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Movers & Shapers, June 2016

Spotlight on Jefferson County

David Carrington

David Carrington

David Carrington

Carrington is serving his second term on the Jefferson County Commission. He served as president during his first term, and played a key role in developing and executing the financial strategy that led to the county exiting bankruptcy more than a year ahead of schedule. He now chairs the commission’s finance, information technology and business development committee, where he focuses his energies on economic development and job creation. He is a former Vestavia Hills City Council member, serving for six years including four as president. Carrington is president of RacingUSA.com, an independently owned NASCAR store.

William Bell

Bell has served as mayor of Birmingham since 2011 and has been in public service for more than 25 years, including terms on the Birmingham City Council, where he became the first African-American president of the council in 1985, and on the Jefferson County Commission in charge of health and human services. As a council member, he was responsible for several improvements in Birmingham, from libraries to revitalization. As mayor, he is responsible for the upcoming transportation facility being built downtown and instrumental in bringing back the Birmingham Barons baseball team to a newly built Regions Park; Railroad Park; the Uptown entertainment district; the four-star Westin Hotel; expansion of The Summit; Grandview Medical Center on U.S. 280; Barber Motorsports Park, and more. He is a graduate of UAB, where he received his master’s degree in psychology and guidance/counseling. He received his doctorate in jurisprudence from Miles College. He has served as a probation officer, Xerox Corp. sales consultant and special assistant to the vice president at UAB. He is president of the African American Mayors Association and is active in many community organizations. 

Kelley Castlin-Gacutan

Castlin-Gacutan has been superintendent of Birmingham city schools since 2015. Also known as “Dr. G,” she is a seasoned educator with 24 years of experience, working as a classroom teacher, assistant principal, principal, district level administrator and university professor/director. Prior to being named superintendent in Birmingham, she served as deputy superintendent of school operations and interim superintendent in the Bibb County School District in Macon, Georgia.  She was born in Birmingham and grew up in Hueytown. She received her undergraduate degree from Tennessee State University in Nashville, a master’s of education from Brenau University in Gainesville, Georgia, and a doctorate of education from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

David Fleming 

Fleming is president and CEO of the urban revitalization organization REV Birmingham. He serves on the board of Main Street Alabama among other local boards and is a Kiwanis member. He grew up in Bessemer and attended Vestavia Hills schools. He is a graduate of Samford University and earned a master’s degree in public/private management from Birmingham-Southern College. He worked on U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus’ staff in Washington, D.C., and has dedicated his career to revitalizing and preserving Birmingham’s neighborhoods and urban core. He interned at Operation New Birmingham before working there, started Main Street Birmingham in 2004, and, in 2012, helped merge ONB and MSB into REV Birmingham.

George French


George French 

French has served as president of Miles College since 2006. As president, he led the largest capital campaign fund drive in the history of the college, helping Miles raise more than $42 million. He has secured about $100 million in funding in support of the college. Miles has developed a more deliberate academic focus, and secured the North Campus, a 41-acre site once the home of Lloyd Noland Hospital. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisville and attended the University of Richmond Law School before being recruited to reposition Miles as director of development. He earned his law degree from Miles School of Law. He is working toward his Ph.D. at Jackson State University. He has been a pastor with CME churches around the country. 

Keith Granger 

Granger is president and CEO of Grandview Medical Center, a 372-bed facility. He came to Trinity Medical Center in 2009, after serving as CEO of Flowers Hospital in Dothan since 1992. In October 2015, Trinity was relocated to Highway 280 and renamed Grandview. Granger has overseen the hospital construction and helped it earn top honors in national rankings. In 2013, the Commonwealth Fund listed Trinity as the No. 1 ranked hospital in the country for Overall Recommended Care. Granger has served on numerous professional boards and committees, and was the first recipient of the Alabama Hospital Association’s Quality Task Force Robert G. Sherrill Award for Quality. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. 

Kenneth Gulley 

Gulley is serving in his second term as mayor of Bessemer. His goal is to make the city of Bessemer a force in the state economically and a place its residents can be proud to call home.Accomplishments in Gulley’s first term include creating a budget surplus, adding about 2,000 jobs in the community, increasing staff at the Bessemer Police Department, securing funding for a new city recreation center and a new city hall and investing in the city’s parks and infrastructure. He started in city government at the age of 27, serving as former Mayor Quitman Mitchell’s assistant and chief of staff, and has served on many city boards.

Brian Hilson 

Hilson is president and CEO of the Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA), which is responsible for programs designed to grow and diversify the Birmingham regional economy and enhance the quality of life for all citizens. He has been involved in economic development in Alabama since 1980. Prior to his joining the BBA in 2011, he was president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County. He also served as vice president of the Birmingham Metropolitan Development Board and has held economic development positions with the Birmingham and Mobile Chambers of Commerce. He has worked with a wide variety of national and international companies’ economic development projects. He is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute. He is a graduate of Leadership Alabama, Leadership Birmingham and Leadership Huntsville/Madison County, and is active in state and national economic development organizations. He currently serves on boards of directors or advisory boards of several additional state and local organizations, including the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the Business Council of Alabama. 

Gary Ivey 

Ivey is mayor of Hoover, elected in 2011. He also served two terms as president of the Hoover City Council. A resident for 30 years, he is president and CEO of Crest Cadillac in Hoover. He has served on the board of SafeHouse in Shelby County and on the Hoover Planning and Zoning Board. He is a trustee at the Church of the Highlands.

Devon Laney


Devon Laney

Laney is the president and CEO of Innovation Depot Inc., the high-tech/biotech business incubator in downtown Birmingham. Prior to joining Innovation Depot in 2005, he worked on a broad range of marketing, I/T and strategic organizational projects as an analyst with Accenture LLP in Atlanta. He serves on the advisory board of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business. He is a member of the executive committee of the Birmingham Venture Club. He serves on the executive committees of TechBirmingham and BioAlabama. Laney is a member of the 2008 inaugural class of Leadership UAB and the 2010 Class of Leadership Birmingham, and is also a member of the Rotary Club of Birmingham. Laney has lectured widely on entrepreneurial development, business incubation and innovation, and serves on the board of the National Business Incubation Association. He has an MBA and a bachelor’s degree in international business, both from the University of Alabama, and completed studies at the International Business School in Groningen, the Netherlands.

Kathy Murphy 

Murphy was named Hoover City Schools’ new superintendent of education in April 2015. She earned her doctorate, master’s and education specialist degrees from Auburn University and her bachelor’s degree from Troy University. A native of Greenville, Alabama, Murphy has spent a career in education, working as a classroom teacher, principal, assistant professor and, just before Hoover, superintendent of Monroe County Schools in south Alabama.

Betsy Postlethwait

Postlethwait was promoted to president of Princeton Baptist Medical Center in 2012. She joined Baptist Health System as COO of Princeton BMC in 2004. During her 25-year healthcare career, she has held numerous senior leadership positions including chief financial officer, chief operating officer and chief executive officer. Prior to joining Baptist Health System, Postlethwait served as chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Christus St. John Hospital in Nassau Bay, Texas. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina and completed a two-year executive development program with American Medical International Hospital Corp. 

Craig Pouncey

Pouncey was appointed Jefferson County Schools superintendent in 2014. Earlier, he served as chief of staff to Dr. Tommy Bice, state education superintendent, and also served as deputy state superintendent for administration and finances and assistant state superintendent. He also served three terms as Crenshaw County superintendent and is a former elementary school teacher and assistant principal. Pouncey earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Troy University; his Ed.S from Auburn University and his Ed.D. from Samford University. 

Charles Stark

Stark joined Brookwood Baptist Medical Center as CEO in 2015. During a 30-year career, Stark has served in various leadership roles in both not-for-profit and proprietary settings. He served as president and CEO of Columbus Regional Health in Georgia, a three-hospital system with a comprehensive cancer center and multiple joint ventures. He also served as president and CEO of Firelands Regional Health System in Sandusky, Ohio, between 2004 and 2012. Stark also spent 13 years in executive roles at HealthSouth Corp., including heading design and development of the “digital hospital” project in Birmingham. He earned a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in health care administration from Duke University. 

James Stephens


James Stephens

Stephens is Jefferson County Commission president. He grew up south of Bessemer and attended Samford University, where he earned a bachelor’s in business administration and an MBA. His business experience includes assistant director of meat operations and director of retail development for Associated Grocers of Alabama; past president of Food Centers Inc., past member of the board of directors for Associated Grocers of Alabama, past owner of Jimmie’s Food Center and president, Stephens and Son Enterprises. He is a former Bessemer city councilman. He serves on the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center Authority board of directors, Jefferson County Department of Health board, Birmingham Business Alliance board and the Rotary Club of Birmingham.

Arthur Tipton

Tipton became president and CEO of Southern Research in 2013. Previously, he worked in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries for 25 years, participating in the growth of three start-up companies. The company he founded in 2005 as an SRI spin-out company — Brookwood Pharmaceuticals — was acquired by SurModics in August 2007, then by Evonik in November 2011. At Evonik, Tipton served as senior vice president of the Birmingham division and also led the company’s global drug delivery program. He also served in leadership roles at Durect Corp., Southern BioSystems, Birmingham Polymers and Atrix Laboratories (now part of QLT Inc.). He serves on several biotech and economic development boards. Tipton has 40 issued U.S. patents, 29 published U.S. patent applications and numerous foreign equivalents, with more than 70 presentations and publications. In 2013, he was inducted as a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. He is a 2015 graduate of the FBI Citizens Academy. He holds a doctorate in polymer science and engineering from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and a bachelor of science in chemistry from Spring Hill College. 

Perry Ward

Ward is president of Lawson State Community College. Under his helm, the college has established sound financial management, expanded and strengthened its curriculum, witnessed unprecedented enrollment numbers, promoted successful athletic programs and enhanced relationships with business, industry and the greater community. Under his leadership, Lawson State has celebrated notable honors including the ranking as the “TOP 5” community college in the nation and one of “America’s Top 50 Community Colleges” both recognitions by the Washington Monthly Magazine. And in September 2011, Ward was one of 17 community college leaders honored at the White House as a “Champion of Change.” President Barack Obama visited Lawson State in 2015 to address the economy. 

Mike Warren 

Warren is president and chief executive officer of Children’s of Alabama, the state’s only not-for-profit, freestanding pediatric hospital. Warren oversaw the hospital’s move into the new Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children in 2012. Earlier, Warren was chairman and chief executive officer of Energen Corp. Born in Texas and reared in Alabama, Warren earned his bachelor’s degree from Auburn University and his law degree from Duke University. Warren has served as chairman of the Business Council of Alabama, the United Way, Leadership Birmingham and Leadership Alabama. In addition, he served as chairman of the Birmingham Metropolitan Development Board, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and the area American Heart Association. Warren also chaired the United Way general campaign twice and  the United Negro College Fund.

Ray Watts

Watts is the seventh president of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. A Birmingham native, he is a graduate of UAB and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He completed a neurology residency, medical internship and clinical fellowships at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, as well as a medical staff fellowship at the National Institutes of Health. Before returning to UAB in 2003, he was part of a team that helped create an internationally renowned research and clinical center for Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders at Emory University. He served several positions at UAB, including chairman of the Department of Neurology, senior vice president and dean of the School of Medicine. 

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