Brown Hired as VP for Southern States Bank

Brooks Brown has been named vice president and commercial banking officer for Southern States Bank’s Huntsville office. 

Brooks Brown

He will be responsible for growing and originating deposit and commercial loan relationships, primarily in the Madison County market.

With more than 20 years of banking experience in commercial lending and business banking, Brown joins Southern States Bank from Wells Fargo Bank where he served the last several years as a business banker. Brooks also worked at First Commercial Bank in commercial lending and underwriting, and  relationship management.

“We are excited and honored Brooks has joined our team in Huntsville, “said Richard Perdue, Senior Vice President at Southern States Bank. “With Brooks’ commercial and business banking experience, coupled with his relationship management skills, he was a natural fit to join our team in Huntsville.”

Huntsville-Madison County Chamber Announces Best Places to Work Contenders

And the nominees are …

The Huntsville-Madison County Chamber has announced the contenders for the 2020 Best Places to Work Award.

The award recognizes businesses that create an excellent workplace culture through employee engagement, strong leadership and excellent communication.

The winners will be announced at the annual awards luncheon April 15 in the Von Braun Center North Hall.

The categories and contenders are:

MICRO: 10-24 employees
Aleta Technologies, Inc.; Applied Technologies Group, Inc.; Boecore, Inc.; Corporate Office Properties Trust; Cortina Solutions, LLC; Croy Engineering; Flint River Dental; H2L Solutions, Inc.; Mb Solutions; Mission Multiplier Consulting; New Beginnings Family Law, P.C.; On-Line Applications Research Corp.; Phased n Research, Inc.; Practical Energetics Research, LLC; Redstone Government Consulting, Inc.; Resolution, LLC; River Tree Insurance Services, Inc.; Roto-Rooter; Seabrook Solutions, LLC; Still Serving Veterans; Stratagem Solutions, Inc.; TVA Huntsville Customer Service Center; Women4Women OBGYN.

SMALL: 25-50 employees
Arcarithm, Inc.; Crossflow Technologies, Inc.; Davidson Homes, LLC; EOS Defense Systems USA, Inc.; Good Samaritan Hospice of Madison; Huntsville-Madison County Senior Center; Invariant Corp.; JHNA; KBM Enterprises, Inc.; KODA Technologies, Inc.; MartinFederal Consulting, LLC; Matt Curtis Real Estate, Inc.; Mission Driven Research; MTA, Inc.; Nesin Therapy Services, P.C.; Noetic Strategies, Inc.; PPT Solutions, Inc.; Reliant Technologies, Inc.; Sentar Inc.; Signalink, Inc.; Verity Integrated Systems, Inc.

MEDIUM: 51-100 employees
Brockwell Technologies, Inc.; Canvas, Inc.; Cepeda Systems and Software Analysis, Inc.; Conditioned Air Solutions; deciBel Research, Inc.; Geocent; Hill Technical Solutions, Inc.; Ignite, Inc.; LINE-X, LLC; MDW Associates; Monte Sano Research Corp.; QTEC Aerospace; Thompson Gray, Inc.; Trideum Corp.; TriVector Services, Inc.; Troy 7, Inc.; Willbrook Solutions, Inc.

LARGE: 101-250 employees
AEgis Technologies Group; Avion Solutions; Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc.; HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology; IERUS Technologies; Intrepid; IronMountain Solutions, Inc.; Leonardo DRS; Manufacturing Technical Solutions, Inc.; MITRE Corp.; nLogic, LLC; nou Systems, Inc.; S3, Inc.; SEA Wire and Cable; Simulation Technologies, Inc.;
Technology Service Corp.; Trident Technologies; Turner Construction; Woody Anderson Ford.

X-LARGE: 251-plus employees
Five Stones Research Corp.; Integration Innovation, Inc. (i3); Intuitive Research and Technology Corp.; Modern Technology Solutions, Inc. (MTSI); PeopleTec, Inc.; The Orthopaedic Center; Torch Technologies; Yulista Holding, LLC.

Rocket City Trash Pandas Set Date for Toyota Field Ribbon-Cutting

MADISON — The Rocket City Trash Pandas have set the date to cut the ribbon at Toyota Field and also announced a slate of games at the stadium involving UAH, Alabama A&M and local high schools.

The ribbon-cutting will be April 6 between games of a doubleheader featuring Madison’s high school baseball teams. Festivities begin at 4 p.m.

“One cannot imagine how thrilled our organization is for this day,” said Trash Pandas President and CEO Ralph Nelson. “This isn’t just a day of pride for the Trash Pandas organization, but it’s also a celebration for the City of Madison, Mayor Paul Finley, the City Council, and, most of all, our fans.

“Toyota Field is the best stadium in Minor League Baseball and we can’t wait for our fans to see it.”

The Bob Jones Patriots will host Hartselle High School at 4 p.m. in the first game of the doubleheader. The James Clemens Jets take on Austin High School in the nightcap, following the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Admission is $6; parking is $3.

“This schedule of baseball and festivities comprises a very special day for everyone who has been involved with the team and venue since the ground-breaking nearly two years ago,” Nelson said. “Toyota Field is a testament to the hard work and support of so many people who shared a vision and a dream.”

The doubleheader wraps up a series of games slated for Toyota Field before the Trash Pandas open their inaugural season April 15.

There will be four college games and a high school game in March, leading up to the ribbon-cutting festivities.

Alabama-Huntsville hosts Montevallo in a three-game Gulf South Conference series March 20-21. The March 20 game starts at 1 p.m.; a doubleheader on March 21 starts at 11 a.m.

The next day, March 22, Alabama A&M will take on arch-rival Alabama State in a Southwestern Athletic Conference game at 1 p.m.

All seats to the UAH and Alabama A&M games are general admission and cost $5; parking is $3.

On March 28, Grissom High School will play Decatur High School with first pitch slated for noon. Admission is $6; parking is $3.

The Trash Pandas’ home opener for Southern League play is Wednesday, April 15 at 6:35 p.m. against the Mississippi Braves at Toyota Field. Season tickets, mini-plans and group outings are on sale now.

Visit www.trashpandasbaseball.com or call 256-325-1403 to order.

Construction on Schedule for North Huntsville Library and Berachah Park

The site is shaping up on Sparkman Drive for the new North Huntsville Library and Berachah Park.

Contractors are on schedule for a fall completion of the joint $10.8 million project – a partnership between the City of Huntsville and the Huntsville/Madison County Public Library.

“The city is proud to make this investment in North Huntsville,” said Mayor Tommy Battle. “Residents need and deserve high-quality places to learn, collaborate, connect and play.

“This project accomplishes these goals with a beautiful new library and park that will serve the community for decades to come.”

The complex is being built at the site of the outdated Bessie K. Russell Library branch, which occupies just 1,700 square feet, at 3011 Sparkman Drive.

The new 19,000-square-foot facility is designed to meet the information-seeking needs of residents with state-of-the-art technology, a café, children’s reading areas, interactive literacy center and a makerspace for entrepreneurs.

“Libraries connect people to resources that build community,” said Kim Lewis, North Huntsville Library Capital Campaign Chairperson. “The new library will serve as a community hub, with two meeting rooms, multiple study areas and an after-school program space for children.

“It will also feature some of the latest technologies such as a workforce development lab, a Makerspace with 3D printers, and an automated sorting machine.”

“We are so excited to show the North Huntsville community what their library can do,” said Laurel Best, Executive Director of the Huntsville/Madison County Public Library. “We will be able to expand the great service of Bessie K. Russell and offer more people an opportunity to use our computer and Internet services, participate in children’s programming and learn STEM-related activities and equipment in the Makerspace.”

For City Council President and District 1 representative Devyn Keith, the new library and park is personal.

“As a kid, I remember coming into the Bessie Russell trailer to do my Accelerated Reader points,” said Keith. “It amazing to have to have a chance to be part of this expansion and investment by the city and generous donors so that children will have a place that inspires and opens doors of opportunity.”

The library will be next to a new city park which will feature walking trails, pickleball courts, multipurpose fields, a pavilion and children’s play areas.

The project architect is Fuqua & Partners and the general contractor is Lee Builders. They expect to complete work on the site in October.

Finley: State of Madison is Strong; Outback, Panera, Marriott, Hub Coming to Town Madison

MADISON — It wasn’t a stretch for Madison Mayor Paul Finley to make a Super Bowl reference Friday night in his annual State of the City Address.

“This is the second opportunity I have had to give the State of the City Address and on behalf of the City of Madison and the Madison City Council, I am able to say again that the state of the city is strong and continuing to get stronger,” said Madison Mayor Paul Finley from beneath the Saturn V rocket at the Davidson Center. “I am so proud to be the mayor of Madison … and if you want some examples, let me give you a couple…,” upon which images of former Bob Jones High School star Reggie Ragland, and Madison Academy’s Jordan Matthews popped up on the big screen to thunderous cheers from the audience.

Madison Mayor Paul Finley delivers his State of the City Address. (Photo/Steve Babin)

Ragland started at linebacker for the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs against Matthews’ San Francisco 49ers.

“That’s just cool,” Finley said to even more applause.

Finley also made two “super” announcements at the address that had not yet been revealed.

The first is the city’s upcoming acquisition of the 28,000 square-foot Three Springs juvenile facility on Browns Ferry Road.

The second special announcement concerned Town Madison, the home of the Rocket City Trash Pandas and Toyota Field.

“I’m excited about Three Springs but I am equally excited about Town Madison,” Finley said.

In addition to the recent announcement about J. Alexander’s restaurant coming to Town Madison, Finley said they are also expecting a 200-room Marriott near Toyota Field; Outback Steakhouse and Panera Bread Company will open on the Zierdt Road side of the development and The Hub, a newcomer to the state.

Residents who spend vacation time on the Florida Panhandle will be familiar with The Hub, a relaxing outdoor venue surrounded by live music, ice cream, burgers, and family-friendly movies shown under the stars.

“Town Madison is going to continue to build out,” Finley said. “Outback, Marriott and Panera Bread already have a footprint in the Tennessee Valley, but Town Madison will welcome the first Hub in Alabama.

“The Marriott is the fifth hotel announced – and just so you guys know, the matrix we put in place to fund the stadium had three hotels in that matrix. We are now at five.”

Concerning Three Springs, Finley said the city will be purchasing the empty 33-acre facility, using funds from the sale of the Madison Library. Over the next four to five years, it will be converted it into a community center.

Finley said there are several local entities such as the Madison City Senior Center; the Enrichment Center, which helps schools with counseling; and American Legion Post 229, which is involved in Memorial Day and Veterans Day events around the city that are all bursting at the seams when it comes to parking and office space.

“This purchase will take our city to the next level,” Finley said. “The library is not the right fit for our city right now, so it is up for sale. Over the next five years, you will see other organizations who also need more space, move into the old Three Springs facility.”

Other significant highlights from the speech were updates on sidewalk improvements at Dublin Park to make it safer; the revitalization of an aging Hughes Plaza, a retail center on Hughes Road across from City Hall; and numerous improvements to older office complexes and buildings.

Furthermore, the City Council invested more than $4 million in a new public works facility. They had outgrown the aging building and there wasn’t enough parking for the employees or for the service trucks. The new facility is on 16 acres and they will move into it in a couple of weeks.

Finley shared Census Bureau data showing the growth in Madison’s population over the past 40 years. In 1980, Madison’s population was 4,500. By the 1990s, it was nearly 15,000. There was a big jump in population in 2008 to over 42,000; and in 2019, it has grown to 50,926.

“That is astronomic growth,” Finley said. “In fact, we are in such good shape in our city that our Rocket City Trash Panda mascot, Sprocket, was just named one of the top 20 people locally of 2020.

“Because of what we are doing, we are collectively blowing this growth thing out of the water and the state of Alabama is stronger because this community is stronger.”

There was also a special recognition for Madison City School Superintendent, Robby Parker who is retiring this year; and the mayor announced that the Trash Pandas have broken records, selling over $2 million, in Trash Panda merchandise.

There will be no traffic relief for residents and businesses traveling Madison Boulevard from Zierdt Road to Wall Triana while construction continues on the I-565 interchange at Town Madison; but a greenway extension will run under the railway tracks just south of Palmer Road, into historic downtown Madison where Sealy Realty is building the Avenue Madison, a multi-use residential, retail and commercial development right in the heart of downtown.

“It’s an exciting time right now to be in our city,” said Finley upon conclusion. “We are managing growth, we are open for business, but we are being really smart about it.”

J. Alexander’s Restaurant Coming to Town Madison

 

J. Alexander’s has been announced as the first restaurant for Town Madison.

Mark A. Parkey, President and Chief Executive Officer of J. Alexander’s Holdings, said the new J. Alexander’s restaurant will be on a 2.8-acre site at the entrance to Town Madison on Town Madison Boulevard.

Town Madison is a 560-acres mixed-use development focused on residential, office, retail and entertainment.  The Breland Co., one of the largest commercial and residential developers in the Mid-South, is the developer and Minneapolis-based Shea Design is the architect of the restaurant.

Parkey said plans for the new restaurant will include approximately 7,350 square feet with seating for more than 200 guests.  Approximately 100 full- and part-time professionals are expected to be employed.

“We are extremely pleased to announce plans for our newest J. Alexander’s restaurant,” Parkey said.  “The signing of this lease follows extensive research to identify the most desirable site in this premier community.  Town Madison boasts a superb business climate and quality of life.

“Over the years, we have earned a loyal following of guests from the greater Madison County region at our J. Alexander’s restaurant in Franklin, Tenn., and our Redland’s Grill in Hoover.  As such, we are excited with the opportunity to be in Madison and bring discerning guests the finest in classic American cuisine created by culinary professionals and a concept that spans nearly 30 years.”

Parkey said construction is expected to begin this spring with an opening scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2020.

Known for its wood-fired cuisine, the J. Alexander’s menu will feature a wide selection of American classics – hand-cut steaks, fresh seafood, prime rib of beef roasted on the bone, and premium sandwiches, along with a large assortment of interesting salads and homemade desserts.  J. Alexander’s restaurants also offer an outstanding selection of award-winning wines by the glass and bottle.

The Nashville-based company operates 47 restaurants in 16 states.
 

‘Feed your Rhythm;’ New VBC Dining Venue to Host Job Fair

In anticipation of its grand opening in March, Rhythm on Monroe will be hosting a job fair Feb. 3-4 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

As the Von Braun Center’s new dining venue, “Rhythm on Monroe brings a unique dining element to the boom in downtown Huntsville and the greater Tennessee Valley,” said Rhythm’s General Manager Stephen Ryberg. “We want everyone to ‘find their Rhythm’ and ‘feed their Rhythm’ at the corner of Monroe and Clinton.”

In partnership with Spur Staffing, Rhythm’s job fair is sure to hit a high note with locals in the service industry.

“We plan to hire between 75 and 100 team members and look forward to interacting with prospective candidates at the job fair,” said Ryberg.

Rhythm – aptly named for the variety of musical performances hosted at the Mars Music Hall – shows great promise as a full-service restaurant, featuring locally sourced ingredients and fresh urban fare.

The expansive menu will be developed and executed by Chef Andrew Vogt.

The rooftop bar will have a wide assortment craft brews, wines, and handmade cocktails. On the rooftop, guests can enjoy warming up by the fire pits, along with the evening sun as it sets over Big Spring Park.

“Rhythm will be the perfect spot for a preshow dinner, after-show cocktails, or just a great dining spot when you’re out and about,” said Steve Maples, VBC’s Executive Director.  “This is an exciting time, not only for the Von Braun Center, but for the Tennessee Valley.

“The City of Huntsville is developing at a rapid pace and is constantly attracting out-of-market visitors and enhancing the quality of life for local residents.  Adding a full-service restaurant to our entertainment center in the heart of the city is an important step in continuing that growth, and we could not have made this happen without the support of Mayor Tommy Battle and the City of Huntsville.”

Rhythm on Monroe is scheduled to open in March.  Available positions include culinary crew, hosts/hostesses, bartenders, servers, food runners and dishwashers.

It is recommended that those interested in attending  register online at http://bit.ly/RhythmJobFair.

Mixed-use Development Planned for Former Governors Drive Motel Site

A mixed-use development, including a 100-room hotel, is planned for the site of a former motel and small businesses on Governors Drive in Huntsville’s growing Westside.

The property, some 13 acres of land on Governors Drive near the intersections with 13th and 14th streets, will be developed by The Beach Company. Construction is planned to start this summer.

According to an announcement from The Beach Company, the community will feature multiple buildings totaling approximately 26,000 square feet of office, retail and dining space in addition to 260 multifamily units, 14 townhomes and a 100-key hotel.

Residential amenities will include a pool, a fitness area, a clubhouse and ample green space with a dog park.

The planned project will complement the nearby Stovehouse development and will feature pedestrian walkways between them.

“This community addition will help continue the momentum of growth along Governors Drive through increased walkability and connectivity,” said Ned Miller, development manager with The Beach Company. “The project was thoughtfully designed to enhance the experience of the growing number of residents and businesses expanding to Huntsville’s flourishing Westside.”

To accommodate for the new community, approximately 620 parking spaces will be made available to residents and visitors in addition to garage storage available for apartment and townhome residents.

The Beach Company has developed the Sixth South mixed-use community in Nashville and Chattanooga’s River Rock community.

 

It’s All About Compliance: NAITA to Host International Regulations Seminar

While Export Control Reform changes have relaxed the controls on defense-related items and technology, it has made understanding and complying with the regulations even more complicated.

Compliance is everything and it’s important for businesses to learn how to avoid potential pitfalls.

On Feb. 17-20, the North Alabama International Trade Association will host the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, Export Administration Regulations, and Office of Foreign Assets Controls & Embargoes event at the Westin Hotel at Bridge Street. This in-depth, comprehensive seminar will be presented by the Export Compliance Training Institute. The first two days will be devoted to ITAR; days 3 and 4 will be focused on topics related to EAR/OFAC.

The shift of many military and space items from the ITAR to the EAR obliges exporters to learn the challenging ins and outs of maintaining compliance.

Recent ECR changes, as well as the potential of coming changes from a new administration can have a significant impact on compliance programs. This event will provide novice and experienced export compliance professionals with a comprehensive education on complying with United States export regulations.

Featured presenters are Marc Binder, Maarten Sengers and Jonathan Young.

Binder, a licensed Customs broker with ITC Strategies, is certified in the field of HAZMAT transportation. Sengers is a principal with BSG Consulting, an export compliance consultant group based in Washington and has more than 20 years of advisory experience on all aspects of EAR, ITAR and U.S. sanctions compliance. Young has served as a military intelligence analyst before his export compliance career. With a corporate background in managing AES filings, export classification and due diligence screening, Young provides Industry perspective for the Air Force and Nissan North America. 

ECTI trains companies on compliance with regards to export, import, transaction and activity regulations administered by the U.S. Departments of Commerce, State and Treasury. Each year, ECTI presents seminars throughout the world and offers customized training programs designed to help businesses stay compliant with U.S. trade controls.

“NAITA has partnered with ECTI for a number of years in bringing this valuable training to Huntsville, and we highly recommend their hands-on practical approach to our business community,” said Amanda Berkey, Senior International Trade Specialist, Madison County Commission/NAITA. “Export control and compliance training is critical for North Alabama’s aerospace, defense, and high-tech companies, and ECTI even finds a way to make this dry regulatory subject entertaining.”

NAITA is a business-driven organization committed to increasing knowledge, interest, and activity in international trade in North Alabama. NAITA’s mission is to provide international trade advocacy, training, and networking to promote economic growth in North Alabama.

As a nonprofit membership organization, NAITA provides an international networking forum, education relating to trade issues, and prepares businesses for global success. NAITA is managed by the Madison County Commission International Trade Development Center and strives to be the regional resource for international trade development.

To register, visit http://ow.ly/40CI50xLV8y

 

HSV CEO Cites ‘Team Effort,’ ‘Community Support’ for No. 1 Status

Balloons dropped over the ticket counters at Huntsville International Airport after USA Today announced HSV was named the No. 1 Small Airport in the U.S.

Madison Mayor Paul Finley and Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong joined Rick Tucker, airport CEO, for a public celebration, complete with sparkling champagne, party hats and horns.

USA Today’s 10Best.com announced in December that HSV was among the final 10 to be nominated. The airport began an online voting effort asking visitors to vote often and share the link.

Tucker directed his thanks to the community since it was their votes that clearly put HSV over the top.

“Congratulations for making Huntsville International Airport the number one small airport in the U.S.,” Tucker said to thunderous applause. “We are ecstatic that HSV has been chosen by voters as North America’s best small airport for USA Today‘s 10 Best Readers’ Choice awards.

Rick Tucker, CEO of Huntsville International Airport: “We are so grateful to the community for supporting HSV by voting.” (Photo/Kimberly Ballard)

This was definitely a team effort and we worked each and every day to provide excellent service to passengers, but we also work to represent this region well so that a visitor’s experience will reflect positively on the state of Alabama as whole.

“We are so grateful to our community for supporting HSV by voting. We share this honor with them and will continue to work hard to provide North Alabama and Southern Tennessee residents with even more great options at their local airport.”

According to Jana Kuner, public relations manager for the airport, celebratory parties are planned around the Tennessee Valley to thank businesses and residents for voting.

“We will host a party that is free to the public at the new Mars Music Hall in Downtown Huntsville on Saturday, March 7, from 7-10 p.m.,” she said. “The party will feature local cover band Juice and will serve to kick off a series of celebratory events throughout 2020.”

Kuner said the “pop-up” parties will be held across North Alabama, “Since we are a regional airport, we want to celebrate this designation with all of our passengers.”

For information on the HSV Kick-Off Celebration Party in March and the other HSV pop-up parties, visit  FlyHuntsville.com, the airport’s Facebook page and Twitter @FlyHSV.