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Movers & Shapers, May 2017

Spotlight on Madison County

Tommy Battle



Tommy Battle 

Battle is serving his third term as mayor of Huntsville. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he has 30 years of experience as an entrepreneur, businessman and in community service. He formerly served on the Huntsville City Council. He works to create jobs and diversify the city’s economic base and has encouraged development of a new comprehensive master plan for the city. He works with a coalition of regional leaders committed to recruiting industry, workforce development and high quality education. Battle announced on April 27 that he is running for governor in the 2018 race.

Robert Altenkirch

Altenkirch is president of the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Since joining UAH in 2011, he has initiated the formation of the department of space science in 2013 and the Honors College and College of Education in 2014. Other new programs include degrees in business fields, such as supply chain and human resources, and in technical fields, such as space science. Also, the Rise School became an outreach program of UAH in 2014. Under Altenkirch’s leadership, UAH also has created a new Division of Student Affairs and moved economic development activities to a higher level under the newly created Vice President for Research and Economic Development. A new technology incubator is slated to open in 2018, as are a new residence hall and sorority house. In sports, ice hockey has a new Division 1 affiliation, and men’s and women’s and lacrosse have been initiated. Altenkirch earned his B.S. from Purdue University, an M.S. from the University of California, Berkeley, and his Ph.D. from Purdue, all in mechanical engineering. He was principal investigator for experiments on eight space shuttle flights investigating the physics of flame spreading over solid combustibles.

Penny Billings

Billings is market president of BancorpSouth in Huntsville. She also worked in management positions in other banks, including the former Wachovia Bank (now Wells Fargo), Compass Bank, Secor Bank and the Federal Home Loan Corp. in Washington, D.C. She is a graduate of St. Lawrence University. She is active with the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County, serves in leadership roles with the American Red Cross North Central Chapter, National Children’s Advocacy Center, Huntsville Botanical Garden, Greater Huntsville Humane Society and Crestwood Hospital, and is active with the Huntsville Rotary Club, Better Business Bureau, Huntsville Museum of Art and United Way of Madison County. She is a Leadership Alabama graduate and has been honored by the American Red Cross for her volunteer service. 

Greg Brown 

Brown has been the financial executive at Brown Precision Inc. since joining the company in 1995. Brown Precision is a contract manufacturer in the aviation/aerospace and medical industries. Over the past 20 years, the company has grown to more than 120 employees and has diversified its manufacturing capabilities and customer base. Since 2001, he has been co-CEO with his brother, Dan Brown, co-CEO/president. The company recently expanded to the Rivercane Industrial Park in Atmore. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama. He is on the executive committee of the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County, a board member of the Alabama Department of Commerce North Alabama Region 1 Workforce Council and Huntsville Committee of 100 and more. 

Anne Burkett


Anne Burkett

Burkett is the director of planning and economic development for the Madison County Commission. Her department is responsible for economic and community development programs, including the nationally and internationally recognized International Trade Development Center for Madison County. She has more than 30 years of experience in economic and international trade development. She is a charter member, past president and current executive director and secretary of the North Alabama International Trade Association (NAITA) and several other trade and economic development organizations. She is a graduate of Auburn University. In 2016, she was selected by the British Embassy in Washington, D.C. to participate in the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership Business Ambassador’s Program. In 2017, she was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee’s State and Federal Export Promotion Coordination Working Group. 

Lucia Cape

Cape is senior vice president of economic development of the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County. She has worked on a variety of projects that include GE Aviation, Remington, Boeing Research and Technology Center, SES and Polaris. She started at the chamber in 2006 as vice president for workforce and led the community’s workforce recruitment efforts to support the 2005 BRAC, which brought 4,700 new jobs to Redstone Arsenal. Cape was a contractor to the Marshall Space Flight Center’s academic affairs office, a Presidential Management Intern and then a contractor to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She served professional rotations with the Nashville/Davidson County Health Department and the Louisiana Public Health Institute. She holds undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Georgia. She is a graduate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organizational Management, the FBI Citizens Academy and Leadership Huntsville/Madison County Class 23. 

Kemba Chambers

With 21 years of experience in education at both secondary and higher education levels, Chambers is interim president of J. F. Drake State Community and Technical College. She has an associate’s degree from Chattahoochee Valley Community College, a bachelor’s degree from Columbus State University, a master’s degree from Troy University and a doctorate from Auburn University. She is involved in several professional organizations, has presented at several conferences and worked on various grants and research projects. She is an active volunteer in the community serving with Habitat for Humanity, Successful Aging Initiative and Serving the City as One.

Harrison Diamond


Harrison Diamond

Diamond is the city of Huntsville’s business relations officer. He serves as liaison to the business community and the mayor’s GEO, Cyber, Energy and Broadband initiatives, including efforts to attract Google to Huntsville. Diamond previously worked in economic development at the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County, where he worked on projects for Remington and Boeing. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama and University of Alabama in Huntsville. He is a board member of BizTech, Huntsville’s high tech incubator, a member of Rotaract Club of Huntsville, graduate of Leadership Huntsville’s Connect Program and Leadership Alabama’s Alabama Leadership Initiative.

Paul Finley 

Finley is mayor of Madison. Since he became mayor in 2008, he and the city council and employees have focused on quality of life improvements from the Madison Hospital, Hogan YMCA, James Clemens High School, Indian Creek Park expansion, Target and the Shoppes of Madison. He also worked on securing more than $100 million in road projects. He chose to not seek re-election in 2012, but was re-elected in 2016. He has 25 years of professional sales and consulting experience focusing on strategic communications and team building. He is a graduate of Murray State University.

Elizabeth Garcia 

Garcia is president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of North Alabama. Prior to that, she was owner of Career, Business & Marketing Associates, which provides career guidance, resume writing, marketing and business plan development services to clients in the Huntsville metro area. She has a master’s degree in counseling psychology and more than 10 years of experience in job development, career counseling, curriculum development, training and management. She is a certified job assistance specialist. She also has served as the small business manager for the Madison Chamber of Commerce and administered a variety of development programs for several groups. 

Col. Thomas Holliday 

Col. Thomas Holliday


Holliday is commander, Garrison-Redstone. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Military Academy. He has served three tours and two additional rotations as CJ2 in Afghanistan. Following his latest deployment to Afghanistan, he attended and graduated from the U.S. Army War College in 2014 and was assigned the Deputy G3 at U.S. Army Cyber Command at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. His decorations include the Bronze Star, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Korea Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Service Medal and the NATO (ISAF) Medal.  

Pam Honeycutt

Honeycutt is executive director of the Madison Chamber of Commerce. A 20-plus year communications veteran, she has extensive experience in marketing, public relations and corporate communications. She is also accomplished at global change management communications, engaging and aligning thousands of individuals with vastly different cultures and experience levels. She has coached numerous corporate executives in C-Level communication and presentation skills. Honeycutt graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Pamela Hudson, MD

Hudson is CEO of Crestwood Medical Center in Huntsville. Before becoming CEO, she was COO and chief medical officer. Crestwood has been recognized by The Joint Commission as one of the nation’s Top Performers on Key Quality Measures in each of the years between 2011 and 2014. She is a graduate of Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College) and received her medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She completed her family practice internship and residency at the School of Primary Medical Care at UAH and has advanced certification in medical management from Tulane University. Hudson is chair of the board of directors of the Birmingham branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. She is secretary of the board of Community Foundation of Huntsville/Madison County and a board member for the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County and North Alabama Rehabilitation. She is active with Leadership Alabama, Leadership Huntsville/Madison County, Women’s Economic Development Council, Huntsville Community Chorus and Huntsville Rotary Club. 

Jim Klauber


Jim Klauber 

Klauber, a native of Greenwood, South Carolina, is president of Calhoun Community College. He graduated from The Citadel in 1989 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the South Carolina Army National Guard. He received a juris doctor degree and his Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of South Carolina. Klauber was elected to the Greenwood City Council in 1990 and served for two years before being elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives, where he served for 10 years. He was a partner in the firm of Klauber & Long Attorneys at Law, and in 2002, entered the field of higher education administration at Piedmont Technical College, where he was named senior vice president and general counsel in 2009. He also served as president of Owensboro Community and Technical College in Owensboro, Kentucky. He retired from the South Carolina Army National Guard as a lieutenant colonel in the Judge Advocate General Corps after 27 years of service, and completed a 10-month tour of duty in Kosovo in 2003. 

Erin Koshut 

Koshut is director of Cummings Research Park in Huntsville, the second largest research park in the U.S. and the fourth largest in the world, with nearly 300 companies situated on more than 3,843 acres and employing almost 29,000. She led a comprehensive master planning effort to ensure another 50 successful years for CRP, working to transform the culture in the park and create a vibrant environment where employees can work, live, learn and play. She previously worked as vice president for client services and special events with the Nashville-based public strategies firm, Crisp Communications, as well as a variety of growth positions with AkinsCrisp Public Strategies, rising to vice president for Washington, D.C. and Huntsville operations. During that time, she managed the Tennessee Valley Corridor, a five-state regional technology and economic development initiative. She is a graduate of Lipscomb University. 

Richard Marsden

Marsden is an attorney with Lanier Ford of Huntsville, where he primarily concentrates on corporate, securities and technology law. He also is director of Digium Inc. and Weather Works Inc. He has a bachelor’s degree from Trenton State College, an MBA from the University of Rochester and his juris doctor from Emory University. He is rated by Martindale-Hubbell as BV Distinguished and was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America. He is a member of the Army National Guard. He is a member of the board of directors for the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County and an adjunct professor at the University of Alabama School of Law. 

Lee Marshall 

Lee Marshall


Marshall is founder of the Kids to Love Foundation, the Kids to Love Center and the soon-to-open Davidson Farms, all to help foster children. She was born into foster care and adopted at the age of 2. The foundation, launched in 2004, has helped more than 210,000 foster children. Marshall, a graduate of Murray State University, is a three-time Emmy award-winning journalist. She spent 20 years in television news, which included presenting a weekly segment that aims to recruit “forever families” to prospective families across the Tennessee Valley and to her more than 40,000 followers on social media. She has helped find permanent homes for more than 200 children through that segment. In 2015, she launched the Kids to Love Center, home to KTECH, a workforce training site for teenage foster children who will age out of care, vets needing a skill set to reenter the workforce and others who are underserved. She has been named on the list of the 500 Most Influential CEOs in the World, honored by the federal government and other organizations for her adoption awareness efforts. She is also an accomplished singer and songwriter. 

Carmelita Palmer 

Palmer is the market president for iHeartMedia’s five-station cluster serving Huntsville and the Tennessee Valley. Prior to being selected as market president, she was the director of sales for the Huntsville group. Palmer serves on the boards of Kids To Love, the Alabama Broadcasters Association, United Way of Huntsville/Madison County and the Madison Chamber of Commerce, and is active with Huntsville Hospital Foundation Women’s Council. She is the United Way campaign co-chair for 2016 and chair elect of the UW Board. She is a 2016 graduate of Leadership Huntsville/Madison County’s Masters Leadership program.  

Barbie Peek 

Peek is director of business development of the Port of Huntsville, which includes Huntsville International Airport, International Intermodal Center, Foreign Trade Zone and Jetplex Industrial Park. She has been with the Airport Authority for 27 years, leading the business development, marketing, public relations and air service efforts for 22 of those years. She is a graduate of the University of Alabama. She is a member of the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra Guild, past president of the Junior League of Huntsville and a board of trustees member of Randolph School. She also is involved in community organizations, including Big Brothers/Big Sisters, American Heart Association, Huntsville Heritage Foundation – Big Spring Jam, Huntsville Hospital Foundation Development and Women’s Council and the Art Museum Gala. 

Russ Russell

Russ Russell


Russell is owner of Russ Russell Commercial Real Estate in Huntsville. He provides commercial sales, leasing, investment brokerage, price opinion and tax-deferred exchanges. He has been in business for 30 years and has had the largest number of commercial listings in north Alabama for the last 16 years. Russell is a graduate of the University of Alabama and is a member of the Leadership Council for the Alabama Center for Real Estate. He holds CCIM, SIOR, ALC and CEA designations. 

David Spillers

Spillers is CEO of Huntsville Hospital and Huntsville Hospital Health System. Before coming to Huntsville, he was COO of Mission Hospitals in Asheville, North Carolina. Under his leadership, the hospital has expanded health care services throughout the region with the development of the Huntsville Hospital Health System, which also includes hospitals in Madison, Athens, Decatur, Moulton, Red Bay and Sheffield. It is the third-largest publicly owned hospital system in the nation, with more than 2,000 beds and 13,000 employees across north Alabama. He earned his undergraduate degree at Winthrop College and an MBA from the University of Miami. He serves on several community and professional boards. He is chairman of the Alabama Hospital Association and a member of its Medicaid Future Task Force. He also is on the board of Wolford College in Naples, Florida. 

Frank Williams

Williams, a native of Milwaukee, is general manager and managing partner of Landers McLarty Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram, Subaru, Fiat and Alfa Romeo in Huntsville. He served in the U.S. Army. He has 28 years of automotive experience, both in sales and management. The Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram dealership is ranked in the top 10 dealerships in the country. Williams is active in the community, particularly in areas of animal welfare and the environment. 

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