• Brian Hastings: “Humble, Credible, Approachable—A Transition Story”


    Plan now to attend our dinner meeting on March 8, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.!

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    Brian Hastings, Director, Alabama Emergency Management Agency

    “Humble, Credible, Approachable—A Transition Story” 

    Brian Hastings

    Director Hastings discusses events in his first five months of State Government that highlight his thoughts on leadership that all leaders can use.


    Brian Hastings was born in 1968, in Germany, to a U.S. Army officer, however most of Brian’s youth was spent in the Chicago metropolitan area. It was there, while attending public school, that he developed his desire to learn, serve others and give back to those in need.

    Brian’s passion for service led him to enter the United States Air Force Academy in 1986 and serve in the United States Air Force from 1990 until he retired as a Colonel on 1 September 2017. Prior to his retirement, Brian served for two years as Commandant of the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base and previously served as the Commander of the 47th Flying Training Wing. During his military career, Brian earned two Legion of Merit Medals, the Bronze Star for his service in Afghanistan, three Meritorious Service Medals, and served as a flight instructor. He was a command pilot with more than 2,600 hours in attack and training aircraft. He held a variety of positions, including Battalion Air Liaison Officer and Chief of Standardization and Evaluation.

    Brian has a Bachelor of Science in Applied Physics. He also earned a Master’s of Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a Master’s of Science in Resourcing National Security Strategy from the Eisenhower School, National Defense University.

    In August 2017, Governor Kay Ivey named Brian as the Director of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency and he started his service on September 5, 2017. In less than one week, the State Emergency Operations Center activated for Hurricane Irma to receive and shelter more than 250,000 evacuees from Florida while caring for the needs of Alabamians. The impact of Hurricane Irma resulted in a Presidential Emergency Declaration from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and strengthened enduring partnerships with Florida and the Virgin Islands.

    Regardless of Brian’s noteworthy career, which includes being a former A10 pilot, he will quickly tell you his greatest accomplishments are at home with his beautiful wife Eileen and three sons—Sean, Jake and Luke. The Hastings also have two additional family members Sophie and Chuy, the family dogs.


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  • Cameron Koorangi, Execution Expert - "A step by step guide to building teams that are not just more effective but happier, and how timing can influence everything!"


    Plan now to attend our dinner meeting on May 10, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.!

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    "A step by step guide to building teams that are not just more effective but happier, and how timing can influence everything!" 

    1805 koorangi


    Cameron Koorangi is an Execution Expert for an innovative software company based in California. In his previous career as a Sales Manager, Cameron's teams were some of the most efficient and successful in the Southeast winning consecutive annual Regional titles. When he isn't glued to a book or studying leadership or the economics, he spends time with his wife, Candace, he enjoys playing with his three dogs and loves the outdoors. He is currently traveling the country speaking to sales teams of all sizes motivating them towards a singular goal - effectiveness. You can reach him at camkoorangi@gmail.com.





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  • Casting a Clear Vision: Words Mean Things - September 14 dinner meeting with Rex Davis

    Casting a Clear Vision: Words Mean Things

    We live in a fast paced world that’s ever changing, more stressful, and incredibly demanding.  We’re more connected than ever through social media platforms, yet communication is arguably harder than ever. Why? Because “words mean things” and most of us are often still mediocre communicators at best.  If we can’t communicate a clear vision with a clear purpose and use words that have a clear defined meaning, our results are always going to be less than desirable.  “Words mean things” whether you’re a corporate CEO in the boardroom, a 4 star general on the battlefield, or a campaign chairman leading volunteers in the community.

    Rex DavisLTC (RET) Rex A. Davis entered the United States Army as a Field Artillery officer in 1984.  He served in a variety of command and staff positions at company, battalion, and brigade level throughout his 22 years of active duty military service.  His final assignment was at Fort Knox, KY where he served as the Chief of the Organizational Design Division for the Army’s Future Combat System.  He retired from active duty in 2006 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and then worked in the commercial construction industry as a project controls coordinator, financial analyst, and small business liaison officer for one of the largest federal contractors in the state of Alabama.   Rex currently serves as an associate pastor for Church of the Highlands in Montgomery and oversees all aspects of leadership development for Small Groups and Pastoral Care.    

    LTC (RET) Davis is a graduate of the United States Army Ranger School, the United States Army Airborne School, and the 25th ID (L) Air Assault School. His highest military award is the Bronze Star Medal and he was the first recipient of the Ronald Reagan Leadership Award in 1983.  He holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Arkansas State University, a Master of Arts in Humanities (Military History) from Louisiana State University, and a certificate in Ministry and Leadership from Highlands College in Birmingham, AL.   LTC (RET) Davis is married to the former Lisa Marie Boyd of Columbus, Georgia and they have one daughter, Eva Belyeu Davis.

  • Charles Latham, PMP: How to Mature Your PMO - Moving Beyond Operational Metrics

    How to Mature Your PMO: Moving Beyond Operational Metrics

    Charles Latham, PMPCharles “Chuck” Latham is currently the Director of Shared Services Operations at Alfa Insurance Company. He is responsible for creating the corporate Project Management Methodology, designing and facilitating the Project Governance process, overall Project and Portfolio Management. He is skilled in metric development and both strategic and tactical approaches to Project Management Office (PMO) operations. He established the first dashboards and created a robust Resource Management process and capacity metrics from the ground up. His oversight pushed the Alfa PMO maturity from 1.5 to 3 on the Gartner PM Maturity Assessment Scale in just two years. Before joining Alfa, Chuck served as a Senior Project Manager and Scrum Master at ProAssurance Company, a liability insurance provider. He was key in building the PMO from the ground up and authoring the first PM Methodology.

    Chuck was also an IT Director, PM Vice President with Colonial Bank and served as a Project and/or Program Manager for EDS (now HP), IBM, and PricewaterhouseCoopers along with managing several large conversion projects with Wells Fargo. His clients included: Massachusetts and Alabama State Medicaid, US Department of Education, US Army, Texas and Alabama State DMVs, and authored proposals for the US Mint, US Postal Service, and NASA. In addition to his expertise in managing and maturing PMO’s, Chuck has a passion for mentoring and training. He served as the Professor of Aerospace Studies at two different universities and as an Adjunct Professor in Business Management for several colleges and universities. He is a volunteer instructor in religious studies at a federal Prison and has written two books. Chuck is a retired Air Force Officer and a veteran of Operation Desert Storm.

    Chuck is a PMP and CSM and holds a BS in Business Management from St. John Fisher College, an MBA from Chapman University, and a Master’s Certificate in Project Management from the George Washington University.


  • Eric Pierce PMP: "Project Management and Innovation: Are they Related?"


    Plan now to attend our dinner meeting on January 11, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.!

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    Project Management and Innovation: Are they Related?

    Project management is often seen as a business practice that stifles creativity with its focus on scope/cost/schedule.  In fact, the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBoK) highlights that a good PM delivers exactly what is in the project's scope and no more, providing added value is not something project managers are encouraged to do.  While innovation is seen as almost the opposite of project management, it is creative, freewheeling and designed to provide far more than what could be put in a project's scope statement.  While project management and innovation appear to be near opposites, this presentation explores how they are related and should combined to produce business value.

    US Air Force Col (retired) Eric Pierce is currently the Director, Service Delivery for Integrated Computer Solutions Inc. (ICS) leading a team of Project Manager and directing the execution of multiple Federal contracts. Prior to retirement from the US Air Force, Col Pierce served in multiple roles to include the Director of Communications and Chief Information Officer, Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Agency in San Antonio TX; Combat Commander of the 380th Expeditionary Mission Support Group, at a combat location in Southwest Asia; and Director of Cyberspace Policy and Enterprise Services, Joint Staff Directorate of Communications and Information, in the Pentagon. His major military awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, and the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara for outstanding service to the nation in US
    Army/Marine Corps field artillery.

    Col Pierce is both a PMP and a Certified Innovation Manager.

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  • Gary Soriano, Chick-fil-A - Great Leaders SERVE - PMI Dinner Meeting June 8

    About ten years ago, Chick-fil-A realized that they needed to define leadership for their organization.  A large amount of research went into their definition of leadership and the leadership model that they embrace in their corporate culture.  They think it's the best way to lead - Great Leaders SERVE.

    Gary SorianoGary Soriano began his 40-year career with Chick-fil- A as a team member while attending college at Auburn-Montgomery. He and his wife Susan opened their first Chick-fil- A in 1983 at Village Mall in Auburn where he was awarded Chick-fil- A’s first “Rookie of the Year” Award in 1984. They relocated to Montgomery in 1992 and opened one of the chain’s early freestanding restaurant locations in the Colonial Promenade shopping center in Montgomery. He currently operates Chick-fil- A at EastChase and Chick-fil- A at RSA Tower in Montgomery.

    His restaurants have won the Chick-fil- A Symbol of Success Award four times, many quality and service awards, as well as the company’s $6 Million Award. During his career, Soriano has awarded more than $50,000 in college scholarships and mentored countless team members. He serves on the Board of Directors of Covenant Family Ministries and the Business School Advisory Board of Auburn University of Montgomery.

    Soriano lives in Montgomery with his wife of 36 years, Susan. They have two children, Ashley and Jason, and five grandchildren. Ashley and Jason are also Chick-fil- A Franchisees; Ashley in Northport and Jason at Eastdale Mall in Montgomery.

  • Healthcare Reform: Chaos and the Struggle to Stay Focused - August 10 dinner meeting with Drew Nelson

    Healthcare Reform: Chaos and the Struggle to Stay Focused

    What’s the current prognosis for Alabama’s healthcare system? What reforms are potentially coming soon from the Federal government? And how does data, teamwork, time management, and project management fit into this picture? Join us August 10 to hear Drew Nelson speak on Healthcare Reform: Chaos and the Struggle to Stay Focused.

    Drew NelsonWith a strong background in public health, quality assurance, health policy, and Medicaid, Drew Nelson has spent much of his career focused on initiatives to improve health outcomes and better collaborations and partnerships between healthcare organizations and stakeholders. 

    Most recently, he has become actively involved as a team member of several significant quality assurance projects, including Alabama Medicaid Agency’s RCO Implementation team: facilitating the RCO Quality Assurance Committee and Program, overseeing the Quality Withhold and Service Delivery Network components of the RCO Program. He has also assisted in the design of the Integrated Provider System and recently asked to assist with the Agency transformation of the long term care system with the development of the Integrated Care Networks. Drew also is involved with several statewide learning collaboratives including ACHIA, Child Health Improvement Alliance; COIIN, a healthy birth initiative; and Million Hearts Campaign. 

  • Jaime Toogood, CEO, JST LLC - "Stakeholder Engagement"


    Plan now to attend our dinner meeting on Jul 12, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.!

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    "Stakeholder Engagement"

    180712 toogood

    Topic: Impact of stakeholder engagement on the continuous improvement process and program performance, along with the importance of emotional intelligence.


    Jaime Toogood is the CEO of JST LLC, a small business that focuses on delivering exceptional support services to the Federal Government and Private Industry. Her work history includes serving as a Contracting Officer in the United States Air Force, Product Manager for Atlas Copco and General Manager for the start-up of ULM Services in Texas and Oklahoma.

    In her active duty Air Force roll, Jaime was a warranted contracting officer supporting such programs as the bed down of the F-22 in Anchorage, AK, operations throughout Afghanistan, Small Business Integration and Research, and various classified weapons programs exceeding procurement costs of $1.2B. While on active duty she earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Management from the United States Air Force Academy and a Masters of Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University. Jaime holds a PMP certification from the PMI, Defense Acquisition University (DAWIA) certifications in Contracting (Level III), Program Management, Purchasing and Financial Management. She is also an active member of the National Contract Management Association.

    JSToogood LLC (JST) is a fast-growing woman-owned small business supporting clients nationwide. Our core competency and experience is in IT support services, leadership development, and program management in multi-agency environments. We leverage our unique knowledge and technical expertise of both military and commercial networks to deliver the best value-added solutions on time and on budget.


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  • Leading Others in a Platform Economy - May 11 dinner meeting with Clay McInnis

    Clay McInnis will be speaking at our May 11 meeting about Leading Others in a Platform Economy.

    Clay McInnisUpon being the first to graduate with a Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Family Business degree from Auburn University, Clay began a biodiesel fuel company aimed at recycling local restaurants’ cooking oil and turning it into sustainable fuel for his family’s road and bridge construction firm.  The venture also helped Alabama institutions purchase their own equipment to produce biofuel.

    Following his entrepreneurial passion, he became the head of development and part owner of a company that developed a 32,000 sf mixed-use building in downtown Montgomery.  Today, he owns and manages real estate, owns and manages Commerce Consulting, and is the Executive Director of Montgomery’s chapter of the Angel Investment Management Group.

    Clay soon learned he had a knack for thinking up ideas and making them happen.  This gained the attention of key Montgomery leaders giving him a seat at the table for discussions about how to lead the city into the future.

    Clay works alongside The Downtown Business Association and the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce evaluating ways to make the city more attractive to young professionals and tech start-up companies.  His passion to connect people to people and people to resources led him to start the Gumption Fund - a $2,000 micro grant awarded each month to people with projects and ideas.  The projects must be focused downtown and for the public good.  Some recent projects include the downtown bike racks and tire pumping station, The Montgomery “Your Opportunity” mural, and the Gumptioneers internship program.

    Clay has served on several boards in the community which include, Sterling Bank, The Alabama Shakespeare Festival, The Chamber of Commerce, UAB Montgomery School of Medicine Advisory Board, Design Alabama, EAT South, The Samaritan Counseling Center, Hope Inspired Ministries Jr. Board, The Gumptionfund, and The Downtown Business Association.


  • Mayor Todd Strange: Growing Montgomery With Technology Innovation

    Mayor Todd Strange will be speaking on leadership, and growing Montgomery with an emphasis on TechMGM, a collaboration between local industry, educational and government entities working together to connect and leverage Montgomery's unique technology assets to include the Montgomery Internet Exchange (MGMix), the city's open data initiatives, efforts supporting hackMGM/Code for America Brigade, and efforts to grow/foster technology innovation. The goal of TechMGM is to maximize the community's technology talent pipeline and promote the city as an emerging and innovative technology hub to enhance the workforce and grow the regional economy.

    Mayor Todd StrangeMr. Todd Strange became the 56th mayor of the city of Montgomery on March 10, 2009, and was sworn in on March 23, 2009.

    Strange graduated from Murphy High School in Mobile, Alabama and received a B.A. degree in Political Science from the University of Montevallo. Prior to becoming mayor, Strange served as chairman of the Montgomery (Alabama) County Commission for nearly five years. He also served as former president, CEO and co-owner of Blount Strange Automotive Group where he managed hundreds of employees. 

    As former director of the Alabama Development of Commerce (formerly known as the Alabama Development Office), Strange collaborated many efforts that brought major industries to Alabama, including the Hyundai Manufacturing Facility in Montgomery. He also served as former senior vice president of Administration, Blount International, Ltds., former president and CEO, Blount Development Corporation and several leadership roles with South Central Bell Company (now AT&T). 

    Strange’s extensive involvement in the community includes chairman of the Capital City Club, member of the Board of Directors and former vice-chairman of the Montgomery Business Committee for the Arts, and chairman of the Board of Trustees at University of Montevallo. He was also former chairman of the University of Montevallo National Alumni Association, former president and campaign chairman for Montgomery Area United Way, former chairman of the Board of Directors for the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, former president of the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind Foundation, former board chairman of the Montgomery’s Riverfront Development Committee, and former Chairman of the Montgomery Riverfront Alliance. 

    Strange has received numerous awards and honors for his visionary and progressive leadership. His awards include Business and Professional Women Boss of the Year, March of Dimes’ River Region Citizen of the Year, AUM Outstanding Community Leader Award, and Time Magazine’s Quality Dealer Award for Alabama.

  • Neal Kelley, SummaSource, Auburn University Montgomery - "Achieving Desired Results Through Crucial Accountability"


    Plan now to attend our dinner meeting on April 12, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.!

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    "Achieving Desired Results Through Crucial Accountability" 


    In studying hundreds of projects across various industries and organizations, researchers discovered that a predictor of success was whether team members could effectively have accountability conversations that would achieve desired results.  Utilizing principles from Patterson, Grenny, Maxfield, McMillan, and Switzler’s Crucial Accountability,and other best practices of leadership, this session will explore how to prepare for an accountability conversation, identify practices for navigating an accountability conversation, and follow up in  way that will lead to desired performance and results. 


    Neal Kelley serves as a Senior Training Consultant for SummaSource at Auburn University at Montgomery. He is also the Director of the nationally accredited Certified Public Manager Program facilitated by AUM.  He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Troy University, an M.B.A from Auburn University and a Master of Divinity degree from Regent University.  

    Prior to joining the staff at Auburn University at Montgomery, he served as the Director of Training and Operations for Leadership Training International, a training organization based in Chesapeake, VA.  As a master trainer with LTI, he conducted leadership seminars and train-the-trainer workshops in the U.S.A. and around the world.  He has also served successfully as a Senior Manager for a large manufacturing company.

    Neal’s professional interests include training and development, organizational leadership, and performance coaching.  He is also actively involved in the community, serving as a board member for two non-profit organizations. 


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  • The Importance of Investing in Alabama's Infrastructure

    Alabama’s roads and bridges are the arteries of its economy. The Alliance for Alabama’s Infrastructure (AAI) was created to provide a business-oriented focus on the infrastructure needs in the state of Alabama and to advocate for a long-term and sustainable funding plan to meet those needs. Drew Harrell, Executive Director for the AAI and Deputy Chief of Staff for the Business Council of Alabama, will speak about these issues.

    Drew HarrellDrew Harrell is Deputy Chief of Staff for the Business Council of Alabama which is the voice of business and industry in Alabama representing more than 750,000 working Alabamians through its members companies that come from all segments of Alabama’s economy. The BCA is Alabama’s affiliate organization to the United States Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers. Harrell is responsible for managing the daily internal operations at BCA and serves as a member of the BCA Governmental Affairs team with a primary focus in infrastructure, small business, and tax.

    In January of 2017, Harrell was named Executive Director of the Alliance for Alabama’s Infrastructure, which is a grassroots advocacy coalition formed in December 2015 with the mission of uniting the business community and like-minded groups behind the common goal of properly investing in and enhancing Alabama’s transportation infrastructure in order to ensure that the safety and economic needs of Alabama’s citizens, businesses, and other organizations are properly met. Harrell is in charge of managing the organization, communication, and advocacy efforts of AAI.

    Harrell earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Huntingdon College in 2011 and a Master of Business Administration from Auburn University at Montgomery in 2013.

    While he attended Huntingdon College, Harrell was a four-year letterman in baseball and football. He was a member of the National Football Foundation’s 2011 Hampshire Honor Society and is currently a member of the Huntingdon College National Alumni Association Board of Directors.


  • Zack Jourdan, Ph.D.: "The Journey from Bureaucrat to Entrepreneur Means Going the Extra MILE"


    Plan now to attend our dinner meeting on February 8, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.!

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    The Journey from Bureaucrat to Entrepreneur Means Going the Extra MILE 


    Organizations are constantly asking their employees to be more entrepreneurial. You do not need to start your own company to operate your project or program like a business owner. In this interactive discussion, we will discuss four key areas that differentiate the entrepreneurial employee versus someone who is stuck in the status quo. Using the MILE framework (Mindset, Innovation, Learning, Engagement) will give you and your team a common language for improving your organizations performance.


    Zack Jourdan, Ph.D. is the founder and principal consultant for SZJ Solutions, LLC and an Associate Professor at Auburn University at Montgomery.  Zack is a focused thinker who develops custom strategies and solutions to help you develop leaders that are the envy of the competition.  He is the President of the South Alabama Chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI).


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