Huntsville Doubles Down on Leadership Role in Space at International Conference

Marcia Lindstrom and Deborah Barnhart at the Huntsville booth. Lindstrom is strategic
communications officer for NASA’s Space Launch System at Marshall Space Flight Center, and Barnhart
is the CEO of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

WASHINGTON — Huntsville is living up to its moniker as the Rocket City at the 70th annual International Astronautical Congress this week in Washington, D.C.

Huntsville is the only community to participate among 170-plus corporate, state and national exhibitors. Last year’s IAC in Bremen, Germany saw a record 6,500 participants from 83 countries convene to collaborate on space research, development and utilization.

The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber is coordinating the Rocket City’s presence, which consists of Draper, RadioBro, RUAG Space USA, the North Alabama International Trade Association, the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. Our booth is strategically located across from NASA and adjacent to Aerojet Rocketdyne, Boeing, Dynetics and ULA, all prominent commercial players in the nation’s aerospace ecosystem, and all with a presence in Huntsville.

This week, visitors to the Rocket City booth have included:

  • Jody Singer, Paul McConnaughey & Bobby Watkins, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center
  • Tory Bruno, United Launch Alliance
  • Deborah Barnhart, U.S. Space & Rocket Center
  • Steve Cook and Kim Doering, Dynetics
  • Randy Lycans, Jacobs Space Exploration Group
  • John Schumacher, Aerojet Rocketdyne
  • Neeraj Gupta, Sierra Nevada Corporation
  • Sam Gunderson and Jacki Cortese, Blue Origin

“It makes sense that we’re the only community exhibiting at IAC because we have so much to offer across the civil, commercial and defense space industries,” said Lucia Cape, senior vice president of economic development for the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber. “With Marshall Space Flight Center, the Missile Defense Agency, the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command and 400 aerospace and defense companies in the Huntsville metro, we are connected to nearly every U.S. space initiative in some way.”

Seamus Tuohy and Pete Paceley of Draper at The Rocket City booth. Draper, Lockheed
Martin and Northrop Grumman will join Blue Origin’s bid to build a lunar lander.

The City of Huntsville also has a presence at IAC to share some of the advantages our city offers to companies interested in locating here.

“Space is one of the main drivers of our economy. We’ve proven ourselves as a community time and time again whether it’s developing the rocket that put humans on the moon 50 years ago to the development of the rocket that will take us back and eventually to Mars,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle.  “We’ve also carved out an important leadership role in space for national security with the Army Space and Missile Defense Command headquarters here as well as the bulk of the Missile Defense Agency.

“Huntsville attending the IAC is a great place for us to continue building on our community’s expertise and recruiting more jobs and workers.”

This year, the IAC celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon landing, and the Chamber’s booth highlights the Apollo milestone, a fitting tribute to the Huntsville-based rocket programs that put man on the Moon and will return astronauts there in 2024.

Madison Chamber of Commerce Celebrates Best in Business 2019 Awards

MADISON — Tuesday night was sheer gala for members of the Madison business community as the Madison Chamber of Commerce and Good Samaritan Hospice of Madison awarded Best in Business 2019 awards.

More than a dozen businesses were recognized at the annual dinner and awards presentation at the Insanity Complex Entertainment Center.

The evening was capped off with Janine Nesin of Nesin Therapy Services being awarded the Excellence in Leadership & Service Award. Cassie Scott of the Quadrus Corp. was runner-up.

According to Pam Honeycutt, executive director of the Madison Chamber, the awards categories are evolving every year to better reflect the growth and diversity of the Chamber membership.

“We added arts, entertainment and hospitality categories to the awards this year, and we added a new Culinary Student Program sponsorship, presented by Earfinity,” said Honeycutt. “A $500 check was awarded to Madison City Schools Culinary Program instructor Monica Creekmore for their service to the Chamber throughout the year.”

The winners were Signalink for Best Business of the Year; Capital Management Services for Best Start-up Business of the Year; Mozaic Audio Video Integration for Best Small Business of the Year; and Union Chapel Christian Academy for Best Nonprofit of the Year.

Conditioned Air Solutions; Black Patch Distilling Co.; Air Essentials; and Big Brothers/Big Sisters of North Alabama took runner-up in each category respectively.

Daniel Kasambira of Hogan Family YMCA won Community Servant of the Year with Michelle Linville of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of North Alabama the finalist.

Health and Wellness Business of the Year went to Hot Yoga DeLux & Cryotherapy with Madison Health Mart Pharmacy taking second place. The Dessert Fork won the Culinary Business of the Year with Insanity Complex the runner-up.

Compass Physical Therapy took first place as Medical Practice of the Year; Conditioned Air Solutions won for Essential Service Business of the Year; and Signalink won Professional Service Business of the Year. Good Samaritan Hospice of Madison; Turf Tamer; and Two Men and a Truck were finalists in each of those categories.

In the new Arts, Entertainment & Hospitality category, iHeartMedia took the top prize while Insanity Complex was runner-up.

 

Annual BIG Marketing & PR Event Slated for Oct. 29

All local marketing and PR rock stars out there: Looking for new tools to sharpen your craft?

Would you like to discover better ways to effectively promote a business venture while enjoying an opportunity to network with others in your wheelhouse?

The seventh annual BIG Marketing & PR Event is where you want to be Oct. 29.

Presented at the Jackson Center, the event is a day-long experience focused on providing strategy-driven marketing and public relations idea and information.

Debra Alfarone, an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and CEO of Debra Alfarone Media, a Washington, D.C.-based video coaching firm, will present the Lunchtime Keynote.

In her presentation, “How to GTFO Your Own Way So You Can Create Anything!”, Alfarone will address the labels and limitations inferred by others and hackneyed storylines people often place on themselves, challenge participants to take inspired action, and create the positive energy needed to attract the right people and opportunities at the right time and place.

Entrepreneurs, small business owners, marketing and PR professionals, nonprofit organizations, and government contractors can benefit from breakout presentations on content management, digital marketing and advertising, modern media myths, creative visual storytelling, how to use video to build brands, and how human resources and marketing can join forces for recruiting.

A networking after-party at Rocket City Tavern will cap off the day’s events.

The BIG Marketing & PR Event is sponsored by Red Sage Communications and co-hosted by The Catalyst and the North Alabama chapter of the Public Relations Council of Alabama.

To register, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-big-marketing-pr-event-tickets-70543578743#

 

Madison Chamber Hosts Annual Tee Up Fore Business Tourney

MADISON — Many a successful business deal has been hatched on a golf course and the second annual Tee-Up Fore Business Golf Tournament sponsored by the Madison Chamber of Commerce and Polaris is everyone’s opportunity to crow a little about their business!

Wednesday is the deadline to register for the Madison Chamber of Commerce’s annual Tee Off Fore Business Tournament. (Photo/Madison Chamber of Commerce)

The Madison Chamber of Commerce is looking for 10 more foursomes for the tournament, which will be held Friday, Sept. 20, at the Sunset Landing Golf Course. The scramble play tees off at 8 a.m. to a shotgun-start.

“We welcome anyone, not just Chamber members and not just good golfers, who are looking for some fun, a laid-back networking opportunity, and many chances to win cash prizes and awards,” said Pam Honeycutt, executive director of the Madison Chamber of Commerce. “The scramble play means all you need is one good player in your group so amateurs, duffers, and beginners can mix it up with those who are good players … we are offering two flights, so there are multiple ways to win prizes.”

There will be raffles, a putting contest, closest to the pin contest, longest drive contest, and the grand prize is a $500 air travel voucher from the Port of Huntsville. Prizes will be given for first, second and last place – yes, that is correct – there will be a prize for finishing last!

Furthermore, there are two hole-in-one opportunities: Ace it on one par 3 and win a $10,000 cash prize, or hole it out on the second par 3 and win a $40,000 Genesis G70 from Genesis of Huntsville, sponsored by the Lee Co. The luxury vehicle will be on-hand to entice players to give it their best shot.

The cost is $320 per foursome and includes two golf carts, green fees, breakfast, lunch and a goodie bag for each player.

Players can sign up through Wednesday, Sept. 18. Golf attire (collared shirts, no jeans, and soft-spike golf shoes only) is required.

For information, visit madisonalchamber.com.

Fourth Annual MOMpreneur Event: Dig it, Water it, Grow Your Business

Running a successful business and being a full-time, 24/7 mom present unique challenges.

To help mom entrepreneurs effectively run their households and live their best life possible, all while operating a business, the Catalyst Center for Business and Entrepreneurship presents the Fourth Annual MOMpreneur Event.

Hosted Friday, Sept. 20, in the new I2C building on the UAH campus, MOMpreneur is designed to help business-minded moms connect and provide the resources to help small businesses grow. This day-long event features a wide assortment of presenters and panelists who will provide valuable insight, experience, and tools to help business owners shine.

Empowerment, encouragement, and education are just a few of the things that mom entrepreneurs will take away from this event. This is the event for you if you are:

  • Looking to gain inspiration and rediscover your “why?”
  • Wanting to refocus your goals and learn how to manage time to achieve those goals
  • Seeking to learn about technologies that will help you work smarter not harder
  • Committed to finding tools to help you manage and grow your business successfully
  • Eager to find time for yourself, to better focus on personal and business needs
  • Hoping to connect with like-minded mom entrepreneurs to share resources and business opportunities

In addition to breakout sessions addressing topics such as Business Relationship Building, Branding and Brand Management, Time tracking and Project Management, Goal Oriented Content Strategy, and Social Media, there will be guest speakers and a “Successful Moms in Business” Panel featuring:

  • Toni Eberhart – Strategic Communications Specialist at Mazda Toyota Manufacturing US and Urban Engine Board Member
  • Amanda Howard – Founder and CEO of Amanda Howard Sotheby’s International Realty
  • Dawn Pumpelly – Editor and Owner of “The Scout Guide – Huntsville”
  • Amber Gray – Owner, Gray Salon
  • Sonia Robinson – Executive Director of BIO Alabama and President of Dash Consulting, LLC

The afternoon will be capped by the “Happiest of Hours,” a networking happy hour where mom entrepreneurs can become better acquainted and discuss the takeaways of the day.

If you’re a mom trying to manage your home life and business venture, don’t miss this. For information and registration: http://catalystcenter.org.

The Catalyst is a 501-C-3 nonprofit and serves as a driver for economic growth and job creation in the Huntsville area.

 

 

Huntsville Aquatics Center a Splash with Visitors and City Coffers

As the city celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing the week and weekend of July 20, the state-of-the-art Huntsville Aquatics Center continued to help pump money into civic coffers and earn its high price tag.

The center, which re-opened in 2017 after a $22 million facelift of what was formerly called the Natatorium, hosted the Southeastern Long Course Swimming Championships. There were many ribbon winners among the 1,180 contestants, and city vendors also picked up some gold.

According to Huntsville Swim Association coach Matt Webber, the meet was worth an estimated $1.8 million to the community in money spent at hotels, restaurants and other daily expenses during the event.

“From the time this facility was built, the figures since 2017 are $8.4 million in revenue,” he said. “As far as sports go (in revenue for the city), it’s up there. It’s easy to get into the city, it’s a big venue. It’s among the best in the country.”

While the HAC is a drawing card, the city itself offers visitors to the various meets held there plenty of entertainment.

Swimmers leave the blocks during the recent Southeastern Long Course Swimming Championships at the Huntsville Aquatic Center. (Photo/Eric Schultz)

Mike Herndon of Mobile, who has travelled with his family to Huntsville meets for several years, said the Space & Rocket Center alone is worth the ride from the coast.

“While my younger daughter competed in the meet, my older daughter was interested in the Apollo 11 festivities during the weekend,” Herndon said. “She has an interest in rocketry and plans to study engineering in college. UAH is among the schools she is considering.

“We went to the block party downtown Friday night and then to the Space and Rocket Center on Saturday. We’d just been to the Space & Rocket Center the year before, but she still enjoyed her time there and we saw another swim family there as well.”

Herndon said the family has visited venues such as TopGolf previously, hits familiar restaurants each trip and this year went to Pints and Pixels to let the kids “play pinball and video games” while also eating.

Meanwhile, Webber said families who come for meets at HAC are “amazed” with not only the facility but the city.

“They’re amazed at how friendly the town is and how the city supports swimming,” said Webber, a Chattanooga native who has been at the helm of HSA for 10 years with previous stints as head coach in his hometown and Birmingham. “The center is unmatched, really, and this is from someone who goes to a lot of meets.”

Herndon, who also attends a lot of meets, said Huntsville has something to envy.

“It’s definitely one of the best places we go for meets,” he said. “The Aquatics Center is wonderful. While there isn’t enough parking, the shuttle service from Milton Frank Stadium is quick and well-run — they use enough buses to keep people from having to wait long, if at all. It’s pretty easy to get around (the city) and there’s plenty to do in your down time.

“Swim parents from Mobile dream of seeing something like that built in our town one day.”

 

Riley Receives Russell G. Brown Leadership Award

“Fire and Ice” was the theme of the 34th annual Small Business Awards Celebration. (Photo/Steve Babin)

Randy Riley won the prestigious Russell G. Brown Leadership Award at the 34th annual Small Business Awards Celebration presented by the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce.

Amid the theme “Fire and Ice” and Von Braun Center North Hall decorations, more than 1,000 people attended to recognize the outstanding work businesses and individuals are doing in the community.

Riley is the CEO of Archarithms, a small, high-tech HUBZone company providing innovative products, solutions and services to the government and commercial customers.

More than 1,000 people turned out for the annual Small Business Awards Celebration. (Photo/Steve Babin)

“We are so proud of our contenders and winners, and we are thrilled to celebrate with each of them,” said Pammie Jimmar, the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber’s vice president of Small Business & Events. “It is no easy task to start and grow a small business, but our community is blessed with individuals who aren’t afraid to tackle tough challenges, and Huntsville continues to grow because of their dedication.”

This year’s judging was completed by the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce. The winners are:

  • Russell G. Brown Executive Leadership Award: Randy Riley, Archarithms, Inc.
  • Young Professional of the Year: Lauren Johannesmeyer, Google Fiber
  • Nonprofit of the Year – (tie): Greater Huntsville Humane Society, Top of Alabama Regional Council of Governments (TARCOG)
  • Professional Services Business of the Year: Palco
  • Culinary Business of the Year: Cyn Shea’s Café & Catering
  • Emerging Business of the Year: Outpost Technologies, Inc.
  • Government Contracting – Professional Services Business of the Year: HigherEchelon, Inc.
  • Government Contracting – Technology Business of the Year: Mission Multiplier
  • Service Business of the Year: Armstrong Relocation Company, Huntsville, LLC
  • Retailer of the Year: Haley’s Flooring & Interiors
  • Local “Creative” of the Year: Church Street Wine Shoppe
  • Medical Practice of the Year: Dunagan Yates & Alison Plastic Surgery Center
  • Woman-Owned Business of the Year: Nesin Therapy Services, PC

Governor’s Conference on Tourism Coming to Huntsville

Elected officials and tourism leaders throughout the state will gather in Huntsville for the 2019 Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism.

The conference, which is Aug. 17-20 at the Von Braun Center, brings the state’s travel and tourism industry together for professional development, networking, and collaboration on strategies to promote Alabama as a premier travel destination.

Approximately 200-250 guests, including representatives from statewide attractions, hotels, convention and visitors bureaus, marketing firms, and other hospitality workers, are expected to be in attendance.

“The conference not only gives Alabama travel professionals the opportunity to learn from experts in tourism and marketing, but to also raise money for in-state college scholarships and reward hard work through industry awards,” said Patti Culp, CEO for the Alabama Travel Council.

Judy Ryals, president/CEO of the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the city is excited about the conference.

“2019 is such a hallmark year for our city as we celebrate the state bicentennial, the Apollo 11 50th anniversary, new dining, retail, and entertainment developments, and so much more; this is perfect timing to welcome our tourism partners to see the growth happening in Huntsville and experience everything we have to offer as a destination,” Ryals said. “We look forward to the opportunity to showcase our community’s progress to industry leaders and highlight why Huntsville/Madison County is a key asset in the state’s tourism offerings.”

In 2018, the travel and tourism industry, which includes leisure and meeting visitors, was responsible for more than 17,000 jobs in Madison County. The 3.4 million visitors also pumped a record-breaking $1.4 billion into the local economy.

While in Huntsville, the visitors will attend receptions at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Campus No. 805 and , Alabama Constitution Hall Historic Park & Museum; play a round of golf at Robert Trent Jones – Hampton Cove; and tour the Huntsville Botanical Garden and downtown.

 

MSFC Director Singer Named Humanities Fellow

MSFC Director Jody Singer

Alabama Humanities Foundation will honor Jody Singer, director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, as one of four fellows inducted into its 2019 class at The Colloquium. The event is Oct. 7 at Birmingham’s The Club.

Singer will be honored with three other people with Alabama ties who have made significant contributions in the humanities in their lives and careers: Dr. Marquita Davis, deputy director, Early Learning, Pacific Northwest for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Fred Gray, attorney and civil rights activist; Howell Raines, retired executive editor of The New York Times.

“This is our third year of The Colloquium, and each year brings us new inspiration as we hear from such distinguished people who have had such an impact, not just in our state but around the world,” said AHF Executive Director Armand DeKeyser. “To think that they all have Alabama ties makes us proud and makes this event so special.”

All four fellows will be featured in a live conversation moderated by National Public Radio’s Michel Martin, host of NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

Singer is the first female director of the Marshall Space Flight Center and is a former deputy director of MSFC. The center has nearly 6,000 on- and near-site civil service and contractor employees and an annual budget of approximately $2.8 billion.

She also served as deputy program manager for the Space Launch System program – the only rocket designed and tested from the ground up to return humans to deep space.

Singer spent a number of years supporting the Shuttle program. It was Singer, who was responsible for safety during the ground test program that led the agency back to flight after the Columbia accident.

She has been recognized with numerous awards during her NASA career, including NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals and two Presidential Rank of Meritorious Executive Awards, the highest honor for career federal employees. She received the Space Flight Awareness Leadership Award in 2005 for inspiring the Shuttle Propulsion Office to strive for excellence and continuous improvement; and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal in 1993 while managing the External Tank project’s business office.

A native of Hartselle, she earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from the University of Alabama in 1983. She has completed two NASA Fellowships – one at Penn State University and another at the Simmons College Graduate School of Management in Boston.

Singer and her husband, Chris, live in Huntsville. They have three children and two grandchildren.

When Rubber Chickens Fly, You Know the Madison Business Expo & Kids Day Was a Success

MADISON — Madison celebrated its 150th anniversary mixing business with food, history, kids and rubber chickens on parachutes.

The calendar was turned back to 1869 for the annual Madison Business Expo & Kids Day.

Kids scramble to scoop up the rubber chickens. (Photo by Kimberly Ballard)

The Hogan YMCA was transformed into the Madison Station Depot as 65 Madison businesses demonstrated products, provided information and, of course, had treats for the kids.

Food trucks served up anything from barbecue to ice cream, coffee and pizza. A moving garden train choo-chooed its way along the tracks … all in preparation for the great “Chicken Caper.”

According to the Madison Chamber of Commerce’s version of the legend, business would get slow for shopkeepers in Madison Station during the dog days of summer.

To stimulate business, shopkeepers would tie coupons around the feet of dozens of chickens and toss the live chickens off the roof to the shoppers below. Those who caught the chickens to retrieve the coupon, got to keep the chicken, too – sort of a free chicken dinner!

“Chickens are birds and can fly a little, so no chickens were hurt while throwing them off the roof in 1869,” said Pam Honeycutt, the Chamber’s executive director. “It was a very innovative and effective advertising tactic back then but, probably not a good idea today.”

After putting their collective heads together, event organizers decided a more contemporary re-enactment was needed.

With cooperation from the Madison Fire Department, businesses attached coupons to the spindly legs of five dozen rubber chickens. Firefighters then dropped them from their aerial ladder to the crowd.

“We still managed to have fun, give away thousands of dollars in products and services, while creating a contemporary ‘Chicken Caper’ of our own,” said Honeycutt. “All the feedback, so far, has been very positive and the participation and support from our Chamber members is outstanding.

“That is what makes the Madison Business Expo & Kids Day so popular every year – we have a growing and thriving business community in Madison and we are here to celebrate it!”