Mobile Bay’s 2019 Class of 40 Under 40

Young professionals from both sides of the Bay impact their fields and give back to their communities.

Photos by Matthew Coughlin

Hanna Alemayehu, M.D., FAAP

Assistant Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics, Pediatric Surgeon, University of South Alabama Health Systems, Children’s & Women’s Hospital

Since joining the pediatric surgery department in 2018, Hanna has made a significant impact on the care of pediatric surgical patients. She recently created a Chest Wall Deformity Clinic at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital, which not only provides state-of-the-art equipment but also dramatically reduces pain for a historically painful procedure. She previously taught a course in minimally invasive surgery at the International Pediatric Endoscopic Group Conference in Chile and is currently working to create a medical mission trip in 2020 that will aid underserved communities in her home country of Kenya.

Alma Mater Georgia State University; Weill Cornell Medical College
Hometown Nairobi, Kenya
Spouse + children Miles; Tafari (7), Golden (3)
First Job Administering telephone surveys for a market research company in London
What did you want to be when you grew up? A flight attendant
Favorite thing about your job The privilege and reward of making a lifelong impact on a child and a family.


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Chesley Allegri, CIMA

Financial Advisor, The Radcliff-Schatzman Group at Morgan Stanley

Upon joining Morgan Stanley’s Mobile branch in 2018 to work as a financial advisor with the Radcliff-Schatzman Group, Chesley immediately added a flair of energy, innovation, ambition, community outreach and service to the financial team. Working with families, retirees and business owners, she is consistently ranked among the branch’s top tier in performance, all the while contributing back to the community in which she was raised. Chesley serves on the board of The Weeks Bay Foundation as well as Mobile Baykeeper’s Young Advisory Council. In 2019, she was named the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Woman of the Year.

Alma Mater Auburn University
Hometown Fairhope
Significant other + children Ryan Easterling; Rudder (4-year-old yellow lab)
First Job Selling silver queen corn for my dad on the corner of highways 27 and 104
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat? Warehouse Bakery
If I were Mayor, I would… Bring back the ferry or a high-speed train between the Eastern Shore and downtown Mobile
High School Superlative Worst driver

Matrisza Alvarez

Director, Camp SMILE, United Cerebral Palsy of Mobile

Matrisza has been a part of Camp SMILE for most of her life, beginning as a counselor at the age of 14 and moving through the ranks to the role of director, where she has served for the past six years. Aside from garnering thousands of dollars in donations, Matrisza guided the camp through the American Camping Association Accreditation process, an accreditation which helps maintain Camp SMILE’s high standards of operation. By adding the “Miles for SMILEs” fundraiser to the annual calendar, Matrisza has created an event that has raised more than $10,000 in the past two years.

Alma Mater University of South Alabama
Hometown Grand Bay
Spouse + children Jake; Keller (2)
Guilty Pleasure Instagram dogs
If I were Mayor, I would… Encourage more restaurant variety Downtown. Mobile has so much to offer with authentic Southern cuisine, but I would love to see more diversity.
Hidden talents I am really good at finding lost things, but nothing that I personally lost, only things other people have.
Favorite thing about your job Being with the campers and watching them grow along with the camp. Some of our campers have been coming for decades!

Bruner Binion

Commercial Relationship Manager, Regions Bank

Bruner began working at Regions Bank in 2008 and has since garnered 11 years of commercial banking experience. He currently maintains the professional designation of a certified treasury professional through the Association for Financial Professionals. Bruner is a Chairman’s Club Recipient, which is an honor bestowed to the top 10 percent of commercial bankers across Regions’s 15-state footprint. He is a metro board member for the YMCA of South Alabama with a focus on finance initiatives, as well as a member of Dauphin Way United Methodist Church, the Senior Bowl Committee and the Downtown Mobile Rotary Club.

Alma Mater The University of Mississippi
Hometown Mobile
Spouse + children Hadley; Calder (7), Mack (4)
Guilty Pleasure Foosackly’s
Best advice you’ve ever received 1) Always be honest and tell the truth 2) the Serenity Prayer
Hidden Talents The floss
Favorite thing about your job Working with clients and colleagues who trust me enough to ask my advice when faced with both challenges and opportunities
Who would be on mobile’s Mt. Rushmore? Mobilians who served our country’s military, in particular those who saw combat.

Whitney Boyd

AVP, Branch Manager, The First, A National Banking Association

Whitney is a dynamic and charismatic branch manager with over 14 years of banking experience. A natural-born leader, she has led a branch for the past six years that is always on top in the categories of production, sales and new accounts. Whitney is also the 2019 leader in service hours for the entire bank, which includes 54 branches across Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Louisiana. She serves on several boards and advisory committees, including Victory Health Partners Baldwin County and Kiwanis Club Daphne, and she also organizes the bank’s local Ronald McDonald House volunteers.

Alma Mater Auburn University
Hometown Brewton, Ala.
Spouse + children Brent; Audrey (14), Colton (11), Townsend (8)
First job Cashier at Winn-Dixie
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat?  Chuck’s Fish
Hidden Talents Twirling a baton
Favorite thing about your job Having the flexibility to be out in the community. I think nowadays there are so many banks in our area, the main thing that will set me apart is being able to go visit with my customers when they can’t necessarily get to the bank. If they need me, I am there.

Austin Bradford

Resident Director – Wealth Management Advisor, Merrill Lynch

Along with his vital role as a certified financial advisor, Austin became the resident director of the Mobile Merrill Lynch office in 2017. Under his leadership, which involves the management of 23 employees, the office has grown in both size and revenue. Austin has been an active participant in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program for the past seven years and is always looking for ways for his employees to support the community, such as serving at the Feed America Food Bank or by donating to Clark Middle School’s “in-house shopping experience” for underprivileged students.

Alma Mater Auburn University
Hometown Selma, Ala.
Spouse + Children Stephanie; Caroline (7), Turner (5), Graham (2)
What did you want to be when you grew up? A professional baseball player
Guilty Pleasure Krispy Kreme doughnuts
Best Advice you’ve Ever Received You can’t control other people’s actions, but you can control your reaction to them.
Hidden talents The ability to remember obscure sports details from past sporting events
Favorite thing about your job Building relationships with people and simplifying the financial aspect of their lives

Brittany Brown, MSN, RN

Director of Operations, Department of Internal Medicine, USA Health

Brittany began her career as a pediatric intensive care nurse at USA Health Children’s & Women’s Hospital eight years ago. Today, as director of operations for internal medicine, she is responsible for the management and direction of all aspects of operation for over 15 clinics, where her professionalism, passion and leadership shine through. An avid member of Aubreigh’s Army, Brittany raised more than $15,000 for the Baldricks Foundation and shaved off all of her hair, donating it towards a wig. Brittany also works with local high schoolers on resume writing, interview skills and career-focused concepts.

Alma Mater University of South Alabama
Hometown Mobile
Spouse + Children Taylor; Tucker Aaron (9), Laura Elizabeth (3)
Guilty Pleasure I love ice cream. The crazy thing is I am lactose intolerant, but it hasn’t slowed me down yet.
Hidden talents I’m fluent in every Disney song imaginable. My family and friends call it my “stupid power.”
What word would you use to describe Mobile? Diversified. Mobile has so many different people from different walks of life. The beauty that every individual has to offer contributes to the city’s beauty.

Eric C. Browne 

Theatre Teacher, Baker High School; Artistic Director, Joe Jefferson Players; Acting Instructor, Actor’s Edge Studio and Sunnyside Theatre

Eric has been involved in theatre since he was 14, working as an actor and director in productions across the state. He moved to Mobile in 2006 and, since then, has directed 47 productions. Eric has spent 13 years in theatre education with the Mobile County Public School System and has been recognized many times for his contributions to the city’s dramatic arts, including five outstanding production awards at Joe Jefferson Players. He’s also the recipient of the Mobile Theatre Guild’s Danny Conway Award for Outstanding Service and was a 2017 Arty Award finalist in arts education for the Mobile Arts Council.

Alma Mater University of Montevallo; Spring Hill College
Hometown Union Grove, Ala.
Children My dog Marlowe is 6 years old and lives the spoiled life of an only child with a single parent.
Guilty Pleasure All of the Terminator movies and the Batman films. I visited Warner Bros. studios a couple summers ago and actually started weeping when they let me touch the real 1989 Batmobile and flip on the Bat signal. True story!
Favorite thing about your job I get to see young people fall in love with the theatre every day!

Photo by Elizabeth Gelineau

Trey Byrum

Owner and Founder, Alabama Pipe Welders Academy, Scottsman Tools

In just two years, Trey has founded and now runs a technical trade school that trains classes of 50 students towards certification as pipe welders and has developed a line of proprietary and innovative welding tools, some of which are now patent-protected. A nuclear-certified pipe welder himself, Trey applies skills he learned in the U.S. Navy to develop a real-world-oriented curriculum for his students. He was recently recognized by the American Welding Society in an article in the Welding Journal, and he serves on the executive council of the Mobile Section of the American Welding Society.

Alma Mater U.S. Navy
Hometown Mobile
Spouse + Children Catie; Bailey (15), Madison (13), Jeremiah (9), Mary Catherine (6), Carly (1)
First job Painting address numbers on neighbors’ curbs for five bucks a pop
What did you want to be when you grew up? A pirate
Hidden talents I’m awesome at magic and perform shows for my kids’ birthdays.
Favorite thing about your job I’m able to work every day with my wife, dad, brother, nephew-in-law and other family members.
Best advice you’ve ever received “If you will just do what’s right, you will see miracles.”

Matthew D. Craig, Ed.S.

Assistant Principal, Bay Minette Elementary School

Matthew has been a dedicated educator in the Baldwin County Public School System since 2004. As an assistant principal at Bay Minette Elementary School, Matthew has brought a ray of sunshine to the faculty and school with creative faculty, family, and student scavenger hunts, rousing games at faculty meetings and continuous trivia contests. He is currently working to implement a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) initiative in the school, and he wrote the curriculum for a “Guys With Ties” training program, in which boys learn to make eye contact and how to shake hands properly.

Alma Mater Auburn University, Grand Canyon University, Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Hometown Goreville, Ill.
Spouse + Children Arin; Sawyer (5), Charlie Rose (1)
Hobbies Piano, baking cheesecakes, working out and playing keys for CityHope Malbis
If I were Mayor, I would… Advocate for small / local businesses and work to ensure the youth of our community stay here when they enter working society
Favorite thing about your job My boss allows me to use my creativity in ways that offer opportunities for our students to express their creativity.

Sherrica Davis-Hunt

Director of Institutional Advancement, Bishop State Community College

With over 10 years of experience in domestic and international marketing and business development, Sherrica is well-versed in the art of fostering and sustaining business relationships. She attended the Tobin School of Business at St. John’s University in New York, worked on Wall Street as an analyst for a boutique investment-banking firm and served as vice president of resource development for United Way of Southwest Alabama. Now at Bishop State Community College, she raises funds to assist students with the resources they need to accomplish their academic and personal ambitions.

Alma Mater Talladega College; St. John’s University
Hometown Mobile
Spouse + children Marshall; Braxton (17), Malachi (9), Madisyn (4), Kaven (1)
First Job McAlister’s Deli on Government. I gained 15 pounds eating the fresh-baked cookies on my shift. I had to go on a dramatic diet to fit into my Azalea Trail Maid attire.
If I were Mayor, I would… Expand the public transportation system. I would love the ability to take the train Downtown for the day and not worry about parking.
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat? SOCU and Dumbwaiter

Brooke Dodson

Accounting, Beard Equipment Company

Brooke has been with Beard Equipment Company since 2005, working in various departments from the rentals division to accounting. Described as a self-driven individual who always puts others first, Brooke played a major role in helping to grow the company outside of Mobile, which now includes nine locations in Florida. She also dedicates much of her time and talent to organizations such as United Way of Southwest Alabama, USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital and Wilmer Hall. She is a vital member of her company’s “Digging for a Cure” committee, a 5-year-old initiative to raise funds for cancer research and treatment.

Alma Mater Hollins University
Hometown Mobile
Spouse + Children John; William (8), Jack (4)
Hobbies Reading, traveling and spending time with my family
Best advice you’ve ever received Treat others the way you want to be treated.
Favorite thing about your job It’s very meaningful to work in a third-generation family business that my grandfather started 50 years ago. Both my parents worked in the business and now my sister and I both work with our husbands at the company. It gives us a great sense of pride to carry on the traditions and values that my grandfather and parents started. 

Kelly Dorgan, Ph.D.

Senior Marine Scientist, Dauphin Island Sea Lab

Recognized as one of the brightest junior faculty members of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Kelly is making a mark in marine science research and education by expanding the lab’s knowledge of marine sediments and the diverse community of marine organisms, mostly worms, that live within these sediments. She recently received a prestigious CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation, intended to give early-career faculty, such as Kelly, the support to advance both their research and educational programs in their department or organization. Kelly’s community involvement includes a variety of educational opportunities to help expand the community’s knowledge of marine science.

Alma mater University of California, Santa Cruz; University of Maine
Hometown Yorktown, Va.
Spouse + Children Michael; Myles (23 months)
Best advice you’ve ever received Don’t turn down an opportunity to travel because you have too much work to do. I took this advice and spent a month in Antarctica.
Favorite thing about your job Marine science is very interdisciplinary – I really enjoy learning new skills from other fields (engineering, physics, chemistry) and applying new techniques to figure out how the ocean works.

A. Patrick Dungan, Esq.

Attorney, Adams and Reese LLP; Co-Owner/Co-Founder, Association Football Club of Mobile, LLC

In addition to serving as president of the University of South Alabama National Alumni Association, Patrick has established himself as a go-to legal resource at Adams and Reese LLP. Patrick makes each case he works on personal, thereby strengthening the firm’s client relationships in Mobile. He has been practicing law since 2011, representing multiple utility boards, planning commissions and providing legal counsel to a number of Fortune 500 companies. He also serves on the board of directors of AFC Mobile, helping to further the semi-pro soccer team in Mobile by bringing in athletes and revenue. It’s a great family-friendly entertainment option for the city.

Alma mater University of South Alabama; University of South Carolina
Hometown Mobile
Spouse + Children Laurie; Jonas (9), Rowan (6)
First job Delchamps cart collector, (or as it was called then, “buggy boy”)
Guilty pleasure Fried chicken livers from Hart’s
Hidden talent Not really hidden from many, but I like to sing. I’m the “retired” lead singer of the band Speck (circa 2001 – 2004) and a current karaoke junkie.
High school superlative Most likely to copy-edit other people’s high school superlatives.

Lee Dzwonkowski

Vice President, Private Banker, Trustmark National Bank

Lee has spent the last 10 years assisting Mobilians with their banking, asset management and planning needs. Over the past six years as a private banker for Trustmark Bank, he has earned one of the bank’s highest awards, the Perform Award, five times, affirming his ability to work with multiple business units to meet the needs of clients across south Alabama. Lee, a member of the 2018 class of Leadership Mobile, is actively involved in his community as a member of the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church vestry and the Mobile Touchdown Club.

Alma mater University of Alabama
Hometown Mobile
Spouse + Children Kristen; Lee (4), Caroline (2)
What did you want to be when you grew up? A professional golfer
If I were mayor, I would… Continue the redevelopment of downtown and bring more activities to the downtown area and waterfront
High School Superlative Most likely to be a Spring Hill dad
Who would be on mobile’s mt. rushmore? Jimmy Buffett, Jeremiah Denton, Hank Aaron, Joe Cain
Hobbies Hunting, golfing and fishing
Favorite thing about your job Helping individuals and families accomplish their financial goals

Day Gates III, DMD, MS

Prosthodontist, Day Gates, DMD

Having practiced in Mobile since 2011, Day is one of only three board-certified prosthodontic dentists in the state of Alabama. He recently opened a new, state-of-the-art clinic on Old Shell Road to serve patients in the Mobile area. The current vice president of the Mobile Area Dental Society, he is also a member of the Alabama Dental Association and American Dental Association. As an instructor for the Alabama Dental Hygiene Program, Day passes on his knowledge and experience to dental hygienists in training. He also enjoys serving as a member of the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church vestry.

Alma mater Sewanee: The University of the South
Hometown Mobile
Spouse + Children Andrea Rossillon; Sam (6), Dan (4), Genevieve (2)
First Job Running the bumper boats at The Track in Gulf Shores
What did you want to be when you grew up? F-16 fighter pilot
Best advice you’ve ever received The greatest gifts that can be given are love, knowledge and health.
If I were mayor, I would… Incentivize local homegrown businesses and entrepreneurs instead of the big out-of-town corporations.
Favorite thing about your job When a patient says, “You gave me my life back.”

Carl E. Harper

Vice President/COO, Harper Technologies, LLC

From tinkering on old equipment with his grandfather to opening Harper Technologies with his brother in the early 2000s, Carl is happiest when he’s faced with a technological challenge. Known as a calming presence around the office, he has helped lead the company to a period of amazing growth and has been a mentor for countless technicians gaining experience in the field. Carl has the pleasure of serving on the board for Dearborn YMCA and the Eastern Shore Art Center and is very involved in company charity initiatives, such as supplying dinners for the Ronald McDonald House.

Alma mater University of Alabama
Hometown Daphne
Spouse + Children Cecily; Zachary (9), Victor (5), Isaiah (4), Ian (newborn)
First job Playing the piano for my church’s Sunday School
What did you want to be when you grew up? Aside from technology, music is my second passion. I always knew that if I didn’t end up in IT, it would be something music-related.
Guilty Pleasure A good movie / TV series and a glass of merlot
Best advice you’ve ever received “Always be a man of your word, and protect your family name. It was bestowed to you unblemished, and should be given to your children the same way.”

Liza Marilyn Heath

Lower School Spanish Teacher, UMS-Wright Preparatory School

Born in Puerto Rico, Liza has been an educator for more than 15 years and has taught in Morocco, Florida and Alabama. When teaching Spanish, her mission is to impart a passion for the language in a way that’s new, inviting and purposeful, whether that means playing her guitar in the classroom or taking her students around the school singing Spanish Christmas carols. Liza serves as a volunteer translator for Make-A-Wish Alabama, and she was chosen to present at the American Council of Teaching Foreign Languages (ACTFL) 2019 Conference in Washington D.C.

Alma Mater University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus
Hometown Guaynabo, Puerto Rico
Spouse + Children Micah; Josué (11), Salma (9)
Guilty pleasure TV shows from Spain and Turkish soap operas
If I were mayor, I would…  Foster the importance of learning foreign languages and invest in language learning centers for all age groups.
Hidden talents Playing the violin and Latin dancing
Favorite thing about your job I love the smiles, hugs, compliments and wild-tastic comments. Seeing my students grow in confidence about learning Spanish and being a part of their life training truly makes my day, every day!

Alison Baxter Herlihy

Lawyer, Alison Baxter Herlihy, P.C.

When Alison opened her law practice in 2011, she was one of the youngest female solo practitioners in Mobile. She has focused her career on family law, including divorce, child custody, child support mediation and adoption. Alison has also represented children in both delinquency and dependency proceedings in juvenile court. In addition to teaching courses for the University of South Alabama’s paralegal program, Alison is an active member of the Mobile Bar Association and was a founding mentor for Strickland Youth Center for Girls’ Leadership Program, which provides positive female role models to girls who are on probation through the juvenile court system.

Alma Mater University of Texas at Austin; University of Alabama School of Law
Hometown Mobile
Spouse + Children Garrick Ogburn; Bowie (our cat)
Guilty pleasure I love Disco.
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat? For lunch, I would take them to my husband’s restaurant Nourish Café for healthy, made-from-scratch cuisine, of course. For dinner, I would take them to The Noble South.
What did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be a lawyer for as long as I can remember … or, a drummer in a rock ’n’ roll band.
Favorite thing about your job As a family lawyer, you have a lot of opportunities to protect children from harm and get them out of bad situations. That makes all the stress worthwhile.

Photo by Elizabeth Gelineau

Rev. Victor P. Ingalls

Vocations Director for the Archdiocese of Mobile, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mobile

A graduate of St. James High School in Montgomery, the Rev. Victor attended two years at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia and an additional four years at the Pontifical North American College, America’s Seminary in Rome, Italy. In his current role, Victor is responsible for building a culture of vocations throughout the Archdiocese of Mobile, which is an area that stretches from the Gulf to Montgomery. He helps young people on their way to discerning religious life, as well as helping people discover that their vocations may lie in their married lives or through a life of consecration. Victor is known for asking, “Why not Alabama” for the next generation of priests and missionaries.

Alma Mater Furman University
Hometown Montgomery, Ala.
What did you want to be when you grew up? A garbage man.
Guilty Pleasure Stand-up comedy, McDonald’s French fries
Hidden talent Playing the harmonica, freestyle rapping
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat? The Bluegill
High school superlative Most Likely to Become Mayor
If I were mayor, I would… Create more opportunities for young people to learn trades as well as have hands-on experiences with different professions.

Corey James

Director of Operations, Innovation PortAL

Corey graduated summa cum laude from the honors college of Saint Louis University. As director of operations, Corey uses his intelligence and intuition when consulting start-up businesses. His day-to-day tasks include business plan management, pairing mentors and investors, marketing, communications and community development initiatives. Corey has also planned and executed Mobile’s Startup Weekend, and his motivation and proven track record have earned him trust from leadership. Within the community, Corey serves as an instructor for the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps Program.

Alma Mater Saint Louis University
Hometown New Orleans, La.
Spouse + Children Emily; Sofia Francis (newborn)
Hobbies Rock climbing, cycling, podcasts, audiobooks and bourbon
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat? Cheese Cottage
If I were mayor, I would… Invest in entrepreneurial infrastructure and resources, create tax incentives for artists to move Downtown and put bike lanes (almost) everywhere.
Favorite thing about your job I get to work with our region’s best early-stage, high-growth entrepreneurs. Through that, I befriend passionate people disrupting a wide range of industries.

Alison Brumfield Jones

Founder/Owner, Mission Fitness

Alison founded Mission Fitness with the goal of strengthening the community, both physically and through raising awareness and funds for local nonprofit organizations. Since opening its doors just over two years ago, the studio has infused nearly $20,000 into programs like Rainbow Mobile, The Fuse Project, Dance Without Limits, McKemie Place and many more. The avid traveler lives by the quote, “You are not an important person, but you have important work to do.” Internationally, Alison has demonstrated love to people in the slums of Mumbai and orphanages in Rwanda. Locally, she shares her passion with everyone who walks into the studio and has offered free classes to military and discounts to children who require special fitness training. 

Alma Mater Ole Miss
Hometown Pascagoula, Miss.
Spouse + children Keith; fur babies, Addie and Cain
What did you want to be when you grew up? Depending on who you ask, it was either a veterinarian, an actress, a teacher. (My 7th grade language arts teacher declared I would be a “woman who would go to the spa!”)
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat? Sage Lebanese in Downtown Fairhope
Guilty pleasure Chalkboard labels. There is nothing in my life that hasn’t been properly labeled and stored.
If I were mayor, I would… Make exercise and community service mandatory. It would be burpees not burritos for lunch, friends.

Ben Kennemer

VP, Commercial Banking Market Leader, Bank of America, N.A.

Ben is described as a natural speaker who is passionate about people. Regarding his role with Bank of America, N.A., Ben successfully leads the entire commercial banking operations in the Gulf Coast. This passionate drive led to his nomination for and completion of Leadership Mobile, class of 2019. Ben is the board president of McKemie Place and is also the acting executive director. Other community leadership roles include serving on the board of the Red Cross and on the finance committee at Dauphin Way Methodist Church. Ben served on the 2019 Real Men Wear Pink campaign through the American Cancer Society.

Alma Mater Auburn University
Hometown Mobile
Spouse + children Erin; Wells (7), Hayes (4)
Guilty pleasure Carpe Diem red velvet cake
First job Tire technician
Best advice you’ve ever received “Put your head down, focus on the task and go to work. Live in the vision not the circumstance.”
High school superlative Best Dancer
If I were mayor i would… Focus on the education system, workforce development and homelessness.
Favorite thing about your job I love helping people and companies achieve their financial goals.

Lauren E. Lambrecht, M.D.

OB-GYN, Azalea City Physicians for Women, P.C.

Lauren graduated magna cum laude from Harding University, where she held a two-year research grant with NASA and received the Physical Science Student of the Year award from faculty and administration. While in residency, Lauren served as chief and received awards for Best Resident in Gynecology and Best Resident in Urogynecology and Pelvic Surgery. Outside of work, Lauren volunteers with Victory Health Partners, offering her expertise to females who are without insurance. She is also one of the founding board members for Savvy Giving by Design, a nonprofit that designs bedrooms for children who are undergoing cancer treatments.

Alma Mater University of Tennessee, College of Medicine
Hometown Memphis, Tenn.
Spouse + children Zac; James (6) and Joshua (6)
First job Banana Republic
What did you want to be when you grew up? Astronaut
Hidden talent I can cook really well. I make good cocktails, too.
Favorite thing about your job What keeps me going are the beautiful moments with my patients. It is my privilege to take care of women.
Best advice you’ve ever received “Much is required from those to whom much is given, for their responsibility is greater.” Luke 12:48

Leslie Lash

Senior Vice President, Director of Marketing, The American Equity Underwriters, Inc.

During her time with American Equity Underwriters, Leslie has implemented many firsts, including their first-ever national advertising campaign, a monthly newsletter, a corporate video campaign and a digital marketing strategy. Her commitment to media relations has led to AEU receiving numerous honors, including the 2019 Best Companies to Work For in Alabama. She is an active member of the Insurance Marketing Communications Association, and serves on the association’s board of directors. Leslie volunteers with the Baldwin County Humane Society and the Animal Rescue Foundation of Mobile, and she is a member of the planning committee for the Focus Women’s Conference in Mobile.

Alma Mater University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Hometown Charlotte, N.C.
What did you want to be when you grew up? Teacher, writer
Guilty pleasure Instagram
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat? Sunset Pointe in Fairhope
How would you describe Mobile? An intriguing intersection of grit and class, of old and new. One of the South’s best-kept secrets.
Favorite thing about your job I love seeing the direct impact we have on our members’ businesses.

Ryan Long

VP of Pre-Construction Services/Director of Construction, The Highland Group

In addition to his role with The Highland Group, Ryan is president of MAAAC (Makos Academics, Arts and Athletics Club). The foundation was created to help raise funds for the new Orange Beach Middle and High schools. As president, Ryan led the board in raising over $500,000 since April 2019. He is also a board member of the Orange Beach Sports Association, member of Leadership Baldwin County, and member of Associated Builders and Contractors Alabama’s Future Leaders in Construction – Gulf Coast chapter. Beyond his accomplishments, Ryan is actively involved in coaching youth sports, and he recently starred in the community production of “Willy Wonka.”

Alma Mater Auburn University
Hometown Childersburg, Ala.
Spouse + children Cindy; Walker (9), Marshall (6)
What did you want to be when you grew up? A ninja, but when I found out ninjas don’t really make money, I wanted to be an architect.
Best Advice you’ve ever received “There is no way to happiness; happiness is the way.”
Hidden talents Card/magic tricks and arguing. To this day, I have never lost an argument.
Who would be on Mobile’s Mt. Rushmore? John D. New, Joseph Stillwell Cain, Jr., Hank Aaron and Tim Cook.

Lauren Metzger, DMD, MSD

Periodontist, Coastal Periodontics and Implant Dentistry, P.C.

Despite only being 29, Lauren is already bringing new and innovative ideas to Coastal Periodontics, such as minimally invasive surgical techniques and the use of biologic materials. While in dental school, Lauren traveled to Honduras to provide care to patients with limited access. As for now, she volunteers with Donated Dental Services for Dental Lifeline Network. Lauren’s community service also includes advocating equality for the LGBTQ+ community, and she and a peer established the Mobile chapter of The Bevy, a social group that provides a space for LGBTQ+ women to network, socialize and engage with the community.

Alma Mater Birmingham-Southern College, UAB School of Dentistry, University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine
Hometown Mobile
Spouse Ronni Ferris-Metzger
Guilty pleasure Going to the grocery story
Hobbies Soccer, traveling, hiking
If I were mayor, I would… Add more crosswalks and fix sidewalks to make Mobile more walkable.
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat? La Cocina, China Doll, Foosackly’s and The Noble South
Favorite thing about your job Working with patients and my work family. It’s always satisfying to see the before and after results of treatment.

Cullen Millsap

Vice President, Legal Imaging

As partner and vice president of Legal Imaging, which is a service-disabled veteran-owned small business that performs digital forensics and eDiscovery for the legal field, Cullen continues to grow and push the business by using skills he learned as a sergeant in the United States Marine Corp. Business partners note Cullen’s ability to lead through effective decision-making while performing under pressure. Outside of work, Cullen volunteers his time to Veterans Recovery Resources, a local nonprofit that provides mental, physical and emotional care to veterans and their families. He also donates a portion of the proceeds from Mad Dawg’s BBQ Sauce, a wholesale business he started, to Veterans Recovery Resources.

Alma Mater University of Alabama
Hometown Mobile
Spouse + children Andi; Hill (2)
First Job Custard Cottage, next to the Dew Drop Inn.
What did you want to be when you grew up? Hawaiian fire dancer. My family and I lived in Hawaii when I was 4. I would watch these guys at luaus, and I had made my mind up. I know now that was never really an option.
Hidden Talent I love to cook, and my wife never complains.
Best Advice you’ve ever received “This too shall pass.” Any time I find myself in a difficult or trying situation, it helps me remember that eventually it will end.

Tiffany Mitchem, PharmD

Clinical Pharmacy Manager, Southern Cancer Center

Tiffany is described as a driven person with an infectious, friendly attitude. In her almost 2-year tenure with Southern Cancer Center, she has achieved the Accreditation Commission for Health Care’s Accreditation for Specialty Pharmacy with Oncology Distinction, an honor only seven pharmacists within Alabama, and only two in the Mobile Bay area, have received. Tiffany is a member of the Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association and the US Oncology Network’s Oral Oncolytics Task Force and Pharmacy Operations committee, among others. Outside of work, Tiffany is Cub Scout Pack 47’s den leader and Friends of Scouting committee chair, and she has helped organize events such as Coastal Cleanup.

Alma Mater Ole Miss
Hometown Robertsdale, Ala.
Spouse + children Brian; Ian (8), Reid (4)
Hobbies Cub Scouts with my oldest, binging Netflix and asserting my board game dominance
Guilty pleasure Paying professionals to clean my house
High school superlative Most Likely to Get ID’ed at 30
Best advice you’ve ever received “A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing grows there.”
If I were mayor, I would… Give our city’s first responders a raise because they are some of the hardest working people I know.   

LoRen Burroughs Modisa, MPA

Diversity Coordinator, University of South Alabama, College of Medicine

LoRen firmly believes that every person’s story has value. As the diversity coordinator within the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, she works to highlight pathways to medical school for students historically disenfranchised from STEM careers and strives to find ways in which to illuminate and celebrate the differences that make each member of the USA Health System unique. LoRen served as a health policy and advocacy intern for the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation before joining the Peace Corps for two years as an HIV/AIDS civil society capacity building volunteer in Botswana.

Alma Mater University of South Alabama; Eastern Kentucky University
Hometown Mobile
Spouse + Children Donquiel; Eriana (9)
First job Ross Dress for Less in the Mobile Festival Centre
If I were Mayor, I would… Implement a tax to help alleviate the educational disparities at local public schools situated in areas with lower property taxes.
Favorite thing about your job Every day, I get the opportunity to tell students that they belong, that they deserve to take up space, and that the future of our society, as we know it, is dependent upon them.

Jake Parker, P.E.

Mobile Engineering Leader, Hargrove Engineers + Constructors

Jake is a licensed professional engineer in six states and is also a LEED (Leader in Energy Efficient Design) accredited professional. He leads a team of nearly 350 direct-report engineers and designers in project execution. In 2015, Jake was recognized as Electrical Engineer of the Year by the Mobile Council of Engineers. His project leadership, which spans multiple industries, earned him an invitation to become one of Hargrove’s associate owners. Jake is an active member of Tau Beta Pi, the oldest engineering honor society in the nation, a lifetime member of the University of South Alabama’s Alumni Association and his church, Christ United Methodist.

Alma Mater University of South Alabama
Hometown Mobile
Spouse + children Jennifer; Eden (9), Reed (6)
What did you want to be when you grew up? Accountant
Guilty pleasure Double Stuf Oreos and milk
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat? Start at the Haberdasher, then head to The Noble South or Von’s Bistro
If i were mayor, I would… Probably be completely bald; it’s not a position I envy. But I’d certainly be focusing on city infrastructure, Downtown/waterfront development and community facilities (a new pool would be great).

Virginia Radcliff, M.D.

Pulmonary and Critical Care Physician, Pulmonary Associates of Mobile

After graduating magna cum laude from medical school and completing residency and fellowship at Duke University, Virginia returned home and joined Pulmonary Associates of Mobile in 2015. She holds certifications from the American Board of Internal Medicine and is board certified in internal medicine, pulmonary medicine and critical care medicine. Virginia has worked to bring new technology to Mobile, such as computer assisted navigational bronchoscopy. She is active in the Mobile chapter of L’Arche, an international community that provides assistance to persons with intellectual disabilities.   

Alma Mater University of Virginia
Hometown Mobile
Hobbies Running, tennis
Hidden talents Sleeping late when I can, functioning with no sleep when I need to.
High school superlative Most Likely to Succeed
Best advice you’ve ever received “For the secret in the care of the patient is in caring for the patient.”
What word would you use to describe mobile? Old, but in the best way.
Favorite thing about your job The variety. I get to do anything from emergent invasive procedures to talking college football with patients in the office to helping end-of-life transitions with comfort and dignity.

Ryan Rebowe, M.D.

Plastic Surgeon, The Park Clinic

As the newest associate partner at The Park Clinic for Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgery, Ryan brings a microsurgical breast reconstruction program to Mobile Infirmary Medical Center. This program will provide specialized care to breast cancer patients in the area that was not previously available. An accomplished researcher, Ryan has won multiple awards and written multiple book chapters. He has an extensive history of service, including a surgical mission trip to Cochabamba, Bolivia. Ryan is a member of St. Ignatius Catholic Church. He has plans to participate in the first Casting for Recovery workshop in Mobile, which is an organization focused on breast cancer survivorship and wellness through fly fishing workshops.

Alma Mater University of Virginia
Hometown Baton Rouge, La.
Spouse + Children Danielle; Addison (4), Eleanor (2)
Hobbies Fly fishing, hunting, college football
Hidden talent Best dancer at wedding receptions
If I were mayor, I would… Provide free Botox for the entire city
Who would be on Mobile’s Mt. Rushmore? Chris Park, Roberta Swain and Christina Massinople
Favorite thing about your job Seeing the transformation in the way people feel about themselves when I am able to correct whatever problem they have.

Millie Russell, CIC

Director of Infection Prevention and Employee Health, Springhill Medical Center

Since becoming director of infection prevention and employee health in March 2016, Millie has led a team of nursing and clinical leaders to a 50 percent reduction in hospital-acquired infections. Throughout her tenure, Springhill Medical Center has been awarded “excellent” status every quarter in nosocomial infection rates. Millie is board-certified in infection prevention and is the current president of the local Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology chapter. She’s involved in the community as a member of the Junior League of Mobile and as a committee member of Wine Fest, which benefits Catholic Social Services.

Alma Mater Auburn University
Hometown Mobile
Spouse + Children Ben; Palmer (9 months), Baby #2 due in spring
First job In fifth grade, my best friend and I ran a summer camp for younger children. We had different activities planned every day — we made good money that summer!
Best advice you’ve ever received “Hard work beats talent when the talent won’t work hard.”
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat? NoJa. The ginger doughnuts are the best!
Who would be on Mobile’s Mt. Rushmore? Jimmy Buffett, Hank Aaron, Joe Cain and Celia Wallace

Laura Searcy

VP, Commercial Relationship Manager, IBERIABANK

Laura has been a banking professional for 20 years, with 10 of those at IBERIABANK. During that time, Laura has helped grow the bank into one of the top 10 banks in Mobile. She is described as being well-rounded, having served in many roles, including branch manager, retail market manager and business banker. While excelling professionally, Laura is also very active in the community. She has served on numerous boards and committees and is currently active with Girl Scouts of Alabama, Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Alabama, American Cancer Society Vintage Affair and the Joy of Life Mardi Gras Ball.

Hometown Theodore
Spouse + children Dustin; Cortlynn (18), Carleigh (16), Cooper (13)
First job Cashier at Food World
Hidden talent Cake decorating and baking
Guilty pleasure Taking an annual girls trip with the three best friends anyone could have!
If I were mayor, I would… Move the airport and bring in airlines with more direct flights to larger cities
What word would you use to describe mobile? Hospitable
Favorite thing about your job The relationships I have built with our team and clients and the role I play in their lives

Keith Sherrill

Founder / CEO, Haint Blue

Keith graduated magna cum laude with a degree in aeronautics before joining the Army, where he spent 14 years as an Army Ranger. Upon military retirement, Keith obtained an MBA from William & Mary’s School of Business where he learned to think like a renaissance manager and developed a drive to become a revolutionary leader. Keith is passionate about making the highest quality beer for this community, as well as taking care of people and the environment. As of May 2019, Haint Blue was named an official Certified B Corporation, a designation that requires for-profit organizations to meet rigorous standards. There are only 14 breweries in the world with this certification.

Alma Mater The College of William & Mary, Virginia
Hometown Seattle, Wash.
Spouse + Children Gracie; Sammy (6), Mary Virginia (2)
First job Cart boy at The Pines Golf Club
Hidden talents I can fly a helicopter, and I can open a beer bottle with virtually anything lying around.
Best advice you’ve ever received “Don’t be so hard on yourself. A good businessman is only right 51 percent of the time.”
Who would be on Mobile’s Mt. Rushmore? Preston Griffith, the Crichton Leprechaun, Abe Partridge and Eugene Walter

Photo by Elizabeth Gelineau

Jeremy R. Towns

Medical Student/President, RANSOM (Radical Athlete and Student Oasis Ministry)/Next Level Sports Camps

Jeremy is described as a unique individual, a leader for this generation and a fearless follower of Christ. He is a former NFL player, having had stints with the Washington Redskins, Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles. The Radical Athlete and Student Oasis Ministry, of which Jeremy is founder, is a student organization whose mission is to spread the news of Christ. The organization has spread to four colleges, including Auburn University, and is quickly growing. In addition to being a medical student, Jeremy gives back to the community through speaking engagements.

Alma Mater Samford University
Hometown Dolomite, Ala.
Hobbies Spreading hope and working out
First job Walgreen’s
Guilty pleasure Brownies
Best advice you’ve ever received “Don’t give up.”
Hidden talent Playing baritone
What did you want to be when you grew up? Doctor, professional athlete
What word would you use to describe mobile? Family-oriented
Favorite thing about your job Impacting the lives of college students and young people

Tripp Ward

Community Affairs and Business Office Manager, Alabama Power Company

Tripp has made tremendous impacts along the Gulf Coast during his 10 years with Southern Company, two of which have been with Alabama Power. He is described as being committed to the growth and success of Baldwin County, as evidenced by his assistance with the area’s economic and workforce development. Tripp serves as secretary for the North Baldwin Chamber of Commerce, president-elect for the Bay Minette Rotary Club and chair of the North Baldwin Young Professionals. Tripp is a Big with Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Alabama, and he serves on the St. Michael Catholic School Advisory Council and the Parish Council for St. Agatha Catholic Church.

Alma Mater University of West Alabama
Hometown Meridian, Miss.
Spouse + Children Natalie; Emma Elizabeth (12), Hampton (9)
High school superlative Class Favorite
If I were mayor, I would… Enhance an awareness of building and developing our youth programs. I would also work closely with schools to foster a relationship between industry and future workforce development.
Best advice you’ve ever received “You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.” That is what life is about, making a difference!

Steve Wieczorek

Head Men’s Soccer Coach, Spring Hill College & AFC Mobile

Steve is the longest tenured head coach and winningest coach in Spring Hill College men’s soccer program history. He led the team to their first NCAA tournament, and they finished with their first ever National Top 25 ranking. In addition to coaching, Steve leads a staff of coaches, and he established the Badger Soccer Academy camp program for boys ages 5 to 18. Due to his leadership, he was named Spring Hill College Mentor of the Year in 2017. The popular and adept coach holds a premier diploma and advanced national goalkeeping diploma from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in sports management from Troy University. 

Alma Mater Fairfield University, Troy University
Hometown Bayonne, N.J.
Spouse + Children Morgan; two dogs, Bella and Jackson
What word would you use to describe mobile? Eclectic
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat? Ed’s Seafood Shed
High school superlative Most Likely to Become a Coach
Hidden talent Snoring
If I were mayor, i would…Build a T-line Downtown.
Who would be on mobile’s Mt. Rushmore? Hank Aaron, Jimmy Buffett, Bishop Michael Portier, the Mitchell Family and Joe Cain

Christopher Scott Williams

Member (Attorney), Hand Arendall Harrison Sale LLC

Chris graduated magna cum laude from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law and was named a Crowe Scholar. In addition to his experience with complex litigation, Chris has been instrumental in helping launch and grow the firm’s Cybersecurity Practice Group. As such, Chris was selected as a 2019 Mid-South Super Lawyer Rising Star. He is an active participant in the South Alabama Volunteer Lawyers Program and is a current member of the Leadership Mobile class of 2020. In the community, Chris serves as president of the Fairhope Kiwanis Club, volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters and member of St. Lawrence Catholic Church. He also spends time coaching his son’s sports teams.

Alma Mater Spring Hill College
Hometown Mobile
Spouse + children Creagh; Bennett (7), Cullen (6)
First job Runner for the late Thomas P. “Corky” Ollinger, Jr. He encouraged me to become a lawyer.
Hidden talents My wife says I’m exceptional at being cheap.
Best advice you’ve ever received “It can take years to build your reputation and professional trust and one mistake to destroy it.”
Favorite thing about your job Every day I learn or experience something new in my cases, from the proper way to construct a home to the latest cyber scheme.

Sponsored by Alabama Power

Special thanks to SOHO Events for providing the table settings for the awards dinner and Fuse Project for graciously opening their doors for the photo shoot.

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