forty forty@forty forty ALUMNI
From the Chancellor ............................................................................................................................ 3
Auburn Montgomery at 40: Building on Our Successes ....................................................................4-9
40 Years of Success .....................................................................................................................10-11
Prince Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz .........................................................................................................12
Brian Audia............................................................................................................................................. 12-13
Wil and Denella Ausborn ........................................................................................................................ 13-14
Faye S. Baggiano .........................................................................................................................................14
Joyce Bigbee ...............................................................................................................................................15
James Blake ................................................................................................................................................15
Lynn Clardy Bright ........................................................................................................................................16
Rick Bright ............................................................................................................................................. 16-17
Yung Bui-Kincer ..................................................................................................................................... 17-18
Chavatchai “Chai” Chamnong ................................................................................................................ 18-19
Ronald Jay Cieutat ................................................................................................................................. 19-20
Tom F. Clement ............................................................................................................................................20
David Cobb ............................................................................................................................................ 20-21
Stan Cox ................................................................................................................................................ 21-22
Michael J. Crow ...........................................................................................................................................22
Clint Darby ............................................................................................................................................. 22-23
Wallace L. Darneille ......................................................................................................................................23
Terry G. Davis ...............................................................................................................................................24
J. Tyler “Ty” Fondren ............................................................................................................................... 24-25
Lewis Gillis ...................................................................................................................................................25
Hugh R. Harris .............................................................................................................................................26
Bradley Jacoby ...................................................................................................................................... 26-27
Annamarie Jones ................................................................................................................................... 27-28
Michele Kane ...............................................................................................................................................28
Charlie M. Lassister ......................................................................................................................................29
Mike Lenhart .......................................................................................................................................... 29-30
Greg McClellan ....................................................................................................................................... 30-31
Tracey S. McCooey ......................................................................................................................................31
Richard Myers ........................................................................................................................................ 31-32
Diane Neese ........................................................................................................................................... 32-33
Henry Shelton ........................................................................................................................................ 34-35
Allen Smoot............................................................................................................................................ 35-36
Gary Soriano ................................................................................................................................................36
Joyce Varner .......................................................................................................................................... 36-37
Carl Whatley ........................................................................................................................................... 37-38
Mark Wilder ..................................................................................................................................................38
Auburn Montgomery Auburn Montgomery
forty forty@forty forty
Chancellor From the
As Auburn University at Montgomery has celebrated its 40th anniversary this year,
one thing has become clear: Although it is young by collegiate standards, Auburn
Montgomery has had a tremendous impact on the community and on the men
40 at 40 is published by Auburn University at
and women who have matriculated here. Nowhere is that more evident than in the
Montgomery in commemoration of its 40 years of
educating students from the River Region and around biographies featured in this publication.
the world. It is produced by the Office of University
Relations. The early vision for Auburn Montgomery was that it would build a strong
undergraduate program, provide opportunities for adult education and develop
graduate programs for business, government, public administration and education.
Publisher Without a doubt, it has fulfilled those missions. AUM is well known for challenging
John G. Veres III
its students with a rigorous curriculum and gifted faculty. Our master’s program in public administration is among the
Editor top one-third in the nation. It, along with the Master’s programs in our Schools of Sciences and Business and justice
Susan Salter and public safety have helped train two chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and countless judges, business leaders,
and government officials. The School of Liberal Arts has produced an impressive array of artists, performers and
Designer scholars. Graduates of the School of Nursing are snapped up by employers – often while they are still completing
Aaron Fraze their course work. The School of Business is internationally respected and accredited and is drawing students from
around the globe. The School of Education consistently earns the highest marks from area school administrators for
the quality and skill of its graduates. The list of success goes on and on.
Frank C. Williams
Copy Editors As the first Auburn Montgomery alumnus to serve as its chancellor, I am particularly proud of our accomplishments.
David Granger I am proud to be counted among the alumni of an institution that has helped shape the distinguished careers of the
Carolyn Kinney individuals described in this volume. Yet, far from resting on its laurels, Auburn Montgomery continues to challenge
Frank Miles itself to grow and improve. We have an extraordinary number of new initiatives under way around campus, initiatives
that address just about every aspect of our academic and student life. I invite you to come see for yourself what
Contributing Writers continues to make Auburn University at Montgomery an AUMazing place to learn and work!
Carolyn Kinney John G. Veres III
Christine Kneidinger Chancellor
P.O. Box 244023
Montgomery, AL 36124-4023
Auburn Montgomery Auburn Montgomery
forty forty@forty forty
Forty-two years ago, it got only the briefest of mentions in the
Montgomery Advertiser: a two-paragraph item on page 2
announcing passage of a $5 million bond issue for construction
of a four-year college in Montgomery.
Two years later, with significantly more public attention,
Auburn University at Montgomery launched its first classes in
what had been the University of Alabama Center downtown.
As classes began, construction continued on a 500-acre
campus on what was then the far eastern edge of the state
capital. It would take two more years to complete the first
two buildings, housing the library, classrooms and faculty
and administrative offices, and for Auburn Montgomery as it
exists today to begin to take shape.
Physical & Academic Growth
In the four decades since, Auburn Montgomery has grown
by every measure. Buildings now include an iconic library
tower and facilities for nursing, the sciences, business,
education/liberal arts and physical education. Campus also
includes fields for baseball, softball and soccer; tennis courts;
two residence halls; and the Taylor Center, which houses
the cafeteria, Theatre AUM, student services, the campus
bookstore, a computer lab and more. Academic enrollment has
Building on Our Success
risen from 600 students to almost 6,000; Continuing Education
Auburn Montgomery Auburn Montgomery
forty forty@forty forty
prices. The details of the appropriation have not been Part and parcel of the strategy for reaching the 8,000
formally announced. However, it is the first time Auburn mark is increasing Auburn Montgomery’s international
Montgomery has received such funding from the federal student population – though the numbers are not the
government. primary goal. Veres believes there are a variety of strong
academic and cultural reasons to grow that program.
AUM also is part of a team of universities that received a
$3 million grant from the National Science Foundation to “I think in the short term it is going to increase the
help students with disabilities earn degrees in science, diversity of our campus and provide students the
technology, engineering and mathematics and, ultimately, opportunity to acquire the skills they are going to need in
enter the workforce. Auburn Montgomery’s share of the a world that increasingly is getting smaller,” said Veres,
funding is $279,930 over five years. who has championed international recruitment and
believes strongly in what it can bring to AUM.
The university is prepared to create the new majors and
increase research in no small part because of the faculty “We’ve done a good job, I think, of helping our students
members it continues to attract. understand how the world works academically,” he
enrollment has exploded, rising from 222 to more than said. “At an intellectual level, we have long provided the “In the best of all possible worlds, we would enroll 50 to
10,000; and programs of study have increased from 16 “What excites me most is probably our ability to continue information to help prepare them (for a shrinking world).” 100 students from each of 10 to 12 different countries,
to more than 90, including a number of degrees and to attract energetic, caring and academically well representing multiple continents. In my mind that would
prepared faculty because the faculty is the lifeblood of However, as Veres has often noted publicly, a significant
options in fields not even envisioned 40 years ago. be ideal in terms of maximizing the educational benefits
the institution,” Veres said, noting that he believes AUM portion of Auburn Montgomery’s students – many of
of internationalization,” he said.
In fact, Chancellor John G. Veres, the first alumnus continues not just to sustain its reputation for academic whom are first generation college students – have never
to lead the university, counts Auburn Montgomery’s rigor but also to enhance it. left Alabama, much less the region or the country. Thus, Continuing Impact
ability to create new, interesting academic programs it becomes critical for the university to bring the world to Veres also foresees a continuation of the strong efforts
among its most significant accomplishments of the last “The more senior faculty are really the people who are them, exposing them to different cultures and viewpoints, Auburn Montgomery has made to reach out to the area’s
decade. The creations include undergraduate programs attracting the newer faculty and renewing the long he said. international community and to the River Region at large.
in organizational leadership, hospitality and tourism tradition of academic excellence and even expanding it.”
and sports leadership as well as graduate programs Likewise, the chancellor sees a significant benefit to the On the international front, Dr. Yaw Chin Ho, special
Enrollment Growth nation in providing international students the opportunity assistant to the chancellor for international affairs, is
in nursing, cyber systems and information security,
Auburn Montgomery also is making a concerted effort to get to know Americans and American culture working to pair foreign born students with area families
homeland security and educational technology.
to grow its enrollment to 8,000 students in the next firsthand. “It creates a better understanding of who we from their home countries. The host family program
“These are all signs of a healthy institution working to few years. Currently at 5,555, enrollment has increased are and what we stand for when they return to their is expected to help the students adapt to life in the
meet its students’ needs,” Veres said. steadily over the last four fall semesters. In addition, home countries. It’s almost creating a kind of cultural U.S. more quickly and to strengthen relations with the
for spring semester of 2010, enrollment is up by more diplomacy in both directions,” he said. international community.
“The world is changing at an increasingly rapid pace. than 9 percent compared to last spring, with graduate
We have to remain relevant, which means changing program enrollment up a whopping 19.25 percent, or Currently, Auburn Montgomery enrolls more than 160 For the region as a whole, Auburn Montgomery’s biggest
constantly to meet the demands placed on our students 148 students, over last spring. international students from 42 countries. The largest impact has been and will continue to be the knowledge
by an ever-changing world. Over the long haul, the group is from China, not surprising given that the and skills of its graduates – the vast majority of whom
challenge is to preserve the core of what we transmit to university currently has formal exchange agreements stay in the Montgomery metropolitan area.
future generations while changing and adapting to meet with 16 Chinese universities, including the College of
the needs of a changing world,” Veres said. International Studies at Hunan University, the University “We contribute substantially to the economic
of South China and Xi’an University of Finance and development of the region, first and foremost by
Concurrently, Auburn Montgomery increasingly is Economics. producing students that employers want to hire because
emphasizing faculty research and the securing of grants of the skills they have when they leave us,” Veres said.
and appropriations to fund that work. For example, the Among Auburn Montgomery’s international enrollment
2010 federal appropriation includes funding for biofuel there are also large contingents of Korean and Icelandic But faculty, staff and entire divisions also are major
research Biology Professor Ben Okeke is conducting. students, and Veres would like to see numbers grow contributors to the quality of life here, he said. Among the
Specifically, Okeke is developing a process for making from a variety of other nations as well until total many, Interim Vice Chancellor Keivan Deravi – recently
ethanol from sawdust, grass clippings, tree limbs and international enrollment is somewhere around 10 labeled the “go to guy” in the Montgomery Chamber of
other agricultural and forest waste – products whose use percent. Commerce’s Montgomery Business Journal – has been
would not wreak havoc on the food supply or drive up involved in virtually every major economic development
project in the State of Alabama over the last two
Auburn Montgomery Auburn Montgomery
forty forty@forty forty
the 2010 undergraduate curriculum, and the Auburn students, employees and alumni as well as student Veres also noted that students have been active part of
Montgomery School of Education jointly operates a meeting space, classrooms and a new home for the the planning for the facility, which creates a strong model
program to support K-12 reading teachers with the Human Performance Lab. Slated to be located near the for students and administration working together on
Auburn colleges of education and liberal arts. And those Taylor Road entrance, the building will have a largely future projects.
are just the tip of the academic iceberg. glass facade that designers believe will create a striking
new image for campus, particularly at night. In addition to the new look the center will create, a
Another significant collaboration has been the creation new Master Plan for the university calls for a complete
two years ago of the Seamless Admission program, The potential impact? The former president of the reworking of the campus entrance to improve the
which provides an alternative admission option for University of Alabama-Huntsville credits his campus’ appearance and ease traffic congestion as well as the
students who initially had their acceptance at Auburn wellness center with significantly increasing the school’s planting of many more trees to beautify the area. It also
deferred. The program allows participants to take enrollment. “I expect we shall witness see similar results,” proposes the addition of an atrium on the front of Taylor
their first year of coursework as Auburn Montgomery Veres said. Center and an adjacent outdoor eating/gathering/Wi-Fi
students and take courses at either the Auburn or area that will provide more student-oriented space. Plans
Auburn Montgomery campus. If they complete 30 credit The center is expected to greatly enhance the vitality of also are on the drawing board to renovate the interior
hours in that first year and earn at least a 2.5 cumulative campus life by giving students a place to play and gather of Taylor Center to put student services together with a
decades; English Professor Nancy Anderson continues grade point average, they are guaranteed admission socially as well as a place for club meetings, Veres said. common waiting area to make it easier for students to
to lead the highly successful Young Writers Project, to AU. They must also meet any specific admission find the offices that serve them most.
It also should create a tremendous opportunity for faculty
which builds both the skills and the passion for writing in requirements for their major such as for nursing or
and staff to develop or maintain a healthy lifestyle and
students whose academic success would otherwise be education. Also in the master plan is the suggestion that the next
give alumni a reason to come back to campus since
largely an uphill battle; and Biology Associate Professor two academic buildings be built around the perimeter of
Beginning in fall 2010, Seamless students taking their they, too, will be able to use the facility, he said.
John Aho works with area stream restoration projects. the Moore Hall parking lot, creating what the plan calls a
courses at AU will be allowed to live on campus and will South Quad.
In addition, it will give the Human Performance Lab much
On a still larger scale, numerous centers within the participate in certain AU activities, including the common
needed space to expand their research into exercise
University Outreach Division work with state and book study and learning communities, which is expected Full implementation of the plan will take decades but
physiology, he said.
local government agencies in Alabama and beyond, to help them more easily assimilate into the Auburn provides a solid strategy for growth.
providing services that range from helping them plan culture when they transfer as sophomores. The Wellness Center proposal will go before the Auburn
for continuation of services in the event of disasters Board of Trustees for approval at its June 2010 meeting. “I think the master plan provides a pathway to growing
to developing and implementing legally sound hiring In the short term, Veres said, the program benefits our campus to 8,000 students, which is one of our
If approved, construction likely will start in the fall.
practices. Among the most high profile of those projects Auburn Montgomery financially. A significant portion of goals,” Veres said, adding that the more inviting
currently is the Center for Government’s work with the the students who have enrolled to date have been from Veres said one of the most exciting parts of the plan is appearance will be a recruiting tool because campus
State of Alabama, the state Department of Education, out of state. that construction and operation of the center are being appearance is almost always among the top five factors
the Criminal Justice Information Center and the Alabama made possible by students’ willingness to essentially tax students consider in choosing a university.
“With our shrinking state appropriation, Seamless
Supercomputer Authority to develop the Virtual Alabama themselves. Students approved a referendum raising
Admission represents an alternative source of revenue,”
School Safety System. As part of the project, CGOV their student activities fee last fall. “It’s a blueprint for making our campus the kind of place
Veres said. “In the long run, Seamless Admissions
is mapping public schools to give those who would be students will want to attend,” he said.
can serve as a recruiting tool. While the majority of
first responders in the event of an emergency detailed
(Seamless) students want to matriculate at AU, there
information about the school buildings.
were students in the first year’s class who elected to
continue at AUM. We hope more such students will
choose AUM in the future.”
Looking to the future, Veres said he also sees great
potential in the growing collaboration between Auburn A Changing Campus
Montgomery and Auburn University. Rather than A key component of the effort to grow enrollment is
continuing to be separate, disparate entities, the two Auburn Montgomery’s plan to improve the students’
campuses have begun to work as a unitary system, overall experience by creating additional student space
he said. The fruits of that are evident in a variety of and improving the appearance of campus.
programs, including the master’s degrees in nursing
and cyber security, through which faculty members on To that end, the university plans construction of a
both campuses have worked together. Likewise, the 70,000-square-foot Wellness Center that will provide
nursing faculties on the two campuses jointly developed an indoor pool, ball courts and workout facilities for
Auburn Montgomery Auburn Montgomery
forty forty@forty forty
In 40 short years, Auburn Montgomery has built
a solid reputation for academic quality – a
reputation built in large part on the tremendous
accomplishments of its graduates. In the pages
that follow, you will find business leaders,
scientists, doctors, educators, attorneys, social
crusaders and more. A diverse group to be
sure, but one that represents the wide array
of talented individuals who have earned their
degrees here over the last four decades.
The group also represents just a fraction of
outstanding Auburn Montgomery alumni who
could have been spotlighted. The selection of
the 40 at 40 honorees began with nominations
by the deans of the university’s five academic
schools and other top administrators. From
there, Auburn Montgomery leaders spent
countless hours reviewing the accomplishments
– professional, personal and civic – of the
nominees before winnowing the list to the men
years of success
and women featured here. We hope you will join us
in congratulating them on their accompishments and
thanking them and all our alumni for the honor they
bring to Auburn Montgomery.
Auburn Montgomery Auburn Montgomery
forty forty@forty forty
Prince Khaled portion of his philanthropy. His Living Oceans Foundation Since then, the program has grown nationally under Wil Ausborn
bin Sultan bin is dedicated to the preservation of ocean habitat and sea Surgance. Over 2.5 million square feet of wall space has M.S., Psychology,
Abdulaziz life. Prince Khaled also heads the Prize Council for the been painted as of 2010, and the program now reaches ‘87
M.S., Political Sultan bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water. into Washington D.C., Atlanta, Las Vegas, Denver Dr. Denella
Science, ‘80 and many other urban centers across America. New Ausborn
Brian Audia programs have been started as well, serving populations M.S., Psychology, 84
His Royal Highness B.S., Secondary with athletics, refugee and immigrant services, help
Prince Khaled bin Education, Social for children under state care, community gardens and In 1985, Wil Ausborn
Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Studies ‘94 green spaces as well as nutrition and feeding services was working with
a member of the to combat severe and acute malnutrition. Surgance mentally impaired
Saudi Royal family, Blogger, speaker and leadership, community partners and volunteers serve residents at a
earned a master’s social entrepreneur, thousands in multiple cities and countries around the development center
of political science Brian Audia is world. while waiting for law
from Auburn Montgomery in 1980 while simultaneously changing the world school to start. He
attending Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base. through innovation with Prior to his work in New York, Audia was director of had a bachelor’s and
While his royal roots are noteworthy, it was his generous an inner drive to make missions operations at the 16,000-member First Baptist master’s degrees
contribution of $1.25 million to AUM that made major it a better place for Church of Woodstock, Ga. While there, he developed in criminal justice.
headlines. The first portion of his gift, $250,000, was used people everywhere. many of the systems and structures the church still uses Denella Lazenby
for fellowships during the 2006-2007 school year. The today to mobilize and manage volunteers. was about to go
Audia is the president and CEO of Surgance, a nonprofit
remaining $1 million has been contributed over a four-year into a meeting
organization that develops innovative solutions to social
period to establish the Khaled bin Sultan Global Initiative. His leadership material has been used to train well with someone to
problems and delivers community transformation. over 2,500 project leaders around the world in socially discuss the care and
“Auburn University at Montgomery is fortunate to Surgance, he said, unites uncommon partners on responsible community investment. He traveled treatment of patients
count His Royal Highness Prince Khaled bin Sultan bin common ground issues to change lives. extensively and worked with a broad coalition to develop in a residence center.
Abdulaziz among our most distinguished alumni,” said strategies to invest in over 40 countries, including
John Veres, AUM chancellor. “His Royal Highness Prince Additionally, Audia is the president and CEO of Brian activities such as earthquake relief in Turkey and the And so, Wil Ausborn and Denella Lazenby met for the
Khaled served as commander of joint forces during a D. Audia and Associates, which provides speaking, Direct Observation Treatment System to eliminate first time.
pivotal time in modern history, the first Gulf War, becoming consulting and training services for organizations tuberculosis in Afghanistan. These working coalitions
one of the chief architects of the liberation of Kuwait. It attempting to strengthen their community outreach. included governments, armed forces, the Red Cross She had wanted to be a psychologist since she was a
is humbling to realize that such an accomplished and and the Red Crescent, as well as other nonprofit child, but he had been sure he would always go into law.
influential person, a person known around the world, And, as if two CEO posts weren’t enough, he also is organizations and faith-based groups, preparing him for Working with disadvantaged, developmentally disabled
has helped shape Auburn Montgomery’s efforts in a corporate trainer and professional facilitator for The a life in social collaboration. children had begun to pique his interest in psychology, so
international affairs.” WildWorks Group, a Dallas organization that helps
he isn’t surprised that his career path changed. He gives
organizations learn to hold result-oriented conversations Audia holds a degree in secondary education with an credit for that change to daily conversations with Denella.
Khaled was born into the Royal Saudi Family of Al Saud as a basis for making lasting changes. emphasis on social studies from Auburn Montgomery. He was impressed by her knowledge of psychology and
and is the grandson of the nation’s founder. He has
While at AUM he played varsity baseball, lettering four the intellectual rigor required in the field.
received military training and earned degrees from some From 2004 through 2006, Audia was executive director of times and playing on two World Series teams, including
of the world’s finest facilities, including the Royal Military New Hope New York, a faith-based nonprofit organization the national championship finalist team of 1990. He was Because she was an Auburn Montgomery alumna,
Academy in Sandhurst, England. in Manhattan that produced the popular “Paint the the team’s Most Valuable Player as a senior and later Denella recommended the school for a master’s degree
Town” program. Paint the Town provided a platform
“(He) has been extremely generous to Auburn went on to coach as a graduate assistant while working in psychology. Both of them worked under the same
where government, big business, faith-based groups,
Montgomery,” Veres said. “His Royal Highness began toward a master’s degree in educational administration. professors and loved the program. Denella feels like she
universities and community-based organizations from
funding the Prince Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz was part of a great master’s program in psychology, and
across the city volunteered to paint needy inner-city
Eminent Scholar in International Relations in 1987. It While in school, Brian caught the entrepreneurial bug and even cites previous professor, Dr. W.O. Jenkins, with
schools. When it was finished, over 1.2 million square feet
was a milestone accomplishment for our university. His began his career in business that continues to this day. encouraging her to work towards a doctorate degree
of wall space had been covered. In August of 2006, New
continuing generosity has funded international travel for in psychology. Wil agrees, noting that both Jenkins and
York Mayor Michael Bloomberg recognized the program
AUM faculty and students, scholarships in our Master of former assistant professor Patrick Slattery helped him
for its impact in the city.
International Relations program, and greatly enhanced our along. He credits them with helping to organize and
efforts to reach out to the international community.” shape his initial thoughts about human behavior and
Khaled’s support of his alma mater represents only a individual differences within society.
Auburn Montgomery Auburn Montgomery
forty forty@forty forty
After Wil graduated from AUM in 1987, they married and, Baggiano earned her Master of Public Administration Joyce Bigbee James E. Blake
in 1989, moved to Atlanta where they would both pursue at Auburn Montgomery while raising five young children M.P.A., ‘78 B.S.B.A.,
doctoral degrees at Argosy University. During this time, and serving as executive director of the Montgomery Accounting, ‘75
they managed school work and the birth of their two Area Council on Aging. Just six months later, she landed When Joyce Bigbee
sons, the eldest born during the first year of their doctoral the first of two cabinet-level posts when Gov. Fob graduated from James Blake is a
studies and the youngest during the second year. James tapped her to lead the Alabama Department of Auburn Montgomery 1975 graduate of the
Human Resources. Following a successful stint there, in 1978 with a Auburn Montgomery
“Indeed, this presented many logistical challenges, but she accepted an appointment as commissioner of the master’s degree in School of Business,
throughout the program, we seemed to endure,” Wil Alabama Medicaid Agency. She later was reappointed by public administration, where he earned
said. Gov. George Wallace. she had no idea that a bachelor’s
one day she would degree in business
Endure they did. The pair currently works together
Baggiano’s successes as a leader garnered attention be in charge of giving administration with
in Atlanta as private practitioners and with Northlake
from beyond Alabama and earned her a presidential financial advice to the Alabama Legislature on every an emphasis on
Medical Research Center, which Wil founded in 2002.
appointment as associate administrator of the U. S. major law it passes. accounting.
Northlake is a multidisciplined, culturally diverse research
Department of Health and Human Services, Centers
center involved in FDA-approved psychiatric clinical While she was still a student, Rex McDowell, the director He joined Aldridge, Borden & Company, a full service
for Medicare and Medicaid. Her 25-year career as an
research trials. Wil serves as the center’s president and of the Legislative Fiscal Office – the office that advises public accounting firm, in 1975 and was admitted as a
executive also has extended into the corporate world,
CEO while Denella is vice president of pharmacy. the legislature on the financial impact of all proposed shareholder in 1978. Blake became president of Aldridge
where she has served as president of two multibillion
laws – spoke to Bigbee’s class and piqued her curiosity Borden in 1980. He currently serves as president
Denella has specialized training in forensics and dollar corporations.
about the work he did. By the time graduation rolled and managing shareholder of the firm. He provides
neuropsychology and also works as an investigator/
around, Bigbee had landed a job in his office. Her first attestation and tax services to tax-exempt organizations,
research coordinator for new pharmaceutical drugs. Wil She has been recognized for her extraordinary
promotion came shortly thereafter, and in 1987, she associations, closely held businesses and individuals.
has specialized training in forensic psychology and an commitments and leadership, with accomplishments
became director of the LFO.
interest in the onset of severe mental illness in children ranging from being a founding member of Women
Beyond his responsibilities as president of the firm,
and adolescents. Executives in State Government and Women Business Bigbee and her team of 17 analyze bills and draft Blake has exhibited a strong commitment to community
Leaders in Health Care to serving on the board of summaries of their fiscal impact on the state of Alabama. involvement. Among his many contributions, he is a
Wil thinks that the obstacles they faced during doctoral directors and as fund development chair for the U.S. Despite the demands of her job, Bigbee has still made former treasurer of the East Montgomery Exchange
studies helped create the bond that makes working National Health Museum in Washington. In addition, time to push herself to improve. After earning her Club and is a member of the Montgomery Lions Club.
together much easier. she has represented the U.S. Council on International master’s degree, she went back to school for a law He serves on the board of directors of the Downtown
Business at the OECD in Paris for six years. She was the degree and soon passed the Alabama Bar Exam.
“I sincerely believe that it was during (the doctoral work) Montgomery YMCA and has served as chairman of the
first female since the l950s to be elected to the board of
we developed a working appreciation and infinite bond Budget and Allocations Committee of the River Region
the Health Insurance Association of America in 2001. The philosophy at LFO is that the organization’s task is
for one another that goes beyond the marital union and United Way.
“to ultimately serve the public.” It is a philosophy that
ultimately led to the consolidation of our work life.”
Baggiano, who earned her bachelor’s degree in English carries over into Bigbee’s life outside the office, where Blake has held volunteer executive positions with
from Auburn Montgomery, serves on the Women’s she donates her time and skills to various charities. In all numerous associations benefiting children and
Faye S. areas of her life, she says she focuses on maintaining the
Leadership Institute Advisory Board at Auburn University. education, including treasurer and board member of
Baggiano high expectations and the personal integrity instilled in
After such a varied career, Baggiano believes the true Brantwood Children’s Home, commissioner of the Dixie
B.A., English, ‘79
strength of her MPA program was the reality-focused her by her parents. Baseball and Softball National League, president of the
learning environment. Because so many of her fellow Morningview Elementary School PTA, president of the
students also held executive positions, the open That attitude toward life has been noticed by her peers.
Capital Heights Junior High School PTSA, president of
If you ever thought She has often been asked to serve on accreditation
discussions and collaboration gave her a rich, multitiered the Robert E. Lee High School PTSA, treasurer of the
graduate school was teams and has won several awards, including Auburn
view of problem solving methods and organizational Montgomery County Council of PTA and vice chairman
impossible while Montgomery’s Distinguished Graduate award, which she
challenges, she said. of the Auburn Montgomery Alumni Association.
working full time and received in 1996.
leading a household
In fact, AUM’s diverse student body and approach to Additionally, Blake is active in several professional
as a spouse and While her professional goals are lofty – to find a way to
learning are just a few of the reasons she feels confident organizations, including the American Institute of Certified
parent, you can look fund important services that the citizens of Alabama
that her granddaughter will enjoy the same advantages Public Accountants, the Alabama Society of Certified
to Dr. Faye Baggiano as a source of inspiration. need that are essential for health, safety and education
when she enrolls at AUM this fall. Public Accountants and the Delta Epsilon Kappa
– her personal challenge to herself is less flashy. She
Accounting Honor Society.
merely wants to maintain her health and her enthusiasm
Auburn Montgomery Auburn Montgomery
forty forty@forty forty
Lynn Clardy Among her many awards are the American Business “My goal was to make vaccines for the world, to help at Emory and then on to nine years at the Centers for
Bright Women's Association 1985 Woman of the Year, the people in the world,” Bright said. “I really feel like what Disease Control and Prevention, where he focused on
B.S., Justice and Soroptimist International of Montgomery's 1994 Woman I’m doing is helping people. I’m not making as much human and avian influenza viruses, specifically studying
Public Safety, ‘75 of Distinction and the Montgomery Unit of the National money, but it is much more rewarding.” how some viruses resisted anti-viral drugs.
Association of Social Workers' 1996 Public Citizen of the
During her 25 Year. Bright describes his current roles with PATH as 50 He is also the author of more than 20 articles and
years as presiding percent research, 50 percent politics. In the research chapters on influenza, vaccines and related subjects; has
district judge for Bright also worked to improve of the quality of life for capacity, he continues to focus on developing vaccines served on editorial boards and as a reviewer for several
Montgomery County, residents of Montgomery while her husband, Bobby, now to combat any potential pandemic virus, including H5N1, scientific journals; and is a frequent guest lecturer.
Lynn Clardy Bright a congressman, was the city’s mayor. commonly known as bird flu, and H1N1, the virus once
“AUM is where I learned the foundation for all of it. The
earned a well known as swine flu.
“The most meaningful efforts were those which were trust and confidence of the faculty speaks highly for
accomplished through partnerships with the faith In his political role, Bright travels frequently (he logged what I’ve built in my life. If it wasn’t for AUM and the
as an innovator.
community such as the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, the 250,000 miles last year) to developing countries, people there – of course I had a great education – but
From the creation of a docket specifically to handle DUI One Movement and the Jubilee Sunrise Service,” she particularly in Asia, and helps them develop the capacity the people took me under their wing … and gave me the
cases to the creation of another specifically for domestic said. to produce their own vaccine supplies. That means opportunity. I wouldn’t be here today and wouldn’t be
violence cases to the creation of a drug court, Bright’s working with the nations’ health ministries on policy able to help anyone.”
“The opportunity I had in the early 70s at a very young
vision resulted in a more effective way of handling cases issues, setting up plants where vaccines are or will be
university, AUM, influenced me in ways I still feel today,” Yung Bui-Kincer
that can have high recidivism rates. made, ensuring quality control issues are considered and
Bright said, noting that her professors were interested B.S., Secondary
addressed, fundraising – anything that creates capacity
“The offenses on these dockets require an approach and involved with the students, guiding them personally Education, Biology,
and assures safety.
which includes a focus on the core issues along with and reinforcing their accomplishments. ‘03
additional court supervision,” Bright said recently. “It’s so important to teach companies and countries M.Ed., Secondary
“I required the defendant to address the underlying
to make their own vaccines in the country. It assures Education, Biology,
B.S., Biology, ‘97
problems.” access. In a pandemic, the supplies are so limited and ‘06
the largest countries are buying most of the supplies,” he
That might mean, in cases of substance abuse, for Dr. Rick Bright has
said. “It is still highly likely that a bird flu pandemic could Yung Bui-Kincer’s
example, that the defendants were subject to regular spent his whole
start in southeast Asia. If they have the ability to produce journey from a child in
drug and alcohol testing, along with court-enforced career with the flu.
the vaccine there, we have a better chance of stopping it war torn Vietnam to
treatment. It’s taken him from
before it spreads (worldwide).” the 2009-10 Alabama
the research labs Teacher of the Year began in dramatic fashion.
“The success we saw in these efforts was, without a at the CDC to the Bright’s expertise also landed him as an ad hoc advisor
doubt, the most rewarding aspect of my job,” Bright halls of governments In 1975, after the fall of Saigon, she fled her home
to the World Health Organization’s H1N1 Vaccine Task
said. to manufacturing country of Vietnam. Just a child at the time, Bui-Kincer
Force last year.
facilities in cities became separated from her mother in the chaos while
The efforts also became an enduring legacy since Bright
throughout the developing world. And, at the end of the It’s a far cry from the day he came to Auburn trying to escape. Left in the care of her aunt and uncle,
had the opportunity to share her passion for them with
day, that suits him just fine. Montgomery with six transcripts in hand – evidence of she set off with them to start a new life outside Vietnam.
other judges by teaching the subjects to all new district
his history of starting and stopping college. Convinced
judges with the Alabama Judicial College. Bright, who earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from at the time he wanted to be a physician, Bright found an “I was out in the ocean on a boat and airlifted to Guam
Auburn Montgomery and later a master’s and Ph.D. in
Although retired now, Bright keeps her hand in the legal advisor and supporter in Dr. Jeff Barksdale, who then in a U.S. military cargo plane,” she recalls. That same
immunology and virology from Emory University, has
profession with service on the faculty of the National worked in AUM’s medical technology program, and year, she came to the U.S., sponsored by a church in
spent more than a decade researching and developing
Judicial College and the Alabama Judicial College. in others in the program who helped him begin doing Nebraska.
vaccines against influenza viruses with the potential to research on DNA vaccines as an undergraduate and
She also is continuing to build on a strong record of trigger pandemics. “I left the refugee camp in Guam and flew to Hawaii,
even helped pay for his hotel room when he went to sit
community service. She serves on the board of First for the medical college admission test. where I had my first American hamburger and Lay’s
Though he spent a portion of his career in the private
Baptist Campus Ministries and the boards of directors potato chips.”
sector, where he said the money and travel were
of multiple institutions for the arts, including the Ultimately, the opportunity to shadow a variety of
incredible, he has found his calling as scientific director of Meanwhile, her mother had no idea she had made it out
Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Montgomery Ballet and physicians at a local hospital changed his mind about
the Influenza Vaccine Project and director of the Vaccine alive, and it would be 25 years before they were reunited.
Montgomery Symphony Orchestra. medical school, but Bright said the AUM relationships
Capacity Building in the Vietnam Project for PATH, an But Bui-Kincer, married and moved to Alabama with her
gave him the confidence to attend graduate school
international nonprofit health organization. husband and ultimately became a naturalized citizen.
Auburn Montgomery Auburn Montgomery
forty forty@forty forty
“I grew up in the U.S. and always considered this my Dr. Thavatchai science from AUM in 1992 and later graduated Steak is not so uncommon anymore. Cieutat is CEO of
home. It didn’t occur to me that I needed to go through “Chai” Summa Cum Laude from the University of Health Hemophilia Preferred Care, a $22 million-a-year business
the naturalization process and make it official,” she Chamnong Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kansas specializing in providing care to hemophiliacs and their
says. “It was relatively easy for me because I knew the B.S., Physical City. Following his residency at the Medical Center in families in alternate sites. The firm employs 105 people
country’s language and history.” Science, ‘92 Columbus, Ga., he and his wife, Crissy, returned to and offers services ranging from supplies to counseling
Montgomery to be near family. to education.
Though initially life in the U.S. was challenging, Bui-
As a doctor of
Kincer said education was her saving grace. And it Personally, the Chamnongs are involved with various Cieutat graduated from Auburn Montgomery with his
is the knowledge of how education can change lives charitable activities. They are active supporters of the bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1992 and began his
that inspires her as an environmental science teacher Montgomery Public Schools, which they both attended, career as a nurse manager for a cardio vascular intensive
at Montgomery’s Booker T. Washington Magnet High participating in PTA and chaperoning dances at Baldwin care unit. He was there for six months and loved it, but
Chamnong takes a
School. In the classroom, she strives to pass her Magnet School. He also donates to the school system; his wife had different plans, he said. She wanted to travel
holistic approach to
appreciation of learning to students by helping them his church, Holy Spirit Catholic Church; and non-profit and see the world, so he became a travel nurse. After a
treating patients, making a point to listen to what is going
make the connection between formal education and their organizations. Of these efforts, he feels that his most couple of years on the road, he answered an ad for a RN
on in their lives rather than rushing to treat the obvious
lives. rewarding accomplishment is contributing to the Holy serving disabled children for the state of Alabama and
ailment. Sometimes that even means using osteopathic
skills similar to a chiropractor to manipulate the spine and Spirit building campaign. was assigned to numerous clinics, including one that
“When students finish my class, I want them to be more
relieve pressure points. dealt with children with hemophilia.
curious about the world around them,” she said.
Bui-Kincer moved to Alabama with her husband and
“I ask what’s going on in their life and try to have a better Cieutat “I didn’t know anything about it, and they sent me all
enrolled at AUM. While studying for her bachelor’s degree
bedside manner. That’s what it comes down to,” he said, B.S., Nursing, ‘92 over the state to become educated on hemophilia,” he
in secondary education biology, she was taken under
noting that touching and listening to patients helps with said. “Hemophilia is a bleeding disorder where patients
the wing of Dr. Hank Williford, who became her mentor
the healing process. If you have a dream, don’t clot normally. They’re missing protein.”
and taught her about designing surveys, analyzing data
never give up.
and writing up analysis reports. She graduated and later Eventually, he told his boss they were missing a great
returned to earn her master’s in secondary education One of a growing number of ODs, or osteopathic
It’s a credo Cieutat opportunity to sell a medicine containing the protein
biology at AUM. doctors, in Montgomery, Chamnong is board certified in
lives by, but it hasn’t hemophilia patients are missing. “We could run this for
family medicine. He and three partners operate PriMed
always been easy. the rest of eternity because no one was doing this,” he
In addition to serving as a spokesman for public Physicians, Inc., an urgent care facility and one of the
education in Alabama during her term as teacher of largest medical practices in Montgomery. Ironically, the
the year, Bui-Kincer also is active in the Bridge Builders facility is the same one he and his family used when “I almost flunked
Though he won a state award for the idea, officials
program, which brings students from public and private he was a child – long before he thought of becoming a one class at AUM – OBGYN,” said Cieutat. “It was back
ultimately decided the state could not make money and
schools as well as home schools together to learn doctor, he said. in those days when male nurses weren’t as accepted
opted not to pursue it. So Cieutat and four others formed
leadership skills through community projects and other as they are now. We couldn’t get clinical experience
Choice Source Therapeutics and set up a clinic to work
activities. After working for the facility for six years, Chamnong and because women didn’t want you in there. I had the
with the patients beyond just the provision of medication.
his partners purchased the practice from Baptist Hospital hardest time figuring out what I was being tested on
Bui-Kincer resides in Prattville with her husband, Auvie, four years ago. because I never got to see it practiced. I almost gave up
“We had nurses that did nothing but sit with a new baby
and two teenage sons. my nursing career, and I think AUM gave me the spirit to
when it was born, helping new mothers learn about this
A native of Thailand, Chamnong and his family moved never give up no matter what.”
condition,” said Cietuat.
to Las Vegas when he was a boy and later settled in
Montgomery, where he found the schools and the At the time, Cieutat and his wife were struggling to pay CVS Caremark eventually bought the company. But, in
language challenging. bills, living off only his wife’s salary, who at the time was a 2004, when he saw the industry trending back to simply
phlebotomist at Jackson Hospital. Having no phone and providing medication by mail, Cieutat and a friend started
Despite the initial academic struggles while he was too nervous to find out if he passed or not, Cieutat had HPC to bring back the clinical aspect of the business.
learning English, he graduated from high school his wife call his professor from Hardees to find out if he
with scholarship offers from Huntingdon and Auburn had passed. Cieutat began the company with three patients; it now
Montgomery and chose the latter because of its cares for 200 on a daily basis. HPC itself has a staff of
reputation for producing students who were successful “I bet it was the lowest C I ever made, but I passed and 34 and employs 71 more through its unskilled nursing
at getting into medical school. life went on. We thought we were ‘it’ because I had business, Helping Hands of Alabama. The firm has
passed, and we went out and ate steak,” Cieutat said. offices in Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Oklahoma,
Chamnong earned his bachelor’s degree in physical Texas, Illinois and Kansas.
Auburn Montgomery Auburn Montgomery
forty forty@forty forty
where he has been a tireless supporter of the School Cobb graduated from Auburn Montgomery with a helping an Algebra II class at Lee High School with their
“We don’t take care of these kids for two or three weeks. of Business. Clement has served as the president of bachelor’s degree in marketing in 1983. During college, work one day when some of the students told me they
We basically take care of them for the rest of their lives,” the Alumni Association, president of the Advisory and Cobb learned the challenges of time management thought I could teach well.”
said Cieutat. “I know them, their families and pretty much Alumni boards and a member of the Auburn University – balancing classes, two jobs, intramural sports and
everything about them, including their cats’ and dogs’ Foundation board of directors. fraternity life. It was through his constantly busy schedule Soon after, Cox talked with teachers at the high school
names.” in college that he learned to be disciplined about and Auburn Montgomery, and he was on his way.
He also served as co-chairman of the “It Begins at managing his time, Cobb said. This trait has obviously
Cieutat resides in Mobile with his wife, Angie, and their Auburn” Montgomery regional campaign for AU and carried over into post-college life, as he has found the However, Alabama did not offer an alternative masters
four children. chairman of the “Dreams Begin at AUM” campaign. time to juggle a successful career, community activities in education during this time so he had to fulfill the
and extensive volunteer work around the world. undergraduate course work requirement. “I considered
Tom F. Clement In addition, he established the Echota Dreamcatcher this time as learning for learning’s sake,” said Cox, who
M.B.A., ‘77 Endowed Scholarship and the Tom and Fran Clement Just this year, Cobb went to the Dominican Republic to earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary mathematics
Endowed Graduate Scholarship. Clement was donate MMI Outdoor tents to the victims of the recent and later an education specialist degree in educational
Establishing a recognized for his support of the School of Business earthquake in Haiti. He is also involved in mission work leadership from Auburn Montgomery and a doctorate in
successful business at Auburn Montgomery by the naming of the Business with Servants in Faith and Technology in remote regions educational leadership from Auburn University.
takes knowledge Building as Tom F. Clement Hall. of the Andes Mountains of South America, testing the Cox spent six years as a math teacher in junior high
and confidence. Tom sporting goods they make as well as living and working and senior high school and has spent 15 as a school
Clement garnered In addition to the Auburn Montgomery recognition, among the Quechua people of the region. administrator.
both from his Auburn Clement received a commendation from the Alabama
Montgomery M.B.A. Senate, honoring his accomplishments and service. In addition, Cobb has held several positions in the Capital Cox began his career with the Montgomery Public
Numerous other civic contributions include serving City Kiwanis Club, Sav-A-Life and Aldersgate Methodist Schools, where, in 1998, he became one of Alabama’s
Just a year after with the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, Church. He is a member of the board of trustees at first educators to receive the Milken National Educator
graduating in 1977, he founded Clement Consultants, Leadership Montgomery, the Montgomery Rotary Club, Huntingdon College. Award, one of the nation’s most prestigious awards for
later incorporated as Clement Contracting Group Inc., a the Economic Development Association of Alabama and teachers and administrators. The honor, which included
construction management firm in Montgomery. the Business Council of Alabama. When not traveling or doing mission work, he enjoys a $25,000 prize, and rewards excellence in education.
road biking, attending church and spending time with his Cox also is a former Alabama High School Principal of
Clement’s education includes an undergraduate David Cobb family. the Year.
degree in building science from Auburn University and B.S.B.A.,
graduation from the Executive Instruction at Dartmouth Marketing, ‘83 Cobb resides in Montgomery with his wife, Susan, and Cox is active in the Council for Leaders in Alabama
College Amos Tuck School of Business Administration in their three children. Schools, the Alabama Association of Secondary School
1995. David Cobb says Principals and the National Association of Secondary
that when he Stan Cox School Principals.
But according to Clement, it was the instructors at AUM convinced his wife B.S., Secondary
who made the difference in his career. They were not into marrying him, Mathematics, ‘86 After moving to Opelika High School in 2002, Gov. Bob
only knowledgeable in their fields, but they also effectively he knew he had a Ed.S., Educational Riley appointed him to co-chair Alabama’s Standards
transferred that knowledge to their students. Individual future in sales. This Leadership, ‘97 for School Leaders Task Force as part of the Governor’s
instruction provided by those who were accessible and premonition was Congress on School Leadership.
supportive gave him the foundation for his three decades right, as he is now The adage that
of corporate and community contributions. the CEO of MMI Outdoor Inc., a company established by people do not While Cox’s focus today is primarily school
his father in 1975 that specializes in the sale of wholesale choose their careers, administration, he still manages to teach math classes.
As a local business owner, Clement understood the sporting goods. their careers choose But, he believes his role as a principal is to have a
connection between a strong economy and a supportive them rings true for positive influence on all of the school’s students.
environment for arts and education. This led him to Cobb went to work for the company in 1987 after a short Opelika High School
serve with the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, where stint in technical sales for National Computer Systems. Principal Stan Cox. He vividly remembers the day in “Both positions are gratifying and I still teach even as a
he was instrumental in implementing extensive funding As CEO, he focuses on overseeing the management 1984 when a career in education chose him. principal. As a teacher, you can impact 150 students. As
campaigns. of the company’s finances and managing the long- a principal, you can have an impact on the entire student
term direction of the company. He also contributes by “I started graduate school at AUM by taking classes at body of 1,350 students.”
In designing the ASF campaign, he used experience assisting in product design. night,” Cox said. “I needed something to do in the day
gained from similar work for Auburn Montgomery, so I decided to substitute teach in Montgomery. I was
Auburn Montgomery Auburn Montgomery
forty forty@forty forty
As for his success in the classroom and school He received his bachelor’s degree in justice and public During this time he opened up for Al Green at the annual That education is still relevant today when, in the course
administration, Cox thinks AUM is unique among safety in 1978 and followed it with a master’s in the same Montgomery Jubilee CityFest. He also finished one point of his role as president and CEO of Plains Cotton
universities to equip its students for both roles. “AUM field in 1980. He earned his juris doctorate at Jones short of placing in the Montgomery Advertiser’s 2005 Cooperative Association in Lubbock, Texas, he recently
certainly prepared me to be a classroom teacher,” he School of Law in Montgomery in 1986. Battle of the Bands, a bold statement considering he called on lessons learned in a particularly beloved
said. “AUM also prepared me to become a school was the only acoustic act of the day. statistics class.
While at AUM, he played basketball for Coach Herbert Darby’s musical career continued to grow from 2004 A native of Houston, Darneille graduated cum laude
Michael J. Crow Greene, whom he describes as a “great motivator” both through 2009 as illustrated by his list of accolades, two from Dartmouth College in 1973 and later earned his
B.S., Justice and on and off the court. Crow gives back to the program full-length CDs – the latest released in 2008 and titled MBA at Auburn Montgomery. Since then, he has built on
Public Safety, ‘78 by serving on the fund-raising executive committee of “Farther Away from Home” – a fervent local following his AUM experience to become a leader in his industry,
M.S., Justice and the Auburn University at Montgomery Basketball Booster and a concert schedule of 200 dates or more. But Darby beginning with his time at Weil Brothers-Cotton Inc.,
Public Safety, ‘80 Club. For the past two years, he also has coached considers education as his true calling. where he started in the cotton sample room in 1974.
basketball at the Bell Road YMCA. He rose through the ranks and was ultimately named
Mike Crow is “This is my first year working at Wynton M. Blount
senior vice president in 1992. He continued with Weil
a partner and Elementary School, and it has been a wonderful
“If it had not been for playing basketball while I attended Brothers until 2004, when he left to join Plains Cotton
shareholder with experience,” the music and art teacher said. “I felt like I
AUM, I feel I would not be where I am today,” he says. Cooperative.
Beasley, Allen, Crow, have a calling to teach kids.”
Methvin, Portis & Crow is active in several charitable pursuits, including Darneille is active in advisory roles throughout the cotton
Darby gives credit to his father, Don, for encouraging him
Miles, P.C., law firm, serving on the Montgomery YMCA’s Jimmy Hitchcock industry, where his numerous board positions include
to become a musician.
where he works as a trial lawyer. He focuses his practice Committee, which selects the area’s top high school being a member of the Texas Cotton Association, serving
on personal injury cases, particularly brain injury, car and athletes. He supports Common Ground Montgomery, “He majored in music while he was in college,” Darby as president from 2000 to 2001, and as a member of the
truck litigation and cases in which premises owners may an inner city mission project in west Montgomery, and is said. “We were always surrounded by music in our board of directors of the Liverpool Cotton Association.
be liable for injuries that occur on their site. also on the board of stewards at Frazer United Methodist house. I enjoyed going with him to his gigs.”
Church, where he teaches Sunday school. He is the first American to serve as president of the
Crow sees his profession as an opportunity to serve. “For Darby attributes his success in the classroom in part to
International Cotton Association in England. He served
the past 23 years of my professional life, I have helped the close relationships he formed with the professors at
However, he sees his greatest achievement outside of his two terms on the board of directors of the American
people (from) all walks of life, usually during a time in their Auburn Montgomery.
profession to be his marriage to his wife, Marla, and their Cotton Shippers’ Association, and he is currently on the
life when they needed it the most,” he said.
raising of two children. “I certainly do look up to the professors at AUM,” said boards of the National Cotton Council, AMCOT, Telmark,
He also has served on the Montgomery County Bar Darby, who earned a master’s in elementary education the Southwest Council of Agribusiness, Denimatrix and
Association’s Grievance Committee since 1994 and Clint Darby from AUM in 2004. “Dr. Bob Evans had such a positive The Seam.
previously served on the state bar’s lawyer referral service B.S., Fine Arts, ‘00 effect on me. Anytime he offered a class, I took it.”
committee. In addition, he is a sustaining member of the M.Ed., Elementary In January 2009, he took over as president of Cotton
Alabama Association for Justice (formerly known as the Education, ‘04 As for rekindling his musical career, Darby is content with Council International and he currently is chairman of the
Alabama Trial Lawyers Association) and served on the playing a few private and corporate gigs a month. board of the National Council of Textile Organizations.
organization’s executive committee for almost a decade. Montgomerian Clint
Crow also has written a number of professional papers Darby was living Wallace L. Darneille’s commitment to the community was
on topics ranging from civil tort law to using accident the dream of every Darneille recognized by the Montgomery Jaycees, which named
reconstruction experts in litigation. aspiring musician. M.B.A., ‘82 him an Outstanding Young Montgomerian in 1987.
It was while interning in the legal field as a justice and After earning a According to Among his many community contributions while
public safety major at Auburn Montgomery that Crow bachelor’s degree Wally Darneille, his a resident of the River Region, he served on the
first became interested in the law as a profession. The in fine art from Auburn Montgomery in 2000, he taught education in the Montgomery Business Committee for the Arts, Arts
internship with the Montgomery County district attorney’s at Robert E. Lee High School in Montgomery. Then, his Auburn Montgomery Action Council and in a variety of volunteer coaching
office gave him a firsthand look at the court system. career in music began to take off. School of Business positions with the Montgomery YMCA and at St. James
was remarkable School, where he and his wife, Margy, have sponsored
“I had an opportunity to see several good lawyers try
In March 2005, the Montgomery Advertiser called the because his the Darneille Art Contest since 1995.
cases. This interested me and it was a way to help
budding musician Montgomery’s Best Kept Secret. By professors managed
folks who otherwise would not have a voice in the court
December of that year, he was named Montgomery’s to make the subjects relevant to a work environment.
system,” he said.
Best Local Club Act.
Auburn Montgomery Auburn Montgomery
forty forty@forty forty
Terry G. Davis “I have a passion for helping people and helping the city an intern in the Athletic Department. He also worked as most convincing way to present your story and getting
Executive M.B.A., grow,” Davis said. “That’s why I have been involved in a a writer for the Montgomery Advertiser while pursuing his the jury to root for your client,” he said.
‘08 number of charitable and civic activities – wanting to see degree.
our city and state be the best places they can be.” A native of Troy, Gillis said the old Perry Mason television
Terry Davis, a Fondren graduated with a bachelor’s degree in show sparked his interest in the law. “I wanted to either
member of the That desire to give back also has led him to serve as communication in 1987 and was named Auburn be a doctor or a lawyer. And then I had an experience
first graduating president of the local boards of the Heart Association Montgomery’s Distinguished Graduate in 1998. in physics classes and decided the law was for me,” he
class of Auburn and the Montgomery Ballet and as a volunteer for the joked.
Currently, he serves on the boards of the Montgomery
Montgomery’s United Way. As a volunteer for the American Cancer
Area Chamber of Commerce, Metro YMCA, Boy Scouts, Gillis earned his bachelor’s degree in political science
Executive MBA Society recently, he was among the “rats” for the
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery Area from what was then Tuskegee Institute and his law
program, is the society’s Biggest Rat in Town fundraiser.
Business Committee on the Arts, Montgomery Arts degree from Emory University and started practicing in
Council, Britton YMCA Program Branch, Resurrection 1974. Now a retired lieutenant colonel in the Alabama
in the law firm of Davis and Hatcher, LLC, with offices in In addition to his Auburn Montgomery degree, Davis
Catholic Missions, AUM Alumni Association and the Troy Army National Guard, he began his legal career in the
Montgomery and Atlanta. earned an undergraduate degree from Alabama State
University-Montgomery Advisory Board. He is also a military, where he served as a lawyer in a number of
University in 1976 and graduated from Cumberland
member of Montgomery Kiwanis, the Committee of 100 capacities, including as a U.S. judge advocate general
A practicing attorney for more than 20 years, Davis School of Law in Birmingham in 1979.
and Wright Flyers and is an MGM Partner. corps officer.
specializes in the areas of business, employment,
government, information technology and the Internet. J. Tyler “Ty” Fondren is also president of the Arts Council of After leaving the military, Gillis moved to Montgomery
He has represented clients ranging from start-up Fondren Montgomery and Capital City Kiwanis as well as a past in 1977 and worked for the district attorney’s office,
companies to governmental agencies to large corporate B.A., Communication chairman and chief volunteer officer of Jubilee CityFest. rising to the level of chief deputy D.A., the office’s No. 2
entities. Most notably, he served as the chief business ‘87 In addition, he is the founding president of Central position, by 1983. While at the D.A.’s office, he earned
strategist and legal advisor to Digital Seas International, Alabama CrimeStoppers. a master’s degree from Auburn Montgomery in criminal
a Montgomery-based company that partnered with As a graduate of justice.
MTN Satellite Communications and was the first to bring the communication In his spare time, he enjoys flexing his creative public
Internet connectivity to international cruise lines in the department at relations muscle by doing freelance creative consulting “I was raised, in a sense, doing that criminal work. I am
late 1990s, and the services are still in use by most major Auburn Montgomery, for small businesses and non-profits. most comfortable on that criminal side. But it’s taxing,”
cruise lines today. Ty Fondren has truly he said. “I always enjoyed prosecuting because I was
Fondren resides in Montgomery with his wife, Tina, who
mastered the art as helping people who didn’t asked to be harmed.
It was that interest in business law and consulting that is also an AUM alum, and son Josh, a student at Evangel
the regional director
led him to earn the Executive M.B.A. in 2008, and he Christian Academy.
of AT&T for Central Alabama. In that post, he essentially It’s that ability to fight for a measure of justice for injured
continues to use those skills as he works with local operates as the company’s local CEO, overseeing parties, he said, that appeals to him.
companies and small and medium-sized businesses
strategic external relationships as well as issues and M.S., Justice and
across the country. policy management. Despite the high profile court victories and the
challenges, Gillis calls his wife, Gladys, and three children
Davis shares his experience and passion with new Criminal Justice, ‘80
Along with serving 20 years with AT&T and holding his “proudest accomplishments.” Gladys is an English
business leaders of the River Region through the various community leadership positions, Fondren instructor at Alabama State University; his son earned
Entrepreneurial University at the Montgomery Small The most high
considers the role he played in passing the a marketing degree from Morehouse and a master’s
Business Resource Center, where he has been a guest profile victory of
Communications Modernization and Lifeline Improvement from the Savannah School of Art and Design; his oldest
instructor since the university’s inception in 1996. For Lewis Gillis’ career
Act as one of his biggest career accomplishments. The daughter has completed her residency in pediatrics
both the center and others he frequently conducts may have been the
bill was constructed to help eliminate the authority of and is currently doing a fellowship in dermatology in
seminars and appears as a guest speaker on topics acquittal of former
state regulators over basic residential landline phone California; and his youngest daughter is in her first year at
such as how to start, operate and finance a successful HealthSouth CEO
services, which in turn helped bring in new services and Jones School of Law in Montgomery.
business and the art of contract negotiation. Richard Scrushy, but
lower prices for AT&T customers.
the veteran attorney says without hesitation that he has Gillis is active in St. John’s AME Church and the church’s
He also has served on numerous corporate boards Fondren said he honed his leadership and interpersonal enjoyed every moment of his 36 years in the profession. Sons of Allen service group. He also is a graduate of
in the banking and insurance industries and currently skills in part while participating in several extracurricular Leadership Montgomery and a member of Alpha Phi
is a member of the boards of directors for both the “I enjoy being in the courtroom and litigating. No matter
activities at AUM – skills he believes have been assets Alpha fraternity, Sigma Pi Phi service fraternity, the
Montgomery Chamber of Commerce and Envision 2020. what side you’re on, you have to develop effective ways
throughout his career. Fondren served as president of the Alabama Lawyers Association, Alabama Association for
He is a former president of Leadership Montgomery and of communicating to the jury. It’s all about finding the
Phi Kappa Phi fraternity, held various editorial positions at Justice and 100 Black Men of America.
a graduate of Leadership Alabama. the student newspaper, The Aumnibus, and worked as
Auburn Montgomery Auburn Montgomery
forty forty@forty forty
Hugh R. Harris continued in residential production and secondary that I would have been able to go to college, much less Jacoby believes AUM provided him with the training
B.S., General marketing until, in the early 1990s, he became president move on to medical school,” Jacoby said. he needed to move on to medical school, and he is
Studies, ‘74 and chief operating officer of the company. providing that opportunity for future AUM students by
Medical school was not Jacoby’s first choice for post- giving a $5,000 annual scholarship to the School of
A flight on the It was then that Harris, working with a venture capital graduate work. In fact, he grew up wanting to be a Sciences.
Concorde. group, bought the company, changed the name to veterinarian and even spent his first two years at AUM
Presentations in HomeSide Lending, Inc., and took it public. The risk studying the pre-veterinary curriculum. But he began to Annamarie
Germany, France and paid off and Harris was responsible for one of the question his career path when, while working with a local Jones
London. Breakfast in world’s largest full-service mortgage companies with a veterinarian, he decided like the work was not stimulating B.S.B.A.,
St. Louis followed by $190 billion servicing portfolio, representing 2.1 million enough. Then someone suggested medical school. Accounting, ‘94
lunch in St. Paul and homeowners.
dinner in Madison, In his new program, Jacoby found his calling. He Annamarie Jones
His career culminated as president of Financial Services watched a show on ophthalmology that piqued his set the bar high for
Wis. Standing at the New York Stock Exchange and
Technology Solutions, a division of Fidelity National interest, and he knew that was what he wanted to study. herself long before
watching your company go public.
Information Services, a leading provider of core While at AUM, he was better prepared for what lay she made partner at
processing for financial institutions, which he also took after undergraduate work. “All of my professors at AUM Jackson Thornton
There must have been a moment during Hugh Harris’
public. helped prepare me for the difficult standardized testing accounting firm in
whirlwind rides through taking two companies public
that he marveled at just how far he was from his days required for admission to medical school.” Montgomery. As a
Though he retired in 2007 – before the current economic
at Auburn Montgomery – the days when he worked 40 non-traditional student at Auburn Montgomery, Jones
meltdown forever changed the world of mortgage
hours a week, attended class four nights a week and ran Jacoby also counts Dr. William Richardson, a professor, had her eye on the prize as she balanced working
banking – Harris recently began consulting for a few
home just long enough to see his wife, eat, sleep and was one of the biggest influences on him as a student toward her degree and interning with the firm. Her
companies in his former field. The companies, he said,
start the whole cycle over again. because he was tough but fair. “Many times I would work paid off when she landed a job there after her
are looking for help figuring out where the business of
come to his office to work individual organic chemistry internship and passed the CPA exam, all within a year of
finance will be in another two years. Finding the answer
But it’s a journey Harris clearly relished. problems. Never once did I not get the help I needed.” graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in
to that has kept him and an associate traveling around
accounting in 1994.
Now retired in his longtime hometown of Jacksonville, the country reconnecting with friends and colleagues.
He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology in
Fla., Harris describes the process of taking both 1980, moving on to Vanderbilt Medical School on As a partner at Jackson Thornton, Jones is a part of the
When not on the road with that project or golfing in
HomeSide Lending and Fidelity National Information scholarship. He did a transitional internship at Georgia companies Small Business Group, which specializes
Jasksonville, Harris spends a portion of his time hunting
Services through public stock offerings as the highlight Baptist Medical Center in Atlanta, completed an in tax, review and compilation services for individuals
and fishing on his farm, which is tucked between Union
of his career. Hard work, he says now, but definitely the ophthalmology residency at the University of South and closely-held businesses. She is also responsible for
Springs and Tuskegee, and visiting his siblings and
highlight. Carolina, and finished his ophthalmology training with a the Client Accounting Group, which provides financial
parents, who still live in Montgomery.
Cornea and External Disease Fellowship at Wake Forest accounting services, payroll services, sales and use tax
Harris began his college career at Auburn University but University in 1990. services in addition to small business software consulting
finished at Auburn Montgomery, earning a bachelor’s Dr. Bradley
services to many of their clients. Additionally, Jones is the
degree in general studies in 1974 before beginning 30 Glenn Jacoby
Upon completion of his training, he opened a solo firm’s marketing director, working as the liaison between
years of work in mortgage banking and finance. B.S., Biology, ‘80
practice in Covington, Ga., where he currently resides the firm and an outside marketing firm.
with his wife, Anne, and their children. His eldest
Hired shortly after graduation to work for SouthTrust Dr. Bradley Jacoby
daughter is a sophomore at Georgia State, his middle Outside of her responsibilities, she says that mentoring
Mortgage in Birmingham, Harris later joined Mortgage thanks God that
daughter is a freshman in high school, and his three staff and seeing them blossom from graduates to
Corporation of the South, also known as MCS, and Auburn Montgomery
sons, all adopted from Guatemala, are in elementary professionals is one of the most enjoyable parts of her
spent the next 20 years rising through the company’s was available for
school. career. She also says that providing her clients peace of
ranks. During that time, he served as senior vice him. At the time he
mind with their accounting needs by allowing them to
president and manager of residential production and enrolled, tuition was
“I have learned that being able to attend a big-name focus on what they do best is also a rewarding part of
secondary marketing and later as president of the $175 per quarter,
university right out of high school is seldom the measure her career.
company, which was a BancBoston subsidiary in and he was able to
of a person’s true ability,” Jacoby said. “The world is full
Birmingham. enroll using the Basic Educational Opportunity Grant.
of many talented people who simply do not have the Although her career keeps her busy, she says she can
resources to follow that path. A university like AUM gives see herself one day in retirement, helping people prepare
In 1988, he was named vice chairman of BancBoston “Without the availability of such a good university at such
people like me an avenue to achieve success.” their tax returns or helping a young entrepreneur get
Mortgage Corporation, the successor to MCS, and an affordable price at that time in my life, it is doubtful
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forty forty@forty forty
She currently serves on the Athena Awards Committee attention. When asked about influential professors, she Charlie M. workforce and lead her division with skill and confidence
sponsored by the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce, enthusiastically mentions Dr. Ramona Lazenby and her Lassiter through even the most challenging times.
is active in the Montgomery Rotary Club and is a teaching style. M.P.A., Public
member of the advisory boards of the Family Sunshine Administration, ‘81 Most rewarding, she said, is the ability to share her
Center and Auburn Montgomery’s School of Business. “Ramona had a way of teaching some of the most knowledge with others along the way, mentoring
She also serves on the board of directors and as complex disease processes and making them simple When Charlie countless individuals throughout her professional career.
treasurer of the Auburn University Montgomery Alumni and applicable in the terms of nursing care. She also Lassiter left her Lassiter has served on numerous boards for
Association. created a learning environment that allowed her students hometown of Opelika organizations throughout the Montgomery area,
to think and speak out loud (about) creative ways to bound for the Capitol including the board of directors of the State Employee
In addition to her other civic duties, Jones is the founder provide nursing care at the bedside.” City, she had no idea Credit Union, which she has been a member of since
of The Women Business Owners of Montgomery, an what to expect. 1980, and the board of the United Way as well as its
organization whose mission is to provide support and When Kane graduated from AUM in 1992, she was not Community Council, Food Bank Study Committee and
networking opportunities for women business owners in thinking about post-graduate work. Instead, she was on Today, as she looks back, her journey becomes clear. Budget and Allocations Committee. She also served
the Montgomery. her way to her first Navy duty assignment in Jacksonville, Her 30-year career as an employee of the State of on the Governor’s Committee for the Handicapped; the
Fla. But the opportunities for career growth in the Navy Alabama has been driven by a strong desire to lead Executive Council of the Personal Managers Council;
On a personal level, she and her husband, Gary Jones, opened up many possibilities for her advancement. She people and share her knowledge with others. the Advisory Council of the American Society of
a senior listing agent for Aronov Realty, reside in earned a master’s in nursing education from George Public Administrators; the Alabama Public Employees
Montgomery with their two dogs, Peg and Hannah. Mason University and attended Oxford University as a While gaining valuable on-the-job experience in state Association League Steering Committee; and the Auburn
She loves to travel and enjoys working in her flower scholar studying philosophy of ethics and the British government, Lassiter longed to learn the theoretical Montgomery Alumni Association board of directors.
gardens. health care system. She worked for the Navy Surgeon framework that guides public administrators. She
She is a former president of the Personnel Managers
General from 2001-2003. In 2008, she earned her found that while earning a master’s degree in public
Council and served as a judge advocate for the
Commander Ph.D. from Uniformed Services of the Health Sciences administration at Auburn Montgomery. The program,
Montgomery Women Civitan Club.
Michele Kane University in Bethesda, Md. she said, exposed her to the mechanics of government
B.S., Nursing, ‘92 – policy development, the legislative process and
Lassiter also is active in her church, St. John’s, serving
She was the first Navy nurse to attend the National governmental decision making – and gave her tools
as president of the Women’s Missionary Society as
When Commander Institute of Nursing Research’s Genetics Institute at the she has found to be indispensable since becoming the
well as treasurer of the Alabama Conference Women’s
Michele Kane was National Institutes of Health/Georgetown. director of the Alabama Department of Revenue Human
in high school, she Resources Division in 1986.
wanted to be a This summer, Kane will attend Warton College under a
Years after earning her M.P.A., Lassiter completed AUM’s Mike Lenhart
dentist. When she Johnson&Johnson fellowship.
Certified Public Manager® (CPM) program. Designed M.Ed., Early
joined the Navy right
to provide information on topics critical to tomorrow’s Childhood
out of high school, But she said she incorporates what she learned at
leaders in an interactive, hands-on learning environment, Education, ‘96
she wanted to join AUM into what she teaches junior nurses who come
into the dental tech community, but the field was full, so into the Navy: “Get your foundations down. Everything the nationally-accredited CPM program remains a trusted
resource to state leaders. “Half of getting to
she joined as a corpsman. She says this was a pivotal else that you do as a nurse is built upon a solid nursing
where you want to
moment in her life that she had no control over, but it foundation.”
She also has earned public human resources certification go in life is being
was a moment that has defined her life and career ever
from the International Personnel Management prepared and
since. Kane is currently stationed at the National Naval Medical
Association. the other half is
Center in Bethesda, where she is the only Ph.D. nurse
luck,” said Mike
In her early military career, senior advisers in the Navy (and one of only seven Ph.D.-prepared nurses in the
As the Revenue Department’s HR director, Lassiter Lenhart, who
encouraged her to become a Navy nurse, so she put whole branch). She is also the only bench researcher in
oversees all aspects of personnel management, including earned a master’s in elementary education from Auburn
together an educational package, and within six months the Navy, and she is responsible for all nursing research
employment decisions, payroll and employee training. Montgomery in 1996.
she was on her way to a full-paid scholarship to Auburn at the hospital.
A leader in her field, she was honored in 2009 for her
Montgomery. Kane chose AUM because it was close
work and dedication by the International Personnel The retired Army lieutenant colonel’s observation on
to home; her mother lived in Montgomery, and the Even with all of her career successes, she says it is her
Management Association - Human Resources and the life may seem lighthearted, but a brief look into how he
university was a good fit. 9-year-old daughter that is her pride and joy.
Alabama Association of Public Personnel Administrators. became an educator lends the statement a bit more
Lassiter credits her AUM education and training with gravity.
She enjoyed her time at AUM because of the quality
strengthening her ability to endure a transitioning
of instruction, the small classes and the personalized
Auburn Montgomery Auburn Montgomery
forty forty@forty forty
It is without question that his Army career influenced him M.B.A. from Auburn Montgomery in 1991. McClellan resides in Millbrook with his wife, who owns Saturday morning; the program has been in place for
to be prepared. It is also without question that his luck He worked his way through undergraduate school Victoria’s boutique in downtown Prattville, and his six years. “I, as well as volunteers from the community,
came in the form of a young girl with Down syndrome. at Russell Athletics, contracting out textile sewing to 15-year-old daughter. including my mother, help teach the participants how to
companies in Honduras. But he realized this was not make quilts by hand,” she said. “These quilts are given
“At the time, I was working with the Special Olympics the direction he wanted his career to take and, after Tracey S. to babies that have been born from (parents) who have
bowling team in Ozark, and I was driving home one day graduation, he entered the world of banking. McCooey used drugs or are HIV positive.”
concerned about what I was going to do after I retired B.S., Political
from the Army,” he said. “This special girl made me McClellan worked for several banks that were eventually Science, ‘87 McCooey feels the program has helped its participants
decide to go into education.” purchased by larger banks, including Citibank. After by building community among them and by giving them
leaving Citibank, he went to work for Farmers and Born in San Antonio, the opportunity to share with others in Montgomery.
His wife, Linda, an educator, warned her husband that Merchants Bank Holding Company in Foley, Ala. When it, Texas, Judge Tracey
he had no idea what he was getting into. “I went from too, was bought out, McClellan moved to Montgomery McCooey graduated magna cum laude from AUM in
S. McCooey was
a career where people stood up when I walked into a and interviewed with MAX. 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. She
elected circuit judge
room to one where kids are throwing stuff when I walk is still actively involved in AUM, serving as a member of
into a room,” said Lenhart, who has since risen through “I had an interview with MAX – which is a credit union not the Political Science and Public Administration Advisory
County in 1998
the ranks to become superintendent of the Ozark City a bank – and found out they could not be bought,” he Board, as well as an advisory board member for the
after five years as
Schools. said. “I came to MAX in November of 1984 as a branch Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.
chief legal counsel for the Alabama State Employees’
manager, after that vice president of branch operations,
And, despite his wife’s warning, the Troops to Teachers Association. In 2000, McCooey received AUM’s Outstanding
then vice president of internal operations, then executive
program participant considers his 14-year career in vice president and chief operations officer.” Graduate Award for the Department of Political Science
Previously, she served for two years as deputy district
education rewarding and his time as principal of E.D. and Public Administration, and she now teaches as an
attorney in Montgomery County, where she was an
Nixon Elementary School in Montgomery as the most While working full time at MAX, he enrolled at Auburn adjunct instructor.
investigator with the Montgomery Operation on Drugs
memorable. Montgomery to pursue his M.B.A. at night. Like him, his
Task Force. In addition, McCooey is a member of the Of her time at AUM, Judge McCooey says, “My
classmates were largely people who worked during the
“This was where I learned how powerful and important Alabama Mental Illness Planning Council, the Alabama professors in the Political Science Department at AUM
day. “I made a lot of contacts and shared a lot of work
this profession is,” he said. “That school became a Criminal Justice Information Center Commission and were wonderful examples of professional, caring and
experience,” he said. “The professors were people that
beacon of light in that community.” the Animal Alliance Board for Montgomery County. She unselfish people who always gave of themselves in the
brought a real world viewpoint in to the classroom. They
is also an advisory board member for Aid to Inmate classroom as well as the community. They nourished
would say, ‘Here’s the theory; now here’s how it really
While his Army career helped him to be prepared, Mothers. us and encouraged us to get involved in politics and the
it was his time at AUM that molded him into an community where we learned that one person truly can
effective educator. “The faculty gave me strength and Among her many awards are the Women of
In January 2005, he took over as president and CEO make a difference.”
encouragement,” he said. “They did not forget me after I Excellence Award presented by Baptist Hospital and
of MAX, where he makes a point now to end almost
graduated.” every employee meeting by telling workers, “If you’re not
the Montgomery Advertiser in 2007, the Alabama Gen. Richard
having fun, go find something else.”
Association of Community Corrections Judges Award Myers
Greg McClellan in 2005 and the Junior League of Montgomery Unsung M.B.A, ‘77
M.B.A., ‘91 McClellan said the fact that he pursued a master’s Hero Award in 2004.
was a plus at MAX. “Here at MAX we put a premium Gen. Richard Myers
Greg McClellan, As a circuit judge, McCooey tries both adult felony
on education. These days, if you’re going to advance, took office as
president and CEO criminal cases and civil cases at $10,000 and above.
you’ve got to have the appropriate education levels and chairman of the Joint
of MAX Federal you should never stop learning, keep life interesting.” Chiefs of Staff just
She views her greatest professional accomplishment
Credit Union, weeks after the Sept.
to be starting a number of programs since her election
believes if you’re Part of what keeps his job at MAX interesting are the 11, 2001, attacks.
in 1998: trash pick-up on Saturday mornings, the Drug
going to advance, programs the company has started, including the MAX Over the next four
Court quilting program, Mental Health Court, and several
you’ve got to have Kids Foundation. years, Myers would
Restorative Justice programs such as victim-offender
the appropriate serve as a key architect of the U.S. response to the
“The employees have really worked hard to put on golf conferencing, circle sentencing and criminal mediations.
education levels. worst act of domestic terrorism in the nation’s history.
His advice: Never stop learning, keep life interesting and tournaments and all sorts of fundraisers to raise money
McCooey is married to Michael H. McCooey, with whom
have fun while you’re doing it. for kids’ charities,” said McClellan. “We’ve raised a lot
she carries out a Meals on Wheels route to deliver food As chairman, Myers was the U.S. military’s highest
of money, and they do a fantastic job to help a lot of
to senior citizens. She also greatly values her work with ranking uniformed officer and the principal military advisor
McClellan received his bachelor’s degree in general people.”
the Drug Court quilting program, which is held every to the president, the secretary of defense and National
business from Auburn University and went on to earn an
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forty forty@forty forty
Security Council during the earliest stages of the War elected to the board of directors of Northrop Grumman growing focus on math studies after she saw need in of becoming an attorney, getting a job as an assistant
on Terror, including planning and execution of the 2003 Corporation, the world’s third largest defense contractor. that area. district attorney. He has served as a justice on the 5th
invasion of Iraq. He succeeded Gen. Henry Shelton, also District Court of Appeals in Dallas, then as a judge and is
an Auburn Montgomery alumnus, as chairman. He has served on the boards of directors of United Neese also is a volunteer for Three Square’s “Backpack now Criminal District Attorney in Collin County.
Technologies Corporation, Aon Corporation, John Deere for Kids” program, where she packs nutritious lunches
He graduated from Auburn Montgomery with an M.B.A. and the USO. He holds the Colin L. Powell Chair for for children who otherwise wouldn’t get food; she slips In 2008, he was presented with the Lone Star Prosecutor
in 1977. The general also attended the Air Command National Security, Leadership, Character and Ethics at books into the bags “to feed their minds and their Award. The Texas District and County Attorneys
and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base; the U.S. the National Defense University. stomachs.” Working closely with Partners in Education Association, which awarded him with the commendation,
Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania; in Alabama, she has trained hundreds of volunteers to praised his “courage and discretion in prosecuting – or
and the Program for Senior Executives in National and Diane Neese
teach people to read as well as tutoring students herself. choosing not to prosecute – several cases.” He was
International Security at Harvard University’s John F. B.S., Elementary
presented with the FBI Director’s Community Leadership
Kennedy School of Government. Education, ‘96
Her drive was evident even in her school days, where Award in 2009.
she was one of the founding members of the Delta Theta
Myers received pilot training from 1965 to 1966 at Vance Education, ‘98 Roach received the honors in part because of the
Air Force Base, Okla., and is a rated command pilot in strength and courage he showed in response to
seven different aircraft with more than 4,100 flying hours. Diane Neese was, pressure to prosecute offenders snared by the “To
Her school career was interrupted by what she refers to
she says, one of the Catch a Predator” investigation by the Dateline television
Prior to becoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs, he as one of her proudest accomplishments, her family. Her
children who slipped show. The way the show’s investigation was handled
served as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from three daughters attended Auburn Montgomery like their
through the cracks in raised legal issues since it was managed by television
March 2000 to September 2001. As vice chairman, he mother, who returned to AUM and went on to earn a
school. producers and not law enforcement and, thus, would
served as chairman of the Joint Requirements Oversight master’s degree in reading education.
not have held up in court. Roach also was honored for
Council, vice chairman of the Defense Acquisition Board Struggling with dyslexia, she still couldn’t read by the
“AUM gave me the opportunity to have it all,” she prosecuting another prosecutor for abuse of office.
and a member of the National Security Council Deputies time she was 10. Despite this, teacher after teacher
Committee and the Nuclear Weapons Council. In explains. “It gave me the opportunity to move forward
passed her, and it wasn’t until her sixth-grade teacher Barry Mancha, TDCAA president, said at the time
addition, he acted for the chairman in all aspects of the with my life at a time when it was appropriate.” And she
worked with her directly that Neese learned to read. that Roach showed “the true backbone of a Texas
planning, programming and budgeting system, including has made it a part of her life to ensure that others move
participation in the Defense Resources Board. These days, reading dominates her life. As director of forward with theirs.
regional implementation services with Voyager Expanded Roach is proud of his work serving and defending the
From August 1998 to February 2000, Myers was Learning in Las Vegas, Neese works to help students John Roach constitution and says he is not finished doing it.
commander in chief of the North American Aerospace who struggle as she did. As part of the Alabama Reading B.A., History, ‘71
Defense Command and U.S. Space Command; Initiative, she works with scientists to find how students’ But he doesn’t consider any of these to be his proudest
commander of the Air Force Space Command; learning is impacted and what can be done to improve John Roach accomplishments. That honor goes to his wife and
and Department of Defense manager of the space training modules to help the students even more. acknowledges odds “keeping the woman I love loving me for 44 years.”
transportation system contingency support at Peterson only to beat them. Despite his work and his numerous hobbies (he is
Air Force Base, Colorado. As commander, he was One of her greatest challenges is the lack of knowledge
constantly learning new things, from Spanish to scuba
responsible for defending America through space and available to teachers. “Teachers need help at every level After achieving the
diving to snow skiing to golf), he always makes time for
intercontinental ballistic missile operations. – even high school,” she said. “It can be frustrating for rank of Air Force
them when their students don’t know how to read.” sergeant in the
Prior to assuming that position, he was Commander, Vietnam War, he
He credits Auburn Montgomery as a partner in his
Pacific Air Forces, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, Neese has become an advocate for high-quality came home and
success. He praises his professors for encouraging and
from July 1997 to July 1998. Before that, he served as teachers, and she tries to give teachers the knowledge got a full-time job to support his wife and two children.
inspiring him, particularly his “favorite professor of all
assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at they need to teach students to read. “I want them to Auburn Montgomery afforded him the opportunity to
time,” Dr. Don Dodd, now retired.
the Pentagon and was commander of U.S. Forces Japan have that knowledge at their fingertips.” attend classes at night. He welcomed his third child
and 5th Air Force at Yokota Air Base, Japan. before he graduated in 1971 with a degree in history,
To help make that happen, she makes a point to keep up Despite the difficulty of juggling a full-time job with
then welcomed another while working up to three jobs at school, his professors were supportive even as they
Myers is the author of the book “Eyes on The Horizon.” with the latest studies and works with teachers to pass
a time so that he could support his family and attend law challenged him. “It was hard work,” Roach says, “but
on the latest methods.
On Nov. 9, 2005, Myers received the Presidential Medal school at the University of Alabama. worth it.”
of Freedom. The following year, he accepted a part-time Her work doesn’t stop when she leaves the office. As
appointment as a foundation professor of military history After graduation, Roach and his family moved to Texas,
much as she loves rereading Jane Austen’s novels, much
at Kansas State University. That same year, he was also where he passed the bar exam and achieved his dream
of her time is spent reading studies on reading, with a
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forty forty@forty forty
Gen. Michael contributed to the Dayton Peace Accords. friend,” and by then Sen. Jesse Helms, a North Carolina Allen Smoot
Ryan Before assuming the position of chief of staff, republican as a “thoroughbred.” B.S.B.A.,
M.B.A., ‘76 Headquarters U.S. Air Force, in 1997, the general Human Resources
was commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Raised on a farm in rural North Carolina, Shelton Management, ‘86
Gen. Michael E. commander of Allied Air Forces in Central Europe, with attended North Carolina State University, where he
Ryan, who earned a headquarters at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. initially wanted to be an aeronautical engineer but Allen Smoot knows
master’s in business became interested in textiles instead. While attending a thing or two
administration from Ryan served in over 20 different locations in the U.S. and the university, he was enrolled in the ROTC program, about hard work,
Auburn Montgomery abroad. He was awarded over 24 major American and which he enjoyed so much that he agreed to continue it about loyalty and
in 1976, served as foreign military awards and decorations. throughout college, even with the two-year active duty about team work.
the 16th chief of staff requirement that came with it. They were all traits
He even gained notoriety among science fiction fans
of the United States cultivated by Coach
when he appeared as himself in the Stargate SG-1
Air Force. His required two-year active duty became 38 years Larry Chapman when Smoot played basketball for
television series during the show’s fourth and seventh
of active military service in various command and Auburn Montgomery – traits that have served him well
As the Air Force’s senior uniformed officer, he was staff positions around the world. He has done tours over his career.
responsible for organizing, training and equipping a in Vietnam and Kuwait. In 1988, he was promoted
Ryan attended Auburn Montgomery while at Air
force of over 700,000 active duty, reserve and civilian to brigadier general, and after the Gulf War, to major Now the on-premise sales director for Coca-Cola in
Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base.
members serving in the U.S. and overseas. Also in that general. In 1993, he became a lieutenant general, and by south Florida, Smoot has spent 25 years working his
He also is a graduate of the National War College in
post, he was a member of staff of the Joint Chiefs, where 1996, he was promoted to general and was appointed to way up through the ranks of the world’s largest soft drink
Washington and the National Security Program at the
he and the other service chiefs functioned as military head the Special Operations Command. manufacturer. He is based in Hollywood, Fla., and his
John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard
advisers to the secretary of defense, National Security team services all of the Coca-Cola education, wholesale,
Council and the president. During his terms as chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Shelton food service, transportation and amusement/recreation
was a key strategist in the United States’ position in outlets from the I-4 corridor down to Key West.
Since retiring from the Air Force in 2001, Ryan has a number of world hot spots. His second term ended
Shelton Smoot attended AUM on an athletic scholarship and
served as president of Ryan Associates, a consulting less than one month after 9/11. He was succeeded by
M.S., Political believes the relationships he built and the lessons
firm focused on national defense, and as a member of another Auburn Montgomery alumnus, Gen. Richard
Science, ‘73 he learned from being part of a team and competing
the board of directors of Circadence, a global technology Myers.
in basketball have been critical to his personal and
firm based in Colorado. Gen. Henry Shelton,
Shelton earned his master’s degree in political science at professional successes.
the 14th chairman
He also has been a member of the boards of directors of Auburn Montgomery while in Montgomery to attend Air
of the Joint Chiefs of He began his career at Coke as a route deliverer in
Alion Science and Technology, CAE USA, SELEX-SAS, Command and Staff College.
Staff, accomplished downtown Montgomery while working towards a
United Services Automobile Association and VT Services. in his two terms as bachelor’s degree in human resource management.
In addition, Ryan has served as chairman of the board of He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2001 and
the United State’s top Since then, he has worked in numerous locations
Air Force Villages Charitable Foundation and as a senior received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2002.
military official what throughout the Southeast, including three different
trustee of the Air Force Academy Falcon Foundation. few people manage assignments based in Montgomery.
Now retired, Shelton is in demand as a speaker
to do in Washington’s politically charged climate: He
The general entered the Air Force after graduating internationally on leadership and national security issues. Smoot calls his current position fast-paced and
earned the praise and respect of leaders at both ends of
from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1965. He has He also serves as executive director of the General H. demanding but says it is also rewarding. His biggest
the partisan spectrum.
commanded at the squadron, wing, numbered air force Hugh Shelton Leadership Center at North Carolina State career accomplishment to date, he says, is knowing
and major command levels. He is a rated command pilot University as well as director of the Hugh and Carolyn the impact he has had on people he has worked with
A decorated Vietnam veteran and former commander
in over 12 different aircraft with over 4,130 flight hours, Shelton Military Neurotrauma Foundation in Washington, over the years. That has come from those who have
of the Special Operations Command, which oversees
including 153 combat missions, with 100 of those over D.C. taken time to write letters or send cards expressing their
the Army’s Green Berets, the Navy’s Seals and other
North Vietnam. elite outfits, Shelton was twice appointed by President appreciation for contributions he made to their personal
Additionally, he is a member of the boards of directors for or professional growth.
Bill Clinton to serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs,
Ryan held staff assignments at the major command Red Hat and Professional Products of America and has
a position that made him the president’s top military
level, Headquarters U.S. Air Force and the Joint Staff. previously served on the boards of the Anheuser Busch Without a doubt, Smoot said, he wants his legacy at
adviser and a key player in U.S. military policy from 1997
As commander of 16th Air Force and Allied Air Forces Companies and Anteon International. Coca-Cola to be similar to the respect and appreciation
until 2001. At the same time, Shelton was praised by
Southern Europe in Italy, he directed the NATO air Ross Perot as “a hero, a role model for the military and a he has for his former basketball coach and the positive
combat operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina which directly influence he has had in his life.
Auburn Montgomery Auburn Montgomery
forty forty@forty forty
Smoot and his wife, Laura, have been married for 23 Soriano himself was a beneficiary of Cathy’s contributions “My grandmother was the light of my life,” said Varner. Carl Whatley
years and reside in Hollywood, Fla. to education as the recipient of a one-year scholarship “I grew up in a family where the men died very young B.A., Genral Studies,
from Chick-fil-A when he attended AUM. Now that he is and the women lived to be 100. The elderly have very History, ‘83
Gary Soriano in the position to do likewise, he has made tremendous few advocates, so this alone inspired me to focus on
B.S.B.A., efforts to pay it forward, creating The Gary and Susan gerontology.” Entrepreneur Carl
Marketing, ‘82 Soriano Chick-fil-A Scholarship, a $25,000 commitment Whatley is people
that will fund an EastChase Chick-fil-A employee who Varner’s grandmother worked as a nurse’s aide in a focused and
Despite the way the attends or will attend AUM. nursing home when Varner was growing up and she business driven.
fairy tale tells it, for spent a lot of time with her there. Retired twice,
Auburn Montgomery Gary Soriano is not the only member of his family to Whatley has proven
alumnus Gary venture into the Chick-fil-A business. His daughter, “I’ve always had older friends that are in their eighties that hard work,
Soriano, it’s the Ashley Gill, and her husband, Blake, operate a Chick-fil-A and nineties,” said Varner. “I just look at older people as dedication and
chicken who lays the in Northport, Ala. Ashley’s grandfather, Jeff Vines, was little living history books. They can tell you things that no persistence pay off.
golden egg. a Chick-fil-A operator for 20 years, making Ashley the one else can tell you.”
first third-generation operator in the chain. Soriano’s son, After graduating from Jeff Davis High School in 1972,
Soriano, who earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing Jason, helps manage the Northport location where his Varner has devoted her whole career to geriatric patients Whatley went to the University of Alabama for three years
in 1982, has risen through the ranks of Chick-fil-A to wife, Ashley, is the marketing director. and their families. She’s done a lot of research on care and then dropped out.
become franchise owner of one of the highest-traffic givers, family, friends and coping.
“I wasn’t a very good student,” said Whatley. “I dropped
restaurants in the successful fast food chain. In his spare time, Soriano enjoys traveling and spending
out and went to work as a salesman. I did that for several
time with his wife, Susan, and their children and “If I could give one bit of advice to a future nursing
years and then I met my future wife, Margie. Before her
It may be the house that chicken built, but Soriano is no grandchildren. student it would be to never settle for less in a nursing
father would let me marry her, he made me promise I
chicken when it comes to work ethic. He started out as program with instructors who not only talk the talk, but
would go back and finish school.”
a team member at the Chick-fil-A in Eastdale Mall while Joyce Varner walk the walk - which they do at AUM,” said Varner.
attending Auburn Montgomery. From there, he worked B.S., Nursing, 03 So, that’s what he did. He enrolled at AUM in 1981, soon
his way up the industry ladder and is now operating his After graduating from AUM, Varner received her master’s after their first child was born, and graduated in ’83 with
third successful Chick-fil-A restaurant. Gerontology is not from USA in 2000 and was offered a position there a degree in history.
the most popular before she graduated. Varner continued to study and
His current restaurant, located just minutes from field of study, but for received her doctorate from USA in 2007. Whatley went to work in pharmaceutical sales for Wyeth
the Auburn Montgomery campus in the Shoppes at Dr. Joyce Varner it’s Laboratories in Montgomery, which had just been
EastChase, has won Chick-fil-A’s most prestigious one she’s passionate In 2008 Varner was awarded USA’s Excellence in Service acquired by Pfizer. Then in 2000, he decided to start
award, The Symbol of Success, four times and continues about and one that Award for her work with geriatric patients and their ProEthic, a small pharmaceutical company focused on
to be one of the company’s leaders in customer hits close to home. caregivers. the sale and marketing of relatively small niche products,
satisfaction year after year. most of which were in the respiratory field.
A 1999 graduate Varner serves on numerous boards and committees,
The restaurant has also won awards for top sales dollar “I knew I had to write a business plan, and I knew I
of the AUM School of Nursing, Varner works in the including the board of directors for the Southern Geriatric
increase and top sales percentage increase and awards couldn’t write a business plan and work for Wyeth. So, I
University of South Alabama’s College of Nursing as a Society. She is a member of the Geriatric Advanced
for topping the $2 million, $3 million and, most recently, decided to retire in April 2001.”
clinical assistant professor in the gerontological nurse Practice Nurses Association research committee;
$4 million sales plateaus in a year.
practitioner program. president-elect of the Alabama State Nurses Association;
Whatley finished his business plan in late summer, raised
a member of a task force for the American Nurses
While at Auburn Montgomery, Soriano worked full-time, money from friends and family, took $500,000 from his
“I knew since I was 10 this is what I wanted to do,” said Association; president of District 8 of the Alabama
played on the soccer team and was a founding father 401k to fund the company, and hired his first five sales
Varner. “My passion and my love is gerontology and Gerontological Society; and past president of the Kappa
of the then-newly formed fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon, reps in April 2002.
always has been.” Omega chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International at
where he served as chaplain for two years.
AUM. She also is an article reviewer for the International
“We knew we had to have products we could
Since graduating, Soriano has contributed substantially Varner comes from a line of caregivers. Her great Journal of Older People Nursing magazine and a subject
differentiate, we knew we had to hire very good
to Auburn Montgomery in both time and scholarship grandmother, Myrtle Lawrence, lived with her matter expert and reviewer for McMaster publishing, an
salespeople – that was my background so that was sort
support. He attributes his desire to give back to Chick- grandmother, Aileen Kelly, until Lawrence passed at online magazine for evidence based practice specific to
of my mission and to compensate them well if they did
fil-A founder Truett Cathy, whose legacy is grounded in a age 105. Varner in turn lived with her grandmother in gerontology.
well and then to execute the plan,” said Whatley. “We
passion for education and desire to give back. Chilton County for 34 years until she passed away from
started with one product, Durahist, a drug for seasonal
congestive heart failure at the age of 92. Varner and her husband, Rick, reside in Foley, Ala.
Auburn Montgomery Auburn Montgomery
forty forty@forty forty
The company grew in products and people, added a The explosion of digital media has Wilder spending Kelli Wise That and her other numerous accomplishments recently
small generic company called Midlothian Laboratories, of most of his time working on the WSFA Web site and a M.P.A., ‘00 landed her RSVP Montgomery’s “The List,” a list of
which ProEthic was the primary shareholder. new mobile application in an effort to stay ahead of the influential movers and shakers in the capital city.
technology curve. Kelli Wise’s story is a
By 2006, ProEthic had hit nearly $40 million in gross testament to following Wise serves on the Governor’s Juvenile Justice Task
revenue and launched a large clinical trial on a migraine Wilder says that since specialization has given way to your dreams, even Force, the Alabama Law Institute Criminal Code
product. multitasking, he has committed himself to being able if that path takes a Committee and the Criminal Rules Committee and
to apply himself to different sectors of the industry. Not few turns along the the Max Credit Union Board of Directors. She also
A year later, Kowa Pharmaceuticals was looking for a only does he serve as the station’s source of internal way. She began her is a member of the Junior League of Montgomery,
commercial platform from which to launch a new product and online communication, he also focuses on making undergraduate work Montgomery Symphony League, Alabama Wildlife
and expressed interest in acquiring the company. Since sure that all on-air content is without error and always at Auburn University Association, Alabama State Bar Association, Capital
Kowa was not interested in Midlothian, Whatley sold the improving. the pre-med program, City Republican Women, and numerous mystic society
generics lab to Hi-Tech Pharmacal and closed the deal only to change to medical technology, then nursing, groups.
with Kowa on ProEthic. He remained chairman and CEO But Wilder isn’t a behind-the-scenes-only man, either. before finally graduating with a degree in environmental
of the firm until he retired in 2009. With a deep, easily recognizable voice, he has been a biology with a minor in nursing. She laughs, reflecting on In addition, she has served on the Family Sunshine
talent on camera at WSFA since his beginnings at the her undergraduate progress, because she ended up with Center Advisory Board and the Envision 20/20 Riverfront
These days he owns Cendalore Life Science Ventures, company, doing the weather, voiceovers and some a career in sales, which was far from her initial plans. Development Task Force and is a former ambassador
which invests in life science companies and other small advertising work. He still occasionally goes in front of the with the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce.
companies and says he hasn’t ruled out starting another camera for guest appearances on editorials with and for Wise spent six years working with Proctor & Gamble, but
endeavor. General Manager Ken Selvaggi. the political science classes she took during her senior She currently resides in Montgomery with her husband,
year left their mark. They were, she says, the beginning Arthur Ray, and their daughter. They are active members
Perhaps one of the reasons for Whatley’s business Wilder attended Auburn Montgomery for eight years, of her interest in politics and constitutional issues and of St. James United Methodist Church.
success is a book he counts among his favorites. It working in the broadcasting industry as an on-air talent the catalyst for deciding to listen to that inner voice and
focuses on how people are crucial to the success of and going to school. He was also involved in the Theatre apply to law school.
an organization and argues that people who poison the Department where he performed in several plays.
workplace must go. She graduated from Jones School of Law and
Wilder says that his biggest career accomplishment is continued her education with a master’s degree in
Mark Wilder what he has been able to contribute to the community by public administration from Auburn Montgomery. “I had
B.A., Speech and providing the information that people look to a TV station instructors (at AUM) who challenged me, who opened up
Theatre, ‘81 to provide. Fulfilling that role by offering a voice for non- new interests for me and, more importantly, encouraged
profit organizations and providing information in the event me to grow.” In particular, she credits Drs. Margaret
Mark Wilder sank of emergencies such as severe weather and breaking Moody, Brad Moody, Carl Grafton and Tom Vocino as
his teeth into the news are the most rewarding parts of his work, he said. mentors and excellent instructors.
long before college That commitment to community also shows in his non- Wise, a fifth generation Alabamian, is active in Alabama
and continues to work life. Wilder has served on a number of boards political and governmental circles. She interned during
do so as director around the area, including the Community Council for the law school with the Criminal Appeals Division of the
of operations, United Way, and has served as a director on the board Attorney General’s Office. She later worked with the
programming and for the Volunteer and Information Center for four years. governor’s Legislative Office and served as staff attorney
Internet at the No. 1 news station in Montgomery, WSFA. to Justice Jean Brown on the Alabama Supreme Court
In his spare time, Wilder enjoys fishing, going to the and the Court of Criminal Appeals.
As director of operations, he manages the day-to-day YMCA, spending time with his family and participating
functions of the station, ensuring that the station lives in choir and Sunday school class at First United In 2001, she was sworn in for her current position as
up to the high standard it has set for itself. He also helps Methodist Church. Wilder and his wife, Denise, reside in presiding judge of the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
make programming decisions and oversees the general Montgomery and have two adult daughters. – the youngest woman elected to an appellate court in
management of daily programming tasks. He says that Alabama. She is currently on the campaign trail for a
his current priority, however, is building the budding seat on the Alabama Supreme Court.
Internet sector of the WSFA news operation.