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Movers & Shapers, December 2017

Spotlight on Lee, Russell & Macon Counties

Jacqueline Brooks

Brooks is superintendent of Macon County schools. A native of Tuskegee and graduate of Alabama State University, she has worked with ASU and other colleges to create dual enrollment programs, and she has expanded sports and arts programs in the Macon County schools. She is an Alabama State trustee and is active with the Alabama Department of Archives and History, River Region United Way and Leadership Alabama. She is District IV President of the Alabama Association of School Boards and represented District IV as the 2014-15 Superintendent of the Year.

Karen Teague DeLano


Karen Teague DeLano

DeLano is superintendent of the Auburn City Schools, after a 40-year career in public education. Under her leadership, the system opened a new high school this year and plans to open a new elementary school next year. After graduating from Auburn City Schools, DeLano completed undergraduate through doctoral degrees at Auburn University. She has been principal of a Blue Ribbon School and 2010 Curriculum Leader of the Year. DeLano is active in United Way of Lee County, the Auburn Chamber of Commerce and the National Advisory Council at Auburn University.

Phillip Dunlap

Dunlap is the city of Auburn’s economic development director, a post he has held since 1984. He is a graduate of UAB. Prior to coming to Auburn, he worked for 10 years in the city of Birmingham’s community development department as a manpower planning specialist and grants management coordinator. He has extensive experience in industrial recruitment in Europe and Asia, particularly since 1996, and has worked on several U.S. Agency for International Development economic development projects in Bulgaria, Serbia and Kosovo, and with the Asia Foundation in Mongolia.

Bill Ham

Mayor of Auburn since 1998, Ham earlier served on the Auburn City Council. Under his leadership, the city of Auburn has logged record appropriations to the city’s public school system, the addition or expansion of more than 10 public parks and recreation and the recruitment of more than 68 industries. The city and Auburn University have a long-standing working partnership, with projects including the merging of the Auburn University and City of Auburn Police Divisions, the construction of the new Auburn Tennis Center, the Auburn-Opelika Robert G. Pitts Airport and the Auburn Research Park. City and University are also partnering on plans for a new Performing Arts Center. Ham is a graduate of Auburn University and is owner of Varsity Enterprises Inc.

Lawrence “Tony” Haygood

Haygood was elected mayor of the city of Tuskegee in 2016. Earlier, he served four years on the Tuskegee City Council. He is active in the Alabama League of Municipalities. He is also economic and business development specialist at the Tuskegee-Macon County Community Development Corp. Haygood is former president of Southern Community College. He is a graduate of Rhodes College and received his MBA from Auburn, with additional studies in management.

Lori Huguley

Huguley is the director of economic development for the city of Opelika and serves as secretary to the Opelika Industrial Development Authority. In April of 2010, she became a certified economic developer. Huguley is past president of the Economic Development Association of Alabama. She is a graduate of Auburn University at Montgomery. She is a graduate of Leadership Lee County and a member of the Opelika Kiwanis Club.

Steven Leath


Steven Leath

Leath became Auburn University’s 19th president in June 2017. Leath came to Auburn from Iowa State University, where he had been president since 2012. He began his career as a plant pathologist at the University of Illinois, Urbana, and spent much of his career in North Carolina, serving as vice president for research at the University of North Carolina System. He has degrees from Pennsylvania State University, the University of Delaware and the University of Illinois.

Eddie Lowe

Lowe was elected mayor of Phenix City in 2012. He is senior vice president of CB&T of East Alabama, responsible for operation of all branches. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama and played under coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. He went on to play professional football with the Saskatchewan Rough Riders of the Canadian Football League. He played for nine years and in 1994 was inducted into the Saskatchewan Plaza of Honor. Now back in Phenix City, he is chaplain and volunteer coach for Central High School, active in United Way, on numerous boards and served for more than 12 years on the Phenix City Board of Education.

John Mason

Mason is vice president for research and economic development at Auburn University. He also serves as president and CEO of the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation. Mason is past chair of the steering committee for the Alabama Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, a member of the boards of Oak Ridge Associated Universities, the Southeastern Universities Research Association, and a member of the executive committee for the Council on Research of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

Dinah Motley

Motley is business marketing director of the Opelika Chamber of Commerce. Prior to joining the chamber, she was community marketing representative for Bradford Health Services in Opelika. She is a graduate of Auburn University. She is a graduate of Leadership Lee County.

Mark Neighbors


Mark Neighbors

Neighbors is superintendent of Opelika City Board of Education. He has been a teacher and administrator in Opelika and in Tallapoosa County and has worked for two police departments. He earned undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees from Auburn University. He has been an adjunct instructor in the graduate program at Troy Phenix City and an adjunct professor at
Auburn University’s College Education.

Joe Turnham

Turnham is director of the Macon County Economic Development Authority. He helped the Town of Shorter recruit Tier 1 auto supplier Hanon Systems to Macon County, and the firm is now Macon County’s largest private employer. Since it was founded in 2011, MCEDA has established seven industrial sites and has helped recruit more than a dozen new retail establishments, including one of America’s most successful Love’s Travel Centers at Exit 22 in Shorter. Turnham has also worked with Leonardo DRS in its effort to win a U.S. Air Force contract that would bring jet production facilities to Macon County. Turnham is a graduate of Auburn University.

Randy Wilkes

Wilkes is superintendent of Phenix City Schools. Under his leadership, math scores have risen to the highest in system history, the graduation rate has increased from 63 percent to 92 percent, and every student in grades 6-12 has access to a take-home electronic device. Prior to coming to Phenix City, Wilkes served as superintendent of Crenshaw County schools. He has worked in every aspect of the school system, and is a former math and applied physics teacher and coach.

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