spouse Bryan Cooley
Children Elliot, 3 months
What would you like to see most in Mobile? More pride in our city. Mobile is such a unique place, with so much to offer, but often residents don't seem to "feel the love" for our area.
Greatest achievement My son, Elliot. Before he came along, I would have said my first half marathon in San Francisco. The hills were challenging for someone who never was a “runner,” but I finished and raised more than $3,500.
Who/where was your first date? My first date was actually with my now husband, Bryan, to a homecoming dance in high school. I had no idea I would marry him nine years later.
Describe your life in 140 characters or less. Marketing professional with affection for crafts and volunteering has life changed (in the best way) by her baby boy with special needs.
Jacob Laurence, 38
Senior Curator, History Museum of Mobile
Curating exhibits that highlight the history and culture of Mobile, Jacob is dedicated to preserving the historical significance of our region. He has shown real initiative in revitalizing the site of Historic Fort Condé as a tourism and education hub for the city. In addition, he has served the city of Mobile as a moderator, lecturer and graphic artist.
Alma Mater B.A., Spring Hill College
Spouse Sharon Zumwalt Laurence
Greatest achievement Thirteen happy years of marriage
Hobbies Building of our Midtown home, watching movies, World War I research
Advice you’d give to your high school self Follow your gut.
From a historic standpoint, what makes Mobile and the surrounding area such an interesting region? Mobile has a little of everything from prehistoric mound cultures, Spanish conquistadors, settling French-Canadian settlers, British Red Coats, cotton and the Civil War to pirates and bootleggers, World War I and II, the Great Depression and the WPA, Civil Rights, natural and man-made disasters, and so much more.
Peach, Ford, Freeman, Jones and Tindle
President, SP Engineering
In 2009, despite a down economy, Scott Peach took a tremendous financial risk and created SP Engineering — a company whose subsequent success led Scott to be named “Mobile Area Young Engineer of the Year” in 2010. In addition to running his growing company, Scott is involved in numerous volunteer organizations — all while raising four children under age 12.
Alma Mater B.S., University of South Alabama
Hometown Oklahoma City
Spouse Bridget Peach
Children Zelda, Aidan, Gianna and Lucy
First job I started my first business at 10 — Sharp Yards, a lawn service.
Best advice you have ever received The secret to our future is hidden in our daily routine; the books we read and the people we associate with steer our life and determine our destinations.
Worst purchase you’ve ever made A time-share in a trailer park at the Wilcox exit.
What would you like to see most in Mobile? Infrastructure. Interstate loop around west and north Mobile with direct access for the airport, and a vibrant, modern downtown with access to a revitalized waterfront.
What advice do you have for aspiring business owners and entrepreneurs trying to make it in today’s shaky economy? Have mentors, avoid debt, make frugal choices, pick great teammates, be honest, get up early, get an accountant you feel is worth bragging about and do your own books.
Kaiesha Ford, 26
Software Consultant, Computer Technology Solutions Inc.
In addition to her stellar professional career, Kaiesha is a longtime poet, focusing on social issues that affect the black community. She has published two poetry collections and has had a number of individual poems printed in other publications. She is also dedicated to community service, so much so that her sorority at Spring Hill College created the Kaiesha Ford Foundation Award, encouraging others to “Do Good.”
Alma Mater B.S., Spring Hill College
Hometown Gulfport, Miss.
First job Data entry clerk, Isle of Capri Casino
Greatest achievement I’d have to say self-publishing my books.
Worst purchase you’ve ever made I bought a WNBA jersey of one of my favorite players near the end of the season, and then right after that she was traded to another team.
Where was your first date? The playground
If you had to choose another career, what would it be? Some members of my family say a stand-up comedian, but for me, either a community outreach coordinator or an operations manager
What is it that motivates you to be so community-conscious? I have always had a heart for serving the community since a young age. For me, I feel a sense of satisfaction when helping someone or a group of people in need. In return, I have the opportunity to meet and interact with other people that are there to accomplish the same goal. It is fulfilling to provide guidance and assistance in order to bring awareness and benefit a particular cause.
Andy Freeman, 34
Partner, Adams and Reese LLP
Andy Freeman, an “Alabama Rising Star in Real Estate Law,” has made remarkable contributions to the legal community of Mobile, making partner at Adams and Reese, LLP in 2012 at the age of 33. Andy has been awarded for his extensive charity and pro bono work (particularly in the Wills for Heroes Program) and is a graduate of Leadership Mobile.
Alma Mater B.S. and B.A., University of Alabama; J.D., University of Alabama School of Law
First job Delchamps “courtesy clerk” (also known as a buggy boy)
Biggest pet peeve Laziness really drives me nuts.
High School Senior Superlative Most Likely to Succeed
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Country music singer
If you could be any age again, what would it be? 22
Best advice you have ever received Two-way tie between “no one is indispensible” and “work hard and make yourself indispensible.”
How has your career as an attorney enabled you to give back to the community of Mobile? It has enabled me to participate in the Volunteer Lawyers Program, helping those needing legal help at no cost. In particular, I’ve enjoyed participating in Wills for Heroes, providing health-care directives and wills for our local emergency responders.
Sarah Jones, 30
President, Red Square Agency
As the president of Red Square, Sarah oversees matters of vital importance to the agency as well as personally overseeing their largest client. She has been deeply involved in the American Advertising Federation and has received several awards from the organization. Locally, Sarah is chair of the planning and research council of the Junior League of Mobile.
Alma Mater B.A., Texas A&M University; M.B.A., Auburn University
Hometown Spring, Texas
Spouse Chad Jones
Advice you’d give to your high school self Don’t rush to get out of college and into the “real world.” College is fun for a reason.
What would you like to see most in Mobile? A stronger young professional community and more business, restoration and growth in the downtown area.
If you had to choose another career, what would it be? I always thought it would be fun to be the person who comes up with the names for crayons or nail polish.
Best advice you have ever received “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” - Thomas Edison
Scott Tindle, 32
Director, The Grounds - Home of the Greater Gulf State Fair
A true jack of all trades, Scott has held positions as legal counsel, educator, and nonprofit businessman. In his current job at the Greater Gulf State Fairgrounds, Scott has transformed the nonprofit through physical renovations and the implementation of various new events and programs serving our community (including GED assistance, financial literacy, and agricultural education).
Alma Mater B.S., Auburn University; J.D., University of Alabama School of Law
Spouse Beth Tindle
Children Mary Scott and Julia
First job Washing socks and jock straps as a Mobile BayBears' clubhouse attendant
Best advice you have ever received Do the right things for the right reasons
Celebrity doppelganger Rory McIlroy or Christopher Knight (Peter Brady from the Brady Bunch)
Worst purchase you’ve ever made A pot-bellied pig for my then high school girlfriend who is now my wife
Advice you’d give to your high school self You are not as cool as you think you are.
If you didn’t live here, where else would you like to live? Josephine, Ala., the home of Pirate’s Cove
Wells Hammock, 36
Pediatric Dentist, Bay Pediatric and Adolescent Dentistry
Since its inception, Wells has viewed his dental practice as an avenue to help patients who cannot otherwise afford dental care, and Medicaid patients comprise 80 percent of his practice. In eight years, Wells’ practice has grown from five to 20 employees. A former president of the Baldwin County Dental Society, he has given time and money to a multitude of local charities and community groups.
Alma Mater B.S., Auburn University; D.M.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry; Certificate in Pediatric Dentistry, Boston University
Spouse Elizabeth Rozumek Hammock
Children Bowdoin, 6, and Riggins, 4
First job Digging trenches for a plumber
Best advice you have ever received Don’t take yourself too seriously — nobody else does.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Superman
Celebrity doppelganger My wife says Ben Affleck, but I think I have the dance moves of Channing Tatum.
Advice you’d give to your high school self Keep working hard – only 10 more years of school.
What is your favorite holiday tradition? Eating uncontrollably
What is it like working with children all day? Awesome! Kids live in the moment and don’t have all the excess baggage we adults carry.
What is the funniest thing a child has ever said to you? You have the body of Superman and the face of Buzz Lightyear.
Stephanie Bitowski, 37
Management Facilitator / Business Planning Analyst, Chevron Products Company
Stephanie has worked in the oil and gas industry for more than 15 years. In her current role, she is admired for combining impressive technical abilities with great teamwork and interpersonal skills. She has held many leadership roles within the Junior League of Mobile.
Alma Mater B.S., Louisiana Tech University
Hometown Shreveport, La.
Children Jackson, 9, and Harrison Caulder, 5
First job Santa and Easter Bunny photo helper at the mall
If you didn’t live here, where else would you like to live? I would love to live somewhere in Europe or tropical, but in actuality, I would probably move back to Shreveport.
Advice you’d give to your high school self Get up the nerve to ask someone to Sadie Hawkins, and wear a bikini while you can.
What is your favorite holiday tradition? Drinking caramel apple cider and driving my boys around to look at Christmas lights.
If you had to choose another career, what would it be? A chemistry or math teacher
What is it like working in a male-dominated industry? I bring a different thought process and perspective to the table and am respected and appreciated for it. Every time I start a new position, I have to work hard to prove myself. Then, I’m part of the team.
How can we inspire more girls to become interested in math and science? I think there needs to be a paradigm shift of thinking that only boys are good in math and science. More importantly, I think curriculums should focus on the “fun” aspects of math and science by having more labs and hands on activities. Children shouldn’t be taught just to memorize facts and formulas. Instead, they should be taught the reasoning behind the theories to help it make sense. That’s how it clicked with me.
What do you expect that the Bay area will be like in 20 years? I expect it to have grown significantly in both industry and tourism. I’d like it to be safer with more public amenities conducive to recreational activities.
Christopher Jett, 29
Assistant Hospital Administrator, USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital
Chris plays a dizzying number of roles at USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital. With about 350 employees under his direction, he serves on more than 10 hospital medical staff committees and is the hospital’s Emergency Preparedness Representative. Chris also helped develop and chairs the Caring Crew program, an organization that coordinates volunteer and fundraising activities.
Alma Mater B.S., University of South Alabama; M.B.A., University of Alabama at Birmingham; M.S., University of Alabama at Birmingham
Spouse Katie Jett
Guilty pleasure FreeCell on my phone
Celebrity doppelganger People often told me I looked like John Krasinski – before I started losing my hair.
What is your favorite holiday tradition? Dirty Santa
Best advice you have ever received Always think one step ahead.
What was your senior superlative in high school? Most Ambitious
What would you like to see most in Mobile? P.F. Chang’s
If you had to choose another career, what would it be? Teaching
What talent would you most like to have? Literary talent (I would settle for comprehension in some cases).
Jennifer Scalici, 36
Gynecologic Oncologist / Physician Scientist, USA Mitchell Cancer Institute
An accomplished academic and beloved doctor, Jennifer has a passion for treating women with gynecologic cancers. She is dedicated to improving outcomes for women facing cancer diagnoses and to advancing overall gynecologic care in the area. At the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute, Jennifer has given presentations to numerous civic organizations and has been instrumental in growing the annual GO Run benefit.
Alma Mater B.S., Spring Hill College; M.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine
Spouse John Romano
Children Luke, 6; Genevieve, 4; Gabriel, 5 months
Guilty pleasure Zappos.com
Drink of choice I have three kids, a busy OR schedule and (hopefully) a budding research career ... I drink coffee – a lot of it.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A doctor
What is your favorite holiday tradition? Christmas Eve mass with my family
Why did you choose to specialize in women’s health issues? I pursued a career in women’s health because I felt this was an area where there was (and still is) a huge deficit in awareness. I felt that misinformation and myth were being used to back women into a corner leading to the acceptance of suboptimal care.
Bailey Norman, 34
Rector, Trinity Episcopal Church
Bailey Norman, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church since 2012, has worked tirelessly to cultivate a sense of community within his congregation. After the devastation caused by the Christmas Tornado, Bailey’s efforts were crucial in the physical and spiritual restoration of Trinity, the surrounding area of Midtown, and the city of Mobile as a whole.
Alma Mater B.A., University of the South (Sewanee)
Hometown Chattanooga, Tenn.
Spouse Sara Neill Norman
Worst purchase you’ve ever made A Guatemalan fruit smoothie. Nothing like spending the day in a foreign hospital while you are on a mission trip getting your stomach pumped.
Celebrity doppelganger NBC’s Chuck Todd
Advice you’d give to your high school self Stop being such a dork.
Guilty pleasure Anything chocolate
If you had to choose another career, what would it be? Have tried several other things, but being a priest is definitely what I am called to do.
What is the weirdest job interview question you’ve ever been asked? So, have you ever read the Bible?
What do you expect that the Bay area will be like in 20 years? I hope that the current optimism for development and growth in Mobile will have produced more jobs, greater opportunities for investment and a downtown that is a jewel for locals and tourists alike.
Peter Huestis, 39
Head of School, Bayside Academy
With past experience as a teacher, coach, athletic director, division director, and associate headmaster, Peter has done an impressive job in his first year at Bayside Academy. By focusing on creating a safe, secure, and beautiful campus where student achievement is a top priority, Peter’s leadership has led to improved finances, admission numbers, annual giving, new faculty and more – “taking Bayside from good to great.”
Alma Mater B.A., Bishop’s University; M.S., Barry University
Hometown Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
Spouse Betsy Huestis
Children Xavier, 6, and Oliver, 2
Worst purchase you've ever made My first box of M&M's...now I'm hooked!
Guilty pleasure One of my wife’s desserts, called “the trifecta” (chocolate chip cookie dough, whole Oreos, brownie mix, and caramel all cooked together in a pan)!
What do you expect that the Bay area will be like in 20 years? I hope that the Eastern Shore will hold onto the small-town feel that makes it so attractive for families, but perhaps there will be more bike trails, walking paths and more opportunities for young professionals.
What are the biggest differences between life in Canada and life on the Eastern Shore? The weather, accents and use of the letter “U” in words like favourite are too obvious so I’ll focus on the similarities between my hometown and the Eastern Shore: small-town charm, friendly folks and recreation focused on the water.
Dabbs, Ashurst, Williams and Capps
M. Jason Dabbs, 34
Senior Financial Advisor, Merrill Lynch
Steadily working his way up the ladder at Merrill Lynch, Jason brings this leadership and work ethic to countless volunteer positions and opportunities. For the past five years, Jason has served as the entertainment chair for the American Cancer Society Chili Cook Off. He holds leadership positions in the YMCA and Phi Delta Theta alumni organizations. Jason also serves as a Boy Scout troop commissioner.
Alma Mater B.S., University of Alabama
Spouse Scootie Dabbs
Children Hunter, 6, and Steuart, 1
Greatest achievement Besides my kids, I would have to say obtaining my Eagle Scout award.
Drink of choice Hoppy microbrew beer. The more hops the better.
What are you reading? "My Cross to Bear" by Greg Allman
What would you like to see most in Mobile? An outdoor music amphitheater to attract larger musical acts to the Port City
What is your favorite holiday tradition? Helping my son, Hunter, place the star on top of the Christmas tree after it is decorated, and, of course, placing my Festivus pole in the corner of the room as to not upset my wife.
H. Morgan Ashurst III, 39
Owner / Broker, Ashurst & Niemeyer
Under Morgan’s unique, goal-oriented leadership, Ashurst & Niemeyer has seen tremendous growth with no end in sight. Morgan is the Vice President of the CCIM Gulf Coast District and holds other leadership positions in the local real estate community. He also volunteers for local nonprofit organizations such as the Exceptional Foundation of the Gulf Coast and Cooking for the Community.
Alma Mater B.A., Auburn University
Spouse Allison Ashurst
Children Scarlett, Hugh and Julia
Guilty pleasure Alabama Football
Worst purchase you've ever made Carwash
Advice you'd give to your high school self Dream big and keep God in the center of your life.
If you didn't live here, where else would you like to live? New York City
Where is the next “hot spot” for real estate in the Mobile Bay area? Spanish Fort
What lasting effects has the BP oil spill had on our community? How has it affected how you run your business? The oil spill had immediate impact on our community, especially the Gulf Coast beaches. I think the most lasting effects of the spill are respecting and appreciating our waterways. I am guilty of not appreciating the beauty of the water, but now I take the time to enjoy how fortunate our area is.
Amanda Williams, 36
Realtor, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate
As an innovative, hard-working real estate agent, Amanda’s achievements have earned her local and national awards such as “Rookie of the Year” and “Breakout Agent.” Amanda and her husband opened a home decor and furniture boutique, Great House for the Home, where she showcases her creativity, marketing skills and business savvy. Amanda also serves the community with the nonprofit Adoption Rocks.
Alma Mater B.A., Auburn University
Spouse Craig Williams
Children Drennen and Garrett
First job Pro Shop at Robert Trent Jones Golf Course
What is your greatest achievement? To feel comfortable in my own skin
What are you reading? "The Odds Are Too Great" by M. Scott Davis (local author)
What is your favorite holiday tradition? Baking cookies! My mother and I would spend a week planning the cookie menu and then days baking. Now my boys pick their favorite recipes from our family collection, and we enjoy cookies with hot chocolate.
How can Mobilians incorporate local art into their homes? Look outside the frame – meaning, artwork doesn’t have to be a framed piece or take up a large amount of wall space. Local artists can customize their artwork onto different media, such as pillows, notecards, table frames and more.
Matthew Capps, 31
Executive Director, Dauphin Island Park and Beach Board
As Executive Director of the Dauphin Island Park & Beach Board, Matthew has worked tirelessly to ensure the financial security, environmental protection, and the overall wellbeing of the community of Dauphin Island. Under his leadership, the board has successfully written and received 10 grants. Matthew is vice chairman of the South Mobile County Tourism Authority and holds leadership positions in a number of other local volunteer organizations.
Alma Mater B.S., Auburn University; M.S., Auburn University
Hometown Macon, Ga.
Spouse Bonnie Capps
Children Our first is due in January.
What are you reading? Chapter summaries of “Dude, You’re Gonna Be a Dad!”
Best advice you have ever received Don’t give anyone the chance to say, “If he had only done his job better...”
Worst purchase you’ve ever made We bought some really bad artwork on our honeymoon.
What is your biggest pet peeve? People doing things “half-way”
Why is it important to preserve Mobile County’s parklands? Mobile is blessed with some of the most pristine natural resources in Alabama. Our parklands are an extension of who we are and our quality of life here. I am a firm believer that the decisions we make today will impact our future generations.
Wilson, Duncan, McCoy and Peters
Troy Wilson, 38
President, Bellator Real Estate & Development LLC
A local real-estate expert, Troy manages the daily operations of 6 offices and 80 realtors spanning all of Mobile and Baldwin Counties. His company, Bellator, has come to amass these figures as a direct result of Troy’s leadership. Troy incorporates his dedication to charitable causes into his company, requiring each of his agents to serve a local charity of their choice. Troy himself is involved in a multitude of charities as well.
Alma Mater B.S. and B.A., University of South Alabama
Spouse Kristin Wilson
Children MacKenzie and Addeline
If you didn’t live here, where else would you like to live? On a farm in Pike County, IL.
What is your drink of choice? Old Forester and water by a campfire.
What is your favorite holiday tradition? Christmas Eve at my parents’ house
What led to your decision to require each of your employees to support a charitable organization? Simple. First, it’s part of our company mission statement. We feel, as responsible corporate citizens, we owe it to our local community. One of the ways we succeed is for our local community to succeed. We feel it is our responsibility to not only contribute financially but also contribute our time and talents.
Brian Duncan, 34
Attorney, Cunningham Bounds, LLC
Brian has been lead and cocounsel in numerous cases with multimillion dollar jury verdicts and settlements. In law school, Brian was selected as a Caruthers Fellow, serving as a mentor to first-year law students. One of Alabama’s “Rising Stars,” Brian is a member of numerous legal organizations, including the American Association for Justice where he is a member of the public affairs committee.
Alma Mater B.A., Texas Tech University; J.D., Samford University Cumberland School of Law
Hometown Graham, Texas
Spouse Breana Duncan
Children Ella, Luke and Claire
First job Mowing grass at an industrial park for $4.25 an hour
If you had to choose another career, what would it be? United States Marine
Best advice you have ever received My dad told me to memorize and try to live by the poems “If” and “The Road Not Taken,” as well as President Roosevelt’s “The Man in the Arena” speech.
Advice you’d give to your high school self Be more receptive to the ideas of others.
What has been your most interesting case? One against a cemetery for failing to maintain accurate burial records. We had to perform multiple exhumations of grave sites.
Amy McCoy, 33
Obstetrician / Gynecologist, Mobile Bay OB-GYN
Dr. Amy McCoy joined the practice with big shoes to fill – and went above and beyond expectations. She has introduced new technology to her partners and brought innovative ideas to the practice. Amy gives back by educating women about their health, often giving free talks to young girls on topics such as sexual health and teen pregnancy. She has held leadership positions with the Junior League of Mobile and the Chi Omega advisory board.
Alma Mater B.A., University of South Alabama; M.D., University of South Alabama
Hometown I’m a military brat so no true hometown. I have lived in Mobile longer than anywhere else now.
Spouse Clay McCoy
Children Jackson and Riley Cate
Guilty pleasure Sweet and salty cookies from Bake My Day.
What is your favorite holiday tradition? Watching "A Christmas Story."
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A teacher. I used to go up to the school in the summer and collect all the extra papers so I could play school.
Who/where was your first date? I honestly can’t remember. I met my husband while I was on a blind date with another guy, though.
How can the community reach out to young girls about health issues? It starts with talking to them and their parents. Open and honest conversation in a supportive environment is the best way to start.
Scott Peters, 39
Owner, Scott Peters Consulting and Scott Peters Aviation
Following his career in the U.S. Marine Corps, Scott joined the Civil Air Patrol in 2005. Scott has pursued advanced training in disaster relief and has trained countless pilots to serve in search and rescue operations. His leadership as an officer, pilot and businessman in numerous organizations makes him crucial to the growth and success of search and rescue operations in the Mobile area.
Alma Mater B.S., Auburn University; M.S., Boston University
Guilty pleasure My grandmother’s banana pudding. I could eat it for every meal of the day.
Greatest achievement Completing Flight School in Pensacola and becoming an AH-1W SuperCobra Helicopter Pilot in the Marine Corps.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A garbage man so that I could hang off the back of the truck all day
How does your military background affect your view of the importance of community? A military background is a good foundation for learning discipline and leadership skills. It also instills a spirit of community as we are all our brother’s keepers.
McKenzie, Jordan, Doyle, Delaney and Wright
Jason McKenzie, 35
Business Banker, PNC Bank
In his 12-year banking career, Jason has exhibited his leadership abilities and high performance level through his consistency, innovation, and strong work ethic. Immensely respected by managers, colleagues, and clients, Jason is involved personally and professionally in several community organizations, including the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, Joe Jefferson Players, and United Way Young Leaders.
Alma Mater B.A., Louisiana Tech University; M.B.A., Auburn University
Hometown Shreveport, La.
Hobbies I have a ridiculous collection of more than 600 PEZ candy dispensers. I love performing in and supporting our local community theaters and doing anything with our three ARF dogs.
What is your favorite holiday tradition? Eating cranberry sauce that’s shaped like a can.
What is your biggest pet peeve? People who use speculative and outdated excuses for not wanting to live in the Downtown or Midtown areas of Mobile.
If you didn’t live here, where else would you like to live? New Orleans, La.
What advice do you have for other young aspiring community leaders? I would advise aspiring leaders to find their passions and natural abilities and use them to lead teams at work or teams within the community.
Shana Jordan, 37
Executive Director, BayFest Inc.
Shana has parlayed her skills in marketing and public relations into a meaningful position as executive director of BayFest, driving both economic growth and cultural caché for the city of Mobile. As BayFest’s first full-time employee, Shana’s marketing skills are evidenced by the event’s increased sponsorship and budget. She also volunteers with the Salvation Army and the Mobile International Festival.
Alma Mater B.A., University of South Alabama
Spouse Tim Jordan
First job Media Buyer for Sullivan St. Clair (now Red Square Agency)
What is your biggest pet peeve? People who put the toilet paper roll on the wrong way. (It must roll over the top!)
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? An astronaut
If you didn’t live here, where else would you like to live? New Orleans, La.
What have out-of-town Bayfest musicians had to say about our area? The artists that comment on Mobile say they love the mild weather, southern hospitality and amazing seafood. Several artists were so impressed that they requested to come back!
Clay Doyle, 38
Owner / Officer, Geothermal Solutions, Geotechnical Engineering Testing Inc.
Clay created the company, Geothermal Solutions, from the ground up. By combining two separate companies, Clay has brought an innovative new energy concept to Mobile, utilizing the earth’s resources to heat and cool homes. He is a local expert on energy efficiency. Clay is also an active volunteer in the United Methodist Church.
Alma Mater B.S., University of South Alabama; M.B.A., Spring Hill College
Spouse Amy Fails Doyle
Children Clarke, 8, and Bentley, 4
Best advice you have ever received Find the connection when you meet a person.
What was your senior superlative in high school? Unfortunately, I was named Clumsiest. I think it was a conspiracy!
What is your favorite holiday tradition? Dec. 23 is “Lasagna Night” with family and friends.
How can sustainable living practices help a community like Mobile? It can unite a community as you work towards a common goal of reducing, reusing and recycling. However, what I really like about my work is that even though it is as “green” as it gets, it is also a very high quality product and the only renewable that is a sound financial investment.
You are a featured regular on “the Uncle Henry” show. What has that experience been like? The first time I was on it, I was nervous, but all the other times were pretty fun.
Michael Ross Delaney, 34
Vice President / Principal, Delaney Development Inc., Delaney Land and Realty LLC and Delaney Property Group LLC
Taking on leadership roles at an early age, Michael has been a vital part of his company, working with all forestry land sales, leasings, and acquisitions. Michael founded the real-estate company, Delaney Land and Realty, LLC, and works closely with his company’s charity, The E.E. Delaney Foundation. He has also served as a board member for several forestry and wildlife organizations.
Alma Mater B.S., Auburn University
Spouse Janet G. Delaney
Children Michael Ross Jr. (Ross) and James Randall Delaney (Jay)
Guilty pleasure The occasional late-night Nutty Buddy
Hobbies Hunting, fishing, golf and most importantly, spending time outdoors with my two sons
Best advice you have ever received Stop talking and listen, especially when you are talking with someone older than you.
Advice you’d give to your high school self If you don’t listen to your parents, you will go to boarding school ... seriously!
What would you like to see most in Mobile? A trolley from Downtown to Spring Hill.
If you had to choose another career, what would it be? Ted Turner’s land acquisition manager.
Jennifer Wright, 38
Assistant District Attorney / Murder Team Prosecutor, Mobile County District Attorney’s Office
Working long hours at the district attorney’s office, Jennifer has served the community with both her zeal for bringing criminals to justice and her compassion in working with the families of homicide victims. She is active in many community organizations and spends time speaking to elementary and middle school students, encouraging them to pursue their education rather than a life of crime.
Alma Mater B.A.B.S., University of North Alabama; J.D., Mississippi College
Hometown Florence, Ala.
Spouse Don Boykin
Children Harley and Katie Aubrey
What is the weirdest job interview question you’ve ever been asked? If you could be any fruit, what would you be?
What do you expect that the Bay area will be like in 20 years? I think Mobile will be a safer place to live because of all our work locking up the bad guys!
What is the most important message you try to convey to children and teenagers through your volunteer work? Each time I go to a school I tell them their education is key. No one can take that away from them and it is up to them to take that knowledge and do something great with their lives. We also talk a lot about bullying and its effects.
Kane, Dunn, Delaney, Vinson and Baker
Brian J. Kane, 35
Managing Partner, The Fairhope Brewing Company
After establishing and running south Alabama’s first microbrewery, Brian and his company exemplify two words: buy local. All supplies used at the Fairhope Brewing Company are locally sourced, and Brian is dedicated to helping to support and promote local businesses like his own. In addition, Brian and his company have hosted fundraisers for St. Jude’s and The Haven.
Alma Mater B.A., Duke University; J.D., University of Alabama School of Law
Spouse Michele Kane
Children Mary McCarthy
Best advice you have ever received Actually brewing beer is less than 5 percent of what goes into having a successful brewery.
Guilty pleasure Hamburger Helper Beef Stroganoff
Drink of choice Fairhope 51 (pale ale)
What would you like to see most in Mobile? I would love to see an outdoor concert venue with local beer on tap.
Greatest achievement Creating the sweetest daughter ever
If you didn’t live here, where else would you like to live? Homer, Alaska
Who/where was your first date? My first date with my wife was losing on purpose to her at putt-putt golf.
Angela Dunn, 31
Associate Director of Planned Giving, University of South Alabama
Utilizing her impressive background in banking, Angela has piloted a rejuvenation of the Planned Giving department at the University of South Alabama. In her first two years, Angela has secured over $1.7 million in gifts to the university. Angela also engages with the community through organizations like the Boys and Girls Club of South Alabama and the Preschool for the Sensory Impaired. She is a graduate of Leadership Mobile.
Alma Mater B.S., University of South Alabama; Master of Accounting, University of South Alabama
Spouse Matthew Dunn
Children Robert, 3, and Lindsey, 1
Advice you’d give to your high school self Pay more attention to that quiet guy in history class. You are going to marry him!
If you had to choose another career, what would it be? A teacher. I think teachers are invaluable to our community’s future.
What is your favorite holiday tradition? Our church goes Christmas caroling to the homebound members every year. The sweet ladies are always waiting on us with cookies and cider.
What is your drink of choice? Sangria, but only if it’s done right.
Why should alumni give back to their alma maters? Alumni should give back to their alma mater as a way to “pay it forward.” My husband and I received an excellent education. As students, we both received scholarships that were a result of someone else’s generosity in giving the funds for the scholarships.
Scott Delaney, 34
Partner / Principal, Delaney Property Group LLC, Delaney Development Inc.
Scott has proven himself a true leader at Delaney Development, Inc. He has helped guide and manage their commercial real estate, assisting in numerous multi-million dollar sales and exchanges. He has worked closely with the company’s charitable foundation, The E.E. Delaney Foundation, Inc. and has held leadership positions in many other community organizations including the Mobile Area Association of Realtors.
Alma Mater B.S., Auburn University
Spouse Jessica Delaney
Children Sutton and William
Best advice you have ever received “The key to this business is personal relationships.” - Dicky Fox, “Jerry Macguire”
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A professional hunter
What are you reading? “Sycamore Row” by John Grisham
If you didn’t live here, where else would you like to live? Savannah, Ga
What is your favorite holiday tradition? Decorating the Christmas tree. It’s even more fun with a 3 year old trying to “help.”
What is the future of mobile’s real estate market? Any area that has as many good things as Mobile has going for it, like jobs and population growth, is going to have a good real estate market.
Chad Lee Vinson, 37
Human Resources Leader, Hargrove Engineers + Constructors
While under Chad’s leadership, Hargrove has seen its Human Resources Team more than quadruple its original size. Beyond his numerous professional achievements, Chad is an avid community volunteer, working with North Pole Stroll and leading a number of mission trips. A competitive cyclist, he also assists in charity bike rides.
Alma Mater B.S., University of South Alabama
Hometown Bay Minette
If you didn’t live here, where else would you like to live? Honduras
Best advice you have ever received Spend 20 percent of your time talking about the past and 80 percent talking about the future.
Worst purchase you’ve ever made 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder
Greatest achievement I was the first in my family to obtain a four-year college degree.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? President of Coca-Cola Co.
How has leading mission trips enabled you to bring people together? My most recent trip was the most diversified group I have ever taken. All 23 participants went through training together to learn the culture of Honduras and how to work as a team. Although we had different backgrounds, it was the most successful trip to date.
Ryan Baker, 37
Principal, Walcott Adams Verneuille Architects
Incorporating ideas of community into architectural design, Ryan has served as project architect for numerous local projects including the University of South Alabama Dining Facility and Memorial Hall in Bay Minette. Many of these projects have been published and received awards. Ryan also serves as secretary on the Bayshore Christian School Board and is involved at Eastern Shore Presbyterian Church.
Alma Mater Bachelor of Architecture, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Hometown Raynham, Mass.
Spouse Carson Baker
Children Robert, 8, and Thomas, 4
Best advice you have ever received Don’t give up. Both my father and grandfather would say “You can do it, Bake.”
Worst purchase you’ve ever made Palm Pilot
If you had to choose another career, what would it be? A chef
Celebrity doppelganger Ron Howard
If you could be any age again, what would it be? What's wrong with 37?
What were your impressions of southern Alabama before you moved here? How have they changed? I was afraid a small town in Alabama would lack culture. From Bruce Larsen and Rick Bragg to First Friday Art Walk and the art festivals, culture abounds. Fairhope just might be the best kept secret in the U.S.
How does the culture and history of Mobile affect your design ideas for local projects? From the brick and iron buildings downtown to the large overhangs and porches of a bay house, Mobile and Baldwin counties have great architectural vernaculars. All of these elements are used to enhance our designs.
Ray Hix, 39
Cofounder / Principal, Hix & Snedeker Companies
In 2004, despite a floundering economy, Ray and his partner formed what is today a nationally recognized real estate development firm. Ray’s reputation, work ethic, and commitment have put his business on the map, earning Tractor Supply’s “Developer of the Year” award in 2011 and 2012. Ray is also a family man, licensed pilot, and water sport enthusiast.
Alma Mater B.S., University of Alabama Birmingham; J.D., University of Alabama School of Law
Spouse Ashlye Hix
Children Ward, 4, and Win, 1
Guilty pleasure Skrillex
Best advice you have ever received Never write what you can say, and never say what you can gesture.
Biggest pet peeve Indecisiveness
What would you like to see most in Mobile? More healthier eating options or moving the commercial air service to Brookley Field; whichever is easier.
If you didn’t live here, where else would you like to live? 522 W. Colorado Ave., Telluride, Colo.
What was your senior superlative in high school? Best Dressed
What caused you to make the leap from law to real estate development? I wanted to establish a business that created products that continued to gain value after the initial work and creation phase was completed.
Andrea Moore, 38
President, Junior Leauge of Mobile
Since arriving in Mobile in 2005, Andrea has committed herself to developing the potential of women and building a better community. As the president of the Junior League of Mobile, Andrea has led the organization to its new five year impact area and enhanced the efficiency and effectiveness of its services. She also serves on various community boards including the Mobile Area Education Foundation.
Alma Mater B.S., Vanderbilt University; Graduate of TOBE program, University of Maryland Robert H. Smith Business School
Hometown Calvert City, Ken.
Spouse Parks Moore
Children Parks, Alex and Lyons
First job Paddleboats at Kentucky Dam State Park – they would sink with people in them, and I would have to swim them back to shore.
What is your biggest pet peeve? The stretch of road on Dauphin Street between I-65 and McGregor Boulevard that always drops a phone call.
What is your favorite holiday tradition? Every time we travel, we buy an ornament. When we decorate our tree, it’s filled with memories from across the globe and we love it when we get to add a new one. My 3rd grader recently wrote a paper and said if he went to Germany and had to choose a souvenir, he would buy an “ordimit.” It took me a few minutes, and then I realized we had passed on the tradition (and we needed a spelling lesson).
Heather Roberts Hall, 38
Professor, University of South Alabama College of Nursing
As if it wasn’t enough, Heather’s career reaches far beyond just being a tenured professor at USA. She serves as Interim Chair of the Maternal-Child Health Nursing Department and has conducted a plethora of medical research that has received an impressive amount of funding, awards, and publication. She is involved in various community activities, most notably those raising awareness and funds for childhood autism.
Alma Mater B.S. in Nursing, M.S. in Nursing, specialty Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, University of South Alabama; Ph.D. in Nursing, University of Tennessee
Hometown Butler, Ala.
Spouse Ricky Hall
Worst purchase you’ve ever made Dallas Cowboy cheerleader costumes for my two Yorkshire Terriers. They tore the costumes off and pom pom streamers were all over!
Celebrity doppelganger I have been told at least a hundred times that I look like Kim Cattrall. While shopping one day, a lady in the store was convinced I was Kim and that I just would not admit it.
Greatest achievement The life my husband and I have together
What would you like to see most in Mobile? Based on my research findings, Mobile needs more services and support for children with autism and their families.
Monica L. Henry, 35
Dance Instructor / Choreographer, University of Mobile’s Center for the Performing Arts
Monica shares her talents as an award-winning dancer and choreographer by serving as a volunteer and mentor to hundreds of young girls and aspiring dancers all over the Gulf Coast. Monica has dedicated her time to countless organizations including the YWCA, Big Brother/Big Sister Program, Mt. Hebron Dance Ministry, and the Snook Youth Club of Foley.
Alma Mater B.F.A., University of South Alabama
Hometown Jackson, Miss. I moved to Mobile at 10 years old.
Guilty pleasures Burris Farm Market’s blackberry cobbler and ice cream
Greatest achievement Making a lasting impression with many youth
If you could be any age again, what would it be? 21
What was your senior superlative in high school? Most Likely to Succeed
What talent would you most like to have? Playing the guitar, which I’m teaching myself to do now.
How have you seen dance and theater change the lives of young people in the Mobile Bay area? Because of dance and theater in the Mobile Bay area, many young people are now not afraid to pursue their dreams in the arts. In the past, it has always been seen as just a hobby and not a career.
Elena Freed, 37
Executive Vice President / Chief Operating Officer, Red Square Agency
Following a career in New York City, Elena has moved quickly up the ladder in her promotion to Vice President and COO of Red Square Agency. She has further exemplified leadership through positions in the American Advertising Federation, United Way Young Leaders Society, and by creating a local COO Forum. Elena also volunteers for St. Mary’s Home, Bay Area Food Bank and Habitat for Humanity.
Alma Mater B.A., Union College; M.A. Emerson College
Hometown New York
Spouse Chris Freed
Best advice you have ever received Always show up prepared. You never know who’s watching. And don’t eat the nuts on the bar. Most people don’t wash their hands.
Drink of choice Sapphire and tonic
If you could be any age again, what would it be? I don’t want to go back. Life is too good now.
How does your professional experience in New York compare with your professional experience in Mobile? I’m not one to sit around and I’m lucky to work in an industry – and for a company – that is fast-paced and always interesting. In that respect Mobile is just like NYC. Without the falafel carts.
Your career has moved along very quickly. What is your advice for other working women wanting to make it to the top? Own your successes and your thoughts. Even if you’re not sure you’re ready for it, take the opportunity – there’s always someone else who will if you don’t act. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind. Most people need to be told what to do. And if all else fails, fake it. By the time everyone realizes it, you will have already figured it out.
Shawna Mayo-Yokley, 30
Victim Services Program Coordinator, Lifelines Counseling Services
In her 12-year tenure with Lifelines Counseling Services, Shawna has supported victims of sexual assault as a volunteer, victim’s advocate, and now as a program coordinator. Her many achievements include developing sensitivity training programs for the Mobile Police Department, implementing two sexual assault awareness programs at the University of South Alabama, and establishing an annual fundraising kickball tournament.
Alma Mater B.S., University of South Alabama
Spouse Brandon Yokley
Children Elliot, Egan and Elias
First job Easter Bunny
Guilty pleasure Comfort food
Drink of choice Coffee
Best advice you have ever received It costs you nothing to be kind.
Worst purchase you’ve ever made Cherry Cola hair dye
What are you reading? "The Strong-Willed Child" by Dr. James Dobson
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Neurosurgeon
What is the weirdest job interview question you’ve ever been asked? If I could be any animal what would I be and why?
What is the most fulfilling thing about educating college students about sexual violence? The hope of preventing at least one victimization.
Heather Houston, 34
Attorney, Carr Allison
Heather balances active involvement in the legal community with leadership positions in a number of community engagement organizations including the Spring Hill College Alumni Association (Mobile chapter) and the Junior League of Mobile. She is currently president elect of the Ronald McDonald House Red Shoe Society and is a member of the Ronald McDonald House Board of Directors.
Alma Mater B.A., Spring Hill College; J.D., University of Mississippi School of Law
Hometown Fairhope by way of Bayou La Batre
Spouse Rob Wilson
First job Cashier at Delchamps
Guilty pleasures Bravo marathons, mini chocolate donuts, old-school rap and lazy days of watching football
Drink of choice Sweet tea. When I travel somewhere that does not have it, it’s always the first thing I want when I return home.
Best advice you have ever received “You are known by the company you keep.” I can picture my mom telling that to me and my brother when we were growing up.
If you had to choose another career, what would it be? Editor of Southern Living. Or Commissioner of the NFL. Or both.
What is your favorite holiday tradition? Eating oysters with my dad on the back porch on Easter, Christmas and every holiday in between. The only thing that changes is the saltiness of the oyster.
Jason R. Williams M.D., 39 (not pictured)
CEO, Precision Imaging and Precision StemCell
Partially due to his love for the Gulf area, Jason left the security of an established practice to found his own radiology center in 2009. Since then, Precision Imaging has become a benchmark in its field, providing the community with the latest in radiology services. Jason has been involved in a multitude of charity and community events — particularly those in medicine. He operates a clinic in Bogota, Colombia.
Alma Mater M.D., Louisiana State University
Hometown Madisonville, La.
Spouse Jessica Hamilton Williams
Children Ryan, Blake and Caroline
Worst purchase you’ve ever made 1986 Dodge Daytona
What is your drink of choice? Margarita
What would you like to see most in Mobile? A zoo.
What is the weirdest job interview question you’ve ever been asked? The interviewer pulled out a “Where’s Waldo” book and asked me to find Waldo.
How have you worked to make healthcare more affordable for people in the area? I work with the Alabama free clinic and Catholic Social Services providing free medical services to those in need.
Why did you decide to leave your career in North Mississippi to move back to the Gulf? The Gulf Coast is beautiful! I love the people. It is a fun place to be. I missed it for the few years I was gone.