Our People: Experts in Action
Working to create lasting solutions in Alabama and around the world.
Our Offices: Visit the chapter's Contact Us page for information about our office locations in Alabama.
Media Inquiries: To schedule an interview with a member of our science, conservation, or policy staff please contact Andrew Blejwas, Associate Director of Communications, by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mitch’s passion for Alabama’s natural systems and people, creativity, proven management skills and inclusive, collaborative leadership style helps the Alabama Chapter lead and deliver on its ambitious strategic plan for conservation in the forests, rivers, and coastal systems of one of the most biodiverse states in the country. The son of public school educators, Mitch grew up on a farm in the Wiregrass region of Alabama in the small town of Bellwood along the banks of the Choctawhatchee River. He holds a J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law (2009) and a B.S. from the United States Military Academy at West Point in European History and Environmental Engineering (1998).
Mitch brings over 15 years of conservation and policy experience in Alabama to this position. He is a U.S. Army veteran, serving as a Captain in the Military Police Corps with the 82nd Airborne Division. Before stepping up as the State Director, Mitch was the Alabama Chapter’s Director of External Affairs, where he served as the policy lead for the Longleaf Pine Whole System (VA to TX), engaged as an active member of the core team for the Gulf of Mexico Program (FL to TX). He participated on the U.S. Government Relations core teams for Forestry, Agriculture, and Federal Appropriations.
Before The Nature Conservancy, Mitch worked as the Program Director for the Alabama River Alliance. He led the effort to develop comprehensive water planning for Alabama and taught water law and diplomacy as an Adjunct Professor at the Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham. He currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Environmental Section of the Alabama State Bar and is a member of the Rotary Club of Birmingham.
Mitch lives in Hoover, Alabama, with his wife Sarah, a practicing environmental law attorney, and their two sons, Walden and Emery George. When they are not working to move conservation forward, they enjoy exploring the natural splendor of Alabama.
Keith Tassin, Deputy State Director
Keith Tassin is the Deputy State Director and Fire Manager for The Nature Conservancy in Alabama, overseeing the chapter's conservation programs and strategies. Keith has been with the Nature Conservancy for 30+ years and has worked for the organization in South Carolina and Georgia.
While receiving his Bachelor's degree in Biology from Lenoir Rhyne University in the early 1990's Keith started working as an intern for The Nature Conservancy in the ACE Basin of South Carolina, doing natural community and botanical inventories. There, he first learned the importance of fire in our Southeastern ecosystems and has, from that point on, worked to increase the use of fire to restore our native habitats. Through his mentorship, the Alabama Chapter has one of the country's strongest and most successful fire programs. In recent years he has worked to pass the torch on to others to keep the flames going as he has transitioned to guiding all aspects of our conservation work.
Growing up in the outdoors of South Florida deep sea fishing, hunting in the Everglades and later on, many of Florida's protected and well-managed landscapes shaped his passion and respect for nature early on. Keith enjoys hunting, camping, and watching college football and NASCAR in his free time. Keith lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with his wife, Cindy, the Executive Director of the Alabama Rivers Alliance.
Jason Throneberry, Director of Freshwater Programs
Jason graduated with an M.S. in Biology, emphasizing rare species ecology at Tennessee Technological University. He has 12 years of experience in aquatic ecology, ecosystem restoration, and watershed restoration and is a Certified Fisheries Biologist by the American Fisheries Society.
Rosgen fluvial geomorphology, river stability, and river assessment and monitoring training – Level 1 - 3 Extensive experience in stream restoration, floodplain re-connection, and riparian forest restoration.
Extensive knowledge of stream dynamics and restoration methodology.
Extensive knowledge of Rare and Endemic Aquatic Species Ecology.
Judy Haner, Director of Marine Programs
Judy Haner has been the Marine Program Director for The Nature Conservancy in Alabama for the last 12 years. She oversees marine restoration, coastal ecology, regional conservation efforts, and linking communities with resources.
Judy completed her Bachelor of Science degree at Lynchburg College in VA with a biology/chemistry dual major. She completed her master’s degree in Marine Science at the College of William and Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science. She serves on the Advisory Committees for the MS-AL Sea Grant Consortium, East Gulf Coast Plan Joint Venture and Mobile Bay National Estuary Program’s Executive Committee. She also co-chairs the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program’s Project Implementation Committee.
Judy has worked for 30 years to link watershed activities with estuarine health to promote long-term and targeted coastal restoration. From coordinating Everglades Restoration to managing the largest National Estuarine Research Reserve in the system, Judy has strived to connect partners with common goals. Judy has secured almost $54M in competitive grants to implement coastal planning and restoration projects that link science and management with on-the-ground actions and communities. Her strong focus on partnerships has engaged agencies, organizations, local governments and citizens in collaborative restoration, most recently, the Lightning Point Restoration Project in Bayou La Batre, Alabama.
When not at work, Judy can be found in her garden or on her boat with her husband and two dogs, fishing and enjoying the Gulf coast.
Thomas Reddick, Director of Forest Management
Thomas Reddick has been the Director of Forest Management for The Nature Conservancy in Alabama for the last two years. He oversees forest management on preserves, the Talladega Mountain Longleaf Conservation Partnership, and forest carbon projects.
Thomas completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry at Auburn University. He completed his master’s degree in Forest Finance at the Center for Forest Business at the University of Georgia. He serves on the Longleaf Partnership Council, Alabama Sustainable Forestry Initiative Implementation Committee, and the Forest Owner Carbon and Climate Education Program board.
Thomas has worked in the forest industry for eight years, assisting timberland owners with sustainable forest management and timberland investment strategies. With The Nature Conservancy, he has been focusing his skills on restoring and managing longleaf across its native range and growing collaboration with state, federal, and industry partners to obtain greater conservation outcomes than could be completed alone. Thomas successfully managed the first voluntary forest carbon project in Alabama to be listed on a globally accepted registry.
When not at work, Thomas can be found, or hopefully not found, on any stream with a riffle, seeking fish and serenity with his fly rod, or traveling with his wife.
Steve Nortcutt, Director of Protection
Steve is the Director of Protection for The Alabama Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, an international nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve the plants, animals, and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive.
The Nature Conservancy has protected more than 200,000 acres in Alabama since the chapter was formed in 1989.
As Director of Protection, Steve works with willing sellers to acquire conservation lands either through fee acquisition or easement. In addition to land acquisition, he works on restoration projects throughout the state.
Before beginning his work with The Nature Conservancy in 2001, Steve gained extensive experience in commercial and residential real estate. In addition to Steve’s real estate experience, he owned a small business for 12 years.
Steve has a Bachelor’s Degree in English from the University of Alabama Birmingham. Steve resides in Homewood, Alabama, with his wife, Karen.
Jeff Ware, Director of Philanthropy
Jeff joined TNC Alabama on June 22, 2015 as Director of Philanthropy. Since that time, his teams have raised $20,675,589 for conservation. He is currently leading the “Our Alabama” Comprehensive Capital Campaign to raise $25,000,000 for strategic conservation initiatives.
Jeff came to TNC from The American Rose Society, where he served as executive director. His leadership experience includes serving as executive director of Points of Light affiliate, Hands on Network, Research Triangle, North Carolina; Development and public relations for independent schools; Corporate underwriting for both public television and radio.
Jeff has undergraduate degrees in Philosophy & Religion, and Theology. He holds the Certified Fund-Raising Professional designation from CFRE International. He is married and lives in Tuscaloosa.
Charmaine White, Director of External Affairs
Charmaine White serves as the Director of External Affairs for The Nature Conservancy's Alabama Chapter, responsible for developing and implementing strategic projects to protect, enhance, and expand Alabama's natural lands.
Charmaine previously held positions within Fulton County Government and Atlanta's City Hall, serving as a policy analyst and communications specialist for elected officials in Georgia.
Charmaine White is a graduate of Spelman College and holds an M.S. in Public Policy from Georgia State University.
Katherine Avants is the EPL (Engineering Project Leader) for the next-generation Honda Pilot and the A-LPL (Assistant Large Project Leader) of the RCX project at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama. Her passion for environmental stewardship has merged with Honda's commitment to the environment through leading several on-site tree-planting initiatives. Katherine has B.A. in English from Auburn University with a concentration in Technical Writing & Contemporary Communication and a minor in Horticulture. She is a native of Anniston, AL. Katherine currently resides on a small farm in Lincoln, AL.
Chris Campbell graduated from LSU, where his father played football, with a degree in Finance with an emphasis on real estate. He is the owner of Campbell Companies of Louisiana, Inc, which specializes primarily in timberland investment and commercial real estate. He is passionate about land management, particularly in managing longleaf pine, and has managed land in Texas, Louisiana, and North Carolina. Chris is a former trustee for the Louisiana chapter of TNC and helped their chapter to raise its first $1 Million gift. Chris grew up in Alabama and has recently returned to his home state. He now resides in Fairhope with his family.
Jason C. Carlee
Jason Carlee is the Water Field Services Manager in Environmental Affairs at Alabama Power Company. In this role, Jason is responsible for leading groups that provide field support necessary to monitor and maintain compliance with various environmental regulations and operating licenses relating to water and wildlife. Duties also include developing and promoting conservation programs that ensure the protection of threatened and endangered species and their habitat, as well as stewardship programs such as Renew our Rivers and Habitat Enhancement. A native of Alabama, Jason received his B.S. in Fisheries Management from Auburn University and his M.B.A. from UAB. An avid outdoorsman, he also serves on the Editorial Board for the Alabama Wildlife Federation's Alabama Wildlife magazine. Jason and his wife, Kellie, reside in Calera, AL, with their two children.
Alex is active in the Montgomery community and serves on several boards, including The Montgomery Academy, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, and the selection committee for the Jimmy Hitchcock Memorial Award of the Montgomery YMCA. He received a B.S. in Marketing from Auburn University in 2002 and worked in the telecom industry for ITC DeltaCom. In 2004, he joined Harmon Dennis Bradshaw Insurance Company as a risk advisor. Alex became a shareholder in 2008 and obtained the Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation in 2012. In his free time, Alex enjoys traveling, playing golf, and spending time with his wife, Susan and their two sons.
Judy's adventure with nature started in the woods at her grandparent's farm near the small town of Winfield, Alabama. Forests, birds, and all the animals became Judy Crittenden's fascination at that young age, along with her clarinet! She credits her late husband, Dr. Richard Crittenden, with furthering her passion for bird watching, camping, and nature. They traveled the world to expand their hobby. Judy says, "While watching birds, we were also watching everything else…nature was all around us."
Judy recently retired from the law firm that bears her name after more than 45 years of practicing as one of the first female attorneys in the state. Her passion for women's and family issues led her to the no-nonsense law that her firm continues today. Judy says the things she felt as a young female attorney, along with the needs she saw, sparked her to help create a family violence center, including a women's shelter.
Long a supporter of The Nature Conservancy of Alabama, Judy and her husband Philippe Lathrop are involved in various environmental groups, including The Audubon Society and the Birmingham Zoo. "TNC recruited me to join the board just as I was considering what I like to call 'not retiring.'" In 2019, she became the chair of TNC's Philanthropy Committee, where she is working closely with professional staff and other trustees to raise $25,000,000 for a capital campaign. One of her favorite conservation projects is one that helped set aside wild and scenic land along Little River near Mentone. Private support is essential to supplement public monies for conservation projects across the state.
Wheeler Crook, PE, BCEE
Wheeler Crook serves as Vice President of Engineering for Goodwyn Mills Cawood, one of the Southeast's most prominent multi-disciplined architecture and engineering firms. Wheeler is a Board-Certified Environmental Engineer (BCEE) licensed in 7 states. In his 17+ years as an engineer, he has worked on numerous community development and infrastructure projects, including water and sewer infrastructure and industrial development projects. Currently, he leads GMC's Alabama engineering team, focusing on utility infrastructure, community, and economic development projects. A leader in the industry, Wheeler was recognized as one of ENR Southeast's Top Young Professionals in 2021 and Civil + Structural Engineer's Rising Stars in the AEC Industry in 2020. His professional and community service includes being a leader in Alabama's Water Environment Association (AWEA), the Water Environmental Federation (WEF), Leadership Montgomery (2016-17), River Region United Way, and Auburn University's Government and Economic Development Institute. Wheeler earned a B.S. from Birmingham Southern College and a B. C. E. from Auburn University. He and his wife Laura live in Montgomery with their three children and enjoy spending time on the waters and in the wood of their home state of Alabama.
Brian grew up in Leesburg, Georgia, on a quail hunting preserve and spent his formative years immersed in English Pointers and Tennessee Walking horses. After a stint in the U.S. Air Force, he earned an undergraduate degree at the University of Montevallo and an MBA at the University of Alabama Birmingham. Brian also holds a graduate degree from Georgetown University's Stonier School of Banking.
During his 30-year banking career, he spent eight years with SouthTrust, 12 years at Compass Bank and 11 years with Bryant Bank. He is currently the Director of Birmingham operations for River Bank. Brian also serves as the Chairman of the Industrial Development Board of the city of Hoover.
Brian and his wife Melissa reside in Hoover. They have three grown children. The family enjoys spending time together on their Macon County farm between Auburn and Tuskegee.
As a Birmingham native, some of Alana's favorite childhood memories include exploring Alabama outdoors. After attending undergrad and law school at The University of Alabama, Alana and her husband, Scott, returned to Birmingham, where they are raising their two young daughters in Homewood. Alana practiced pharmaceutical defense litigation at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings for several years. Currently, she clerks on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and is also an adjunct professor at Cumberland School of Law.
Alana is passionate about giving back to the local community and serves on the Board of the Rotaract Club of Birmingham, the Junior League of Birmingham, and the Birmingham Landmarks Junior Board. She is also a Birmingham Committee on Foreign Relations member and is actively involved in the PTO for both of her daughters. In her free time, Alana loves to sew, bake, and travel with her family, especially to Santa Rosa Beach, FL and Mentone, AL.
Past Trustee and Board Chair. BA from Texas Christian University, MBA from The George Washington University. Managing Director of Timberline Investments, a family office investment vehicle focused on passive investments in the healthcare, real estate and finance industries. Previously, he was employed in the treasury and finance division at BE&K, a large engineering and construction firm headquartered in Birmingham.
John Gully has over 40 years of experience managing organizations of increasing size and complexity while driving innovation in technical and management practices. He has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas, and his technical expertise is in modeling and simulation, power systems, advanced engines, and robotics.
John worked for Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) from 1998 – 2017 as Senior VP for Strategy and Investments. Before that, he was General Manager of the Army and Air Force Group with SAIC. That organization includes about 3,000 professionals performing at over 50 locations across the country and abroad. In addition, John was Deputy Director, Tactical Technology Office (TTO) at the Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) from 1994 – 1998. John also worked at the University of Texas for 23 years and served as the Center for Electromechanics Director, where he directed advanced research for high-power electrical systems, composite materials, mobility systems, and industrial process projects for military and commercial applications.
He is married to Rajean and has two sons, Benjamin and Michael. John and Rajean live in Huntsville, AL. They own a 900-acre farm which consumes a great deal of their time. John enjoys hunting and fishing, community service and traveling.
Sarahanne D. Halbrooks
Sarahanne Halbrooks is currently the Lead Environmental Engineer at Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, Inc., located in Vance, Alabama. Her responsibilities include overseeing environmental compliance at the facility, coordinating site-wide sustainability initiatives, and participating in corporate strategy discussions with international Daimler production locations. Recently, she joined the Daimler Environmental Due Diligence Team as an expert in environmental risk analysis for Daimler sites worldwide. She graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with an MPH degree in Environmental Health & Toxicology. During her time at UAB, Sarahanne assisted with research projects in both the Department of Biology and the Department of Healthcare Organization and Policy. She also served as a Teaching Assistant in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences and with the HHMI Phage Genomics Research Initiative. Outside work, Sarahanne enjoys rock climbing at crags across the Southeast, hiking in the Birmingham area, and volunteering with the Birmingham chapter of Catalyst Sports to provide adaptive climbing opportunities to individuals with physical disabilities.
Wayne Hall is a retired Protective Life Corporation executive from the operations field. Wayne came to The Nature Conservancy as Ms. Carolyn King's estate executor. Carolyn was a longtime friend, donor, and trustee of both the Tennessee and Alabama chapters of TNC. Wayne's interest in the environment extends well beyond carrying out the will of Ms. King. He has been an integral team member of our Urban Conservation Program. Wayne has volunteered many hours helping Woodlawn High School students with cleanup and installation projects and helped TNC secure meetings with other Birmingham leaders in philanthropy. Wayne is also interested in TNC's work protecting big cats in Africa, land conservation in Alabama and Tennessee, freshwater work in Alabama, and government relations in Alabama. Since 2015, Wayne has invested over $2.6 million of Carolyn King's funds for projects for the Nature Conservancy, with most of those dollars directed to work in Alabama. Outside of TNC, Wayne volunteers for ongoing cleanup efforts in Haiti and mission work in Honduras.
Betty Hawk served as Vice President and General Manager of the 3M Materials Resource Division. In this role, she supported 3 M's businesses around the globe. Her operations included chemical manufacturing, R&D, EHS&R support, waste management, technology development, product support and logistics. Betty began as a Process Engineer in the 3M Guin, Alabama Operations. After numerous manufacturing facility positions in multiple locations, she accepted a role managing one of 3 M's Laboratories and later led technical operations for one of 3 M's businesses in Europe. She returned to the US and became Vice President of Marketing Operations in 2004 and Vice President and General Manager–Materials Resource Division in 2006. Immediately before her 3M career, Betty worked in Basic Science Research at Howard Hughes Institute in Nashville, Tennessee. She graduated from Birmingham Southern College with a B.S. in Chemistry and Sociology and has continued her education as she has taken new career opportunities.
Sandy is the son of two World War II Navy veterans. A native of Orange, Texas, he graduated from Georgia Tech with a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering and a Master of Science in Industrial Management. He served in the U. S. Army as an Air Defense Artillery officer in the early 1970s. After completing his military service, he worked as structures and propulsion engineer with the Army Missile Command for nine years. He transferred to NASA in 1980 and worked as structures and propulsion engineer and a project and program manager before retiring in 2004 to assume the position of Mayor of the City of Madison, AL. He completed his term in 2008. Sandy owns a consulting company, Old Sarum Analytics, LLC. He is married to Melissa, and they have one daughter, Elizabeth.
Michael Kirkpatrick is the CEO of DESE Research, Inc., a missile research and development company located in Huntsville, Alabama. He has over 25 years as a leader at DESE Research, Inc. and 15 years of previous leadership experience with other high-technology companies, including Intergraph and United Technologies. He holds a B.S. degree from Auburn University and an M.S. in Management & Technology from the University of Alabama Huntsville. His community and professional involvement include board service for Leadership Alabama, chairmanship of the City of Guntersville's Airport Advisory Board, fundraising chair for the Boy Scouts of America, and leadership roles in the Auburn University Research Advisory Council and Auburn Management Information Systems Advisory Council.
James B. McClintock
James B. McClintock is the Endowed University Professor of Polar and Marine Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He received his B.S. from the University of California at Santa Cruz and his Ph.D. from the University of South Florida. In 1987, after completing a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California at Santa Cruz, he joined the faculty of UAB's Department of Biology. He has served as Dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (1999-2003) and Interim Dean of the Graduate School (2003-2005).
Jim's research has been funded continuously over the past 33 years by the National Science Foundation and focuses on aspects of marine invertebrate nutrition, reproduction, and, primarily, Antarctic marine chemical ecology. Over the past 15 years, his research has also encompassed studies of the impacts of rapid climate change and ocean acidification on Antarctic marine algae and invertebrates. He and his research collaborators have become the world's authorities on Antarctic marine chemical ecology and drug discovery and have developed an award-winning interactive educational outreach website (www.antarctica.uab.edu). In addition to his scientific writings, Jim is the author of two books: Lost Antarctica: Adventures in a Disappearing Land and A Naturalist Goes Fishing.
He has been the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions, including a seat on the Advisory Board of the EO Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, a medal from the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR), and election as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Explorer's Club. The United States Board on Geographic Names has designated the geographic feature "McClintock Point" in honor of his contributions to Antarctic science. In December 2018, he became the national face of the Nature Conservancy's 'Can We Talk Climate' campaign. He continues to serve as a trustee of The Nature Conservancy in Alabama.
Ralph is Professor Emeritus of the School of Forestry & Wildlife Science of Auburn University and owner/manager of the Saugalock Forest Reserve in Lee County, AL. A wildlife biologist with a B.S. and M. A. from Muhlenberg College and a Ph.D. from VA Tech, Ralph was a professor at Auburn for 30 years. His research and teaching interests include Ecology and Management of Birds, Practical Wildlife Management, Wildlife Resource Philosophy and Policy. He has won numerous academic and civic awards, including that of Wildlife Conservationist of the Year from the Alabama Wildlife Federation. He is also a Prescribed Burn Manager, an AL Water Watch Monitor and the author of numerous articles and four volumes on the Ecology and Management of the Mourning Dove, 1993. Not surprisingly, he is actively involved with Doves Unlimited, the Alabama Natural Heritage Program, and the Forever Wild Land Trust. Ralph enjoys managing property for timber and wildlife, hiking, birding, hunting, fishing, and visiting National Parks with his wife, Cynthia and their two adult children.
An Alabama native, Schley grew up in Mobile and the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay. He is a graduate of Birmingham-Southern College and resides in Mobile, Alabama. He currently serves as Director of Gulf & Atlantic, LLC, a forest products company, exporting pine products from the Gulf south and importing sustainably grown eucalyptus from various South American countries.
Strongly committed to nature, Schley is an avid sportsman, enjoying hunting, fishing, and all outdoor activities. Passionate about his family's land holdings, he is actively involved with converting from loblolly to longleaf pine in Monroe County and re-establishing the wild bobwhite quail population on their lands in Wilcox County.
Schley is the immediate past Board Chair of the Alabama Chapter of TNC. He also serves as VP and Corporate Campaign Chairman of Barton Academy Foundation and is actively involved with The Friends of Magnolia Cemetery and The Franklin Landmark Foundation.
A Birmingham native, Miranda is a community volunteer living in Fairhope, AL. After receiving a B.P.A. from the University of Mississippi and an M.S.W. from the University of Alabama, she worked as a medical social worker before becoming a full-time mother. Following her husband's service in the U.S. Navy, Miranda and her family settled in Baldwin County, where she has been involved in several local nonprofit organizations.
She has served in leadership positions on the boards of the Fairhope Educational Enrichment Foundation,
the Baldwin County Trailblazers, and Impact 100 Baldwin County. A longtime advocate for educational and environmental causes, Miranda currently serves as secretary of the Fairhope Public Schools Commission and is active in Gulf Coast Creation Care, a faith-based climate action alliance in Mobile and Baldwin Counties that she helped establish. Miranda is married to Dr. Ben Schrubbe; they have three adult children.
Becky has served for many years on TNC Alabama's board. Her leadership includes former chairmanship of the NAMW capital campaign, the Philanthropy Committee, and Legacy Club Ambassador.
Becky was born in Columbia, SC, attended Sweetbriar College in VA and graduated from the University of South Carolina. She taught high school –English and Art– for two years in Cayce, South Carolina. Becky married William E. (Bill) Smith, Jr., the Chairman of Royal Cup Inc., headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. Becky and Bill have three married sons, Bill III, Childs, and Jim.
An active volunteer for many years, she has worked with numerous area organizations, including Mountain Brook Parks and Recreation Board, Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Longleaf Alliance, Audubon, United Way Tocqueville Society and Fresh Air Family. Her many hobbies include tree farming.
Bryant Turner Jr. was raised in Mobile and Daphne, AL. He attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham on a football scholarship, graduating in 2010 with a B.S. in Kinesiology and Exercise Science. As a member of Omega Psi Phi, he made time for numerous community service projects. Turner began his professional football career with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in May 2011 and was voted team captain in 2013. During his nearly six years with the Blue Bombers, Turner also gave back to his new community, serving food at homeless shelters during Thanksgiving and speaking at numerous children's events and churches. In March 2016, he signed on with the BC Lions for one year before retiring from football.
In 2017, Turner and his wife Morgan, a Sylacauga native and elementary school teacher, returned to Alabama, where they live in Chelsea with their two daughters. Bryant began his career in real estate, serving clients in the Greater Birmingham area.
Palmer grew up in Mobile, AL. He graduated with honors from the University of Alabama with a degree in Finance in 1996 and then joined the Global Employee Services Division of Merrill Lynch in Denver, CO. He helped corporate executives and employees manage their company stock and option plans. While in Denver, he enjoyed fishing, hunting, skiing, and traveling in the Western U.S. In the fall of 1997, Palmer moved to Birmingham, AL, to work at Compass Bank as an Institutional Bond Salesman. While at Compass Bank, he covered regional banks in Colorado, Montana, Kansas, Texas, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
In 1999, he moved back to Mobile, AL, to work as Wealth Management Advisor at Merrill Lynch. In addition to private money management and customized investment strategies, Palmer assists high-net-worth clients with retirement planning, business services, and tax-minimization and estate planning strategies. Palmer is an award-winning Certified Financial Planner™ and Certified Private Wealth Advisor®
Among his passions are spending time with his wife, Casey, and their three children, hunting, fishing, traveling and exercising. Palmer is dedicated to serving and improving the Mobile and coastal Alabama communities where he lives and works, serving in leadership positions in local charities and his church.
Sam graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1981, receiving a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. He completed his M.B.A. at the University of Virginia in 1985. Sam is the founder and CEO of Eagle Solar & Light, a full-service solar installation firm headquartered in Birmingham with additional offices in NC. Sam also manages diversified tracts of longleaf/loblolly timberland in central Alabama. Sam also serves on the Hugh Kaul Foundation Board.
Sam is married to the former Heidi Heacock of Talladega. They have four daughters: Elizabeth, Virginia, Kathryn, and Samantha, and four grandchildren.
Tom Yeilding is a Birmingham native and a 2003 graduate of Auburn University, majoring in Family Business and Entrepreneurship. Through roles in the Department of Treasury and Office of the Vice President in the George W. Bush Administration, he had the opportunity to visit the Middle East, Asia, Australia, Europe, and South America. Upon returning to Birmingham in 2007, he began his career in construction and logistics.
Currently serving as VP, Director of Logistics Innovation at Vulcan Materials Company, Tom leads the design and implementation activities that impact the customer, hauler, and dispatcher experience throughout Vulcan's 20-state footprint. He and his wife, Caroline, have two children and live in Birmingham.