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Movers & Shapers, August 2015

Spotlight on Limestone and Morgan Counties

Ashley Ashwander

Ashley Ashwander

Ashley Ashwander 

Ashwander is owner of The Paper Chase, a paper and gift boutique in Decatur, a business she opened in 2007. A graduate of Auburn University, she is co-founder of 3rd Friday Downtown Decatur, a monthly community event, co-founder of and volunteer for Power of Pink, Decatur Morgan Hospital Foundation’s annual breast cancer campaign, past president of the Downtown Decatur Merchants and Business Association and the 2015 recipient of the Arthur Orr Young Professional of the Year award. She is a board member of the Decatur Morgan Hospital Foundation and an executive committee board member of the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce.   

Trisha Black 

Black is the executive director of Spirit of Athens, a Main Street program dedicated to the revitalization of historic downtown Athens in Limestone County. She has served in her current position since August 2008. During this time, Spirit of Athens has become a nationally accredited Main Street program. It has organized the Athens Saturday Market, a state-certified farmers’ market, and the Athens Grease Festival, an annual community event and fundraiser. She is a member of the Athens Limestone County Tourism Association Board and member of the Athens Rotary Club. She is a 1993 graduate of Troy University with a bachelor’s degree in political science and journalism.

Tom Hill 

Hill is president and CEO of the Limestone County Economic Development Association. Hill spent 16 years in agribusiness management with the Alabama Farmers Cooperative, 19 years in economic development, which includes four years with the Morgan County Economic Development Association and 15 years with LCEDA, and three years in commercial banking. He is a board member of Athens Limestone County United Way and served 13 years as a Dixie Youth Baseball manager. He served as an officer in the U.S. Navy from 1973-1976 and is a graduate of Auburn University.

Trey Holladay 

Holladay is superintendent of Athens City Schools. He has been an educator for 30 years, 26 of them in educational leadership — from football coach to system administrator. He holds an undergraduate degree from Athens State University in social science, with a master’s degree from the University of West Alabama, a specialist degree from Lincoln Memorial University, and he expects his doctorate from Lipscomb University this July. He is a frequent speaker on best practices in continuous school improvement and special education on the national and state level. A former Alabama Secondary Principal of the Year, he serves as a mentor to new principals and assistant principals throughout the state. 

Noel King

King is vice president and co-owner of King Insurance Agency in Decatur. He joined the family-owned business in 2005 after working with the First American Corp. in Birmingham for more than eight years. Earlier, he was a partner with the law firm of Harris, Caddell & Shanks PC in Decatur. King earned his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Alabama. An active volunteer, King has served as a board member and board president for the Decatur Arts Council, the Kiwanis Club of Decatur and the Carnegie Visual Arts Center. He is treasurer for River Clay Fine Arts Festival and is chairman of the board-elect for the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce.

James Klauber

Klauber was appointed the fifth president of Calhoun Community College in 2014. He has many years of experience in military, legal, legislative and academic leadership. Most recently he was president of Owensboro Community and Technical College in Kentucky. During his career in higher education, he has served in numerous positions, including vice president and general counsel, adjunct faculty member and executive assistant to president. Prior to his career in higher education, Klauber served in the South Carolina Army National Guard for more than 27 years, the South Carolina House of Representatives for a decade, practiced law and served on the city council in Greenwood, South Carolina. A graduate of The Citadel, he holds a law degree and a doctorate in educational administration from the University of South Carolina. 

Tasia Malakasis


‚ÄčTasia Malakasis

Malakasis is CEO of Belle Chevre, an award-winning creamery in Elkmont and author of “Tasia’s Table” and “Southern Made Fresh,” cookbooks published by Southern Living. With a lifelong passion for food, she learned the art of cooking from her grandmother and from the Culinary Institute of America. She learned cheese making at Belle Chevre in her hometown of Elkmont, acquiring the creamery in 2007. She has created several new lines of award-winning cheeses, with nods from high profile celebrities and publications. She is known as the “goat cheese guru” by Organic Gardening. She has been named by Southern Living magazine as one of “50 People Who are Changing the South” and one of 75 “Most Stylish Southerners” and “the newly minted big cheese” by O, The Oprah Magazine. 

Jeremy Nails

Nails has served as president and CEO of the Morgan County Economic Development Association and as executive director of the Decatur-Morgan County Port Authority since 2005. He works with both new and existing companies as they gather information for business location or expansion decisions and also oversees the public port facilities located along the Tennessee River in Morgan County. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama and the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma. He is past president of the Economic Development Association of Alabama, a past president of the Rotary Club of Decatur and a graduate of Leadership Morgan County and Leadership Alabama.

Ed Nichols 

Nichols is superintendent of the Decatur City School System and has been a member of the school system since 1988, earlier serving as a teacher, high school principal and assistant superintendent. He holds a doctorate from the University of Alabama and a bachelor’s and master’s degree in music education from the University of Tennessee. He is a member of Leadership Alabama and a past president and past executive director of the Alabama Association of School Personnel Administrators. He has served twice as president of the Rotary Club of Decatur and the Daybreak Rotary Club. He is immediate past chairman of the Decatur Morgan Hospital Foundation and serves as a music director for his church. 

Rick Paler

Paler has served as the first executive director for the Decatur Downtown Redevelopment Authority for seven years. While living in Decatur for more than 35 years, he has been involved in a number of business partnerships in the fields of corporate and commercial real estate development and the food industry. Civic work includes the Decatur General Hospital Foundation Board, Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club of Decatur, Library Leadership Board for the University of Alabama and Leadership Alabama. He is a UA graduate.

Nat Richardson

Richardson, Decatur Morgan County Hospital president, has more than 27 years of health care experience. Before being recruited to Huntsville Hospital Health System eight years ago, he worked more than 18 years in the Texas Medical Center at St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System, home of the world-renowned Texas Heart Institute and the Methodist Health System. He holds degrees in radiological sciences and business administration, as well as a master’s degree in management from Vanderbilt University. He is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and serves on the boards of United Way-Morgan County, Palliative Care Partners-Morgan County, Surgery Center of Decatur and the Boston Scientific Advisory Board.  He also is a member of the Rotary Club of Decatur. 

Tom Sisk


Tom Sisk

Sisk has served as superintendent of Limestone County schools since 2012. He is a graduate of Potomac State College, West Virginia University and the University of South Alabama. He started his career as a teacher and coach in Virginia and then spent 18 years with Baldwin County Public Schools as a teacher and administrator. He led Baldwin County in recruiting math and science teachers from the Philippines, a first for the state of Alabama. Since joining Limestone County schools, he has spearheaded several initiatives, including the Digital Passport Initiative, dedicated to providing a device per student that will serve as their “Passport” to 21st Century learning. He led the district in an overhaul of career and technical programs. Sisk is a member of the Athens Rotary Club, the Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce and has been involved for more than 30 years with the Greater Alabama Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Sisk has been recognized twice by the Superintendent’s Association of Alabama in 2013 and 2014.  

Mary Ward

Ward is owner of Horizon Point Consulting Inc. in Decatur, a talent management consulting firm specializing in customized solutions for business and industry. She also has served as an independent contractor with the Morgan County Economic Development Association, as a project associate for the Center of Organizational and Human Resource Effectiveness with Middle Tennessee State University and a corporate recruiter for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama in Birmingham. She also is a contract and adjunct instructor for Calhoun Community College. She is a graduate of the University of Alabama, with a master’s in psychology from Middle Tennessee State. 

Jennifer Williamson 

Williamson has served as president of the Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce since August 2011. Prior to serving as president, Williamson served as the chamber’s director of membership. Williamson serves on the board of directors for the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama. She is a member of the Athens Rotary Club, serves on the Limestone County Economic Development Board, the Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association Board and the Athens-Limestone Hospital Foundation Board.

Vic Wilson

Wilson is superintendent of Hartselle City Schools. He is a veteran educator, serving as principal of Mountain Brook High School and Homewood High School. He also has been a history and English teacher and coach. He holds a doctorate in educational leadership from Samford University and also is a graduate of Samford University and the University of Alabama. 

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