Movers & Shapers, April 2014
Spotlight on Covington, Butler, Crenshaw & Lowndes counties
Baker is director of operations at Shaw Industries’ Andalusia facility. His experience in the textile industry includes work at Cone Mills Corp. of South Carolina and Amoco Fabrics and Fibers Co. At Shaw, despite an economic downturn, he was able to overcome, adapt and maintain production to save jobs. Baker is former president of the Alabama Textile Manufacturers Association and the Alabama Textile Education Foundation. He is chairman of the Andalusia-Opp Airport Authority.
Bryan is interim superintendent of Butler County schools. She is a 26-year veteran in the school system, where she has worked as a teacher and administrator, including writing grants. She has increased the system’s grant awards from $500,000 in 2010 to more than $1.5 million, in addition to the $1 million in federal dollars under her responsibility. She is president of the Alabama Community Education Association and active in the Alabama Association of Federal Program Administrators, Alabama School Superintendents Association and the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools. She is a member of the Butler County Children’s Advisory Council (Safe Harbor), Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce and was 2012 and 2013 team captain for the Butler County Board of Education’s Relay for Life.
Cross is co-owner and operator of Cross Printing in Fort Deposit, a business she owns with her husband, who has since retired. She is president of the Fort Deposit Arts Council, which sponsors the Calico Fort Arts and Crafts Fair each April. She is secretary/treasurer of the Lowndes County Industrial Development Board and a member of the board of directors for the local volunteer fire department.
Chrissie Schubert Duffy
Duffy is executive director of the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce. Daughter of “Sister Schubert,” she watched her mother build her bakery business from the kitchen to the boardroom. After earning her bachelor’s degree from Auburn University, she worked for Sister Schubert’s Homemade Rolls. For 10 years, Duffy operated a bakery making hand-decorated sugar cookies that she supplied to retailers and grocery outlets across the Southeast.
Thomas Ellis Jr.
Ellis is co-owner and president of Priester’s Pecans in Lowndes County and started Triple E Farm Cattle and Poultry in 1981. He also recently became president of the newly formed Lowndes County Economic Development Commission. He is a member of the Lowndes County Industrial Development Board, chairman of the Alabama Youth Livestock Board, West Montgomery Education Foundation trustee and first vice president of the Southeastern Livestock Association Committee.
Fountain is serving his second term as mayor of Fort Deposit in Lowndes County. A pastor for 40 years, he now leads Lily Missionary Baptist Church in Letohatchee. He served in the Lowndes County school system as a board member for 14 years and as a teacher for 12. A trailblazer, he was the first black mayor in Fort Deposit, the first black male to enter full-time pastoring work in the county and built the first modern church facility in the county. He also organized the first adult day care in the county. He has hosted the World Council of Churches Conference.
Henderson is owner of Henderson Sewing Machine Co. Inc. in Andalusia and serves on the SoftWear Automation board of directors. An Auburn University graduate, he is a member of the SEAMS board of directors. He also serves on the SPESA board of directors and the Covington County Economic Development Commission board. He is former president of the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce, the Lurleen B. Wallace Community College Foundation and was included in Who’s Who in U.S. Executives in 1990.
Hickman is chairman of the Butler County Commission, where he has served since 2001. He is a partner in the law firm of Hartley & Hickman PC, and represents several municipal governments, including the city of Greenville, Georgiana, McKenzie and Evergreen. The firm also represents the city of Greenville Industrial Development Board. He has served as the president of the Butler County Bar Association and taught business law at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College. He is a member of the Greenville Lions Club, the Greenville Chamber of Commerce board of directors and the Butler County Commission for Economic Development.
David W. Hutchison
Hutchison was selected in January 2013 to be the executive director of the Butler County Commission for Economic Development, an agency that represents the entire county, as well as Lowndes County, in working with existing industry and attracting new industry. Before his new position, he served in several capacities with the Alabama Department of Commerce, formerly the Alabama Development Office. He also started the Escambia County Industrial Development Authority, and worked in economic development in Louisiana. He is a U.S. Navy veteran.
Kelvin J. Lawrence
Lawrence is mayor of the town of Hayneville, the county seat of Lowndes County. He is president of Kelvin Developing Co. Inc. He also owns and operates several Subway Sandwich Shop franchises. He is very active in the community, serving as vice president of Keeper of the Brotherhood, past board member of the Hayneville Boys and Girls Club, past advisor and board member of Ark of Love Ministries and member of the Family Guidance Policy Council. He is a member of the Lowndes County chapter of the New South Coalition, Alabama Democratic Party, Prince Hall Masonry and Alabama State University Alumni Association.
McKinley is owner of High Horse Gallery in Greenville. She worked in various businesses and earned her real estate license in 1985, where she worked for 25 years, owning and operating a brokerage. She restored a downtown building to open the gallery, home to more than 50 local, regional and international artists, with a diverse mix of paintings, pottery, photography and accessories. The gallery also offers art classes.
Mohon, who grew up in an Air Force family, was working in the restaurant industry 19 years ago when he decided to open a convenience store that had been vacant for two years. As an independent convenience store operator, he now has 10 locations of Gitty UP N Go convenience stores in Covington County. Upon his retirement, his wife and son plan to continue the business.
Meryane Martin Murphy
Murphy is founder and artistic director of Andalusia Ballet. A graduate of Birmingham-Southern College, she continued graduate work at New York University. In Andalusia, she founded the ballet, which has grown to become one of the most respected dance schools and organizations in Alabama. She spearheaded the partnership with the city of Andalusia to renovate the former Church Street School as a center for the arts and home for Andalusia Ballet. She was awarded the Andalusia Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Service Award in recognition of her many contributions to the arts.
Richburg is owner of J.R.’s Lawnmower Shop in Opp, a repair business that started out in a back yard in 1986 and has since grown to employ 18 people. The business now sells parts, four-wheelers, mowers, golf carts and more. Richburg is chairman of the Opp Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and a member of the Opp Utility Board. Richburg is chairman of the Lew Childre celebration committee, which brings a country music concert to the area each year, a member of the Opp Rattlesnake Rodeo committee and a member of Westview Baptist Church.
Riedel is president of Lurleen B. Wallace Community College. He is conversant in five languages and holds a fourth degree black belt in the Japanese martial art of Aikido, which he teaches in the physical education department of LBWCC. Under his leadership, the college has added new course offerings, instituted a foundation mini-grant program, added an honors program and more. He founded the Andalusia Chamber Music Society and is active in four local chambers of commerce. He is active in the Covington County Economic Development Commission, the Alabama Partnership for Children, the Andalusia Ballet, Rotary International and more. In 2014, the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce honored him with its President’s Award for dedicated service to the chamber.
J. Steven Sanders
Sanders is vice president of First Citizens Bank, in Luverne, in Crenshaw County. He graduated from South Montgomery County Academy in 1984 and from Troy State University in 1988 with a major in mathematics and attended Samford University - CBAA Community Banking School. Sanders is a member of the Luverne Rotary Club, Crenshaw County Troy Alumni, Crenshaw County Chamber of Commerce president and treasurer for Panama Missions.
Wilkes is superintendent of Crenshaw County schools, where he earlier coordinated special education and federal programs, Safe and Drug-Free schools programs and teacher certification after several years of administration and teaching experience. He oversaw Crenshaw County’s graduation rate increase to 96 percent, making it the highest in Alabama. The system has added surveillance cameras as part of its safe schools initiative, and the iLearn Initiative, a technology program. He is a member of the Crenshaw County Economic and Industrial Authority, Luverne Kiwanis, the Troy University Alumni Association, Crenshaw County Relay for Life, “Team Ryan” Muscular Dystrophy walk and more.