About the Prize: Meet The Judges

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First Round Judges     spacer Final Round Judges

Johnathan Austin
Nan Baldwin
Alice Meriwether Bowsher
Michael A. Calvert
Maria Cambell
Charles Collat
Geoff Connor
Stewart Dansby
John Alex Floyd, Jr.
Ronne Hess
Dr. Sandral Hullett

William R. Ireland
Paul Kennedy
Sandy Killion
Kay Kornmeier
Eileen Kunzman
Tom Leader
Jake McKenzie
C. Philip McWane
Philip Morris
Ruffner Page
Tony Petelos
G. Gray Plosser, Jr.
Kristin Ritter
Hugh Rushing
Ama Shambulia
Emmie Cunningham Smith
Cameron Vowell
Bradley James Watts
Lyord Watson
Justin P. Weintraub
Alan Weeks
Christopher M. Wilson
  Johnathan Austin
Maurice Cox
William Drenttel
John Alex Floyd, Jr.
Tom Leader
Cheryl Morgan
Philip Morris
Rebecca Ryan
Ama Shambulia
Alan Weeks
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Johnathan Austin
Birmingham City Councilor, District 5

Johnathan F. Austin was elected to Birmingham City Council in 2009, representing District 5, which includes the Prize2theFuture site. He previously was appointed to serve an unexpired Birmingham City Council term in 2008, making him the youngest ever appointed Birmingham City Councilor.

As chair of the Public Safety Committee and a member of the Parks and Recreation and Cultural Arts Committee and Committee of the Whole, he works on initiatives that unite Birmingham, including making the city more technologically friendly, opening more bike lanes, improving personal health, enhancing the environment and creating jobs.

The Birmingham native uses his technological training experience for both social and business entrepreneurship. He is currently President and Chief Executive officer of Fitz, a technology consulting firm. He previously served as Executive Director for The Center for Urban Missions, a community-based organization that addresses the needs of underprivileged children and adults, and as Chief Operating Officer of The New City Center, another program for the underserved in Birmingham.

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Nan Baldwin
Vice President of Regional Development
Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA)

Nan Baldwin is the Vice President of Regional Development for the Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA), the chamber for regional prosperity, and works with public and private sectors on programs that enhance the quality of life for residents in the Birmingham metropolitan area.

A native of Birmingham, she received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Alabama and a Masters of Arts degree from Birmingham-Southern College. She is accredited in public relations and involved in many civic and professional organizations, including the Public Relations Council of Alabama. She is on the boards of the Keep Birmingham Beautiful Commission and One Roof, a coalition of agencies that address homelessness in the area. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and First Baptist Church of Ensley. She and husband James Baldwin have two children.

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Alice Meriwether Bowsher
 
Alice Bowsher is an author and architectural historian long involved in historic preservation in Alabama. Her recent books” – “Alabama Architecture: Looking at Building” and “Place and Community in Alabama: Architecture for Living Together” – celebrate many of the places that make the state special.

She currently serves as an architectural historian on the state’s National Register Review Board, as Advisor Emeritus to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and as consultant/start-up volunteer for Main Street Alabama. She is a graduate of Hollins University and holds a masters degree from the University of Virginia.

Other publications include “House Detective: How to Research Birmingham Buildings;” “Town within a City: The Five Points Neighborhood, 1880-1930;” “Cinderella Stories: Transformations of Birmingham Buildings,” and “Design Review in Historic Districts.”

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Michael A. Calvert

Michael Calvert came to Birmingham in 1982 from Baltimore where he had been Chief Planner and actively involved in urban renewal. He also worked as a consultant to the federal government on economic development programs across the country before he took on the leadership of Operation New Birmingham (ONB) , the public-private partnership that focuses on urban planning and economic development in Birmingham's City Center.

Prior to his retirement from ONB in 2010, Calvert led the organization in a variety of efforts, including pioneering loft apartments and urban living in the City Center and expanding City parking decks to support additional office development. ONB worked closely with the Birmingham Housing Authority and the City to replace the Metropolitan Gardens Public Housing Project with the mixed-income Park Place development.

Michael Calvert is married to Susan Matlock, President of the Innovation Depot. They have three grown children and three grandchildren.

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Maria Cambell

Maria Campbell is an attorney with Hale, Sides & Akins, LLC of Birmingham, Alabama, where her work focuses on banking, corporate governance and compliance, charitable foundations and tax-exempt organizations. A graduate of University of Georgia School of Law and the University of Georgia, she began her legal career in 1967 as a Law Clerk to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Following several years in private practice in Birmingham, she became executive vice president, corporate secretary and general council of AmSouth Bank and AmSouth Bancorporation (now Regions Financial). After 21 years, she moved to New York where she was Executive Assistant to the Rector, The Parish of Trinity Church.

Following her return to Alabama in 1999 and before joining Hale, Sides & Akins, she served as Superintendent of Banks and a member of the cabinet for the State of Alabama, as chairman of financial services for SC&B Strategic Solutions in Montgomery and the leader of her own company, Independent Advisory Services.

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Charles Collat

Charles Collat is Chairman Emeritus of Mayer Electric Supply Company and has been with Mayer since 1953.  He has served on numerous civic boards and has received many awards for his involvement in the community. 

Collat served as president of Birmingham Rotary Club from 2003 to 2004 and received an Honorary Doctor of Humanities Degree from UAB in May 2009.  Charles and has wife Patsy have four children and 10 grandchildren and have lived in Birmingham for 55 years.

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Geoff Connor

Geoff Connor is Medical Director of D1 Sports Medicine.  He was raised in Hartsville, S.C., and graduated Magna Cum Laude in Biology from Wake Forest University. He received his medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina and completed his surgical internship and orthopaedic surgery residency at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He went on to complete a fellowship in orthopaedic sports surgery at the Atlanta Sports Medicine Center where he participated in caring for the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL and Atlanta Thrashers of the NHL.

Connor specializes in minimally invasive surgeries including computer assisted hip and knee joint replacement and arthroscopic reconstruction of the knee and shoulder. He has been published in numerous peer reviewed journals on topics pertinent to sports medicine.
His wife, Tammy Kubiszyn Connor of Homewood, Alabama, is a widely published leader in the field of interior design.  They have two children.

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Maurice Cox

Maurice Cox is an urban designer, architectural educator at the University of Virginia, School of Architecture and former mayor of Charlottesville, Va. He most recently served as Director of Design for the National Endowment for the Arts, where he presided over the largest expansion of direct grants to the design fields, oversaw the Governors' Institute on Community Design, the Your Town Rural Institute, and the Mayors’ Institute (MICD) on City Design. To strengthen urban design implementation by MICD alumni mayors, he developed the MICD Technical Assistance Workshops and helped to create the NEA’s initiative celebrating the 25-year history of MICD in transforming communities through design.

His experience merging architecture, politics and design education led to his selection as one of “20 Masters of Design” in 2004 by Fast Company Business Magazine. He is a founding partner of RBGC Architecture, Research and Urbanism, a firm that received national acclaim for its partnerships with communities traditionally underserved by architecture. The firm’s design for a New Rural Village in Bayview, Va., received numerous national design awards and was featured on CBS’s "60 Minutes" and in the documentary film "This Black Soil." 
A recipient of the 2009 Edmund Bacon Prize, the Harvard University Graduate School of Design 2004-05 Loeb Fellowship and the 2006 John Hejduk Award for Architecture, Cox received his architectural education from the Cooper Union School of Architecture. He served as a Charlottesville City Councilor for six years and as mayor of that city from 2002 to 2004.

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Stewart Dansby

Stewart Mott Dansby is immediate past chairman of the Global Network Foundation, and now spends his time doing personal investments and nonprofit work.

Dansby received a B.A. in Environmental Studies from St. Andrews Presbyterian College in North Carolina and an M.B.A. from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, where he serves on the Alumni Council. 

He has worked in the urban planning division of a Birmingham architectural firm, with an investment counseling firm and with what was then the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce. He also co-founded a GIS consulting firm, American Cadastre (AmCad), that advises clients worldwide on computerized mapping. He served as the first Executive Director of the Vulcan Park Foundation and, when no longer an employee, as president and chairman of its board.

Dansby serves on the boards of several nonprofit institutions including Susan Mott Webb Charitable Trust. A graduate of Leadership Birmingham, he was honored as Outstanding Civic Leader by what is now the Alabama Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. He has two children.

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William Drenttel

William Drenttel is the publisher of Design Observer, the leading website covering design, social innovation, urbanism and visual culture. He is the director of Winterhouse Institute, design director for Teach For All, and is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation to develop models for design and social change.

Drenttel is president emeritus of AIGA, an advisor to Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation, a fellow of NYU Institute of the Humanities and a senior faculty fellow at Yale School of Management.

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John Alex Floyd, Jr.

John Alex Floyd, Jr., retired in 2008 as vice president and editor-in-chief of Southern Living, previously serving in leadership roles with several Southern Progress magazines. Over the years, his expertise in horticulture and landscape design has made him a key member of several teams charged with developing the Lakeshore Drive campus of Southern Progress, creating a headquarters that is not only comfortable and functional, but environmentally responsible, blending naturally into the wooded landscape.

That commitment carries over to his civic involvement. A past trustee of the Birmingham Botanical Society and current volunteer for the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, he is past board member for the American Horticultural Society. He co-chaired the steering committee for the Encyclopedia of Alabama Campaign and served as president of the Trussville Board of Education.

He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham and serves on the board of trustees of Huffman Methodist Church. For his support of the travel industry, Floyd won a 2008 Alabama Tourism Media Advocate Award and received an honorary doctorate from Furman University.

Floyd earned a bachelor’s degree in ornamental horticulture at Auburn before completing both a master’s degree and doctorate in plant physiology at Clemson University. A native of Selma, he and his wife, Pam, have lived in Trussville for many years and have two sons.

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Ronne Hess
Community Leader and Volunteer

Ronne Hess is a Community Volunteer who currently serves on the Board of the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham. She has previous served as President of the Boards of United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Birmingham , Collat Jewish Family Services, Birmingham Jewish Federation and the NE Miles Birmingham Jewish Day School PTA.

On the regional level, Mrs. Hess served on the board of the Anti Defamation League. On the national level, she served on the boards of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the Jewish Outreach Institute, the Jewish Federations of North America Young Leadership Cabinet and National Women's Board. She also served on the Board of Governors for the Jewish Agency for Israel, an international organization.

Ronne and her husband Donald share six married children and 12 grandchildren.

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Dr. Sandral Hullett
CEO, Jefferson Health System

Dr. Sandral Hullett, MD, MPH, has worked in public health to care for under-served patients for her entire career. She is CEO and Medical Director of Jefferson Health System/Cooper Green Mercy Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. She was formerly the Executive Director of Family HealthCare of Alabama, a not-for-profit community health center serving 40 rural sites throughout Alabama.

Dr. Hullett has extensive experience in research, clinical trials, community outreach and teaching direct care delivery. She serves as project director and principle investigator for grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Kellogg Foundation and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Dr. Hullett’s mission is to give service to all who are of need of health care, regardless of their ability to pay. She often quotes Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhuman.”

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William R. Ireland Jr.

A native of Atlanta and longtime resident of Birmingham, William R. Ireland Jr. continues a long career in banking today with National Bank of Commerce. His background is in finance, with a Bachelor’s degree from Auburn University and a Master’s from the University of Alabama.

Ireland is actively involved with the American Cancer Society, as former President and member of the board, as well as with Hope Lodge and United Way of Central Alabama. He serves on the board of Glenwood and The Nature Conservancy of Alabama and on the UAB President’s Advisory Council of UAB. He is a former board member of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer, Baylor School in Chattanooga and Birmingham Athletic Foundation, a member of the Monday Morning Quarterback Club, former president of the Birmingham Tip-Off Club and former chair of the Tip Off Club Foundation.

Married to Patricia Miller Ireland of Birmingham, he has four children and three stepchildren.

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Paul W. Kennedy
President, Walker Area Community Foundation

Paul Kennedy is president of the Walker Area Community Foundation, dedicated to the nurture and advancement of that Alabama county. Previously he served as project coordinator, USDA - NRCS , assigned to the Cawaco RC&D Council, building on his experience as a district conservationist and consulting forester.

He received his B.S. in forestry from North Carolina State University. Among other certifications, he is a Registered Forester for the State of Alabama.

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Sandy Killion

Sandy Killion is Majority Owner of Vulcan Industrial Contractors Co., LLC, one of the leading industrial contractors in the Southeast. She focuses on marketing, strategic planning and customer relations at Vulcan, which is owned and managed by women and is certified by The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.

She also is very active in the community around Birmingham, Alabama, serving as Chairman of the Alabama Association of Nonprofits and on the board of United Way of Central Alabama, Gateway, Mid-Alabama Region of the American Red Cross and the Regional Advisory Board of Iberia Bank.

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Kay Kornmeier
Principal, Clarus Consulting Group

Kay Kornmeier is a co-founder and principal of Clarus Consulting Group, a Birmingham-based organizational development and management consulting firm. She previously co-founded a Birmingham-based publishing company and, before moving to Birmingham in 1989, worked as a psychotherapist and corporate/organizational consultant in St. Paul, Minn., and Atlanta.

She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lawrence University and her Masters in Social Work and Masters in Counseling Psychology from Washington University. She is a graduate of Leadership Alabama and Leadership Birmingham and a recipient of the Friends of Children Award, the Top 10 Business Women in Birmingham Award, and the Women of Distinction Award. She has been active in community organizations for many years, including positions on the Board of Directors of Media for Health, the United Way of Central Alabama, the Creative Wellness Initiative, Operation New Birmingham, The Women’s Fund and Birmingham Zoo.

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Eileen Kunzman
President/CEO Fine Arts Services

Eileen Kunzman, President and CEO of Fine Art Services has 30 years experience in organizing and creating visual art projects, events, art installations, festivals, arts educational programming, art auctions and corporate collections. For many years, she has produced ONB Magic City Arts Connection, Imagination Festival, Corks & Chefs and other fine art festivals and events.

She has served as consultant, producer and auctioneer, raising millions to serve the arts through events benefiting organizations that range from the Alabama Symphony Orchestra to The Healing Touch. She also has been a curator for exhibitions and a dealer for corporate acquisition projects.

She has served on the boards of many Birmingham area organizations, including the Metropolitan Arts Council, Space One Eleven and Birmingham Cultural Heritage Foundation. She has been recognized by Childcare Resources as 2007 Children’s Advocate Award and was listed among the Top Ten Women of 2000 by the Birmingham Business Journal.

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Tom Leader
Principal
Tom Leader Studio

Tom Leader received a BA from UC Berkeley in 1978 and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 1983. The following 16 years were spent as a partner in the firm of Peter Walker and Partners, designing and building numerous award-winning projects throughout the U.S. and internationally. Two projects under his direction won national ASLA Honor Awards — Longacres Park in Seattle, Washington, 1994, a pioneering wetland park and bio-filtration system, and a planning award for Asahikawa Riverfront Park, 1998, on the island of Hokkaido, Japan.

In 1996, Tom Leader won the San Francisco Prize in a competition for the design of Philip Burton Federal Plaza leading to a related exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA) in 1997. In 1998, he was awarded a year-long Rome Prize Fellowship in Landscape Architecture at the American Academy in Rome, focusing on the 3,000 year history of “sedimentation.”

He has been featured in two exhibits at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art including the 2001 on-site installation “Coastlines” as head of a collaborative team for the exhibit “Revelatory Landscapes” with Anu Mathur and Dilip da Cunha. SFMoMA has acquired several of “map construction” works for their permanent collection. Tom Leader has served as a panelist for the Mayor’s Institute on City Design, an AIA Regional Urban Design Assistance Team in Springfield Ohio, and the NEA Design Arts & Policy Panel.

Tom Leader Studio (TLS) was founded in 2001 and has been continuously involved in international competitions since, including Fresh Kills Landfill, NYC in 2001, Shelby Farms Park, TN, in 2008, the 2002 Master Plan Competition for the World Trade Center site and the recent Minneapolis Riverfront Competition. Tom Leader lectures frequently and has taught at Ohio State University in 2008, where he served as the Glimcher Distinguished Visiting Professor.

Art, humor, and irreverence play a role in the TLS culture as well. TLS produces on-site temporary installations most recently including “Snagged,” in 2009, at the Rubin Center Gallery at the University of Texas, El Paso concerning the U.S. / Mexico border. In 2005, “Break-Out,” a spatial riff on screen doors, rural life and Johnny Cash, was featured on NPR Morning Edition and in 2010 receive a “Tom Waits Award” from FASLANYC.

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Jake McKenzie
Chief Executive Officer of Intermark Group

Jake McKenzie is Chief Executive Officer of Intermark Group, where he previously served as Chief Operating Officer, President of Vazda, President of Intermark Interactive and Advertising Executive of Automotive. He was honored as Advertising Agency President/CEO of the Year by Birmingham’s Ad Fed in 2009, and was chosen as one of Birmingham Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40 in 1999.

McKenzie is a 1995 graduate of Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and political science. When he is not working with clients, he enjoys wakeboarding, snowboarding, surfing and reading.

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C. Phillip McWane
Chairman
McWane, Inc.
Birmingham, AL

Phillip McWane is the chairman of McWane, Inc. in Birmingham, Alabama. Mr. McWane joined the company in 1980 and has held a number of management positions including executive vice president and president. He has served on the board of McWane, Inc. since 1986. He is a graduate of Auburn University.

Mr. McWane currently serves on the Board of Directors of McWane, Inc., the National Bank of Commerce and as the Vice-Chairman of The Children’s Hospital of Alabama Board.

He is a member of the Downtown Rotary, Leadership Alabama, and serves on the Boards of Sloss Furnaces Foundation, The McWane Science Center, PreSchool Partners Advisory Board and The Birmingham Business Alliance Executive Committee.

He is married to Heather McWane. They have 3 children – Laura, Katie and Will.

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Cheryl Morgan
Professor of Architecture
Auburn University

Cheryl is a licensed Architect and a Professor of Architecture in the School of Architecture of Auburn University. In over 25 years of teaching she has worked with architectural programs at Georgia Institute of Technology, Oklahoma State and California College of Arts and Crafts. She is currently the Director of Auburn’s Urban Studio in Birmingham, Alabama.

Morgan practiced architecture and urban design in the San Francisco Bay Area for over eight years. She worked with a number of firms including Environmental Planning and Research, Gensler, and the Gruzen Partnership. Before coming to Auburn in 1992 she was an associate with the Berkeley firm of ELS/Elbasani and Logan. Her last project at ELS was the design of new and adaptive reuse buildings along the Singapore River in five blocks of Singapore’s Clarke Quay Historic District.

Professor Morgan’s professional practice now focuses on urban design, community planning and graphic design. She is also an experienced facilitator.

Cheryl holds two degrees from Auburn University: a Bachelor of Architecture and a Bachelor of Arts (Sociology). Her Master of Architecture degree is from the University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana. She is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards and is a member of the City of Birmingham’s Design Review Board. She has worked with the Railroad Reservation Park project in downtown Birmingham; the Red Mountain State Park; is a founding board member of the citizen leadership program – YourTownAlabama.

She sits on the boards of Space One Eleven, Operation New Birmingham’s Magic City Art Connection, Alabama Architectural Foundation and DesignAlabama. In 2007, she was named a “Woman of Distinction” by the Cahaba Council of the Girls Scouts and in 2010 received the Thomas Jefferson Award from the Jefferson County Historical Commission. Cheryl is a member of the Rotary Club of Downtown Birmingham and is a member of Leadership Birmingham’s Class of 2007.

The Urban Studio’s Small Town Design Initiative Program – a significant component of Auburn’s outreach agenda – has worked with more than 60 small towns and neighborhoods in Alabama under Professor Morgan’s direction. This work has resulted in assets-based illustrative mater plans that position a community to leverage their distinctive opportunities. Over 450,000 citizens of Alabama live in the towns and neighborhoods impacted by this work.

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Philip A. Morris

Philip A. Morris served as Editor-At-Large for Southern Progress Corp., including Southern Accents, Southern Living and Coastal Living, and before that as Executive Editor for Southern Living. A graduate of Rockhurst College, he was a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in 1983-84.

An Honorary Member of the American Institute of Architects and the American Society of Landscape Architects, Morris received the Alabama Humanities Award in 1994, the Professional Award in Communications for “Designs on Birmingham” in 1990 and the Birmingham-Southern College Medal of Service in 2003

Morris is past President of the Birmingham Historical Society and served previously on the Boards of the Vulcan Park Foundation, Birmingham Botanical Society and American Architectural Foundation. He chairs the Mountain Brook Villages Design Review Committee and is founding board member emeritus of Design Alabama. He is a founding board member of Horizon 280 Association and serves on the board of Friends of Linn Park.

His previous judging experience include the AIA National Honor Awards Jury and the National Trust for Historic Preservation Awards Jury.

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Ruffner Page

G. Ruffner Page Jr. has served President of McWane, Inc. since 1999. He previously held management positions at National Bank of Commerce, the Remington Fund and Bankers Trust Company in New York and Atlanta

Page currently serves on the Board of Directors of McWane, Inc. and the National Bank of Commerce. He is a member of the Downtown Rotary, Leadership Birmingham, Leadership Alabama and serves on the Boards of the Birmingham Education Foundation, the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, the Birmingham Museum of Art, the Emmet O’Neal Library Foundation Board, the Birmingham Airport Authority and the Birmingham Southern College Trustees and as Chairman of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra Board

Page graduated from Vanderbilt University with a B.A. and from the University of Virginia, Darden School of Business. He and his wife, Penny, have three daughters.

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Tony Petelos
Mayor, City of Hoover

Tony Petelos has a long history of service to the people of Alabama and especially Jefferson County. He was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 1986 and was twice re-elected, serving until 1997. In that year, he was appointed Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Human Resources by Gov. Fob James and re-appointed to that position by Gov. Don Siegelman. He has served on many Boards and Committees over the years. He was elected Mayor of Hoover in 2004 and re-elected without opposition in 2008.

The Mayor is actively involved in the community bringing his leadership abilities to groups focused on the improvement of the City of Hoover.

He is married to Judge Teresa Petelos, the Presiding Judge of the Circuit Court of Jefferson County, Bessemer Division. They have two daughters.

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G. Gray Plosser, Jr., FAIA, LEED AP

Mr. Plosser was born in Columbus, Mississippi, grew up in Birmingham, attended Indian Springs School, and received his Master of Architecture from Tulane University in 1968 where he graduated with honors (Thesis Commended) and was president of Omicron Delta Psi Leadership Honorary. He did further graduate work at the University of Alabama Birmingham in Urban Studies. Mr. Plosser served as a Captain with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Europe and Vietnam receiving the Bronze Star.

Mr. Plosser is the managing principal of KPS Group, Inc., an interdisciplinary design firm with offices in Birmingham, Huntsville and Atlanta founded by Murray Kidd, AIA in 1965. KPS Group provides architectural, interior, and landscape design as well as urban design and planning services to corporate and institutional clients across the southern United States. The work of KPS Group has received some seventy five local, regional, and national awards for design excellence including the Honor Award from the Alabama Council in 2010 and is regularly published in professional and trade journals. The firm has established a leading presence in the design of environmentally friendly, sustainable buildings and the planning of communities focused on smart growth. The firm is unique in that 100% of its members have achieved LEED certification. Mr. Plosser has lectured to industry groups and students on professional practice, business development, project delivery, urban design, green buildings and community revitalization and co-authored the publication Downtown Birmingham: A Historical Walking Tour Guide published in 1983.

He was elected a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects in 1990 having served as national chairman of its Regional/Urban Design and Disaster Assistance Committees and as a member of the Regional/Urban Design Assistance Team (R/UDAT) steering committee for almost 20 years. He completed a term on the national Board of Directors of the AIA representing the Gulf States in the mid nineties and following that, chaired its long-range planning task force called AIM, Advancing the Institute for the Millennium. A former chairman of the Alabama Historical Commission, he was also a founder of the Alabama Community Design Program, a public outreach initiative of allied design professionals under the State Arts Council and has been a director of NAAB, the National Architectural Accreditation Board. He has served his profession as a peer reviewer, as a NAAB visiting team member, and as an Advisory Council member to the Schools of Architecture at Auburn and Tulane University where he is currently the Chairman. He is a recipient of the President’s Award of the Alabama Council AIA and the Thomas Jefferson Award of the Alabama Historical Commission. Mr. Plosser is a founding director of Global Design Alliance, a pioneering venture of 17 design firms in the U.S. with over 3000 employees and 80 offices throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. KPS Group is currently designing a $160 million modernization of the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International airport terminal slated to be one of the first LEED certified terminals in the country and a $60 million conversion of the historic downtown Pizitz Building into a mixed-use complex of offices and retail. The project which is on the National Register of Historic Places will also be a LEED certified building. KPS has also just completed a $100 million courthouse for the 19th Judicial District of Louisiana in Baton Rouge and a series of LEED buildings for the Corps of Engineers at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.

In the community, he has served on the Board of Directors of Operation New Birmingham, the Board of Trustees of the Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Governors of Indian Springs School where he was also the Chairman for 7 years, and was a founding member of Neighborhood Housing Services of Birmingham. He is currently on the Board of Main Street Alabama and the Alabama Symphony and is the Tocqueville Division Chair of the United Way of Central Alabama 2011 campaign. A member of Leadership Alabama Class III, he chaired the Department of Architecture and Fine Arts of the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama and served as Senior Warden of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. He is a former Director of Compass Bank of Birmingham. He and his wife, Diana, Chair of Foreign Languages and a Latin teacher at Mt. Brook High School, have two married daughters and six grandchildren.

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Kristin Ritter

Kristin Ritter grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, and moved to Birmingham in 1994 to begin working as a Management Associate at AmSouth Bank. A graduate of Rhodes College in Memphis, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban Studies, she served as a branch manager at AmSouth (now Regions) until the birth of her first child.

Her community work includes the Junior League of Birmingham, where she is immediate past president and currently serves as chair of the Beeson Committee, as a member of the Community Advisory Board, the investment committee and the steering committee member of the Community Circle Awards/Gala. She also serves on the board and executive committee of the Birmingham Education Foundation and on the board of Gateway.

She remains involved at Crestline Elementary, Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church and the Children’s Arts Guild. She and her husband Bill have four children.

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Hugh Rushing

Hugh Rushing works as a trade association manager, providing statistical management, communications and meeting planning services to the Cookware Manufacturers Association, the Society of Classified Advertising Managers and the Public Relations Council of Alabama. He also Alabama Construction News magazine, the quarterly publication of Associated Builders and Contractors..

Following an early career in advertising and broadcasting, he joined Birmingham Stove and Range Co. He received his MBA with honors from UAB, where he taught for 12 years. A frequent guest panelist and speaker for trade and professional organizations, he serves as vice chair of the International Trade Advisory Committee for Consumer Products at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

He previously served as chair of the Shades Valley YMCA board and currently is a member of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra Chorus.

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Rebecca Ryan

Rebecca Ryan is a former professional basketball player, an Entrepreneur of the Year and Founder of Next Generation Consulting, the team Richard Florida calls, “One of the most reliable sources for leaders who want to attract and retain the next generation of creative workers.”

Author of “Live First, Work Second: Getting Inside the Head of the Next Generation,” Ryan was raised in West Bend, Wisconsin, by members of the “greatest generation.” She returned to Wisconsin after living, working, and playing professional basketball in Iowa, Minneapolis, Germany and Hungary.

She has been honored by selection among Ones to Watch, by Inside Public Accounting (2009); Communicator of the Year, by Women in Communication (2006); Woman of Influence, Business Journal of Greater Milwaukee (2005), and Entrepreneur of the Year, by U.S. Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (2004).

She serves as a Trustee of Alverno College and is on the Board of the Greater Madison (WI) Chamber of Commerce. She lives with her partner and three labrador retrievers in Madison.
She received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics and International Affairs from Drake University, and studied at Kozgaz University Budapest in Hungary and the Institut fur European Studiern in Freiburg, Germany.

Ryan already has been part of planning for the future of Greater Birmingham, serving as a consultant for the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Birmingham before that organization became part of the Birmingham Business Alliance. She also was the keynote speaker for the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham in 2009, one of many personal appearances she makes each year.

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Ama Shambulia

Ama Shambulia is a native Californian who has lived in Birmingham for more than 20 years and now calls the Magic City her home. A skilled culinarian and master/organic gardener, she is currently using her passion for food to teach community workshops on healthy eating. She is Program Director of WE West End Community Gardens, which has the mission of growing food and growing community as part of the revitalization of West End Community in body, mind and spirit.
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She loves to cook and loves sharing the information and ideas that she has accumulated in more than 30 years as a student of natural living and whole food eating. It is her life’s work to expose others to the fascinating world of food as a means to health.

Through her work, she is a member of Alabama Women in Agriculture, Greater Birmingham Community Food Partners, Jones Valley Urban Farm and Pepper Place Farmers Market.

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Emmie Cunningham Smith

Emmie Cunningham Smith is from Greenville, S.C., but Birmingham has been her home since 2000. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Davidson College and a Master of Physical Therapy degree from Emory University.

She is currently active as a volunteer at Canterbury United Methodist Church, in the Junior League of Birmingham and in Homewood City Schools. She also enjoys travel and gardening. She and her husband Bill have three children.

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Cameron Vowell

Cameron McDonald Vowell has been active in community affairs since graduation from Hollins College in 1968. She has worked as a board member with a number of nonprofit groups which encourage philanthropy, including the Women’s Fund, an endowment for projects benefiting women and girls, and the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham. She helped found the Alabama Women’s Initiative, promoting advancement of women in leadership in Alabama; the Women’s Fund, and the Alabama Solution, a women’s political action committee.

She maintains an interest in the environment, working in the field after obtaining an MA in the field from the University of Texas at Dallas. She returned to Alabama in 1980, where she served on the Alabama Air Pollution Control Commission and its successor, the Alabama Environmental Management Commission, on the national board of The Nature Conservancy and is currently on the board of the Alabama Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. She is a founding member of the board of the Freshwater Land Trust. She is chair of the Board of Advocacy for the Center for Aging at UAB, and active in bringing attention to geriatric issues across the community.

She and her husband Scott have one son.

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Lyord Watson, Jr.

Acknowledged as a proven leader, Lyord Watson Jr. is a preacher and a philanthropist who lives out his faith in the pulpit as well as in the public square.

A native of Brewton, AL, he has lived in Birmingham for fourteen years. Currently, he is Executive Director of Redemptive Associates Inc., a nonprofit that is a catalyst for healthy and holistic communities and is an associate minister at Greater St. John Baptist Church. Lyord is a graduate of Samford University and has a Master of Divinity Degree from Beeson Divinity School.

He is a founding member and immediate past president of the Birmingham Change Fund, and is a member of the United Way Visitation Allocation Team and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. On the national level, he serves on the board for the Community Investment Network, a nonprofit that encourages organizations and individuals to think and act more strategically with their giving to impel greater social change in their communities.

In 2009, he was recognized for his leadership as a “National Philanthropy Day VIP” by the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham. He is an inaugural class member of two of Birmingham’s leadership programs: Urban Leadership Initiative and Mayor Bell’s Young Professionals United.

Lyord and his wife Katrina reside in Birmingham.

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Bradley James Watts
SGA President, UAB

Brad was born and raised in rural Springville, Alabama. He attended Springville High School, maintaining a 4.0 Grade Point Average while serving in numerous leadership and community roles including President of the National Beta Club, Drum Major for the Marching Tiger Band, and a volunteer for the McWane Science Center.

After completing high school, Brad chose to attend the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). At UAB, Brad is a double major in political science and history, minoring in economics. In addition, Brad is a member of the University Honors Program, the Political Science Honors Program, and numerous national and international honor societies.

In addition to his academic activities, Brad has also held numerous leadership roles at UAB including service as a New Student Orientation Leader, TrailBlazer, International Peer Mentor, and President of the Student Government Association. Most importantly however, Brad is a lifelong Brother of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity, where he has been honored to serve the Epsilon Phi chapter as Philanthropy Chairman and a member of the Judicial Board.

During his tenure at UAB, Brad has been honored with numerous awards and scholarships including the Epsilon Phi Chapter's Leader of the Year Award, the Best Communications Award at the Southern Regional Orientation Workshop, The Department of Government Voytek Zubek Memorial Endowed Scholarhip, and the institutional endorsement of UAB for the Truman Scholars Competition.

Post graduation, Brad plans on pursuing a Ph.D in Politics from Princeton University. Upon completion of his doctorate, Brad intends to start a lifetime career as an analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency.

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Alan Weeks

Alan Weeks is a lifelong resident of the Birmingham area and has recently retired after spending more than 35 years in the construction industry, the last 24 years with Brasfield & Gorrie. He graduated from Woodlawn High School, attended Auburn University and received his BS in Civil Engineering from UAB.

He is on the board of Camp Fire USA, chairman of the board for the Alabama Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and a member of its national board in New York. He serves on two committees for Asbury Methodist Church and is a member emeritus of the Industry Advisory Committee and the Construction Industry Funds Committee for the Building Science Department at Auburn University. Currently, Weeks is working as a volunteer to build a dental clinic for The Foundry in Bessemer and reset Camp Fletcher for Camp Fire.

The Shelby County resident is married to the former Cindi Sorrell and they have three sons.

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Justin P. Weintraub
Vice President for Colonial Properties Trust

Justin Weintraub serves as Vice President for Colonial Properties Trust, where he is responsible for multifamily acquisitions and dispositions, along with the oversight of operations and disposition efforts of Colonial Properties’ for-sale residential assets.

He is also active in the community, serving as current President of the Rotaract Club of Birmingham, the largest Rotaract Club in the world out of more than 8,300 clubs. He is a member of the United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Birmingham Junior Board, the Alys Stephens Center Junior Board, a participant on the YP Roundtable for the Birmingham Business Alliance and was a participant of the 2010 class of Leadership UAB.

Weintraub is a past recipient of the Charles Collat Distinguished Leadership Award from the Rotaract Club of Birmingham, the Economic Empowerment award from Birmingham Urban League Young Professionals and was recognized with the Up & Coming Leadership Award from Birmingham Business Alliance.

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Christopher M. Wilson

Christopher M. Wilson, a native of Gretna, Louisiana, is engineer in Southern Company’s Transmission organization. He monitors standards development activities and corresponding regulatory proceedings which promote a strong and reliable North American bulk power system. He holds a Bachelors of Electrical Engineering from the University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio and resides in Birmingham’s Loft District.

Wilson’s contributions to the greater Birmingham community span a broad range of organizations and programs. He is a former chair of the Future Engineers of America, a youth-based mentoring program of the Central Alabama Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers. He supported fundraising initiatives of Girls Incorporated of Central Alabama as a member of its junior board of young professionals, the Committee of 25. As a founding member and former chairman of the Birmingham Change Fund, a special purpose fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, Christopher promoted the many virtues of collective philanthropy. His involvement and leadership at the Fund lead to numerous and tangible grants of time, talent, and treasure to various non-profit organizations.