Mobile Bay’s 2020 Class of 40 Under 40

This year’s class of young, local professionals is raising the bar of success and inspiring optimism for this new year on the Bay.

Philip Almalouf, MD

Pulmonary Critical Care Physician / Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of South Alabama

Philip graduated at the top of his class from University of Damascus and has been in Mobile since joining the University of South Alabama as a Pulmonary Critical Care Fellow in 2009. He is a Red Sash faculty member with many awards, including four John Bass Awards for teacher of the year at USA and the Leonard Tow Award from Gold Humanism Honor Society. Philip also serves as medical director for Homedica and St. Joseph Hospice. He volunteers at Victory Health Partners and has participated in multiple community education sessions at USA.   

Alma Mater University of Damascus
Hometown Damascus, Syria
First Job Medical assistant in a primary care clinic
Favorite thing about your job Working with residents and students and teaching new knowledge and skills
Guilty Pleasure Fantasy football
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat?  Heroes Sports Bar in downtown Mobile. You will see me every weekend cheering for my Detroit Lions.
If I were Mayor, I would… Advertise more. Mobile is a hidden gem with so much to offer.

Kelly Anderson

Sales Contracts Manager, Airbus 

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Kelly’s professional track record is one of leadership and vision. As the one-time program director of special courses and online programs at the University of South Alabama, she initiated the university’s first drone training program. At Continental Aerospace Technologies, Kelly was instrumental in streamlining the company’s customer resolution process, and now, as sales contract manager at Airbus, she has helped established a framework for taking the new A220 aircraft project from conception to execution. Kelly is also a member and mentor of Flight Works Alabama, an organization that focuses on the recruitment of women into the aviation industry.

Alma Mater University of South Alabama 
Hometown Mobile
Spouse + children Tim; Michael (8), Emily (6), Felicity (5)
First Job Cashier at Winn-Dixie
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat? The Lighthouse Restaurant in Bayou La Batre — the best crab claws around!
Favorite thing about your job I love interacting with our airline customers! There’s no greater joy than administering the closing / transfer of title process, sharing a celebratory toast and watching the aircraft’s first “official” flight leave the Airbus Delivery Center at the end of a long but rewarding build process! 

Joanne Page Elston Baird, MD 

Orthopaedic Surgeon, Sports Medicine, Bayside Orthopaedics Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation

Joanne is not just a highly regarded orthopedic surgeon with multiple medical credentials — the New Jersey native is also a former lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy, where she was recognized on more than 20 occasions for her exceptional leadership. In 2020, she joined Bayside Orthopaedics from Naval Hospital Pensacola, where she served as department head of Orthopedic Surgery. Joanne is also a member of the Perry Institute, a nonprofit organization encouraging young women in the fields of engineering and medicine, and she is a frequent speaker at programs aimed at mentoring high schoolers.

Alma Mater The College of William and Mary
Hometown Medford, N.J.
Spouse + children Chaz; Ryann (14 months)
Guilty Pleasure Good wine
What did you want to be when you grew up? Marine biologist
Best advice you’ve ever received Keep your head up and take a deep breath. You can do anything you set your mind to.
Favorite thing about your job Getting patients back to the activities they love. Being able to see the immediate improvement you have made in someone’s life is extraordinary. 

Quin Bixler, MD 

Physician, Mobile Bay Ob-Gyn Center

Throughout her career, Quin has consistently distinguished herself as a top performer in the field of obstetrics and gynecology. Though her family has been farming sugarcane in south Louisiana for over 200 years, she decided to pursue a career in medicine, eventually serving as chief resident of the Ochsner Clinic Foundation Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in New Orleans. She joined Mobile Bay Ob-Gyn Center in 2017, where she treats hundreds of patients a year. A fun fact: This July, she actually delivered a patient’s baby in the morning before giving birth to her third child that evening!

Alma Mater Louisiana State University; LSU Health Sciences Center, New Orleans
Hometown Adeline, La.
Spouse + children Harrison; Flora (5), Marshall (4), Ann Reuel (5 months)
First Job Working in the office of my dad’s farm, Adeline Planting Co.
High school superlative Friendliest
Best advice you’ve ever received “Take good care of people. That’s the best advertisement.” – Dr. Dick Otts
Guilty pleasure Massages at the Battlehouse Spa
What did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be a doctor from the age of six. I also loved John Grisham novels and romanticized about being a lawyer.
Hidden Talents Scuba diving and organizing (à la “Home Edit” style)

Rachel Byers PhD, CPA

Partner, Byers, Byers, & Associates PC; Professor, Purdue University Global

When she was just 22, Rachel joined and expanded a one-man accounting practice that today employs 12 staff members and serves over 1,500 clients. Through her company, she has made a name for herself as being dependable, personable and available; Rachel’s commitment to her clients extends beyond regular “business hours.” She is also a full-time accounting professor in the Graduate School at Purdue University-Global. She somehow finds the time to also serve as CEO of a dental billing company, adjunct professor at Excelsior College, and on the board of directors for The CORE Project and The Seven Project, nonprofits benefiting those with special needs.

Alma Mater University of Alabama
Hometown Daphne
Children Daylyn (16), Briley (7)
Hobbies Traveling, sports and fishing
First job Pool girl
Guilty Pleasure Frozen Reese’s Cups
What did you want to be when you grew up? FBI agent
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat? During crawfish season, R&R. Otherwise, The Hope Farm.
Hidden Talents Dancing skillzzz
Favorite thing about your job I love getting to be involved in the success of our clients in such a variety of industries. Every day is different!

Nick Caddell

Senior Consultant, Implementation, The SSI Group; Co-Area Director, Mobile Area Special Olympics

As a lifelong Mobilian and a resident of Midtown, Nick has a deep fondness for his community. Aside from his professional role as senior consultant of implementation at The SSI Group, he has been involved with Special Olympics for 17 years in a variety of different roles. In fact, Nick has served as co-area director for the past five years, responsible for fundraising, coordinating events and leading over 200 volunteers. Described as a true leader with a servant’s heart, Nick, with his passion, drive and commitment, is vital to the success of the Special Olympics. 

Alma Mater University of South Alabama
Hometown Mobile
First job Parking attendant at the Mobile Baybears
What did you want to be when you grew up? A business person, for the office supplies
Guilty pleasure Chipotle delivery
Best advice you’ve ever received Never underestimate someone’s abilities.
If I were Mayor, I would… Add curbside recycling service as a public service to all city residents.
Favorite thing about your job Getting to travel and build long-lasting relationships with clients all over the country

Niki Coker, CCIM

Commercial Real Estate Sales & Leasing Broker, NAI Mobile

Since joining NAI Mobile as a commercial real estate agent in 2014, Niki has completed more than $34 million in transactional value while simultaneously creating and directing the company’s entire marketing branch. She is the youngest female in the area to have earned her CCIM designation, a prestigious classification, and now serves on the local CCIM Board. In the community, Niki is focused on assisting and mentoring local children, both as a member of the Order of Fuse and as a fourth-grade Sunday School teacher at Christ the King Catholic Church. 

Alma Mater University of Alabama
Hometown Fairhope
Spouse Keith
Guilty Pleasure TikTok (Cue the eye rolls!). I know I shouldn’t scroll, but it keeps me coming back! 
Hidden talent I’m an FAA-licensed drone pilot
Hobbies Most of my friends know me as a big craft beer enthusiast! It’s so interesting and fun to explore craft beer from breweries across the country.
Favorite thing about your job The balance of office work and traveling to connect with people from different backgrounds from all over the country. I may get a door slammed in my face every now and then, but it’s challenging, it’s fun and it keeps me engaged daily. 

Dr. James Alexander Dean II

Pulmonary and Critical Care Physician, Pulmonary Associates of Mobile

James joined Pulmonary Associates of Mobile in 2016, following the completion of his residency and fellowship at the University of South Alabama. Aside from bringing a young and fresh perspective to the practice, James was also a driving force in the investigation and acquisition of a new system of providing diagnosis and treatment for patients with advanced lung disease. His dedication and kindness have been on full display during the COVID-19 pandemic, during which James has spent many long days caring for patients in the ICU. Outside of the hospital, James enjoys coaching his children’s tee-ball and soccer teams.

Alma mater Auburn University
Hometown Mobile
Spouse + Children Carrie; Joshua (11), Kathryn (6), Noah (3)
What did you want to be when you grew up? Professional baseball player
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat?  NoJa or maybe Foosackly’s
High School Superlative Didn’t have one. If I did, it probably would’ve been least likely to be a doctor.
Favorite thing about your job Seeing patients return after a curative resection of lung cancer
Best Advice you’ve ever received Work hard every day and never let anyone discount your dreams.

Christopher L. Esfeller Jr.

Senior Vice President, Commercial Banking, Regions Bank

Chris began his banking career 16 years ago as a branch banker with AmSouth. Since then, he has gained valuable experience in a handful of roles, first as a commercial credit
underwriter, then as a commercial relationship manager. Today, as Region’s senior vice president, Chris is able to apply those experiences to meet this critical moment; he has been instrumental in helping businesses apply for COVID Relief Funds. Chris is also passionate about using his skillset to support downtown Mobile, serving as a board member for the Downtown Mobile Alliance and Main Street Mobile.

Alma Mater University of South Alabama
Hometown Dauphin Island
Spouse + Children Margeaux; Marissa (9), Cooper (5)
First job Rigging new boats at my family’s boat dealership 
Guilty pleasure Homemade barbecue nachos
Hidden talent I’m a U.S.C.G. licensed captain
Best advice you’ve ever received Focus on the things that you can control.
What word would you use to describe Mobile? Special. There aren’t many places that have white sandy beaches, a delta and all the different wildlife and fisheries
that we have.
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat? NoJa – good food, good service, good atmosphere

Bentley Evans

Co-Founder & CEO, The Hope Farm

Before he was CEO of The Hope Farm in Fairhope, Bentley was an Auburn graduate pursuing a career in medical sales. With a passion for hydroponic farming, he began studying the subject on his own and eventually formulated a concept for The Hope Farm, a wine bar and event space with farm-to-table dining capabilities. Since the venue’s opening, Bentley’s vision has expanded to the community at large; his dedication to improving Fairhope and encouraging small business has led to his involvement with the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce and its Young Professionals Program.

Alma Mater Auburn University
Hometown Mobile
Spouse + Children Janie; Clifford (9 months)
Hidden talents I can change a diaper in 10 seconds or less regardless of the mess. And rhyming. 
Guilty pleasure Crushing an entire jar of Biscoff Cookie Butter
Best advice you’ve ever received Surround yourself with people who are more talented than you are at all aspects of your business.
If I were Mayor, I would… Provide as many resources to locally owned and operated businesses in my community as possible! Locally owned businesses create a sense of community and enhance the culture of towns that embrace them.
What word would you use to describe Mobile? Historic

Richard Fuquay, Jr.

AVP / Area Manager Mortgage Production, Bancorpsouth 

Since the beginning of his tenure at Bancorp South, Richard has consistently performed as a top producer, a fact that’s reflected in his promotion to area manager of mortgage production. In this role, Richard is able to exercise his passion for helping clients achieve the dream of home ownership. Richard also keeps himself busy in the community; he has served the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as Man of the Year, as a volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Alabama, and he currently serves on the Board of Governors as well as the Young Executive Committee for the Athelstan Club.

Alma Mater University of Alabama 
Hometown Mobile
Spouse + children Kari; William (1)
What did you want to be when you grew up? Professional (insert what sports season it was at the time) athlete
Guilty Pleasure Sitting on the back deck with cocktail in hand and Alexa cranking out some music
Best advice you’ve ever received Treat people how you want to be treated
Favorite thing about your job I love seeing any first-time buyer walk away from the closing table excited about the purchase of their first house, but there is something special about seeing someone older, who has worked their whole life and never thought achieving the dream of home ownership was possible, sit there and sign the closing papers with a huge smile.

Ankit Gulati, M.D., M.B.A.

Rehabilitation Physician & Medical Director, Infirmary Health – J.L. Bedsole Rotary Rehabilitation Hospital 

In his leadership role at Infirmary Health, Ankit oversees the quality and compassionate rehabilitative care for patients who have been impacted by severe illness or injury. As medical director of Rotary Rehabilitation Hospital and Colony Rehabilitation, he has led the charge for both facilities to achieve and maintain accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, which signals the facilities’ commitment to continually improving its services. Ankit is also currently working on developing a rehabilitation program for those affected by COVID-19 in our community.

Alma mater University of Alabama; University of South Alabama 
Hometown Born in New Delhi, India. Raised in Florence, Ala.
Spouse + Children Erica; Everett (5), Hattie (3), Ruby (1)
Hobbies Taking the family on trips. We try to go to one National Park a year.
First job Packing boxes for my parents’ clothing business
Guilty Pleasures Fancy ramen noodles and Alabama Football message board browsing / trolling.
Best advice you’ve ever received Work toward your future, but don’t forget to enjoy the present.  
If I were Mayor, I would… Add more splash pads around the city and keep them open longer than Memorial Day through Labor Day, because summer lasts longer in Mobile!

Audra Harper

Operations Administrator, Harper Technologies, LLC

During her 10-year tenure as operations manager of Harper Technologies, Audra has helped grow the company into a thriving IT service provider for Mobile and Baldwin counties; in 2017 and 2019, Harper Technologies was awarded the Mobile Chamber of Commerce Eagle Award. Audra is a champion of many charitable causes, serving on the board for Victory Health Partners, United Way of Southwest Alabama and most recently the Community Foundation of South Alabama. She has also found immense joy in serving as a big sister for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of South Alabama. 

Alma mater University of West Florida
Hometown Pensacola, Fla.
Spouse + Children Abe; Natalie (7), Erin (2)
First job File clerk at a Pensacola law firm
What did you want to be when you grew up? A pediatrician
High School Superlative “Most Likely to Succeed”
Best advice you’ve ever received Always tell the truth. A slow truth always catches up to a fast lie.
Hidden talents Singing, playing basketball or any sport really — I’m super competitive when it comes to sports.
If I were Mayor, I would…Focus a great amount of attention on the economic and educational disparities that exist in our area and work hard to ensure equal opportunities for those in high-risk areas.

Christine Harding Hart

Lawyer, Hand Arendall Harrison Sale LLC

Christine, a native of Orange County, California, was promoted in 2020 to Member at Hand Arendall Harrison Sale, where she focuses on employment law and higher education. Her practice largely consists of federal court litigation, and she has litigated cases from the initial pleading stage through trial and appeal. As a community partner, Christine serves as an officer for the South Alabama Volunteer Lawyers Program and as a board member of Flight Works Alabama. She also provides counseling to local businesses and institutions on a variety of issues.

Alma mater Stanford University; USC Gould School of Law 
Hometown Mission Viejo, Calif.
Spouse + Children Curtis; Cooper (4)
First job In-N-Out Burger in Southern California
Guilty pleasure Watching car detailing videos on YouTube with my husband
Hidden talent I’m uncommonly good at figuring out my Christmas gifts.
High school superlative “Most Unique Giggle”
What did you want to be when you grew up? The first woman president of the United States
Best advice you’ve ever received Give yourself grace during hard times.
Favorite thing about your job Every case or project is a new area of the law to learn or a unique story to tell.

Nicolette Holliday, MD

Associate Professor, University of South Alabama, Children’s and Women’s Hospital 

From her thriving OB/GYN clinical practice at USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital, Nicolette has been recognized as a leading physician and educator in her field. Among her achievements is an improvement in the rates of screening for depression for obstetrics, postpartum and gynecology patients. She is also an associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and serves as the OB/GYN clerkship director. As a clinical preceptor, Nicolette has educated a number of students who are now providing exceptional care in the USA Health System and beyond.

Alma mater Case Western Reserve University; University of South Alabama College of Medicine
Hometown St. Petersburg, Fla.
First job Medical transcriptionist
Hobbies Traveling, reading romance novels, playing games, watching movies and TV, trying new restaurants and shopping  
Guilty Pleasure Hoarding
If I were mayor, I would… Create large community gardens throughout the city.
Hidden Talent Fast typing
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat? Siam Thai Cuisine
What word would you use to describe Mobile? Laid back

Daniel Huggins, MSHA, LSSGB, ACHE

Chief Operating Officer / Administrator, Children’s Medical Group, PA

Daniel has been working in the healthcare industry for the past 9 years. While working as director of support services at Nashville General Hospital, managing four departments with more than 100 employees, Daniel enrolled at UAB to earn his Master of Healthcare Administration (MSHA). Now, as chief operating officer, he daily inspires his coworkers to push themselves to be the best at what they do in order to better serve the greater good. Daniel is a member of First Apostolic Church of Meridian, where his father and mother serve as bishop and pastor.

Alma mater William Carey University; University of Alabama at Birmingham (Master of Health Administration); currently working on Executive Doctorate of Science in Healthcare Leadership (DSc)
Hometown Meridian, Miss.
What did you want to be when you grew up? Although I hate heights, I wanted to be a pilot.
If I were mayor, I would…Utilize funding to fix the housing structure in low-income communities and invest more in public schools and mentoring programs for kids.   
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat?  Moe’s BBQ. Since I’ve moved here, I’ve made friends with the staff, and they have excellent customer service. 

Garrett Humphrey

Director of Campus Safety and Security, UMS-Wright Preparatory School

Over his 14 years working in law enforcement, Garrett has served with the Mobile and Saraland police departments and the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office, earning numerous commander commendations and distinctions in the process. In 2016, he accepted the position of director of campus safety and security at UMS-Wright, where he has instituted comprehensive safety procedures and provided crucial emergency training to on-campus staff. Garrett and wife Rachel are also licensed foster parents through the Alabama Baptist Children’s Home and have graciously cared for four children over the past five years.

Alma mater Lindenwood University; Columbia Southern (MCJ)
Hometown Mobile
Spouse + Children Rachel; Jeremiah (2), Joslin (2 months)
Hidden talent Drawing
First job Sessions Farm in Grand Bay. It was a life lesson — I worked 12-hour days, 5 days a week, in the summer heat harvesting watermelon, corn, cantaloupe, etc.  
If I were mayor, I would…Partner with the Mobile County Public School System, Mobile Police Department and Mobile County Sheriff’s Office to create a School Resource Officer program for Mobile’s schools.

Cliff Kennedy

Chief Executive Officer, Frios Gourmet Pops 

In his two years as CEO of Frios Gourmet Pops, Cliff has overseen the company’s growth from 23 franchises in 10 states to 39 franchises in 13 states. After investing in Mobile by building out 30,000 feet of the previously vacant Smith’s Bakery building on Moffett Road, Cliff deftly changed gears at the onset of the pandemic by leading Frios through a nationwide rebranding and conversion of the business model from a brick and mortar to a fully mobile system. In addition to his entrepreneurial success, Cliff serves on the board of directors for the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce.

Alma mater Millsaps College
Hometown Satsuma
Spouse + Children Abby; Mitchell (7), Mallie (4), Maury (2)
Hobbies Ultra running, fishing and golf
First job Working for the family business at Gulf Supply Co.
Best advice you’ve ever received Life isn’t a dress rehearsal.
What word would you use to describe mobile? Opportunity
Hidden talent  I have run 100 miles in a day.
Favorite thing about your job I get to help others start their entrepreneurship journey. 
If I were mayor, I would…Focus on efforts to develop downtown Mobile’s waterfront.

Carita Koen 

Chief Marketing Officer, Green Magic Landscape LLC

In partnership with husband Larry, Carita founded Green Magic Landscape Company in 2016, using her business administration experience to grow the operation into one of the most trusted landscape companies in the area. The financial strategist and licensed insurance professional is currently working on her MBA from the University of West Alabama. Aside from her speaking engagements about financial wellness, Carita is also on the board of directors and the Growth Alliance Task Force for the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce. She is the founder of “Sistas Link,” a social media community created to offer inspiration, empowerment, resources and best business practices for women.

Alma mater University of Mobile
Hometown San Antonio, Tex.
Spouse + Children Larry; Lebarron (15), Cherelle (8), Larry III (5), Leanna (3)
Hobbies Reading, dancing and meeting new people 
First job Customer service at Cracker Barrel in the retail store
What did you want to be when you grew up? I loved watching “Matlock,” so I wanted to be a criminal defense attorney.
Best advice you’ve ever received Your wealth is not determined by the amount of money in your pocket. It’s about your willingness to serve and help others in their times of need and how you make others feel about themselves.
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat? Briquettes Steakhouse or SOCU

Reid Loper 

Vice President, CrowderGulf, LLC

After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Reid helped manage the Gulf Cleanup project for CrowderGulf, a local, family-owned disaster debris company that has served the Southeast for more than 50 years. As the only Alabama contractor to win a contract to clean up the Alabama coastline, CrowderGulf, with Reid’s expertise and oversight, managed more than eight major projects along the state’s coast. In addition to his management and planning of over 18 federally declared disaster responses, Reid is a member of the Grace Fellowship Church and is very involved with the nonprofit We All Are One Ministry. 

Alma mater Auburn University
Hometown Bay Minette
Hobbies Boating, snow skiing and hunting
First job In high school, I dug pools. That same summer, I worked at Waterville in Gulf Shores.
Hidden talent Karaoke
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat? Camellia Cafe in Fairhope
If I were mayor, I would… Expedite the building of the Bay Bridge and expand Mobile’s waterfront as an entertainment district.
Favorite thing about your job I enjoy helping communities return to normal after a disaster.
What word would you use to describe Mobile? Historic

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Cory Andrew Luckie

Owner / President, C.A. Luckie Insurance LLC

At only 27, Cory opened his own independent insurance agency. Now, five years later, his company has tripled in staff and represents approximately 30 carriers. This success, coupled with his commitment to serving the community, has earned Cory a place among well-respected businessmen along the Eastern Shore. Cory is a graduate of Leadership Baldwin and was elected to the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, where he will serve for the next three years. When not finding new places to eat in the Bay area, Cory spends his time raising money for organizations such as the Fairhope Volunteer Fire Department, the Boys & Girls Clubs, and the Haven Animal Shelter.

Alma mater University of Montevallo
Hometown Fairhope
Spouse + Children Brittany; Crosby (4), Chandler (1) 
Hobbies Golf, Fishing, Boating, Traveling, Going out to eat
First job Summer camp counselor at the YMCA in Daphne
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat? The Hope Farm, Jesse’s, Camellia Cafe, Master Joe’s, Gambino’s, Dragonfly, Ox Kitchen, McSharry’s 
Guilty pleasure Cheesecake
High school superlative Best Smile and Cutest 
Favorite thing about your job Meeting new people and simplifying the insurance process

Brandon Marcus

Owner / Director, The Studio

With the desire to create a place for well-rounded performers, Brandon opened The Studio in 2013. What started as a one-room studio has transformed into a multispace educational performing arts studio. No stranger to the performing arts, Brandon has garnered local and national awards for theatrics. If you ask him, however, he would say his true awards are his students’ achievements. Brandon is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Alabama Conference of Theater, Music Teachers National Association, Baldwin County Music Teachers Association and The Voice Foundation. Within the community, Brandon volunteers his time teaching theatre at St. Michael Catholic School, sings in area churches and choirs, and has worked as musical director for Eastern Shore Repertory Theatre and Theatre 98. 

Alma mater University of South Alabama; Spring Hill College
Hometown Mobile
Children Bailey (3.5 in human years) 
Hobbies Performing, kayaking and Disney World
Hidden talent Helping others find their talents 
What did you want to be when you grew up? A mailbox because mailboxes bring people happiness. This was before I knew about bills!
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat? Dragonfly Food Bar in Fairhope
If I were mayor, I would…Create a large, multiuse amphitheater where the city could enjoy concerts, theatrical productions and more.
What word would you use to describe Mobile? Timeless

Skyler Lane Martin, CRNP

Nurse Practitioner, Southern Cancer Center

Skyler is described as an essential and ingrained component of Southern Cancer Center, fulfilling its mission and its promise to patients through her role as overseer of the center’s Genetic Risk Evaluation & Testing Program. Her commitment to excellence led to her selection as a 2017 honoree for the American Cancer Society’s “Black Out Cancer Ball” and her acceptance to attend the highly selective “Intensive Course in Genomic Cancer Risk Assessment” in 2020. Having been affected by the loss of a family member, Skyler chose oncology with a devotion to helping other families navigate the successes and setbacks of cancer. She accomplishes this through educational talks and community fundraising events.

Alma mater Auburn University Montgomery; Auburn University
Hometown Greenville, Ala.
Spouse + children Cole; Otis the Pug (11), Gordon the Brittany Spaniel (5)
Hobbies Running, boating and spending time outdoors
First job Cashier at Bates House of Turkey in Greenville
What did you want to be when you grew up? Meteorologist
Best advice you’ve ever received The best way to predict your future is to create it.   
Who would be on Mobile’s Mt. Rushmore? Alan Sealles, Michael Meshad, Joe Cain and Tim Cook
Favorite thing about your job The relationships I am able to form with patients and their family members

Louise McCown

Managing Director, Beautycounter

“Of the givers and the takers of the world, Louise is unequivocally a giver,” writes Louise’s nominator. The natural leader and people-person consistently tops the list for business performance and growth with Beautycounter, a California-based skin care and cosmetics company whose mission is to create safer products. Her success has led to her receiving numerous awards, including the “Scout Award,” an honor bestowed to only 120 consultants — out of 50,000. Louise’s passion for clean products even earned her the chance to speak before Congress, advocating for personal care product reform. In the community, Louise teaches Sunday school at Dauphin Way United Methodist Church, drives for Meals on Wheels, and holds various volunteer roles at Mary B. Austin Elementary School and St. Paul’s Episcopal School.

Alma mater University of Georgia
Hometown Mobile
Spouse + children Robert; Charlotte (10), Louise (8), Jane (6), Fritz (3), Marron (1)
First job “Blondies.” It was the cutest women’s boutique on Old Shell Road, owned by Sheree Legg and Julie Morrow.  
Guilty Pleasure My grandmother’s pound cake. 
High school superlative Best Dressed
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat? Osman’s Restaurant – every single dish is divine, and I love the owners’ care and concern for every guest.
If I were mayor, I would… Focus heavily on fostering programs that teach children entrepreneurship.
What word would you use to describe Mobile? Timeless

Richard P. Menger, M.D., MPA

Chief of Complex Spine Surgery, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery and Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of South Alabama

Richard graduated with honors both as an undergraduate and medical student and was awarded the Hale Champion Public Service Fellowship at Harvard. After a seven-year neurosurgery residency, including an enfolded spinal neurosurgery fellowship, he went on to complete the prestigious Advanced Pediatric Spinal Deformity Fellowship at Columbia University Medical Center. Richard has written numerous scientific papers for academic journals and is a lead editor of an academic neurosurgery textbook. He proudly serves as a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy Reserves.  

Alma mater Cornell University; Georgetown University School of Medicine; Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Hometown Garden City, N.Y.
Spouse + Children Beth Ann; Lisette (6), Cecily (4), Maribel (2), Callum (born December 2020)
Hobbies Enthusiastic soccer dad, sailing, college football, New York Islanders hockey, international rugby
Guilty pleasure Whit’s Frozen Custard
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat? The Mill in Fairhope. It’s a great place to grab a burger and a beer with live music and plenty of space for kids to play. 
High school superlative Without a doubt, best hair.
Hidden talent Writing op-eds 

Patrick Leon Murphy, Jr. M.D.

Family Medicine Physician, Alabama Medical Group

Patrick’s work ethic and dedication to patient care have not gone unnoticed. Within his first two years at Alabama Medical Group, he was elected to serve on the practice’s board of directors. The board-certified family medicine physician, along with another doctor, started the new aesthetics division within AMG. He is certainly no stranger to leadership roles, as he has served on numerous professional and community boards throughout his education and career in medicine. When not working or spending time with his family, Patrick is involved with helping people in need through The Fuse Project, a nonprofit organization benefiting Gulf Coast children.  

Alma mater Birmingham Southern College; University of South Alabama College of Medicine
Hometown Mobile
Spouse + children Alan; Sloan (4), Elizabeth (2)
What did you want to be when you grew up? Astronaut
Guilty pleasure Video games!
Hidden talents Playing guitar and singing 
If I were mayor, I would… Focus on continuing to improve the Downtown atmosphere and culture. 
Best advice you’ve ever received “Don’t Take it Personally”
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat? Red or White 
What word would you use to describe Mobile? Humid

David Nelson

Founder / CEO, Braided River Brewing Company

With a penchant for great beer and the great outdoors, David sought — and successfully found — a way to combine both passions: establishing Braided River Brewing Company. Braided River’s canned and draft beers consistently receive glowing reviews, and the brewery’s environmentally sustainable methods and collaboration with Mobile Baykeeper and Alabama Coastal Foundation is a win for the Bay as well. David has won over a dozen national and international brewing awards, and his employees say he is also good at something else: He has a tremendous knack for finding amazing people and putting them in roles in which they will succeed.   

Alma mater University of Mississippi
Hometown Iuka, Miss.
Spouse + Children Dr. Erin Nelson; Eve (6), June (4) 
Hobbies We’ve been doing a lot of canoeing and camping this summer as a family. It’s a ton of fun to get off the beaten path with the kids and to be able to enjoy the water and woods with them.
What did you want to be when you grew up? I hoped to make a career out of building things with Legos. 
Favorite thing about your job The people! I work with some awesome folks. We wanted to foster community and conversation around great beer, and getting to experience that every day is amazing. 
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat? I definitely take people out for oysters and dinner at Bluegill and love to follow that up with drinks downtown at the Haberdasher.

Benjamin Niland, M.D.

Gastroenterologist, Interim Program Director — Gastroenterology, USA Health; Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, University of South Alabama College of Medicine

A board-certified gastroenterologist and member of several professional associations, Benjamin’s interests include esophageal disease, GI physiology and functional disease and inflammatory bowel disease. Benjamin has been instrumental in building the motility program at USA Health, which has been a valuable resource for improving the lives of patients across the Gulf Coast. An active member of St. Ignatius Catholic Church, Benjamin volunteers his time to serve those in underserved communities through medical mission trips. 

Alma mater University of Louisiana; Louisiana State University School of Medicine New Orleans
Hometown New Roads, La.
Spouse + children Ansley; Anna (8), Livi (5), Riley (1) 
First Job Unofficially, grass cutting as young teenager. Officially, I worked in a local grocery store at 15.
Guilty pleasure Late night potato chips (or anything in the pantry) 
Hidden Talents Saying what the sports commentator is going to say just before he says it, and getting every last bag into the back of a minivan for a family trip.
High school superlative “Most Likely to Succeed”
How would you describe Mobile? Traditional Southern charm meets Gulf Coast living

Garrett A. Powe

Vice President, Commercial Banking Officer, ServisFirst Bank

Although Garrett has been in Mobile less than two years, he is already leaving his mark in both the local banking sector and the community. The Rotary Club of Mobile member and L’Arche Mobile board member holds the unique distinction of having been named a “40 Under 40” in two different cities in two consecutive years — he was named to Tuscaloosa’s 2019 class. When not golfing or hunting, Garrett might be found fishing, a hobby he likely found useful when working in the catfish industry. Garrett is an active parishioner, usher and sixth grade confirmation mentor at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.   

Alma mater University of Alabama
Hometown Selma, Ala.
Spouse + children Patricia; Hilton (5), Mary Stuart (2)
What did you want to be when you grew up? A farmer
First job Selma Country Club tennis shop and tennis facility 
Guilty pleasure Kerry Pond’s egg rolls
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat? NoJa   
High school superlative Best dressed
Best advice you’ve ever received Good manners are like magic keys. 
If I were mayor, I would… Provide additional funding for Municipal Park. 
What word would you use to describe Mobile? Vibrant  

Sara Roberts

Director of Marketing, Roberts Brothers, Inc.

According to coworkers, Sara is considered one of Roberts Brothers’s most valuable employees, having earned respect from everyone in the company. She oversees a team of four employees who, under her leadership, have completed successful projects, such as development of the company’s intranet and rebuilding its website. Sara has a heart for charity, and she was instrumental in creating the Roberts Brothers Charitable Fund, of which she is on the board of directors. In the community, Sara volunteers as a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Alabama, and she is also involved with Prodisee Pantry, Salvation Army and McKemie Place. 

Alma Mater University of Alabama
Hometown Mobile
Spouse + Children Hansen; twin girls, Anne David (1) and Hayes (1) 
What did you want to be when you grew up? A veterinarian because I thought that all you did was play with animals. 
Best advice you’ve ever received Be where your feet are.
Hidden talent Pretty fast texter
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat? Foosackly’s for lunch and Dauphin’s for dinner
What word would you use to describe mobile? I don’t think I could use just one word. Everyone knows everyone. Everyone grows up in Mobile, leaves for college, and moves back to grow their families here. The community is so welcoming and loves to show new families how amazing it is to grow up here.

Scott Shamburger

President /Chief Executive Officer, The Highland Group

Scott formed The Highland Group, a real estate development and general contracting firm, in 2006, and it has since become one of the fastest growing and largest general contracting firms in the Southeast. Scott’s leadership has garnered him such accolades as being named an outstanding business leader by Business Alabama Leadership Magazine. Team building is important to Scott, and in 2019, he rolled out an initiative for The Highland Group to build and distribute free picnic tables to nonprofits. In the community, Scott has served as a member of the Gulf Shores Planning Commission, board member and active supporter of several chambers of commerce and other nonprofits. He is currently a board member of the Business Council of Alabama. 

Alma mater Auburn University; Harvard University
Hometown Childersburg, Ala.
Spouse + children Krissy; Vera (9), Camille (6)
Hobbies Golf, guitar and reading
First job While in high school, my best friend, Scott, and I owned a landscaping maintenance company. S&S Lawn Care: We’ll take the ugly out of your yard!
High school superlative Wittiest
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat? Red or White for an appetizer, Camellia Cafe for dinner, and R Bistro for dessert.
If I were mayor, I would…Take measures to improve the environmental quality of Mobile Bay.

Robert Shreve

Partner, Burr & Forman LLP

Robert is described as an invaluable component of Burr and Forman’s Mobile office. Since joining the team, he has furthered the firm’s efforts to provide the highest level of service to clients. As such, Robert has been recognized in legal publications and listed among “Mid-South Super Lawyers Rising Stars” and “Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch.” In 2020, he received the Alabama State Bar President’s Award for his work in coordinating the COVID-19 Relief Hotline, which provided free legal advice to those affected by the pandemic and corresponding economic downturn. Robert serves as clerk of the vestry at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and mentors through the Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Alabama program. 

Alma mater Rhodes College; University of Alabama
Hometown Mobile
Spouse + children Julia; Fulton (4), Lily (18 mos.)
Hobbies Running, fishing and spending time outdoors, especially on the water
Best advice you’ve ever received There is no substitute for hard work.
High school superlative Most Likely to be Eating
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat? The Noble South
Who would be on Mobile’s Mt. Rushmore? Mobile is the birthplace of more baseball hall of famers than any city in the world, outside of Los Angeles and New York, so I’ll offer four of the best: Hank Aaron, Willie McCovey, Satchel Paige and Ozzie Smith.

Ashley Smith

Vice President of Wholesale Pharmacy, DocRx, Inc.

In high school, Ashley was named most likely to cheer you up. That is a characteristic her coworkers would agree with, calling her a “people person” who always has a smile on her face. Ashley joined DocRx as one of only two employees in 2010. Since then, she has helped grow the company into a multimillion-dollar business with over 50 employees. In 2012, Ashley endured a retinal detachment, leaving her with vision loss in one eye. Strong in her faith and her drive for helping others, Ashley forges through her duties as wife, mother and team leader. Her staff call her a “life-changing manager.” She volunteers her time by participating in research with the Helen Keller foundation and Dr. Robert Morris on finding a way to prevent retina detachments.

Alma mater University of South Alabama
Hometown Mobile
Spouse + Children Brian; Mason (6), Camden (2)
Hobbies Traveling, attending concerts and sporting events, shopping, playing the guitar, spending time with friends and family
Hidden talent I grew up with three brothers, and I can play baseball and basketball shockingly well.
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat? Felix’s Fish Camp
Best advice you’ve ever received “The past is behind, learn from it. The future is ahead, prepare for it. The present is here, live it.”
Favorite thing about your job The culture our CEO created is like no other company in Mobile. I love that we always celebrate birthdays and holidays together.  

Rashad B. Stallworth, M.Ed.

Principal, Scarborough Model Middle School, Mobile County Public School System 

Over the past 17 years, Rashad has worn many hats as a professional educator, each one instrumental in the lives of hundreds of students. He is described as a highly knowledgeable and capable leader who has the unique ability to diagnose problems, develop and implement a plan, and make adjustments as needed. During his time at Scarborough, Rashad and his staff have made vast improvements, including increasing enrollment, expanding the STEM program, revamping the special education program and securing a $600,000 grant that will be used to provide academic enrichment opportunities for children during non-school hours.  

Alma mater Bucknell University; University of South Alabama
Hometown Whistler
Guilty pleasure Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and NBA 2K
Best advice you’ve ever received We don’t want to “save” them, we want to develop, build, nurture, inspire, empower and transform them. 
Hidden talent Grilling and smoking chicken and ribs
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat? SOCU or Felix’s Fish Camp
Who would be on Mobile’s Mt. Rushmore? Ben Harris, my former high school football coach; John L. LeFlore; and for selfish reasons, my parents because they have supported me and been there for me in all my endeavors. 
Favorite thing about your job Helping teachers develop and grow as professional educators, and helping students succeed and reach their goals.

Freddie D. Stokes, Esq.

Chief Executive Officer, The Historic Avenue Foundation

Freddie is well known in Mobile, due in large part to his pursuit of justice as a district attorney and his extensive involvement in community organizations. Having grown up in Africatown’s Happy Hills neighborhood, Freddie has a heart for mentoring and providing hope to students facing the challenges of poverty. The summa cum laude graduate is an active member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., and serves with NEST of Mobile and Books for Boys Project. As director of the Fuse Project’s Purpose Built Communities, Freddie focuses revitalization efforts around housing, education and community wellness. 

Alma mater Alabama A&M University; Cumberland School of Law at Samford University
Hometown Mobile
Best advice you’ve ever received The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you. 
Hidden talent Hip-hop dancing
High school superlative “Most Likely To Become a Politician”
Favorite thing about your job Connecting with people, sharing stories and building substantive/authentic relationships.
If I were mayor, I would…Strategically and aggressively focus on affordable housing and home ownership as a means to push economic mobility and shrink the racial wealth gap that exists within our city. 
Who would be on Mobile’s Mt. Rushmore? Cudjo Kazoola Lewis, Joe Cain, Hank Aaron and The Crichton Leprechaun. 

Brian Sullivan, M.D.

Otolaryngologist, Head and Neck Surgeon, Premier Medical

After graduating summa cum laude from Auburn University with a degree in chemical engineering, Brian went on to medical school where he also excelled, graduating cum laude. As a child, he wanted to be an astronaut, but the idea of becoming a specialized mechanic of the body, so to speak, interested him. His role as partner and otolaryngologist at Premier Medical not only affords him the ability to specialize, it provides him the opportunity to walk alongside patients during difficult times as well as celebrate their successes. In the community, Brian is a member of Dauphin Way United Methodist Church and has coached girls’ softball.

Alma mater Auburn University; University of Alabama at Birmingham
Hometown Daleville, Ala.
Spouse + Children Jade; Emily (7), Caroline (5), Nathan (3)
First job Bus boy and dishwasher at McLin’s Kitchenette in Daleville
Guilty Pleasure Old Dutch waffle cone
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat? Chuck’s Fish  
Hidden talents Carpentry, computer programming, DIY home improvement projects  
Best advice you’ve ever received Don’t be afraid of hard work. No one has ever gone backwards in life by working too hard.  
What word would you use to describe Mobile? Welcoming

Hayley Trovinger

Emergency Department Nurse Manager, Springhill Medical Center

Hayley began her career at Springhill Medical Center in 2011 as a staff nurse and worked her way up to charge nurse. By October 2019, Hayley was promoted once again to manager of the busiest emergency room in Alabama, south of Birmingham. In this role, Hayley brought staffing numbers up significantly and oversaw the recent emergency room expansion project, all while creating a positive working environment. As a member of the hospital’s Incident Command Committee, Hayley addresses varying issues associated with running a busy hospital emergency department. 

Alma mater University of South Alabama
Hometown Mobile
Spouse + Children Austin; Easton (3), Ella (1)
Hobbies Shopping, cooking and just being a mom
First job Where I am now! I started here fresh out of nursing school when I was 21. This is the only job I’ve ever had.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Interior Designer
Guilty pleasure I have a slight obsession with cleaning. 
If I were mayor, I would… Support small businesses and continue to revitalize Downtown. 
Favorite thing about your job I love the challenge, the rush and the unknown of the emergency department. Day to day, every shift is unpredictable. 

Artious “Smac” Walker, R.E.

Owner / Operator, Smac’s Shack Food Truck; Project Manager, Military Construction, Army Corp of Engineers, Mobile District

Artious quite literally wears two hats — one as senior project manager with the Army Corp of Engineers, overseeing all construction efforts at Maxwell Air Force Base, Gunter Annex, the Seventh Special Forces Group and Duke Air Field Reserves; and the other as pit master, serving up some of Alabama’s best beef brisket, chicken, wings, ribs and pulled pork. His restaurant-on-wheels was named the state’s “Best Food Truck” by the Food Network. Described as a natural-born leader and a beacon of light in both his career and the community, Artious serves as president of the Mobile Area Food Truck Association and is involved with charitable events centered around supporting children with cancer and feeding Mobile’s homeless. 

Alma mater Alabama A&M University
Hometown Prichard
Spouse + Children Latoya; Joshua (9), Jacob (2), Lillian Grace (8 mos.)
Guilty pleasure I love musicals. “Dreamgirls” is my favorite.
What did you want to be when you grew up? Math teacher
High school superlative “The Class Clown That’s Most Likely to Succeed”
Favorite thing about your job Customer interaction. There are many great food trucks and great places to get barbecue. It’s how you make your customers feel that separates your establishment from all the rest.  

Katrina Weaver, M.D.

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

The road from medical school to attending pediatric surgeon was a long one, but for Katrina, it’s one that is paved with extensive training and hard work, both qualities that benefit Mobile-area children. Since her appointment in January 2020, the board-certified pediatric surgeon has already made significant advances in the Pediatric Burn and Pediatric Trauma departments. Additionally, Katrina created the area’s only Pediatric Bariatric Program. Her passion for helping others extends outside the walls of the hospital, as she volunteers on international medical mission trips when travel conditions allow. When she can’t travel, Katrina collects and ships medical supplies to underserved populations around the globe.

Alma mater Southern Utah University; University of Utah School of Medicine
Hometown Riverton, Utah
Spouse + Children Jeffery Milne; identical twins, Bridger and Emmett (6)
Hidden talent Amazing party planner – on the level of Martha Stewart!
Where would you take an out-of-town guest to eat? Pirate’s Cove for the best bushwackers and burgers!
Favorite thing about your job I love the positive energy and attitudes kids have about whatever is going on with them and how grateful they are when you help them feel better.
What word would you use to describe Mobile? Hospitable

Alberez L. Wiggins

Electrical and Instrumentation Engineer, Hargrove Engineers + Constructors

Alberez’s work ethic and reputation precede him at Hargrove, where, according to coworkers, he is a dedicated and friendly teammate who is always willing to lend a hand to those in need, whether in the office or in the community. As lead electrical engineer on several multi-million-dollar refinery projects, Alberez is an asset to leadership wherever he serves, bringing his calming presence and dedication to each situation. Alberez is passionate about mentorship, and he never misses an opportunity to guide younger engineers. His altruism extends into the community where he volunteers for Habitat for Humanity and Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Alabama.

Alma Mater Tuskegee University; Auburn University
Hometown Sawyerville, Ala.
Spouse + children Shandan; Kiley (5), Trace (1)
Hobbies Spending time with family, reading, working out and running, spending time with my Little Brother (BBBS), enjoying friends
Guilty pleasure Butter Pecan ice cream from Old Dutch
What did you want to be when you grew up? Professional basketball player and a singer, which is funny because I cannot sing at all. 
First job Bag and stock boy at Piggly Wiggly
Best advice you’ve ever received Respect is earned, not given. People may respect a title but have no respect for the person. Be a man of respect.

Photos by Matthew Coughlin // Shot on location at The Athelstan Club
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