Huntsville’s Burgeoning Regional Economy Part 2: Right-sizing Lifestyle with Quality of Life

(This is the second and final installment of a two-part story on the area’s growing economy.)

Recently, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle shared his vision for Huntsville in terms of an average sized pie. He, along with business owners and civic officials, stood at city center – what Battle calls Huntsville’s “living room” – and looked out in every direction to the edges of the pie’s crust.

What they see are active growth corridors ushering in a significant expansion of the original Huntsville pie, which is accelerating economic growth throughout the North Alabama region.

“Instead of dividing the pie into fifteen different pieces that get smaller the more users you add, we made the whole pie bigger so we could divide it up differently with more restaurants, entertainment and activity venues, more places to spend retail dollars,” he said. “With a bigger pie, each slice is more valuable.”

The success of Twickenham Square, a multi-use development built right in the heart of downtown Huntsville’s medical district and anchored by The Artisan luxury apartments and a Publix, has spurred the development of four more multi-use (multi-purpose or mixed-use) sites in the downtown area.

These developments require the right balance of residential, retail, and commercial space, usually surrounded by a pedestrian-friendly traffic pattern, walking trails and/or parks, and plenty of amenities and activities.

Sealy Realty’s Avenue Huntsville (and the new Avenue Madison); CityCentre at Big Spring with the new AC Hotel by Marriott; the long-awaited Constellation, breaking ground this fall on the old Heart of Huntsville site at Clinton Avenue; and a new development by Rocket Development Partners on the former site of the Coca-Cola plant on Clinton Avenue across from the VBC are either already established or coming soon to downtown Huntsville.

“People ask whether mixed-use/multi-use developments are replacing traditional malls and shopping centers,” said Battle. “But I think you have to look at each one individually. People are looking for more live, work, play types of environments, but I think what we are seeing today is a shift. Is it permanent? Probably some of it is, but I won’t be surprised to see it shift back.”

Max Grelier, co-founder of RCP Companies who developed the AC Hotel as part of CityCentre, as well as MidCity District on the old Madison Square Mall property, agrees.

“Retail centers are not dead. They’re just changing based on consumer behavior,” he said. “Old-style retail centers still play a role in our communities. A good ‘convenience’ style retail center is needed to support suburban neighborhoods.

“However, retailers across most retail center formats are shrinking their footprints and using technology and distribution to keep up with the trends and competition.”

But Battle points out that many online retailers, such as Duluth Trading Company who have been online-only retailers, are building mortar-and-brick stores like the one they opened at Town Madison in June.

And even online behemoth Amazon is now putting stores throughout the U.S.

“I just got back from Nagoya, Japan where they still have huge department stores that are very active because people want to look at what they’re going to buy, touch it, experience the kind of cloth it’s made of and see how it fits,” Battle said.

“When you look at Parkway Place, they are doing very well, and we recently added an apartment component to Bridge Street Town Centre to add a ‘live’ component to it and Research Park’s work and play.

“But when you look at the old Madison Square Mall, it could be found on a site called DeadMalls.com,” Battle said. “We built a lot of malls back in the 1960s and 1970s – probably too many. I think we are now right-sizing back to what we need. There’s still a place for pure shopping like Parkway Place, but I say you need both to succeed.”

Charlie Sealy of Sealy Realty has developed several residential properties including The Belk Hudson Lofts and The Avenue Huntsville, which also has a retail component in downtown Huntsville.

Sealy is also building Avenue Madison that will have a retail and parking component in downtown Madison. He said the trend for new developments will be weighted more towards multi-use developments in the future.

“However, the older style shopping centers and malls won’t be replaced anytime soon unless they are old, obsolete, and really in need of replacement anyway,” said Sealy. “These [mixed-use] developments are definitely what residents and consumers prefer now because of the experience they produce.”

Grelier said the mixed-use developments come in a variety of styles.

“These developments are a type of urban development strategy that blends residential, commercial, cultural, institutional, and/or entertainment uses to initiate more consumer interactions by creating walkable, livable, and experiential communities,” said Grelier. “Mixed-use developments can take the form of a single building, a city block, or entire districts.

“Traditionally, human settlements have developed in mixed-use patterns; however, with industrialization of the U.S., as well as the invention of the skyscraper, governmental zoning regulations were introduced to separate different functions, such as manufacturing, from residential areas.”

Joey Ceci, president of The Breland Companies, which is developing Town Madison and the new Clift Farm project on U.S. 72 in Madison, sees it differently.

“I think we are seeing the death of the supercenter more than malls,” said Ceci. “Those centers with huge parking lots and a row of big box stores lined up next to each other – for one thing people just don’t like that huge parking field and, two, from a developer’s standpoint, if something happens and a business closes or moves out, it is very difficult to repurpose that huge space left behind by a store the size of Target or TJ Maxx. You can use a big box space for a trampoline center or an entertainment center, but you can’t put a restaurant in there.

“Multi-purpose developments are making that space work better by integrating residential into it via restaurants and everyday neighborhood retail like a dry cleaner or hair salon. The idea is to take the new urbanist movement that everyone is following and make smaller blocks of space so that if, in 20 years, that block is no longer viable, knock it down and put something else there. It’s a matter of making it more sustainable over time.”

Sustainability is the focus at Town Madison where Madison Mayor Paul Finley is looking to more than the casual Rocket City Trash Pandas fan to help build out that development.

He’s getting some help from travel sports and softball/baseball recruiters and scouts who will enjoy the regional draw of the new Pro Player Park, just off Wall-Triana Highway.

“The new Pro Player Park and everything Town Madison offers will definitely get foot traffic to our hotels; however, workforce development secures regional success which will also help us locally in aspects of infrastructure and schools,” said Finley.

Finley also points to the success of the Village at Providence, one of the area’s very first mixed-use developments built in 2003, as an example of how popular pedestrian-friendly mixed-use communities have become.

“A mixed-use development offers a live-work-play experience right outside of your front door,” said Finley. “This is appealing to young professionals, established mid-lifers, and retirees alike. These developments are multigenerational that attract businesses to the area.”

“Mixed-use developments are replacing declining malls because they are often well-located within a region that affords them premium access and site metrics,” said RCP’s Grelier who is striving to make the old mall property economically viable again. “When this is the case, there is typically strong demand for several multiple property types such as hospitality, residential, office, restaurants, and retail.

“Single-use commercial centers are becoming more difficult to sustain given changing consumer behavior related to online shopping, and demographic trends focusing on experiences rather than traditional brick-and-mortar shopping.”

However, Grelier said when they purchased the old mall property in 2015, they had a strategy ready for MidCity.

“We began working with the city and Urban Design Associates (UDA) to create a mixed-use project that would meet market demand and help reverse the decline of the West Huntsville commercial corridor,” he said. “We also had a broader, more aspirational strategy in collaboration with the city to use the MidCity District as regional economic growth tool by addressing the ‘next-generation’ workforce demand in Cummings Research Park.”

Grelier said they engaged nationally known market research consultants to perform third-party market studies to guide them in developing programming for a proper balance of uses.

“We used the information from the studies to collaborate with the City and UDA to produce a complete district business plan that would maximize regional draw by creating diverse layers of use and programming at the property,” Grelier said.

“Much of the emphasis is on highlighting our local cultural assets and identifying destination venues like TopGolf, public parks, and an amphitheater to establish a foundation around art and culture.”

He said this is now happening through connections with Huntsville’s and Muscle Shoals’ regional music legacy to bring a world-class 8,500-capacity amphitheater to the development.

“We believe the amphitheatre will be very successful and play a vital role in the elevation of the region as a place you want to live,” Grelier said. “There’s a strong demand for weekend entertainment so the music initiative happening in North Alabama will not only keep locals from traveling to spend in nearby markets, it will attract more weekend tourism to our region.”

Sealy said there is a strategy involved in where they build these mixed-use developments as well.

“These developments are really a long-term strategy in the sense that consumer preferences are shifting this way, so we are building for what is more popular now and appears will be more popular in the future,” he said. “… We are trying to draw certain people and jobs from other cities.  These developments are a recruiting tool and regional draw when we are competing against bigger cities for the same talent.

“Some people, particularly millennials, desire this type of environment for living or work, so we need them to attract that population …. They will spread through the regional area, but they need a certain density of people to work, so they will be concentrated in the growth corridors where the population and jobs are the largest.”

And, now, there is something for just about everyone.

“You hear people say, ‘Huntsville has some pretty cool breweries downtown, I can have some fun on Friday night, go see a baseball game, spend the night, go shop at Bridge Street, play some TopGolf, and get brunch at Stovehouse on Sunday’,” said Ceci. “It makes us a lot like Chattanooga – a kind of weekend destination where people say, ‘Wow! Huntsville is a great place to go for the weekend. There is always something to do.’”

Sealy said the mixed-use strategy is rewarding.

“I enjoy working on mixed-use projects because there is a huge emphasis on architecture, walk-ability, streetscape,” said Sealy. “The multi-use developments are a bigger challenge, but it is a rewarding creative process.”

Battle said the revitalization of one area pays benefits to the entire city.

“The Live, Work, Play strategy has always been our city plan,” said Battle. “Revitalize one area using the profits of another area we have revitalized and watch the spread of that revitalization until eventually the whole city is revitalized from one end to the other in every direction.”

Madison Chamber Calls for Nominees for Best in Business Awards

MADISON — It’s an opportunity to call out your favorite businesses as the Madison Chamber of Commerce ask for nominations for the Best in Business Awards 2019.

Now through Sept, 6 at 5 p.m., businesses can be nominated in 12 categories for their outstanding services, products and customer service.

“We are excited to be kicking off the Best in Business Awards 2019,” said Chamber Executive Director Pam Honeycutt. “We have introduced some new categories this year to best represent our growing membership. We look forward to learning more about all of the great businesses that make up the Chamber.”

Every year, the Chamber re-evaluates the categories to ensure businesses are not competing in like categories.

“We did away with Home & Living and added Professional Services, Essential Services, and Arts, Entertainment & Hospitality this year,” said Honeycutt.

There will be one overall Best in Business 2019 award given along with nominee and winners in Nonprofit, Small Business with four or more employees, Health & Wellness, Start-ups, Community Servant of the Year, Culinary Business of the Year, Excellence in Leadership & Service, and Medical Practice of the Year.

Nominees must be a member in good standing of the Madison Chamber of Commerce for at least six months. The winners will be announced at the Best in Business awards banquet Oct. 22 at the Insanity Complex Entertainment Center off Hughes Road.

To nominate businesses, visit  http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07egj7kwh8jzbqlz9v/a013ojzrw4zk6/greeting.

 

26 Huntsville, Madison Businesses Named to Inc. 5000

More than two dozen local companies have landed on this year’s version of the Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies.

The list represents the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment — its independent small businesses.

There are 26 businesses from Huntsville and Madison with 17 performing government services. Also included are three engineering firms, two real estate companies, one IT and one human resources business.

The 2019 Inc. 5000 is ranked according to percentage revenue growth from 2015 to 2018. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2015. They had to be U.S.-based, privately held, for profit, and independent—not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies—as of December 31, 2018. (Since then, a number of companies on the list have gone public or been acquired.) The minimum revenue required for 2015 is $100,000; the minimum for 2018 is $2 million.

Here are this year’s Huntsville-Madison companies listed by ranking:

617 – Cintel, 711 percent, $2.9 million, government services; 727 – Crossflow Technologies, 603 percent, $2.9 million, engineering; 927 – Kord Technologies, 458 percent, $70.1 million, government services; 942 – Freedom Real Estate, 451 percent, $3.7 million, real estate; 1,179 – Shearer, 352 percent, $6.4 million, engineering; 1,408 – Matt Curtis Real Estate (Madison), 293 percent, $5.2 million, real estate; 1,553 – Cortina Solutions, 267 percent, $2.7 million, government services; 1,591 – Martin Federal, 258 percent, $16.9 million, government services; 1,651 – R2C, 249 percent, $5 million, government services; 1,655 – Corporate Tax Advisors, 248 percent, $3.2 million, financial services;

2,083 – Nou Systems, 194 percent, $23.2 million, government services; 2,106 – Noetic Strategies, 191 percent, $4.6 million, IT management; 2,170 – Hill Technical Solutions, 186 percent, $9.9 million, government services; 2,223 – Pinnacle Solutions, 181 percent, $61.9 million, government services; 2,297 – LSINC, 175 percent, $12.7 million, government services; 2,452 – IronMountain Solutions, 162 percent, $42.1 million, government services; 2,818 – i3, 134 percent, $69.8 million, government services; 2,872 – Mission Driven Research, 130 percent, $3.4, million, government services; 2,927 – nLogic, 128 percent, $48.5 million, government services; 2,961 – Engenius Micro, 126 percent, $2.9 million, government services;

3,242 – Simulation Technologies, 112 percent, $31.6 million, engineering; 4,046 – Bevilacqua Research, 80 percent, $52.6 million, government services; 4,200 – Torch Technologies, 74 percent, $405.4 million, government services; 4,316 – Crabtree, Rowe & Berger, P.C., 71 percent, $4.6 million, financial services; 4,404 – Trideum Corp., 68 percent, $27.7 million, government services; 4,976 – Spur, 53 percent, $34.9 million, human resources.

Warren Averett Ranked by Financial Times and Accounting Today

Warren Averett Asset Management has been listed among the 300 Top Registered Investment Advisers by Financial Times and among the top CPA financial planners for 2019 by Accounting Today.

The 300 Top Registered Investment Advisers list recognizes top independent RIA firms from across the U.S. and is produced independently by the Financial Times in collaboration with Ignites Research—a subsidiary of the Financial Times that provides business intelligence on the asset management industry. This is the second consecutive year that Warren Averett Asset Management has made the list.

The 13th annual Accounting Today Wealth Magnets report ranked Warren Averett Asset Management as the 17th largest financial planner by assets under management among 150 total CPA firms across the U.S. Among these firms, Warren Averett Asset Management is the third-largest in the Southeast.

The list of rankings is organized into groups in order of AUM. Warren Averett Asset Management, reporting more than $2.5 billion of assets under management, was placed in the largest group.

“These rankings are not about our own success or status. Instead, they are a reminder to us that our clients continue to be the driving force behind all that we do and seek to achieve,” said Josh Reidinger, president of Warren Averett Asset Management. “Our goal is to see them succeed, and we believe that sound asset management is a part of that success.

“We are thankful to our clients for them.”

Merit Bank to Open Headquarters in Huntsville

Merit Bank will open its doors this month as a newly established financial institution headquartered in the Huntsville market.

In less than 60 days, Merit Bank raised $25 million from hundreds of investors with diverse backgrounds from across North Alabama. In that same time, the bank gained approval from all three regulatory agencies – the Alabama State Banking Department, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Federal Reserve – to rebrand and relocate its headquarters from Valley Head to 659 Gallatin Street. Merit Bank had acquired Citizens Bank of Valley Head.

Merit Bank is led by an executive team with decades of experience and success in the Huntsville market, including President/CEO Hill Womble, COO Frank Aldag, and Executive Vice Presidents Mark McIntyre and Will Heaps.

In addition, the Board of Directors, representing a vast range of industry and investment experience across North Alabama, will help shape the vision and growth of Merit Bank.  Board members include Chairman Kevin Heronimus, Steven Cost, Chad Falciani, Jeff Huntley, and Brent Romine.

“In any industry, including banking, success starts with the people,” said Womble. “We have built a team of established bankers with proven track records and highly successful board members.  The overwhelming response to our initial private stock offering shows we have the confidence of investors. 

“We are committed and poised to do big things for our clients and our community.”

With Huntsville’s continued growth and repeated accolades, funding and investment in this market is critical. Merit Bank will specialize in commercial lending and private executive banking, expansions, capital improvements, and agricultural lending, among other opportunities.

“Obviously, Huntsville and the North Alabama market is an ideal setting for commercial banking,” said Heaps, executive vice president of commercial banking. “Merit Bank will focus primarily on providing a high level of service and support to our clients, along with a secure, easy-to-use platform for efficiency.  We are excited for this opportunity to support economic development and growth in our community.”

Operations of Citizens Bank will not be interrupted and former President E.N. “Buz” Jones will continue overseeing Valley Head operations.

AAA Credit Ratings Prove Huntsville an Economic Engine for North Alabama

For the 11th consecutive year, Huntsville has received the highest possible “AAA” credit ratings from the two major credit rating agencies Standard & Poors and Moody’s Investors Services.

The agencies cited several factors as the driving force behind the ratings including financial stability, a strong regional tax base, substantial reserve funds, and Huntsville’s strong economy as a steady economic engine for all North Alabama.

Out of 22,250 U.S. cities and counties, less than 1 percent receive this top rating.

“The city has also been reinvesting in its community with deliberate and effective urban planning and design efforts. With a combination of pay-as-you-go financing from excess revenues, tax increment revenues and debt proceeds, the city has been able to undertake multiple projects,” S&P said in a statement.

“The tremendous growth in Huntsville, our ability to work together strategically, efficiently and collaboratively has made this success possible,” said Mayor Tommy Battle. “We’ll use these high credit marks to borrow money at exceptionally low interest rates to fund projects in the city’s capital improvement plan.”

Budgetary management and a low debt-to-citizen/debt-to-GDP ratio also played a large role, the reports said. The ratings give Huntsville a lot of financial leverage including the ability to borrow close to $85 million for city and countywide projects.

Among them is $25 million to complete the Greenbrier Parkway in rural Limestone County, which was annexed to Huntsville as part of the infrastructure needed to support the Mazda-Toyota Manufacturing USA auto plant.

Another $50 million has been earmarked for capital building and improvement projects at John Hunt, Merrimack, and Brahan Spring Parks; for recreation centers; libraries; greenways; and a public safety training center and police firing range. An additional $10 million has been put aside for downtown parking garages.

4 Big Retirement Risks—and How to Prepare for Them

By Brad Cardwell

Some common retirement mistakes – such as overspending, investing too conservatively or veering away from your plan — are easy to avoid with a little discipline and forethought. Other risks, such as a health crisis or a market downturn, cannot be avoided, but they can be managed. Here are four of the most common dangers to your retirement strategy, and steps you can take to prepare for them.

1. OUTLIVING YOUR MONEY

Thanks to medical advances and healthier lifestyles, Americans are living longer than ever. That is great news, but it also creates the very real possibility that you might outlive your retirement assets—especially when 40 percent of people underestimate their own likely life span by five years or more, according to a 2017 Merrill Lynch study, “Finances in Retirement: New Challenges, New Solutions.”

What You Can Do:
Think about delaying the age at which you claim Social Security.
“By claiming at age 70 as opposed to 62, your monthly income could go up by 76 percent,” said Nevenka Vrdoljak, director of Retirement Strategies at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Though you sacrifice income early on, knowing you will have higher Social Security payments in your seventies and beyond is like having “longevity insurance,” she said.

Find out whether an annuity might be appropriate for you. Investing in a lifetime income annuity could help you avoid the risk of outliving your retirement savings by providing a path to income for as long as you live. Because annuities come with certain costs and risks, be sure to talk to your advisor about all the pros and cons.

2. CHANGES IN MARKETS

If there is a significant market drop shortly before or early in your retirement—just as you are starting to tap into your assets—the value of your investments could shrink to an extent that undermines your retirement security. Even if the market subsequently improves, “If the first four or five years of your retirement are bad, it can be difficult to recover,” Vrdoljak said.

What You Can Do:

Take a second look at the way you invest. As you near retirement, shifting to a more conservative investment approach may help protect against market downturns. At the same time, it is important to consider maintaining some exposure to stocks to create a suitable balance.

3. INFLATION

Although quite low in recent years, inflation—even a modest percentage—reduces your spending power over time. People living in retirement are especially vulnerable. Over a 10-year period, a relatively low inflation rate of 2 percent can bring the value of every $100,000 saved down to $82,035, according to estimates made using the Bankrate.com inflation calculator.

What You Can Do:

Consider investments that could grow along with inflation. “That might be real estate or shares of stocks,” Vrdoljak said. If you have bond holdings, you may want to consider adding some Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS). These government bonds offer returns that vary with the inflation rate. When interest rates go up, bond prices typically drop, and vice versa. “If inflation accelerates for whatever reason, you get compensated for that,” Vrdoljak said.

4. RISING MEDICAL EXPENSES

“When it comes to financial planning, people don’t systematically plan for health care risks,” Vrdoljak said. “In particular, it’s really important to take into account the possibility that you’ll need long-term care.” According to the Merrill Lynch study, 70 percent of Americans over 65 will at some point need that sort of care — which can include not just residence in a care facility, but help with daily activities like bathing or assistance with household chores. Even without such costs it’s likely that your health spending will increase as you age — and it’s important to note that Medicare does not fully cover these costs.

What You Can Do:

Plan early for long-term care. Some people may be able to pay for out-of-pocket long-term care or are able to rely upon grown children or a relative for assistance. But for many others, long-term care insurance may be the answer. If you do choose long-term care insurance, try to purchase it in your fifties—well before you need it. The cost rises as you age and may not be available if you develop certain medical conditions.

For more information, contact Merrill Senior Financial Advisor Brad Cardwell at 256-650-2432 or Brad_cardwell@ml.com.

BitBros Helping New Digital Currency to Grow Here – Bitcoin by Bitcoin

It’s a sound bet that not many, if any, Huntsvillians or passersby know that there’s a horde of miners gathered in the industrial park off Jordan Lane.

No one could blame them. These aren’t the light-on-the-helmet, overall-wearing type from most imaginations. These are the new age variety. They’re not even human.

Miners are an integral part of the decade-old bitcoin industry, and a new Huntsville company has powered up many miners (OK, computers) in town. The company, BitBros LLC., has been up and running since last year but held its grand opening in January following a power upgrade that brought 2.5 megawatts of power to the Blockchain and Crypto Mining Association outfit.

“Each of those miners is crunching algorithms all day,” said Matthew Rizzio, a Hazel Geen and UAH graduate who is also CEO and one of three founders of BitBros. “When it solves an algorithm is when you get paid, by bit.”

Confused? Here is how bitcoin is defined: a digital currency in which a record of transactions is maintained and new units of currency generated by the computational solution of mathematical problems, and which operates independently of a central bank.

There it is, right?

“It took me a year to understand it,” said Rizzio, who graduated with degrees in marketing and supply chain management from UAH in 2014.

Rizzio is one of three founders of BitBros. There’s also his brother and COO Christopher Borgosz, who grew up in Birmingham, attended John Carroll Catholic High School and the University of Alabama and still lives in the Magic City. And there’s the CTO, Josh. He goes by the moniker Jmo, and hails from Illinois and met Rizzio at UAH.

In the bitcoin business there are: Blockchains (a ledger of records stored on an encrypted network of computers); cryptocurrency (digital currency used to pay for using the blocking or for exchanging currency; ASICs (chips than handle a specific, single encrypted algorithm); and the aforementioned miners.

Rizzio said the most difficult part of launching BitBros is waiting for people to get over the learning curve of what bitcoin is about.

“Historically, it takes about 20 years for new technology to catch on,” he said. “Like the Internet.”

But, he added, the company has heard good feedback since its January launch.

“We expect Huntsville to be a great location,” he said. “With so many engineers and people working in technology, there’s a large underground regarding the industry.”

RFCU Reaches Out to the Community with Financial Education Programming

Today, financial education is a must for just about everyone.

And, Redstone Federal Credit Union is stepping up with a series of financial education seminars.

 Based on the variety of offerings, “financial” may seem like a misnomer, but that good things – such as buying a home or launching a business – or bad things – such as natural disasters – all have direct or indirect financial consequences.

“Over time, the seminar offerings have evolved, there’s more of a mix now,” said Briana Cousins, financial education coordinator/communications. “Programming  focuses on four main tenets: Save, spend, borrow, plan. These areas effect overall financial fitness. We have developed our own in-house programming to give back to the community.”

Other resources include Balance.com which RFCU uses for the “Drive Away Happy” and “Financial First Aid” seminars, providing a “canned” curriculum that can be used for some of the online financial programming,

Over the past year, RFCU has developed a partnership with local small business incubator, The Catalyst Center to expand on seminar offerings. The collaboration has a small business development focus featuring programming such as “Finding Your Target Market,” and “Developing an Elevator Pitch.”

Cousins is focusing on the next steps and beyond.

“How can we expand outside of Madison County?” she asked. “How can we reach specific audiences, expand our market? Get the word out to the community, in general?”

Regarding one of the bigger challenges she faces, Cousins said, “There’s a massively growing segment of the population who need the messages we are providing. We are trying to find ways to reach this population that is least likely to attend seminars. Unless you can reach them where they are, they don’t participate. So, we need to find a way to get out into the community instead of them coming to us.”

“For 2019, RFCU will keep some of the same programming. In thefuture, we see more partnering with the Catalyst, focusing on providing business assistance for startups and entrepreneurs.”

RFCUseminars are free and open to members and non-members. There are morning, lunchtime, late afternoon, and early evening programs. There are no sales pitches for any of the products presented. However, presenters do provide attendees with printed materials and contact information to follow up, one-to-one.

For schedule and registration info, go to: www.redfcu.org/seminars

Frontier Takes Flight at Huntsville International Airport

It was a Rocky Mountain high kind of day Friday when Frontier Airlines’ first flight from Huntsville took off.

“We are excited to be starting service and proud to bring our unique brand of ‘Low Fares Done Right’ to Huntsville,” said Jonathan Freed, director of Corporate Communications for Frontier Airlines. “Frontier is always looking for ways to make travel easier and more affordable, and our … frequent flier program with family-friendly benefits and attainable elite status, as well as our reduced change fees – free if you make changes more than 90 days before you fly – are the latest examples …”

The first flight departed for Denver at high noon Friday after a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Frontier will begin service to and from Orlando on Oct. 21.

“Frontier Airlines boasts a network that serves over 100 cities in the U.S., Mexico and Dominican Republic,” said Airport Executive Director Rick Tucker. “They have over 1,000 nonstop and connecting routes. Couple that stability and structure with our region’s excellent track record of supporting low cost carriers and it’s a recipe for success.

“This partnership fills a void in our market and provides our leisure and business travelers with more options for a lower price. Our customers appreciate convenience and we know they will support this service by flying local from Huntsville International Airport on Frontier Airlines.”

For information, visit flyfrontier.com and flyhuntsville.com.