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Movers & Shapers, June 2015

Spotlight on Mobile County

Michael Chambers, founder, president and CEO of Swift Biotech.

Michael Chambers, founder, president and CEO of Swift Biotech.

Michael Chambers

Chambers is founder, president and CEO of Swift Biotech, a company developing an early-stage screen and diagnostic for ovarian cancer. The technology, developed by the University of South Alabama’s Mitchell Cancer Institute, received a $1.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. Earlier, Chambers founded and led InnoRx Pharmaceuticals until negotiating its sale to SurModics in 2005 and was chairman of ProUroCare. At the request of then Gov. Bob Riley, Chambers helped write the commercialization portion of the Alabama Science & Technology Roadmap. He is on the boards of EDPA, BioAlabama and Gene Capture. He founded the Gulf Coast Angel Network and cofounded 1702, a program to mentor entrepreneurs. Alabama LaunchPad recognized him as the Start-Up Executive of the Year in 2014.

Daniel Dennis IV

Dennis is president of Roberts Brothers Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate. In 2011, he facilitated the merger of Dauphin Realty into Roberts Brothers, creating the largest real estate brokerage operation in South Alabama. In 2013 he chaired the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce “Chamber Chase” campaign and the American Heart Association Heart Walk. He is a member of Rotary Club of Mobile and advisory boards for Regions Bank, the Salvation Army of Coastal Alabama and the University of South Alabama Center for Real Estate Studies & Economic Development. He was a Mobile Bay magazine Top 40 under 40 for 2012. He is a graduate of Auburn University, Cumberland School of Law and the University of Miami School of Law.  

Jeff DeQuattro

DeQuattro is director of restoration for The Nature Conservancy in the Gulf of Mexico. He was one of Mobile Bay Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2012. He is a graduate of Leadership Mobile Class of 2014 and on the board for Mobile United. DeQuattro is a creator and the executive director of the nonprofit Delta Bike Project, a community bicycle shop in downtown Mobile. Delta Bike Project also helps those in need of transportation earn bicycles through the Time is Money program and has so far distributed more than 200 bikes.

Joan Dunlap, executive director of the Mayor’s Innovation Team in Mobile.


Joan Dunlap 

Dunlap was recently named executive director of the Mayor’s Innovation Team in Mobile, leading the city’s participation in the program sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies. A Mobile native, she has 20 years of business experience, primarily in the energy industry, where she served as a founding partner of Houston-based Petro-Hawk Energy Corp. She is a graduate of Tulane University and the graduate management program at Rice University, with additional graduate work at Harvard Business School. Since returning to Mobile in 2012, she has helped small, locally-owned businesses expand. 

Mark Foley 

Foley is president of the University of Mobile. He led the move to integrate learning, faith and leadership in all areas of university life, while raising academic standards and leading the school to national rankings. He was previously executive vice president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, from which he holds a Ph.D. in psychology and counseling. He earned his undergraduate degree at Hardin-Simmons University. An ordained minister, he is also a former business owner and counselor.

Ralph A. Hargrove

Hargrove is president and founder of Hargrove Engineers + Constructors. The 20-year-old firm has 11 offices across the United States with more than 950 professionals who provide specialized services to the pulp and paper, chemical, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, refining/oil and gas, power, infrastructure and other industries.  Hargrove serves on the executive advisory committee for the Engineering and Construction Contracting Association and as a member of the board for Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Alabama. 

Frank Lott III

Lott is president of Heritage Homes, a regional builder with offices in Mobile, Pensacola, Gulfport and Tuscaloosa. His firm has twice partnered with ABC-TV’s “Extreme Makeover/Home Edition” to build houses, one in Mobile and one in Pensacola. A graduate of the University of Alabama, Lott is chairman of the board of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, past president of The Home Builders Association of Metro Mobile and a board member of Goodwill Easter Seals of the Gulf Coast, UMS-Wright Preparatory School, Trustmark Bank and Coastal Alabama Partnership.  

Bo Mattei, owner and president of Thames Batré Insurance. 


Bo Mattei

Mattei is an owner and president of Thames Batré Insurance. Founded in 1891, it is the 11th largest commercial insurance firm in Alabama. Insurance Women of Mobile honored him in 2002 with the Anna S. Loding Memorial Award, recognizing lifetime achievement in the industry and contributions to the community. An active volunteer, he serves on the advisory board of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce and Goodwill Easter Seals of the Gulf Coast, and chairs the Mobile-based Rotary Children’s Foundation. 

Mark Nix 

Nix is president and CEO of Infirmary Health, Mobile’s largest private employer and the largest nongovernmental, not-for-profit healthcare system in Alabama. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he serves numerous boards including Mobile Arts and Sports Association, Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, Regions Bank-South Alabama, UMS-Wright Preparatory School, Leadership Alabama (past chair), VHA-Southeast and Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center.   

Dean N. Parker Jr.

Parker is founder and CEO of Vita Capital, an early stage investment firm. Prior to Vita, he was founder and CEO of Callis Communications, acquired by C Spire in 2014. He is co-founder and chairman of 1702, a network of business leaders from high-growth companies in Mobile. He was chosen for Mobile Bay Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40, and a finalist for Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2012, American Business Awards “Executive of the Year” in 2012 and CIT GAP 50 Entrepreneur. 

William B. Sisson

Sisson is president and CEO of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, following a term as executive director of the Mobile Airport Authority. A graduate of James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Sisson earned a master’s at the University of Alabama and holds a diploma from the Institutes for Organization Management. He is a graduate of Leadership Mobile and Leadership Alabama. Sisson is a member of the International Economic Development Council, Economic Development Association of Alabama, Southern Economic Development Council and Rotary International. He serves on the board of UMS-Wright School and the University of South Alabama’s Real Estate Advisory Board. 

Tuerk Schlesinger, CEO of AltaPointe Health Systems.


Tuerk Schlesinger

Schlesinger is CEO of AltaPointe Health Systems, Alabama’s largest behavioral health organization, based in Mobile and providing care in three counties. Under his leadership,  the organization has grown from 277 to 1,350 employees and its budget from $17 million to $81 million while increasing its patient load from 7,000 to more than 23,000. Schlesinger also established AltaPointe’s partnership with the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. He serves on several community, health and professional boards and organizations. He is a graduate of Auburn University with an MBA from Spring Hill College in Mobile. 

Elizabeth P. Stevens

Stevens has served as president and CEO of the Downtown Mobile Alliance since its founding in 2005. The alliance is a consortium of three nonprofits and includes the Business Improvement District that is funded by property owners to provide services like cleaning, promotion and beautification in the 75-block area; a business membership organization and the philanthropic Main Street Mobile Inc., which she started in 1990. Stevens currently serves as one of Gov. Robert Bentley’s appointees to the Alabama Historic Commission. She serves on the board of the Barton Academy Foundation, among other organizations. She is a graduate of the College of Charleston. 

Troy Wayman

Wayman is vice president of economic development for the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce. Before coming to Mobile, he was director of economic development for the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce. He is a graduate of Faulkner University and the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma. He was a founding board members of the Montgomery chapter of youth golf program First Tee. A certified economic developer, he has served as president of the Economic Development Association of Alabama and chairman the Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council executive committee. 

Grant Zarzour

Zarzour is a fourth-year resident in orthopaedic surgery at the University of South Alabama Medical Center and cofounder of Fuse Project — a nonprofit created by eight young professionals in Mobile and Baldwin counties to fund local projects that have an immediate impact on the children of South Alabama. Fuse Project started in 2012 and raised more than $100,000 in 2014 with its inaugural Dragon Boat Festival. Thirteen projects have been funded so far, and the nonprofit aims to raise $200,000 in 2015. Zarzour will complete his residency in June 2016. 

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