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Movers & Shapers, November 2017

Spotlight on Jackson, Marshall, DeKalb & Cherokee Counties

David Campbell


David Campbell

Campbell has served as president of Northeast Alabama Community College since 2001. Campbell has expanded the college’s workforce and STEM programs, culminating in the addition of a state-of-the-art mathematics, science and engineering technology center and a health/workforce complex. The college has substantially increased its enrollment and expanded its mission of providing career technical programs. He has served as president of the Alabama Community College Association and the Alabama Community College Presidents Association. He is chair of the Jackson County Economic Development Authority and the DeKalb/Jackson Counties Industrial Development Board.

Larry Chesser

Chesser was elected mayor of Fort Payne in 2012 and re-elected for a second term in 2016. He was a hosiery mill owner-operator for 24 years and a hosiery equipment contractor for another 15 years. A graduate in mechanical engineering from the University of Alabama, he is well versed in infrastructure, as well as financial management.

John Dersham

Dersham is president/CEO of DeKalb Tourism. He and his family moved to DeKalb County after he completed a 30-year career in management at Eastman Kodak Co. He majored in photography and marketing at the University of Missouri and is an exhibiting fine art photographer with solo and group shows throughout the country. He has taught fine art photography classes at UAB and is currently holding weekend workshops for Jacksonville State University and for camera clubs throughout the Southeast.

Leigh Dollar


Leigh Dollar

Dollar is mayor of Guntersville, becoming the city’s first female mayor in 2012. She was elected 40 years after her father was elected to the same position. Dollar received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama in 1994 and became a CPA in 1999. She is a past chairman of the Lake Guntersville Chamber of Commerce, and past president of the Guntersville Swim Team Board and the Guntersville Elementary School PTO. She is a graduate of Marshall County Leadership Challenge and Leadership Alabama. Dollar is on the board of directors for Marshall County Gas District and has served as chairman. She is active in the Alabama League of Municipalities.

Jimmy Durham

Durham has served as the executive director of the DeKalb County Economic Development Authority since its inception in 1994. A native of DeKalb County, he has been involved in economic development throughout his career. He is serving his third five-year appointment to the Fort Payne Board of Education and has served as an adjunct professor in business for the past 32 years at Northeast Alabama Community College. Durham earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Auburn University. He was employed for 16 years with Ladd Engineering and Ladd Environmental Consultants. Between 1986 and 1989, he served as the executive director of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in Muscle Shoals. In 1989, he was program manager for the Alabama International Airport Study and later became the first executive director of the Alabama International Airport Authority. He also has served on the Fort Payne City Council and two terms as president of the Fort Payne Chamber of Commerce.

Mike Elkins

Elkins is president of Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro. A graduate of the University of North Alabama, he began his career with Lowe’s Home Centers and worked as a vice president of field operations with H&R Block, covering 12 states throughout the Southeast and Puerto Rico. Elkins is active in local and regional support efforts. He also serves as the chairman of the board for the Greater Jackson County Chamber of Commerce.

Robert Exley


Robert Exley

Exley is president of Snead State Community College in Boaz. He is a graduate of San Jacinto College in Houston, has a BA and MS from the University of Houston-Clear Lake and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. He successfully completed SACSCOC accreditation process, a comprehensive campus facilities master plan, a campus improvement initiative and has completed several renovation projects on campus, both academically and in athletics. He re-established the workforce development component of the college to partner more closely with business and industry at the college’s Arab site. He also carried out a college completion agenda to improve graduation rates.

Ricky Harcrow

Harcrow is president/chairman of the DeKalb County Commission and is a lifelong resident of the county. He attended Northeast Alabama Community College and Jacksonville State University. He is an ordained minister of the Primitive Baptist Church and has served as pastor of the Zion Hill Primitive Baptist Church for almost 50 years. He grew up on a family farm and farmed as an occupation and also worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority. He has held public office since 1986. He has served as president of the Alabama County Commissioners Association and is chairman of the legislative board. He also serves with the National Association of Counties on the Rural Action Commission in Washington.

Luanne Hayes

Hayes is director of the Cherokee County Industrial Development Authority and the campus director of economic development at the Gadsden State Community College-Cherokee campus. She also has worked as economic director of the city of Guntersville and director of the Lake Guntersville Chamber of Commerce. She is a graduate of Auburn University and has received economic development training at Auburn and the Georgia Institute of Technology. She is past chairman of the Centre-Piedmont-Cherokee County Regional Airport Authority.

Thereasa Hulgan

Hulgan is executive director of the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce, a position she has held since 2003. The chamber has grown to more than 400 members over the past few years. The chamber has a Leadership Cherokee Program, as well as Youth Leadership Cherokee. Hulgan has held many positions in the chamber, tourism and economic development for Cherokee County. She currently serves on the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama Executive Board, chairman of the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association, and is a board member of East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission, East AL Works, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Board, Cherokee County Industrial Development Authority, Alabama Scenic River Trail, Weiss Lake Improvement Association, Friends of Little River Canyon National Preserve and others.

Cathy Mitchell

Mitchell has been employed with Jackson County 21st Century Council IMPACT Learning Center for 15 years, serving in many positions including coordinator, assistant director and current director. Her overall goal is to continue IMPACT’s mission of providing workforce development and education through personal achievement and career training for Jackson County’s citizens. She is a graduate of the Jackson County Adult Leadership Program and participates in Jackson County Youth Leadership. She studied business administration/secretarial science at Northeast Alabama Community College and has a total of 28 years of experience in office administration.

Katy Norton

Norton has served as president of the Marshall County Convention and Visitors Bureau since 2013. During the past several years, Norton has recruited fishing tournaments such as the Bassmaster Elite, the FLW Tour and the Bassmaster Team Championship, building Lake Guntersville’s reputation as one of the top bass fishing lakes in the country. Under her leadership, the county has experienced a 29 percent increase in lodging tax revenue and seen tourism expenditures rise by 22 percent. Norton serves as vice chair of Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association and vice president of the Alabama Association of Destination Management Organizations. She is active on the boards of Marshall County Leadership Challenge and Marshall County Youth Leadership.

Laura Pitts


Laura Pitts

Pitts is director of the Scottsboro Public Library. She has helped the library earn more than $170,000 in grant funds for various projects, including The DEWEY Lab, a STEAM Learning Lab for all ages. In 2017, she was awarded the Distinguished Library of Service Award for the state of Alabama by the Alabama Library Association for her collaboration on a literacy project with the school system. Pitts is a graduate of the University of Alabama with an undergraduate degree in journalism and English, a master’s degree in Library and Information Studies, and is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a master’s degree in English. Pitts is a member of the Scottsboro Rotary Club and chair of the organization’s DEAR Day Literacy Initiative, Jackson County AAUW, Young Adult Library Association (YALSA), a member of the Alabama Public Library Service LSTA Grant Council, Member at Large for the North on the Alabama Library Association’s Executive Council, and the Alabama Author’s Awards Committee.

Mike Price

Price is the economic development director for the city of Albertville in Marshall County. A 1993 graduate of the University of Alabama, his career experience has included positions in marketing, sales and 20 years in banking. He has served the past four years as a member of the Albertville City Board of Education. He is a past secretary of the city of Albertville’s Commercial Development Authority and treasurer of the Downtown Development Committee, which created a downtown master plan. He has participated in the Marshall County Leadership Challenge and has twice served as the city of Albertville United Way Campaign chair.

Rick Roden

Roden has served as president and CEO of the Greater Jackson County Chamber of Commerce since 1999. Prior to his current position, he was tourism director of the chamber. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama, with a bachelor’s degree in corporate finance and investment management. He is a graduate of Leadership Alabama, Leadership Jackson County, past chair of the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama and is a 2009 recipient of the Jamie Wallace Award, given to the top chamber president in the state. He is an Alabama Accredited Chamber Executive, is on the board of directors of the Business Council of Alabama and Highlands Medical Center. He is a member of the Scottsboro Rotary Club and the coordinating committee of Thrive 2055, a regional development partnership among Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia.

Sheila Shepard


Shelia Shepard

Shepard was named president/CEO of the Jackson County Economic Development Authority in July. She has served as vice president of the organization since 1993. She is a graduate of Athens State University and Northeast Alabama Community College. She is a graduate of the three-year Economic Development Institute program through the University of Oklahoma and the TVA Economic Development Rural Leadership Institute. She also completed the Intensive Economic Development Training Course given at Auburn University. She is a graduate of Leadership Jackson County and is active in many local and civic affairs. She is past president of the Scottsboro Kiwanis Club, Greater Jackson County Chamber and Northeast Alabama BEST Robotics Steering Committee, current president of Jackson County Christmas Charities, and co-chair of the CEO Expo, an annual hands-on career exploration opportunity for all ninth graders in Jackson County. She is active in the Economic Development Association of Alabama and the North Alabama Industrial Development Association. She is past vice-chair of the North Alabama Works Regional Council.

Patrick Trammell

Trammell is CEO of DeKalb Regional Medical Center in Fort Payne. He has worked in a number of different healthcare delivery settings, including physician practices, tax-exempt health systems, large for-profit hospital systems and sole community provider hospitals and has lived in Alabama, Florida, Texas and Georgia over the past 15 years. He also has served both as regional operations support and local operations and executive leadership for large, for-profit health systems in the Southeast.

Charlie Williams

Williams is the president/CEO of Citizens Bank & Trust, headquartered in Guntersville. Prior to joining the bank in June 2008, Williams was with SouthTrust/Wachovia in roles ranging from senior lender, risk officer and market president in the Madison, Cullman and Marshall County markets. He began his banking career with Southeast Bank in Miami upon graduating from Auburn University in 1981. He has been active in the Marshall County area, having served as countywide chair of the United Way, is a past-president of the Guntersville Chamber of Commerce, served a four-year term on the Guntersville City Council, and was active in the Tennessee Valley BRAC Committee as a representative of Marshall County.

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