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Movers & Shapers, March 2016

Spotlight on Coastal Gateway

Stephanie Bryan

Stephanie Bryan

Stephanie Bryan

In 2014, Bryan became the first female political leader elected to the position of Tribal Chair and CEO for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. She is involved with the legislative aspect of the tribe and oversees all tribal operations, including Tribal Government, Creek Indian Enterprises Development Authority (CIEDA) and PCI Gaming Authority (PCIGA). A lifelong member of the Poarch community, she had served as vice-chair of the Tribal Council since 2006 and has advocated for health and education opportunities for members and employees. Overall, she has worked for the Tribe and in the insurance industry for a combined 20 years, and has served on several committees affecting national and local issues regarding gaming, labor, housing, finance and education. 

Pete Black

Black is Alabama business and community development manager at Parsons & Whittemore Inc., where he collaborates with the Monroeville-Monroe County Economic Development Authority and the Coastal Gateway Economic Development Alliance to promote local and regional economic development efforts. Before, he was executive vice president and general manager of the Alabama River Pulp Co. in Monroe County. He has 33 years of pulp and paper manufacturing experience. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama. He is active in economic development and community organizations, including president of Monroe County United Way and vice president of Monroeville Main Street. He is the author of the book “Heart Matters – Never Lose Heart.” 

Jeffrey Brannon

Brannon is CEO of Monroe County Hospital. He began his health care career in 1983 as an orderly at Flowers Hospital in Dothan while attending Wallace Community College. He held several nursing department positions, including CVICU nurse manager and his first administrative position as vice president of clinical services. Before coming to Monroe County, he served as CEO of Medical Center Enterprise. He is a graduate of Wallace Community College and Troy University. He has served in professional leadership roles at the state and local level and recently was appointed by Gov. Robert Bentley to serve on the Alabama Health Care Improvement Task Force. He is active in community organizations, including the Wallace Community College Foundation, Monroe County United Way, Monroeville Area YMCA and Monroeville/Monroe County Chamber of Commerce.

Jodi Chambers

Chambers is a financial advisor at Edward Jones in Monroeville. A 2012 graduate of Troy University, she is active in the community, serving as secretary of the Monroe County Education Foundation; secretary of HIPPY, a nonprofit organization for parents of preschool youngsters; president of Monroe County Foster/Adoptive Parent Association, and president-elect of the Kiwanis Club. She was named 2015 Kiwanian of the Year. She also is involved in the Troy Alumni Association, Monroe County Young Professionals and the Monroeville/Monroe County Chamber of Commerce.

Chris Griffin


Chris Griffin

Griffin has worked for the Escambia County Healthcare Authority in Brewton since 2003. He is administrator and executive secretary for the Authority, which includes D.W. McMillan Memorial Hospital, EMS, home medical, home health, physician offices, multiple rural health clinics and professional office facilities. He also has served as CFO of the hospital. Earlier, he has worked for Trus Joist in Castleberry as finance manager and plant controller and held several positions with BellSouth in Birmingham and Atlanta. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama and is a CPA. He is active in professional and civic organizations, including the Alabama Hospital Association, the Brewton Chamber of Commerce and the Brewton Rotary Club. 

Glen Haab

Haab is executive director of Monroeville/ Monroe County Economic Development Authority, and has been an integral part of the public/private partnership since its inception. His office is responsible for recruiting and retaining industry and retail. Haab is a member of the Economic Development Association of Alabama, Kiwanis International and the Monroeville YMCA Board of Directors. He holds bachelor’s and MBA degrees from the University of South Alabama.

John Johnson 

Johnson was selected as executive director of Coastal Gateway Regional Economic Development Alliance (CGEDA) in 2013. He was on its board from 2010 to 2013, serving as vice chairman and then secretary. Johnson has expanded the CGEDA budget, added new investors, reorganized the alliance to add two new assistant directors and launched a new website including rebranding. Under his leadership, CGEDA has implemented an energy efficiency plan for existing industry with over $3 million in projects, developed a partnership with Creek Indian Enterprises, helped sites in Thomasville and Evergreen win AdvantageSite designation, assisted with new business plans for start-ups and multiple business expansions; developed a lending alliance of six regional and community banks, written grants for expansion of workforce development programs with community colleges and initiated a regional strategic plan. He is former president of Alabama Southern Community College. Johnson joined The Montgomery Institute (TMI) in July 2009 as vice president and Alabama director of community and economic development, thereby creating TMI-Alabama as a focus on 17 rural counties in southwest and west Alabama. He received his bachelor’s degree from Troy University, his master’s from UAB and a Ph.D. in college administration from the University of Alabama. 

Robert Jones

Robert Jones


Jones is president and CEO of United Bank, a position he has held since 1992. He is a Navy veteran and received both his bachelor’s and MBA degrees from Auburn University. He is a graduate of Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University, the ABA National Commercial Lending School and the Professional Master of Banking School at Louisiana State University. He serves on the board for the Community Foundation of South Alabama, is vice chairman of the Community Development Bankers Association and is a director for the ABA Foundation. He also is vice chairman for the ABA Financial Education and Advocacy Initiative Inc. and is a Community Depository Advisory Board Member for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He is a past president of the Alabama Bankers Association and a former member of the Auburn University Alumni Association board. 

Kay Lett

Lett is director of the adult education program and an adjunct instructor at Alabama Southern Community College in Monroeville. She joined ASCC in 2000 after serving as a staff attorney with Legal Services Corporation of Alabama for several years. She is director-at-large of the Alabama Association for Public Continuing and Adult Education and is on the boards of Monroeville Main Street and Southwest Alabama Behavioral Health Care Systems. She is a member of the Quality Assurance Committee for the Monroe County Department of Human Resources. She also writes poetry and plays for youth. In spring 2015, she traveled with a group of more than 20 young people to perform her play, “Joy Unspeakable,” in Birmingham and Atlanta.  

Yank Lovelace

Lovelace is the mayor of Brewton and the Alabama regional president of BancorpSouth Insurance Services Inc. He has served as chairman of Coastal Gateway Industrial Development Authority and is past president of the Brewton Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Brewton and the Alabama Independent Insurance Agents Association. He has served on the executive committee of the Alabama League of Municipalities and is a director of the Bank of Brewton. Lovelace was awarded the Insurer of the Year award for the State of Alabama and Citizen of the Year for Brewton. He is an alumnus of Leadership Alabama.

James Martin

Martin is a member of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians and resides in Spanish Fort. He has held leadership positions for nearly 30 years, beginning in 1986 as the tribal administrator. Today his leadership continues as president and CEO of Creek Indian Enterprises Development Authority (CIEDA). Earlier, Martin served as executive director of the United South and Eastern Tribes where he advocated on behalf of Indian tribes at the regional and national levels.

Tom McLendon

McLendon is administrator of Evergreen Medical Center, coming to the Center in 2015 from a position as practice administrator for a 10-surgeon orthopedic practice in Florida. He has more than 10 years’ experience in healthcare management. He is a member of Medical Group Management Association, Alabama Self Insurers Association, Montgomery Claims Association, Athens Specialty Group and a former member of the Gulf Coast Community College advisory board.

Sydney McGhee


Sydney McGhee

McGhee is director of benefits for FSA Risk & Benefits LLC, where she works primarily with federally recognized Indian tribes to develop and administer tribal member and tribal employee benefit programs. A graduate of Auburn University, she is a licensed insurance agent. She is on the boards of the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce and the Atmore Public Library and works with United Fund of Atmore. She is a graduate of Leadership Atmore Class of 2013 and is president of the Leadership Atmore Alumni Association.  

Joseph Oglesby 

Oglesby is a small business owner in Monroeville, working in his family’s business, Monroe Scrap Material Inc., a metal recycling facility. He also is a Guthrie’s Chicken franchisee. Oglesby serves as a councilman and mayor pro-tem for the City of Monroeville. He serves on the Monroe-ville Main Street board of directors, the Monroeville Planning Commission, King’s Kids Foundation board and the Governor’s Small Business Commission. He is a 2005 graduate of Auburn University.

Jesse Quillen 

Quillen is executive director of Clarke County Economic Development, representing the county and the communities of Fulton, Coffeeville, Grove Hill, Thomasville and Jackson. He previously worked for the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Washington County Economic Development Initiative. He is former mayor of Bruce, Mississippi. He is a graduate of the University of Mississippi and holds a master’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. He has 22 years of experience in the private sector insurance business.

Emily Steadham 

Steadham is administrator of Grove Hill Memorial Hospital. A hospital employee since graduation, she has worked in the business office, medical records, in the surgery department as a scrub tech, human resources and administration. She has served as Relay for Life chairman for many years and is a cancer survivor. She serves on the Chamber of Commerce board and is a past president. She also is past president of the Grove Hill Civitan Club. She served as judges’ chairman for 10 years for Clarke County Junior Miss/Distinguished Young Women. She is a board member for Clarke Preparatory School and treasurer for the Grove Hill Memorial Hospital Auxiliary and a past member of Clarke County Development Foundation. She is a Dale Carnegie and Leadership Clarke County graduate. She also is past president of Grove Hill Dixie Youth Baseball and Softball League.

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