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Movers & Shapers, December 2016

Spotlight on Tallapoosa and Chambers Counties

Sharon Acres

Sharon Acres

Sharon Acres

Acres is CEO and founder of Storem & Sun Entertainment, established in 1996, a firm dedicated to stopping violence and bullying in schools and the community. The firm has developed and presented several anti-bullying productions over the years. In 2015, the company started its first annual Back To School Tour, giving away school supplies to domestic violence shelters, kids and teens in need, schools, community centers and more. In September, the city of Lanett granted Acres the Family Fun Day Festival, designed to bring the community together for a special cause.

Susan Burrow 

Burrow is president of Central Alabama Community College with campuses in Alexander City and Childersburg, instructional centers in Talladega and Millbrook, and multiple off-campus dual enrollment instructional sites. Burrow earned a Ph.D. from the University of Mississippi, a master’s in nursing and a post-master’s certification as a family nurse practitioner from UAB. She has 30 years of experience with the Alabama Community College System. She is active in community, economic and workforce development. 

Kimberly Carter


Kimberly Carter

In her role as existing industry and family support coordinator for the Chambers County Development Authority, Carter has worked to bring economic growth and rebuild and improve the community. She has assisted in more than 90 industrial, retail and commercial projects. She also was instrumental in developing the CCDA Small Business Development Grant Program, countywide branding campaign and the Valley Industrial Park AdvantageSite designation. Community activities include the Chambers County Farm City Committee, Log A Load for Kids Committee, Fairfax Junior Variety Club and the Young Professionals board. Working with Sheriff Sid Lockhart, she developed the Chambers County Women’s Safety Program.

Glenda Colagross 

Colagross is interim president of Southern Union State Community College. She earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of North Alabama and a doctorate of education from the University of Alabama. She came to SUSCC from Northwest Shoals Community College, where she served as vice president. In 2013, she was elected to the board of trustees for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Community activities include the Greater Shoals Rotary Club, the Shoals Area Chamber of Commerce, Easter Seals in the Shoals Area and the Alabama Community College System’s Instructional Officers Association. She has been recognized for outstanding leadership by Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges, and is a past Chancellor’s Award nominee. She has been a leader in implementing reverse transfer agreements throughout the state, allowing students to apply credits earned at a four-year institution at a community college. 

Thomas Coley Jr. 

Coley is serving his fifth term as a Tallapoosa County commissioner, first elected in 1998. He has been instrumental in recruiting hundreds of jobs to the county, created the first county employee pay scale, created a cost savings initiative and has initiated and managed several multi-million dollar capital improvement projects. He has 10 years of economic development and industrial recruitment experience, along with 10 years in corporate and small business management and 10 in non-profit and public sector management. He is a UniServ director for the Alabama Education Association. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama. Coley is a member of Leadership Alabama, and is a past board member of the Lake Martin Boys and Girls Club, and Scoutmaster of the Year, District Award of Merit. 

Valerie Gray 

Gray is a lifelong resident of Chambers County and a graduate of the University of Alabama. She has served as executive director of the Chambers County Development Authority since 1999. A past president of the Economic Development Association of Alabama Board of Directors, she now serves on the boards of Farmers & Merchants Bank in LaFayette and Chattahoochee Valley Hospital Society and is president of Huguley Elementary School’s PTO. Since 2006, Chambers County has attracted 16 new manufacturers, bringing $600 million in capital investment and creating 2,700 jobs. She and her husband, Shawn, own Harris-Gray LLC, a professional engineering and surveying firm. 

Lacey Howell


Lacey Howell

Howell is an Alexander City native and 2006 graduate of Auburn University. She and her husband, John, reside on Lake Martin. Last year, when HGTV documented their house search on its show “Lake Front Bargain Hunt,” she began using her sales and marketing experience to sell real estate. She is active in Lake Martin Young Professionals, sits on the boards for both Lake Martin Resource Association and Alex City Theatre II and is a member of the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce. She also is a co-host of the Lake Martin area morning television show, “The Front Porch,” airing statewide on Charter.

Don McClellan 

McClellan is executive director of the Lake Martin Area Economic Development Alliance, formed during his eight-year tenure as mayor of Alexander City. He has helped recruit 18 new companies and 20 expansions to the Tallapoosa/Coosa area. McClellan has been involved in numerous projects generating more than $800 million in capital investment, 3,500 jobs and $32 million in grants. He also helped develop the strategic plan for the alliance.

Deborah Grossman Mitchell

Mitchell is president of the Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce and founder of Grossman Law Firm LLC. As a registered nurse and an attorney, she has dedicated her practice to assisting veterans and civilians with disabilities to obtain VA and Social Security benefits. She is in her second term as president of the Chambers County Bar Association, where she implemented a continuing education program through the Alabama State Bar and served on a multi-county Indigent Defense Reform Committee. She has been honored by the National Advocates Top 100 Lawyers. 

Greg Nichols

Nichols is senior vice president/administrator of East Alabama Medical Center’s Lanier campus in Valley. He joined EAMC in 2003 as director of engineering. Prior to coming to EAMC, he was associate director of engineering for the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He is a graduate of Auburn University and a licensed professional engineer. Nichols is a member of the Alabama Hospital Association Central Council and serves on the association’s State Legislative Committee. He is active in Lakeview Baptist Church and in several youth science and leadership organizations.

Paige Patterson


Paige Patterson

A real estate agent in the Lake Martin area, Patterson has developed a social media sales presence, including an online show called “Love Lake Martin.” She earned her Resort and Second-Home Property Specialist designation from the National Association of Realtors, enjoys hosting events for local charities and showing properties by boat. 

Jim Peace

Jim Peace is president and CEO of Russell Medical, an 81-bed nonprofit facility. He came to Russell after working in administrative positions at Evergreen Medical Center and at hospitals in Tennessee and Georgia. Peace serves on the executive board of Lake Martin Economic Development Alliance and ARISE Public Transportation and is past chairman of Lake Martin United Way. He is on the boards of the Alabama Hospital Association and Russell Medical Foundation. In 2012, he was named Alexander City Chamber of Commerce’s Business Person of the Year.

Steve Robinson

A lifelong resident of Tallapoosa County, Robinson is the County Commissioner for District 2. He recently finished a five-year term on the Alexander City School Board. He serves on the Alexander City Chamber board and Lake Martin Area Sav-A-Life board. Robinson is involved in economic development in Tallapoosa County, assisting the Main Street revitalization initiative in Alexander City. He has served in the Alexander City Gideon’s for 26 years. He is past president of Leadership Lake Martin, United Way board, Campfire board, Alex City Schools Education Foundation board, Alex City Sports Foundation board, PTA board, and is active in the Lake Martin cleanup and community health initiatives. He ran his 100th marathon this year.

Mark Spencer


Mark Spencer

Spencer is senior vice president and Central Alabama area executive for USAmeriBank. His 28-year banking career has included leadership roles at ServisFirst, Wachovia, SouthTrust Bank and Colonial Bank. He serves on the board of the Auburn University Museum of Fine Art, Central Alabama Red Cross, Lake Martin Area United Way, Lake Martin Area Economic Development Alliance and the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce. 

David Sturdivant

Sturdivant is chief operating officer for Russell Lands. Following graduation from Auburn University, he was employed by accounting firm Deloitte, Haskins & Sells, which later became Deloitte and Touche LLP. During this time, he became a CPA and rose to the position of senior auditor, working with a variety of clients. Civic activities include the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce, the Lake Martin Area Economic Development Alliance, Alexander City School Board member and Rotary Club of Alexander City. 

John Thompson

Thompson is a community volunteer and has worked with Lake Martin Resource Association, Cherokee Ridge Trail Association, Tallapoosa County Extension Service and 4H Club. He recently was awarded the 2015 Community Spirit Award presented by the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce. He is active in battling roadside and Lake Martin shoreline litter and illegal dumping throughout the county. 

David Wilkerson

Wilkerson is general manager of human resources and administration for automotive supplier Ajin USA, Chambers County’s largest employer. Before joining Ajin USA, he was the vice president of human resources of Johnston Textiles Inc. He is a graduate of Troy University and holds professional certification in human resources. He is a board member of the Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce and the Chattahoochee Valley Hospital Society and a former board member of the Chambers County Industrial Development Authority. 

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